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Nihilism or Determinism? OR???

FromNowhere

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#1
Are you a Nihilist, or a Determinist, and what led you to this belief? Or, do you have an alternative worldview? If so, what is it and why do you think that way?

For the record, I am a Determinist that believes in God. I don't know exactly what the word God means nor can I define it. I'm not looking to turn this into a right vs. wrong type of discussion. Everyone has valid reasons for what they believe based on their personal experience. I just wanted to get an idea of what the majority of folks on this site believe. Or maybe it's that we are split right down the middle, or the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster is going to win (again). Who knows.
 
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#2
Nihilist.

I have a hard time grasping the concept of "value" period. I don't recognize inherent or ontological meaning in any sense as the strands of thought that expound upon its existence and importance are as varied and conflicting as rival religious factions.

That's not to say I wallow in a depressive cycle of angst and despair, no. I express my conscious autonomy by playing with and adopting a multitude of beliefs and building meaning for myself in accordance with what ever tickles my fancy. For me it's like building a fantastical mental landscape for the sake of my own inward aesthetic pleasure. What ever meaning I may ascribe to certain things is essentially baseless gibberish used to paint myself something beautiful to look at while I traverse through an absurd reality.
 

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#3
i recognize that by means of circumstance, each individual is born into a set of conditions to which they will respond. but within those boundaries, we have access to a variety of possible influences, which I do believe each individual is able to choose from. those possibilities are limited due to each condition; people born rich can't really understand poverty until they find themselves in it, regardless of what any self proclaimed buddha convinces themselves of. people born without access to resources like good education or clean water can't understand what physical health or a certain kind of knowledge is like. our ability to independently respond is limited. if I live on a trash heap in brazil, accessing the writings of spivak and thoreau isn't nearly as tenable as if I was raised in a district with better schools. 'astra inclinant, sed non obligant'; the stars incline us, but they do not bind us. i'm not a determinist in that I believe in a certain degree of liberty of the mind. but I recognize the influence of external influences. and i'm not exactly a nihilist, in that although I understand that in a consideration of collective, permanent existence, nothing really lasts, I also understand that we, as temporary living things, can have an impact on other temporary things living or unliving. and I think that is just as meaningful as a theoretical permanent effect.
 

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#4
I also worship nature, and everything that arises from it. which is to say, everything.
 
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#5
I also worship nature, and everything that arises from it. which is to say, everything.
I also worship nature, and everything that arises from it. which is to say, everything.
Interesting, so you honor everything in nature. I think that's important as well. May I ask why you feel compelled to have a deep reverence for everything which arises from nature?
 

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#6
it just makes sense. nature is the only thing that fits the idea I've always had of 'God'. it's the source of all existence, fierce and forgiving, beautiful and terrible and perfectly formed. literally everything that there is, ever was or ever will be, owes itself to Nature. rocketships made of metal and petroleum, synthetic elements designed by animals (people) working with the toolkits they found in the wild. there's no such thing as outside of the wild, really. I might take back that part of the statement in five hours, but we can't escape being animals. even if some ridiculous scientists in the next few centuries convert humanity into cyborgs, we'll still owe our existence to the earth and sky. there's nothing else.
 
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#7
it just makes sense. nature is the only thing that fits the idea I've always had of 'God'. it's the source of all existence, fierce and forgiving, beautiful and terrible and perfectly formed. literally everything that there is, ever was or ever will be, owes itself to Nature. rocketships made of metal and petroleum, synthetic elements designed by animals (people) working with the toolkits they found in the wild. there's no such thing as outside of the wild, really. I might take back that part of the statement in five hours, but we can't escape being animals. even if some ridiculous scientists in the next few centuries convert humanity into cyborgs, we'll still owe our existence to the earth and sky. there's nothing else.
Do you think nature is an expression of being or the infinite or whatever? I guess what I am getting at is...if nature is 'physical' reality, is there a metaphysical force (set of forces) which are responsible for the underlying physical manifestations of nature? I can't help but think of the Mandelbrot set/Fractal Geometry as an example of the metaphysical blueprint for nature. *Mind Blower Alert* in case you haven't seen it yet.
 

