Over at Amatopia, Alexander Hellene discusses nihilism, primarily in art. It’s a good post, worth reading. There’s one segment of it that I want to discuss, though, because I think that it somewhat misses the bigger picture:
But endless moping about the meaninglessness of everything isn’t a harmless amusement. It’s a dangerous idea that spreads despair and brutalizes people into looking into the sewer, metaphorical or otherwise, for meaning when they should be looking to something higher, whatever that may be. Instead of aspiring to lofty heights, those at the top would rather wallow in filth, and they want to drag you down with them.
There are two ways in which this misses the bigger picture.
The first is that, unless you believe in God, nihilism is true. That is, based upon one’s worldview, if there is no God, then nihilism is the correct conclusion. Atheists, as so much of the elites of American culture are, are either nihilists or lying to themselves.
This brings me to the second way in which it misses the bigger picture: if an atheist comes up with a meaning for his life, it will necessarily be an idol. You can see this in progressives/wokesters. They have decided that the meaning of their life is helping the downtrodden and oppressed. They would do far less harm, even to the downtrodden and oppressed, if they just wallowed in filth in the gutter. Everyone would be better off if atheists do not make up secular meaning in their life. That’s how people get to guillotines and death camps.
The biggest reason, though, that I think that it’s actually healthy to encourage atheists (who are the only people who can be nihilists) to take nihilism seriously is that it is here that they face their own beliefs directly and without disguise. It’s a commonplace observation that people rarely get out of self-destructive habits before they hit rock-bottom. Nihilism is atheists hitting rock bottom. The longer they go on pretending that everything is fine, the more entrenched in this mistake they will get.
In short, nihilism is a symptom, and it is a mistake to treat symptoms rather than the diseases that create them.
Just don’t let your kids watch the product of nihilistic artists until you’ve prepared them to see through it. But, you know, prepare them at an early age.