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THE ETERNAL RECURRENCE OF THE SAME

by the spirit of prior reflection." Finally, Heidegger withdraws or retreats from Nietzschean suspicion, he leaves "open" the question of revenge in prior thinking; at the same time he imputes to Nietzsche a mere inversion of the Platonic hierarchy, the inversion itself retaining the metaphysical distinction between true being and nonbeing. (The imputation, both here and in the 1937 lecture course, is all the more surprising inasmuch as in his first lecture course on Nietzsche Heidegger had shown that when the true world "finally becomes a fable" the very horizon for the Platonic hierarchy evanesces.) Here once again the theme of Dionysos is not taken up positively but is equated with a still metaphysical conception of the sensuous. The upshot is that Zarathustra the teacher remains a figure that appears within metaphysics at metaphysics' completion. Heidegger abandons the riddle of Zarathustra for the latter's enigmatic emblem, descrying in the encirclements of eagle and serpent a presentiment of "the relation of Being to that living being, man."

Surely the most curious part of Heidegger's text is its addendum on eternal recurrence of the same. Eternal return, the "last thought of Western metaphysics," remains a riddle which we dare not try to escape. The first possible subterfuge, which declares that the thought is sheer mysticism, by now needs no further discussion—and, indeed, Heidegger's introduction of the Adamsian dynamo as an exemplar of eternal recurrence is nothing if not an embarrassment. More intriguing is the way in which criticism of the second possible subterfuge—attribution of the thought of eternal recurrence to earlier figures in the tradition such as Heraclitus, Plato, or Leibniz—recoils on Heidegger's own text. If one were to recall Heidegger's use of Schelling with regard to will, one might wonder whether Heidegger's "Note" does not blunt the edge that he would turn against Nietzsche. Similarly, the final words of the "Note," while they do reduce the meaning of Dionysos to metaphysics, concede that Nietzsche's most abysmal and abyssal thought "conceals something unthought, something which at the same time remains a sealed door to metaphysical thinking."

As this outsized résumé draws to a close, we shall have to find our way to some questions. Herewith a first attempt. Hcidegger's inquiry into revenge, the will's ill will toward time and transiency, marks an


Martin Heidegger (GA 44) The Eternal Recurrence of the Same - Nietzsche 2