Presentation: Concepts X4 – Review – Phase 1

Day 5 Week 3

Fridays Lecture (Week 3) saw us presenting four of our chosen topics to the class, with the aim to generate discussion and narrow down our research to one topic only. During our presentations the class used an Ether-pad to write notes and vote for their preferred topic.
Below is the transcript of reviews from that presentation:
# Penny
# Classic Art (& Other Art)❤️❤️❤️❤️
Ernst Haeckel has some amazing work, especially revolving around composition and the Golden Ratio
religious connotations, dramatic body and facial expressions
art nouveau
Golden ratio, rule of 3, +1
The meanings hidden within the art that is often lost on most modern viewers
Composition – layout / grid 
remix culture – Lawerence lessig
Cory doctorow 
## Music Narratives❤️❤️<3♥️❤️
💝 🧡🧡
Have a look at the Golden Ratio in music
twenty one pilots and their contradictory use of lyrics and sound
Pink Floyd – concept albums
Up-opening scene
Toneality and evoking feeling 
Mood / feelings 
to be a narrative tool
## Language❤️❤️❤️❤️
Look into last weeks “The Apprentice”; they had a challenge around a comic with one team looking into teaching kids French (they failed but it’s a good look into what you can do), what language is the best to learn in the current education system? (French, German, Spanish)?
Children (especially young ones) learn faster – why?
different ways to learn language – learning by reading, writing and speaking
english literature or language? what are the differences? what are the benefits of raising a child in a duolinguistic household?
how do words good
In terms of gamification as per your slide/motivations…
Genie – a girl who didn’t aquire the ability for full on language before the cut off age (7) and her journey to learn how to communicate 
## Nihilism ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️<3
Consider counter-arguments to Nihilism as well.
Nihilist memes, 80/90’s, colourful, quotes, AESTHETIC, Vaporwave/retro wave (colours and feel of the aesthetic)…
cool aesthetic 
Ethics contrast
go talk to Calum Kerr he will tell you all about language +1can confirm its true
Visual narrative – surrealism – 
cosmic horror – insignificance of humans
chaos theory
Look at the Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan
Why do people end up seeing the world and life in this way?
The votes total in as follows:
Classic Art               5
Music Narratives   11
Language                 4
Nihilism                   11
There is a clear tie between ‘Musical Narratives’ and ‘Nihilism’ – both are my personally preferred topics from my research so that bodes well – taking on the advice from my peers I will explore these two in hopes to narrow down my research to just one topic.
I will do this through concept exploration and by investigating the recommended themes written to me by my peers.
Without hesitation I know instinctively which topic I want to explore simply because of its potential for an interesting aesthetic theme – that being nihilism, however, I am also drawn to music narratives because of my love for story telling and sound media so more investigation is needed.

First I will investigate, Music Narratives:
  • Have a look at the Golden Ratio in music
  • twenty one pilots and their contradictory use of lyrics and sound
  • Pink Floyd – concept albums
  • Up-opening scene
  • Tonality and evoking feeling 
  • Opera

Golden Ratio in music

‘The Golden Ratio’ in music appears to translate mathematical instances into scales relevant for producing music, additionally this can be achieved through the ‘Fibonacci Sequence’ to produce pleasing music. (van Gend, R 2014) Instruments such as ‘Stradivarius Violins’ are produced using the Golden Ratio; these instruments produce beautiful sounds. The Golden Ratio can be applied to natural structures and also to Artworks; the Ratio can be instrumental in describing why certain things contain greater subjective ‘beauty’ than things to which the ratio does not apply.

Twenty One Pilots (rel: Contradictory Lyrics and Tones)

Consistently Twenty One Pilots use negative lyrics in their music paired with music that follows a Major Scale (known for promoting happiness and feelings of wellness). This contradiction perhaps airs itself to promote a self-help/healing aura which allows the listeners to work through complicated emotional issues with an overarching positive tone, this may allow for less self criticism that may otherwise accompany these thoughts when the instrumentals are not present.

This contradiction may be a useful connection if I choose this topic for exploration as a Game Concept.

Pink Floyd (rel: Concept Albums)

Up-Opening Scene

Following the narrative of ‘Up”s Opening theme may prove useful as an experiment and investigation in providing evidence for the hypothesis that musically driven narratives have viability as a main concept/theme.

Tonality and Evoking Feeling 


Opera provides an interesting example of musically driven narratives working in a real world setting, being a staple of entertainment for 100’s of years. Opera combines acting, singing and music to convey deep messages and meanings and tell traditional stories in non-traditional ways. The fact that Opera is so successful posses an indication for the potential success of music narratives working in other settings.

