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Thread: Eternal Recurrence [by Prof. Eric Steinhart]

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imperator X View Post
    Does eternal recurrence mean literally that everything that has happened will happen exactly as it happened again and again forever?
    The "Eternal Recurrence" was Nietzsche's nomenclature for the cyclical nature of Germanic Ur (amongst others) religion. It was a cosmological constant that he picked-up on independent of any knowledge of its previous pondering on behalf of other thinkers for thousands of years. For him, it was a thought experiment at the least; and, in all probability, his litmus test for whether or not one is living their life in accordance with the maxims "Carve yourself!" and "Become who you are!" - In short, one's own answer to the proposition allows for the free-flow of the true nature of one's self, and the life they are really, and truly, living.

    The idea seems rather hellish to me.
    Then you are in hell.

    How does one arrive at this conclusion?
    It is not so much an arrival at a conclusion as it is a means to self-perfection. Which, itself, is an unattainable goal: but the journey endows one with both humility and justifiable temerity.

    How will you live, if it is true...? - this is the Nietzschean, as opposed to the Pascalian, wager.

    I am for the most part, a materialist. I believe that there is no evidence to suggest that man is any more special than a beast or the lowliest insect ultimately in the scheme of things.
    "To live alone, in solitude, one must either be a beast or a god." (Aristotle) ; Nietzsche adds: "Or both: a Philosopher."

    Moderns are paradoxically both too far away from, and too close to, our animal natures. "Man is retrogressing..." (Nietzsche).

    We, each and all of us, create "the scheme of things", do we not?

    When we consider that we basically do not exist even as a speck of dust when compared with the planet Jupiter for example,
    Why limit the scale of man? Can he not be anything he sets himself to?

    What do you pull into your orbit?

    not to mention that our entire solar system is not unique, and is, ultimately and essentially, inconsequential.
    You imply a purpose. A sentient being, able to posit purpose, can let lose the reigns of the imposition of that purpose.

    "Become who you are!"

    ... Perhaps it is that there are an infinite number of realities, and perceptions.
    And if you shall return eternally, you will experience them all.

    At face value at least, existence can be summed up with the famous words: "Es ist Alles Eitel." (All is Vanity)
    "Vanity is the fear of appearing original: it is thus a lack of pride, but not necessarily a lack of originality" (Nietzsche).
    "...The moral man is a lower species than the immoral, a weaker species; indeed - he is a type in regard to morality, but not a type in himself; a copy...the measure of his value lies outside him. ... I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage; I do not account the evil and painful character of existence a reproach to it, but hope rather that it will one day be more evil and painful than hitherto..." (Nietzsche)

  2. #22
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    Maybe I am oversimplifying and brutally ripping the idea of eternal recurrence from its context, but I understand it as a suggestion to live your life as if you had to live it over and over and over again. Your life is a form of art that had better be worthwhile.
    The sitters in the hall seldom know
    The kin of the new-comer:
    The best man is marred by faults,
    The worst is not without worth.
    -- The Havamal, #133 (trans. Auden and Taylor)

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    Some Ideas on the Side..

    The word vanity has always reminded me of this from the Old Testement..

    The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2000.
    Ecclesiastes
    OR, THE PREACHER
    1

    All Is Vanity
    1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
    2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
    3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
    4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
    5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
    6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
    7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
    8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
    9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
    10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
    11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

    The Experience of the Preacher
    12 ¶ I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
    13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
    14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
    15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
    16 ¶ I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 1 Kgs. 4.29-31
    17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
    18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
    ...

    On another note I find the following to be pretty interesting..

    Chapter 1

    THE SIGNATURES OF THE FOUR GREAT DOMAINS

    I. The Dialogue in Myth of East and West

    The myth of eternal return, which is still basic to Oriental life, displays an order of fixed forms that appear and reappear through all time. The daily round of the sun, the waning and waxing moon, the cycle of the year, and the rhythm of organic birth, death, and new birth, represent a miracle of continuous arising that is fundamental to the nature of the universe. We all know the archaic myth of the four ages of gold, silver, bronze, and iron, where the world is shown declining, growing ever worse. It will disintegrate presently in chaos, only to burst forth again, fresh as a flower, to recommence spontaneously the inevitable course. There never was a time when time was not. Nor will there be a time when this kaleidoscopic play of eternity in time will have ceased.

    There is therefore nothing to be gained, either for the universe or for man, through individual originality and effort. Those who have identified themselves with the mortal body and its affections will necessarily find that all is painful, since everything--for them--must end. But for those who have found the still point of eternity, around which all--including themselves--revolves, everything is acceptable as it is; indeed, can even be experienced as glorious and wonderful. The duty of the individual, consequently, is simply to play his given role--as do the sun and moon, the various animal and plant species, the waters, the rocks, and the stars--without resistance, without fault; and then, if possible, so to order his mind as to identify its consciousness with the inhabiting principle of the whole.

    Oriental Mythology, pages 3-4
    "the archaic myth of the four ages of gold, silver, bronze, and iron, where the world is shown declining, growing ever worse. It will disintegrate presently in chaos, only to burst forth again, fresh as a flower, to recommence spontaneously the inevitable course."

    I find many similarities with this and our Ragnarok?
    Brothers will battle to bloody end,
    And sisters' sons their sibs betray;
    Woe's in the world, much wantonness;
    Axe-age, sword-age -- sundered are shields --
    Wind-age, wolf-age, ere the world crumbles;
    Will the spear of no man spare the other.

    ..

