Misanthrophy and nihilism

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by SacredWarrior, May 9, 2016.

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  1. Misanthrophy is a dislike of humankind and nihilism is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. From what I've read anyways.

    What are your thoughts on these two beliefs and do you share them yourself?

    I've become pretty misanthropic over the years and while I am pretty cynical and negative, I don't reject principles and morals altogether.
  2. If you asked me this question three months ago, I would've said that I was fairly optimistic about the world -- recently, though, I've been becoming a lot more cynical and negative, and I suppose a tad bit misanthropic.

    I still personally have religious and moral principles (although I feel like I'm starting to doubt some of my long-held moral principles...), but, as for my thoughts on the rest of the world? Mehhh...

    I don't currently have any strong thoughts on this. I feel like I suddenly don't know what I believe in a lot of areas and that I need some time to myself to re-evaluate some things. I've been feeling rather stressed and overwhelmed recently, which I think might be contributing to this weirdly off mood that I've been in... I'm hoping I'll have time over the summer to rest and re-think some things, so that I'll actually have thoughts to articulate on this sort of topic.
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  3. Existentialism —> Nihilism.

    Now I need to sleep.
  4. Nah bro, hardcore Utilitarianism combined with a Darwinist outlook.
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  5. Hm, I'm neither a misanthrope nor a nihilist. I can understand why a person may choose to be either though.

    I know for myself, I've grown more cynic in the last few months, and it's something I honestly dislike. I don't dislike human kind though. I dislike idiotic things that are common among people, but I still want to believe (very badly!) that there's a whole lot good people around.

    As for religions and moral values, that's something I'm not going to reject in a long time, most probably never. Even if I didn't believe in a former, the latter would always be there. I feel moral values are what keep the world from degenerating, or at least slows it down some.
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  6. As sardonic as I can be about humanity, it's only because I still care sufficiently that it bothers me to see humanity's nastier flaws and tendencies erupt. I can't give up on the human race, and I lament the people who do. Those very same people who use many devices and conveniences created by the same humankind they don't believe in, to express discontent and disbelief in humankind.

    We're tearing apart things at the atomic level, curing diseases and creating modifications to plant life. We've created an instantaneous communication network all across the world. Right now, I could send a message to someone in Japan and have it arrive in under a second. We've sent satellites out to Mars and dropped Rovers to explore its surface. We've mastered the art of architecture to create efficient cities that can house hundreds of thousands of people comfortably. We live in greater levels of casual opulence than we've ever had at any period in human history, and generate enough food to feed the entire world twice over. Our healthcare systems stretch across thousands of hospitals and millions of care workers. We've penned ideas such as universal justice and liberty. We have thirty guaranteed human rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom from slavery. Speaking of, there has not been a single country on Earth--no matter how frustratingly backwards--where slavery has been legal since 1981. We beat the speed of sound, we've created structures that reach above the clouds we used to worship as manifestations of Gods. We went from inbred goat fucking superstitious fools to where we are now in a mere 6,000 years: Masters of our own evolutionary destiny. We're many thousands of times faster than the processes which created us at improving and evolving. We're intelligent enough to discern and understand our origins across hundreds of species that came before us.

    Each generation sees greater and faster advancements than previous generations. We live 2-3 times as long as our medieval cousins did. When Fort Mac burned, people loaded trucks with supplies and drove north of the city I live in of their own independent volition to assist the bereaved on their own time. Anywhere in the world an emergency hits, millions of dollars of relief supplies and personnel are flown in within 24 hours of the event occurring. There are over 1.5 million charitable organizations in the US alone and said organizations received over 1.65 Trillion in total revenue and 3 Trillion in assets. Our stories are constantly growing larger and better, seeking to tell noble values of valiant heroes and humanize flawed people. When a few people blew up two towers, thousands of men and women ran in to help survivors, no matter the personal risk or odds of success. We've seen more social progress and acceptance across racial, gender, and sexual orientation borders in the past 100 years than we've seen since mankind was first born as a species. More people will live, eat, breed, and die free of war than ever before in human history.

    We're still children in the cradle of life, still trapped within the bonds of our own faults and the few miles of atmosphere that make the difference between stunning blue skies and a black, empty void.

    We've terraformed the planet to our own desires and will.

