How bout some nihilism?
I like it already!
I came out of the punk rock movement where most of us had the attitude of, “Decline of Western Civilization? Cool! What can I do to help?”, so I’ve had a soft spot in my black heart for nihilism since my salad days.
Modern SJW culture is getting pretty damned nihilistic if you actually sit down and think about it. Who knows, maybe in 20 years, narodniks will be in style again. After all they killed the Czar, and that’s impressive.
Maybe we are already there. Nietzsche is the quintessential modernist. Who else can speak to our age? He said we were already trapped in a nihilistic black hole, and that was a hundred years ago.
Why else is Buddhism, the original nihilistic religion, so popular with hipsters these days?
What else could you call postmodernism but nihilism enshrined in the academy and intellectual? Derrida is Nietzsche updated to a new century. From there we move on to Lyotard and especially Baudrillard, and then it’s a hop and skip to Badiou and especially Brassier, the echoing voice in the darkness of the black hole of our time.
The art world was never far behind, or maybe even out in front.
Sade was scribbling in his dungeon a century before Nietzsche rocked the world.
While narodniks were throwing bombs, Turgenev and Chekhov were following them in the literature of the time.
From there we went to Dada, which is nihilistic or it is nothing at all, or perhaps it is both or neither, which all mean the same thing if you think about it.
Ayn Rand hated nihilism, which is funny considering that Objectivism is about as nihilistic as you can get. I mean come on. Religion is dead, so it obviously follows that God is too. No religion, no God. That’s not too hard to understand. Without God, there is nothing, and that is our postmodern predicament du jour. Sartre would call it a “dilemma.” It certainly creates a lot of angst. Look at all the people on psych meds.
Hilariously, the Objectivists look out at the world with their cold sociopathic dead shark eyes and call their evil ways a temple. “God may be dead, but it matters not,” they cheer. “For we have money, and in money we have more meaning than a thousand Gods!” Yeah. Let’s all go pray at the bank. Maybe they’ll give me a loan.
It’s such pitiful thinking until you realize probably half the US population are Randists. Then it becomes frightening, yet another dangerous popular delusion.
And no, money is not a substitute for meaning. All the meaning in my wallet and a $1.79 will get you a Slurpee at a 7-11.
Money is God! Surely you jest. But our Randists do not, and that’s scary. Serial killer scary.
Music was a bit late to the game, but as mentioned above, nihilism was Punk Rock’s middle name. Probably the Velvets were the incubators, and then the Pistols blew it up for the world to see. Punk is nihilistic to this day, assuming it’s not commodified yet.
Industrial, Black metal, death metal, and doom metal took the ex nihilo baton from punk and ran with it. Black Sabbath were the Velvets of metal. Metallica, Slayer, Alice in Chains, Ministry, Motorhead, Nine Inch Nails, Pantera and especially Marilyn Manson blazed a trail of destructive nothingness that rages to this moment.
Film was even later to game, but the movies always catch up to culture eventually. It’s a law, written in stone on Hollywood Boulevard. The Big Lebowski was the first step, and what is Fight Club but nihilistic? The Matrix and its sequel probably wrote the ultimate cinematic treatise on our modern disease. What’s with that hollowed out book in Thomas A. Anderson’s hand? And what’s Agent Smith ranting about anyway, or is he really just ranting about nothing?
More recently, the Joker in himself in Dark Knight Rises is none other than the Agent of Chaos. With no love of money, he wants nothing to do with filthy lucre. He only wants to make everything burn. In the ultimate anti-Objectivist statement, he even burns a gigantic pile of money.
Most people troll on the Net, but some hardcores troll in real life. That’s called Trolling IRL. At the moment, that is exacting what Mr. Trump is doing – trolling IRL. That silly billionaire is trolling the whole damn world.
Some folks who troll IRL are harmless like Andy Kaufman, probably the finest IRL troller that ever lived.
Others who troll IRL are downright evil. I can’t help thinking that Adolf Hitler was trolling the world with his crazy philosophy. Unfortunately, this mad trolling IRL episode left 50 million bodies in its wake.
James Holmes was another evil IRL troller, though he was a mere piker next to Der Fuhrer. Nevertheless, this exemplary philosopher/man of action understood The Dark Knight movie at its essence. Hence he dressed up as the Joker and crashed a movie theater in Colorado, spraying the packed crowd with machine gun fire, trying to make the world burn in his own petty and failed way.
And our trajectory of nothingness, with all its bumps and lurches along the way, leads us here, to our modern nightmare. In the ultimate act of nihilism, a man dressed up as the Joker, the Agent of Chaos himself and raided a movie theater with a machine gun in a failed attempt to set the world aflame, in a nightmarish act of horrific violence utterly devoid of all meaning.
And here I leave you, dear reader, staring off into space, looking at nothing at all.
Have a good trip, if you can bear it.