Amor fati (lit. "love of fate") is a Latin phrase that may be translated as "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary, in that they are among the facts of one's life and existence, so they are always necessarily there whether one likes them or not. Moreover, amor fati is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one's life.
This acceptance does not necessarily preclude an attempt at change or improvement, but rather, it can be seen to be along the lines of what Friedrich Nietzsche apparently means by the concept of "eternal recurrence": a sense of contentment with one's life and an acceptance of it, such that one could live exactly the same life, in all its minute details, over and over for all eternity.
The phrase is used repeatedly in Nietzsche's writings and is representative of the general outlook on life that he articulates in section 276 of The Gay Science:
I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who makes things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.
It is important to note that Nietzsche in this context refers to the "Yes-sayer", not in a political or social sense, but as a person who is capable of uncompromising acceptance of reality per se.
My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it.
Furthermore, Nietzsche's spirit of acceptance occurs in the context of his radical embrace of suffering. For to love that which is necessary, demands not only that we love the bad along with the good, but that we view the two as inextricably linked. In section 3 of the preface of The Gay Science, he writes:
Only great pain is the ultimate liberator of the spirit….I doubt that such pain makes us ‘better’; but I know that it makes us more profound.
- Enchiridion of Epictetus Ch. VIII: "Do not seek for things to happen the way you want them to; rather, wish that what happens happen the way it happens: then you will be happy."—as quoted in Pierre Hadot (1998), The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, p. 143.
- Meditations IV.23:
"All that is in accord with you is in accord with me, O World! Nothing which occurs at the right time for you comes too soon or too late for me. All that your seasons produce, O Nature, is fruit for me. It is from you that all things come: all things are within you, and all things move toward you." — as quoted in Hadot (1998), p. 143.
- Basic Writings of Nietzsche. trans. and ed. by Walter Kaufmann (1967), p. 714.
- Leiter, Brian (2015-01-01). Zalta, Edward N., ed. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 ed.).