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Jnger,Heidegger,andNihilism|CounterCurrentsPublishing

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Jnger,Heidegger,&Nihilism
PostedByAlaindeBenoistOnJuly5,2010@12:00amInNorthAmericanNewRight|1
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3,840words
TranslatedbyGregJohnson
ErnstJngerandMartinHeideggerengagedinadialogueon
nihilismintwotextspublishedfiveyearsapartinthe1950sonthe
occasionsoftheirrespectivesixtiethbirthdays.[1]Thestudyand
comparisonofthesetextsisparticularlyinterestingbecausethey
allowustoappreciatewhat,onthisfundamentalsubject,separates
twoauthorswhoarefrequentlycomparedtoeachotherandwho
maintainedapowerfulintellectualrelationshipforseveraldecades.
Whatfollowsisabriefoverview.
[1]

Inhisapproach,whichhecarefullypresentedasmedical(it
includesdiagnosisandtherapeutics),Jngerinitiallyassertsthat

AlaindeBenoist

toremedynihilism,onemustgiveagooddefinitionofit.Taking
upNietzschesopinionthatnihilismistheprocessinandbywhichthehighestvaluesdebase
themselves(TheWilltoPower),heaffirmsthatthisisessentiallycharacterizedbythe
devaluationthenthedisappearanceoftraditionalvalues,firstandforemosttheChristian
values.
Thenhereactsagainsttheideathatnihilismisprimarilyachaoticphenomenon:
Onerealized,withthehelpoftime,thatnihilismcanagreewithvastsystemsoforder,
andthatitisevengenerallythecase,whenittakesonitsactiveformanddeploysits
power.Itfindsinorderafavorablesubstrateitreorganizesittowardsitsends....Order
notonlyyieldstotherequirementsofnihilism,butisacomponentofitsstyle.(pp.48
52)
Inthissense,nihilismisnotdecadence.Itstilldoesnotgohandinhandwithslackening,but
ratherproducedmenwhomarchstraightaheadlikeironmachines,insensitiveevenatthe
momentcatastropheshattersthem(p.57).Likewise,nihilismisnotadisease.Thereis
nothingmorbidaboutit.Onthecontrary,onefindsitlinkedtophysicalhealthaboveall,
whereonesetsvigorouslytowork(p.54).Nihilismisinontheotherhandessentially
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