Sunday, September 09, 2007

Time and again

On the repetition beat, Dizzyhead Ben provides the following:

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; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!' 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.'

Labels: ,


Blogger Jenny Davidson said...

I would indeed throw myself down and gnash my teeth.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Helen DeWitt said...

I think that if a demon came to me and said this I would think of Descartes and reflect: Perhaps the demon deceives me. Of what can I be certain? Cogito ergo sum. (Someone just wrote to me, by the way, and said The Last Samurai was now her favourite book, the previous favourite having been Thus Spake Zarathustra.) ndpas (I am human)

3:14 AM  
Blogger Lefty said...

I've always thought of the "eternal return" as something like a Zen kōan, the enlightenment embedded in the question. If you knew every moment of your life had eternal ramifications, the profundity of one that would repeat infinitely, how would you feel? Well, assuming life is finite and ends in death, that's exactly what you've got. The two are equal: Every moment is final and therefore infinite. Therefore you already know how you feel about the question because you're living it.

3:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

View My Stats