Note on nihilism and egoism

Perhaps nihilism has nothing to do with intention and everything to do with result. As in, society doesn’t care how you feel about obeying, respecting the “rights” of others, not attacking persons and things… as long as you “stay in your lane” and pay your taxes, your attitude could be whatever you like. “Nihilism”, like “morality” or “a-morality”, has nothing to do with what you would LIKE to do, but what you actually do. This is the insight that eco-extremism and its nihilist affinity groups share. Modernity is obsessed with intention, when intention is irrelevant. Intention is just an excuse, literally washing your hands of things as they are.

Morality, civilization, technology, i.e. all the things you don’t like and the reason you read all the books cool kids read, isn’t a “spiritual” thing or a philosophical idea. It’s physical at its core. Any attempt to refuse it at merely the emotional or intellectual level does not affect it, it may even strengthen it. Here we are not even arguing about effectiveness, just the basic fact that if 99% of your life conforms to what the rest of society mandates concerning everything from traffic stops to “human rights,” you already have a morality, you already have a belief, you already have a god, no matter how much you protest otherwise. Your playacting in some “fantasy world,” even if you withdraw completely into it in the form of an intentional community or small commune, is an exercise of morality, and of the dominant morality. In a world where techno-industrial society dominates, those who claim to not have morality will be assigned one, and the fact that they don’t like it is neither here nor there.

Then again, human action is a weak and frail thing, and arguing about it in the first place probably concedes too much.

P.S. Also, some “nihilists” and “egoists” think they are doing something novel by holding their nose and obeying society’s injunctions, when in reality, EVERYONE does that, even the most theistic moral person does that some of the time, often much of the time. An anti-abortion religious person HATES this society for “killing innocent babies,” and some who have this opinion have even committed murder to support these views. You’re not unique in thinking that society is repugnant to the point of renouncing all society and codes of morality: in some sense, society HAS no morality, it has traffic signs and their other legal equivalents. Actual ethical or philosophical content simply isn’t there, and setting the question up as if it were somehow is a cheap victory.


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