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Saturday, 24 September 2016


Nihilism is a negative existentialist philosophy that believes in ultimate nothingness –life having no intrinsic meaning or value

The term was coined by Obereit in 1787 and popularized by the German theologian Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (January 25, 1743 – March 10, 1819), who promoted it as the prime fault of Enlightenment thought.

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi

Nihilism was the basis of much revolutionary terrorism in 19th century Russia. Dostoyevsky was a member of a nihilist group in his 20s and served ten years in exile as a consequence.

 Its widespread usage began with the 1862 novel Fathers and Sons by the Russian author Ivan Turgenev. Bazarov, the hero of his story, was a nihilist.

The term was subsequently adopted in Russia by the Nihilist anarchist movement who protested against conventional and established values. According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, they called themselves nihilists because" nothing that then existed found favor in their eyes".

Czar Alexander II was assassinated on March 13, 1881 by bombs thrown beneath his carriage in St Petersburg by Nihilists. His death resulted in the crushing of the nihilist movement.

The assassination of Alexander II, drawing by G. Broling, 1881

Nihilism is often associated with the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche because he said that morals were invented. But in his writings, Nietzsche said that people needed to create their own morals to get over nihilism.

The Joker is portrayed as a nihilist in the Batman movie The Dark Knight, describing himself as "an Agent of Chaos"


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