Eternal Recurrence

Here is an excerpt from my Junior Thesis, I submitted this with my resume for an intership in the spring. If you are interested in reading the rest of the 70 pages, I am more than willing to email you the rest of it, when it is done (2 weeks from now). It is sorta political, I guess . . . figured I haven't posted in a LOOONGGG time, so here goes:

The Eternal Recurrence

“Two paths meet here; no one has yet followed either to its end. This long lane stretches back for an eternity. And the long lane out there, that is another eternity. They contradict each other, these paths: they offend each other face to face: and it is here at this gateway that they come together. The name of the gateway is inscribed above: ‘Moment.”
“All that is straight lies,” the dwarf murmured contemptuously. “All truth is crooked time itself is a circle.”

This excerpt from Zarathustra is Zarathustra’s first encounter with what he and Nietzsche will later to refer to as the eternal recurrence. What is incredibly interesting about this section is that not even Zarathustra, the one who is great heights from the rest of humanity, is able to understand the message behind what the dwarf, the proclaimer of the recurrence, is trying to say. Zarathustra is unable to hear the eternal recurrence and he tries to dismiss it, he feels that this dwarf is a bad omen, preaching to him something terrible that must be rejected. The Dwarf explains to Zarathustra, that time is not a linear pattern, a history with a beginning and end. But rather time itself, is like the Overhuman, in that it is a process, in which we must both engage in this process as well as accept it. But at the outset, though, we can see that Nietzsche realizes how difficult the eternal recurrence is, and is probably admitting that he himself, although presented with the notion many times, was not at first able to understand it. Thus, the readers must be very careful when trying to understand this philosophy—it is one so delicate, yet intricate, that we can not afford to mishear Nietzsche when he speaks of the eternal recurrence.
The eternal recurrence effectively serves as the opposition to hedonism and nihilism in a world without repressive, dogmatic morality and the absence of God. Richard Avramenko argues that once Nietzsche created the eternal recurrence as an opposition to repressive notions of truth (specifically, Christian notions of truth), there becomes a large void. In Avramenko’s essay he is specifically referring to a void of friendship in that Nietzsche effectively denied any sort of ground in which friendship can form. As Avramenko says, “The whole of Thus Spoke Zarathustra can be understood as Zarathustra’s quest for a type of friendship that can grow out of this groundless ground.” I agree with Avramenko here that Nietzsche both created a void with the eternal recurrence and also tried to fill that void with the recurrence. So, when Nietzsche chooses to deny the conceptual truth of good and evil, it leaves a huge vacancy for what humans should do. Nietzsche fills this void with the eternal recurrence. The idea is that every action, or every way that we live our lives will occur over and over again, eternally. This serves as Nietzsche’s beyond-morality moral system—if we are truly able to joyously say ‘yes’ to every action we take, then we are headed towards the overhuman. Essentially then, the eternal recurrence serves to give a path for humans to try to become the overhuman—to understand the process of subversion and creation, which is the overhuman, without falling into nihilistic despair.
As Avramenko points out in his essay, the eternal recurrence is not exactly something that westerners are easily able, or even willing to accept:
“With the declaration of the eternal recurrence, Nietzsche is introducing uncertainty and unpredictability. It would thus be better to refer to the eternal recurrence as a flavor. It is a flavor for which we must develop a taste. The eternal recurrence, as Nietzsche well knows, is a tough pill to swallow and this is precisely why he calls it ‘the greatest weight.’”

To begin with the notion that time is anything but linear is problematic for the Western ear. Avramenko places Nietzsche in a debate with Augustine who argues, referring to cyclical theories of time, “even when it [the soul] has attained wisdom; it must proceed on an unremitting alternation between false bliss and genuine misery. How can there be true bliss, without any certainty of its eternal continuance?” Augustine’s reaction to cyclic notions of time demonstrates a very Christian and western understanding of how time functions, and furthermore, a reality that is dependent upon having God and a heaven to obtain when time has ended for a specific human being. Yet obviously, Nietzsche rejects the Christian morality and God himself. Not only is Nietzsche creating a philosophy to fill his ‘moral hole’, he is also directly responding to and refuting typical Christian understandings of time, existence, and ‘right’ action. The eternal recurrence seeks to dislodge the authority that Christians have assumed and display a direct contradiction of it, both to fulfill his own philosophy and to engage in irony. To argue that Nietzsche believes we need to authoritatively accept his eternal recurrence and abandon the ‘inferior’ Christian notion, is completely outside of Nietzsche’s project. Instead of choosing one over the other, Nietzsche asks us to develop a taste for the eternal recurrence. Whether or not the eternal recurrence is ‘true’ or ‘better’ is of no real consequence, but by developing this taste, or ability to hear the recurrence, we are able to see the ironic nature in all human things and head up the mountain towards the overhuman.
The eternal recurrence serves not only to disrupt a Christian notion of time, but it also serves to disrupt any sort of linear, rational, or higher truth. The eternal recurrence renders it impossible for there to be definitive truth or a values system that transcends time, space, geography or even relativity because the eternal recurrence exemplifies a system with no actual truth, but rather truth as a process, something that must be constantly created and destroyed in order for the elimination of repressive notions of truth, and leave the Dionysian, or the positive, liberated aspects of mankind in their wake. Truth, value, and morals can not be habitual or long-lasting under this system; as the Earth itself does, they must be always changing, engaged in a process of creation and destruction—plate tectonics. In the Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche warns us of any words that do not take part in this process of creation and destruction because they will try to lead us to single goals, aims or meanings. “The whole surface of consciousness must be kept clear of all imperatives. Beware even of every great word, ever great prose! The organizing idea that is destined to rule keeps growing deep down . . . it prepares single qualities and fitnesses that will one day prove to be indispensable as means toward a whole.”
After looking closely at these words and trying to understand what they mean, we now must ask the same question that Nietzsche asked himself towards the end of his second essay in the Genealogy of Morals, “What are you really doing, erecting an ideal or knocking one down?” And Nietzsche responds to this question:
Have you ever asked yourselves sufficiently how much the erection of every ideal on Earth has cost? How much reality had to be misunderstood and slandered, how many lies have had to be sanctified, how many consciences disturbed, how much “God” sacrificed every time? If a temple is to be erected a temple must be destroyed: that is the law—let anyone who can show me a case in which it is not fulfilled!

With this we can now look at the rhetoric of Zarathustra and Ecce Homo and look for the subversive and ironic process in which Nietzsche tries to both create and destroy systems of values, truth, rhetoric, and inquiry. But we must listen closely, and dissect with delicate fingers as to not try to find the new idols and ideals that Nietzsche is creating, but to look to see how he moves outside of the truth-game altogether. Nietzsche’s divergent rhetoric is arguably the most difficult part of Nietzsche’s works to truly understand, but by not understanding this essential quality of Nietzsche, it is not possible to hear Nietzsche.
Before we move away from the fundamentals of Nietzsche’s words and concepts, and move into his rhetoric in general, we must take into account the Overhuman and the Eternal Recurrence and their affects on language in general. For Nietzsche, language can have no transcendent truth, but truth in language is similar to the Overhuman and the Eternal Recurrence in that it is able to obtain some form of human truth through a process of creating and destroying. Essentially then, language is not transcendent, and as Tuska Benes argues, it is only adequate if we forget that we created language and that we created truth. “Accepting the illusion that words referred to things allowed early humans to live in mutual trust. The invention of truth thus had ‘pleasant, life-preserving consequences’ Society, however, had thereby exchanged a set of lies for the truth.” So with a language that humans have created they were able to become social creatures, they could move away from, repress, basic primordial desires. But for Nietzsche, this conversion from the base creature to the social creature brought with it inherently negative, inherently repressive, and inherently forgetful forces. In the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche allegorically compared this social change of human-creatures “well adapted to the wilderness, to war, to prowling, to adventure,” who had to repress those instincts to effectively live socially to sea animals coming out of the water who had to “walk on their feet and ‘bear themselves upright’” —the skills that the sea creatures had developed for marine life became unnecessary. This shift from primordial language to a socially ‘meaningful’ language helped humans to adapt to their new surroundings, but it also meant that humans forgot that there was no truth, and instead believed that the truth and language that they had created was somehow transcendent. “Faith in truth depended for Nietzsche on a process of forgetting. People had to deny and repress the actual origins of language in order to believe in the accuracy of its representations.” Society, today as we see it, is fundamentally established on the fact that we have forgotten that we have created truth, language, and god, because “acknowledging the rhetorical foundation of words would have automatically destabilized the edifice of truth built upon them.”




Works Cited

Avramenko, Richard. “Zarathustra and his Asinine Friends: Nietzsche on Post-modern, Post-liberal Friendship.” American Political Science Association. Chicago, Annual Meeting: np., 2004. 1-30.

Benes Tuska. "Language and the Cognitive Subject: Heymann Stienthal and Friedrich Nietzsche." Language & Communication Vol. 26 Issue 3/4 (Jul 2006): 218-230.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Genealogy of Morals. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, Inc., 1967.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for None and All. Trans. Kaufmann. London: Penguin Books, 1978.

A Response to Jesse about the Police Shooting of an Atlanta Woman

Instead of taking your news report at face value I went around and have found several differing reports of the shooting.
According to WSB-TV, the local ABC affiliate in Atlanta, not only was there a marked Atlanta PD car in front of the residence but the narcotics officers who worked the warrant case were wearing police vests of the same type as those commonly worn by swat teams. I'm going to assume that this woman was not an idiot and bothered to look out one of the windows in her house facing the street. Seeing the Police car, when someone at the door claims to be police, you have even more of a responsibility to make sure who you're shooting at. I agree that had they just blindly broken the door down without announcing themselves the woman should have shot back no questions. But they did announce themselves and had a marked police presence. This stuff about how the police were wearing street clothes is just a smokescreen.

Police Shoot 92 Year Old Woman. Here's my take, what is yours?

Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police - CNN.com  I try not to just repost news, but I wanted to add a bit of my spin to this.  Tell me your thoughts on this, as Paul seems to believe the police were completely justified in this. 
  • Police arrive at a 92 year old woman’s house, in plain clothes rather than police uniforms.
    • For all I know, Sting may have been out there.
  • They yell through the door “Open up, it’s the Police.”
    • I know that I see a bunch of people with guns, who don’t look anything like police outside my door, the last thing I’m going to do is open up, not to mention this woman had people pretending to be police try to break in before.
  • The police, not dressed at all like cops, break down the door.  The woman opens fire, and hits 3 of them, before getting shot down.
    • As far as I’m concerned, if the police had no reason to be there, which they didn’t (they didn't find any drugs) , the woman had no reason to believe these were real police.  You break into someone’s house, not at all wth the appearance of police, with your only proof of being the police being claiming to be the police vocally, as far as I’m concerned the owner of the house has every right to defend their property.

I’d also like to add some comments from a digg.com post I found highly insightful.

Comment by anonymoustroll

Yeah... that's pretty funny... she tagged each one of them (and I bet they took a good long pause trying to figure out "what the hell?" before gunning her down)... too bad she wasn't a better shot.

...but here's the thing: this stinks to high heaven; here's why:

> had a legal warrant and "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door

1 - every last one of us knows that "knock and announce" means "knock with the door breacher" and "announce your presence with a flash-bang". Perhaps it need to be "knock, announce and identify yourself to the upstanding citizen that you're prepared to shoot" (and give the citizen time to verify your credentials). Innocent until proven guilty pretty much ends when the warrant is served.

> Kathryn Johnson, was the only person home at the time, and had lived there for about 17 years.

