Talk:Eternal return

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Text moved from article[edit]

Here is the Anglican stuff:

  • From the Anglican Book of Common Prayer's burial rite:
    In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother <name>; and we commit his body to the ground; earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him and give him peace. Amen.
    • This is based on a passage from the Bible, Genesis 3:19, which reads:
      In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.

As the article points out, the ancient pagan idea of circular time and eternal recurrence was displaced by the Christian idea of the resurrection. Although the resurrection is imagined as a bodily phenomenon, the idea is that the saved will live in the New Jerusalem, where in this article the idea is that our lives AS THEY ARE will play out again. These are two separate ideas. The Dogandpony 20:05, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

I moved the text from Eternal Recurrence here. I think it misses the point entirely, but I didn't want to delete it. Dan 07:41, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

If instead one wishes to analyze Nietzsche's concept of the Eternal Recurrence, one can understand it in at least two senses:

One, by considering the universe as an infinite series of compositions or configurations, one concludes that the composition of this very moment one is living will—must—occur again. Any given configuration must have a probability greater than zero, being that otherwise it would not have come to pass.

A finite set is the result of necessarily finite aggregate probabilities, meaning that events in the past will again occur in the future. The past and future are thus indistinguishable—and, invoking Occam's razor, one and the same. The fact that the future folds back to the past leads to the conclusion that Time, contrary to any rectilinear model, entails a circular, cyclical characteristic.

Two, by considering 'the mind', or a person's consciousness, as a subjective map of the world, (again understood as a series of momentary mental configurations), one may consider that such a 'map' must contain a copy of itself, and that copy a copy as well, ad infinitum. However, the copy's necessary deprecation imposes upon this a quantum limit. It is vaguely speculated that the philosopher may experience a sense of infinite subjective depth, and that this series of 'echos' is its cause.

A third sense, rarely considered or translated as such, is derived from the first word of the German phrase ewige Wiederkunft des Gleichen (eternal recurrence/return of the same) meaning perpetual or continuous, thus the "perpetual return of the same". The key idea is that instead of the first sense, a return to the same state of affairs eternally, each quanta of force, of will to power, exerts its own creative will, thereby affirming that individual will, or individual creative act. This is not unlike the idea that an identity must remain the same throughout change, except in Nietzsche's sense, as here interpreted, the identity is not unchanging, but rather created by the will to power and perpetually recurring. The identity that ceases recurring is overpowered by another quanta of will to power. One's 'self' identity is a creation of will to power, or more accurately, a system of quanta or centers of force (an oligarchy). Since all is will to power, everything is perpetually recurring, the world appears to Be, but is actually in constant flux, continuously returning to the will to power. Therefore, the 'same' in "perpetual (or eternal) return of the same" is power, the cause and telos (goal) of everything, for all degrees of configuration, atom to plant to human. (The most comprehensive of Nietzsche's expressions combining both recurrence and will to power may be found in his unpublished note of 1885, 38{12}, (WP 1067))

I removed this because senses 2 and 3 are frankly baffling and 1 is redundant since it's stated at the top (in simpler language, I might add). Evercat 01:51, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Case 1 is the most common construal of Nietzsche's 'doctrine' in the majority of commentaries on his works, yet still contentious. I'm not familiar with the second rendering but it doesn't appear, prima facie, very 'nietzschean' in terms of the main normative ideal of the doctrine, which would seem to require a more metaphysical motivation. Unless the inner 'map' is some sort of euphemism for Perspectivism, but even that seems amiss in this context. I've seen a few sources that translate it as 'perpetual', as in three, which might allign his ontology to a more dynamic notion, as Heidegger interprets it, in terms of 'Becomings' and Nietzsche's own professed inspiration from the original 'flux' doctrine of Heraclitus.

The issue is whether these nuances are non sequitur on a page not predominantly dedicated to an engagement with Nietzsche. My main concern was only with the fact that the eternal recurrence is from the outset introduced as being central to Nietzsche's corpus, whereas this is far from unanimously agreed amongst Nietzsche scholars. For example, Brian Leiter has downplayed the significance of the eternal recurrence and argued against its perceived status as a foundation of Nietzsche's 'philosophy' (if such a reduction is even to be attempted). In the spirit of mentioning Nietzsche's influence on a wider discussion about the concept without having to introduce a large number of critical disclaimers off-putting to the non-specialist for the sake of this article, I just think this introduction could be more sensitively worded to avoid inadvertantly advocating a popular but questionable priveliging of the theme. Teasnowy (talk) 15:54, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Ewige as perpetual revert[edit]

