"It abandons us in this contradiction with no grounds either for preventing or for justifying murder, menacing and menaced, swept along with a whole generation intoxicated by nihilism, and yet lost in loneliness, with weapons in our hands and a lump in our throats."
— Albert Camus, The Rebel
"One of the principal problems with a radical scientific materialism is the narrowness of vision that results and the potential for nihilism that might ensue. Nihilism, materialism, and reductionism are above all problems from a philosophical and especially a human perspective, since they can potentially impoverish the way we see ourselves…The danger is that human beings may be reduced to nothing more than biological machines, the products of pure chance in the random combination of genes, with no purpose other than the biological imperative of reproduction."
— Dalai Lama - Universe in a Single Atom
"When a philosopher these days makes it known that he is not a skeptic, everyone gets upset. People look at him apprehensively, they have so many questions, questions…It is as if they could hear, in his rejection of skepticism, some sort of evil and ominous sound in the distance, as if a new explosive were being tested somewhere, a dynamite of the spirit, a pessimism bonae voluntatis that does not just say No or will No, but — the very thought is terrible! — does No."
— Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
"Morality protected from nihilism those who turned out badly by granting everyone an infinite value, a metaphysical value, and placing them in an order which did not correspond to that of worldly power and hierarchy: it taught submissiveness, humility, etc. Provided that the belief in this morality collapses, those who turned out badly would no longer have their consolation – and they would perish."
— Friedrich Nietzsche - European Nihilism (1887)
"But extreme positions are replaced not by moderate ones, rather by equally extreme but opposite ones. And so the belief in the absolute immorality of nature, in purposeless and senselessness, is the psychologically necessary affect once belief in God and an essentially moral order can no longer be sustained…One interpretation has collapsed, but because it was considered the interpretation, it appears as though there is no sense in existence whatsoever, as though everything is in vain"
— Friedrich Nietzsche - European Nihilism
What advantages did the Christian morality hypothesis offer?
1) it conferred on man an absolute value, in contrast to his smallness and contingency in the flux of becoming and passing away
2) it served the advocates of God to the extent that, despite suffering and evil, it let the world have the character of perfection – including ‘freedom’ – and evil appeared full of sense
3) it posited a knowledge of absolute values in man and thus gave him adequate knowledge of precisely the most important thing
it prevented man from despising himself as man, from taking against life, from despairing of knowing: it was a means of preservation – in sum: morality was the great antidote against practical and theoretical nihilism
— Friedrich Nietzsche - European Nihilism (1887)
"‘Either abolish your reverences or — yourselves!’ The latter would be nihilism; but would not the former also be — nihilism? — This is our question mark."
— Friedrich Nietzsche - The Gay Science V
"What is life? - A novel. Who is the author? - Anonymous. We read haltingly, laugh, weep… and sleep."
— Nikolai Karamzin
"I dealt especially with the value of the ‘unegoistic’, the instincts of pity, self-denial, self-sacrifice which Schopenhauer had for so long gilded, deified and transcendentalized until he was finally left with those ‘values as such’ on that basis of which he said ‘no’ to life and to himself as well…Precisely here I saw the great danger to mankind, its most sublime temptation and seduction — temptation to what? to nothingness? — precisely here I saw the beginning of the end, standstill, mankind looking back wearily, turning its will against life, and the onset of the final sickness becoming gently, sadly manifest: I understood the morality of pity…"
— Friedrich Nietzsche - On the Genealogy of Morality
"You want to create the world before which you can kneel: this is your ultimate hope and intoxication."
— Friedrich Nietzsche - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"What other meaning can we find to our days but this, and the lesson we draw from this plateau: a birth, a death, and, between the two, beauty and melancholy?"
— Albert Camus - Notebooks
"I can negate everything of that part of me that lives on vague nostalgias, except this desire for unity, this longing to solve, this need for clarity and cohesion. I can refute everything in this world surrounding me that offends or enraptures me, except this chaos, this sovereign chance and this divine equivalence which springs from anarchy."
— Albert Camus - The Myth of Sisyphus
"Ultimate skepsis. — What are man’s truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors."
— Friedrich Nietzsche - The Gay Science I-IV (1882)
"Perhaps we will recognize then that the thing-in-itself deserves a Homeric laugh, in that it seemed to be so much, indeed everything, and is actually empty, that is, empty of meaning."
— Friedrich Nietzsche - Human, All Too Human (1878)