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Severinian

Are all powerlusters nihilists?

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In The Fountainhead, I got the impression that Gail was supposed to be a semi-good, life-loving person who simply made a philosophical mistake, and this made him crave power. 

However, in Galt's speech, it seemed like Rand's position was that all powerlust came from subconscious nihilism? (I.e. hatred of the good for being the good) 

 

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That's the way in which some people use the term nihilist, but as far as I understand, Rand (and others, like Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche) used it to mean hatred of the good for being the good. I.e. the mentality of a drunk obese man who beats his wife into a pulp if she's laughing. 

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From Rand's notes:

[Toohey] is the great Nihilist of the spirit.

Toohey understands human greatness and the motive-power of human greatness better than any other man in the story. Roark is great, but too unself-conscious to analyze or understand it—for a long time. Keating and Wynand seek greatness blindly. Toohey knows its roots.

One other passage I found that comes across as relevant to myself is from OPAR Pg. 170

Of all the variants of emotionalism, nihilism is the ugliest.

Working off your title question accordingly:

All power-lusters are emotionalists.
Some emotionalists are nihilists.

 

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7 hours ago, Severinian said:

hatred of the good for being the good. I.e. the mentality of a drunk obese man who beats his wife into a pulp if she's laughing. 

Rand and Nietzsche would characterize altruism this way, but nihilism? I don't think so. Rand didn't use the term a lot as I recall, and N referred to the rejection of any meaning at all in life as nihilism. That mentality there isn't nihilism or altruism, it's emotionalism.

I agree with DWs last phrase.

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