I am glad you at least saved the work of the third and reverted sense, for it is not baffling though not simple enough for the main point. I've simplified and cut out explanations that one quite familiar with will to power may fill in as implied. You may not have noticed, but the first two senses were not written by the author of the third and I quite agree with you that these are either unnecessary or baffling. However, though I find it baffling, I'd not have deleted the second sense, and for the same reason I do not revert it--I have no authority as I do not understand it and I am not certain that it is nonsense, rather, I hope the original author or one that understands it could edit it for easier understanding. Moreover, I do not see how Nietzsche meant the second sense, not having come across any mention of ewige wiederkunft in relation to copies of copies ad infinitum.

BeyondBeyond, 6 September 2005

Well, if it's not understandable then it should definitely be removed from an encyclopedia that's intended for a general audience. I still have trouble with your bit:

each event that seems unchanging, static, is in fact repeating, in flux, i.e. the prior moment recurs in the (ever) present. The 'same' in "perpetual (or eternal) return of the same" is force (Kraft), the cause and telos (goal).

All this is definitely baffling. What the heck does it mean for the "prior moment to recur in the (ever) present"? Can this not be explained in simple English? Evercat 20:28, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

References in culture[edit]

Hmm. Not sure Fight Club would fit in there. It is interesting though how it starts in "the beginning", then the narrator says he'll explain to us from the beginning, then at the end there's "the beginning" again. Hmm. Suppose that's more like Pulp-Fiction-beginning-with-the-end deal.

What about PKD's "the empire never ended" theory? - That we're all re-playing the roman empire, or something... Actually, I'm reminded of reading reviews of Blade Runner (more theorys/dissertions on "what it is to be human") and one of them said that with art, you can meet the divine one (in this case seeing the actions in the bible replay themselfs (in everyday life)). {sjöar}

Terminator, yes/no? I think probably no. What about the Craig David song "Seven days"? When I saw it for the first time, my first thought was "Groundhog day". Dessydes 07:46, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Red Dwarf, the British sci-fi comedy plays with this idea in a few episodes. In the episode "Backwards" the main characters find themselves on a version of Earth where time is running in reverse. Presumably because of the "big crunch" (a reverse Big Bang), which is part of a never ending cycle of expansion and contraction. Also in "Ouroboros", the main character discovers he is his own father through a time loop. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:40, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Battlestar Galactica[edit]

There are repeated references to everything occurring has happened, and will happen again. Is this about fate, God, or are they refering to eternal return? - RoyBoy 800 03:49, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

They are definitely referring to eternal return, and both Cylons and Humans repeat the phrase "All this has happened before, and all this will happen again" numerous times, especially in the first two seasons. Eternal return is, in fact, an underlying theme of the entire show. Chuck Hamilton (talk) 06:30, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

And in mathematics...[edit]

...we have the Poincaré recurrence theorem. Is this article purely philosophical/religious, or is there any scope for adding in a note about this? I've always found it an intriguing idea (although recurrence times are typically longer than the estimated age of the universe). Wooster 17:16, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

    • I believe that may be worth mentioning, though I do not know what that is, and I would not limit this page to not include mathematical ideas. BeyondBeyond 23:36, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
    • I added a different mathematical proof against eternal recurrance, since it had been forwarded in this exact context, and since it was much simpler to follow than the mathematics of Poincare. I read the Poincare stuff, hoping to understand it enough to include it, but nope . . . I don't have the math. --ThisEye 18:43, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Moved from article[edit]

I moved the following here because, excepting vandalism, it is perhaps the worst text I have ever seen on Wikipedia. Its content may be extremely interesting, but its meaning is hidden behind abbreviations ("viz.", "i.e."), unnecessary parenthetical inclusions, and jargon (ad infinitum, for example - why not just say, "forever"?). It also needs a citation (I want to see who this interpretation comes from, not just that it exists) I'm not, however, sure that I'm up to the task of cleaning it up:

One such interpretation is derived from the first word of the German phrase ewige Wiederkunft des Gleichen (usually translated as and limited to eternal recurrence/return of the same,) meaning perpetual or continuous, thus the "perpetual return of the same". The key idea is that, instead of though not contrary to the cosmological hypothesis, viz. events recurring again ad infinitum and eternally, rather each event that seems unchanging, static, is in fact repeating, in flux, i.e. the prior moment (ever) recurs in the present, unless and until it is overpowered. The 'same' in "perpetual (or eternal) return of the same" is force (Kraft), the cause and telos (goal). (See unpublished notes 10:13{11}, 11:35{68},11:38{12}/(WP 1067))