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#8
nature isn't only physical, light waves and the vacuum are still a part of nature. concept and the abstract, they're still a part of the, call it power or source, call it anything, it's all from the same self producing, pseudo cyclical structure. nothing really ends or begins, just changes form yada yada. when I say 'nature' I don't mean the conservatory and the national parks, that I consider the environment or just the planet earth. the most important and holy thing we have as a species, and that we need to start respecting, but not the entirety of existence. the entirety of our existence, compounded beyond our estimation, but just a snapshot from the reel. when did energy start condensing into matter, how did energy first initiate, I don't know. but I know it wasn't a conscious decision by some white guy 'Our Father' with a beard. it was a spontaneous chance occurrence. and it makes sense that eventually all of existence could possibly, and might inevitably, return to that emptiness. or maybe it isn't possible, i'm not a physicist. I am rambling though. anyway yeah I like trees, thanks for the stimulating questions and prompts
 
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#9
nature isn't only physical, light waves and the vacuum are still a part of nature. concept and the abstract, they're still a part of the, call it power or source, call it anything, it's all from the same self producing, pseudo cyclical structure. nothing really ends or begins, just changes form yada yada. when I say 'nature' I don't mean the conservatory and the national parks, that I consider the environment or just the planet earth. the most important and holy thing we have as a species, and that we need to start respecting, but not the entirety of existence. the entirety of our existence, compounded beyond our estimation, but just a snapshot from the reel. when did energy start condensing into matter, how did energy first initiate, I don't know. but I know it wasn't a conscious decision by some white guy 'Our Father' with a beard. it was a spontaneous chance occurrence. and it makes sense that eventually all of existence could possibly, and might inevitably, return to that emptiness. or maybe it isn't possible, i'm not a physicist. I am rambling though. anyway yeah I like trees, thanks for the stimulating questions and prompts
One things for sure, we will never run out of questions to ask the universe. Thanks!
 

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#10
Both. Probably more nihilist scene it's likely the thrashing of imbalanced chemicals in my broken brain are the catalyst of any virtues I define.
Still, I'm determined to experience life and care for others even if we're just the tree that falls in the woods and is never heard.
 

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#11
I do want to mention that I think energy has probably always been, and doesn't really have an origin. our thought patterns are organized in a linear pattern, but time is really nothing other than the processes of decay and growth, measured by the movement of the planets. we expect there to be a beginning and end for everything, but I don't believe that's necessarily the case. quarks and neutrons may have been circling around themselves forever, literally eternity. which, like nothingness, is a concept we might not be capable of fully envisioning.

stukov: i think basic morality isn't exactly a result of arbitrary chemical relationships, but an evolutionary development. have you ever read kropotkin's 'mutual aid'? and maybe the will to survive, individually and as a part of any collective, whether human or animal or just alive, maybe that's arbitrary in a way. but meaningless doesn't mean irrational. a beautiful song or scene can be perfectly meaningless and still powerful, satisfying, inspiring. i hope i'm not proselytizing. i'm a bit drunk and half asleep and it is so important to me that everyone know how lovely it is to be alive, even when it really doesn't seem that way.
 
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#12
Did you intend to somehow compare determinism "vs" nihilism or were those just taken as examples of worldviews in general?
The two seem to be a strange pair for a 1vs1 style comparison to me.
Personally I think determinism is wrong since that seems to be what quantum physics tells.
On the other hand I don't think there are ways to proof the radical sceptic wrong, so I am also (at least an epistemological) nihilist.
 