    I see green again with growing things
    The earth arise from out of the sea;
    Fell torrents flow, overflies them the eagle,
    On hoar highlands which hunts for fish.

    Again the Æsir on Itha Plain meet,
    And speak of the mighty Mithgarth-Worm --
    Again go over the great world-doom,
    And Fimbultýr's unfathomed runes.

    Then in the grass the golden figures,
    The far-famed ones, will be found again,
    Which they had owned in olden days.

    On unsown acres the ears will grow.
    All ill grow better; will Baldr come then.
    Both he and Hoth will in Hropt's hall dwell,
    The war gods' fane: do ye wit more, or how?

    Then will Hönir handle the blood-wands,
    And Ygg's brothers' sons will forever dwell
    In wide Wind-Home: do ye wit more, or how?

    Voluspa
    Later,
    -Lyfing

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imperator X View Post
    Does eternal recurrence mean literally that everything that has happened will happen exactly as it happened again and again forever? The idea seems rather hellish to me. How does one arrive at this conclusion?

    I am for the most part, a materialist. I believe that there is no evidence to suggest that man is any more special than a beast or the lowliest insect ultimately in the scheme of things. When we consider that we basically do not exist even as a speck of dust when compared with the planet Jupiter for example, not to mention that our entire solar system is not unique, and is, ultimately and essentially, inconsequential.

    How can we presume to know such high metaphysical abstractions such as eternal recurrence?

    Such knowledge, I think, might only be acquired through deep meditation or drugs. Perhaps it is that there are an infinite number of realities, and perceptions.

    At face value at least, existence can be summed up with the famous words: "Es ist Alles Eitel." (All is Vanity)
    Dear Imperator X, you have reached the gates of Nihilism:
    you say you are a materialist [and so see nothing in spirituality], and that man is no better than a worm.
    You see no meaning in the Earth, which to you is just a "speck" in a random universe that is therefore beyond our comprehension.

    Everything is in vain to you.

    Even so, you are still only at the gates of Nihilism!

    Sir, Nietzsche bids you to enter those gates and to embrace the most Nihilistic conception of all ... The Eternal Recurrence of the Same.

    Imagine - my friend - that vanity, that meaninglessness, that inconsequentiality repeating itself continually ad infinitum in your life!

    In all life!

    Then and only then will you start to find the meaning of the Earth.
    Then and only then will you raise man above the worm, the insect, the ape and want to create the Superhuman.

    Then and only then will you find the Will to Power to enable you to revalue all Nihilistic values!

    Then and only then will you live your life like a hero and crave a nation of heroes!

    Only then will you be a Master of Ascending Life and not a Slave of Nihilism!
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Doesn't the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle rebut the idea of the Eternal Recurrence of the Same?
    The answer to 1984 is 1776.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Imperator X View Post
    Does eternal recurrence mean literally that everything that has happened will happen exactly as it happened again and again forever?
    Yes, I believe it to have much weight in truth. I think the often repeated remark always holds true on how history repeats itself. "No matter where you go, there you are".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forseti View Post
    Doesn't the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle rebut the idea of the Eternal Recurrence of the Same?
    The Uncertainty Principle [UP] asserts that existence is fundamentally and unavoidably uncertain.

    About this, the UP is certain.

    The UP theory is certain that life is uncertain.

    Everything is Uncertain except the UP which is certain.

    However, the UP does not deny that certain aspects of life are predictable, but that at a 'fundamental' level [the so-called 'quantum level'] they are not.

    It does not make this claim about the non-quantum level where certainty exists.

    Is the 'atom' and the 'observer' of the 'quantum level' a hangover of the monistic soul and the monistic God as Nietzsche might have said?

    Might we say that a nihilist who does not live on the 'quantum level', nevertheless would be attracted to the UP for obvious reasons?

    It gives him certainty in his uncertainty.


    ... who here lives on the 'quantum level'?..

    But go further: let us say that uncertainty itself will recur in selfsame lumps at the non-quantum level!
    The UP does not rebut that - indeed, it suggests that.

    The Eternal Recurrence of the Same [ERS] states that there is a fundamental certainty about life - i.e., that it will repeat itself - warts and all [including the warts of uncertainty] - exactly.

    Indeed, the UP and ERS both agree that there is some certainty about life.

    This is why the conqueror casts the Runes and reads off the meanings of Chance.

    No Conqueror believes in chance!
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titus Lucretius Carus
    “If the atoms never swerve so as to originate some new movement that will snap the bonds of fate, the everlasting sequence of cause and effect—what is the source of the free will possessed by living things throughout the earth?”
    I do like how Heinrich Heine interpreted the Eternal Return, though Nietzsche expounded upon it much more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Johann Heinrich Heine
    [T]ime is infinite, but the things in time, the concrete bodies, are finite. They may indeed disperse into the smallest particles; but these particles, the atoms, have their determinate numbers, and the numbers of the configurations which, all of themselves, are formed out of them is also determinate. Now, however long a time may pass, according to the eternal laws governing the combinations of this eternal play of repetition, all configurations which have previously existed on this earth must yet meet, attract, repulse, kiss, and corrupt each other again...
    Quote Originally Posted by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
    My formula for human greatness is amor fati: that one wants to have nothing different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely to bear the necessary, still less to conceal it--all idealism is mendaciousness before the necessary--but to love it.
    You can not know Eternal Return without surrender to the knowledge that this is your life, good, bad, whatever. Love it because it's your fate. Would you rather be eternally happy and content with what you've made or eternally regretful, yet unable to change anything?

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