«462 (Spring-Fall 1887)
Fundamental innovations: In place of “moral values,” purely naturalistic values. Naturalization of morality.
In place of “sociology,” a theory of the forms of domination.
In place of “society,” the culture complex, as my chief interest (as a whole or in its parts).
In place of “epistemology,” a perspective theory of affects (to which belongs a hierarchy of the affects; the affects transfigured; their superior order, their “spirituality”).
In place of “metaphysics,” and religion, the theory of eternal recurrence (this as a means of breeding and selection).
I believe in absolute space as the substratum of force: the latter limits and forms. Time eternal. But space and time do not exist in themselves. “Changes” are only appearances (or sense processes for us); if we posit the recurrence of these, however regular, nothing is established thereby except this simple fact, that it has always happened thus. The feeling that post hoc is propter hoc can easily be shown to be a misunderstanding; it is comprehensible. But appearances cannot be “causes”!
577 (Spring-Fall 1887)
Against the value of that which remains eternally the same (vice Spinoza’s naivete; Descartes’ also), the values of the briefest and most transient, the seductive flash of gold on the belly of the serpent vita—
Apollo’s deception: the eternity of beautiful forms; the aristocratic legislation, “thus shall it be for ever!”
Dionysus: sensuality and cruelty. Transitoriness could be interpreted as enjoyment of productive and destructive force, as continual creation.
I want to teach the idea that gives many the right to erase themselves–the great cultivating idea.
The two great philosophical points of view (devised by Germans):
a) that of becoming, of development.
b) that according to the value of existence (but the wretched form of German pessimism must first be overcome!)–both brought together by me in a decisive way.
Everything becomes and recurs eternally–escape is impossible!– Supposing we could judge value, what follows? The idea of recurrence as a selective principle, in the service of strength (and barbarism!!).
Ripeness of man for this idea.
To endure the idea of the recurrence one needs: freedom from morality; new means against the fact of pain (pain conceived as a tool, as the father of pleasure; there is no cumulative consciousness of displeasure); the enjoyment of all kinds of uncertainty, experimentalism, as a counterweight to this extreme fatalism; abolition of the concept of necessity; abolition of the “will”; abolition of “knowledge-in-itself.”
Greatest elevation of the consciousness of strength in man, as he creates the overman.
The two most extreme modes of thought–the mechanistic and the Platonic–are reconciled in the eternal recurrence: both as ideals.
If the world had a goal, it must have been reached. If there were for it some unintended final state, this also must have been reached. If it were in any way capable of a pausing and becoming fixed, of “being,” then all becoming would long since have come to an end, along with all thinking, all “spirit.” The fact of “spirit” as a form of becoming proves that the world has no goal, no final state, and is incapable of being. (…)
It is still the old religious way of thinking and desiring, a kind of longing to believe that in some way the world is after all like the old beloved, infinite, boundlessly creative God–that in some way “the old God still lives”–that longing of Spinoza which was expressed in the words “deus sive natura” [God or nature.] (he even felt “natura sive deus”).
What, then, is the law and belief with which the decisive change, the recently attained preponderance of the scientific spirit over the religious, God-inventing spirit, is most clearly formulated? Is it not: the world, as force, may not be thought of as unlimited, for it cannot be so thought of; we forbid ourselves the concept of an infinite force as incompatible with the concept “force.” Thus–the world also lacks the capacity for eternal novelty.
The law of the conservation of energy demands eternal recurrence.
1066 (March-June 1888)
The new world-conception.— The world exists; it is not something that becomes, not something that passes away. Or rather: it becomes, it passes away, but it has never begun to become and never ceased from passing away–it maintains itself in both.– It lives on itself: its excrements are its food. (…)
If the world may be thought of as a certain definite quantity of force and as a certain definite number of centers of force–and every other representation remains indefinite and therefore useless–it follows that, in the great dice game of existence, it must pass through a calculable number of combinations. In infinite time, every possible combination would at some time or another be realized; more: it would be realized an infinite number of times. And since between every combination and its next recurrence all other possible combinations would have to take place, and each of these combinations conditions the entire sequence of combinations in the same series, a circular movement of absolutely identical series is thus demonstrated: the world as a circular movement that has already repeated itself infinitely often and plays its game in infinitum.
This conception 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.
And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by “nothingness” as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a sphere that might be “empty” here or there, but rather as force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there; a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and a flood of its forms; out of the simplest forms striving toward the most complex, out of the stillest, most rigid, coldest forms toward the hottest, most turbulent, most self-contradictory, and then again returning home to the simple out of this abundance, out of the play of contradictions back to the joy of concord, still affirming itself in this uniformity of its courses and its years, blessing itself as that which must return eternally, as a becoming that knows no satiety, no disgust, no weariness: this, my Dionysian world of the eternally self-creating, the eternally self-destroying, this mystery world of the twofold voluptuous delight, my “beyond good and evil,” without goal, unless the joy of the circle is itself a goal; without will, unless a ring feels good will toward itself–do you want a name for this world? A solution for all its riddles? A light for you, too, you best-concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men?– This world is the will to power–and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power–and nothing besides!»
– Nietzsche, fragments.