A book on ethics and philosophy of values

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b) Creative subjectivism, as a second, disguised form of nihilism

At first glance, Nietzsche's enterprise could be defined as a struggle against nihilism.
Christianity, Buddhism and the thought of his teacher Schopenhauer are rejected by Nietzsche precisely because they are expressions of nihilism in disguise.
This leads him to describe the superhuman, the ideal stage towards which man, who is only a transition in the history of his evolution, will have to surpass himself, as the victor over nihilism: This man of the future, who in this wise will redeem us from the old ideal, as he will from that ideal's necessary corollary of great nausea, will to nothingness, and Nihilism; this tocsin of noon and of the great verdict, which renders the will again free, who gives back to the world its goal and to man his hope, this Antichrist and Antinihilist, this conqueror of God and of Nothingness — he must one day come 1.

How can Nietzschean thought be an antidote to nihilism? Equivalent question: in what way can creative subjectivism be a response to nihilism?
In fact, we can perhaps present this approach as follows: creative subjectivism claims to go beyond nihilism by integrating it (it is true, nihilism is right, things do not have value in themselves), but by adding something that "solves the problem": far from being devoid of all value, the world is full of values, because it contains within itself a source from which values spring: the human being, the subject, as the creator of values.
So it is not that the world is empty of value, as nihilism claims, but that it is empty of values "subsisting by themselves", "in themselves", "in things". In fact, the world is full of the values that we give to things.
We have already seen what Nietzsche meant by this.

We must now ask ourselves whether creative subjectivism can provide a satisfactory response to the scandalous challenge of nihilism.

First of all, we need to ask ourselves what exactly is the nature of the value created by man? Is it real or illusory? In other words, objective or subjective? Objective, without a doubt, because if it were subjective, we would remain within the framework of classic subjectivism, which asserts that man's desire only generates fictitious values, which he wrongly projects onto the world.

So we have to ask ourselves a question that Nietzsche doesn't even seem to mention: how is this possible? Or: how can we create real value?
Nietzsche seems to take it for granted that man can create values and give them to things. This is indeed self-evident if we are talking about "subjective" value, the value that man attaches to his ideas about things, since he constructs these ideas himself. But if we speak of "real" value, it is because we consider that it is the things themselves in the external world that receive a value from man. How is such a phenomenon possible?

Do we believe, to use an argument by the absurd, that by standing in front of an object and concentrating, a value will emerge from our head, pass through the air and become embodied in the thing? As we can see, this idea of the donation of values comes under the heading of magical thinking, that is to say the tendency, sometimes found in children and in times marked by superstition, to consider that by thinking very hard about something, it will come true; by this we mean this form of thinking that takes its dreams for realities.

We are therefore raising the question of the very possibility of the gift of value, as opposed to Nietzsche, for whom this does not even seem to be a problem.

On the other hand, even supposing that this donation is possible, i.e. that creative subjectivism is an axiological doctrine that makes sense, we believe that it cannot be opposed to nihilism. The reason for this is simple: it does not contradict nihilism.

In fact, creative subjectivism incorporates nihilism by admitting that things have no value in themselves. If it is up to man to give a value, then the world is devoid of all value; and this is precisely what nihilism affirms. If the thing we love had a value in itself, there would be no need to project values onto it. The idea of projecting values therefore necessarily assumes that "Nothing has value in itself".
The only way to confront nihilism is to contradict precisely what it asserts, i.e. to show that the world has value in and of itself. By integrating nihilism, subjectivism thinks it is going beyond it. On the contrary, it establishes nihilism, and gives it an enviable place, that of premise, even foundation, on which the rest of the system will be built. Nihilism, lodged like a worm within creative subjectivism, would then be unassailable by the latter, because using it as a foundation, this would precipitate its own downfall.

1. On the Genealogy of morals, 2nd treatise, 21