The Birth of the 'Abysmal Thought' as a Woman: On the Relationship Between Eternal Return and Femininity
In her Freud Journal, Lou Andreas-Salome, whom Nietzsche proposed to unsuccessfully three times in 1882 and who later became Freud's psychoanalytical student and Rilke's psychoanalyst, wrote, 'Cruel people being always masochists also, the whole thing is inseparable from bisexuality. And that has a deep meaning. The first time I ever discussed this theme was with Nietzsche (that sadomasochist unto himself). And I know that afterward we dared not look at each other.' LAS did not dare to look at him. Is it because of the fact that she feared that Nietzsche would be cruel to her. However, why did Nietzsche dare not to look at her? Did he not want to hurt her? Or, more importantly, is it because he saw the deep meaning through her? Does the deep meaning shed light on the 'abysmal thought' which he found too horrible to accept and therefore postponed in Thus Spoke Zarathustra? What is so horrible to the thought behind this 'abysmal thought'– bisexuality, or sadomasochism? The 'abysmal thought' is the idea of eternal return of the difference without any foundation. Nothing will come back in the same way as it was because it was destroyed by the thought behind this thought. A bisexual and sadomasochist person has this thought behind and is cruel to the past identity and willing to be destroyed. Then, this person becomes a woman who, in using the words of Derrida who is influenced by Nietzsche's conception of 'life as a woman,' 'truth as a woman,' and 'music as a woman,' does not believe in truth. Does Nietzsche feel the horrors because he fears that having the thought of eternal return runs the danger of becoming feminized?
Keywords: Friedrich Nietzsche, Lou Andreas-Salome, abysmal thought, eternal return, femininity, sexual difference, cruelty, masochism, bisexuality, sadomasochism, Derrida, truth, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Mr Ho Yin Fong
Research Assistant, Department of Comparative Literature,, University of Hong Kong