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True Nihilism -- How It's Possible to Become Fearless

Updated: Feb 19


A robotic war.

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Fear: A Necessary Evil?


Fear is something many of us learn to see as a plausible feature, whether we're aware of it or not. When we're kids, we might be afraid of being scolded by our parents or punished. When we're at school, we might be afraid of being ostracized by other students, condemned by other teachers for not doing our homework, and so forth. In the military or when we begin entering the workplace, we might fear the authorities, lose our status as soldiers or employees, lose our money, lose our respect, lose our residence, and perhaps even lose our lives.


All throughout this lifetime of fear, other, elementary sources of fear follow: the fear of starvation, abuse, heat and cold, illness, and ultimately, the fear of dying prematurely or dying in general. Should we decide to form a family, we might fear the authority of our partner, the possibility of them leaving us, our possible lack of appeal to our attracted gender, and so on. Finally, when we bring children into the world, we might ultimately fear losing them, at any point in our lives, until one or both parents die.


We are driven by fear becase meaning is attributed to the things we fear losing. As such, as long as we take in high regard the things we value, we will never be able to live a fear-free life. And when it comes to value, that includes our own lives, and the things we worked hard for, to get and to maintain, throughout said lives.

Fear as the Ultimate Tyrant


Do you see now, how many fears might govern our lives—and maybe, your own life? Most fears, if not all fears, are there because we value things and beings and do not want them to disappear from our lives, whether by abandonment, defeat, rejection, or death. Yes, the more we cling to things and desire them in our lives as much as possible, the more we might fear that they will finally be gone.


Attachment, therefore, leads to misery. And fear is one of the ways misery is expressed.


What kind of existence is this, an existence governed by fear? Some leaders of organizations, in fact, lead from fear. Philosophically, you see, fear is very, very functional, very beneficial. That's especially true when we can do things to escape from what fear represents: the possibility of loss.


If a dictator rules your life through fear, then they might make you do things you otherwise wouldn't do, such as obeying specific orders or avoiding things you don't want or things you do want. Fear is a very powerful tool, whether it is actually used by someone or merely a concept in your head.


The more insecure you are, the likelier you will act on fear, for you are too insecure independently of the things you are attached to.


That includes your own life. You are afraid of losing things, including your own life, because loss is intimidating.


Nihilism -- Destroyer of Fear


However, there is a possible solution to overcoming fear: to render things and beings, including yourself, unworthy. Why? Because the more things and beings you have, and the more you give them a sense of worth, the more you, technically, have to lose. The more things you feel like you have to lose, the likelier you will fear losing them.


One cannot fear from things and beings they render meaningless.


Throughout life, we will be losing things and beings that are dear to us, that give us a sense of meaning, of purpose; stuff that, you would kill in their name, or kill yourself, in their ultimate absence. There is no fear without meaning, and if for meaning we strive, fear will follow.


This is why the fear of death is a very rational notion. Philosophically, death is a potentially one-way entrance to the unknown. It isn't necessarily the pain of death that we might be afraid of, but also the potential of losing everything, and ultimately—ourselves.


Empirically, we do not actually know what lies on the other end, for we have never experienced it for ourselves, have we? Others may tell us of near-death experiences, but the problem with that is that it doesn't provide us with the empirical evidence of the "other side", as in order to do so, we must experience it ourselves, or gain research from it that is more than mere stories, which can be doubted.



We can die at any moment! Our hearts could stop pumping blood at any time a problem might occur; a problem strong enough to make our hearts stop beating.


There isn't necessarily any justice to it. I know someone whose relative died suddenly. Their father or grandfather went somewhere while they hosted them, and when they returned, he found his child or grandchild dead. Scary, right?


You could welcome someone you hold dear to your home, and with the blink of an eye, they could vanish for good, never to return again. That possibility, no matter how harsh or ignored, is inevitable as just that—a probability that can happen at any time, when one would least expect it.


I believe that the solution to overcoming fear is to embrace nihilism, the philosophy that nothing has any inherent meaning or value. Nihilists believe that we should not value anything, not even ourselves or the current state of our lives.


I do not wish to embrace fear, for fear has a practical value that would contribute to my survival. Since I care about surviving, so I could work on Philosocom, I reject nihilism.


True nihilism is to see your parents, your children, your pet, and yes, even your legacy, even if it was built for a lifetime, crash into the ground while you are not caring at all. A true nihilist will not deem anything as truly meaningful, including themselves. Even if they are to experience a slow, painful death, they will attach little value to it, to their own lives, to themselves, to their life's work, and to their dear ones.


Their own emotions would be as meaningless to them as the dirt on the ground.


