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By Nabeela Shaikh in Wickked! - On

Recently I looked up Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ for kicks. Most of the concept of Übermensch went above my head but from there on, it was a slow downward spiral into wiki after wiki of philosophical ideas and doctrines. After untangling the mess of tabs and links I’d gotten into, here are three -isms that I found the most interesting:


Made popular by German philosopher Nietzsche, it assumes the negation of one or more aspects of life. It’s convenient like that, because it states life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Yes indeed, it’s all very Fight Club-esque; it even goes so far as to say that knowledge and reality do not exist. You can even choose your type of nihilism:

Existentialist: Foregoes any belief in the value or meaning of life, and believes that the significance of either an individual or the entire human species is pretty much zilch, but you can take a shot at figuring out your own meaning of existence if you like.
“I have no purpose on earth. Humankind has no purpose on earth. Yet I feel compelled to find purpose.”
“Dude. You’re stoned.”

Moral: Dismisses the notion of morality and consequently derived actions. So I could kill a bunny or even a person, and a moral nihilist will be like, “Hey man, that’s not right. But that isn’t wrong either, because there is no such thing.”

Breaking it down: Basically, it’s like saying “*insert meta-physical concept here*? Bitch please, don’t you know that don’t exist?”



‘Solus’ meaning alone and ‘ipse’ meaning self. Derived from Latin, like most of the English vocabulary. Ergo, (See? Latin word) solipsism is the idea that only one’s mind exists for sure, and everything outside that is uncertain. Other minds and worlds do not exist.

“Wait a minute, nothing outside my mind?”
“Yes, nothing. In fact, to me, your mind does not exist. YOU do not exist. This whole world does not exist. You are merely a representation of me and my thoughts.”
“Then who are you talking to?”

This guy thinks he’s a metaphysical solipsist, which means he appears to believe nothing external of his self is real, but instead a representation.  However, technically speaking he’s an epistemological solipsist; a variety of this school where they believe only the directly accessible mental contents of the philosopher can be known.

I concur; these people are quite full of themselves. They believe in something they can’t see as opposed to real physical matter, but you’ve got to hand it to them for being so confident.



Breaking it down: A true follower would most probably think on the lines of, “Everything is unreal and non-existential. Except my mind. And me. And, well, this cupcake. Because it’s awesome. Know why? Because it’s a representation of my thoughts.”



A relatively more laidback concept. In fact some may think it to be too laidback, considering it follows the notion that all actions are eventually subjected to fate. You can do what you like, but in the end is predetermined. Since it’s predetermined, it assumes the existence of someone or something controlling our actions. It somewhat encourages you to give in to the force (no, not that Force) rather than resist.

There exists in Fatalism a concept called the Idle Argument which states that if something is fated to happen, then why bother anyway? Seems like a question one asks oneself every morning.



Breaking it down: Fatalism is like that annoying friend who agrees to anything you ask him.
“I should really start studying, it’s about time.”
“Yea you should, get cracking then.”
“But I’m going to flunk anyway, I don’t understand squat.”
“Then what’s the point man? Come over and we can watch Django.”
Well, not the last part, but you get the picture.


A little ambiguous but very appealing - fallibilism is the notion that human beings could be wrong about their beliefs, expectations, or their understanding of the world, and yet still be justified in holding their incorrect beliefs. It entails being open-minded (like the 70’s) to new evidence that disproves previously held beliefs and having the ability to change any claim in the light of new justifications.

“Like, dude. . I believe in peace and free love and sharing the good vibes.”
“So do I man, so I’m just going to borrow some of your acid and instead send some lovin’ your way.”
“Okay maybe I don’t believe in sharing anymore.”

Breaking it down: Fallibilism is perfect for the capricious minded who aren’t too sure of anything really. How better to lead your life, than to firmly believe in something until someone comes along and disproves it?

There are a lot more philosophies which tend to challenge logic and the existence of the physical world, this is barely skimming the surface. Of course, it’s best one takes it with a pinch of salt-I’m no expert on the subject. However, Google is, so go ahead and pick a doctrine to follow. Unless you already believe there is no doctrine, or you’d rather follow your own, or it doesn’t matter either way.


Nabeela Shaikh

Enamoured by Humbert Humbert and Holden Caulfield. Swears by glitter. And nicotine.

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