Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Nietzsche's Eternal Return and the Folly of Trusting in Fate

I’m personally not a massive fan of Nietzsche. I find the philosophy of the Ubermensch and the idea that we can and should create new values of a positive nature that will affirm human life to be both impossible and repellent. Nietzsche’s recommendation that we crush any feelings of compassion and sympathy within ourselves for the weak and helpless is also repugnant to me. (We’re all weak; we’re all helpless). Furthermore, the fact that Nietzsche is latched on to by academics as a macho-man philosopher through whom they can live vicariously while simultaneously enjoying their well-remunerated, sheltered lives also sickens me. (To be fair to Nietzsche himself, he did walk the walk by leaving a sparkling academic career in order to live the life of an itinerant philosopher-outsider. Full marks to him for that.)

One of Nietzsche’s best-known ideas is that of the Eternal Return. In essence, it postulates that we’re fated to relive our lives over and over again, unchangingly and eternally. The purpose of this hypothesis is to test your macho instincts. If you can make yourself find this idea attractive and are ready to give your assent, then somehow this demonstrates that you’re one of those ready to be an Ubermensch, happily accepting the trials and tribulations of your life repeatedly for......well, for what exactly is never made quite clear.

It occurred to me that a far more revealing thought-experiment would be to broaden the focus of the camera. Forget about having to only live your own life over and over again. If you could press the button that would restart the entire world and everything that has ever happened would you do it? Would you crank up the mindless machine that gave us slavery, the Colosseum, the Inquisition, endless war, poverty, famine, plague, two World Wars, nuclear weapons, Vietnam, Iraq and whatever else is to come? Not to mention all of the private, innumerable miseries that have blighted the planet since the get-go: rape, poverty, hunger, misery, loneliness and so on and so on. Could you really shamefacedly start the carnival again? I don’t need to reflect for an instant to know what my answer would be. Maybe the yea-sayers would do well to reflect on such a hypothesis.


On a related issue, I was also reflecting on the familiar “If life is so bad, why don’t you kill yourself?” line. What annoys and angers me about this retort is the arrogant and smug assumption that the questioner could never end up in a position where they might contemplate taking their own life. Such people, from my observations, appear to lead quite safe and self-satisfied lives, and good for them, but I think that they assume that this is how things will always be, a potentially very dangerous belief. Yet the simple truth is that a million people a year commit suicide and I’m pretty sure that only a few of those have ever even heard the word antinatalism. Pro-lifers, anti-lifers, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Capitalists, Socialists, people with no convictions whatsoever and so on can all end up in a position where suicide becomes a real possibility. So again, a bit more humility and recognition of the contingency of good fortune would be welcome from the yea-sayers.


  1. Karl, the idea of the eternal return has been a haunting thought since I first read of it decades ago. I find it almost as horrifying as the idea of a traditional Hell. I wonder if the laws of physics, cosmology, and other branches of science rule it out or leave it open as a possibility. Have you done any research along these lines?

  2. Karl,

    Kudos! Great analysis! And I don´t mean it lightly! Great, great, great.

    I also always find those views of Nietzsche to be a bit strange and/or deluded. It is absurd! No wonder, great parts of our society fall back to his words: it is strange and/or deluded as well!

    Also worth of noticing is that counting of suicides. The numbers only strenghten the argument! One can only imagining the tribulations of someone who takes his/her life. The pain, the shame, the emotional burden. It´s all so horrible! And look at the numbers! A lot of people choose that route! Why, because life is fair, because is pretty and just? Hell no!

    Kudos man for the post!!!

  3. Anonymous, if you want to hear another perspective, I've made two posts on my blog about this before (search google site:estnihil.blogspot.com eternal recurrence). As far as I see it, if eternal recurrence is true, you (a have lived this life infinity times already, so no more suffering in total is being added on since infinity + any number = infinity. Also since you have dealt with it infinity times, you can deal with it another infinity times easily. (b you repeat every good moment as well, even if there have been very few - though it doesn't really put your mind to rest I'm sure.

    If it is true, I think I'd probably be in the same situation as you, however, anonymous. I really don't like the prospect of having a never-ending consciousness (though a commenter suggested that this might not even be true), but again, it HAS happened before, so I'm sure I can deal with it again...and again...and again.

