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Eternal Return

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Hereandnow
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Re: Eternal Return

Post by Hereandnow » December 13th, 2018, 9:45 am

fooloso4:
The eternal return is a riddle. One key to reading that riddle the problem of creation. If all is eternal return then there can be no creation, but above all Zarathustra wants to create are creators.
There is the anecdote about Rubinstein and Picasso: Rubinstein notes that Picasso has been painting the same bottle over and over, and wonders how someone can be so transfixed by one thing. Picasso replies that for him it is not one thing at all, but each time he paints it, it is new, original. I think this demonstrates the distinction Kierkegaard draws between recollection and repetition, the former being what the primitive aesthete does with his endless seeking of something new which inevitably turns old, leaving a vacuum and motivation for a new form of entertainment. The latter is Piccaso biting the head off the serpent. The bottle is certainly recalled, and Picasso is well aware of multitude of bottle experiences he has had; but it is in the release from all of these that he can move forward. This is the joy of a child, a Buddhist, a monk bent on knowing God. True creation happens now, in the eternal present, bring forth the next moment as if it were the first. It is what K might call the juncture where eternity meets finitude.

I am reminded of Baudelaire and how the serpent can be construed:

Beneath a broad grey sky, upon a vast and dusty plain devoid of grass, and where not even a nettle or a thistle was to be seen, I met several men who walked bowed down to the ground.
Each one carried upon his back an enormous Chimera as heavy as a sack of flour or coal, or as the equipment of a Roman foot-soldier.
But the monstrous beast was not a dead weight, rather she enveloped and oppressed the men with her powerful and elastic muscles, and clawed with her two vast talons at the breast of her mount. Her fabulous head reposed upon the brow of the man like one of those horrible casques by which ancient warriors hoped to add to the terrors of the enemy.
I questioned one of the men, asking him why they went so. He replied that he knew nothing, neither he nor the others, but that evidently they went somewhere, since they were urged on by an unconquerable desire to walk.
Very curiously, none of the wayfarers seemed to be irritated by the ferocious beast hanging at his neck and cleaving to his back: one had said that he considered it as a part of himself. These grave and weary faces bore witness to no despair. Beneath the splenetic cupola of the heavens, their feet trudging through the dust of an earth as desolate as the sky, they journeyed onwards with the resigned faces of men condemned to hope for ever. So the train passed me and faded into the atmosphere of the horizon at the place where the planet unveils herself to the curiosity of the human eye.
During several moments I obstinately endeavoured to comprehend this mystery; but irresistible Indifference soon threw herself upon me, nor was I more heavily dejected thereby than they by their crushing Chimeras.

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Re: Eternal Return

Post by Fooloso4 » December 13th, 2018, 10:31 am

H&N:
This is the joy of a child …
In Nietzsche’s three metamorphoses of the spirit, that third is the child. It is the child who creates something new. The child is forgetfulness:
Innocence is the child, and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yea.
H&N:
I am reminded of Baudelaire and how the serpent can be construed:
I like this line:
condemned to hope for ever
I have not read Baudelaire, but from this is seems that their burden was false hope. For Nietzsche:
Many heavy things are there for the spirit, the strong load-bearing spirit in which reverence dwelleth: for the heavy and the heaviest longeth its strength.

What is heavy? so asketh the load-bearing spirit; then kneeleth it down like the camel, and wanteth to be well laden.

What is the heaviest thing, ye heroes? asketh the load-bearing spirit, that I may take it upon me and rejoice in my strength.

Is it not this: To humiliate oneself in order to mortify one's pride? To exhibit one's folly in order to mock at one's wisdom?

Or is it this: To desert our cause when it celebrateth its triumph? To ascend high mountains to tempt the tempter?

Or is it this: To feed on the acorns and grass of knowledge, and for the sake of truth to suffer hunger of soul?

Or is it this: To be sick and dismiss comforters, and make friends of the deaf, who never hear thy requests?

Or is it this: To go into foul water when it is the water of truth, and not disclaim cold frogs and hot toads?

Or is it this: To love those who despise us, and give one's hand to the phantom when it is going to frighten us?

All these heaviest things the load-bearing spirit taketh upon itself: and like the camel, which, when laden, hasteneth into the wilderness, so hasteneth the spirit into its wilderness.

