Kaitlyn Creasy for Psyche on the underlying depth of Nietzsche’s nihilism:

Understanding nihilism as life-denying in this first sense allows us to recognise one of Nietzsche’s most striking insights: if life-denial involves the negative judgment of this life and world as they actually are, then even beliefs and values that we typically understand as bestowing meaning and value upon life can function as covertly nihilistic. Let us return to the individual who believes that life is worth living only if there is some higher purpose to it, in which all human beings participate. For such an individual, it is not only nihilistic to disavow her belief in a higher purpose; it is also nihilistic for her to believe in a higher purpose. After all, Nietzsche argues, if we think life is worth living only if there is a higher purpose in which we participate – and it turns out that there is no higher purpose in which we participate (something that Nietzsche insists we must accept) – then one’s belief in a higher purpose is life-denying because it implicitly devalues life as it actually is (that is, as devoid of higher purposes). In other words, given that there is no higher purpose, belief in a higher purpose as that which is required to make life worth living covertly devalues life: it indicates that life, as it actually is, is not worth living.

Sarah Bakewell for Literary Hub (excerpted from Humanly Possible) on posthumanism and transhumanism:

Contemplating this, some human beings seek paradoxical consolation by embracing the prospect. “Posthumanists,” as they are sometimes known, look forward to a time when human life is either drastically reduced in scope or no longer around at all. Some propose deliberately bringing about this self-destruction ourselves. That is the message of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT), founded in 1991 by environmentalist and teacher Les U. Knight. Half serious and half a surreal work of art, the movement advocates doing the Earth a favor by giving up breeding and waiting for ourselves to gently fade away.


Others devoutly wish for a different consummation. “Transhumanists,” unlike posthumanists, look forward eagerly to technologies that will, first, extend the human lifespan considerably, and, later, allow our minds to be uploaded into other data-based forms, so that we can ditch the need for human embodiment. Some talk of a moment of “singularity,” when the rate of development has accelerated to the point that our machines and ourselves may fuse into one.

In the stage after that, as Ray Kurzweil writes in The Singularity Is Near, “vastly expanded human intelligence (predominantly nonbiological) spreads through the universe.” Posthumanism and transhumanism are opposites: one eliminates human consciousness, while the other suffuses it into everything. But they are the sort of opposites that meet at the extremes. Both agree that our current humanity is something transitional or wrong—something to be left behind. Instead of dealing with ourselves as we are, both imagine us altered in some dramatic way: either made more humble and virtuous in a new Eden, or retired from existence, or inflated to a level that sounds like that of gods.