Nietzsche, Eternal Recurrence, and the Horror of Existence

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2007


Penn State University Press


Nietzsche believed in the horror of existence—in a world filled with meaningless suffering. He also believed in eternal recurrence—that our lives will repeat infinitely and that in each life every detail will be exactly the same. Furthermore, it was not enough that eternal recurrence simply be accepted—Nietzsche demanded that it be loved. Thus the philosopher who introduces eternal recurrence is the very same philosopher who also believes in the horror of existence—a paradox that is completely overlooked by commentators (who thus fail to adequately understand Nietzsche). All of this demands careful explanation.