The opposite of a nihilist..

…is an extreme conspiracy theorist. Where as the nihilist sees dots without any connections, the extreme conspiracy theorist sees connections without any dots.

lol, that’s kinda clever.


Worded slightly differently: Where as the nihilist sees dots without making any connections, the extreme conspiracy theorist makes connections without seeing any dots.

What does the “without seeing any dots” imply? I’m not getting something about this. I like it, but I can’t quite make it make sense.

The dots are the various experiences that constitute life, the connections are the deductive/inductive relations between the various experiences that constitute life. The paranoid schizophrenic conspiracy theorist (as opposed to the sane conspiracy theorist) is making connections without the facts, the nihilist isn’t making connections with the facts. Both are guilty of a kind of insanity, or stupidity. The nihilist doesn’t necessarily deny experiencing the phenomenal world, he just denies that it has any meaning (think John Jones). The nihilist or particularist says: it is what it is, the conspiracy theorist or meta narrativist says: it is a million times more than what it is.

I don’t care for either of them as ideologies.

Right, neither do I, the truth is somewhere in the middle, things are both what they are and more, but often not much, much more. Nevertheless I tend to swing far more toward conspiracism than nihilism in many ways.

I get that now. Ok.

Nihilist: all dots and no connections
Conspiracy Theorist: all connection and no dots

“Dots” reminds me of screws, as in “he has a screw loose”. :slight_smile:

Yeah you got it. :slight_smile:

The nihilist is a strict phenomenalist/particularist and the conspiracist is a strict noumenalist/holist. For the nihilist: everything is nothing or next to nothing, for the conspiracist: nothing or next to nothing is everything. For the nihilst: everything is a random coincidence, an isolated event, for the conspiracist: there are no accidents, everything happens for a reason (part of the plot, part of the plot). It’s the difference between a man like Larry David and David Icke.

I can’t think of a more perfect contrast, could you imagine those two having a conversation, they would have no common ground to stand on. (exoteric) Larry David: shit happens, (esoteric) David Icke: shit happens for a reason.

In Buddhism the dichotomy is nihilism/eternalism. Sounds like you’re saying almost the same thing.

“All connection no dots” made me think of a certain kind of monist by the way. The dots representing particulars, or any kind of useful distinction.

I’ve also always liked the “greedy reductionism” versus “obscurantist holism” dichotomy. Dennett coined the former, Lewontin coined the latter, I put them together myself.

I like this, but I am not sure it works. Can’t a nihilist be a given up conspiracy theorist. ‘there’s no point in trying’

The conspiracy theorist sees the real dots, but also imaginary dots, and they see real connections but also imaginary connections.
The nihilist sees the real dots, but no imaginary dots, and they see no connections - whether real or imaginary. They also value no connections, where the conspiracy theorist attributes a surplus of value to connections.

So they are not exact opposites with regard to both seeing real dots. Strictly, the conspiracy theorist would need to only see imaginary dots. Either that or the nihilist would need to see neither real nor imaginary dots - i.e. be dead. So on these grounds, the conspiracy theorist could perhaps be seen as “the most alive” lol.
If the conspiracy theorist saw only imaginary dots, they would necessarily be completely insane - perhaps hallucinating constantly.

Perhaps I could propose some kind of “omniaist” or “omnist” as the opposite of a nihilist. I imagine this position as seeing real dots, but no imaginary dots - the same as a nihilist (so not opposite in all ways). But they would see all connections instead of none, and attribute the highest value to all connections.

I get the feeling that some kind of full circle thing might be present here, where there is a fine line between nihilism and omnism. There is something similar in the uniformity of attributing the highest value to every possible connection, and attributing no value in or existence of any connection.

Does a nihilist see no patterns? They have no pattern recognition skills?

I do understand that nihilists see no meaning, but I take this usually as capital Meaning or ultimate meaning - that time will swallow anything up, that there is no god or objective meaning-determiner ontological entity.

I suppose epistemological nihilism goes further than this, but then they can’t even claim to know there are dots.

I think the opposite of a nihilist would be Oprah Winfrey.

They have pattern recognition skills, they just don’t use them because they are flawed. The capability is there, often in abundance - with nihilism usually as a reaction to the endless contradictions in supposed patterns that show them to not be patterns afterall. So you just stop trying.

I don’t see the problem that everyone seems to have with nihilism.

It’s not like your ability to live disappears upon shedding conscious rationality. One can manufacture some logical predictions and models of such an existence, but they are hardly necessary for such existence to simply “happen”. Anything extra is just superfluous baggage that disconnects you from a more immediate connection and engagement with life. Nihilism is, if anything more life affirming than any alternative - but such judgments are of no concern to the nihilist. They just passively feel happy.

To me this would mean that a nihilist could barely, and I mean barely, post here - short posts, not arguments per se but some assertions and outbursts - and certainly could not write a book.

I’m not sure I have a problem with nihilism.

Why walk to the fridge? Why go to work? I think someone with a trust fund and servants could manage, but for most lives, even minimally functional ones, minimal conscious rationality is used regularly. Feral nihilists could exist but navigating society takes some rational decision-making and faith in that - or one would just do random stuff. IOW they must acknowledge some patterns are better than others. Barking at the ATM is less effective then sticking the bank card in. Let alone human interactions.

OK, my sense of the term is that nihilists are by definition on the downside, so we are using to term differently. That they are upset about the fact that there is no meaning, etc. Upset may sound too energetic, but certainly not happy.

The nihilist makes the ultimate conclusion* without even bothering to look if there are any dots!

*nothing has meaning, everything has no meaning, he is saying the great truth about the universe with his lazy ass mind.

An assassin could have been a doctor, but they’re still opposites. A hill could have been a valley. A red sky could have been a blue sky.