Re: On Eternal Recurrence

Steven E. Callihan (
Sun, 10 Aug 1997 11:52:17 -0700 (PDT)

Fabio Escobar Castelli wrote:

>Big Bang theory would not necessarily preclude the rightness of ER as a
>physics doctrine. Since time is infinite in big bang theory, the
>premises necessary for an infinite recurrence is still there: One need
>not have the present universe remain static in order for events to
>repeat. It is enough to know that this universe in and of itself will

There is an interesting note in Will to Power, actually the next to last
(!), that sheds some light on this issue. In section 1066 (dating from
1888), he writes (my brackets):

"This conception [of the eternal return] is not simply a mechanistic
conception; for if it were that, it would not condition an infinite
recurrence of identical cases, but a final state. _Because_ the world has
not reached this, mechanistic theory must be considered an imperfect and
merely provisional hypothesis."

Nietzsche was not aware of the Big Bang and Expanding/Contracting Universe
theories, of course, but I also see nothing in these theories that disallows
the notion of an eternal repetition, that is, an infinite progression of Big
Bangs (Expansions, then Contractions), if you will. The question is
necessarily begged relative to what comes before the Big Bang, as well as
after the eventual contractive collapse back into the Big Bang's black maw
(the mother of all Black Holes!). There is also a paradox hidden here, in
that the same event repeated infinitely would be _identical_ to the same
event occuring only once! The paradox would have to do with time, it seems
to me. Thus the eventual collapse of all matter back into the Mother of All
Black Holes, back to the absolute zero-point of all space, would itself
amount to the absolute cancellation of time. Time would have cancelled
itself out! Thus, the repetition would be the exactly same event (Big Bang
_redux_), again! Then again! Etc. But each time (!) the same identical event
all over again, down to the smallest detail, because it _is_ the same event.

This quote I think also helps clarify what is probably the most perplexing
aspect of the ER hypothesis, that is, what it is that undergoes repetition.
Here he clearly states that it is (my emphasis) "an infinite recurrence of
_identical cases_." The Same, in other words, is identity, or Being. The
"identical case" is, of course, our doing, our logo-centric imposition upon
(and ordering of) the Flux (or Chaos).

Maybe Nietzsche wasn't such a bad physicist, after all.


Steve C. (a.k.a., Shorthand Steve, Tom Fool, and "the wanna-be poet from

--- from list ---