Excerpt from "In the Dust of This Planet," Radiolab, September 8, 2014:
Simon Critchley: The quite cynical response would be to say, Why we love nihilism in pop culture is that it saves us having to be burdened with it. It saves us from feeling it. We can enjoy it in our rooms. We can get off on it. And then we let it go and we go back to work.
Jad Abumrad: But Nietzsche – Mr. Dark Pessimist himself – had this idea about nihilism that it was just the beginning. That if you really dealt with it, took it in, accelerated it to its logical end, you could get to the other side, which he called –
SC: – a revaluation of values. Some new way of thinking about who we are as moral creatures. And love – love is that capacity which can sear through that.
JA: And that, he suspects, is why his students were so interested in [learning about] mystics – because they had found a way through.
SC: These people – these mystics – have got the uncompromising commitment to something like love.
JA: The fact that they were ready to go all the way – to negate even their own bodies – for that love.
SC: So in a world where love has been reduced to tender exchanges, if that's the hell that you're living in as a twenty-five year old, then you're going to read these mystics and think, I want what she's having! I'll take what she's having!
JA: Burn my flesh [laughing].