For Nietzsche active nihilism was the capacity to instill value, for to project meaning is the prime expression of the will to power, the sole underlying motive force of the world.
Malcolm Bull in Anti-Nietzsche says that for Nietzsche ‘this final form of nihilism is the point of transition, the moment of metamorphosis into a new comprehensive “yes” to the world.
The collapse of meaning and value is what Nietzsche in the Will to Power calls the ‘eternal return of the same’. He envisages the world as a ‘monster of energy, without beginning, without end…a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and a flood of its forms’.
The eternal return and the capacity of man to deal with it ‘is a measure of the degree of strength of will to what extent one can do without meaning in things’.
These ideas didn’t seem to be helping me yesterday as I spent several hours working on a low and defined start to a Dan Varian addition to a problem of mine at Godrevy. My state of mind swung between the hopeless and the mundane. What was I doing wasting my time, yet what else was there to do? I thought of another problem of mine at Godrevy, I named it le tempe passé, 7b+. Its well over a decade old and what was at the time a faintly pretentious name, now seems prescient as years later I’m still bouldering at Godrevy and still attempting to extract meaning from the experience.
The value that Nietzsche rubbishes could in this case be my desire to make a better start to Dan Varians problem; it could be my desire to claim back what was a long-term project for myself. It could be the attachment of times passage to this piece of rock and my relationship to it. I make a move, this is progress, now nothing matters, I can indeed do as Nietzsche suggests and do without meaning in things.