    Good post, Karl. I liked Nietzsche when I started reading him because he initially comes off as quite pessimistic. But instead of accepting the horrors of the world, Nietzsche simply becomes the Ubermensch and flies off to fight crime with Wonder Woman.

    The really frightening thing I think is that some people would actually accept your offer. They would really restart things over again. Thankfully no such button will (well, hopefully) ever be made.

    1. "As far as I see it, if eternal recurrence is true, you (a have lived this life infinity times already, so no more suffering in total is being added on since infinity + any number = infinity."

      This is a common mathematical misconception, and it is an error.

      See cardinalties of the continuum of differing infinite sets.

  4. When I was young, I used to find the idea of a repeating universe more appealing than one of total, irreversible end. I never thought about whether it happened INFINITELY or just so many times.

    About human rebirth, though, I found the idea appealing, but definitely not of that happening infinitely many times. In Hinduism, they believe in either seven births, or births until we're nice enough to achieve salvation. I beileved mostly in the former, though.

    This "nice enough to achieve salvation" is another idea where Indian philosophical thought goes so very close to admitting The Truth.

    EVEN SO, while I found the Repeating Universe an appealing idea, I don't think I would have myself pushed a button to do that ... I considered myself too small to make a decision that big ... a decision for the whole universe, for other people ...

    If only adult unelightened morons had that tiny trace of humility!

  5. I hope to discuss my reaction to this terrifying thought, say two or three posts later, in my blog ... Sigh! I never seem to actually go ahead and post there! I'd just like to mention here that according to statistical mechanics, repeating universe is a likely possibility. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poincar%C3%A9_recurrence_theorem

  6. Anonymous, yes, eternal recurrence is surely a version of hell. As for scientific research, check Srikant's link in his second comment.

    Shadow, cheers, man. Yeah, people are desperate for hope and I guess for some Nietzsche provides a certain brand of fairy dust. And suicide, yes, what a tribute to life that 12 million people have voluntarily bailed out already this century!

    Estnihil, thanks for the comment. Loved the line about Nietzsche fighting crime with Wonder Woman:-)

    Srikant, nice line about the unelightened morons. So goddamn many of them! And hope you get posting soon.

  7. So if the recurrence is true, is there an Eath in the infinite vista of space/time where every spin of a roulette wheel is 5, every throw of dice is 12, every coin toss is tails, and every first born child is a girl? The laws of probality do not rule these out.

  8. Anonymous, I guess there is, if the other conditions hold, although in the greater scheme of it all, it doesn't really matter that much. What sends a kind of shiver up my spine is the possibility that there are worlds out there WORSE than this one. There's a dark thought to brood on....

  9. I am stating the obvious but as attractive as the Recurrence Theorem may seem as a natural philosophical foundation for the Eternal Return I fear it fails in that regard as it is merely pertinent to closed systems and is derived from classical assumptions. The Universe and all that rot is certainly far from behaving like a gas of the Boltzmannian flavour within a tank. Even the 'quantisized' version of it is restricted to closed system, methinks.
    Oh damn, why did I not study physics properly back in then?

    Anyway, Karl, thanks for that last thoughtful paragraph about "why don't you just kill yourself then."
    I told a friend about antinatalism and his first or second reaction was just spouting out that very sentence. To my reply that AN's motivation is to diminish pain and hence one ought (try) not to inflict that kind of tragedy upon one's relatives he retorted "oh yea, as if constant bitching about life sucking so much isn't painful for them." Oh well...

    1. "oh yea, as if constant bitching about life sucking so much isn't painful for them."

      It is.

      And I do this a lot because it's on my mind.

      So when people say "suicide is selfish because it hurts those left behind," they use the optimism bias to contrast the pain of suicide with some idealized situation where I'm basically happy.

      But I'm not. I'm miserable, and have lost almost everything, and am losing more.

      Is it sunshine and roses for them to watch the complete, utter collapse of my life, extended and drawn out?

      I don't think so.

      (But they don't think about this; nonetheless, I do, and I'm aware they would if they were around the coming years to experience it.)

      So, yes, my suicide would/will cause them pain. But so would my continued unsuccessful life!

      Or at least it would cause them pain if my happiness was their main concern. Which it isn't, for most of them (a few especially enlightened ones it is). Their main concern is my life, and how my living or not impacts them. And my rejection of life is seen as a threat to them, hence their emotional reactions.