-Seth Mahoney 05:35, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Use of 'ad infinitum' is standard. I don't think a translation into english is warrented. -Ell

Please sign your contributions to talk pages by adding -~~~~ at the end.
Use of ad infinitum may be standard in certain situations, but it certainly isn't standard English. You don't, for example, hear chewing gum commercials saying, "its flavor lasts ad infinitum!" - that is, this article shouldn't just be writing to the philosophy crowd, but to everyone.
Also, you've (are you the author?) addressed one of the issues here (and not, really, to my satisfaction, though I'm not the final arbiter). What about the others? -Smahoney 16:44, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

<sanock> i have not made a mathmatical proof, though i am sure it can be proven, that there is a finite number of events that can take place, however there is infinate variation of order <sanock>

Proofs against eternal return[edit]

The proof against eternal return states that a system with finite states may not repeat by giving an example of three spinning wheels.

One spins at 1 units/time, one at 2 u/t and one at 1/PI u/t.

PI is not a finite number, so the state of the example system cannot be expressed in finite terms.

Does that make this example irrelevant to a finite universe, and therefore wrong in disproving eternal return? I will try and find evidence of this... 06:02, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

depends what you mean by "finite. Don't confuse infinite extent with infinite subdivisibility (continua, real numbers). 1Z 20:02, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Note that "eternal" is different than "infinite." Eternal means "time" or absence of it. Something which is eternal does not have a beginning nor an end by definition. Infinite is just a mental exercise. Since matter cannot be created neither destroyed, but only transformed; then whatever exists, it has existed, you cannot add anything to it or substract to it; thus "infinite" is meaningless. Of course, "finite" is something which is not infinite.. but since "infinite" does not exist in reality but just as a mental abstraction, there is not too much you can say about it..[1] and [2] Best, avyakt7 16:03, 14 February 2007 (UTC), here's a different counterexample. Consider the decimal representation of an irrational number. (E.g.: the square root of 2). The digits make up an infinitely long, nonrepeating sequence. Only ten different states are allowed for each element of the sequence. So what we have is a recipe for a ten state system that doesn't 'eternally recur'. The individual states are revisited, but there is no overall pattern to it. 11:57, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I just noticed today that this section was severely truncated by IPSOS on 11 June 2007. Although IPSOS removed a citation to livejournal, he also removed additional content that had been added to the article previously by another contributor at least as far back as January 2007. (There were a couple paragraphs dealing with quantum discretization.) My feeling is, Brown's refutation should have been rightfully removed because of the ephemerality of the source cited, but not the preceding (and pre-existing) material regarding discretization. 02:11, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

With regard to George Simmel's objection to eternal return, how does "variable speed" among the wheels increase the likelihood of a given iteration repeating? If I flip two coins hoping for matches, the possibility of a match only decreases as I increase the number of coins, and/or the possibility of flip results beyond heads and tails. So it seems that the larger number of speeds for the wheels in Simmel's example, the less the likelihood that any given combination recurs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:10, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

All of this is irrelevant as the eternal return was never suggested as an objective proposition by Nietzsche, but rather as a thought experiment to bring perspective to one's life. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:01, 4 February 2009 (UTC)


"All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience." – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I don't think he is referring to eternal return here. A.Z. 05:08, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I removed the reference to Goethe. A.Z. 04:07, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

I do not think that Goethe's quote is asserting the mechanics of eternal recurrence, in itself, but at least it is on par with what Ecclesiastes notions at, I think; at least, I found it helpful. --Iloxias (talk) 00:46, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

With regard to George Simmel's objection to eternal return, how does "variable speed" among the wheels increase the likelihood of a given iteration repeating? If I flip two coins hoping for matches, the possibility of matches only decreases as I increase the number of coins, and/or the possibility of flip results beyond heads and tails. So it seems that the larger number of speeds for the wheels in Simmel's example, the less the likelihood that any given combination recurs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:00, 30 August 2008 (UTC)


The science-fiction novel CITIES IN FLIGHT is by James Blish, not David Gerrold. In fact, clicking on the link brings you to the Wikipedia Blish article. CharlesTheBold 21:34, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Reliable sources for the term dharmic religions?[edit]