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#13
I do want to mention that I think energy has probably always been, and doesn't really have an origin. our thought patterns are organized in a linear pattern, but time is really nothing other than the processes of decay and growth, measured by the movement of the planets. we expect there to be a beginning and end for everything, but I don't believe that's necessarily the case. quarks and neutrons may have been circling around themselves forever, literally eternity. which, like nothingness, is a concept we might not be capable of fully envisioning.

stukov: i think basic morality isn't exactly a result of arbitrary chemical relationships, but an evolutionary development. have you ever read kropotkin's 'mutual aid'? and maybe the will to survive, individually and as a part of any collective, whether human or animal or just alive, maybe that's arbitrary in a way. but meaningless doesn't mean irrational. a beautiful song or scene can be perfectly meaningless and still powerful, satisfying, inspiring. i hope i'm not proselytizing. i'm a bit drunk and half asleep and it is so important to me that everyone know how lovely it is to be alive, even when it really doesn't seem that way.
You sound like Sir Fred Hoyle. He proposed that the universe always was. He calls it the Steady State Theory. He ridiculed the dominant science creation story that we know today by referring to it as "The Big Bang". AKA, the one free miracle that science required in order to explain all the rest...as the late great Terrence McKenna put it.
 
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#14
Did you intend to somehow compare determinism "vs" nihilism or were those just taken as examples of worldviews in general?
The two seem to be a strange pair for a 1vs1 style comparison to me.
Personally I think determinism is wrong since that seems to be what quantum physics tells.
On the other hand I don't think there are ways to proof the radical sceptic wrong, so I am also (at least an epistemological) nihilist.
I 'm just trying to engage in an interesting and universally unproven dialogue such as this. Similar to the 'Hard Problem of Consciousness' debate which has burned bright since before the time of Plato. In the same spirit, albeit a typically modern question, Determinism vs. Nihilism are the two dominant worldviews given the question of the universe being intelligently designed or coming together at random. I don't know of any other alternatives to this idea, but I am open to hearing about them. The funny thing about determinism is that some atheists I know are actually determinists because they believe that our world is a simulation. Unless of course humans from the future are simulating our present reality.
 

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#15
to me it doesn't make any sense to bel ieve in a kind of intelligent design, at least not from the outset. theoretically it might be imagined that an intelligence developed, arose from happenstance and the relation of different parts and energies to each other, and directing from that point. animals which have evolved to have design based intelligences have used them to design, of course. birds building nests, humanity building houses and airports. we've even designed other intelligences, like ants subjecting aphids to a cattle existence, and humans breeding species of dogs. but the designers are still a part of the entirety; a stream of water making the rocks wet still exists as a part of the water system. inertia and interaction. i don't think these things occur at random, but i don't believe there's any directed 'reason' for their occurrence. just a result of coincidence. i'm not familiar with the hard problem of consciousness; the name however reminds me of an issue i've taken for years with descartes 'cogito ergo sum'. i don't think consciousness of a self is proof of the self, that consciousness could be an illusion. perhaps what is termed the self only exists in this moment, i mean that since all things are temporary, all 'selves' at least, their existence isn't really a hard fact. of course the question is what we consider existence, and what we consider a self. if a feather is falling through the air, it is not a quality of that feather to be in the air. that's just a passing, situational event. and so are we. i'm not expressing this idea very well, because i've never taken the time to organize it thoroughly. sorry for the useless and poorly formed rambling, thinking out loud (even silently) is just so nice
 
