The Psychological Fuel of Nihilism and Fatalism

I hypothesize that most (but not all) of the belief systems which are considered “nihilistic” or “fatalistic” are actually fueled by various subconscious psychological mechanisms. These subconscious mechanisms determine for the individual himself that he will benefit (in matters that are social-related, motivation-related, or ego-related matters) from having the nihilistic or fatalistic belief system.

With Nihilism (a belief-system usually claiming that there is no meaning to life or existence, and that etiquette and morals are a waste of time), the subconscious mechanism responsible for fueling this belief-system could be one of a few things:

i). Laziness - The nihilistic belief-system justifies and supports lazy tendencies. In example: “Why should I go to work? We’re all going to die someday anyways.”; “Why should I keep my house clean? It’s only going to get messy again anyways.”

ii). Ego-credentials - The nihilistic belief-system justifies and supports the individual’s ego, especially in the event of an argument. In example: “Your religion is a joke! We’re all just going to die and rot in the ground anyways. You’re wasting time worshiping a god who isn’t there.”

With Fatalism (a belief-system which claims that free-will does not exist. Ultimately this will often extend to claiming that everything is an illusion and nothing really exists, although not all fatalism will claim the latter), the subconscious mechanism responsible for fueling this belief-system could also be one of a few things:

i). Psychosis - The individual has become psychotic, and denies existence itself. Example: “How could I be sure that you really are who you say you are? Then again, how could I be sure of anything at all!”; “Nothing really exists. It is all merely in my head, and in a sense, I have “dreamed” everything into existence.”; “Free-will doesn’t exist! I’m not even really in control of my actions! They are just causal reactions to incoming stimulation! I can’t breathe!”

ii). Extreme Ego-credentials - The individual (who is possibly experiencing a manic episode) will use the fatalist-argument to support his/her ego. The biggest example which comes to mind is the song “Only” written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails: “I’m becoming less defined as days go by; fading away, well you might say I’m losing focus, kind of drifting to the abstract in terms of how I see myself. Sometimes I think I can see right through myself. Less concern about fitting into the world. Your world that is, because it doesn’t really matter any more. None of this really matters any more. Yes I’m alone, then again I always was as far back as I can tell. I think maybe it’s because you were never really real to begin with. I just made you up to hurt myself, and it worked…yes it did. There is no you. There is only me.”

iii). Extreme Action-Justification - The individual is debating with himself whether or not he should attempt a dangerous malicious (and possibly criminal) action. Example: A future-criminal tells himself, “No one else is really real anyways. I’m already as miserable as I can be. Even if this illusion-world is real, none of the people who inhabit it cared about me anyways.” before attempting something such as rape/robbery/murder.

The idea is, neither nihilism or fatalism are founded upon empirical evidence, and instead the they are only believed in by individuals who wanted them to be true.

everything anyone believes is believed because there exists a psychological rationale or mechanism generating that belief. nihilism and fatalism are not exceptions, they are no different than any other belief or belief-system.

however its very important to not get caught up in the “negatives” of nihilism and fatalism; remember that nihilism is a natural and proper result of the realization that all meaning is human-created and therefore conditional and artificial. likewise, fatalism is a natural and proper result of the realization that the concept of free will is a contradiction, and that the universe (including our biological-chemical-physical bodies/minds) operates almost completely deterministically.

the problem isnt the beliefs of nihilism and fatalism per se, the problem is STOPPING THERE. they are a STEP on the journey, not the ending. while it is absolutely NECESSARY to reach a point of affirming and accepting nihilism and fatalism personally, this is then generative of other further perspectives, insights, realizations, wisdom. these later perspectives and knowledge break up the “hard” dichotomous structure of nihilism/fatalism (along with many or even most other beliefs), and disperse them into their relevant psychological niches. nihilism and fatalism “have their place” in human knowledge, and it is a necessary place if any sort of transcending perspective is to be obtained… but people who find these hard truths and let them destroy themselves psychologically miss the point. yes life is a cruel impersonal chaos, yes all meaning is arbitrary and artificial, yes we do not have free will. these truths can crush the soul of weak individuals, granted. but to let them do so is a mistake— because there is so much more beyond these limited perspectives.

and it is only by REACHING, ACCEPTING and then MOVING THROUGH nihilistic/fatalistic perspectives that higher and deeper clarify of mind will come. we cannot attain wisdom without first breaking apart the superficial and false bonds and chains that hold our minds hostage… and nihilism and fatalism are wonderful tools for this breaking-apart.

