Beginner’s Mind Forum: Nihilism
Date and Time:
Saturday, March 12, 2022
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM EST
Explanation of a Beginner’s Mind Forum.
The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.
Many people consider that cosmic meaning-denying statement by physics Noble laureate, Steven Weinberg, nihilistic. Many, too, consider it a dangerous contention that we should actively resist and counter with intensified meaning-making. Others, suspecting the statement may in fact identify an irrefutable state of affairs, believe it entails a condition of profound, indeed, calamitous, impoverishment, and thus a fact to bemoan.
But is it conceivable that it is precisely the meaning-makers and bemoaners who are nihilistic? Might it be that nihilism is, in fact, fermented in the very rejection of the death of meaning?That would be a strange turn of events! And in fact, that very contention is a powerful current in the history of the concept. So, we have some sorting out to do!
What is nihilism?
In this Beginner’s Mind session, we will approach the topic in terms of the key ways in which it has been used in the history of Western thought. We will:
- Outline the historical contours of the concept
- Briefly enumerate nihilism’s varieties (epistemological, existential, moral, cosmic, etc.)
- Distinguish nihilism from its deviously disguised doppelgängers: pessimism, cynicism, and apathy
- Read and discuss salient passages from the literature.
Participants will come away with a
firm grounding in the basic discourse on nihilism.
Readings will be shared during the session.
Facilitator: Glenn Wallis
Seeker level members will be automatically enrolled.