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Nietzsche's Eternal Return and the Temptation of Immortality: How to Love Being Alive

Updated: 6 days ago



Perhaps one of Friedrich Nietzsche's greatest contributions to philosophy is his idea of the Eternal Recurrence. The idea is that if you could live the same life over and over again, would you choose to do so? The same experiences, the same people, the same routine—would you do it, even if it meant living forever?

The Eternal Recurrence is like a Monkey's Paw: you get to live forever, but you also get to experience the same things over and over again, from the most harmful to the most beautiful. But for you to desire that, there is one condition: Live your life in accordance to how YOU want to lead them. In accordance, to your deepest desires.

That's how you can reduce the drawback's of that metaphorical "monkey's paw" to a bare minimum.

The key to reach the ability to love life, to the point of wanting to live the same moments repeatedly and eternally, is to devise your ideal self, plan your advances to it, and achieve it, within every single moment of your life, from there on.

The Rationale

The idea behind Nietzsche's Eternal Recurrence is that if you are truly content with your life, you would choose to live it over and over again, even if it meant living that story forever.

Imagine watching a show you really love. You enjoyed that show so much that you desire to watch it again, and again, and again. Think of that show. Now, think of yourself, as the director of that show. Imagine that show not being a work of fiction, but a work of non-fiction. Imagine putting yourself, into that show, as one of its characters. You design not only that show, but also your character, at the very least.

Imagine being so pleased at the show you directed, you would not only direct it again, but you would also play the role you've assigned yourself, as the character.

Treat your life not as an actor playing someone else's directing expectations. Treat your life as both its director and the actor. Do a good job, and you might as well want to live life as if it's to never end.

That is how much a truly content person would feel and act, if they allow themselves to be the best versions of themselves, within each moment of their lives.

Encouraging someone to be entirely themselves is the loudest way to love them.

You can give this gift to yourself, if you have the courage, to love yourself that loudly. Others may complain. Others, may stand in your way, as your presence is too loud for them to bare. These people do not love you as loudly. You may find that your presence intimidates them, for loving yourself this loudly is dysfunctional to social order.

But you need to understand that to love yourself, and by the same token, to love life, is not expressed by perfectionism. No. It's expressed by embracing your flaws.

It's expressed by understanding yourself through the study of that self. If you really hate that self, then aim to change it, as long as you refuse to accept it as it is. Change it, towards the self you really want it to be. Otherwise, you won't necessarily forgive yourself, by choosing to be a coward instead, and giving up on the person you want to become. Fail becoming that person, and you will not even like your own emotions, when you'll become intimidated by them, in the form of discomfort.

You cannot love what intimidates you. Love brings you closer. Intimidation and fear makes you want to run away.

Consider that self within you. It wants to live itself. Masking is such a horrible practice, and yet we glorify the actors as prestigous. The best way to love ourselves... to love others... is to let that self within them, live itself. Live the way it wants to. Not the way you or someone else wants it to. No, the way it wants to.

To love life you must understand that self, and understand the very ambitions in which you repress. Repression has consequences for a reason. Repression makes us sick! Repression make us condemn that self within us, which craves to express itself the way it wants to. All, so we could live the life of another director/s. Director/s, who might not even want that authentic self to become ideal, or in other words -- to reach its full or optimal potential.

Why? Because that self is a threat on social order, which seeks to diminish it. Orthodox social order is therefore anti-human, anti-love, in a sense. And it creates stress for good, human reasons, related to that self which we repress.

To accept ourselves, we must see reality, as having components that are beyond good and bad. It's not bad to be angry. It's not bad to be depressed. No. It's fine feeling emotions. It's fine embracing ourselves to our fullest. We are merely taught that it isn't, so we would comply to the symbolic director/s, who might not really care for ourselves. And yet, we are supposed, and expected, to follow their traditions and norms, so we would survive and function in our toxic, alieanating contemporary societies.

How...How are we supposed to love others, if we refuse to allow them to become their ideal selves, just because their ideal selves, with all their flaws and shortcomings, scare us? Intimidate us? Trigger our mockery? Trigger our tempting hatred?

How can we love ourselves, when we refuse to accept ourselves wholeheartedly, for all our complexicites, irrationalities, and contradictions?

When the self is rejected for being who it is, for being who it wants to be, it begins to believe it is wrong. But not the "good way" kind of wrong. No. The bad way. The one deserving of shame. The one that does not have the right to be accepted.

But to love, either others or oursleves, we must accept. And it is only through acceptance that we can allow ourselves, and allow others, to be who they are, and who they want to be! For acceptance leads with being comfortable under our own skin.

And how can we accept life, if we don't want to live it? How can we accept a life in which we don't want to live in, in its current form? Why shouldn't we, then, work towards a life, we truly want to live? Why shouldn't we, live a life, we could deem acceptable enough to live to the point of us wanting to live it, over and over again, like watching the same show?

We need to find purpose if that we truly want. We need to resort to nihilism, if that we truly want! In order to live life to the point of wishing to experiencing it repeatedly, we must stop denying the truth. The truth within us. The truth, we want to see in our lives. The truth, we want to manifest.

There is no necessary way to be! There is no necessary way to live specifically! The ONLY necessary way, for a life we would deem ideal to live repeatedly if we were able to, is the life we truly want to live.

Personal Reflections

I don't care that I dropped out of university! I did it because I wanted to. Had I resumed there, I'd suffer the same way I suffered back in highschool: Like an oppressed subject in a dictatorship. It's how I really felt, for 13 years.

Living life, the way society expected me... was the worst way I lived. It didn't care for my pain, which I felt for 15 years at least... Had I expressed it, I was told to keep things to myself.

Imagine how horrible it is, to live a life you're expected to live, but one, whose voice is told to keep its mouth shut. One, whose distress is demanded to be covered under the guise of wanting pleasing an authority that disregards it.

It was then I realized that the external world does not want to live the life I want. It was then I realized the external world will keep moving on, whether or not it will use me for its own purposes.

But true love, of others, of ourselves, is not out of conditions of doing things. It's not about utilizing people as mere factories. Finally, it is certainly not about deeming people as expendable.

It's about letting them wanting to work for the life they want to live.

A life they would love so much, they would want to live them, again and again,

If they just... were able to.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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