June 16th, 2012
Dostoevsky depicts a conversation between two brothers: Ivan and Alyosha. Ivan is an atheist (a weak category, perhaps) and he observes all the suffering going on in the world. Alyosha is a Christian and is attempting to bring Ivan closer to the truth that there can be forgiveness. Ivan has this rebellion against God and doesn’t believe there is such a being that will actually forgive the world of these evils. Ivan makes the distinction between the sufferings of children and the sufferings of adults. It’s the adults that Ivan has little sympathy for since they are the only creature that can practice artistic evil. A tiger maims its prey but it would never even think of nailing the prey’s ears or blowing the brains out of another animal, even if it could. He suggests that the adults, even the elderly, should be damned because they have eaten the apple (participated in conscious acts of sin). However, the children have done nothing wrong. Children have just shown up in existence and have no conscious control or recognition of morality. When these children are bayoneted, shot in the face, or receive long tortuous beatings and those who fulfill these acts take joy in it this becomes an artistic evil and is unwarranted evil against the children because they have not eaten the apple.
The argument wasn’t so much of a conclusion that God doesn’t exist; rather, it was Ivan’s way of expressing his desire to “return God’s ticket.” The world is unjust and this was Ivan’s rebellion against God.
read more »
June 16th, 2012
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE AND NIHILISM
To attribute nihilism to Friedrich Nietzsche’s works would be a complete misunderstanding of his teleology. Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra is a calling and desire for the übermensch to create a transvaluation of values. To categorize Nietzsche as a nihilist would be a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of his work.
When referring to nihilism there must be an understanding of all that the word entails. Nihilism refers to nothingness and is a denial of all worldviews. There are apparent problems with being consistent in rendering a nihilist understanding. Referring to everything having no meaning renders a meaning of nothingness. There is no objectivity, knowledge, truth, or virtue. There is a claim of paradigm independent referents. For the advancement of understanding Nietzsche’s teleology this self-referential incoherence must be set to the periphery. To discard Nietzsche so quickly in such a manner would be to misunderstand his teleological claims.
Nietzsche’s paradigm for truth was based on biological development. This, by all admission, was a relativistic understanding and rendition of truth; it was a social construct. This was in response to the proclamation that “God is dead.” In the fifth chapter of Twilight of the Idols Nietzsche deduces the implications of stripping God from Christianity [in reference to morality]. Under the Christian paradigm, morality is a command originating from a transcendent source. Because it is a transcendent command it cannot be criticized, and it is only contingently true given the existence of God and that God is the source of all truth. This worries Nietzsche because he believes that there is no reason for God to exist any more being that God is only a social construct that was once useful. As a result, Nietzsche calls for the übermensch.
read more »