      Well that's unfortunate, but I didn't choose to be here. I lived a while. I tried. But I am exceeding my design tolerances and something has to break.

  10. Speaking of Niezche, there is Mitchell Heismann the guy who wrote a 1900 page (NOT a typo) suicide note and followed through in 2010 wrote a very thought provoking treatise about it all. Although I'm well on record here as opposing suicide due to the anguish it causes family and friends, it's VERY much worth a read - namely how he speaks of how ultimately meaningless life is. I haven't even gotten to page 50 yet - out of 1904 pages - but so far it's a must-read.


  11. Martin, thanks for the Physics insight. I'm pretty dumb in that regard, so appreciate it. And yeah, people have a serious mental block re.AN. But who knows? Maybe in a hundred years it'll be as common vegetarianism. All one can do is keep preaching...

    Filrabat, yeah, I've downloaded Heismann and keep meaning to get around to having a look. 1900 pages, that's some last testament!

    1. One n.


      OK, I guess I won't be introducing a "new thinker" here after all, since it was Heisman. But some thoughts on him and his work, in no particular order.

      • To start with, by conducting his experiment about striving to remove his biases including the biggest bias of all, toward life (and, almost equally, social approval), he was able to look insightfully at the development of civilization without being PC about it. The fact is biology, at least as much as culture, influenced what happened, which is why he takes a politico-religion-socio-biological approach. And while this is all debatable, frankly, I think he nailed a lot here.

      • He also nailed the shift from biological evolution to primarily mememetic evolution to technological evolution. This is huge.

      • Mitchell Heisman did not devote himself to eliminating suffering. He wasn't focussed on subjective experience like you and I are. He admitted to having emotions, but didn't think they were objectively important; he believed we made a religion out of our emotions. I agree, in essence, but unlike him, who believed there isn't anything important that he could discern, I agree with Sam Harris and antinatalists and many others in different camps that subjective experience is the only thing that truly matters. Even knowledge and learning are of benefit to the degree they aid this. Frequently they hinder it, as Mitchell Heisman knew and demonstrated on his website SuicideNote.info.

      • Heisman did not conclude that life was subjectively bad. He didn't conclude that it is good. He said there is no objective justification for either a good or bad attitude, that to the universe writ large, it doesn't matter, objectively. I think he's right, but misses the point (which he probably knew, he was just taking it a step farther than you or I).

    2. • Heisman's family members that have communicated since his death say that the death of his father lead to the beginning of his loss of will to live. Probably so. For me it was a combination of increasing knowledge mixed with modest but decent intelligence and the strong desire for truth (Heisman's makeup too) plus a personal loss (that came about in part because of my pursuit of truth for truth's sake). So same thing as Heisman, but in a different order, for yours truly. By the way, Heisman's work didn't lead to my being suicidal. My being suicidal led me to finding Heisman's work, and I think he was so uniquely profound on, if nothing else, human sociobiological history and the development of western civilization (including a compelling analysis of the Norman conquest of Saxon England), that his work should be preserved and read, and I tried to aid this.

      • Heisman had an unfortunate dalliance with Nietzsche. Well I guess I did too once, although not to the same extent. Nietzsche's ideas are one way to deal with the essential pointlessness of life, but they are a pretty silly series of ideas, as Karl points out here. Nietzsche didn't exactly thrive, himself.

      • Heisman died cheerfully. It is an option, but one doesn't have to be morose about death (I have become morose about my life: death? not so much). A lot of us are perhaps inclined that way, but again, there's no reason, objectively, for a negative attitude. It's optional. There's plenty of justification for it, but I don't think you have to cleave to it as if it's the only way to stay "true to AN". The fact is, some people enjoy a lot of their lives, even me. I had great joys. They're in the past (mostly -- I still occasionally experience great joy -- but the pain is pervasive and overwhelming and frequent), which sucks, but I don't deny that it's possible for some people to have, subjectively, overall good lives. The best argument for AN is that we don't have a right to make these grave decisions in such an overall awful, uncaring place for others, not that everyone's life is terrible. Benatar's a bit silly here. Yes, we have the optimism bias, or at least most humans do. But if subjectively people feel good, what does it matter if "objectively" their lives aren't as good as they think? There are good AN arguments, but that everyone's life is terrible isn't one of them, and naturally earns credulity from people who feel they are happy. I don't blame them. It's a bridge too far.

