Thursday, October 15, 2015


“How many people, “ Christophorou asked gravely, “all through this world, see nothing ahead for them?  Life is meaningless, a cruel joke where injustice is made into law, and religion only talks about the next world.  But what about this world, where a man has twenty, thirty, forty years to live?  In conditions he never made or chose or wanted?   Where he sees no hope of ever struggling free?  Why must he live like this?  The fools never ask that question;  they are animals, willingly caged.  But the men who do ask it find only one answer.  They may hide it deep within them.  But the answer is there, waiting.  Destroy everything that has trapped us, caged us, made life meaningless.  All gods have died, reason disappeared from this world, leaving only one sovereign force – the Absurd.  Destroy, and build anew.

“And that’s their fallacy.  They are already trapped in their own cage.”

Christophorou  looked at him sharply.  

Strang said, “A nihilist believes in nothing.  A man who believes in nothing cannot build anything.  Therefore, a nihilist can reduce everything to chaos, but he can only keep living in chaos.”

“I think you  must do a little more reading on the subject of nihilism.”
“Perhaps,” said Strang equably, but he hadn’t expected that kind of remark from Christophorou.  That was always one way of dealing with a point that wasn’t too easy to answer.  It was the kind of reply you’d be given at a dinner party where a self-appointed expert was brushing aside some unexpected opposition.  “How interesting, Mr. Strang, but I think if you were to read more on this . . . He smiled and shook his head. 

Christophorou said, “You find nihilism amusing?”

“No.” Strang was deadly serious now.

Text:  Helen MacInnes, Decision At Delphi (1960)