The Age of Nothing
In 1882, the German philosopher Nietzsche famously announced ‘the death of God’. In The Age of Nothing Peter Watson will tackle the subject of meaning in the post-Nietzschean world by using a narrative approach. He will recount the ideas on how we can live without God as they have been devised since the 1880s by writers, artists, composers, scientists, psychologists, philosophers, poets and others, all woven into a rich narrative. The Age of Nothing aims to identify, examine and give shape to a period of our intellectual history that, in the past decade, has sharpened, as religious violence has reached spectacular dimensions (because old enmities now have new technologies of destruction), and all alternative ‘isms’ are shown to have feet of clay. Most importantly, how have people in the past 130 years, since Nietzsche made his pronouncement, devised ways to live, achieved ‘fullness’, found satisfaction outside religion? What, in practical terms, can we learn from artists, scientists, philosophers, in how to deal with the cold, empty world that we now inhabit? Alongside this, Watson will explore how the world has coped with Nietzsche’s legacy, for there is a negative side to this story as well. By telling these two sides, we show how fragile the achievements of some of our greatest modern artists have been – and all the more precious for that.