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THE ETERNAL RECURRENCE OF THE SAME

In this mysterious embrace about the throat-in the eagle's circling and the serpent's coiling—we can already sense the way circle and ring tacitly wind about one another. Thus the ring scintillates, the ring that is called anulus aeternitatis: the signet ring and year of eternity. When we gaze on the two animals we see where they themselves, circling and coiling about one another, belong. For of themselves they never concoct circle and ring; rather, they enter into circle and ring, there to find their essence. When we gaze on the two animals we perceive the things that matter to Zarathustra, who looks inquiringly into the sky. Thus the text continues:


"These are my animals!" said Zarathustra, and his heart was filled with joy.

"The proudest animal under the sun and the most discerning animal under the sun—they have gone out on a search.

"They want to learn whether Zarathustra is still alive. Verily, am I still alive?"


Zarathustra's question receives its proper weight only if we understand the undefined word life in the sense of will to power. Zarathustra asks whether his will corresponds to the will which, as will to power, pervades the whole of being.

The animals seek to learn Zarathustra's essence. He asks himself whether he is still—that is, whether he is already—the one who he properly is. In a note to Thus Spoke Zarathustra from Nietzsche's literary remains (XIV, 279) the following appears: "'Do I have time to wait for my animals? If they are my animals they will know how to find me.' Zarathustra's silence."

Thus at the place cited, "The Convalescent," Zarathustra's animals say the following to him—and although not all the words are italicized, we dare not overlook any of them. The animals say: "For your animals know well, O Zarathustra, who you are and must become: behold, you are the teacher of eternal return—that is now your destiny!" Thus it comes to light: Zarathustra must first become who he is. Zarathustra shrinks back in dismay before such becoming. Dismay permeates the entire work that portrays him.


Martin Heidegger (GA 7) Who Is Nietzsche's Zarathustra? - Nietzsche 2