While it is hard to give a definitive account of the eternal recurrence, we can undoubtedly claim that it involves a supreme affirmation of life. On one level, it expresses the view that time is cyclical and that we will live every moment of our lives over and over an infinite number of times, each time exactly the same. In other words, each passing moment is not fleeting but rather echoes for all eternity. Nietzsche’s ideal is to be able to embrace the eternal recurrence and live in affirmation of this idea. In other words, we should aim to live conscious of the fact that each moment will be repeated infinitely, and we should feel only supreme joy at the prospect.
On another level, the doctrine of the eternal recurrence involves Nietzsche’s distinctive metaphysical notions. Nietzsche contends that there is no such thing as being: everything is always changing, always in a state of becoming. Because nothing is fixed, there are no “things” that we can distinguish and set apart from other “things.” All of reality is intertwined, such that we cannot pass judgment on one aspect of reality without passing judgment on all of reality. In other words, we cannot feel regret for one aspect of our lives and joy for another because these two aspects of our lives cannot properly be distinguished from one another. In recognizing that all of life is one indistinguishable swirl of becoming, we are faced with the simple choice of saying yes to all life or no to all life. Naturally, Nietzsche contends that the yes—saying attitude is preferable.