    3. • Heisman was sane, lucid, and understood more about the world (writ large) than almost everyone else who would consider him crazy if not wrong -- including Richard Dawkins. I am also sane and lucid and the like. It's entirely possible to be sane and suicidal. In fact, why does our species perform suicide but most don't? I'd say it is precisely what makes us human: our intelligence and ability to project into the future. It's our humanity that makes it feasible. The problem isn't suicide (it is the norm -- although if one is "mentally ill", the idea that this is an argument against suicide is ridiculously absurd -- of course it's the opposite, considered fairly, just as is having any illness or bad situation). The twin main problems leading to suicide are loss of meaning (certainly Heisman's main issue) and suffering (ours -- although I agree with Heisman here too, I'd stick around if I projected great enjoyment, and live hedonistically for a while longer, if only involving extended cuddles with nice-smelling females).

      • Heisman's predictions about the future are essentially the same ones I've been making for over a decade, although he added the twist of creating "God" technologically. And he could be right. I've always thought people predicting this or that way of us extincting ourselves were rather silly. Sure, all the various means are possible yet unlikely within the near future because of the low frequency of the various causes they imagine, but ... it has long been apparent that we are on a crass course to creating uncontrollable technology, including Artificial Intelligence, which Heisman explores well in his book. The odds of us surviving this as anything recognizably human appear to me exceedingly low. What's more, I think antinatalists (not so much Benatar or Sister Y: they understand this) believing we'll voluntarily extinct ourselves are silly. Natural selection will weed us out. Our not reproducing and/or suiciding before reproducing ensures more, not less, people percentage-wise in the future. However, we're creating machines that will surpass us and likely extinct us in the nearish future. So there's that.

    4. Hopefully they don't suffer too much (and cause our fellow humans to suffer too much as they inevitably supplant us).

      We are astrobiological phenomena [must click and study materials at link if you want to (1) understand what causes life on Earth to thrive/not thrive, cyclically (2) understand what drives the Earth's climate and O1 and CO2 levels -- no, you do not know, the anthropogenic CO2 theory is mostly wrong] living in a deterministic world, with quantum randomness but no contra-causal free will.

    5. To be clear, it isn't wrong that humans produce CO2. It isn't wrong that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It is wrong that the feedback effects of higher CO2 levels are amplifying. In fact, they are dampening, and this is a huge deal.

      To understand what's really going on, study the above (based on Henrik Svensmark's recent peer-reviewed paper published by the Royal Astronomical Society and watch this intriguing documentary.

      Svensmark's recent paper outlines the main driver of CO2 and O2, as well as total biomass, biodiversity, and type of biodiversity -- as well as low-cloud cover and climate.

      It truly is a galactic and solar-system phenomenal.

  12. Filrabat what do you base being against suicide on? Suicide being a harm to others and hence not being allowed due to 'Do no harm', or suicide causing more net negative utility than positive? Just wondering, because in the second case, I have argued, there is a loophole, in that if your suffering outweighs that of your loved ones', then you have every right to commit suicide if you so choose (least suffering in the world actually favours you dying, but you have the right to life, so you don't necessarily have to).

    And also, there is a loophole to both beliefs, in that there is no one to be harmed if someone is a loner with no loved ones' to be hurt.

    You've probably thought about these things already, but just in case you haven't.

    1. Based on my blog entry.


      Then again, this is just my personal decision. Short of severe long-term terminal illness, vegetation, bedriddenness (etc) - I don't think suicide is worth causing such anguish to my family and friends. We all have our own choices to make. I made mine.

  13. Maybe Filrabat has some code of honour regarding suicide.

    But I think is very clear why one does not commit it promptly.

    We are biological beings, and we are afraid of death. other than that we don´t like suffering. Both are requirements and one of those is the end-goal of suicide.

    Anyone ever tried to commit suicide? Just the mere thoughts of it scare the shit out of us. When one contemplates it, one must have firm and solid purpose, other than that, one doesn´t go very far. It´s very hard to do, and why? Because of our irrational responses. That something that keep us living while we sleep. That´s what keeping us alive. We barely control it.

    So, the "why don´t you kill yourself" argument is flawed. There´s no way to help that, except in some rare circunstances.

    I´m just clarifying here for anyone to read, this is a very good subject, and I think I´ll write something about it in the future.

