• Jack Cummins
    Nietzsche said,,'What if some day or night a demon were to steal after your loneliest loneliness and say to you that this life as you now live it you will have to live once more and innumerable times more.' In other words, our particular individual lives are lived over and over again in exact detail. In he suggested, 'Everything becomes and recurs eternally_ escape is impossible.'

    Here, he is drawing upon the idea that time is cyclical, but he is saying more than that ultimately because to say that there are cycles.What he is saying that the universe, including our lives will be repeated again in eternal circles. As such, it is a particular slant for perceiving our mortal condition, giving a certain immortality to us if we perceive them in the context of not really ending in a final way because they will recur again eventually.

    I grew up believing in resurrection, having been brought up in the Roman Catholic tradition. But even then, I was confused about the idea of life after death because there was conflict about whether souls were immortal, or whether we remained dead until a resurrection at the end of the world. However, I did start wondering about reincarnation when I was about 12 years old. I wondered whether I could have been my grandfather, who died 6 weeks, before my birth because family members said that I reminded them of him. Also, one of my earliest memories is of being in a cot and of one of my mother's friends offering me a biscuit and I was thinking, 'I am coming around again,' Was I simply waking up or recalling a past life existence? Anyway, I have remained puzzled and perplexed about the mystery of life after death and it is in this context that I wonder about Nietzsche's idea of eternal recurrence as a solution to the mystery of mortality or immortality.

    My objection to his idea would be that it seems to be a bit too like clockwork, if lives recur in a static manner. But at the same time I do wonder if it could be true. If it was true it could help explain feelings of deja vu and precognton because the person would be tapping into the memory of previous cycles of their existence.

    The idea of eternal recurrence is not unique to Nietzsche's system of thought because others, especially in Eastern philosophy and one recent thread writer mentioned the idea being suggested in a book about block universe theory.

    The question is does the concept of eternal recurrence make sense for understanding our lives in the grand scheme of things?Does it sound possible as a literal truth, as a form of immortality? Or can it be seen as conveying a symbolic truth ?
  • Jack Cummins
    One question I will ask before giving up this thread is whether the life we are living is the ultimate one, or is it part of a larger picture from which to see out own mortality? Should we wonder about further lives or some larger frame of reference or should the question of any possible afterlife, in any all practical or abstract terms, be seen as part of delusion, imagination or even as an aspect of esoterica?
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.