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 in digital culture 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.
The phrase “Time is a Flat Circle” first gained significant attention through its use in the acclaimed television series “True Detective,” specifically in a dialogue between the characters Rust Cohle and Martin Hart. In the show, Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey, explains his philosophical belief in the cyclical nature of time. Due to the show’s popularity, the phrase quickly caught on and became synonymous with the series.
However, the underlying concept of cyclic time can be traced back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and Mayans, who developed calendars and cultural traditions based on cyclical patterns of time. These civilizations perceived time as a continuous cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. The idea of cyclic time has also been explored by numerous philosophers throughout history, such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Carl Jung.
Since its popularization in “True Detective,” the phrase “Time is a Flat Circle” has spread beyond the realm of the show and gained recognition in popular culture. It has been adapted and referenced in various memes, social media posts, and discussions surrounding philosophy and existentialism. It also 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.
Furthermore, the concept has become a topic of academic debate and discussion among philosophers, psychologists, and scientists. It has sparked conversations about the nature of time, the human experience, and the possibility of escaping the repetitive cycles of existence.
The phrase continues to resonate with individuals who ponder the cyclical nature of life and seek to find meaning within the repetitions and patterns they encounter.