Dostoevsky and Nietzsche’s Demon

Comparing two great geniuses.

Dostoevsky’s the Brothers Karamazov: published in 1880

Devil. You keep thinking about our present earth! But our present earth may have repeated itself a billion times; it died out, let’s say, got covered with ice, cracked, fell to pieces, broke down into its original components, again there were the waters about the firmament, then again a comet, again the sun, again the earth from the sun–all this development may already have been repeated an infinite number of times, and always in the same way, to the last detail. A most unspeakable bore.

Nietzsche’s Gay Science published in 1882

Aphorism 356. What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, ‘This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!’ Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, ‘Never have I heard anything more divine’?

Conclusion, Ivan is the one gnashing his teeth in the former, and Nietzsche read the same lines and grinned. I have to assume. Wow! Cracks me up to catch Nietzsche quietly giving the nod to Dostoevsky his teacher.


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