Personal Reflections on Fear

Yes, now I finally understand why fear was such a feature in my life, or at least during most of it. Yelling at children, at students, at workers, and so on, is ultimately, a way to make you value things the world teaches you, you should. My education was built on fear.

It is not difficult to understand, for fear is such an elementary feature in our lives. It is all directed, and thus blamed, at the "holiness", of value.


After all, if you choose to value something, you may be concerned about its loss. It's not necessarily something physical but also other, more elementary concepts, such as love, status, honor, safety, luxury, and so on.


The more things you have, the more things you have to lose. Perhaps the ascetic understands it better than most of humanity.

I largely isolate myself from this world for a specific reason: the less I have to lose, the less I will live in fear. Why should I be afraid of things I shouldn't or can refuse to be afraid of? Why should I have friends, if they can walk away?


Of course, I can choose to not be attached to any of them too much, if at all. However, how can one form deep, meaningful relationships with people, without some kind of emotional attachment?


Why should I love, when the love interest can treat me like dirt? Why should I care about what others think of me, when they don't even know me, if they won't care as much if I die?


Several Conclusions


That is, my readers, the bitter conclusion of this article. Not valuing things, can be good. Not caring, can help us fear less. It can be good, because fear is not a nice emotion to feel, especially. It also can be good when much of what we fear is insignificant or not that important to pose a threat.



Fear serves a purpose, a practicality -- to make you beware of the possible results of your actions, and of things and beings that are outside of your control. It indicates that you hold things and beings in great value, whether you hold something to be dear or the exact opposite.


It puts you in line. It makes you say things online you wouldn't say if you had greater courage, and offline, you may protect your privacy with your teeth from the threats of the outside world and from what it might think of you.


Thus, if you want to experience true fearlessness, you should consider the philosophy of nihilism, as a true liberator — the value that devalues everything and everyone, including yourself and the things you've done. Once believed, it will set you free from fear, regardless of the consequences of your actions.


I am not a nihilist, as I've written before. Why? Because I purposefully cling to things in order to avoid being tempted by death. As you can see, I am well-aware of the possibility of caring about nothing and no one, and how it could make one do stupid things. Things, like suicide.


And other things so bizarre, so rejected, so detested, and so ugly, the vast majority of people would find comfort in simply thinking about them, and nothing else.



It isn't that nihilism itself is dangerous. Although, examples can be found in fiction where it is. It's the things that it can make you do, should you give in to the benefit and privilege, of true apathy. Fear can merely be a function to keep us in line and to follow orders, even if and when we deem ourselves free human beings.


You see, when you're truly fearless, there is no incentive to be good, other than the existence of goodwill, even if it exists at all, within yourself. Why are villains admired in fiction, and sometimes, in real life? Darth Vader, the Joker, Sauron, Voldemort, and so on; what makes us like them so much, aside from their being detestable criminals, whether they succeed or fail?


It's what makes us love fiction: the possibility of pretending that there's a reality where we would be able to do horrible things, with little to no regard, to the results of our actions. So, what if you play a video game, and kill hundreds of insignificant beings?


So, what if, in a driving game, you purposefully drive over a character, shoot an RPG rocket at a police car, or merely go to a strip club in said game, when your parents aren't looking, simply because you can?


That's right. There's really no meaning in that realm of "reality", because your loss doesn't matter to you or to anyone else, usually! You can always turn on and off your computer, or close the movie you're watching, as if nothing happened!


As if the Death Star didn't destroy an entire populated planet, as if Sauron couldn't manage to conquer Middle Earth with the One Ring, as if the Joker couldn't potentially kill Batman and turn Gotham City into pure anarchy.

That's right. None of that matters. It is the individual that gives it meaning, and not, necessarily, the other way around.


What if we are to attribute the same meaninglessness in fiction... to non-fiction?


How fun it is to think that we have souls! How fun it is to think that there are reincarnations, rewards for the zealous, and torture for the wicked! I don't know, perhaps there is! But perhaps there isn't?


Does it matter if one is right or wrong, when there might be a possibility where humanity wouldn't be able to escape from Earth or the Solar System, especially when the Sun might explode?


For many nihilists, the eternity fallacy justifies meaninglessness.


Remember: The sun isn't eternal, and while it grants us life, it is also a ticking, ancient time bomb, even if it will happen billions of years in the future. Granted, of course, that nothing else would extinguish humanity.


Nothing is eternal! Which means, everything will be gone.


Vanished!


Destroyed!


Obliterated!


Your fears cannot make you capable enough, to truly immortalize anything! Then, perhaps you shouldn't fear as much, when your fears will result in futility, at one point or another.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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