Thursday 6 March 2008

Nietzsche - The Three Metamorphoses

"Of the three metamophoses of the spirit I tell you: how the spirit becomes a camel; and the camel a lion; and the lion, finally, a child. Thus spoke Zarathustra".

The quote above is taken from Friedrich Nietzsche's great work Also Sprach Zarathustra. In this he presents a philosophy that has become known as the The Three Metamorphoses. I suggest that this proverb is how Nietszche aviods the pitfalls of the eternal return as suggested in his famous 'Demon' quote from The Gay Science. You will recall that this goes:

"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. "

In The Three Metamorphoses Neitszche has Zarathustra say that we will all have three changes that will take place in our conscious existence. In my opinion he was proposing something very similar to CTF.

If my reading is right then Neitszche suggested that consciousness, whilst in the first life re-run (reccurence), is analogous to a camel. The unknowing Eidolon is dutiful and does as it is told. It follows the rules and carries the load unaware of the fact that it is following exactly the same route as last time. (this is very similar to the byt people of the other great philosopher of the Eternal Reccurence - Petyr Ouspensky). This may go on for many re-runs of my Bohmian IMAX. It all depends upon the involvement of the Daemon. It is possible that some Daemon's simply cannot communicate with their Eidolon. This may be an evolutionary thing. Maybe the Daemon itself needs many Bohmian IMAX re-runs before it learns how to influence its Eidolon. Whatever the circumstances there will be, in one of the re-runs, a moment when the Daemon breaks through and communicates for the first time. This may be a dream, a deja vu, a precognition, an aural 'hallucination' or just a hunch, but it will bring about a temporal mutation in the life of the Eidolon. The Eidolon will do something different, something it did not do last time. At that point (similar to Borges' Garden of the Forking Paths), another path is followed. By some mechanism yet unknown, the Eidolonic, and by definition the Daemonic 'passenger' are thrust into another Everett Universe and Minkowskian time-line. The original Eidolon remains as a Nietzschian 'camel' but the new one moves on into the new, subtly changed Everett universe. Nietzsche called this the 'Lion Stage'. To take this new path the Eidolon must, in Nietzsche's words 'slay the dragons'. These are the 'ideas that enslave us' - what I would term the engrams of our first life's negative decisions. With the Daemon's subtle assistance the Eidolon ensures that all the 'dragons are slayed', possibly over many refined Bohmian IMAX performances. By following this path the Eidolon expunges the engrams (rather like scientology this isn't it) and in doing so move into the third stage. Nietzsche termed this 'the child'. This is because by getting rid of all the negative karma (engrams) we become 'innocent' again.

Now Nietzsche was one of natures pessimists. As such he saw no final destination. He argued that all new reccurences created other engrams and they have to be 'slayed' to. For him there was no final, abstract, utopian destination. It just goes on and on.

For my part, in this is purely conjecture (and possibly because I am an optimist) I have to believe that after many re-runs the Eidolon becomes so child-like (perfect) by creating its 'perfect life' that a melding of the Ediolonic and Daemonic conscious states takes place and the newly unified consciousness then moves on to the next stage of existence. Again this is, interestingly enough, very similar to Scientology's state of "Operating Thetan".

Clearly this is all metaphysics rather than science but I am quite teleological in my philosophy and if CTF is a valid construct then the question has to be asked "For what ultimate purpose" does CTF exist?


Anthony Peake said...

Here is another Nietzsche quote that could be interpreted as the inwardly generated Bohmian IMAX - the 'self created universe' of the dying Eidolon:

"the spirit now wills his own will, and he who had been lost to the world now conquers his own world."

Anonymous said...

I suppose these "dragons" that require slaying could also include addictions -- not just addictions to alcohol, drugs, food, etc., which hamper our pursuit of knowledge as to our higher purpose -- but addictions to habits, emotions, familiar patterns of doing things. (This idea of addiction to emotions is explored in the film "What the Bleep Do We Know!?")

As for the ultimate purpose of CTF, maybe it's not so much a purpose as a side effect? As in, our true home is elsewhere, and we need to wake up, or "get back to the garden" -- a concept well know to Christians, Buddhists, and others, although maybe it hasn't been taken far enough or fully understood. This idea is explored with a few twists on the traditional religious interpretations in a book called "The Disappearance of the Universe" by Gary Renard. Not a science-y text at all, but very thought-provoking.

Karl Le Marcs said...

