Nietzsches' Eternal Recurrence?

The Gay Science, Section 341

The first main formulation constitutes the penultimate aphorism of Book Four of The Gay Science, and it runs as follows:

 The heaviest weight. - What if some day or night a demon were to steal 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 again and innumerable times again; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unspeakably small or great in your life must 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. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!' Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? 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.' If this thought gained power over you, as you are it would transform and possibly crush you; the question in each and every thing, 'Do you want this again and innumerable times again?' would lie on your actions as the heaviest weight! Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to long for nothing more fervently than for this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?



Who here has given thought to the meaning of the eternal recurrence? what are your thoughts on it?


What do you think is the purose of the EC as a device?

I've got my ideas but I'm not too sure if they are what Nietzsche had in mind.

btw, what do you know of Nietzsches' views on capitalism?

I imagine he would be very enthusiastic about it but I'm reading views that say he was very critical of it.

Why oh why would he be favorable to capitalism?

It could be argued it allows for the realization of higher men and because it is individualist and allows man to compete aggressively against each other in order to rise to the top.

Nietzche did have an intense loathing for socialism and all forms of collectivism.

cheers for answer regarding ER. I'll post more on that later.

No never head of that guy Macintyre. Do you know which university he taught at?(if he even did).

I find moral philosophy very interesting. Or should I say I find those moral philosophers who really bring question into universalism and absolutes interesting.

As Nietzsche says "all absolutes are pathology".

I have thought long and hard about eternal recurrence. First off, what I am almost positively sure it means is that its a thought experiment. Aimed at figuring out whether you are a "yes" sayer to life or a "no" sayer. Do you like life or do you not? Would you want to live your life as you have lived it over and over again for all eternity?

I have also pondered if this thought experiment really makes sense? If you think or yourself as constantly recurring in a linear temporal fashion, are you really the same person who gets born again? What does this say about self identity?

But I have since reasoned not to think of it like this. Instead I wonder if I would relive the last year of my life over again..then I expand on that last year to ask myself would I live my whole life up to this point over again?

btw....Everyone here should read the unbearable lightness of being by Kundera.. Great book. based on this Nietzsche parable.

one thing i've seen eternal recurrence as is kind of an ethical litmus, not unlike kant's categorical imperative (something like 'act only according to that maxim you would will that it should become a universal law').

that is, what i took nietzches to have been doing is offering a more personal and, so, more flexible question to ask before acting. have't you ever done something and later wished you'd done differently if you had it to do over again? the concept of eternal recurrence is, in my opinion, a compelling, succinct, and elegant way of advising us to truly consider how we must live with ourselves and our actions.

Its' purpose is designed to force one to accept and love ones' fate.

nihilism makes us always wish things were different from what they
were or that things had happened differently and believing in the
eternal return forces you to dispense with such attitudes/beliefs.

acceptance of fate is pretty much a given with nietzche, hence his profound influence on (parallel to?) existentialism.

Is this thread still here?