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#16
to me it doesn't make any sense to bel ieve in a kind of intelligent design, at least not from the outset. theoretically it might be imagined that an intelligence developed, arose from happenstance and the relation of different parts and energies to each other, and directing from that point. animals which have evolved to have design based intelligences have used them to design, of course. birds building nests, humanity building houses and airports. we've even designed other intelligences, like ants subjecting aphids to a cattle existence, and humans breeding species of dogs. but the designers are still a part of the entirety; a stream of water making the rocks wet still exists as a part of the water system. inertia and interaction. i don't think these things occur at random, but i don't believe there's any directed 'reason' for their occurrence. just a result of coincidence. i'm not familiar with the hard problem of consciousness; the name however reminds me of an issue i've taken for years with descartes 'cogito ergo sum'. i don't think consciousness of a self is proof of the self, that consciousness could be an illusion. perhaps what is termed the self only exists in this moment, i mean that since all things are temporary, all 'selves' at least, their existence isn't really a hard fact. of course the question is what we consider existence, and what we consider a self. if a feather is falling through the air, it is not a quality of that feather to be in the air. that's just a passing, situational event. and so are we. i'm not expressing this idea very well, because i've never taken the time to organize it thoroughly. sorry for the useless and poorly formed rambling, thinking out loud (even silently) is just so nice
I prefer uncertainty and thinking out loud to picking which ever side sounds good and then trying to use whatever means necessary to seem right. If anything, our reality appears to be a paradox. What is allowing us to have this conversation though? Just randomness having billions of years to form? How long would it take a thousand monkeys with typewriters to randomly type out Shakespeare's Macbeth? How much time would be needed to accomplish that?
 
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#17
In the same spirit, albeit a typically modern question, Determinism vs. Nihilism are the two dominant worldviews given the question of the universe being intelligently designed or coming together at random. I don't know of any other alternatives to this idea, but I am open to hearing about them. The funny thing about determinism is that some atheists I know are actually determinists because they believe that our world is a simulation. Unless of course humans from the future are simulating our present reality.
Interesting, why would you think that determinism and nihilism are the two dominant worldviews when it comes to the quesiton whether the universe is intelligently designed or coming together random? Don't think this is a typical modern question, in the sense that it is a widely discussed question. I studied philosophy for several years and never came across this question. The more obvious alternative would simply be that of determinism vs indeterminism.
I have to admit that I don't see the connection between determinism/indeterminism and god or an intelligent creator, which makes the question of whether the universe is intelligently designed or coming together at random a bit strange to start with. Why shouldn't the universe be intelligently designed and random (random as in not determined)? Admittedly I don't know anything about the intelligent design movement and the theories they do or do not promote, so maybe determinism is what they promote. But apart from the framework of this movement, there is nohing inconsistent about the thought of something that is intelligently designed, yet indeterministic.
That's why I don't understand what's funny about being atheist and determinist either. Why shouldn't one believe that there is no god, yet the universe is a deterministic system? After all determinism was largely fueled by the obervations and theories of physics, especially classical mechanics. But this is field that isn't necessarly at best terms with religion (even though a lot of physicists believe(d) in god), so it would actually fit quite well that one believes in determinism and atheism.
On the other hand you don't have to believe in determinism, to believe that you are living in a simulation. What do you mean with unless the simulation is run by humans from the future?


On the thought of consciousness. Decartes cogito ergo sum argument is indeed controversial. It relies on the premise "I think". Therefore one kind of accepts that an "I" exists as a premise, for the very conclusion that an I exists. This is obviously problematic.


If anything, our reality appears to be a paradox. What is allowing us to have this conversation though? Just randomness having billions of years to form? How long would it take a thousand monkeys with typewriters to randomly type out Shakespeare's Macbeth? How much time would be needed to accomplish that?
Why do you think our reality apperas to be paradox, if anything?
How long it would take a thousand randomly typing monkeys to write Macbeath can't be answered, after all it is possible they never write it. Given the amount of letter in Macbeth and the typing speed of the monkeys it shouldn't be too hard to give probabilities for how long they would need. Probably not that long on an evolutionary scale.
Even though the probability that one monkey writes macbeth first try is somewhere around 1/((1/26)^70000), if one assumes 26 letters occuring and an estimated amount of 70000 characters. Which is obviously pretty fucking low.
If that was meant as a contra evolution and pro intelligent design it might also be said that selection is not random.
 
