In this third part of my eight part series on nihilism, I discuss three major orientations in the world history of religion:
The Overcoming of the World: the belief that the experience of distinction and of change is illusory, that true reality is both unified and hidden. My example: Classical Buddhism.
The Humanization of the World: the belief that society exists in a meaningless natural void, and yet, within this void, we can create meaning by building a civilization that bears the imprint of our humanity. My example: Confucianism.
The Struggle with the World: the belief that we can and should embark on a trajectory of ascent within the world we experience, that we should struggle to be more godlike. My examples: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as the modern secular projects of emancipation, like democracy, liberalism and socialism, and the cultural program of emancipation, Romanticism
I end with this remark:
One of the three directions, the struggle with the world, in its secular form, of the projects of political and personal emancipation, has set the whole world on fire for over two centuries. It has aroused in the heart of ordinary humanity the hope of greatness, the desire to expand our share in the attributes of the divine. This arousal is the point of departure for a new religious revolution in history.