50 thought-provoking Nihilism quotes from Williams Shakespeare, Albert Camus, Friedrich Nietzsche among others!

An adage in the Yoruba culture likened the way people view life as the two sides of a talking drum. This means that opinions vary on any given subject in life or even human life itself. While some believe that life has a meaning others believe otherwise. Hence, Nihilism.

Nihilism is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless. Philosophically, it is the belief that nothing in the world has a real existence.

Nihilism is also the belief that all virtues are groundless and that nothing can be understood or disseminated. It is often associated with radical pessimism and a radical scepticism that condemns existence. A radical nihilist would believe in nothing, have no patriotism, and no purpose other than, perhaps, a tendency to destroy.

There are a handful of Nihilism quotes. So many writers and philosophers have several Nihilism quotes credited to them. The likes of Williams Shakespeare, Albert Camus, Fredrich Nietzsche among a long list of others have put out some Nihilism quotes which continues to divide opinions to date.

This article explores 50 of the most intriguing and thought-provoking Nihilism quotes from some of the renowned philosophers, writers among others.

50 thought-provoking Nihilism quotes from Williams Shakespeare, Albert Camus, Friedrich Nietzsche among others!

  • If we believe in nothing, if nothing has any meaning and if we can affirm no values whatsoever, then everything is possible and nothing has any importance. ….Albert Camus
  • If you live today, you breathe in nihilism … it’s the gas you breathe. If I hadn’t had the Church to fight it with or to tell me the necessity of fighting it, I would be the most stinking logical positivist you ever saw right now. ……..Flannery O’Connor
  • Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. …….Williams Shakespeare
  • what are you looking for? There is no Truth. There’s the only action, action obeying a million different impulses, ephemeral action, action subjected to every possible and imaginable contingency and contradiction, Life. Life is crime, theft, jealousy, hunger, lies, disgust, stupidity, sickness, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, piles of corpses. what can you do about it, my poor friend? ……. Blaise Central
  • There is no other world. Nor even this one. What, then, is there? The inner smile provoked in us by the patent nonexistence of both……Emile Cioran
  • The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. …….Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The modern mind is in complete disarray. Knowledge has stretched itself to the point where neither the world nor our intelligence can find any foot-hold. It is a fact that we are suffering from nihilism. …..Albert Camus
  • I think human consciousness, is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight – brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.
  • Destroy or be destroyed-there is no middle way! Let us then be the destroyers! ……Mikhail Bakunin
  • God is Dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown. And we – we still have to vanquish his shadow, too….Fredrich Nietzsche
  • the problem is not suffering itself or oblivion itself but the depraved meaninglessness of these things, the absolutely inhuman nihilism of suffering. …….. John Greene
  • Those who believe in nothing are very, very jealous and angry at those who believe in something.  …… Dennis Prager
  • Nothing exists; even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others. …..Gorgias
  • Lack of originality, everywhere, all over the world, from time immemorial, has always been considered the foremost quality and the recommendation of the active, efficient and practical man.  ……. fyodor Dostoeyevsky
  • I think you can get to a point where nihilism, if that’s the right word, is overwhelming, and the basic laws that society has set up – either religious or social laws – become meaningless.  ……   Bruce Springsteen
  • Nihilists embrace life’s existence by the acceptance of nothingness.   Martinjn Budel
  • Tragedy is a vision of nihilism, a heroic or ennobling vision of nihilism.  ….. Susan Sontag
  • A nihilist is not one who believes in nothing, but one who does not believe in what exists.     ….. Albert Camus
  • Certainty is not to be had. But as we learn this we become not more moral but more resigned. We become nihilists.  …..Ryan Gosling
  • That is the most extreme form of nihilism: nothingness (the “meaningless”) eternally!  …… Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The middle way is a view of life that avoids the extreme of misguided grasping born of believing there is something we can find, or buy, or cling to that will not change. And it avoids the despair and nihilism born from the mistaken belief that nothing matters, that all is meaningless. ….. Sharon Salzberg
  • Famously, there’s not really anywhere to go after nihilism. It’s not progressing toward anything, it’s a statement of outrage, however brilliant….. Alan Moore
  • I feel like an expressionist nihilist deep in my heart. And I think nihilism can stop the wheel from going around, around, around, around, around – saying the same thing, reacting the same way……Tom Burke
  • Horror, almost better than any of the other genres, pits the will to live against the will toward nihilism. I just think that’s worth exploring. I don’t know what is more important,actually, to explore than that very dynamic. ….Karyn Kusama
  • I believe that we are all, openly or secretly, struggling against one or another kind of nihilism. …..Ellen Willis
  • Our own civilization has lost its way, and this makes us even more vulnerable to Islamist nihilism. …..  Tom Tancredo
  • My grandfather was a practising Quaker. My father was a nihilist. But nihilism, if you like, is the beginning of faith anyway. ……. Sebastian Horsley
  • Just because we’re all doomed doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time… – AnonymousU

  • Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim. – Schopenhauer (pessimistic)

  • Do you know what punishments I’ve endured for my crimes, my sins? None. I am proof of the absurdity of men’s most treasured abstractions. A just universe wouldn’t tolerate my existence. – Brent Weeks

  • I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing. – John Fowles

  • If we believe in nothing, if nothing has any meaning and if we can affirm no values whatsoever, then everything is possible and nothing has any importance. – Albert Camus

  • The point is there ain’t no point. …..Cormac McCarthy

  • I told myself: ‘I am surrounded by unknown things.’ I imagined man without ears, suspecting the existence of sound as we suspect so many hidden mysteries, man noting acoustic phenomena whose nature and provenance he cannot determine. And I grew afraid of everything around me – afraid of the air, afraid of the night. From the moment we can know almost nothing, and from the moment that everything is limitless, what remains? Does emptiness actually not exist? What does exist in this apparent emptiness? ……..Guy de Maupassant
  • There is no other world. Nor even this one. What, then, is there? The inner smile provoked in us by the patent nonexistence of both…….. Emil Cioran
  • Sometimes I wish I had not woken up from a beautiful dream, and continued dreaming within sleep upon sleep until I become a dream itself. Because sometimes waking up is more frightening than a nightmare. ……… Danny Castillones Sillada
  • ’ve always been suspicious of the assumption that great intelligence would be an unqualified benefit— that the madness that so often accompanies it can be cavalierly dismissed. So I asked the question: Suppose there were an entire subpopulation of extreme geniuses, well beyond anything that would occur naturally. What would that really look like? ……. Andrew M. Ryan,
  • The major enemy of black survival in America has been and is neither oppression nor exploitation but rather the nihilistic threat—that is, loss of hope and absence of meaning. For as long as hope remains and meaning is preserved, the possibility of overcoming oppression stays alive. The self-fulfilling prophecy of the nihilistic threat is that without hope there can be no future, that without meaning there can be no struggle. …… Cornel West
  • ou has to take an interest in something in life, I told myself. I wondered what could interest me, now that I was finished with love. I could take a course in wine tasting, maybe, or start collecting model aeroplanes. ……. Michel Houellebecq
  • Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness. …….Werner Herzog
  • We are mistaken if we believe we are in possession of the truth, just as we are mistaken if we believe we are in error. Absurdity is the only way forward. ……Thomas Bernhard
  • From the time you wake up until the moment you go to bed it’s all a lie, all a sham and a swindle. Everybody knows it, and everybody collaborates in the perpetuation of the hoax. That’s why we look so goddamned disgusting to one another….Henry Miller
  • The only thing that gave me an illusion of happiness was wine! That is why I drank! It also mitigated the torment of being alive. It made my sluggish mind alert and intelligent! At times, in my youth, it stilled my hunger! …. August Stridberg
  • I have no ambitions nor desires.To be a poet is not my ambition,It’s simply my way of being alone. …..Fernanado Pessoa
  • Man’s very insides– his self– are foreign to him. He doesn’t know who he is, why he was born, what he is doing on the planet, what he is supposed to do, what he can expect. His own existence is incomprehensible to him, a miracle just like the rest of creation, closer to him, right near his pounding heart, but for that reason all the more strange.

    What would the average man do with a full consciousness of absurdity? He has fashioned his character for the precise purpose of putting it between himself and the facts of life; it is his special tour-de-force that allows him to ignore incongruities, to nourish himself on impossibilities, to thrive on blindness. ……Ernest Becker

Emil Cioran:

  • One should not forget that philosophy is the art of masking inner tormets.
  • Universal category and form become illusory and irrelevant when confronted with the irreversible annihilation of death.M
  • My tears would drown the world, as my inner fire would reduce it to ashes.
  • Isn’t music the art which best expresses infinity because it dissolves all forms into a charmingly ineffable fluidity?
  • Men gnerally work too much to be themselves.
  • Though fully aware that the source of unhappiness is in us, we nevertheless turn a personal defect into a metaphysical deficiency.
  • Man has forgotten the meaning of silence.
  • Whether you suffer or not, nothingness will swallow you forever… nothing created by man will endure.

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