is eternal recurrence possible

Nietzsche “does not envisage salvation in the process [of history], but… the world is finished in every single moment and its end [Ende] is attained. Third, we should note that Nietzsche’s protagonist Zarathustra still struggles with the idea of eternal recurrence, and the only figure that we see “bite through” is the shepherd, who becomes something more than a man. But just as Zarathustra, while not the Overman himself, served as a prototype: I would argue that some measure of amor fati is available to us right now. Was he simply getting over his grievous disposition? For Schopenhauer, the ultimate nature of reality is the Will, a blind assertive drive to live and satisfy desires. In this sense, Nietzsche was quite self-focused, but Schopenhauer was looking more generally at humanity and it was clear that he thought once we died, we died and that was it. Saying Yes to the repetition of life includes all the things we regret and despise, all the things that go against what we find meaningful. What Nietzsche was searching for as early as Birth of Tragedy (as he tells us in the 1886 preface) was a means by which life could be “eternally justified”. Condemned of thyself, and to thine own stoning: O Zarathustra, far indeed threwest thou thy stone—but upon THYSELF will it recoil!”. “Look at this gateway! Judged from the point of view of our reason, unsuccessful attempts are by all odds the rule, the exceptions are not the secret aim, and the whole music box repeats eternally its tune, which may never be called a melody…. The thought of eternal recurrence is central to the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. It’s a resource that people can pull quotes from in the future. More specifically, “The Gay Science reflected Nietzsche’s reading in the natural sciences during the past several years, especially in mechanics, thermodynamics, and molecular biology.” (Krell and Bates, 1997). Lou Andreas-Salomé pointed out that Nietzsche referred to ancient cyclical conceptions of time, in particular by the Pythagoreans, in the Untimely Meditations. The idea of Eternal Recurrence has always been interesting to me. The idea that I am at iteration N of the eternal recurrence of existence. Bite! Is the Junger quote translated multiple times? Vogt, Die Kraft. However, almost as soon as he makes this vow, he falls down “as if one dead”, and lies basically comatose for seven days. (1872)", "Note sur Nietzsche et Lange: le "retour éternel", "The Eternal Return: Genesis and Interpretation", "The Ideal Academic Library as Envisioned through Nietzsche's Vision of the Eternal Return",, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 31 August 2020, at 22:35. I think as time goes, Cohle may better understand how others may turn to vices or escapism to avoid reality. When Zarathustra, confirming eternal recurrence, says even the small man returns. The idea of eternal recurrence—which Nietzsche presents as a sort of thought experiment—appears in Aphorism 341, "The Greatest Weight": Nietzsche reported that this thought came to him suddenly one day in August 1881 while he was taking a walk along a lake in Switzerland.

The Gay Science is one of Nietzsche's most personal works, collecting not only his philosophical reflections but also a number of poems, aphorisms, and songs. In the passage, Nietzsche seems to seriously entertain the possibility that the doctrine is literally true. “How many newsworthy issues, which should have been the rightful domain of philosophy, have been usurped in recent years by religion, law, and psychology?”. As Nietzsche notes in Ecce Homo, he had numerous inklings of the idea before it was formalized in its most straightforward manner in TGS 341. Must not this gateway also—have already existed? One example would be the Pythagoreans, whom Nietzsche criticized as far back as his second Untimely Meditation: his argument there is that historical events do not repeat during known history. I don’t know.

Bite!”—so cried it out of me; my horror, my hatred, my loathing, my pity, all my good and my bad cried with one voice out of me.—. —Wanted ye ever once to come twice; said ye ever: “Thou pleasest me, happiness! Oddly enough, eternal recurrence doesn't figure too prominently into any of the works Nietzsche published after Thus Spoke Zarathustra. All things are enlinked, enlaced and enamoured,—.

answered Zarathustra, and smiled once more, how well do ye know what had to be fulfilled in seven days:—. For thine animals know it well, O Zarathustra, who thou art and must become: behold, THOU ART THE TEACHER OF THE ETERNAL RETURN,—that is now THY fate! And that long lane forward—that is another eternity. But Zarathustra has convalesced past this disgust at the eternal ‘smallness’ of mankind. – What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence – even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. He has published over thirty-five articles and five books, including "Nietzsche's Life Sentence: Coming to Terms with Eternal Recurrence" (Routledge, 2005) No small thing there. To the ‘world-weary’, the person who lives their life in a vain struggle and to no avail, eternal recurrence is a deadly doctrine: “Duration coupled with an ‘in vain’, without aim and end is the most paralyzing thought.” (Ibid, 55).

Second, we should keep firmly in mind that the influences on Nietzsche and the various other minds both contemporary and ancient that formulated some version of eternal recurrence do not necessarily inform us as to how Nietzsche thought of the idea.

