The Age of Nihilism: How avoiding reality has become the new status quo, and what we can do about it

David van Overbeek in gesprek met Nolen Gertz over zijn boek Nihilism.

“Don’t worry, be happy” seems to be the motto of modern human beings. In his new book ‘Nihilism’ Nolen Gertz shows that nihilism is everywhere. In conversation with David van Overbeek this Assistant professor of applied ethics clarifies the concept and explains the urge of a book on nihilism in times of climate change, inequality, Trump and Brexit. What we call peace, is what philosophers have described as nihilism, according to Gertz. “I want to stay home with my family, watch tv, relax, be happy, have my car, have my vacation, have my retirement: then I have a happy live.” This means that politics is not my concern. It creates an increasingly peaceful appearance of the world. Gertz states however that with the greatest inequality and climate disaster of today, we cannot hide our head in the sand anymore, because the sand is on fire. Our way out of nihilism? Gertz’ concern with modern technology is that we seek therapeutic methods to avoid suffering, rather than facing ourselves. The solution lies in suffering, because that is where we see the need of making a change on a political scale instead of avoiding reality.