The aim of this essay is to discuss the meaning of the human and its possible overcoming in Friedrich Nietzsche’s doctrine of the eternal recurrence of the same, with Martin Heidegger’s readings of Nietzsche as point of departure.
According to Heidegger, Nietzsche’s doctrine of the eternal recurrence of the same represents the end of occidental metaphysical thinking. The thought concludes a thinking of being as the presence of beings, where the original question of being was never developed out of its own ground.
But at the heart of this interpretation, often considered “violent”, lies the question of whether man is able to think being out of his finitude. This is the question I will unfold, through a reading of Nietzsche’s thought of the eternal recurrence of the same, as it is presented in his Thus spoke Zarathustra, as an attempt to think beings in their being beyond a “humanization” of them, expressed in transcendental aims, purposes and categories. This attempt, I argue, is essentially bound up with a comportment toward the human self as the finite and the corporal. In this sense the human being in its finitude and corporeality is thefocus and the basis for the search for “the overman”.
But this focus on man, as he who can overcome himself, is at the same time a focus that canbe said to lead man away from himself, in not asking the deeper question about what it means to be this human being.
I will furthermore consider the tragic as the theme where this question of the overcoming of the human comes to the fore; the dionysic-tragic reveals both a view of man as the being that is mastered by the abyss that underlies this world, and therefore mastered by his finitude - and as the being who can master this same abyss, in thinking it as one with the human self.
The purpose is not to take a position for or against Heidegger’s reading, but to develop a discussion between Heidegger and Nietzsche about the human self as always being both the closed and the open, and about the ways in which human thinking can approach this.