To be faithful to this freeblog’s purpose, the vast trove of nihilist literature should be read and re-read and mastered to the point of eyebleeding mania. Right – but then, nobody’s paying a dime for this, so you’ll get the epic punishment of comprehensive nihilism when I get a superagent Andrew Wylie to get me that first million.
Instead, how a little bit of the ol’ off-hand double-time. Sorry, this is about “fun” social nihilism, not the other kind, of Nietzsche and the lachrymose choir of continental philosophes. You can try Emil Cioran, who for an aphorist is a damn good mental patient – this is not at all pejorative. The man’s chronic insomnia and lifelong fondness for self-invitations to suicide are fully evident in History of Decay, and there was, and is, no medical treatment that can ameliorate such pain, but he was going straight to the heart of matter of the purposelessness of human existence. On his way out, however, we get the koan-crazed ad-man detours of a burners-on-high intellectualist, exasperating all but the best of us trailing clinicians. Human psychic pain is as useless as squirrel psychic pain – just keep gathering those nuts, get through the winter, and be ready for the same next year. Your mate will be a big help in that endeavor.
Modern social nihilism can be much more fun than pondering hopelessness. Here is a fine, short essay on two ridiculous books from antipodal thinkers:
In the kind of terse, vibrant prose of the best book reviewers, Ms. Fosters elucidates the common thread of the big-thinking positivists:
A common thread weaves through both books: that traditional and assumed power is illusory, and that certain social trends are inevitable. Both could be described as techno-utopian in their arguments, albeit from different standpoints.
Paul Mason, like the world-class huckster of “The Internet of Things,” Jeremy Rifkin, sees grand social change happening from clicking nerds, but then there is the failed promise of all of these blogkids embodied in Occupado, Arab Strap, the Battle that Lost Seattle, Wikilost, and other guarantors of fat paychecks for the techno-surveillance industry and its academic counterparties. Ridley, like Michael Shermer a lunatic apostle of the wondrous glory of the free market as evidence of the inherent goodness of natural selection, cannot understand that winning at natural selection is no indication of moral goodness or inherent superiority. Just ignore the billions of starving, hungry, and doomed, and the lesser amount of hideous, beastly rich (not just the convenient “billionaires” of Bernie Sander’s precious repeated evasion, but all the unjustly over-compensated such as the old tiny-state pol himself, and oh, yeah, to a much, much smaller extent, me) and the “free” market seems so sweet and permanent. Only it is so evidently not – just ask the ghost of Cioran.