It is a trusted method of story-telling.


Secondly I will investigate, Nihilism: 

  • Considering Counter-Arguments to Nihilism.
  • Aesthetic Themes of Nihilism (Memes, 80s/90s, Colourful, Quotes, Vaporwave/Retrowave)
  • Artists (Visual narrative – Surrealism)
  • Ethics Contrast
  • Cosmic Horror – Insignificance of Humans
  • Chaos Theory
  • Look at the Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan
  • Why do people end up seeing the world and life in this way?
  • Nietzsche’s Two Forms of Nihilism

Considering Counter-Arguments to Nihilism.


“the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.” – “The ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.”
(Google Automatic Dictionary, n/a) 
If one delves into Hedonism, they may be able to experience a sense of joy at their actions, encouraging themselves to self-indulge in worldy pleasures may increase life satisfaction. However, fundamentally this school of thought clashes with that of Nihilism in the sense that a Nihilist sees no objective value in these activities, the act of self-indulgence is a meaningless one, therefore it is hard to feel pleasure in the act other than through arbitrary kinesetic responses and basic emotional responses that we all feel when presented with specific stimuli. Feeling pleasure for pleasures sake is not something natural to the Nihilist, they have – other time – tunned out this response and replaced it with a more internal process of thinking and analysis that tends to override any other intrinsic motivations to feel ‘happy’ about doing something self-indulgent – any and all acts are just actions, there is nothing inherently special about one thing over another. Because the Nihilist has – with want for a better word – ‘desensitived’ themselves to overly emotional responses (essentially creating apathy) they do not instinctively feel or have motivation to feel anything else because the fundamentals of their philosophy deem that the more appropriate response to most stimuli.
Trying to force a happy response tends to create only a disparity and an uncomfortable feeling to manifest.
Once one reaches apathy, it is hard to break it.


Altruism is acting out of concern for another’s well-being. Often, people behave altruistically when they see others in desperate circumstances and feel empathy and a desire to help.

(Psychology Today, n/a)

The act of altruism is a paradoxial one, aiding the needs of others – possibly at the expense of your own – generates happiness in the giver; because we are social mammals there is a reward for looking after the best interests of the group.

This reward could generate a positive sense of well-doing and potentially even drive home the importance of looking after one another – creating meaning in existence that otherwise was not there. Whether or not this is enough to generate positive feeling in the Nihilist is unsure, as things tend to level themselves out and a person goes back to a state of apathy rather quickly. That action thus becomes just another – or potentially it motivates the individual to search for meaning in others that they have not found in themselves; This depends greatly on the state of mind and reasoning of every individual.

The Paradox of Nihilism

“the absence of meaning seems to be some sort of meaning.”

(Hegarty, P 2006)

A counter argument to Nihilism could even potentially be Nihilism itself as it stands to contradict (very loosely) the terms in which it exists. It attempts to remove meaning from things but through doing this it then creates meaning in the sentiment of expressing an affiliation with the ideology of being meaningless – it itself forms a power and meaning through the object search for non-meaning in all things, it is a collective in which people find meaning through the expression of anti-isms.

All  ‘-ists’ are a collective, a group of people who share the sentiment of ideas and form a bond through this shared perception. Nihilists are not any different.

Aesthetic Themes of Nihilism (Memes, 80s/90s, Colourful, Quotes, Vaporwave/Retrowave)






The given suggestions above all prove to me to be ironic statements/expressions of nihilistic humour in the setting of the internet. Why do Nihilists congregate on the internet, what is it about that school of thought that interests such specific groups of people?

Identifying common stereotypal groupings within the Nihilist Community:

Young Internet Users (14-25), Eastern Europeans, Alternatives,

Is it a response to societal change, an evolutionary response to stress/culture shifts?

What is it about these themes that provide visual expression to nihilistic sensibilities?

  • Irony
  • Reflecting a mirror at society (Mocking contemporaries)
  • Humour (Laughing at nothing)
  • Forming a group relationship (Bonding & Forming Meaning through a senseless nothingness)
  • Memes are a great vehicle for nihilistic humour as there is no limit to it’s composition, style or themes. They are absurd and are often used to portray absurdist humour.
  • Primal Emotion (colour)
  • Language and Literature as beloved mediums for nihilists (individualist hobby’s & interests)
  • No effort consumption (low effort creation)
  • 80s/90s relates to the age group of contemporary nihilists and internet users (their birth or child/teen years – feeds into some nostalgia)
  • Humour as a defense mechanism
  • Social bonding
Youth Figure Heads who use 80s themes/Vaporwave
  • NoFuckers
  • Pyrocinical
  • Leafyishere
  • h3h3
  • Pewdiepie

It is almost a cultural/social trend

Response to…
Expression of…

Artists (Visual narrative – Surrealism)

“The act of drawing ever more complex patterns on a blank sheet‘ is tantamount to
placing a meaning on that which has no meaning.”

