Published in  
November 12, 2023

Nothing really matters

Perhaps nihilism is a strange sort of caring.

Nothing matters.

I think that nihilism might be a deeper form of caring than most might appreciate. An abundance of attachment instead of a critical loss of it. On the surface, the nihilist stands apart in his claims that nothing matters. At least, this is how a lot of what passes as nihilism is characterized: nothing matters. From this pathologizing distance, we might view this detached, cold imperviousness with scorn. In the face of so much suffering, how can one not care?

Against the run of things, I would argue that it would require a certain kind of vibrancy, a certain kind of flirtatious aliveness and quavering animacy, a being within the fragile world in some way, an orgasmic touching of things, a falling in love with matter, with the matrixial edge of the world in her fugitive openness, to come to the idea that nothing matters. I am not merely trying to say that the articulation of nihilism is the expression of the nihilist’s frustrations with the world, an indication of a previous capacity to care for the world. That may be so, but I would gesture at something stranger: that the stance of indifference, the seemingly stable point of meaninglessness, is already struck through with a finer tension, a deep caring, a seeking of some kind that wants to fly towards the sun with wax-clad wings instead of staying carefully within the atmosphere of the already known. In this sense, nihilism feels like an excess instead of a 'zero negativity'. What is at stake? Well, nothing matters. Nothing’s mattering. Nothing’s materiality. Nothing’s materiality, speculative buoyancy, and radical hospitality is at stake.

As such, I find it interesting to think of nihilism together with paraontology. Nihilism’s interest is in how “nothing” comes to matter because it senses the inadequacies of “everything”. Its gravitational pull and intrigue is towards the apophatic, unsayable, para-moral, and negative outsides that lurk at the edges of everything. A para-ontology. ‘Everything’ is not enough. ‘Nothing’ makes sense. The sweltering compost heap of nothing, useless to the violent renderings of everything, harbours the unsaid, the autistic, the unworlding of worlds, the poverty of meaning.

Indeed, I am compelled to think of blackness as necessarily nihilistic. Postactivism is nihilistic. A fugitive nihilism, if you will. The crack has no goal, no end, no utopia in mind.

Maybe this is why I have always been intrigued by nothing and the way it comes to matter: in those moments when my childhood pastor urged me to remember that God had created everything, I would whisper under my breath that everything was too small to encompass my interests.

Nothing also matters.

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