Nihilism? what photo or picture would best show it?

In doing my e-book research, it seems you need a book cover.
Now I am trying to show in a picture or photograph, nihilism.
I am thinking of an empty chair with a purple background.
An empty forest? a barren tree all alone? What picture would
scream nihilism if you saw it?


We takes ze money, Lebowski…

I prefer more subtle symbols and art over cliché objects.

Of course, minimalist art comes to mind but my favourite nihilistic artist would probably be Rothko which, unfortunately, you wouldn’t be able to use. No doubt you know his stuff but check it out on Google images and imagine something like it on a book – intense yet beautiful sensations floating in space.

Have you looked at the nihilism rune? It’s used in logos sometimes but it isn’t copyrighted.


WTF. Rothko’s paintings belong in the waiting room of Dr. Kevorkian office, not in an art gallery.

Nice choice Volchok - I’d go with a bleak and austere ensign too…

This is actually pretty good symbolism.

This guy did a bunch of philosophical posters. They are pretty rad:

those are pretty good

Have you ever seen any in real life? His are some of the only completely abstract paintings I really like.

Anyway, I very much like Ralph Meatyards photos. You might find another one you liked better.

Well, I would not pay money to see him. If I wanted to experience nihilism, a stroll through a local ghetto or a cemetery would do it. I don’t buy into the abstract idea of nihilism - if you want to convey the sense of nihilism to people you have to make sure they can relate to it (homelessness, alcoholism, depression, death, etc.). “beautiful sensations floating through space” is not how most people experience nihilism in life (unless they’re high). Even if you manage to experience nihilism as “beautiful sensation floating through space” with the accompanied sense of freedom, and in a lucid and sober state, for how long can you practically maintain it? This view is not practical, or sustainable. For most people, nihilism is paralyzing, not liberating.

A smoldering garbage dump with a few bodies in it.

I was describing the paintings, not nihilism. When you see them in real life, they have a depth that can suck you into a deep, silent funnel. For me, Rothko is the visual equivalent of hoping into a sensory-deprivation tank.

Re the sustainability of nihilism…
In my experience, freedom comes AFTER the terror of realising life has no purpose or meaning, not vice versa, so it’s quite sustainable.

Only man needs needs to find meaning. The rest of nature doesn’t have this neurotic desire. Nature simply exists for the time it exists – this is freedom and it comes after the waves of terror recede.

Anyway, this is about Peter Kropotkin’s book cover and I tend to agree that he’s probably after images of despair rather than anything existential.


Chakra Superstar: Anyway, this is about Peter Kropotkin’s book cover and I tend to agree that he’s probably after images of despair rather than anything existential.

K: Yes, this is about a book cover, but despair is not right. My book, as my 37 attempts at a synopsis
shows, has nihilism as one of its main ideas and how to escape nihilism as a driving force.
IN fact, the other driving idea in my book is freedom, which will be the lead in any more
attempts at a synopsis. However, I see no way I can unite nihilism and freedom in any coherent
manner in a picture or photo.

My book is at heart an existential book as it does focus on man, not man as
Spinoza or Kant or hegel or the twentieth century philosophy has him, Russel or Wittgenstein,
but man as Nietzsche or Kierkegaard has him. One person alone, deciding what is important
and worth living for, by themselves. What is the value of a human being? What is truly
important in life? Is it ideas or material goods? My book stands with the existentialist and
take their problems as the key problems we face and their problem?
How to find meaning in a meaningless world? For meaning has been given to us and that
has been the basis of both religion and philosophy for thousands of years, but
since Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, we have to find our own meaning ( you could substitute values
for meaning and the sentence still works) and how do we find meaning?


Maybe a Hopper painting? Such as:

On the left side of your cover you have two simple glasses of water. one is full, one is half filled. On the right side by itself stands an empty glass.

Something to represent nothing?

Nihilism’s not nothing. (my new favorite sentence)

It’s not?