Sunday, 3 February 2008

Nietzsche at the movies

Who'd have thought it? It would seem that the movie Groundhog Day is putting some of the ideas of 19th Century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche at the heart of its plot. In the film, TV weatherman Phil Connors lives the same day over and over again. At first, he regards this as something of a curse: having to live the same day, a day he didn't enjoy, again. Eventually, after experiencing the days events repeatedly hundreds, if not thousands, of times he slowly discovers the positive aspects of reliving the same day again and again.

Well, it seems that Nietzsche took this idea very seriously. He suggested a thought experiment in which you considered the implications of living your life over and over again. That is, at the moment you die you go right back to the very beginning and do it again. And again. And again. This idea of 'eternal recurrence' is much the same as Connors' experience at Punxsutawney, though he lives only the one day again and again rather than his whole life (would that be better or worse?). The whole point of such a thought experiment is would you embrace the idea or regard it as the most horrible thing you could imagine?

1 comment:

  1. If we are talking about philosophers influencing the Arts, then how about The Cure's song "Killing an Arab" being influenced by Albert Camus' book "The Outsider"..?