19 April 2006

Nietzsche's not so bad.

I had always associated Nietzsche with negativity, nihilism, the idea that life has no meaning. I was wrong, there is a lot more to Nietzsche than these simplistic interpretations.

Nietzsche, in Eternal Returns, tells us to say yes to the totality of life. If time is infinite, and matter cannot be destroyed, and everything is made up of bits of matter, then everything that is happening now is going to happen again and again and again: "eternal returns". If we are to be fully human, and fully embrace life, we will say yes to life in the following way:

"If we experience eternal return we are embracing that this life - as it is now, with its pain, suffering, regret, joy, horrors, celebration - is so precious that we would be willing to live this life an infinite number of times."

I have thought about this a lot. I would live my life an infinite number of times. Life is that precious. Remembering the doctrine of eternal return helps me get through dark moments.

Another idea that came through PGTL is that each moment is infinite. Right now is an eternal moment. Right now is our eternity, it is all that we know, and it stretches as far back and as far forward as we can perceive. I add on to this the idea that we don't have to die to enter eternity, we have our eternity right now. (I am not sure which philosopher brought this idea to the course, I didn't write it down as I listened to it and I can't find it in the outline.) I like thinking about the concept of eternity in each moment.


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