As foretold by Raul Vaneigem in Revolution of Everyday Life, “There is no consciousness of transcendence without consciousness of decomposition.” The active nihilist sees in the unknown future and despair at our current situation, a call to arms. An active nihilist finds energy, a will to act, in the hopelessness of the conforming, rigid, asphyxiation of our society. Meaning is found in approaching the void rather than in the false knowledge of what is on the other side of it.
The primary modality of class society, whether it is by violence, hunger, or the threat of the elements. If every object, person, and moment is for sale, if there is nothing outside, then there is abject terror. When living is a contemptible act, it is terror. What is the opposite of this?
We are not drifts of snow moving through reality. Things have happened. Choices have been made. These choices can be evaluated, not from a timeless doctrine but from a human scale. By this human scale the size, the scope, of the choices made is beyond comprehension. This being the case, and as the desire of conscious bodies is to understand, a frame of reference to begin to impact the world can be based on one of two options. Either shrink the world that you desire to understand and touch or assert yourself onto a world gone mad in such a way as to transform scale. Institutions, ideologies, systems, schools, family, capital, government and revolutionary movements have all developed beyond the body. Nihilist anarchism isn’t concerned with a social revolution that adds a new chapter to an old history but the ending of history altogether. If not revolutionaries then possibly epochanaries, for the transformation of society without a positive program.
The answer to the existential question about what is knowable is, nothing.
If the future is unknowable we are confronted with a choice. When all we know is terror many stop making choices. People break. If you have ever been confronted by the alarm clock and just shut it off and pulled the cover over your head you know passive nihilism. The pain of resisting, of being the false opposition, or the purged, justifies a thousand no’s. A million. The passive nihilist no longer has hope that their participation is necessary for the world to keep spinning.
Is a terrorized body living?
Hyphenated power doesn’t avoid the problem that power raises but tries to shift it somewhere else. We can, do, and will continue to hurt, dominate, and manipulate one another. We are creatures of power. To the extent that we do take responsibility for this it looks like shame. This confuses power with Christianity.
This coin has two sides that can’t be separated: expectation and desire.
An existential nihilist remains at an impasse regarding a variety of core issues. If we cannot know anything then how can we make choices? When Nietzsche talked of nihilism this is what he was referring to. The trajectory of Western thought leads to unknowable questions and paralysis.
Revolutionary programs deserve the snickers that they get. The idea that yet another manifesto (YAM) or mission statement or action plan is going to make the tired activism of a new generation smells less of the death it wraps around its neck is ludicrous. Strategic nihilism argues for a new approach to social transformation that resembles the burning of a field rather than building the new world within the shell of the old or one last push by the working class to seize the means of production. An approach that concerns itself with exactly what the forms of social control are and their suppression falls far astray from models of recruitment, education, progress, or the crossed fingers that the next riot will be the Big one.
Shorthand for a positive program for social change, a positive program is one that confuses desire with reality and extends that confusion into the future. In the case of radicals this usually takes the form of stating programs along the lines of “ATR there will be no hunger” at worst and “The abolishment of class society will result in relations without limit” at its best. A positive program is an idealist legacy that forms the core of most revolutionary thought.
The belief that one event following another necessitates their relationship is erroneous, as posited by Hume. If causality cannot be assumed, or even accepted if argued, the efficacy of most political forms is limited, particularly as a way to transform the world.
After the Revolution
The limited desire to change the world as modeled by the French Revolution. The Good News: Heads will roll. The Bad: The Bureaucrats win in the end.
A body can be an individual. It can be a group of individuals. It can be a cultural or social unit. It can also be understood as a philosophical unit, a black box that accepts input from the world and responds in kind. It is not known but knowing.