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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 84, Issue 2, Spring 2010

Friedrich Nietzsche

Philippe Gagnon
Pages 383-411

Nietzsche between the Eternal Return to Humanity and the Voice of the Many

Thus Spoke Zarathustra expresses a revolt against the quest for “afterworlds.” Nietzsche is seen transferring rationality to the body, welcoming the many in a kingdom of the un-unified multiple, with a burst of enthusiasm at the figure of recurrence. At first, he values an acceptation of suffering through reconciliation with time, and puts the onus on the divine to refute the dismembering of the oneness of meaning and unity of the soul’s quest for joy in eternity. Then confronting Christianity, he sees its refusal to sacrifice anyone, at the cost of making all sick with a unique healer, and rejects it as incompatible with his ideal of plenitude. In the absence of an ontology of the person, the affirmation of the individual and his value, opposed to the antagonistic affirmation of the many put in front of the one God and destroyed by him, ends up dislocating the reality of the self. The Nietzschean option resisted any leveling down—this is its merit—yet the mystery of the Trinity needs to be brought into the reflection to respect Nietzsche’s own terms in defining the final problem which is also the one option: Dionysus or the Crucified?

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