Thus arose a struggle between the youthful, hot-headed partisans of revolutionary physical science and the zealous official guardians of political order - a struggle which has made the strange term Nihilism a familiar word not only in Russia but also in western Europe.
Still more unequivocal was the sceptical nihilism expressed by Gorgias: - (I) nothing exists; (2) if anything existed, it would be unknowable; (3) if anything existed and were knowable, the knowledge of it could not be communicated.
Brahmanic pantheism and Buddhistic nihilism alike teach the unreality of the seeming world, and preach mystical absorption as the highest goal; in both, the sense of the worth of human personality is lost.
The nihilism of Gorgias from the Eleatic point of view of bare identity, and the speechlessness of Cratylus from the Heraclitean ground of absolute difference, are alike disowned.
In a small but influential section of the educated classes there was a conviction that the revolutionary tendencies, which culminated in Nihilism and Anarchism, proceeded from the adoption of cosmopolitan rather than national principles in all spheres of educational and administrative activity, and that the best remedy for the evils from which the country was suffering was to be found in a return to the three great principles of Nationality, Orthodoxy and Autocracy.