Explain the idea of eternal recurrence.

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The essential idea of eternal recurrence is quite simple, though alarming. Since time is infinite and the number of events is finite, the idea of eternal recurrence says that we are destined to repeat the same events over and over again. Although this idea and variations of it appear in the works of various thinkers, it is most associated with Friedrich Nietzsche, who made it a vital element of his philosophy, linked to two other central concepts, “amor fati” and the “Ubermensch” or Superman.

Nietzsche imagines a demon coming to the reader and presenting him with the idea of eternal recurrence: you will live this same life over and over again forever. He assumes that this idea would be intolerable to most people. However, someone who had lived a magnificent life, in which he had exercised his will to the full and become a force of nature and master of his fate would be thrilled by the idea of eternal recurrence and would hail the demon who revealed it to him as a god. This disposition to accept and embrace eternal recurrence is “amor fati,” the love of fate. One who had lived in such a way as to be able to take this attitude and look forward with eager anticipation to the eternal recurrence of his life without variation or editing would necessarily be an “Ubermensch” or superhuman being.

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