The Metaphysics of Violence and Nihilism by: Nader El-Bizri

Document Type : Original Article


The metaphysical essence of nihilism embodies a radical devaluing of reality and a depreciation of life in being ontologically fixated on non-being and at times appealing to positivistic scientism to flatten existence and grasp it simply as perishable. A materialistic take on worldly affairs could also potentially naturalize the concrete and pragmatic political and economic exercising of violence and actualize the unfolding of its will to power. Although religion posits its own variegated values in celebration of nature, life, and humanity as signs of divine creation, some of its interpretations of divinity and scripture could potentially downgrade the worthiness of our sensory and temporary being-in-the-world by only valuing a belief in the supra-sensible and otherworldly transcendence that underpins it. Such penchant in religiosity if left unmonitored spiritually and theologically might result in the praxis of bellicosity rather than contribute to pacifying or overcoming aggression. A revengeful resentment towards worldly existence could sacrifice the value of life in the name of the articles of faith. Taking these situational aspects into account, we reflect herein on the metaphysical conditions in which nihilism and violence become harboured not only in a materialist will to power but also within the folds of religious belief.