    1. Code of Honor is a little too formalized, but that comes close. Not out of a macho "deal with life like a [ahem! warped distorted caricature of a] man!" thing; but out of consideration to others.

      If I had Alzheimers or in the last stages of cancer, or gradually wasting away body with high enough probability of bedriddenenss...yeah, I could bring myself to do it. But I simply decided that "life sucks" alone is not appropriate, for I judge the emotional anguish to family and friends is too great for me to pursue suicide in good conscience.

      Besides, life may suck, but it's not bad enough for me to be game enough to try it, even disregarding the family and friends issue (and were I game enough, there's still the F&F). In short, I won't commit suicide in "normal" circumstances. It has to be substantial health problems before I even begin to seriously contemplate it.

  14. In regard to estnihil's comment re.Filrabat's position, I'm imagining a suicide prohibition could only come from a net disutility perspective, due to the example of the loner's suicide estnihi provides.

    Shadow, agree with you. We are so damned hardwired for life, it's frightening. No matter how bad things get, we'll suck on shit if it means a continuation of our existence. This is true even for those of us who believe that there is strictly speaking nothing objectively good about human life. We just chase scraps of the synthetic cheese until nature phases us out.

    I already posted this over on Shadow's latest blog entry, but seeing as how people are discussing suicide, here's a link to a scene from the movie 'Soylent Green'. It's a cult apocalyptic sci-fi flick from the 1970s. Although set in a dystopian future, the world it portrays does have one almighty redeeming feature: euthanasia clinics where people can go to their deaths peacefully and with care. Cut and paste and have a look:


    1. The Loner Suicide: I find this valid ONLY if the person not only has no friends, but has no family or close relatives (especially ones that care about him or her).

      The only way for AN's with my view of suicide is to obtain unanimous permission of my two brothers plus my sister-in-law (we all get along pretty well, thankfully). Possible in principle, but in practice next to impossible.

      It's not like I'm horribly bitter about life, just that I accept that life is the way it is and that we might as well find some happiness and satisfaction in life (without forcing onto others) because in normal circumstances suicide is a very traumatic business.

      As I said to Estnihil above, this is only my personal decision - not necessarily binding on all AN. However, I will say that no AN should ever rush into a decision like that (Benatar himself stated this in his interview with Reidi Direko on CapeTalk 702).

  15. if i could make the world stop i would do it in an instant. this is an evil world and i regret that it ever existed. my deepest pain is the tremendous sufferings of animals (research labs, factory farms, fur farms, being eaten alive, etc) and the sufferings of people like myself who were born profoundly disabled and live lives of continuous suffering. when people say that line "then why dont you just kill yourself"....they have no idea....why dont i kill myself to end my pain? because i dont want to leave my parents greiving like that & because i will try to help animals while i am alive. it doesnt mean that i am glad to be alive. antinatalism is a great solution to so much misery.

  16. Anonymous, moving words. And bravo to 'this is an evil world'. How anyone could fail to see this is beyond me. Apart from the horrors people perpetrate on each other, let's not forget the indifference of most others to those horrors. And as for the ainimal industry, it is, as someone said, a silent and ongoing Holocaust. I, for one, do not shed a tear at the thought of this planet going boom!

  17. I have become apathetic about animal rights activism/campaigning lately. While I am quite indifferent to humanity as a whole, it breaks my heart the helplessness to stop animal exploitation. But I simply can't get the pull anymore to go to demos or talk to the public at information stalls when I see that we can march all we like at those in power ignore it and just go on about their usual business. When I see how corrupt the police is and how they arrest and make spurious allegations about activists. And I also want to see more than just words and shouting and marching in the fight for the rights of the animals. More than nice banners, leflets and websites with true but impotent texts. My apathy for animal rights activism is a heavy burden on my conscience.

  18. no name, I must also plead guilty to apathy in this regard. The world just seems determined to carry on regardless in its own hellish way. As Marcus Aurelius said 'You may break your heart but men will go on as before'. Although I do also realise that such sentiments could be used as an excuse for doing nothing. So yeah, mea culpa. Apathy and resignation have overcome my soul enormously during the past few months, in regard to everything really, not just animal rights.

