Time is a Flat Circle


What does Time is a Flat Circle mean?

Time is a Flat Circle is a memorable quote from the detective series True Detective, uttered by Rust Cohle. It is used to express the fact that as humanity progresses through time, we circle back to the same deeds, mistakes, and problems that we have experienced before.

This idea is not new, and has been expressed by many people throughout history. The writer William Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” And the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “There are no facts, only interpretations.” In other words, history repeats itself because we continue to make the same mistakes.

Since its origin from True Detective, this line has become popular across social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr and other platforms. It has also been used to create a variety of GIFs, quotes and memes which are used by people to express their feelings about the cyclical nature of life.

The idea resembles the Hard Times Make Strong Men trope.

Time is a flat circle…


What's the origin of Time is a Flat Circle?

The “Time is a flat circle” quote comes from the character Rust Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey, in the 2014 TV series True Detective.

But where did the idea for this phrase come from?

It was actually taken from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote about the concept of eternal recurrence – or that time repeats itself endlessly – in two of his works: Thus Spoke Zarathustra and The Gay Science.

Although he didn’t write the exact words “Time is a flat circle”, the phrase is an accurate metaphor to explain his ideas in a TV series.

Spread & Usage

How did Time is a Flat Circle spread?

“Time is a flat circle” became a viral expression among fans of the series, who made numerous references to the quote online, especially on sites like Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram.

The first YouTube upload, revolving around the concept was uploaded to the platform by MEDUSA on December 7th, 2014.

Image macros and GIFs of the quotes are also frequent on the web, approaching the concept of reoccurring phenomena.

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