Missing Axioms II – Beyond Nihilism

October 26, 2020

miss·​ing ax·​i·​om | ˈmɪsɪŋ ˈæksɪəmz

A disorienting state reached through a shocking experience or sudden realisation. Presupposed and supposedly self-evident assumptive foundations or established values vanish. The previous self can no longer be ethically justified or measurably quantified causing the subject to fall without gravity.

Missing axioms is a uniquely human condition arising from an existential scenario where the chasm between explicit and implicit value is realised. This can take several forms; realizing the fictitious nature of a particular projection of irreducible worth, shattering an illusion of value(s), or recognising the erroneous nature of the certainty that was once firmly rooted in a perspective toward a set of value(s). This existential wrong-footing, an affront to any purportedly fixed identity, causes the foundational assertoric logic of explicit value(s) to collapse simultaneously from within and without. For the embodied subject, the fallout presents a psychological chasm, a faultline across the valuing guidance mechanism. Throughout human history this has led neurotically-inclined intellectuals to claim status as genuine nihilists. However, as previously demonstrated, this is an impossibility for the embodied human subject. The state of missing axioms is actually much more troubling for those aware of the implicit impossibilities surrounding the traditional angst of the ‘nihilist’. Those who are under the impression of embodied nihilism tend to descend into a juvenile apathy that justifies self-satisfied hedonism, post hoc rationalisation and a general shrugging of the shoulders to notions of responsibility. Those with only a pop culture understanding of nihilism often have pre-existing defects in place before selecting the explicit void of off-the-shelf imposter nihilism in order to justify themselves.

Missing axioms is this same nihilism, in the explicit sense. However, it is also augmented with the challenge of what ought to be done implicitly when something must be chosen implicitly, consciously or unconsciously. Whereas imposter nihilism generally tends towards an intellectual interpretation of a decent into the primal drives, missing axioms approaches such drives with justified anxiety. Drives are unprivileged over one another in a way that the nihilistic cry of subjective freedom neither justifies the most debaucherous hedonist nor the most ascetic altruist. Missing axioms is concerned with the existential pain that imposter nihilism conveniently overlooks through intoxicated stultification. Even suicide seems an unjustifiable act because fixed irreducible value(s) appears to be the requirement for any action. There is nothing beyond suffering, certainly nothing transcendent, which would justify even the simplest implicit actions in the suicidal direction. The state of missing axioms is the human imbued derivation of nihilism; an honest outlook from the embodied context. A recognition of the burden of existence and the inertness of our substrate through the realisation of the lack of a transcendent, fixed or even moving point of aim.

Despite the seeming lack of ultimate justification for value(s), it seems we are only ever authentic, in a valuing sense, when we inhabit a collision of explicit and implicit values. This is said without attaching value to any particular substantive overlap. For example, the thief who explicitly states their thievery is just as authentic as the altruist who not only extols their moral virtue but also implicitly acts it out. This leaves us in an absurd counterintuitive situation in regard to authenticity of character. In contrast to the proud liar and the genuine altruist, the person who explicitly states they are a real bastard but is in all actuality rather pleasant is acting inauthentically. This casts dispersions on the ethical presuppositions we might hold regarding authenticity of character. Missing axioms is a reorientation, the start of a process of undressing the notions of value, ethics and character in a way nihilism alone was inept to do.

< Missing Axioms I – Explicit and Implicit Value | Missing Axioms III – The Martyr >