Is the opposite of nihilism unbridled compassion? What happens when instead of saying absolutely nothing matters a person says instead that everything they do matters absolutely? What happens when compassion for others becomes so strong that it becomes a burden, its own form of suffering?
I was doing some counseling with a student the other night and he felt a very acute responsibility to others. He had sort of a karmic view that his behavior impacts others and that this made him responsible for others to the extreme, even being responsible for people multiple degrees of separation away from him. He's a very sweet, non-buddhist, (overly) sensitive, well-meaning guy that wants to do right by everyone, and he means everyone, but he has taken it to such an extreme that he has created a tremendously heavy burden of responsibility that he can't possibly carry. I know the short answer here is that he needs to find a middle way, and I know how I am going to further counsel this student, but it's the big issue his situation brings up that interests me.
We often caution about being too nihilistic, but what about being too caring?