Eternal Recurrence

Flyback

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Sep 20, 2006
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From wiki:

Nietzsche calls the idea "horrifying and paralyzing," and says that its burden is the "heaviest weight" ("das schwerste Gewicht") imaginable. The wish for the eternal return of all events would mark the ultimate affirmation of life:

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.' [The Gay Science, §341]
As a thought exercise, how do you feel about the concept?

Don't use Groundhog Day (movie) as an example because it contains variation and he is aware -- assume that it would be the same in every single aspect and you would have no knowledge from one existence to the next.
 

bdude

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Feb 9, 2004
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Playing the concept through...one wouldn't come to the realization until after this outside force decided to mess with your head. And should that be the case, there would be no realization in the next recurrence until...

You're better off imagining bouncing boobies.
 

Flyback

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Sep 20, 2006
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Originally posted by: Printer Bandit
isn't this reincarnation?
In the sense of a single existence over and over, yes. It isn't akin to the traditional idea (different experiences, other bodies and timelines, whatever) as the some of the more popular trains of thought go.

Just you and you only. Over and over. Never knowing from one life to the next. Same existence in every aspect.
 

hanoverphist

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Dec 7, 2006
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all depends on how youve seen your life so far. i would live this life over again, i have many things i love and many times i cherish. they far outweigh the bad spots and speed bumps
 

Flyback

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Originally posted by: hanoverphist
all depends on how youve seen your life so far. i would live this life over again, i have many things i love and many times i cherish. they far outweigh the bad spots and speed bumps
The only saving grace for people with horrible lives is that they wouldn't remember it from one to the next.

Overall I would welcome the idea just as you would.
 

Flyback

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Originally posted by: hanoverphist
all depends on how youve seen your life so far. i would live this life over again, i have many things i love and many times i cherish. they far outweigh the bad spots and speed bumps
The only saving grace for people with horrible lives is that they wouldn't remember it from one to the next.

Overall I would welcome the idea just as you would.
 

jjones

Lifer
Oct 9, 2001
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I would prefer a Groundhog Day type of experience, but if that weren't possible, then for the average joe what difference does it make since you wouldn't be cognizant of it anyway?
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
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"An afterlife? If I knew I had to go through another life I'd kill myself!"


Originally posted by: Flyback
Originally posted by: Printer Bandit
isn't this reincarnation?
In the sense of a single existence over and over, yes. It isn't akin to the traditional idea (different experiences, other bodies and timelines, whatever) as the some of the more popular trains of thought go.

Just you and you only. Over and over. Never knowing from one life to the next. Same existence in every aspect.
So in these existences, does there exist the opportunity to prove that this recurrance happens? If there is no way of knowing it, then it doesn't really matter at all that it does recur. Really, as far as I'm concerned, eventually, in many trillions upon trillions of years, this universe will be gone, whether it be in a big crunch, or, as they seem to think now, a "heat death" in which the universe simply disperses, cooling down by emitting infrared radiation into space, with the subatomic particles themselves eventually decaying into radiation. So in the long run, everything in this Universe will be gone, unless life or sentience can find some way to "leave" this Universe.

"What you do is of little significance; but it is very important that you do it."
 

Skeeedunt

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Oct 7, 2005
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The lack of persistent memories from one life to the next seems to make the idea almost irrelevant... if you somehow convinced me that this was going on right now, I don't really see how it would affect my current life at all. So how would if affect any of my infinite other lives either?

Saying that it would suck is basically just saying that life sucks and you wish you were dead, and I suppose if that were the case it could seem somewhat horrifying. As long as you weren't visited at the beginning of your destined-to-be-crappy life and told of all your future failures, I don't see the big deal.
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
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Originally posted by: Skeeedunt
The lack of persistent memories from one life to the next seems to make the idea almost irrelevant... if you somehow convinced me that this was going on right now, I don't really see how it would affect my current life at all. So how would if affect any of my infinite other lives either?

Saying that it would suck is basically just saying that life sucks and you wish you were dead, and I suppose if that were the case it could seem somewhat horrifying. As long as you weren't visited at the beginning of your destined-to-be-crappy life and told of all your future failures, I don't see the big deal.
Exactly, it would have no impact. You could have lived yesterday 10^10^33 times, but since all cause and effect is reset at the start of each of those days, you would net no passage of time, no gained experience, no new memory.
 
S

SlitheryDee

Seems like a pretty pointless idea to me, but I could see how some would find the thought horrifying. All it does is cut out all possibility of a meaningful afterlife. If you're doing the same thing over and over again without any persistent memory between lives then you might as well have just done it once and stopped.
 

ShadowOfMyself

Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2006
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This is quite pointless

It would only be horrifying for those on the outside who watched the same person time and again, but for us, it doesnt really matter
 

Flyback

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Sep 20, 2006
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Originally posted by: ShadowOfMyself
This is quite pointless

It would only be horrifying for those on the outside who watched the same person time and again, but for us, it doesnt really matter
For sake of argument, if it could be proven to be true (suspend your disbelief) then yes, I think it would matter a great deal to many people. It would plague them to know there is no afterlife as I understand a great many people look forward to that idea (of being reconciled with their loved ones and their concept of a God).

Some would find comfort in the idea that their view/soul would never die, but at the same time others might find it very troublesome to imagine reliving all the worst experiences they have despite never remembering them (some have really bad experiences--far worse than we can imagine). It would also cause great distress for other reasons (concerning free will, just being an illusion then).

I think it is a valid thought exercise nonetheless.
 

SketchMaster

Diamond Member
Feb 23, 2005
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I once came up with the theory that ... Well, really has nothing to do with this other than time.

But the theory was is that time could be looked at in frames, or many points in time that you have lived. To give an example remember back in the 80's music videos how it was cool to use an effect were something like a man would be running across the screen and they would leave the previous frame(s) on the screen, think of being able to look at time like that.

Now think about this, recall the most miserable moment in your life, now imagine somehow a shadow of your consciousness got left behind in that very point so you are aware but can do nothing and you just sit at that point in time for all eternity. Like having life get stuck in pause but your mind isn't.

Now THAT would be freaky.
 

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