eyes the typical, negative Russian character: the character who finds no rest and cannot be satisfied with anything permanent, who does not believe in his native soil nor in the strength of his native soil, who fundamentally denies Russia and himself (or rather, his social class, the entire stratum of the intelligentsia, to which he too belongs, and which has detached itself from our folk heritage), who will have nothing to do with his own people, and who sincerely suffers from all this. Pushkin's Aleko and Onegin have evoked a great many characters like themselves in our literature. . (Dostoievsky, Werke, edited by Moeller v. d. Bruck, Division Two, XII, 95f.)

For Nietzsche, though, the word nihilism means something substantially "more." Nietzsche speaks about "European nihilism." He does not mean the positivism that arose in the mid-nineteenth century and spread throughout Europe. "European" has a historical significance here, and means as much as "Western" in the sense of Western history. Nietzsche uses nihilism as the name for the historical movement that he was the first to recognize and that already governed the previous century while defining the century to come, the movement whose essential interpretation he concentrates in the terse sentence: "God is dead." That is to say, the "Christian God" has lost His power over beings and over the determination of man, "Christian God" also stands for the "transcendent" in general in its various meanings—for "ideals" and "norms," "principles" and "rules," "ends" and "values," which are set "above" the being, in order to give being as a whole a purpose, an order, and—as it is succinctly expressed—"meaning." Nihilism is that historical process whereby the dominance of the "transcendent" becomes null and void, so that all being loses its worth and meaning, Nihilism is the history of the being itself, through which the death of the Christian God comes slowly but inexorably to light. It may be that this God will continue to be believed in, and that His world will be taken as "real," "effectual," and "determinative." This history resembles the process in which the light of a star that has been extinguished for millennia still gleams, but in its gleaming nonetheless remains a mere "appearance." For Nietzsche, therefore, nihilism is in no way some kind of viewpoint "put forward" by somebody, nor is it an arbitrary historical "given," among many others, that can be historically documented. Nihilism is, rather, that event of long duration in

Nietzsche IV European Nihilism (GA 6.2) by Martin Heidegger