In 1871, Louis Auguste Blanqui, assuming a Newtonian cosmology where time and space are infinite, claimed to have demonstrated eternal recurrence as a mathematical certainty. We constantly seek what cannot be delivered in life. Then, another roadblock – Nietzsche’s publisher was delaying the publication of Zarathustra because of their backlog of thousands of anti-semitic tracts, and just as many hymnals. All things separate, all things again greet one another; eternally true to itself remaineth the ring of existence. The Ideal Academic Library as Envisioned through Nietzsche’s Vision of the Eternal Return. And yet, paradoxically, he chastises the dwarf for not taking the thought of eternal recurrence seriously enough, but rather taking it “too lightly”. Vogt's work, on the other hand, was read by Nietzsche during this summer of 1881 in Sils-Maria. Friedrich Nietzsche by Edvard Munch This article is … Then happened that which made me lighter: for the dwarf sprang from my shoulder, the prying sprite! His areas of specialization include 19th- and 20th-Century Continental Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, and Social and Political Philosophy. It is by no means an original idea, with variants of eternal recurrence appearing in both Egyptian and Mayan mythology, and in the work of Kierkegaard. The Ethics of True Detective: Resignation or Compassion? Would such a prospect be a devastation or a joyous gift? However, the example presupposes the possibility of perfect continuity: for instance, if the universe proves to have a quantum foam nature, then the exact quantity of an irrational number cannot be expressed by any physical object.

Think more like an encyclopedia than an essay. Such ideas of cyclical time later fell out of fashion, especially in the West, with the rise of Christianity. In other words, right as they enter into their new embodied existences, they are made ignorant, both of what they did in their previous existence that incurred all the penalties in the afterlife, and indeed of the penalties themselves. Everything lies new before me, and it will not be long before I am able to see the frightening face of my life’s future task. We're not around right now. —The shepherd however bit as my cry had admonished him; he bit with a strong bite! In ancient Egypt, the scarab (or dung beetle) was viewed as a sign of eternal renewal and reemergence of life, a reminder of the life to come. Introduction. I suppose that Poincare recurrence if possible, doesn't describe Eternal Return so much as Eternal Alternatives. The small man and the greatest among men — Zarathustra finds them both “human, all too human”.

Far away did he spit the head of the serpent—: and sprang up.—. The final passage we will consider is from ‘The Drunken Song’ in Zarathustra (excerpts from 10, 11): Said ye ever Yea to one joy?

But, most importantly for our purposes, what did eternal recurrence mean to Nietzsche? Nietzsche's philosophy is concerned with questions about freedom, action, and will. Top 10 Beatles Songs With Philosophical Themes, Nietzsche's "The Use And Abuse Of History", Jean Paul Sartre's Short Story "The Wall", Appeal to Force/Fear or Argumentum ad Baculum, The Slave Boy Experiment in Plato's 'Meno', Ph.D., Philosophy, The University of Texas at Austin, B.A., Philosophy, University of Sheffield. That might be the purpose of the "Demon." In the passage, Nietzsche seems to seriously entertain the possibility that the doctrine is literally true.

Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.' Hence Camus famously concludes that, "one must imagine Sisyphus happy.". If this life is all there is, how can existence be “absurd”? That is one interpretation, but the point seems to strike a more tragic note about the way humans are condemned to act out the same errors time and again because of enforced ignorance. (9). That thou must be the first to teach this teaching—how could this great fate not be thy greatest danger and infirmity! I like the thought from ER that if I choose an easy path in a decision instead of the really hard choice, that I really want, I'll live with less in my destiny. By Professor Lawrence Hatab (Old Dominion University). —And how that monster crept into my throat and choked me! Bad news. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.

Contemplating it from the small keyhole of human existence, in it we know the necessary, the irrefutable, the eternal. On Nietzsche’s terms, saying Yes to life would entail the eternal repetition of his daughter’s death. One particular idea of his has always intrigued me: the idea of eternal recurrence (or eternal return, as it is also known). It’s a collection of almost everything I could find on the background of the idea, and all the most relevant sections for his work.

Or can you attempt one, if you're so inclined? A great, thorough explanation! Nietzsche diverged from Schopenhauer (and the tradition) in calling pessimism to account for the paradox of a living entity turning against life. The idea behind Nietzsches ER is to understand how far along you are on the bridge of overcoming oneself. One scholar, David Quint[3], has argued that this moment in Virgil's poem is illustrative of the therapeutic effects of oblivion—of the way that the act of forgetting secures the continuation of life. What the “great man”, or the “eternal ones” that Nietzsche referenced have that the common man does not is a profound love of their fate, which leads them to wish for that same fate for all eternity.

Zarathustra has to focus on what he most despises, the Small Man, who cannot rise to the challenge of life and affirm earthly existence, who dodges that task by dwelling in trivial pursuits, cheap satisfactions, and life-suppressing norms.

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