Where are the reliable sources that use the term dharmic religions in the context of this article? Dharmic religions is a now deleted obscure neologism and should not be used throughout Wikipedia. Andries 15:55, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

It is not an obscure neologism. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:03, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
If it is not an obscure neologism then it would be easy to provide multiple reliable sources books, peer reviewed articles etc. I am waiting. I am also waiting for use of the phrase in the context of this article. Andries 17:07, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I propose to use the alternative phrase Indian religions. The number of google scholar results for "Indian religions"+"Indian religion" is (45.600 + 84.200) while it is only (492+475) for "dharmic religions" +"dharmic religion" (492+475). See Wikipedia:Deletion_review/Log/2007_September_8. Andries 19:15, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Question about the Xenosaga Eternal Return citation...[edit]

User:Oni Ookami Alfador: "source is dead link, nevermind that a gamefaqs user-written article hardly qualifies as verifiable or credible" That's rather insulting, don't you think? Especially to those of us who -would- find the same credible. That it is not credible is nothing more than your opinion. Tcaudilllg (talk) 00:22, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Free will?[edit]

Would you only have free will the first time around and then everytime after that would be the same so wouldn't that mean that there is no free will for times 2,3,4,5,6,7....... Get it? Anyway the idea is terrifiying but still better than what athiests propose(although it is similar). 11:24, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

My friend, I don't know what you call "free will" (I refer to my article "Nietzsche and Freedom" with more explanation), but I think it has nothing to do with the subject. I guess you rather mean self-consciousness, but I don't see why the thing you call "choice" could not be multiplicated an infinite number of times? Damn, these people still associate the notion of passing-by, of time flow, with "hey, I imagine many ways for that!" -- well, go on and imagine, but only one will succeed anyway... And well, to be honest I don't think the fact that something is inside a system of interconnections, or is not, changes anything: it is nevertheless fate. TheUgliest (talk) 00:57, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Umm, imagine you have a thing called "The World" which consists of some mechanisms and some input. You feed it with a bottle called "Freedom" wherein there is sequentially a number of spheres: thing 534539, thing 139012, 912304 etc. In acts A, B, C etc., the pointer advances (or you take spheres from the bottle). -- Now, as the master of the game, you can either play everything again, that is: re-fill the bottle, set the pointer back to 0, or (in the future worlds) get even more subsequent items from the bottle. It depends on the "Game Master". But still I don't see why would it be impossible to reset everything. TheUgliest (talk) 01:06, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

In answer to the first question, I do think that some terms of the question need to be detailed, but I think that in its context, my answer is no; but, depending on certain definitions, the answer could be yes, no, etc. Could you tell us what it is that the atheists propose in particular. To TheUgliest, it seems that the questioner might agree with what you mean, depending on their own perspective--how "ways of imagination" can be reconciled with "fate" or the "game", etc. I also think that the subject does have some importance in these determinations, not merely referring to them as agents. Whenever I think about this, Hegel always comes to mind with his 'Spirit' of the world, and although he is not a primary source, it is interesting to note his time of writing and all the subsequent commentaries and criticisms that came about him.Iloxias 01:49, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

It really depends on what you term 'free will' and without going through a big metaphysical discussion, you either get it or you don't. You mention atheism in a bad light, but really it doesn't matter if you LIKE atheism, it is what it is... and HOW you intepret it. If you can look beyond the simple intepretations of things and the autonomous view of consciousness you'll discover a universe of wonder that is just as magical as any idea of believing in a god or gods. I recommend some existential philosophical reading! groovygower (talk) 04:08, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

The Matrix[edit]

For the pop culture section, what about that old guy in the Matrix who basically indicates that the whole Savior thing is cyclical?

(dummy reply post for dating). Is relevant. Now it's there. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 10:14, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

But if you think again, would one exist of there was no 2? The concept of "One" is not required at all unless you give birth to the concept of 2. So, look at it once again, "Eternal Recurrence" is really saying that it all exists all the time. There is no 2 and therefore no 1 its all IS. So, if it all exists, perpetually in a cyclical continuum, it all recurrs every round, but there is no round 2 and there fore there is no round 1 either.

Diffult to imagine if you think in terms of graphs of lines to to be drawn in euclidean geometry. Abandon it and see in the minds eye, and you can see it.

The Bhagwat Geeta, a book of knowledge in Hindu Religion, says so: -

"No end, no beggining and no middle, I behold your unlimited and indeterminable form."

Thus, although 2 is not equal to 1, but there is no one if there is no 2; and ER states that there is none. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Avinashmehrotra (talkcontribs) 11:05, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

2 isn't the same person as 1, nor do they repeat everything that they do, they're just similar. It's not the same. The above person's quite sums it up well. groovygower (talk) 04:10, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Eternal return is actually a fact[edit]

...because passing by is not a fact, only a perspective. I see no thing so absurd as the idea that "time itself goes by". Time does do nothing: because there is no "over-time", wherein it could do anything, infinitely slow, slowly, or medium, or fast, or even infinitely fast! This is all a psychological reality, not a physical reality. If physicists say about time-flow, e.g. in the Einstein theory that it "goes faster here and slower here", it is only a means of saying that observable velocities change...

Time does not go by, neither does life: rather we see life from different perspectives! And of course moment C remembers B quite well and A somewhat well, and yeah, there will be no A' which is like A but in state of mind like C (e.g. remembering everything)... but generally moments are all eternal, all stable. C doesn't "come after B", you only think it is after because in C moment B is well remembered... – It does not matter whether world "physically recurs", because it is already eternalized by the sole fact of its existence. TheUgliest (talk) 01:11, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Nice explanation, and this itself is perspective. Are you saying eternal recurrence is actually a fact--maybe you should take the content of the explanation to the limit. We are way past Descartes's simple method now; even in our modern times, I think 'gravity', is still a theory, in general at least. Iloxias 01:07, 24 August 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Iloxias (talkcontribs)

Sounds like next reoccurrence equals this occurrence, which to me sounds like "2 = 1". ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 13:30, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

It's a trick really - you can't say that it is or isnt face because from our point of view, it's neither verifiable nor falsifiable because we are part of the eternal recurrence. We can't step outside and observe the cycle. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Groovygower (talkcontribs) 04:12, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Eternal return and Politics[edit]

I would like to see some information on how the Eternal return argument has often been used by public leaders in order to defend politically progressive policy decisions. For instance, when something is deemed to be too Conservative, Liberal politicians will say that it is an Eternal return to the past, and that it must be avoided at all costs. This is part of an Anti-Return ideology which claims that History cannot and must not repeat itself. ADM (talk) 09:00, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

I would recommend reading the article once more. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 10:09, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Premise section errors[edit]

Section Premise boldly claims that:

More philosophical concepts from physics, such as Hawking's "arrow of time", for example, discuss cosmology as proceeding up to a certain point, whereafter it undergoes a time reversal (which, as a consequence of T-symmetry, is thought to bring about a chaotic state due to entropy).

Which is a contradiction according to my understanding of physical time, time is the direction of increased entropy in an asymmetric spacetime 4D space. If the "time reverses" by fundamental nature of time then the entropy will decrease and the end product will be a high degree of organization, not a chaotic state. I believe the section misunderstands Stephen Hawking's research. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 10:22, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Maybe not. Hawkins defines three time concepts. I don't know if they're dependent. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 10:38, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Omission of Eternal return across infinite space[edit]

The article currently describes not just Nietzche's notion of the eternal recurrence, but the eternal return as described in Hindu cosmology, Blanqui, and Tegmark. These consider not just infinite time, but spatial infinity. It is factually incorrect that all notions of the eternal return assume finite space and infinite time.

The overview statement in the premise section was reworded to allow for eternal return arguments that rely on assumption of infinite space, as did Blanqui's eternal recurrence paper in 1871, as well as contemporary treatments relying on modern notions of physics such as Max Tegmark's. The adjustment was made but eliminated a description of the finite space- infinite time model that might be desirable to some readers (I don't because the argument was obscure, whereas most people intuitively grasp that in any game of chance, no matter how small the probability of something happening, given infinity, it is going to happen time and again. Anyway, if someone likes the old description, it could be resurrected if adjustments were made to state that it is only one recipe for the finite space infinite time approach and that as described, it happens to be invalidated by modern physics. If the statement is tweaked, allowance should be made that the only probability necessary is that of replicating our existence exactly. It does not require replication of the current state of entire observable universe as the current wording suggests. The goal of the wording appears to be that there is an area of space that is finite, and the existence of the current state of the universe is a finite combination of prior states. Changing it to "observable universe" only begs further questions, so I didn't see an easy way of salvaging it. Maybe someone can do it, I just didn't see how to do it without introducing complexity concerning peripheral details into an overview statement. J JMesserly (talk) 22:23, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Pink Floyd The Wall[edit]

