For all the heartbreak and suffering and horrific death of the events of Orlando, social nihilism entails facing the awful social realities that surround the event. The process of understanding these events can start with the reigning social ills that manufactured the killings.
- Untreated mental illness.
- Rampant homophobia in monotheistic countries.
- Irrational religion-based encouragement of gun ownership by individuals.
- On-going Middle Eastern bombing and killings campaigns by an imperial oil power.
- The rules-abetted growth of malignant racist capitalism in the US political system, as personified by Adolf Trump, but with other shining “leaders.”
- The easy rage of misanthropic males.
- The weak structure of workplace and judicial oversight of American society.
None of these Top 7 will go away, and there are many other contributing causes, 8-134, for this latest manifestation of mass shooting mania in America. While there may be “solutions,” these will find tortuous expression only in the debased, anti-rational, religion-saturated miasma of American social reality and politics. Maybe one type of gun will be taken down from the gun shop window, maybe not.
The guns are already bought and owned by anxious, fear-stoked Americans, and more will be bought in irrational reaction to the semi-automatic and handgun slaughter in Orlando. The bathroom issue will still preoccupy the infected minds of Southern Christian bigots. Gay people will still face official and family-based oppression. The internet swamps will still feature the lunatic dribblings of god-lusting homophobes, xenophobic predators, and other Adolf acolytes.
Unlike other forms of social thought, in social nihilism there is no room for vainglorious martyrdom or wanton destruction- our collective social reality cannot be affected by our individual actions. We are rooted in place in this ferociously spinning planet, with gravity giving us the illusions of solidity, permanence, tradition. Nothing grave may happen to us, but nothing momentous will happen to human collective prosperity, either – the supersystem guarantees us ineluctable social horrors and injustices, which we either surmount through birth and genetic accidents of caste and color and national affiliations, or are afflicted by through features of this global order.
You can look to updated forms of chicken-entrail readings to make some sense of shocks like Orlando, or you can take psychic refuge in any number of comfortable nostrums: love conquers hate, Adolf T. will be roundly defeated, the fight for $15 means no more class oppression, the People will organize against their rulers, or the birds and plant rows will give you some balm against the vicissitudes of the day. More likely, though, you will wonder why this is just one more social horror on top of the last one, and the real truth is that there will be a few others, oh yes, on this careening blue orb.