Tag Archives: Nietzsche

Eternal Recurrence

16 Apr

I’ve been reading a lot of Nietzsche lately – both his own writing as well as people writing about him. My books are filled with little post-it-notes with quotes like this:

But then it [the individual] discovers that it is itself something changing and has a changing taste. It discovers in its freedom the mystery that there is no individual, that in the smallest moment it is something other than in the next moment…the infinitely small moment is the higher reality and truth is a lighting flash out of eternal flux.

Mostly it’s been this notion of eternal recurrence that’s been staying with me. And yes, in full disclosure nearly all of this is for book research, which I’m not going to go into here other than to say I was struck today that my main character needs to be the Lighting Flash Out of Eternal Flux. And that this idea of eternal recurrence is a very central theme.

Basically Nietzsche said that this moment, right now, you reading these words, my typing them, my foot tapping as I do so has occurred in every possible time for all time. It will continue to occur. Everything in your life has already happened and it will continue to happen. (Those of you who are Battlestar Galactica or Matrix fans have already been weaned on these ideas. Only with cylons and cool stunts).

So that moment, this moment, the next moment, it’s all already happened. Your great family, your horrible job. They’re a constant. They will keep happening for all time. Unless you choose to change it. Granted if that notion doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you I don’t know what will. God created Man to create God.

Anyway, the point is this stuff is fascinating and I really could use way more free time to study it.

Also, bonus! I finally found a reason for YouTube. This guy does a bang up job of explaining Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence (British accent bonus!)

And Armand Assante is rocking it as Nietzsche (in When Nietzsch Wept). Guess who I’m gonna be for Halloween? I just need a big mustache.

Simply, Yes at Gutter Eloquence

9 Apr

Many thanks to Jack Marlowe at Gutter Eloquence for accepting the poem, Simply, Yes.

I think it’s kind of cool that this poem was published now because I’ve been reading Nietzsche and his theory of Eternal Recurrence for novel research and I found this quote. I feel like he said, what I was trying to say in the poem only, you know, better cause he’s Nietzsche (duh):

“I come again with this sun, with this earth, with this eagle, with this serpent – not to a new life, or a better life, or a similar life. I come again eternally to this identical and self-same life, in its greatest and its smallest to teach again the eternal return of all things”

Nice, right? Yeah. I thought so too. Thanks again Jack.

How Happy is the Blameless Vestal’s Lot. The world forgetting, by the world forgot.

29 Jun

Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders  – Nietzsche

I forget things.

This morning I forgot my keys when I left for work. I kissed my husband goodbye at the door, and then had second goodbye at the window (it’s a silly thing – don’t ask) and then headed up the street, Michael Kiwanuka in my headphones when I realized that I didn’t have my keys. I ran back to the apartment but the window was closed. I had to frantically ring the doorbell, startling my husband, probably inducing a heart attack in my cat, just to get back in.

I forgot the comics I wanted to bring to read today.

Once I forgot my father’s birthday. Poor guy.

One of my  first memories involves attempting to fashion fairy wings out of wire hangers and paper in the hallway of my childhood home. But I had to be nearly six then. That can’t be right, can it? Most first memories begin at 3 or 4. I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor of the kitchen reenacting my kindergarten (or was it first grade?) recital for my Grandfather. Drum sticks tapping out a pattern. A song about a pussy willow.

I see pictures of myself, from holidays or parties and I think, Yes! I remember. But I don’t. I just know this picture of the tow-headed little girl. Not the moment the picture was taken.

I forgot what people from high school look like. It’s a vanishing. First the faces go, then the names. I stare at the pictures in my old yearbook and there’s just….nothing.

I forgot people from college…also whole events in college. I have to be reminded of these things by others:

“Remember, junior year? After the Ani show?” And I nod. Sure. Sure. That was great, I say, but there’s nothing there. I smile and nod. I fake it. I laugh when I’m supposed to – praying for a spark of recognition, something to pull it all into focus.

Since formal schooling ended, things have gotten stranger. I can’t track years. I have to count back to remember when we moved into our current apartment.  Count back to grad school. If I graduated grad school in 2006…wait, was it 2006? When did I travel the country? 2007? When did I  move back to Brooklyn? 2008?

My husband knows how old my parents are before I do.

The last time the doctor asked my age, I forgot it. Panicking, I gave the wrong number. I corrected myself about ten minutes later. He cocked an eyebrow, tilted his head. I wondered if he thought I needed a CAT scan.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about memory too and I wonder if that makes it worse. I spend time trying to fill the blanks, pouring them full of energy and hope and need. Color and song and smell. Anything that might craft a memory.

I write stories about it. I have characters who’ve had their memories stolen. Replaced with false ones. Characters who keep finding themselves in the same situation, unable to recall the last time they were there or what happened. Unable to recall the people they once loved and would have died for.

Their lives, stolen.

Swaths of blank canvass.

I imagine a great cold ocean filled with partial memories bobbing just below the surface. Snippets of stories, flashes of color, individual moments of time:

The summer of my 14th year
The first time I saw fireworks
The last baseball game I went to
Last night’s dream
Love, even.
Kisses, maybe.

I think of them all bobbing out there, just out of reach.
And what about today? This year? When will it vanish? How much time has to go by before it’s lost in that sea too.

All those moments, the seconds, the minutes, the days that craft a life.  That tell the story of a single person, all of it…just floating.

It’s beautiful, really, like an unwinding of sorts.

Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.

In the end, we’ll all just meet in Montauk.

“Joely, what if you stayed this time.”
“I walked out the door…there’s no memory left.”

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