I think it’s the other way. I mean, it isn’t the laziness that fuels nihilistic thought, but it’s nihilistic thought that causes depressive mood (in certain person) and thus we may observe less activity of the person.

The laziness can fuel other things, though. I learned how to program and became professional programmer because I was very lazy and hated to do repetitive tasks.

As for the ego thing, it’s all over. Nihilist, Narcissist, religious nuts, whatever.
Anything can be used for ego-boosting. So, connecting ego to nihilism is a bit misleading.

Maybe you have tendency to believe the existence of strong relation based on simple anecdotes.
I don’t think you have showed enough link between psychosis and fatalism, for example.

I think what is generally called nihilism is the products of a few factors.

First, the presumption of the existence of absolute meaning, absolute value, absolute moral, etc. In other words, the presumption of absolute certainty of all sort of evaluation. I think this is coming from subconscious desires and cultural conditioning, mostly.

Then, with the understanding of the relative nature of logic/evaluation, the presumption of absolutes is shaken or broken. But the underlying desire for the absolute, and the mental conditioning may still be there, intact.

This will create the situation where (intense) desire for the absolute is met with the logical conclusion that it can’t be obtained, thus creating the despair/depressive mental state so typical.
Enforcing the depressive or even suicidal tendency is the cultural conditioning such as “meaningless thing should not exists” or “only good thing should exists” or whatever overrating/praising meaningfulness/value/moral.
As long as one is trapped in this type of beliefs, it will conflict with the logical conclusion that denies such thing as absolute meaning/value/moral/etc.

If the person is logical and/or aware enough, it will soon be clear that these cultural conditioning/beliefs are illogical bullshit, and the lack of absolute meaning/value/moral/etc wouldn’t bother the person much. And this isn’t very difficult. It took me about two seconds after realizing the relative nature of logic/evaluation when I was 14 years old. But during the 2 seconds, I was totally knocked out and suicidal. So, I can understand how some people feel in the limbo state.

I think some people stay in the depressive state pretty long because they didn’t really think/realize the relativity of thought/logic by themselves. They probably read a book or heard about something from someone. So, they don’t have enough understanding to apply it to one’s own cultural conditioning/beliefs.
The moral of this story can be to learn to apply any logic, omni-directionally. Too many people have the tendency to apply logic to one particular area and don’t evaluate other things with it, creating “double-standard” type mentality. And this can bite you back, other than being silly. Look at Americans and their WMD logic. It’s very easy to understand how silly it can be. :smiley:

Now, the desire for the absolute can be satisfied if one learns about the nature of positive/negative mechanism of our awareness focusing and what we sense as our nature is nothing other than what we wanted/desired. But this one might be a lot harder than breaking cultural conditioning…

I think so called “nihilistic state” is the result of “breaking-apart”. I don’t think it’s a tool. I thin Logic/reasoning is the tool to cut away and to break apart.

Nihilistic state can be the halfway stop for some, and the break away or turning point for others.

I never really thought about fatalistic state. I guess it’s a bit foreign to me, and probably it has something to do with stupidity of Christian (or monotheist) origin.

every ‘state’ is a tool, by definition. many remain secondarily so, emergent of homeostatic needs and psychological desires. a few become primary and generate their own segmentations and branching-out into new territories and relations. nihilism, for most i would assume, remains only a secondary tool-- but surely it is far more useful once we elevate it into a primary capacity and allow it to naturally dissect and re-couple our perceptions and paradigms into new forms.

its only possible to truly move through such states after one has grasped them in their immediacy and necessity. this grasping need not be complete, but only sufficient; yet it must occur for the state itself to successfully deterritorialize onto a new framework, ideally an equally emergent one which takes into account the old as well as new relations which the nihilistic state is predicated upon (e.g. the psychological or historical-genetic predispositions and desires which are generative of the nihilistic belief-system itself, at least initially).