2 - cops need to be less tactical and more strategic. Perhaps if someone had done their intelligence homework and looked at the power/phone/water/gas/cable/etc. bills they'd see *WHO* they were about to take into custody. Seems to me that they just don't know what the fsck is going on and prepare for the worse (and guess what... they get the worse outcome... surprise). You know, those warrants for paper searches aren't as sexy as the "real thing", but maybe there'd be three cops without bullets in them and one grandma who's still alive if they'd taken the time to do their homework.

> Neighbors and relatives said it must have been a case of mistaken identity.

3 - well, you know what they say... hindsight is 20/20. Good thing they had the "right" address. This is what happens when good people live in bad neighborhoods, etc. etc, cliches ad infiniutum.

> I'm sure she panicked when they kicked that door down

Don't discount the possibility that they may have been fed incorrect information (never actually trust anonymous/CI intelligence sources... always verify, cross check and do your due diligence). Obviously they weren't going off any type of reasonable intelligence. So, gun nuts beware, if I want you out of my neighborhood, all I have to do is dime you out for some heinous crime from the anonymous comfort of a payphone and a pseudonym.

Comment by theblooms

don't blame her for shooting back at all. She had been on the receiving end of criminals posing as cops many times in the past. Your home is your castle, and in America (at least in the majority of states that respect the Bill of Rights) you are allowed to defend your castle by any means necessary.

This whole thing with cops executing warrants like this has GOT to stop. Cops are supposed to be civilians. In this day in age, they are not. They are paramilitary with fully automatic weapons and tanks. Yes, tanks. We have all seen them. Police departments in the US have more tanks than most nations. Fucking ridiculous. If a situation is so god-damed dangerous that you need a tank to serve a warrant, you need to call the National Guard in. Seriously.

In even the WORST possible situation, you can always surround a house and wait for the bad guy to come out. He WILL come out eventually.

These 3 cops need to be prosecuted for murder. Mistaken identity is NO excuse for busting down someone's door and shooting them. I GUARANTEE if someone busts down my door, they will be met with a hail of lead. How the hell do I know who they are? People impersonate cops all the time.

May this lady Rest in Peace. I will pray for her and her family.

Am I wrong on this? I'd like to know your thoughts.

Sony Sues Lik-Sang Out of Business

Online video game and electronics store extraordinaire Lik-Sang is no more thanks to continuing lawsuits by Sony. Their most recent lawsuit in the UK, over PSP exports threw them over the edge. Sony is quoted as saying: ?ultimately, we're trying to protect consumers from being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards, due to voltage supply differences et cetera;? This is complete, for lack of a better term, bullshit. Lik-Sang provided the same universal power adapter that was sold world wide.

I, as well as many gamers world wide morn the loss of Lik-Sang where savings were king. I my self had meant to purchase Xbox extensions cords for pennies on the dollar, but have been denied this at Sony's hand. This is one gamer who will never purchase a Sony console. Heres a link to Lik-Sangs Out of Business Notice

Completely Senseless Killings...

While atimes isn't meant to just percolate news from other sites... this stuns me... all I can say is "WTF, Mate?" I am shocked and appalled by this...

Christianity learned the dangers of blind devotion painfully, Islam risks repeating history

The Pope has recently stirred up a "whirlwind of anger" in the Muslim world because several people have misinterpreted his words regarding Islamic Jihad. While I have nothing but the complete respect for the Muslim Faith, I have nothing but contempt for the attitudes of quite a few of its believers. Islam really is a beautiful religion. It has the capacity to help its followers live a right and honorable life. However, many in the Muslim world refuse to honestly critique their faith and those who follow it. I believe Christianity went down a similar road a few hundred years ago, we call this the crusades, inquisition, take your pick. The point is in the name of God Christians did some really ungodly things. Fast-forward to the present and Christianity has learned the importance of self-critique. After all there is nothing more dangerous than unquestioning devotion to a cause.

Poet and philosopher George Santayana's quote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" seems especially applicable to the current state of world affairs.

