Brittleness and counter-dependency Hi David, Thanks for this thought provoking and well-written page. However, I think you are not taking into account two important features of eternalism and nihilism - their brittleness and their counter-dependency. The brittleness of eternalism and nihilism comes from the lack of security with which they are held. People very rapidly switch from one to the other. For example, people have sudden evangelical conversions to Christianity on the rebound from feeling the world is meaningless. Then they might just as suddenly lose their faith. If eternalism and nihilism were just about opposing senses of the world being meaningful or meaningless, it would not explain how quickly we can bounce from one extreme to the other. Eternalism and nihilism are astoundingly similar and only formally and brittly opposed, which is why they also tend to combine into unholy alliances. This is why I suggest that eternalism and nihilism are better defined as opposing beliefs about moral justification. This brittleness is accompanied by counter-dependency. You do recognise counter-dependency here in the sense that one position is based on fear of the other. However, the counter-dependency goes further than this. Eternalism and nihilism do not make sense without each other and without their shared rejection of non-dualist alternatives. They also unite in their dualistic tendency to classify all attempted alternatives as on one side of the dualism or the other - us or them. You’ve undoubtedly identified some important features of eternalism and nihilism, but I don’t think you can really explain them without reference to both beliefs and psychology. The traditional Buddhist accounts include both these,sometimes in a contradictory or over-narrow form, but nevertheless they are there for a reason, because to some extent beliefs and psychology make up people’s experience of eternalism and nihilism.