“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Provident Sparrow

Okay I'm punning on Hamlet but I really like Tom Sparrow's nihilism follow up. I'll simply paste here, with some additions and modifications, what I wrote in the comments: 

I think the key to [his] excellent argument is that “before” you have an opinion such as nihilism or whatever, you have already been captured by (other) entities. The ontological shenanigans has already begun and your nihilism (or whatever) just a reaction formation to that. The fact that nihilism positions itself this way vis a vis a reality makes nihilism peculiarly self-defeating. The nihilist posits the very world that she or he denies, or shuns, or says is meaningless. 

This is a lot worse for nihilism than the problem of the nihilist subject position, which technically involves “believing in” nothing then erasing the trace of said belief.

I'll say one more thing: since a pencil can give pencil-meaning to a plastic cup, there is far less meaninglessness in my universe. It's just not “my” meaning. Was it ever? 

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