A common concern
received here is the
question, "I want to learn more about
nihilism, where should I go, what should I do,
what should I read ?"
first off you don't need to go anywhere - you're
already here! Second you will want to visit your
nearest library or search the Internet for online
books depending on the format of your reading
preference. More on that in a moment.
Next, what you
should do is read. This is because it's the most
effective way to learn the subject and will best present new
ideas and perspectives in a way that can be effectively
digested, so to speak, by the mind. Try the list below; these
books represent how I primarily learned about nihilism (albeit
without the benefit of the simplified order shown), and they all
contain key elements of the nihilistic mindset. I suggest
following the numerical sequence for reading, mostly because it follows a
general historical progression, but the order you
follow is really a matter of your convenience.
Nihilism Reading &
List for The Beginner
and Sons, by
This is a
novel which depicts the how, why and what
for of the Nihilist, set in 19th century
Czarist Russia. [Defining the
From the Underground, by Dostoyevsky.
person exposition of life in (or at least
near) the gutter. [Nihilistic
by Franz Kafka.
A novel of
the individual being ground down and
persecuted by the weight and capricious
whim of the system. [Destroying artificial law]
the State, by Michael Bakunin.
anarchism meets nihilism - covers
religion as slavery, science in society
and other topics. [Destroying
Catechism of a Revolutionist by Sergei
hyperlink is to a local excerpt. [Revolutionary
Manifesto for a Nihilist]
to Power, by Nietzsche.
nature of nihilism and its evolution into
the 'anti-Nihilist' archetype.
10,000 Years of Art, Phaidon Press,
Art is a window into the human mind, and the values, goals
and beliefs that influence behavior. As such, although a
superficially innocuous publication, this compact but dense
book reveals how transient cultural values can change
dramatically over time, and indicates just how foolish it is
to hold blind faith in the superiority of contemporary,
modern beliefs. [Cultural Revaluation]
Additional Reading Material
Assassination Bureau, Ltd by Jack
action of a sort.
Career of a Nihilist, by Stepniak, 1890
This novel provides insight into the lives and actions of
the 19th century Russian Nihilist revolutionaries.
Philosophy of Andy Warhol, by A. Warhol, 1975
Adam’s Curse, by Bryan Sykes, 2004.
If nihilism is that which is unavoidable then this book fits
the category perfectly. Geneticist Bryan Sykes combines
history, geography, and of course genetics, to reveal the
past, present and future of the Y (male) chromosome.
Ultimately the book reveals the way that unthinking genetic
influences can redirect, and even contradict, our best
interests as individual human beings, and as a species.
for more suggestions visit the
the book and website by Freydis
These films are both entertaining
and informative; they will help you establish an expanded sense
context (compare and contrast):
Baraka (1993) DVD, a stunning visual tour
of the world by Ron Fricke.
Mondo Cane 2
(1964) DVD, meaning 'a dog's world' or 'dog’s life', in
Italian, featuring extreme human behavior, ridiculous
religious rituals, fashion and foolish fad, violence and
stupidity, low-budget entertainment;
“... the film tended to shatter values.”
artificial technological environment:
- Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance
(1983), directed by Godfrey Reggio
natural environment in context:
Animal Minds (1999) DVD, PBS/BBC
production. [Biological & psychological context: emotions,
Earth: The Biography (2008) Blu-ray, by
Dr. Iain Stewart, BBC. [Geo-historical context]
(2007) Blu-ray, narrated by David Attenborough (skip disc 4).
[Biological environmental context]
BBC Atlas of the Natural World
[series] (2007), narrated by David Attenborough.
[Biological environmental context]
Journey to the Edge of the Universe (2008) Blu-ray,
This National Geographic film is a visually compelling trip
through space and time, depicting the violent creative and
destructive forces that created us and shape the
Glossary of Key Terms
Instability that comes from the breakdown of standards and
values within society. The alienation and uncertainty resulting
from a lack of direction and broken ideals.
Apostasy: To reject or renounce a belief set or religious
faith, to revolt.
A philosophy concerning the difficulties of individual existence
in a world where knowledge and morality are uncertain.
The firm belief in something
for which there is no proof.
Heretic: One who dissents from religious dogma or breaks
from accepted beliefs; nonconformist.
Heterodox: View or opinion that is different from, or in
opposition to, an accepted standard or religion; unconventional,
Image destroyer. Destruction of religious symbols and or one who
opposes their worship. One who attacks established beliefs and
A viewpoint that traditional beliefs and values are mortally
flawed, unfounded. The imperative desire for the wholesale
destruction of existing values, beliefs and associated
The ideas and concepts of nihilism put into action.
Fundamental change in worldview, and/or a radical
socio-political and economic transformation.