indeed. unfortunately the tendency is typically to consider beliefs and belief-systems as primaries, irreducible and absolute, final. we think that if we change our beliefs radically from one to another, even to an opposing position, then back again, then to new horizons and vectors, that this is a bad thing; we would call those people unstable or chaotic or schizophrenic or neurotic. but it is only those people who are capable of elevating this unconscious process of flow into a conscious state (and retaining subtle directional control/awareness of it) that can truly escape and be free… we need to learn to see the relation, the process, not the fixed endpoints.

to be able to retain the process as primary even while the endpoints fluctuate is true freedom, as well as a necessary precursor of true self-determination.

i dont know how Christian the fatalist perspective is. modern Christianity at least seems counter to the fatalistic belief. of course Christianity represents its own form of clinging-to the artificial desire for stability, the elevating of the temporal into the absolute, the conditional into the unconditional; in that sense it deceives, of course. but fatalistic… i dont know. certainly nihilistic at heart, but only in the sense that all human belief-systems are necessarily nihilistic, particularly in their falsely attributing of universality and absolutism in order to ‘ground’ the belief psychologically.

Well, you can consider anything as a tool, if you like. But what I was saying was about the order/dependency.

I’m saying that logical thinking, without being nihilistic, can act as a tool to cut apart falsely tied connection between symbol and information (sensory/emotional/logical), between symbol and symbol, and between information and information.
And the nihilistic state is often arises as the result of cutting apart, because the limited/conditional/dependent nature of meaning, value, moral, truth, or any evaluation and notion/concept would become clear while still looking for the absolute ground because of social/cultural mental conditioning.

However, I do understand that some people will read and buy the nihilistic perspective and this will cause some cutting away and breaking-apart type of things. But in this case, I think their understanding of the relativity and the degree of cutting away may stay far less than the case you arrive at the nihilistic state as the end result of your own analysis.
This can be the cause of prolonged depressive state found in Nietsche readers/lovers. I guess they adopted the perspective as the tool, a bit too early for their mental digestive system, so to say.

I wouldn’t promote nihilism. I think well applied logical thinking is enough.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to administer an additive, especially prematurely.

Again, I think better awareness and logical perspectives can be more effective.

Well, there is a difference between being capable of inspecting multiple perspective and switching beliefs (with the mood changes?).

First, when we are logical enough, I don’t think we need to have any beliefs.
Beliefs are the perspective taken for granted and overrated as if they are absolute, to me.
So, it’s a silly thing and we don;t need it, although there are so many of them in us and they wouldn’t always go away, easily.

In other words, I don;t see any need in “switching” beliefs.
Rather, I would simply adopt the perspective and see things from the POV, and I may take other perspectives to compare the land scape.
In doing so, I may see the emotion/mood typically associated with each perspective, but that usually remains as my internal information and I wouldn’t manifest them externally.

So, there is no need to being chaotic nor schizophrenic.
There is no inner conflict because they are just perspectives and not beliefs.

Usually, we have great difficulty in observing sub/unconscious material, simply because they were placed and held there by ourselves to ignore and to avoid facing them.
Although it’s not always so, vast amount of subconscious materials are negative to one’s own perception/interpretation. So, it’s almost impossible to face and observe them UNLESS we are trained in facing negative things.

Fortunately, learning to facing negative is simple (although not easy at all). You just have to be curious, and curious about negatively perceived things. :slight_smile:
Curiosity is an attaching force that can pull you to silly things, but you can use it for trapping negatively perceived things.

Well, if we are logical enough, we would know we are totally free in the sense there is no absolute obligation. :slight_smile:

All knowing God and inevitable sin. Isn’t it fatalistic?
Other than that, the dogmatic mental conditioning of monotheistic culture seems fatalistic to me, since it always connect everything to the (fake) absolute God that knows past-present-future.

Also Jews and people influenced Jewish thinking loves the idea of prophecy. :slight_smile:

Second coming of Pokemon, and promised land and all these bullshit. I think they love to follow written bullshit so much that they will act accordingly to the scripture to prove that things in the prophecy are coming true.
Didn’t you see the TV ad for the donation for promoting the return of Jews around the world so that the bible prophecy would come true?
I mean, these prophecies desperately need the help of evangelic fanatic idiots. :smiley: