the Eternal Return

“It may be”, concludes Borges an essay focused on transcendent concepts “that universal history is the history of the different intonations given a handful of metaphors” we can merely repeat and never literally invent so as to subject our lives to some fundamental change.

And indeed it may be that humanity has no potential to annihilate the eternal return which confronts us with the most harrowing prospect of an endless recurrence of self-similarity; unable to tackle any godlike creation ex nihilo, man is virtually condemned to repeat himself life after life, partly aware of his effort’s futility but constantly engaged in those illusory distractions from time immemorial directed against consciousness.

Nothing eludes utter pointlessness from a cyclical perspective since all we can do resumes to interpreting, deconstructing, carnalizing what others developed already. Nothing essentially new exists.

Dose art thus count as a plain prop of personally induced deception?


Patricia Beykrat – the Roving Aesthete


14 responses to “the Eternal Return

  1. But repetition isn’t straight repetition. We’re always trying to repeat–though not necessarily succeeding, which is why we keep trying. And the value of the new can only be understood in that way. Otherwise it is just valuable for being new.

  2. I think it was Anselm who proposed that things can exist in two forms. The understanding, and the reality. When a painter envisions their next work, it has already taken the form of the understanding. However once it has been made, it also exists in reality.

    Maybe there can be no “new” understanding, in a universal way. But it is the artist to brings the understanding into reality, and in doing so gives it value.

    Just a thought.

    • To a certain extant I totally agree with this bifurcation in “understanding” and “reality” or, say, “form”. But what Borges’ essay tries to conjecture through a concrete example leads exactly to the idea of no “reality” being indeed novel. Check “The fearful sphere of Pascal” for a much better depiction of the concept than my currently loutish intellect could provide.

      • I’m not familiar with the essay, I’ll be sure to check it out later if I can find it.

        I suppose on a more practical level, we don’t make art for the universe, we make it for other people. And people are incapable of seeing or understanding everything that has ever been or ever was.

        So to the universe, no its not novel. But it can be novel to humanity, which in a way brings us closer to… some sort of threshold of universal understanding. A threshold we may never reach, but that’s not really the point.

        Also, the irony of someone describing themselves as having a ” loutish intellect ” is pretty funny. =)

  3. Pingback: the Eternal Return | 4t4m4t4·

  4. thanks for visiting my blog–I’m enjoying pondering your posts–very erudite and thought-provoking. I think art is a combination of a “gift from the cosmos” and effort and application. I “dabble” in painting with oils, but feel i have yet to find my own voice. I look forward to the time when I can spend more time putting in the effort and application, to see if there is anything truly there in the way of a “gift.” Gail

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