Nietzsche’s Groundhog Day
From Groundhog Days – Intercourse on Time
By Melina Costello and David Arthur Walters
Saturday, June 25, 2004
Mystic Madame Melina,
Because of my orthodox upbringing, I would fain hope that this message is not identical to countless other messages you have already received in identical worlds or universes or whatever. But such a hope would not be reasonable until I know whether or not this life is in fact identically and forever repeated, and, if it is thus repeated, until I know whether or not I would joyously accept it as it is, always was, and will ever be, or whether I would despair of it and commit virtual or real suicide.
Life as it is, with all its ups and downs, is not good enough for most people. They would rather have the ups than the downs, the pleasures than the pains, the goods than the evils. Since that is impossible, they envision another life, a joyous life over the horizon, somewhere over the mountains or across the seas, or on some other planet, or on an imaginary plane on this very Earth of ours. Finally, confronted with the end of all that jazz, they would have an after-life in whatever other-world happens to suit their fancy, perhaps the orthodox one favored by the current authorities in order to get along well under them.
As you can see, I have embarked from Nietzsche’s heuristic notion of eternal recurrence – that the exact history of the cosmos endlessly repeats itself. Said classical or pagan notion was of course the poor philosopher’s point of departure for a gay, Dionysian life in contrast to the usual ascetic life led by those for whom there must always be something better. Although the notion of eternal recurrence was Nietzsche’s “basic conception” for his Zarathustra, his superhuman protagonist never committed himself to it.
I have often wondered where you stood on the crucial question: What would your reaction be if a demon were to prove to you that your whole life with all its goods and ills will be endlessly repeated? I pray you will take the question seriously even though it is hypothetical – eternal recurrence is plainly impossible or at least highly improbably given the fact that our incredibly complex system is open, subject to all sorts of external influences, inflows, outflows – the vast number of elements involved would virtually preclude any exact repetition of any cosmos or life therein.
I look forward to hearing from you before the shadow falls.