The absence of any given faith, whether it be the absence of god(s), ethics and morality, politics, or anything else that is common among humans.

Pretty simple.

Just The Facts

  1. All nihilist's "believe"...somehow, that everyone is born a nihilist, with no faith in anything.
  2. Nihilists have no faith in ANYTHING, except for, you know....nihilism.
  3. Friedrich Nietzsche is probably the most well-known philosopher on nihilism, having written many books on it.
  4. Nietzsche? How the hell do you pronounce his last name?! Seriously?!

What is Nihilism?

Despite having a badass sounding name, Nihilism is the philosophical standpoint of nothingness. Nihilists define this as a "lack of faith/belief", while everyone else defines this as the "belief in nothing". What's the difference? We don't know. Despite being extraordinary philosophers and geniuses, we here at Cracked avoid such meaningless topics(Get it? Because nihilism is meaningless?...Of course you got it). Nihilism generally goes hand-in-hand with feelings of despair, because it is believed that a nihilist will give up all hope once they realize that everything they know is meaningless or nonexistent. There are also many forms of nihilism, such as...

Moral Nihilism:

This is also known as "Ethical nihilism". It is the view, usually taken on by nihilists, that nothing is moral or immoral. Nihilists generally see morals as "man-made"(which is a completely ridiculous idea), and therefore they are flawed and cannot be taken seriously. Some recent, "important" moral nihilists are J.L. Mackie and Richard Joyce.

When asked about their moral nihilism, they simply responded: "Who cares?"

Existential Nihilism:

Existential nihilism is the belief that life has no meaning or value. In the entirety of the universe, it is believed that a single human life or the entire human species can make no real change to existence.

Completely and utterly...meaningless.

Metaphysical Nihilism:

Metaphysical nihilism is the theory that there might not even be a real world. Basically the idea behind it is, if you cannot tell the difference between existence and it's negation, than the concept has no meaning whatsoever.

Yeah, no difference here.

Obviously, nihilism can be applied to just about anything. Anything can be viewed as nihilistic, in the sense that it would not have any value. We could ramble on and on, but that would be incredibly boring, and meaningless if it was a nihilistic ramble.

Except for bacon...bacon is awesome.

History of Nihilism:

Nihilism was first introduced into philosophy by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, who used the term to characterize rationalism. He used the term "nihilism" to criticize other philosphers and their beliefs.

While very feminine looking, Jacobi actually bullied many fellow philosophers.

He focused many of his attacks on Epistemologist Immanuel Kant, and Idealist Johann Fichte.

"That's right bitches! Bow in shame!"

Many philosophers believed that nihilism should be avoided, as it was a dangerous way to view many things. Kant thought that nihilism should instead be replaced with some form of faith, and Nietzsche opposed nihilism strongly, describing it as "a will to nothingness". Which leads us to...

Friedrich Nietzsche

"Who wants a mustache ride?"

Nihilism is most famously associated with Nietzsche, as he focused on the topic in many of his late works. Despite this, he very strongly opposed nihilism. He noted the "death of God" in his time period, implying that God was in fact dead, and that we humans had killed Him and the idea of Him. However, Nietzsche never advocated nihilism as practical, and was typically leaning towards avoiding the more dangerous kinds of nihilism, which we lesser humans could not possibly understand. He characterized nihilism as taking all meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, and essential value out of the world and out of existence itself.