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Re: Eternal Return

Post by ktz » December 13th, 2018, 8:34 pm

I appreciate the guidance from this stimulating conversation between you guys. Beyond Good and Evil and The Gay Science seem accessible enough but Thus Spoke Zarathustra honestly seems to be over my head. It's clear that there's a great deal of symbolism being lost on me. I hadn't looked deeply into the original Nietzsche before starting this thread, thinking I understood his ideas just by virtue of the frequency that I've encountered the idea secondhand. I appreciate you guys for dissuading me of that notion -- it's becoming apparent that I have a lot more to learn.
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Re: Eternal Return

Post by Hereandnow » December 13th, 2018, 9:24 pm

fooloso4
ll these heaviest things the load-bearing spirit taketh upon itself: and like the camel, which, when laden, hasteneth into the wilderness, so hasteneth the spirit into its wilderness.
One could wish the camel well, that it might look at its path into the wilderness and smile, as Camus would have it.

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Re: Eternal Return

Post by Fooloso4 » December 13th, 2018, 9:52 pm

ktz:
Beyond Good and Evil and The Gay Science seem accessible enough but Thus Spoke Zarathustra honestly seems to be over my head.
From Beyond Good and Evil:
Everything that is profound loves the mask (40)
The first step in seeing behind the mask is to recognize it.

The section “Reading and Writing”, from Zarathustra:
Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.

It is no easy task to understand unfamiliar blood; I hate the reading idlers.

He who knoweth the reader, doeth nothing more for the reader. Another century of readers—and spirit itself will stink.

Every one being allowed to learn to read, ruineth in the long run not only writing but also thinking.

Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it even becometh populace.

He that writeth in blood and proverbs doth not want to be read, but learnt by heart.

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Re: Eternal Return

Post by ktz » December 13th, 2018, 10:26 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 9:52 pm
ktz:

The section “Reading and Writing”, from Zarathustra:
Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.

It is no easy task to understand unfamiliar blood; I hate the reading idlers.

He who knoweth the reader, doeth nothing more for the reader. Another century of readers—and spirit itself will stink.

Every one being allowed to learn to read, ruineth in the long run not only writing but also thinking.

Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it even becometh populace.

He that writeth in blood and proverbs doth not want to be read, but learnt by heart.
Oof. I feel like Nietzsche is putting me personally on trial here. I guess this is part of what H&N was saying earlier about becoming the embodiment of what we believe -- read less and bleed more is some seriously targeted advice for someone like me who is obsessed with learning and theory, but lacking the ethical consistency of writing my own story with blood, sweat and tears.

Thanks, Fooloso. Between you and Solomon's whole "No excuses!" bit I seriously have a lot of work to do. I don't want to die a reading idler, damn it!
You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.

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Re: Eternal Return

Post by ktz » December 14th, 2018, 8:50 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
July 15th, 2018, 8:30 pm
For books on Nietzsche I like Laurence Lampert: “Nietzsche's Teaching: An Interpretation of Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and “Nietzsche's Task: An Interpretation of Beyond Good and Evil”.

Also Leo Strauss: “Note on the Plan of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil”. Strauss is not as straightforward as Lampert. Strauss, like Nietzsche, practiced an art of writing that requires the reader to practice an art of reading, that is, reading and re-reading in order to put the pieces together.
Fooloso: I suspect that good work on 19th century philosophy probably doesn't expire quickly enough for me to bother you with new recommendations, but just in case, are these still the top resources you would recommend on Nietzsche?
Fooloso wrote:
Everything that is profound loves the mask (40)
The first step in seeing behind the mask is to recognize it.


About this "mask", I recall from a different thread that you had some very interesting insights into philosophical esoterism. Do you feel like Nietzsche's Zarathustra falls into a related category of obfuscation, or is this "mask" more just a natural consequence of the profundity of the ideas he's trying to convey?
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Re: Eternal Return

Post by Fooloso4 » December 14th, 2018, 9:51 pm

ktz:
Fooloso: I suspect that good work on 19th century philosophy probably doesn't expire quickly enough for me to bother you with new recommendations, but just in case, are these still the top resources you would recommend on Nietzsche?
Actually, scholarship on Nietzsche has changed quite a bit. But in my opinion, Strauss and Lampert are on the right side of the curve. I know of nothing better. Both pay attention to the whole of the text and assume that Nietzsche is a careful writer who does not say anything that is superfluous to understanding him. Lampert is more accessible. He makes it easier to see between the lines and connect the dots.

If you get into it and want to discuss it, even if it is just to ask questions about what you are reading, I would enjoy the conversation.
About this "mask", I recall from a different thread that you had some very interesting insights into philosophical esoterism. Do you feel like Nietzsche's Zarathustra falls into a related category of obfuscation, or is this "mask" more just a natural consequence of the profundity of the ideas he's trying to convey?
It is both. Most readers will only see what is on the surface. Nietzsche does not wish to spare the reader the effort of thinking, of penetrating the surface. I think Nietzsche is responsible for pointing to this way of writing, and Strauss more than anyone is responsible for teaching a generation how to read. In addition, he obscures by deliberately misleads the "idle reader".

