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Published:November 1st, 2009 10:59 EST
Nihilism and its Cultural Implications Part II

Nihilism and its Cultural Implications Part II

By Sean Beelzebul

Nihilism and its Cultural Implications part II

                As we have discovered in part I of the series, nihilism literally means belief in nothing. However, when nihilism is used to classify a certain idea, or concept, it often refers to beliefs that many might feel do exist. The example used in part I was Kant`s categorical imperative. This unrealistic and impossible framework for determining moral righteousness is nihilism because there is simply no evidence, nor is there any governing truth behind the concept. Aside from Kant, nihilism lurks in many other forms. This installment of the series will assess Plato`s early work as a form of nihilism.

                Plato is one of the most loved and revered philosophers of antiquity. One reason for this was his humility. Late in life, around the time the Parmenides was written, Plato recanted. He wrote about the refutation of the crux of his own philosophy. This crux is the idea of the Platonic Form. Aristotle, took the Parmenides as the spring board for his own work, and in his Metaphysics exclusively denies the possibility of the Forms. Nevertheless, the idea of a Platonic Form, has persisted throughout the generations and has adapted itself like a virus infecting hosts of beliefs and belief systems throughout time. Why, is it a virus? Why is the Platonic Form nihilism?

                Platonic forms assume the separation of two aspects of existence. Plato separated the idea of change (Heraclitus) from the idea of existence/infinity (Parmenides). Plato has no reasoning for this separation in the early-mid period works. As a matter of fact, this separation is boldly asserted with little supporting evidence other than the allegory of the cave in the Republic. Unfortunately, the allegory of the cave is a farce as well, using pure allegory and arguments by analogy, it is littered with philosophical fallacy. In the theories of existentialism, the concept of change, or becoming is causally dependent on the nature of existence and infinity itself, they cannot be separated. Becoming is merely one aspect of Being of existence, infinity, the totality of everything etc. Nothing can change without it existing prior. Likewise, infinitude is greater than this world, and the process of the universe, its birth, change and development are dependent on existence as well. The two concepts cannot be separated without creating separate universes that contradict the laws of physics. The Platonic derived idea of an abstract plane of existence where concepts exist in an eternal stasis, that beings can awaken to, is impossible. Concepts change just like everything else in this universe. Therefore, the ideal of Platonism is nihilism.

Nihilism and its Cultural Implications part I An overview and definition of Nihilism plus a preliminary example of its scope and usage.