True nihilism is in essence a compulsion to destroy, as nothing has any value, and everything is approached with rabid scepticism and extreme pessimism. Nihilism is mostly associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who claimed that the corrosive effects, lack of moral boundaries and the fact that life is meaningless will eventually lead to the downfall of humanity.
“Nihilism has no substance. There is no such thing as nothingness, and zero does not exist. Everything is something. Nothing is nothing.” – Victor Hugo
Nihilism is derived from the Latin word ‘Nihil‘ which literally means ‘nothing‘, and is also the foundation of the word ‘annihilate‘ which means to destroy and bring something to nothingness, so it’s hardly a human quality. Most people who identify as nihilist don’t believe in God, Heaven or Hell, and because of this also claim there’s no meaning in what’s right, or wrong, so anything goes, as there’s are no such thing as values.
“I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.
Atheists do share some nihilistic qualities in the fact that they think theists are attempting to push their subjective propaganda for the purpose of gaining power. I personally think that’s where it ends. Scepticism is a healthy stance, especially where the subject of God is concerned, or in the study of science, as evidence, and the ability to reach an unbiased conclusion, is the only way to seek the truth.
“Scientists are skeptics. It’s unfortunate that the word ‘skeptic’ has taken on other connotations in the culture involving nihilism and cynicism. Really, in its pure and original meaning, it’s just thoughtful inquiry.” – Michael Shermer
Political nihilism is a form of anarchy, which opposes political power, and is about bringing down tyranny and fighting for personal freedom, but at the same time it’s a revolt against public order, any form of religious, or state control. Philosophers claim that political nihilists agree that ignorance is the root to all evils.
“If we believe in nothing, if nothing has any meaning and if we can affirm no values whatsoever, then everything is possible and nothing has any importance.
The opposite of nihilism is existentialism, which emphasises a person’s existence as free and in complete control of their own free will, and it’s an intellectual philosophy about the meaning of the human condition and being, and in this regard, it’s a form of humanism. It’s focus is on the meaning of life, personal responsibility, accountability, and not imposing religious doctrines on anyone else, and believe that people can give their own lives meaning, and it’s no less than what religious meaning can offer.
“Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. It holds that, as there is no God or any other transcendent force, the only way to counter this nothingness (and hence to find meaning in life) is by embracing existence.” – Philosophy basics