Long ago in a forum I found an opinion that Nietzsche concocted the idea of Eternal Return as palliative care for the weak — that it is a soothing notion that there could be endless opportunities to relive your life in different circumstances and with different choices — which would effectively help clear the path for those individuals exhibiting a more masterful morality. Is there anything in Nietzsche's texts that would corroborate or refute this opinion?

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    I'd need to dig through my copies of the man, but at first glance this seems a thoroughly un-Nietzschean thing to say. Nietzsche did not deal in the business of making people feel better about themselves. At all.
    – commando
    Nov 20 '15 at 17:05
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    Maybe not feel better but at least get out of the way. TSZ - "Gentle is Zarathustra to the sickly. Verily, he is not indignant of their modes of consolation and ingratitude. May they become convalescents and overcomers, and create higher bodies for themselves!"
    – bigLarry
    Nov 20 '15 at 17:10
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    But it is recurrence, there is no major change in circumstances. It is almost the exact opposite pole from reincarnation (which can be seen as such a palliative). You do not get another chance, in some variant form. As the universe converges toward exact repetition, you are forced to relive something almost exactly like your current choice over and over in a more and more definite convergence to exact repetitions. It encourages you to get it right early on, not to evade decisions.
    – user9166
    Nov 20 '15 at 21:07

This extract from the Gay Science appears to refute it:

What, if some day or night, some demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'this life as you live it, and as you have lived it, you will have to live it 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 I have never heard anything more divine'.

Quite what N means by this has lead to a mini-industry of exegesis through his notebooks and other writings, but nothing really conclusive...

  • Seems like N is tipping the scales there when he says the demon is visiting in your "loneliest loneliness". Why not visit you while you're drinking with your friends or something?
    – bigLarry
    Nov 20 '15 at 17:01
  • More effective that way, unless your drinking pals turn out out to be demons in disguise - waiting for the penny to drop... Nov 20 '15 at 17:33

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