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#18
Alright, here's my take;

Out-of-the-box, civilized humans are automata. Hard determinism is at work on them; they are pushed and pulled by the blind currents of history, and by the not-so-blind tides of powerful individuals. For them, nihilism cannot exist.

At the moment of sustained existential revolt, one finds for the first time the capacity to seize upon their own free will. They ascend into the higher rank of humanity; they become existential aristocrats. The range of their free will is only limited, in this case, by their drive to overcome, and by physical law. Thus, free will is in its purest form in the individual who hardens her mind to staunchly overcome - without the achilles' heel of rigidity - and who hardens his body to the torturous blows of survival and combat - without foregoing the deftness and delicate agility required by stealth, escape, and the finesse of carving out some form of subsistence.

This is not to say that an existential aristocrat cannot fall off the horse and return to their simpler, duller form and rejoin the squealing reptilian masses. They absolutely can. It can be seen in many travelers who revolt against their conditions and their lower form by making an escape - only to become an idiotic alcoholic with a dull mind. (I have experience with this)

For those who claim their free will by force or cunning, their world is nihilistic because they are free to create meaning from nothing. They've disavowed the fetters of absolutes, ethics, and collectivism.
 
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#20
What do you guys even mean by nihilism btw?
There's a lot of contention over the definition. I think the most accurate definition consists of the rejection of inherent meaning. That there is no inherent reason why you can't fart in church, can't kiss your cousin, can't kill someone you don't like. Money isn't inherently meaningful, nor is the authority of the state. Even the state's violence isn't inherently good or bad - plenty of people commit suicide-by-cop, our of their own desires.

This differs from nearly every other type of argument; most ideological positions tend to assume some inherent meaning and use that as a means to get followers who they can control. Communists assume that the good of the collective, and justice against the capitalist elite is inherently good, and moreover, that it is a necessary part of history and progress. They harness ideas about progress and society to obtain foot soldiers for their cause. The same is true of nationalists - they assume the nation's blood sweat and tears is inherently meaningful and good, and something worth continuing to contribute to. Even collectivist anarchists make use of these types of dogmas to "build movements", i.e, create a false sense of ideological homogeneity for the sake of enforcing their ideal society (and again, ideals are built around the idea that they are meaningful, and that this meaning must be shared throughout some body of people) on the world around them.

Then, seeing that the nihilist argument regarding meaning makes idealism impossible, nihilism is not an idealist sort of affair. It's purely descriptive. It's simply saying - "interesting, it seems that for all the talk of ethics, justice, democracy, law, and so on, anyone can do anything they want, and the only consequence will maybe be that a group of violent individuals hunts them down for what they've done." And if these mobs can be evaded, or reticence or fear of death can be dismissed, one truly can do whatever they please without repercussions from God, justice, or progress - despite what is commonly told to us by the talking heads of power. And so, with this backdrop cleared, we find that the individual is alone and absolutely free, having used nihilism as a descriptive tool to do so, now uses nihilism as a tool to create; instead of limiting creation, imagination, and engineering / aesthetic prowess to the strictures of morality, God, and state, now we are each free to create meaning from nothing. With absolutely no constraints.

Now, my perspective on this stems from what I've written above regarding free will - when nihilism and determinism mix, you get some horrific results. Many Nazis, fascists, and apolitical depressives find themselves in this neighborhood. That the free will / determinism question is and always will be open for discussion notwithstanding, I find myself aiming toward free will, even if untrue, for the sake of making use of the power of myth and limiting dark and cynical views.

Combining descriptive nihilism, as I've written above, with, say, racial-biological determinism, where nations are bound to succeed or fail based on blood, simply unlocks one's vanity and the ease with which mass slaughter can be carried out. I think this is stupid mostly because it does not produce pleasurable results for the individual. Far better to create your own meaning from nothing than to be tricked by cruel science and bitter collectivism. Now I'm rambling, eh?
 

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