When we experience the cruelties of life – natural disasters, wars, personal tragedies – it can be difficult to make sense of it all. Absurdism and nihilism are two philosophical movements that offer different ways of looking at the world to make sense of the cruelty we see. Absurdism teaches that we should embrace chaos and find beauty in life. On the other hand, Nihilism holds that life is without meaning or purpose and that we should accept this fact. This article explains the differences between absurdism and nihilism.
What is Absurdism?
Absurdism is a philosophical branch attributed to Albert Cams in his book “The Myth of Sisyphus.” It is defined as “embracing the absurd or meaningless in life and simultaneously rebelling against it and embracing what life can offer us”. According to this philosophy, people will eventually discover how cruel and cold the world is. After this bitter discovery, people will be encouraged to embrace the absurd or meaningless of life. However, such an embrace does not mean that man accepts his defeat; rather, he is urged to rebel against a senseless world and defy this cruel condition. According to absurdism, the only reality that man knows is that the world is not a beautiful place, so humanity must accept this bitter truth and find ways to fight it.
What are the Four Types of Nihilism?
The four types of nihilism are moral nihilism, which states that morality does not exist as something inherent in objective reality. There is also epistemological nihilism, in which all knowledge is considered untrue or cannot be confirmed as true by those who follow it. Another form of nihilism is existential nihilism, which is based on the belief that life has no intrinsic meaning or value, so people should not be bound by social values, norms, or beliefs. Political nihilism is another type, described as the “rejection of claims that are not rationalized or proven, in this case, the necessity of the most basic social and political structures such as government, family, and law.”
What is Active Nihilism?
Active nihilism refers to a form of nihilism whose adherents (nihilists) are self-aware enough to create their meaning and purpose in life, having discovered that there is no inherent meaning and purpose. They can rise above this meaningless life and live their lives to the fullest without letting the cruel world hold them back.
Difference between Absurdism and Nihilism
The difference between absurdism and nihilism is that nihilism is more destructive compared to absurdism. Moreover, nihilists are considered extremists because they see no value in life, while absurdism is not so extreme. According to nihilism, especially passive nihilism, people cannot find meaning or purpose in life. In absurdism, on the other hand, people can find meaning by embracing the absurdity of the world and defying it or escaping it through suicide. While absurdism prescribes solutions for dealing with the cruel world, such as accepting the situation, nihilism leaves the individual responsible for finding subjective ways to deal with his problems.
Similarities between Absurdism and Nihilism
The similarities between absurdism and nihilism are that both philosophies argue that the world is full of absurdity and is a cruel place for all people. They also encourage people to accept that the world was not created to welcome them. Such acceptance enables them to find different ways to solve the world’s problems posed by the state. According to absurdism and nihilism, people should defy this troubling world and create their meaning and purpose in life.
Is Optimistic Nihilism Absurdism?
Optimistic nihilism can be considered absurdism, as people will find their purpose in this meaningless life. However, others distinguish between the two by stating that optimistic nihilism means accepting that nothing matters and considering this realization as something good. However, this refers to absurdism, where one embraces and defies absurdity while finding one’s meaning.
What are the Main Principles of Nihilism?
The word nihilism derives from the Latin word “nihil,” which means nothing. “It also occurs in the verb ‘annihilate,’ meaning to bring nothing, to destroy completely”.
Nihilism is described as the “rejection of all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless”. Nihilists do not hold to commonly accepted or fundamental aspects of human existence, such as objective truth, knowledge, morality, values, or meaning. They argue that life is meaningless and reject all religious and moral principles. It is an extreme form of a lifestyle, and nihilists can be classified as extremists themselves.