While the vast majority of Muslim's are logical, understanding, rational people; there exists within Islam (as with every religion around the world) those who refuse to honestly reflect upon their faith. In Christianity those who spew such nonsense and urge blind devotion are kept well outside of the mainstream. However for reasons I do not yet understand, the media and the world at large give those who spew such nonsense their 15 minutes of fame again and again and again. It is about time that the rational majority of Muslim's take their faith back from the radicals who tarnish their faith. Christianity has already walked down the path of blind devotion; I can only hope that it is not to late for Islam to learn from Christianities mistakes.


nested parentheses and other idiosyncrasies

Just one quick letter and then I’ll start. It’s been two weeks and I still haven’t started. . . Its been longer three maybe is more accurate. This place feels better this year the trains don’t weep like I remember they did. I am settling into my own but the change needs to come faster than its coming. I always have a hard time studying I just can’t start. Tomorrow I’ll start. Tonight I have work to do. I’m going to be broke sooner then later but I can see what I want in this place and I am left inspired to no subtle degree. I live on my own I bake my own bread and cook my own food I wake up to a woman I love at least a few nights a week. If not for the damned university I am a farm house and a walnut grove short of . . .(We need a word for this and for some reason Heaven seems to come up short like you said its impossible) ‘The Walnut Farm’ and I’ll readily defend that it is here on earth. Its not so far from where we are now. I am thinking of doing an English paper on The Great Tower and the Debasement of Language. I don’t know if this is a good idea. It’s far to much for what he’s asking but I don’t know what else to do it on. It has to be personal And what’s more personal then how two people interact? Heh. The radio show is actually going to happen. Far less effort then I would have thought. Friday 4-6 AM. I need a name for the show if you have any ideas. Seems like I can see gleaming of something in the distance but the hurtles don’t seem to be any shorter or fewer then they were. How are you? And I mean how goes it? Seems the closer we are the more we (at least I) worry. Everything else is, for the most part, static. I’ve written a few songs in the short time I’ve been here and am finishing up a few more: Weekends(written in all of ten min about Fargo and drinking), Atlas revisited( you heard this one ‘all the good Christians’ (I can’t not say Chris-Tions hope fully its idiomatic(that’s the right word right?)))*Ah nested parentheses*(at least they are idiomatic) Lullaby No. 1 (for an unborn daughter) Lullaby No. 2 (electric) (this one might need your help its. . . Maybe ‘brooding’ is the word like your on the edge of tears). I tried to write a song about the tower didn’t take. But there’s Art in there somewhere I’ll find it sooner or later. Where are you going to grad school (or working when your done)? Too early to think about these things maybe. But I’m in a planning mood. I imagine a porch some where and all things falling in place. . . Magic until science explains it.

May the vast open horizons great you as pleasantly (I like that),
Your Brother.


"The ice is near, the solitude tremendous -- but how calmly all things
lie in the light! How freely one breathes! How much one feels beneath

"He believes neither in "misfortune" nor in "guilt" : he comes to terms
with himself with others; he knows how to forget -- he is strong enough;
hence everything must turn out for his best."

"It also seems to me that the rudest word, the rudest letter are still
more benign, more decent than silence. All who remain silent are
dyspeptic. Rudeness is by far the most humane for of contradiction and,
in the midst of effemincacy, one of our foremost virtues."

"Oh, I found it, my brothers! Here, in the higest spheres the fount of
pleasure wells up for me! And here is a life of which the rabble does
not drink."

Brother, the sweetness in your verse swells me. You have already seen
with the greatest of solitude and I rejoice that you are able to look
with a gay heart. Don't remeber one or the other but forget both as it
is often hard for us to do. If Heaven is as easily found in the coldest
of days and the darkest of skies as it is in the Sun at self, only then
could I call that porch Heaven. Brother, I have binding myself and then
unravelling myself, I have been making circles but only escaping into
greater ones. I reach clarity everytime that I have completely missed
it. I have despised words and then I make love to them. But I think I
have come to terms with my own happiness, it is the same as my own
defeat, but still I look forward to a day of rest. I wish to drink from
the water that runs from the highest mountains and the from lowliest
caverns, and even I find my stream I don't know if I will find a place
to drink from it - I am sick of creating worlds, thoughts and grammars,
I simply want to dance with the ones that will always be there.