    We're the apex predator, smart enough that even when we didn't understand the processes, we brought other species in and domesticated them. We created dogs, and cats, and ferrets. We created cows, and pigs, and chickens. Where all other species are bound and gagged by tribal behaviours they don't understand, we've started to overcome them. What were once wandering nomadic tribes became towns and cities. What were once towns and cities became countries, nations, empires. Where we once put the sword to those who disagreed with us, we now use the pen. Where we once killed because someone was different, we now embrace differences. Where a Muslim and a Christian would once slit each other's throats or try to rule over one another, we now have entire countries where millions of them call each others neighbours before going to work and eating breakfast surrounded by their loved ones.

    Human beings in general are kind and compassionate. They don't want to hurt other people, they only feel that they must in order to preserve themselves or something which they care about. Only the unloved and the unnatural hate and wish destruction upon others for its own sake. Only fear and ignorance drive us to hurt each other. It speaks volumes that extremist Imams in the middle east and warlords in Africa have to kidnap and indoctrinate children, beat them, try to break their individuality, try to break their compassion for other people. Hatred is a disease and a most insidious force. We're not born to kill each other, we're born to live our own lives. It speaks volumes that in the absence of abuse and hatred, children tend not to grow into murderers, vagabonds, and thieves. Children aren't born with hatred, they learn hatred. They're born with curiosity, they're born with a desire to learn about things which interest them for one reason or another. They're born wanting to be social, desiring attention, wanting for friendship and material things.

    We're equipped with the capacity for violence because violence is a useful evolutionary tool for survival, but we're the masters of our own evolutionary destiny. We're masters of our own biological impulses, we're capable of understanding and controlling or countermanding them. Men can be pretty, women can be strong.

    Manifest Destiny awaits. Carpe Diem. We're a flawed species, but we're the result of flawed processes. Yet with each step we take, bloody and slow that it may be from our eyes, in the lifespan of a universe we are growing a lightning fast pace. In but the simplest blink of an eye we went from being terrified of fire to using fire to get us to the moon. "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

    Only a fool would look at our accomplishments and despair, because a fool can only see ten feet past the bridge of his own nose. Look at how long the universe has been here, look at how long life has been here on planet Earth. Look at how long it took just for humanity to become a species. Look at how long it took for humanity to even begin to play with fire, and master the wheel and the horse. Our growth is nothing less than the stuff of miracles and sheer, unyielding determination across hundreds of generations.

    We are an absolutely amazing species, and so far as we know in this cold and silent universe, unique beyond all measure. No matter the number of missteps, we always learn, and grow, and get better. If the day should come that we fail and destroy ourselves, I won't know, I will be dead. As for whatever terrible troubles of today, there were always just as many yesterday. We always find a way. We have for six thousand years, I've no reason to believe it will stop now just because our present issues are in the present instead of the past.
    #6 Brovo, May 9, 2016
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
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  7. When it comes to Misanthropy I can relate. I will fully agree that humanity as a whole are a remarkable species with constant progress and act's of kindness. But at the same time? I feel most of the points we can look back and brag about humanity it is either:

    1) The acts and inventions of a select few people
    2) In an emergency and/or dramatic moment

    When it look at everyday people in everyday life? That's where my own sympathy with Misanthrophy comes in, where people are generally rather judgemental of one another and only make those they are close to or those who share similar interests an exception. Usually finding that if they're good to specific people, or good in specific events they can use that as their "I'm a good person" conscience and essentially not worry elsewhere. But... that isn't everyone, there are others I ran into who even though they have their flaws do generally aim to be a good person all the time and to everyone.

    So am I Misantropic? No, but I am frustrated with peoples day to day behaviour and wish they could clean up their act in that regard. But I'm also well aware that's not as easy and simply saying "Smarten up" but involves stuff like improving education, the economy etc so people aren't so afraid about their day to day necessities that they have the time, resources, and most important will to try to be good to other people more often.

    And then we got Nihilism, I'm half-way there. I reject all religious principles, I find the idea of basing something off horribly outdated data, that isn't supported by science in the least to be ridiculous. And most of the good points of Religion on an individual basis is just moral values that are more inherent, and never required a book in the first place. I will note on a wider basis it allowed for stuff like eventually evolving into Science, or a lot of works of art, but those aren't so much 'principles' but rather creations of.

