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N.1/2019 L'Italian Thought fra globalizzazione e tradizione

Saggi (Parte III) – Paradigmi e orientamenti

The Geopolitics of Nihilism

Alessandro Carrera
University of Houston

Published in June, 2019

The Geopolitics of Nihilism

L'Italian Thought fra globalizzazione e


Nietzsche, who defined nihilism as “the most unwelcome guest”, traced its origin to Socratic intellectual ethics and Platonic idealism. In the works of some contemporary Italian philosophers, the arcane of nihilism can also be found in the theoretical and geopolitical structure of the Mediterranean: the proximity of the One and the Many, land and sea, the city and the archipelago. Perhaps nihilism is too ingrained in the Mediterranean’s inner structure to be eradicated, yet in the history of Mediterranean civilizations it is possible to distinguish between active and passive nihilism. The active nihilism of Italian Renaissance, with its emphasis on fortuna, had had the same energizing effects that the doctrine of Grace would have on the Protestant Reformation. Conversely, the passive nihilism of today’s political, economic, or religious fundamentalism, which reduces human activity to the fulfillment of a totally transcendent and already perfected “plan”, turns the world, veritably, into nothing.


Cacciari, fortune, geopolitics, Mediterranean, nihilism, Severino.

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