(Slocombe, 2003)

(Saborío, 2013)


(Malevich, 1915)


“Art is purposiveness without purpose”


Ethics Contrast

Nihilists are often still ethically bound to moralistic sensibilities – they do not disregard the value and importance of humanity entirely otherwise they would all be committing crimes.

Certain types of people with specific Sociopathic/Machiavellian traits often do commit crimes and are prone to apathetic nihilistic (seeming) behaviours – however I cannot discern whether or not individuals like these openly affiliate themselves with nihilism or whether their actions just follow a trend similar to the ideologies of Nihilism.

Nihilists often derive their morals from a basic sense of ethics – understanding what is right and wrong and behaving in a way that seems most beneficial to most people. Right and wrong is not objective so there can’t be a rule by rule method for deriving an ultimately positive moral outcome – one must look at all the facts of any given situation and derive an outcome that benefits both themselves and the other external forces impacting the decision, this may be a family member or friend, a work decision or something entirely different. Unlike in religion where a holy book will tell it’s subscribers what is right and wrong, Nihilists must decide for themselves based on their own understanding of ethics what is right and what is wrong in any given situation.

This is contraversial because it opens up the potential for heinous wrong doing, however, most people are gouverned by an internal – evolutionary – system that dictates which things are morally unjustifiable; this system is based primarily on a general consensous of behaviour developed throughout human evolutionary history.

Humans tend to be moralistic from birth, they know that killing another man is wrong and that hurting others damages the group so there is an innate sense of knowing most people are aware of without the influences of society or religion. There are obvious exceptions to this rule – people born without a consconce (born primary psychopaths) and those who have clear developmental problems – but these exceptions are not the rule, they are chaotic deviations from the rule. (Fleischman 2018)

Cosmic Horror – Insignificance of Humans

Cosmic Horror is a genre of horror fiction – H.P. Lovecraft is thought to be one of the first authors to use Cosmic Horror – the basic concept looks at the idea that humans are insignificant and the outter world (the cosmos) in it’s vast expanse contains many unseen and unknown horrors that without guilt or remorse could destroy us. The shift in significance of humankind in this specific media, shifted from individual significance to a macro scale of humankind, one that makes us look like ants in comparison to the greater expanse. People began to feel an intense existential dread that was all consuming – the knowledge that we may not be alone in this world – and also not powerful, smart or significant draws the mind to horror as we become vulnerable and small. This theme helps to explore the ideas of insignificance and existentialism which are fundamental precursors to the philosophy of thought of Nihilism.

This genre of writing may prove useful as a tool to visually and thematically represent the idealology of Nihilism.


Cosmicism is based on the idea that humanism is an illusion. Human consciousness, human civilization, humane values, and all the rest, add up to a bubble that surrounds us and keeps us from seeing that the cosmos is wholly indifferent to us.

(Wiley, 2018)

Alien (H.R. Giger Art)

Chaos Theory

In a Philosophical sense, Chaos theory provides some science behind the thought that nothing matters, chaos theory suggests that the universe was born – randomly – from nothingness into being and everything within follows the laws of chaos – existing without reason, purpose or concern for anything. The Universe is not – to our knowledge – conscious of itself or what it does and because of this chaos reigns – at least a perception of chaos from our perspective.

Chaos theory more scientifically is the study of percieved chaos within the structures of nature – weather is a good example of this.

“Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on.”

(Fractal Foundation, n/a)

Look at the Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

In Progress

Why do people end up seeing the world and life in this way?

Nihilism could be both a choice and an objective characteristic of other human issues, such as: apathy & depression.

Many variables could lead to one person developing these sensibilities, typically one must be able to detach themselves from a need for purpose – this means initially losing their sense of purpose through one means or another. People who choose this philosophical school of thought tend to be ‘damaged’ individuals in one way or another, their positive sensibilities destroyed by some means – taking away their desire and need for developing and sustaining inherent meaning in things.

  • Loss
  • Abuse
  • Disconnection (Internal for Protection or External)
  • Social Exclusion
  • Alternative Thinking
  • Genetic Predisposition (mental health, personality traits, thinking style)
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Drug Use
  • Sociopathy
  • Cultural Relevance
  • Defiance (Anarchy)
  • Response to stressors (internal or external)

The potential reasoning’s could be limitless if you follow the path of reasoning far enough.

