Nietzsche's Aphorism 341

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Aphorism 341

An important underlying assumption of discovering that one’s life is stuck in a cyclical eternal recurrence is that one will not be able to carry over one's memory in any way from one cycle to the next. Thus the revelation of the demon is only pertinent in shaping one's behavior and thinking for the rest of the current life; one in which man becomes his own God, while the Christian God vanishes into non-existence.

The demon’s revelation does not change the external reality of one’s life; the outside events will continue on as normal. What will change is both an understanding of one’s place in the metaphysics and theology of current life and that of the afterlife. While not stating that there is no God outright to guide and direct the happenings of everyday life, the eternal recurrence of events essentially kills off the threat of the Christian God by eliminating divine retribution. No longer is the threat of eternal damnation or the reward of a life in heaven a factor necessary to consider in the ethics of one’s own life. What has to be considered is what the self wants above all. In fact, the arbiter for how eternal life will look, although cyclically not linearly, is man himself, so in fact God is not relevant anymore. Nietzsche certainly is gleeful in declaring the end of divinely set morality; he implies that this revelation allows one to become a god oneself by calling the knowledge divine "' I have never heard anything more divine,'" (a 341) and by suggesting that one now is confronted with the prospect of forming one's own eternal reality alone, "The question in each and every thing 'Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?'"

The challenge posed by the demon is the story of the Ring of Gyges applied in a different way. While the myth of the Ring of Gyges is concerned with how a person's sense of justice is determined by the threat of human retribution, the revelation of this demon is the...
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