  19. I've read this story about captive bears held in cages where they can't even turn around, in China. They endure excruciatng pain when human beasts extract their bile, all of this on a daily basis for as long as 20 years. The bears try to suicide, but the farmers put them in iron vests and tie up their limbs to prevent movement. No mercy shown and no anaesthetic used in order to run the business as cheaply as possible - in the name of "it's our ony source of income" and "we have families to feed".

    I'm sorry for making this comment relatively unrelated to the subject of the post, but I just can't take my thoughts away from those poor beings and don't know where to turn for comforting myself now!

    Be aware that the article is disturbing if you choose to read it, but I can't pretent that hell on earth is not happening:


  20. Anonymous, what a horrific story. People are scum! The sooner the species goes under, the better.

    1. the great nothing7 April 2012 at 10:47

      I have the intuition that the majority of humans are essentally bestial in their nature. Individuals with a compasionate and awareness-rooted intelligent nature are very few compared to the massive numbers of bipeds ready anytime to be a butcher/farmer/vivisector. The elites of societies aren't any more above bestiality; they savour seeing the fear in the fox being chased and fighting and the bloody show of it being torn to pieces by hounds today just as the antiques were once savouring gladiator and wild beast shows.

      Or the mass-crazed populations of muslim countries where they lock up whomever they (don't) like and torture them in devilishly creative ways - one that's now coming to mind that I read about is forcing prisoners to eat the contents of toilet bowls.

      I'm not sure of myself either. I remember myself as a 5 years old or so catching flies and mousquitos and stinging them with a needle and the mysteriously irresistible attraction I had towards seeing them frantically flap their tiny wings.

      Human nature is bestial nature. And I think that actually all of life is, apart perhaps from some vegetation (even in the vegetal world there is parasitic feeding and some are actually carnivorous).

      I heard many years ago a theory of the beginnings of life on Earth: the spark of life occured with mollecules and then cellules starting to self-replicatie in the peaceful, silent, non-violent dephts of water. They were feeding (or better said merely absorbing from the environment) on minerals, especially on limescale. And eventually the "primordial soup" got saturated with self -replicating mollecules and all of the limescale was consumed. And then a change of direction occurred... those early life forms somehow discovered that they could get their limescle out of each other's live bodies! And so hell broke loose: parasitic feeding, competition, the food chain etc!

    2. tgn, yes, human nature in its unleashed essence is truly terrifying and merciless. The thin veneer of civilization is all that stops us from descending into outright murder and mayhem.

      And your picture of life's genesis. How like a horror story it all is. Sorry, did I say 'like'? It just is a horror story!

  21. longing to be nothing7 April 2012 at 11:18

    I used to feel great anguish at species' excintion, but after reading this post...


    ...after reading it, I started to get comfort out of it. Species going extinct? Yay! Dying oceans? Yupee! Desertification, deforestation, harsh climate, loss of biodiversity? Yohoo!! The end is drawing near!

    How long are they saying we've got until the petrol supplies will dry up?

    1. ltbn, I don't feel the slightest anguish at the thought of the species going under. Never have and hopefully never will, and to be honest, given the amount of apocalyptic sci-fi novels and movies and the 'last man' genre of fiction, I suspect that deep beneath the ravening breasts of much of Homo Rapiens is the desire to be done with it all and return to sleep forever.

      As for the petrol, not entirely sure. Peak oil as a topic seems to have faded out of public consciousness. But then so has global warming, not because it's gone away, but because people can't handle the reality of scenarios that may mean an end to the 'party'.

  22. I think you misread Nietzsche. Firstly, Nietzsche's views philosophy as more an art-form than an analytical process, he exalts rhetoric and emotion over logical arguments, he sees the transition to the latter in philosophy as a DECLINE, most prominently in the sense that it sucks all meaning out of your life. It is precisely this process which has had an ENORMOUS impact on modern psychology (you see, Nietzsche viewed himself as a psychologist). The concept of the eternal recurrence is used to free you from you GUILT and your SHAME, feelings that you inherited from dominance relations that have played out throughout your life. If you only you let go of these emotions you can be free. Nietzsche also discusses themes such as listening to your body, loving yourself, and exalting truth. He is not anti-science, but preaches SKEPTICISM, something which has clearly been played out in various scientific revolutions. He does not believe in the common perception of modern man, that mind exists over body, he believes the MIND IS THE BODY. He does not believe in macho-ness, but rather COURAGE, STRENGTH, and the willingness to rise above the fray.