Cold comfort: the false promise of nihilism


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Nihilism’s promise is “you don’t have to care.” Nothing means anything, so why would you.

Nihilism promises evasion of all responsibility. You don’t have to do anything, because nothing matters.

Nihilism promises simplicity, an escape from the wearying complexity of nebulosity.

Nihilism promises certainty: there is definitely no meaning anywhere, so you can give up the fruitless search for its ultimate source.

Nihilism promises cold comfort: you may be miserable, but nothing better than misery is possible. It takes you back to zero; negative utility is just as impossible as positive utility. You are not missing out on anything.

All these promises are lies.


This page is in the section Nihilism,
      which is in Meaning and meaninglessness,
      which is in Doing meaning better.

The next page in this section is ⚒ The nihilist elite.

This page’s topic is Nihilism.

General explanation: Meaningness is a hypertext book (in progress), plus a “metablog” that comments on it. The book begins with an appetizer. Alternatively, you might like to look at its table of contents, or some other starting points. Classification of pages by topics supplements the book and metablog structures. Terms with dotted underlining (example: meaningness) show a definition if you click on them. Pages marked with ⚒ are still under construction. Copyright ©2010–2017 David Chapman.