WOW, I have LOTS to say on Nietzsche, obviously, but time is not my friend at present.
I'm reminded of Milan Kundera in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" when he said "If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross. It is a terrifying prospect. In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make."
In existential terms, the idea raises the responsibility of every choice that man makes by infinity. In Sartre’s philosophy, Man is condemned to be free. In Nietzsche’s, I guess, he is condemned for eternity.
It is my opinion that Nietzsche, very cunningly, used eternal return as a tool to serve the rest of his system of ideas. It has been suggested, by none other that Dostoevsky, that if God was dead, everything would be permissible. There would be chaos and confusion and human society would be orderless. Probably as a solution to this, Nietzsche proposed this idea. I guess its true import should be that man must live his life as a first in a cycle of eternal recurrence so that man is compelled to be responsible and careful about every action, each moment. That the failure to act now would be a failure to be faced eternally. In one stroke of the pen, Nietzsche not only made man responsible beyond time but also turned its own illusion of eternity to weigh him down to the ground. He, probably, understood too well the unbearable lightness of being.

SM Kovalinsky said...

What a wonderful Nietzsche post, and I have from the start felt that you redeem Nietzsche and his pessimism. You have chosen the right quotes, and with astonishing precision. As always. . .

ken said...

All this "eternal return" talk reminded me of a book I have by Mircea Eliade, "The Myth of the Eternal Return or, Cosmos and History." Unfortunately I have not read this yet -- has anyone else? I hope to get to it very soon because the chapter names are "Archetypes and Repetition," "The Regeneration of Time,"Misfortune and History," and "The Terror of History."

Eliade deals quite often with "primitive" man, mythology, shamanism, etc. so will most likely have a very non-modern view of things.

Anthony Peake said...

It is interesting that Karl mentions the Milan Kundera quote becausde I had debated putting that exact quotation in as another posting but decided that two in one day was probably enough. I read a few of his books, including TULOB whilst on holiday a few years ago. I had seen the movie a few years before (that sequence with the the beautiful Juliette Binoche and the bowler hat is iconic in my mind)and enjoyed it. At that time I was unaware of the Eternal Reccurance but the novel still profoundly moved me. I guess that I related quite strongly to the main character, Tomas, at the time.

Anthony Peake said...

Mircea Eliade's, "The Myth of the Eternal Return" was central to my reading when I did the re-write of ITLAD. I found it fascinating (if somewhat hard going). As I recall, it is good few years ago now, he does not really focus in on recurrence that much, the book being more an anthropological study of shamanistic beliefs. However as I have subsequently read Eliade's book on Shamanism as part of my research for my forthcoming book I may be rather confusing the two.

ken said...

TONY-- I have his Shamanism book as well and it, too, is unread. I have a MUCH better chance of getting through TMOTER since it is about 1/5 the size! You may be confusing the two as your brief description does sound to me to be closer to Shamanism but that's coming from someone who has not read either one so caveat emptor and all that jazz.

Anthony Peake said...

KEN: Talk about synchronicity. What on earth made you decide to use the phrase "all that jazz"?

The reason I ask is that I had a recollection that in the 'hat' sequence in the movie version of Kundera's 'Unbearable Lightness of Being'(see my posting on K-Pax for background)Juliette Binoche dances to the song "Keep Your Hat On". It turns out that my memory was faulty. The dance sequence I was confusing it with was from the Bob Fosse movie 'All That Jazz'. I had literally just finished checking this out when the email notification of your posting dropped into my in-tray. Weird or what!

ken said...

Believe me, it was purely unconscious. I wrote "all that jazz" and then briefly tried to come up with a play on the word "Latin" to tie in with the Latin phrase but didn't think of anything so I kept the original. Sometimes I think our unconscious plays little tricks like this just to see if we're paying attention. And if we are, then surely it makes the connection with the unconscious stronger.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Übermensch !
*Bless you*
I don't like the English translation of the Nietzschean Übermensch as "Superman" as it conjours images of Cloak-wearing; Kryptonite-dodging; General Zod fighting; Externally underpantedly attired cartoonism. I prefer Overman.
But it was Nietzsche's own initially Nihilistic writings that made him come to the adoption of the Übermensch which inturn reminds me very much of The Buddha's Bodhisattva teachings.
*removes self forcibly from debate on Nietzsche remembering too well the many previous instances*

Karl Le Marcs said...

*runs back in quoting Zarathustra III The Convalescent)*
"Behold, we know what you teach; that all things recur eternally and we ourselves with them, and that we have already existed an infinite number of time before and all things with us."

" speak once more the teachings of the great noon-tide of Earth and Man, to tell Man of the Übermensch once more....."

*escapes through window*

Liz Gregori said...

Do you guys know what an egregore is?

I think y'all are activating an egregore, becoming nodes in its brain.

Karl Le Marcs said...

For an interestingly egregorical concept of mine please read: