The burners-on-high fictionists and sacredists have always fused nihilism with its antitheses like “death” and “totalitarianism,” but the n-word is coming on. In the otherwise desultory Jan. 3, 2015 pages of the New York Times Book Review, social scientist Daniel Kahneman’s view that humans are generally prisoners of their massed social reality is given the term “nihilism,” and then approved in contrast to a more pixie-dust, social positivist thinker. Kahneman, the feted theorist of the brain, publicly saw a bad future for humans as climate change ramps up, and for that the older fellow deserves some good cheer.
Nihilism will not allow for feel-superior optimism when the facts of social reality do not permit it. This is never a death-wish, or a death fascination, or a doomer fantasy of chemtrails and drug mania, but a rationalization of the observable nature of our social reality. Kahmneman’s point is the elemental foundation of sociology that has been obscured by all the vapid jargon-flinging that drove me out of the academy way back when – we as humans function within constructed, power-dominated social systems. All the biases for injustice and deprivation and mass destruction flow from that fundament of human nature. Yet that is precisely what cannot be uttered by charlatans such as Charles Eisenstein, Derrick Jensen, Yes! Magazine, Ralph Nader, Robert Jensen, spiritual bloggers, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and the vast global conspiracy pf speaking humanity. Yet the cracks are opening, and to see even the bible of the educated set allowing for a positive view of the once-universally reviled term gives this FSN (Fun Social Nihilism) project a much-needed sense of cosmic importance. To the ramparts, mon freres!