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Re: Eternal Return

Post by Hereandnow » December 14th, 2018, 11:26 pm

"In addition, he obscures by deliberately misleads the "idle reader"." Just caught my eye: this is exactly what is said about Kierkegaard, who is notoriously idiosyncratic.

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Re: Eternal Return

Post by ktz » December 15th, 2018, 12:01 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 9:51 pm
It is both. Most readers will only see what is on the surface. Nietzsche does not wish to spare the reader the effort of thinking, of penetrating the surface. I think Nietzsche is responsible for pointing to this way of writing, and Strauss more than anyone is responsible for teaching a generation how to read. In addition, he obscures by deliberately misleads the "idle reader".
After getting over my kneejerk millenial reaction of "How cruel of Nietzsche to treat me this way..." I remembered something from the Last Lecture given by CMU professor Randy Pausch during his battle with pancreatic cancer where he talks about the path to achieving one's childhood dreams. Somewhere in there Pausch makes a point regarding the obstacles we encounter in life:
The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.
I guess that idea might have been something Nietzsche understood all too well. I'm grateful for the head start you've given me in approaching these texts, and I definitely appreciate the offer of guidance through Lampert and Strauss.
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Re: Eternal Return

Post by Number2018 » December 18th, 2018, 4:44 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
December 11th, 2018, 12:41 pm


If one accepts the idea of an eternal return then the idea that one could change what had been is logically contradictory. If one decides to make changes moving forward then these are the same changes you have made before and are in that sense not changes at all. Moving forward is moving toward the unknown. The consequences of what we do cannot be foreseen. It is only in retrospect that know whether the decision is the one we would have chosen with foreknowledge. There is then a sense in which the eternal return is a return to the inescapable now.

There are things I might have done differently, but there is nothing I can do about it now and I wonder how I might be different and how my life would be different if I had. Moving forward I don’t see much value of trying to decide in terms of recurrence. It is only the life I live here and now that I am aware of. I am not aware of having done this before and will not be aware of doing it again. If I am to make a decision it will be one I make now and in terms of how it will affect my life and the lives of others now and in the future. Knowing that it will all happen again does not change that. I do not see how I might do things differently if I knew that what I do now will be repeated.
This interpretation of eternal return does not reflect its unique appeal and radical novelty. There is no logical contradictory in Nietzsche’s idea of an eternal return.
I will be trapped in a ceaseless repetition of the inescapable now if my primary goal is to change my life while protecting myself – keeping the same identity, ego, etc. But, according to Nietzsche, the action in the present is not the result of rational calculations of merits and demerits, and of possible consequences. It is an encounter with the unknown, taking the risk of non-reversible crash and defeat. One no longer knows how to act; the deed is too great to be performed. Nor one knows which force will arrive from outside to determine the meaning and values of thought and action. Yet, the outcome can be an entirely new creation, a surprise event, fitting to the rigorous, selective criteria of eternal return.

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Re: Eternal Return

Post by Fooloso4 » December 18th, 2018, 5:57 pm

Number2018:
This interpretation of eternal return does not reflect its unique appeal and radical novelty. There is no logical contradictory in Nietzsche’s idea of an eternal return.There is no logical contradictory in Nietzsche’s idea of an eternal return.
The eternal return is an ancient problem and is multifaceted. One chapter of Zarathustra that discusses the eternal return is “The Riddle and Vision” or “The Enigma and Vision”. The eternal return is just that, a riddle or enigma. See my later post that discusses this chapter: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15996#p325487

There has been a great deal written about Nietzsche’s eternal return with little or no agreement as to what it means. If you think it is not problematic that is a good indication that you have not understood it.
I will be trapped in a ceaseless repetition of the inescapable now …
Now is not to be escaped. See chapter 70 of Zarathustra “Noontide”.
… if my primary goal is to change my life while protecting myself -
Changing my life is protecting me. That is what self-overcoming is. That is what the will to power is. That is what life demands.
keeping the same identity, ego, etc.
You are never other than you are:
For this am I from the heart and from the beginning—drawing, hither-drawing, upward-drawing, upbringing; a drawer, a trainer, a training-master, who not in vain counselled himself once on a time: “Become what thou art!” (Zarathustra, “The Honey Sacrifice, 61)
Nor one knows which force will arrive from outside to determine the meaning and values of thought and action.
Nietzsche calls man the esteemer, the giver of meaning, the creator of values.

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