Nihilism and the Black Pill

Brett and Malcolm discuss nihilism and the metaphor of the ‘black pill’ as an alternative to the usual ‘blue/red’ pill dichotomy.

The ‘blue pill’ advances liberalism, embraces it.

The ‘red pill’ actively resists liberalism.

The fist two colors involve some sort of activism, to bring about change either to the ‘left’ or to the ‘right’.

The ‘black pill’ acknowledges the dysfunction, but realizes change may be impossible or counterproductive. This approach spurns activism.

But ‘nihilism’ may be the wrong word, as I discuss here, with the ‘correct’ word being fatalism or determinism. A moral nihilist believes there is no concept of a moral superiority. An existential nihilist believes that life or existence has no purpose. A fatalist may have his own core set of values, but acknowledges that change may be impossible, whereas a nihilist may not have such values. This blog discuses biological determinism’ at length, the idea that free will and or economic advancement or mobility is curtailed by biology. Reactionaries (according to the slogan of the Hestia Society) however believe that ‘the only morality is civilization’, which is anti-nihilistic. NRx also seems to embrace Christianity, which according to Nietzsche cannot be nihilistic because Christianity assigns an intrinsic ‘value’ to people:

Nietzsche discusses Christianity, one of the major topics in his work, at length in the context of the problem of nihilism in his notebooks, in a chapter entitled “European Nihilism”.[30] Here he states that the Christian moral doctrine provides people with intrinsic value, belief in God (which justifies the evil in the world) and a basis for objective knowledge. In this sense, in constructing a world where objective knowledge is possible, Christianity is an antidote against a primal form of nihilism, against the despair of meaninglessness. However, it is exactly the element of truthfulness in Christian doctrine that is its undoing: in its drive towards truth, Christianity eventually finds itself to be a construct, which leads to its own dissolution. It is therefore that Nietzsche states that we have outgrown Christianity “not because we lived too far from it, rather because we lived too close”.[31] As such, the self-dissolution of Christianity constitutes yet another form of nihilism. Because Christianity was an interpretation that posited itself as the interpretation, Nietzsche states that this dissolution leads beyond skepticism to a distrust of all meaning.[32][33]

Although I’m not a nihilist, I reject that idea that humans have a high intrinsic value [1], that everyone is born ‘equal’ in the ‘eyes of god’, or that religion is effective for providing meaning to life (it may work for some, but probably not for many). I also disagree with Christianity (as well as most religions) in regard to salvation, in that religion has a ‘low’ barrier to salvation, as I have discussed a couple times, whereas salvation through intellect is harder and more selective, requiring quantifiable individual results, but is more satisfying and relevant as far the economy and society is concerned. Affirmations about being ‘a child of god’ or being ‘saved through Jesus’ won’t create a paycheck or make you an important, economically-productive person. Human value is through accomplishments and merit – not by merely existing.

Maybe nihilism is more about understanding the world, with a detached indifference, than actively trying to change it or having to fit in with a ‘tribe’.

[1] Maybe by virtue of of IQ, some are born ‘better’ than others, with smarter people having more intrinsic value due to the potential to create more economic value and advance society more so than less intelligent people.