Nietzsche and a Thought About Nihilism

When Nietzsche critiques Christianity as the source of Western nihilism, I wonder if we might conjecture that the nihilism started by deifying the Messianic promise into a person rather than sustaining in belief the type of dynamic order one finds in immanence? By immanence, I mean conceptions of nature like those in Native American traditions, Taoism and Emerson. Even the conception of sunyata as an emptiness of all form to include all in it is an ebb and flowing immanence incapable of being captured by concepts. You may be wondering why I ask this question. Let me introduce an hypothesis to explain why.

Philosophical hypothesis: The problem of nihilism never arises for those who never lose touch with and embrace the immanent finitude of life. The problem of nihilism happens to those who are promised a type of Platonist order, a type of Augustinian God, or Cartesian geometer who are so convinced of the concepts they used to describe that order beyond the immanence that the immanence of nature breaks in all the time to the Platonist-like concepts. Values become enshrined in permanence and eternity. That’s why Christianity only makes sense in its panentheist and mystical varieties where impermanence is reckoned.

Mainstream Christianities backslide into nihilism all the time because they cannot deal adequately with the flow and ebb in which reality and ego live. The ground shifts in consciousness and the world to the point that all is unstable. In thinking that some future material state will promise permanent deliverance, the Mainstream Christian is always upset that the regular flow of life is never the same as that perfect order and stasis that he or she has always thought God through (albeit this is the theoretical edge process theology has on Mainstream Christianity). The ground is always shifting beneath his or her feet and that scares us. We are scared of the impermanence we find in the living moment rather than the flowing steadiness of an order that was never meant to reflect the projected dynamism all reality felt. Nihilism always follows upon the heels of those that live this illusion.

By J. Edward Hackett

Philosophy is a tool for exploration and philosophical texts are always meant to disrupt and disturb one into Socratic tension.

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