This question echoes this one about Brassens' philosophy.

I know Morrison was heavily influenced by Nietzsche, who is considered by some people as a nihilist (although his oeuvre was meant to go against it).

Morrison had some public behaviors on stage and interpersonal behaviors who make me think of him as a punk, that is a cultural movement building on nihilism and anarchism.

But I don't know if and how the lyrics of his songs, for instance, could relate to nihilism.

Can Jim Morrison (by his personal philosophy as exhibited by his behavior, and as an artist as exhibited by his songs lyrics) be considered a nihilist?

  • 3
    Close: narcissist.
    – Scott Rowe
    Sep 30, 2023 at 18:58
  • @ScottRowe What do you mean?
    – Starckman
    Oct 1, 2023 at 3:03
  • Why do we close this question and not the one on Brassens?
    – Starckman
    Oct 1, 2023 at 9:53
  • He was too self-centered to participate in nihilism. The universe clearly revolved around him, so saying nothing was important would clash with that. Did you read the biography about him?
    – Scott Rowe
    Oct 2, 2023 at 1:31
  • 1
    @Starckman Sex Pistols might have been a particularly bad examples as they are apparently a boy band cast by the manager of a cloth shop to sell more stuff: youtube.com/…
    – haxor789
    Oct 2, 2023 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


The answer to this question may reside in his writing. I recommend you reading a few Doors lyrics. I did, eons ago, and remember cryptic verses, with some vitalist energy. So yeah, maybe Nitzschean but not nihilist. But as I said, I read them a long time ago.

Edit: on second thought, I wonder if it makes sense to peg "larger than life" artists such as Brassens or Morisson to any particular school of philosophy. By definition, artists chose another way (art, poetry) to paint human nature than philosophers (analysis, refutation, synthesis). They cannot be bound by philosophers, they may well straddle several schools of philo, or reject them all. Artists are philosophical UFOs. They don't map neatly to philosophical schools. Why should they?

Poetry is polysemic. This is its strength. Philosophy on the other hand ought to be precise.

Poets must stir emotions; philosophers tend to shun them.

What kind of poet could be satisfied within the confines of analytic philosophy, postmodernism, or materialism? Wouldn't adherence to a particular message tend to make the verses lame?

I think it's in the second tome of the Buru Quartet, one of the most powerful political novels of the twentieth century, that a seasoned journalist explains to the young, aspirant writer Minke that he should not try and focus on any particular message -- that would make his prose sound preachy and defeat the purpose -- but should rather try and paint human nature in all its complexity and contradictions, and let the reader draw his own conclusion.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer did that very effectively with the Buru Quartet. It still makes me cry when I think of it, 20 years after reading...

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .