For my Creative Writing course I’ve been assigned to write a piece of non-fiction about my own life, but written in a creative way. So I thought I’d write about my frequent discussions with friends, and the adventures in my head I often disappear to. Hope you enjoy it; I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.
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After turning off the computer, it made me think of choices. What if I hadn’t chosen to turn off the computer? What if I’d kept it on and been able to catch the next e-mail? Then that made me think of fate. Fate, in turn, made me think of the Eternal Return.
“Oh my god,” I tried not to spit out the mouthful of Pepsi I’d just thrown back.
“What?” I got scattered, intermittent responses from my friends sitting around me in the living room.
“The Eternal Return,” I said.
“The what?”Again, scattered responses.
“I just thought of some of the books I’ve been reading. And the computer made me think about the theory . . . Friedrich Nietzsche . . .” I trailed off.
They looked at me confused.
Suddenly the whole burden of explaining this complex theory that had flashed in front of my eyes in its entirety in a single, blinding epiphany seemed daunting.
“Um, never mind,”
“Okay?” Jayme laughed, raising an eyebrow comically.
In my head, the whole idea came fully formed as though it had just plopped into my mind; like a picture more than ideas.
The theory of the Eternal Return is, as I understand it, that matter and time is finite, and in a universe there are finite configurations of matter’s changes in state. So sooner or later some changes will recur and using that logic, earlier philosophers like the Egyptians, the Mayans and the Greeks thought of reality in a cyclical framework. In 1643, Sir Thomas Browne said:
The world was before the Creation, and at an end before it had a beginning; and thus was I dead before I was alive, though my grave be England, my dying place was Paradise, and Eve miscarried of me before she conceived of Cain.
I had put a yellow note pad on that page to remind me of the trippiness of that paragraph. I frequently re-read it, whenever I needed my mind blown.
Although, I often wondered why matter would come back in the same configuration? Why couldn’t the next time around I be a fish, or rather than humans, cows became the more evolved species? But I guess that’s reincarnation. And that could very well be one of the state changes too. Maybe if given a long enough space of time, we would always come back to the atoms and molecules were are at this moment.
One of my heroes, Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote a lot about the Eternal Return and I’d yellow-noted another quote which constantly blew my mind. Nietzsche, in his book The Gay Science, said:
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’ … 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’.
It often made me think. Would I consider the messenger a demon or a god in this point in my life? There were aspects of it that I hated.
But there were also things that I loved.
I loved spending time with my friends. I loved my music. I loved zoning out watching 80s cartoons on Teletoon retro.
I sighed and looked back at the computer screen, which was turned off.