    The half of Nihilism I don't fall under is Moral Principles, I try to keep morality close to heart in a way that tries to benefit society as a whole. Now, there is the note that objectively speaking Morality is subjective and a luxury once survival in ensured. But at the same time, Morality is both subjective by nature to the individual and it is an outright requirement to have for any species to ever move beyond simple survival. It's not the only requirement, evident by a number of animals having moral codes but still, well, animals. But a species without it would kill themselves as soon as they gained the means to do so.
  8. I cannot be misanthropic or nihilistic. To do so would be a form of self harm. I am aware my life is relatively insignificant, only meaningful to a handful of individuals who only exist for a fraction of time. Yet, that fraction is all I will ever truly experience. So my lifetime is at the same time my infinity.

    I may be disappointed. I may be hurt. This is part of the human experience. I am aware of human motivations are rooted in the preservation of the self and the tribe. This is not evil. It just is. It may anger us sometimes. It may sadden us. Yet I just have my life to live. I don't plan to go wireless bungee jumping. So whatever I choose to do with the limited time I've been given, I am responsible for my own happiness. Whatever, if any, legacy I leave will eventually be forgotten. The present is all I have. So if I love and lose, I'll do my damndest to love again. If I see someone who I can help, I will, but I will not at the detriment of myself. I can be angry at someone, but I can also forgive and share new experiences with them. To give up on humanity is to give up on yourself and I'm too bad a bitch to do that and also fuck settling for misery.
    #8 Kestrel, May 10, 2016
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
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  9. I am and always will be an optimist. I refuse to believe most people are bad, or that humans as a whole are bad. Yes, we are imperfect, and yes we are capable of terrible things(See: Every war ever.) But, it's always the negativity you hear about in the news and in general. You don't hear about new advancements in medicine or technology in the news. You don't hear about the great things we as a species are capable of. You have to go and find it.
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  10. I am misanthropic. Last year was the changing point in my views and optimism for humanity. After my daughter was assaulted by a 31 year old woman and nothing was done to her, my faith in law and justice was completely shattered. The rest of my view on humanity was dismantled a little at a time by the deranged and idiotic scum that called themselves humans and lived around me. From that point on there was a small chance that my faith could have been restored, at least a little bit at a time, but sadly it wasn't. I was forced out of my home while the people who continuously harassed my children destroyed my property were treated like they were the victims. I guess my exposure to the worst of humanity was late in coming, and it slapped me in the face with a cruel dose of reality. There are very few genuinely decent people in the world, no matter how much you might want to believe otherwise. Look at the news. All you hear about any more is murder, people throwing out newborn babies in dumpsters when there are thousands of childless couples who would be willing to adopt, and never ending violence.

    As for nihilism, I'm not so sure. I wouldn't say that life is meaningless, but I really don't believe that it's meant to be lived the way that people live it today. We're all too busy keeping up with the Jones (Or god forbid, the Kardashians) to even enjoy life. It's a sad truth, but today money is all that seems to matter and if you're not making enough of it, your life is made to feel meaningless and insignificant.
  11. This makes me cry a lot. T.T I've had the same thought in my mind for years.
  12. *Takes a deep breath, then mounts soap-box*

    Humanity bonds together the tightest in the face of adversity, yet advances in technology removing the "humans vs. nature" survival aspect we depended on before has deigned to place the blame for adversity in our hands. We naturally fracture unless we are bound together, and there must be villains for the existence of heroes.
    (Taking into account the ever-present tragedy of natural disasters, wherein the full force of human kindness is shown like Brovo says.)

    *Exhales, and dismounts soap-box*

    Personal talk time, I'd like to add my opinion to everything that's been stated so far.

    Like Gwazi said, humans on the individual scale are fuckin' dicks. My time volunteering in damaged neighborhoods showed me a facet of the worst humanity has to offer, and the only real constant I've found over countless forgotten faces is that there's bound to be at least one asshole per every five people (with three of the remainder being cripplingly apathetic). That means that, sticking with this suppositional fraction, that there's only one person out of five that really has an optimistic view of the world-- and like both Nydanna and Kaga exhibit, optimism is very easily snuffed out when it's surrounded by apathy and hatred.

    Which kinda brings me to my stance on Misanthropy and Nihilism in general--
    It's actively harming the society we live in.

    While I can't comment on the "We have no purpose in life, everything is meaningless, we're drifting on a pale blue dot that's going to eventually darken" nihilistic viewpoint, as meaning is assigned to the world by the individual, I can definitely argue against the misanthropic view: not because it's untrue, but because believing in it is actively harmful, as Kestrel said.

    Look outside on a busy day and single out a person on the street-- you don't care about this person at all, because they haven't done anything for you. You don't dislike this person, there's nothing keeping you back from finding a reason to befriend this person, but they're a stranger and that's all there is to it. Multiply this times seven billion, and you have how the world sees you. When you subscribe to misanthropy, you stop giving the world a reason to care about you-- and the lack of shits you give could be the all-important shit that shows someone else that someone cares about them.

    Because of misanthropy, people just up and stop giving a fuck about trying to make the world a better place, which is why I personally value an outlook like Aragorn's so highly-- call it naïve to high heaven, but the mindset of "everyone is asshole" is one of the direct causes of optimism's seeming naïvety.

    I'm not here to try to persuade anyone that they should put their faith back into humanity, God knows the only reason I'm still holding onto it is because I'm closing my eyes to how terrible it looks. We've all experienced the worst this race of ours has to offer in some way or another, but the only thing I desperately want to get across, for both your sake and mine, is that deciding against virtues like kindness and compassion because of the shit world we live in is the reason the world is shit in the first place.

    I hope to God I'm making sense.
    #12 Autarch, May 11, 2016
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  13. God, man, I'm so misanthropic and nihilistic that I'm basically Rick from Rick and Morty.
  14. I'm all about misanthropy. Humanity on the whole is fucking garbage. For all the great things we've done as a species there are many examples of how we are destructive monsters to counter each one. It's just no contest imo that humanity has done more harm than good (and most of that good is selfishly motivated anyway), so it is only rational to have some level of spite for the species. However, I am one of those flawed and selfish shitlords too, so I wouldn't advocate for anything like voluntary self extinction like you'll see from some who take misanthropy to its ideological extreme, but I do acknowledge and accept our awfulness as a species. I'm apathetic enough to shrug it off and go about my life without letting self-hate ever catch on.

    As for nihilism, nah, not quite. Life has no inherent meaning, religion is little more than a security blanket to let people think otherwise, and morality is all relative and a social construct that is only as resilient as the society from which it spawns. However, that does not mean such things do not have their uses. Codes of morals, whether religious or not, are attempts to fight off our terrible natural impulses, and that is obviously beneficial for us all. Life being meaningless isn't a bad thing, it's just a reminder to make the most of what you've got because there's no grand purpose to validate your existence for you, so go find your own damn purpose and enjoy it. I guess you could call my outlook a sort of positive/utilitarian version of nihilism that I use to counter my own apathy rather than using it as an excuse to sink into apathy as most nihilists do.
    #14 Jorick, May 12, 2016
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  15. I see your points on how people should avoid misanthropy because humanity has done so much good, and I agree.
    -but while some of us see, or are more inclined to see the best of humanity, a different bunch of us are inclined to, or are - depending on your fortune (i.e. circumstances) - even forced to see humanity's malice.

    So you can't fault some people for seeing the way they do.
    Some of them have it worse than we do.

    Put it this way: some of us choose to be optimistic and see the good more than the bad; others can't help but see the bad more than they do good.

    We all only see different sides of a bigger picture. Some see the better sides... Still, some others aren't as fortunate.

    I suppose a truly comprehensive or objective way of understanding human nature though, is to consider both the good AND the bad- the best AND the worst of humanity. (This is easier said than done though, haha.)
    #15 Moon Striker, May 23, 2016
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  16. Personally, I find in me a fascination for the worst of humanity, the darkness within the human heart.
    In my context alone, I've been snooping around to deliberately stumble upon these kinds of things, I always intend to make space for these kinds of things.

    Growing up, and going through life, I can tell you I've seen my own share of f*cked up.

    Humans- at their extreme worst- can be really terrible.
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  18. So I can understand why some people are nihilistic, or misanthropic, even.
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