The Pink Floyd album The Wall is circular as the first song In the Flesh? begins with '... we came in?' and the last song Outside the Wall ends with 'isn't this where...'. I just thought it would be worth mentioning in the popular culture section. JackRendar (talk) 15:46, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

"Premise" is flawed[edit]

Under the "Premise" heading, it states "The basic premise proceeds from the assumption that the probability of a world coming into existence exactly like our own is finite. If either time or space are infinite then mathematics tells us that our existence will recur an infinite number of times." (emphasis added) This is simply not true, and it reminds me of the nonsensical claim that "an infinite number of monkeys typing would eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare". Mathematics have no bearing on the likelihood or unlikelihood (much less inevitability!) of "our existence...recur(ring) an infinite number of times", and anyone who makes such a claim is going to have to marshal some pretty exceptional evidence that mathematics even have anything to do with the probability of reincarnation, cyclic lives or whatever. None has been provided. Bricology (talk) 02:09, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I think somepne misunderstood the article and the multiple definitions of Eternal return... groovygower (talk) 04:15, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

This statement is not incorrect, but it does require both of those sentences to not be in error. Reworded, "The basic premise proceeds from the assumption that the probability of a world coming into existence exactly like our own is finite. If either time or space are infinite then mathematics tells us that our existence will recur an infinite number of times," says "If you, for the moment and for the sake of this proof, choose to at least temporarily believe that the probability of a world like ours coming into existence is anything other than zero, and you also believe that time/space are infinite, then there will be an infinity of other worlds like ours, because infinity times anything other than zero is infinity." Whether or not you accept the premises, i.e. A) the probability of a world like ours coming into existence is finite, and B) space/time are infinite, determines whether or not you believe the conclusion - i.e., that there are infinite worlds like ours. You don't have to accept the premise. However, it is correct to write that if you accept the premise, then you must accept the conclusion. It may be correct that this is the source of some people's belief in an Eternal Return concept. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:39, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

It is an error to state that if you accept the premise, then you must accept the conclusion because there can be hidden premises on which you disagree. For example, not all infinite series converge at infinity, even though they go on forever; many actually will converge at a finite point, so perhaps the problem is one in which the person is claiming something to be infinite but has not properly laid the groundwork to demonstrate the correctness of their assertion. After all, if the probability of a planet such as ours is 1/2 in one universe BUT the probability changes with each successive universe, such that the probability that our planet will exist is cut in half at each new spawning of a solar system (so in the second solar system, there is a probability that it will be exist is only 1/4 and, in a third universe, it is only 1/8), then this infinite series will converge to 1, meaning that our world is unique, despite the fact that there are an infinite number of solar systems. The hidden premise is that the probabilities must be the same in all solar systems or, at least, not decreasing with each additional solar system. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:45, 9 September 2016 (UTC) i I understand what you say but there is no reason to assume that probabilities would always decrease with each new universe or with anything else for that matter. For example, if you play on the lottery 100 times in a row, your chances of winning will be exactly the same all 100 times. If (infinite) number of universes exist, they could have different laws of physics, but there could be universes that develop just like ours did. So in some universes the chance of getting a new planet earth may be much smaller or zero, but in others it could be the same or bigger. There is no reason why chances could only decrease given infinity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:A03F:2C8A:100:6C91:E853:708F:CD49 (talk) 18:54, 22 September 2016 (UTC)


The article on P. D. Ouspensky suggests that he subscribed to the idea of eternal return. There is a link here, banished to the the See Also section, which would suggest that Ouspensky's view was not even representative enough to deserve article space here. Can somebody clear up this anomaly, one way or the other? — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 13:13, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

Yeah Ouspensky believed in eternal return, his version of it included the idea that by conscious effort once could affect the next recurrence. Ouspensky's optimisitic version of eternal return underlies the popular movie Run Lola Run for example. Ouspensky is a major intellectual influence on the modern world and eternal return was one of his main themes so the idea that his view does not deserve article space is bizarre. Jeremy (talk) 02:44, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Eastern vs. Western Christianity[edit]

While it's true that Western Christianity holds to a linear understanding of time, this is pointedly not true in Eastern traditions of Christianity (such as the Eastern Orthodox), as pointed out here. It'd be worth discussing that in the article, particularly as it relates to Russian culture and philosophy for instance. FiredanceThroughTheNight (talk) 06:06, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Eternal return. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 10:08, 8 January 2016 (UTC)