KNOWLEDGE AND RATIONALITY: THE CONCEPT OF WHOLE NIHILISM
Nietzsche often thought of his writings as struggles with Nihilism. In his view, Knowledge and Rationality in themselves do nothing to justify Human Existence and do nothing to justify the existence of the World. I agree and at the same time, I disagree with him. I would like to share my concept of “Whole Nihilism” to contest his views on Nihilism. In my opinion, Nietzsche has failed to make the following distinctions and hence failed to establish his thesis of Nihilism. The fundamental distinctions that we need to consider are:
1. The distinction between Acquired Knowledge and Innate Knowledge,
2. The distinction between Human Essence and Human Existence,
3. The distinction between Human Behavior and Human Nature,
4. The distinction between Human Identity and Human Individuality, and
5. The distinction between a Mortal Being and a Created Being.
Firstly, I would like to describe Nietzsche’s thoughts on Nihilism and explain his views on this subject.
“POSITIVISM” is a system of philosophy basing Knowledge solely on the data of sense experience. It is a system of philosophy originated by French philosopher Auguste Comte(1798-1857) who demanded that Knowledge must be exclusively based on observable scientific facts and their relation to each other, and he rejected speculations about or search for ultimate origins. Positivism as a theory of Knowledge is fundamentally flawed for it fails to acknowledge the existence of Innate Knowledge. For example, the genetic information and biological information implanted in the living cells is the Knowledge that is used to perform a variety of complex, sequential, goal-oriented living functions. In the absence of this Innate Knowledge, life and existence are simply impossible. For this reason, I define Life as Knowledge in Action. Having said this, I recognize that in the 19th-century Positivism, Nietzsche had visualized the emergence of an age that dissolved the religious and philosophical absolutes. Nihilism as a philosophical doctrine denies the existence of any basis for Knowledge or Truth. Nihilism is often stated as the belief that there is no meaning or purpose in Human Existence.
Nihilism demands the rejection of customary beliefs to religion, and morality. Nietzsche used the term Nihilism to describe the devaluation of the highest values or the ‘ascetic ideal’ postulated by traditional philosophy and religion. Nietzsche was apparently preoccupied with the origin and function of values in human life. In his view, life neither possesses nor lacks intrinsic value and yet is always being evaluated. He concluded that the evaluations of life must be read as symptoms of the condition of the evaluator. It seems that Nietzsche wants to suggest that any evaluation of life is simply a matter of subjective opinion and there is no objective basis for evaluation of human life.
I find a problem with Nietzsche’s view and want to state that the fact of life, the condition of life, and the state of life do always have an objective basis and the objective basis of life could be verified by other scientific observers and by experimentation. Nietzsche probed the fundamental cultural values of Western philosophy, religion, and morality which he characterized as expressions of the ascetic ideal. Nietzsche claims that the ascetic ideal is born when suffering becomes endowed with ultimate significance. The Judeo-Christian tradition makes suffering tolerable by interpreting it as God’s intention and as an occasion for atonement. In Nietzsche’s opinion, Christianity makes a deceptive claim by attaching cosmic significance to each individual’s life and death. Similarly, Nietzsche points out that traditional philosophy expressed the ascetic ideal when it privileged soul over body, mind over senses, duty over desire, reality over appearance, and the timeless over the temporal. Nietzsche attached no merit in Christianity’s promise of Salvation to the Sinner who repents and to the same extent he ridicules the promise of Emancipation or Enlightenment offered by a philosophy to the seekers of its Knowledge. Nietzsche makes a valid point in his statement about religion and philosophy which make the assumption that existence requires explanation, justification, and some form of expiation by either paying a penalty or by atonement. Nietzsche argued that both religion and philosophy denigrated experience in favor of the true world. He viewed both as symptoms of a declining life in distress. In the decadence, in the decline and in the eventual collapse of the metaphysical and theological foundations and sanctions of traditional morality, Nietzsche apprehends a huge void, a pervasive sense of purposelessness, and meaninglessness. And the triumph of meaninglessness is the triumph of Nihilism. From this perspective, Nietzsche claims that “God is Dead.”
THE DOCTRINE OF WHOLE NIHILISM:
At a fundamental level, man has no ability to attach meaning, purpose, or values to his own human existence. The religious doctrines, the different schools of philosophy do not provide the basic Knowledge and information that is used by the fertilized Egg Cell that divides, multiplies, grows, and develops into the complex, multicellular human organism. Man has no choice other than that of existing as an Individual with Individuality. Each human being arrives into the World as a Created Being and man has no ability to create a replica of this one of its own kind of living object. The fertilized Egg Cell does not depend upon Knowledge that is exclusively acquired from Sensory Experience. To establish the fact of human life, the fertilized Egg Cell does not depend upon learning from Knowledge contained in books or imparted by educational experience. The ‘ascetic ideal’ stated by Nietzsche has no relevance and has no significance as human life is not guided by those metaphysical, or theological values. Man cannot simply choose to exist by defining his Essence through his actions or things he wants to do. The fact of Existence must always precede the ability to describe the attributes called Essence. The fertilized Egg Cell proceeds to perform its functions without any concerns about the meaning, purpose, or significance of the Life that it establishes as a Physical, Objective Reality. Human Knowledge and Human Rationality are not the requirements for establishing the fact, the state, and the condition called Human Existence. To the same extent, it may be said that man is a Mortal Being as his Human Existence in Space is operated under the influence of Time and not by Human Knowledge and Rationality.
The man may never know the distinction between Reality and Appearance as he ceases to exist in the absence of an influence called Illusion. Man’s physical existence on planet Earth has a cosmic significance as Human Existence depends upon an extraterrestrial or Cosmic source of Energy. The external source of energy required for Life is not found on planet Earth and it has to be continuously supplied. This source of external Energy does not depend upon man’s ability to find meaning or purpose in his own existence. The concept of ‘Whole Nihilism’ describes the fact, the reality, and the truth of Human Existence without any concern for meaning or purpose for that Existence.