Work hard brother, we are but clay - we can only be molded until we are
too hard to feel.

Every Brick Independent or Answer the Damn Questions

Our letters don’t seem to follow each other I’m going to have a hell of a time trying to put them in order(and I will try). I find it odd that you never answer my questions. I know you must read every line several times. We both must. Your Nietzsche (I assume) has me still worried. His thinking seems flawed to me but I am no expert. It has been my experience that it is not the cave that creates the new ideas but the act of rushing down from the mountain in itself that calls the Muses. Well I must remember to be more artless. Do not forget the people, the real ones I mean. And maybe I mean everyone by that. I will have my first radio show on Friday at 4AM. My attempts to try and reach out have crammed me into a tiny room at 4 in morning with no one else around or even awake. I am enjoying this in the fullest. In the end I think people need to find me. The resistance the other way is almost too much to over come. I think the Catholics have ruined heaven for you. What’s the point of having a word for something no one can have or visit? It is only on cold dark days that your Heaven exists, dear Brother. On warm days we have God’s green earth and no Heaven can compare to that, to what is. . . Hmmm but we argue semantics and definitions. We should start a film or some other grate work. I feel that at least this is coming closer to poetry. I’m tempted to try my hand.

“Every brick Independent” The Mason said.

“How do you mean?” The Brick responds.

“Close proximity is a fault. Mortar makes the wall.”

“But ‘close’ is relative is it not?”

“Symmetry,” He said to the Brick “We both shaped and set that president long ago” as another layer compounds the other.

“So I’m bound to they that I can never touch” The brick said realizing his situation for the first time.

“You sound sad for someone surrounded by bothers” the Mason quipped, grinning and content.

“I guess it is my lot to accept but tell me” the Brick said “what’s the wall for anyway?”

“Every brick Independent” The mason said.

Heh. . . Well what do you think? Crappy little story but it shows my faults quite well. I like the idea but my skills are dull oh well.

Waiting for answers to my damned questions,
. . .


I wish I had a sentence to describe how a sentence will never quite
express what I want to say . . . I guess this sentence is the best I can

To answer your questions: I am doing, I do not want to say to much,
because I know that if I write the feeling down that feeling takes on an
appearance to be much more concreted and real that it actually is. But
as the ash falls from my cigarette, I am tired, the only rest I get is
to read Nietzsche, but even doing that is becoming difficult. I am tired
of listing in my mind and on paper all the things that need to be
ACCOMPLISHED, the list perpetuates itself and it wants only more.

I know why you don't get Nietzsche, you read pieces, excerpts, quotes,
or maybe even full books. You need to drive w/ Nietzsche around the Lake
as we do. You need to drive around the Lake with everything that I send
you. It makes no sense, it has no purpose but it is something beyond all
of our descriptions.

My point on Heaven . . . we can use the term Heaven, but why use a term
that has been beaten, molested and torn apart to express
(_____________). Why dont' we call it the porch, that is all I need to
to be anyways.

I like your poem - but I don't have much to say, I have lied to you too
much already today.

I don't know what I will do or where I will be after I graduate Jeff,
but I hope I will never be here again. And if I must stay here, in this
physical spot, I hope that I will have a porch here.

"May the vast open Horizons greet you pleasantly" (I like that too)
-From an inscription on my wall

Dear United Nations: We Need Freedom of Thought as a Human Right

"British historian David Irving has had his conviction for denying the Holocaust upheld by the Austrian Supreme Court... The historian was also on trial for claiming the November 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom, when Nazis attacked and torched thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues, was not the work of Nazis but of others who had dressed up as stormtroopers."(Cite BBC News)

I've talked about this before, but making it illegal to question history is THE MOST fascist thing possible. I don't agree with this mans views, but imprisoning him simply because he doesn't believe something is completely ridiculous.