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What is the meaning of this sentence?

... because believing in something will be seen by the passive nihilist as preferable to taking the risk of not believing in anything, to taking the risk of staring into the abyss – a metaphor for nihilism that appears frequently in Nietzsche’s work.

One source: Nihilism

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  • The comma before "to taking" separates a rephrasing of the previous idea. Mar 26, 2020 at 19:01
  • @WeatherVane , please could you explain this as well: "because believing in something will be seen by the passive nihilist as preferable to taking the risk of not believing in anything." Mar 26, 2020 at 19:04
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    because / believing in something / will be seen / by the passive nihilist / as preferable to / taking the risk / of not believing in anything. I am not going to study nihilism though. Mar 26, 2020 at 19:06
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    I think that analyzing the thoughts of Nietzsche is a step beyond even interpreting song lyrics.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 26, 2020 at 21:00
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    @HotLicks I always liked the apocryphal graffiti 'conversation' which went "God is dead - Nietzsche" followed by, in a diferent hand, "Nietzsche's dead - God"
    – BoldBen
    Aug 24, 2020 at 0:41

2 Answers 2

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... because believing in something will be seen by the passive nihilist as preferable to taking the risk of not believing in anything; that is to say, to taking the risk of staring into the abyss – a metaphor for nihilism that appears frequently in Nietzsche’s work.

Here, "staring into the abyss" is just a restatement of "not believing in anything". Structurally, it means the same as this:

... because believing in something will be seen by the passive nihilist as preferable to taking the risk of staring into the abyss, which is a metaphor for nihilism that appears frequently in Nietzsche’s work.

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You're right. It's a tricky sentence.

Passive nihilists believe in something—anything—because any belief is better than no belief.

Apparently, active nihilists enjoy staring into the abyss.

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