The Nihilism of Accomplishment and Nietzsche’s Eternal Return | Philosophy

“But man is a fickle and disreputable creature and perhaps, like a chess player, is interested in the process of attaining his goal rather than the goal itself”

It seems to be that people are more pleased living in the process rather then attaining the goal itself, humans are very rarely pleased when the final curtain is drawn, one cannot seem to attain a sense of fulfilled finality when attaining a goal which they strive to achieve, many times even, when people work years to accomplish something they fall into some kind of despair or depression afterwards, why is that?

People don’t actually want what they think they want, people don’t want to finish a goal itself because when you do its finished and why would you want anything to be finished when it is a passion unless it is something that is just a pain, the entire process of a passion or a goal within that orientation is keeping you alive, the process is what marks the distraction away from life’s absurdities, the reason why is because if you don’t have a distraction of some kind then something much more depressive becomes an alternative distraction which doesn’t require a process but only an action and that is the worst state of being because it is the PROCESS that people WANT AND ENJOY, NOT the goal itself and that is what most people don’t realise, especially people who indulge themselves in quick processes to a attain goal, when the goal overcomes the process, actually, it might even be the case that the people in life who are just hanging by a thread are those who indulge in successive goals which barely require a process to attain them, for example: addiction, an addict of any kind entraps themselves into believing that the end goal is what they want, but it isn’t… That is why it becomes an addiction, to expect permeant fulfilment but to only gain short-term pleasure, it is that quick fire relief which allows one to just let go as it is better then nothing, but this is the behaviour of a broken record which in many cases IS aware of itself but still continues anyway.

The solution to this entire problem of goal attainment and process is to try and do something that is not very common today and that is to be creative or find a creative process in some way or another that doesn’t finish in finitude, chess is a perfect example of creativity (curative combinatorics) within something that is determined, freedom within something that is determined, it is amazing to know that most that all chess games (if not; most) are unique in their outcome when the intention is to be a creative battle.

A form of creativity is the best remedy because it serves as the best distraction that doesn’t become aware of itself as one, and if that creativity is within a discipline that extends into a form infinity then even better because the more infinite a creativity is, the more freedom you have, as it is the addict who lives in a determined lifestyle and I would say that that is something you want to stay away from as much as possible because the true goal in life (I think) is not attaining a goal per say but attaining a creative outlet which infinitely expands into a multitude of possibilities so that you are not burdened with completion, so that you are not burdened with a depression after completing something that you have spent your life dedicated to the process of, for it then suddenly to be completed.

For example: you spend years and years saving up for a house and doing so diligently without anything else in mind, then you buy the house, you move in and you love it for a few months or weeks and then you think to yourself: “what know, what do I do know?” “I have dedicated my time to obtaining an object by multiplying money which is another object together so that I could buy this house for my family, but what do I do know?” This man has become enslaved into a system which he himself has built, he doesn’t know himself as he has gotten caught up with the tide of societal norm and he is trying to raise a family, if only he looked inside himself first before he decided to cage himself into a lifestyle, to actually experience his own freedom and realize his true creative potential and how that could have led his future, because now, he has his house but he doesn’t know his purpose within it, to be a father would be a sham because he does know himself, what can he teach?

A good lesson which teaches how to live is Nietzsche’s Eternal Return, if you were told by a devil that all your actions where to be repeated for eternity in the same way over and over again after death, that you would experience the same sufferings and the same joys, how would you respond? Most would respond negatively, but if you were to respond in an affirming manner, and you knew this was to be true, then all your actions would not only change but be seen as differently by yourself, instead of dedicating oneself to goals that end and finish with an existential nothingness you would be searching for your true passion(s) and systems instead of goals, and then doing what you would cherish in doing which you know would never end so that you, within that eternal recurrence, can affirm to live a life of endless passion, endless creation and devotion.

For a comparative example, the artist on the other hand is never burdened with completion because even when the artist finishes a painting they can start a new one and resign back into the infinite maze of creativity, this is why the arts are so important not only for culture but psyche, yet, it is the most fleeting, criticised and demoralised necessity in our society today, even in universities where such disciplines are being prostituted by sociological ideologs who distaste intellectualism for ideological boundaries.

This problem of goal achievement is most common in successful people who aim for a single goal that doesn’t usually surround itself with flexibility, thus, it is usually the case then when they do reach such a destination it is experienced as an ungratifying climax, thus, causing you to question your entire field of desires and wants and placing you in an existential vacuum.

From my own experience, basing it around a creative outlet allows for so much more flexibility, even for people who are not exactly creative in any major forms of the traditional disciplines, for example: creating a brand or website of some kind can be fantastic way to keep the potential field open with regards to your passions.

With all said and done, even living today makes itself hard to be creative at all, true creativity is hard enough as it is, and then of course, living in a post modern world where all the post modern artists think they are “truly creative” when really their supposed art is nothing more then reconstructions of the past, in that case, can these reconstructions even be called art?

But that is besides the point, the entire point is to find some kind of remedy to treat this absurdity of not being truly fulfilled when completing a personal goal, not having this existential void hang over you, its all in perspective, you did it FOR THE PROCESS so focus on the process, that is I think, to find a goal that doesn’t end but is part of the process itself, whereby the process is what you live for, something which you would see nor want no end in, something which you could live with for eternity, knowing that what you could do, equated to innumerable potential.

“A human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity, in short, a synthesis”

– Kierkegaard


2 thoughts on “The Nihilism of Accomplishment and Nietzsche’s Eternal Return | Philosophy

  1. For me, this hearkens back to Schopenhauer’s understanding of suffering as an impetus of the will to life. We can think of happiness as an interruption to this timeless procession of flux in the form of absolution. When one has an experience of reward they succumb to feelings of finality. In other words, the sensation of pleasure arrests the natural condition of pain and cultivates a belief that this is the answer to it, or the solution, the end; giving oneself to the idealism of an absolute regression of self, or the end of suffering; or making of this moment of respite an end-all value in itself. In this way they create artificial systems around the natural state of suffering through the pain of ends.


  2. It seems to me that postmodern art can be defended using your own chess metaphor: the pieces are always the same but the precise way you move them can be different each time. The subtle differences between messages within a work and the recontextualizations of existing tropes are both valid avenues of creativity in my mind.

    Honestly though, a lot of “postmodern” ideas are really just old ideas. For instance: people talk about how postmodern art is just creating works that comment on their own medium. To which I think, “Buddy, Ben Jonson was doing that at the same time Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.”


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