Nietzsche’s Two Forms of Nihilism

Nietzsche’s views on Nihilism were that firstly it was both a spiritual and a moral problem, however, it proved necessary as a means to put into question the Christian traditions of the western world. Nihilism is a kind of pathological skepticism that creates questions concerning whether what we know and trust is real. It works as a means to rebel against tradition and in its place create new ideologies that fit better in the modern world. Some people seem stuck within Nihilism, not replacing old knowledge for new, perhaps for a few reasons: they lack the motivation or emotion to fill that space with positive approaches to philosophy, they have suffered systemic oppression or familiarial abuse, they enjoy chaos and anarchy (affiliate themselves with an ideology that fits closely within those ideals), they follow existentialism and or it fits their current surroundings – giving explanations for the absurd by removing the significance of all matter and removing the necessity for meaning.

Pathological Nihilism (Passive)

Pathological Nihilism is bred from suffering, normally via the vehicle of external objectification, oppression, abuse or any other form of suffering that de-humanises. This form of Nihilism is ultimately isolating, breding an environment of apathy that consumes and destroys.

A nihilist is a man who judges of the world as it is that it ought not to be, and of the world as it ought to be that it does not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: the pathos of ‘in vain’ is the nihilists’ pathos — at the same time, as pathos, an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists.

(Nietzsche, n/a)

Possitive Nihilism

Whereas Positive Nihilism focuses more on the themes of liberation from opression and liberation from objective truth, instead replacing these with subjective truth and meaning that only an individual can decide upon. This approach to this type of thinking is far more productive as a means to create something of a fullfilling life.

The quote below summizes the positivity of this school of thought very well.

“It is only after you have lost everything that you are free to do anything.”

(Palahniuk, 1996)

Related Topics:

Existentialism, Anarchy, Hedonism, Satanism, Absurdism, Surrealism, Apathy, Anti-Humanism, Cosmicism, Cynicism, Pessimism, Postmodernism, Radical skepticism, Trivialism, Phenominology, Perceptionism.

The Search for Meaning

Personal thoughts and philosophy

The Truth

“[Truth] is a mobile army of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations that have been enhanced and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people”

(Nietzsche, Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense 6).

Acts of Nihilism


After considering both topics I feel throughout my exploration I was continually pulled towards nihilism due to it’s potential to explore more than itself – it opens many doors that narratives do not, however, ironically – the themes of nihilism could potentially be delivered through the method of a narrative; combining both themes subtly.

The aesthetic potential of Nihilism draws me to it most, as it will allow me to explore a more chaotic method of creation that otherwise I would be unable to explore successfully. It’s relation to 80s and 90s aesthetic allows me to explore ‘classic’ games and their limited yet highly beautiful pixel art style, including some ‘vaporwave’ visuals that I find quite interesting. In addition to this I love surrealism and absurdism and it’s ability to be both anything and nothing, nihilism is an excellent vehicle of expression for this visual narrative that I look forward to exploring.


van Gend, R. (2014) The Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio
in music. Campion College. Vol.20, no. 1 Pages 72-77. [PDF] Available at: [Accessed: 22 Oct. 2018]

Fleischman, Dr. D, S. (2018) The Darwin Day Lecture 2018: The evolution of human morality [Video] Humanists UK [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018]

Fractal Foundation. (n/a) What is Chaos Theory?[Website] Available at: %5BAccessed 23 Oct. 2018].

Google Automatic Dictionary. (n/a) Hedonism. [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Hegarty, P. (2006) The Semiotic Review of Books. [PDF] Department of Sociology, Lakehead University. [Accessed 20 Oct 2018].

Kant, I. (n/a) [Quote] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018]. “Art is purposiveness without purpose.”.

Malevich, K. (1915) Black Square. [Painting]

Nietzsche, F. (n/.a) taken from The Will to Power, section 585, translated by Walter Kaufmann [PDF]. [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].

Palahniuk, C. (1996) Fight Club [Book] New York, W.W. Norton & Company. “It is only after you have lost everything that you are free to do anything.”

Psychology Today. (n/a) Altruism [Article] Psychology Today International. Available at: [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Saborío, P. (2013). The Impossibility of Truth. [Acrylic on canvas] Beyond Language Poetry.

Slocombe, W. (2003) Postmodern Nihilism: Theory and Literature. [PDF] University of Wales. Pg,194. Available at: [Accessed on: 23 Oct. 2018].

Wiley, C. (2018). Lovecraft’s Cosmicism: What it Is, How It Works, and Why It Fails. [online] PaterFamilias Daily. Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].

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