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Chapter 20: The Convalescent

Zarathustra says, “Consciousness, life, everything moves in a circle. It recurs again and again.” When for the first time you understand him, it feels very strange. What he is saying, in other words, is that we have met in this Chuang Tzu Hall millions of times before, and I have been saying the same things to you - and this is not the first time you have laughed. And this will go on eternally, again and again, in Chuang Tzu Hall. The same people will be meeting, and talking, and laughing, and singing, and there will not be even a little difference.

His idea is strange, but looking at the circular movement in existence everywhere, there is a possibility that howsoever crazy it may seem, Zarathustra may be right. For eternity.the circle may be very big, it may be repeated after millions of years, but he insists that there is recurrence. What you see today has been there millions of times, and will be there millions of times again.

The animals say to him, “Zarathustra, now go to man. This is going to be your destiny: to teach them the philosophy of recurrence. This is what you have discovered in these seven days. This is what you have come to know in these seven days’ absolute silence.” There is no way to refute, and there is no way to support. I will not say he is right, I will not say he is wrong. All that I can say is that he has a great idea - unique, original. Nobody has talked about it before and nobody has ever dared again - because people laugh at it.

But this is the law of life: the fall comes and the leaves fall from the trees; and new leaves replace them, and again the fall comes - and the same thing happens again. Every morning the sun rises, and every evening it sets; every day you are hungry, and every day you are thirsty. Just look at your life, and you will find you are moving in circles; every day is a circle. Just like the clock, the hands of your life go on moving in a circle. They pass through the same territory.

Perhaps Zarathustra has seen a glimpse of something which has yet to be decided whether it is true or not. But for twenty-five centuries people have ignored it. They have not even discussed it. That is ugly. You can deny a doctrine, you can say it is not true, you can give proofs why it is not true - that is acceptable. Or, you may prove it right, and give arguments and proofs and evidence. But to ignore it, what could be the psychology behind it?

My own understanding is that man is afraid to talk about it. Man is afraid because, who knows? - it may be true. It is better not to talk about such things, because if it is true it will change your whole life’s values. You will have to think anew about everything, because you will be getting the same wife, the same children, the same parents again and again and again. And there is no end to it. It will create really a great boredom if somebody proves it right. Perhaps out of fear people have ignored it.

Nobody has given any reasons against or for. I can only say one thing: the idea is immensely original and should be respected, should be discussed, should be explored. There is every possibility that it may be true. But by ignoring it, you are behaving like the ostrich. Just by closing your eyes it does not mean that the world has disappeared.

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