Everything You Know About the Undefined
Twilight of the Idols
by Freddy NeeChee™
"If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy.

I read this essay--the first work of Nietzsche that I've studied--on the recommendation of my friend, Jennings. I have this thing about the gods Dionysus and Apollo... I should really write more about that somewhere, as it's pretty important to me (Truth and Beauty being the two criteria needed to judge Art, the two fundamental forces that make life worthwhile). When I turn thirty I plan to change my name to Benjamin Apollo Dionysus, so there you go.

At any rate, Jennings told me that Nietzsche's Dionysian philosophy was spelled out, to a certain degree, in this book. It is, although only about a third of the book deals with it directly. Also, I found it very hard to follow Nietzsche. I understand that he wants us to break free of the constraints of "civilized" society, and the participate in orgiastic creativity... I don't know.

On the other hand, although I couldn't follow him very well, he was extremely amusing. Throughout the book he had a habit of providing lists of notable people, followed by a long paragraph in which he attacked them with great vitriol:
    Dante: or the hyena who writes poetry in tombs.
    Kant: or cant as an intelligible character.
    Victor Hugo: or the pharos at the sea of nonsense.
Oddly enough (or so it seems to me) the only one that he at all approved of was Emerson: "Much more enlightened, more roving, more manifold, subtler than Carlyle; above all, happier. One who instinctively nourishes himself only on ambrosia, leaving behind what is indigestible in things.

For my own future reference, here is a passage:

    What is the meaning of the conceptual opposites which I have introduced into aesthetics, Apollonian and Dionysian, both conceived as kinds of frenzy? The Apollonian frenzy excites the eye above all, so that it gains the power of vision. The painter, the sculptor, the epic poet are visionaries par excellence. In the Dionysian state, on the other hand, the whole affective system is excited and enhanced: so that it discharges all its means of expression at once and drives forth simultaneously the power of representation, imitation, transfiguration, transformation, and every kind of mimicking and acting. The essential feature here remains the ease of metamorphosis, the inability not to react (similar to certain hysterical types who also, upon any suggestion, enter into any role). It is impossible for the Dionysian type not to understand any suggestion; he does not overlook any sign of an affect; he possesses the instinct of understanding and guessing in the highest degree, just as he commands the art of communication in the highest degree. He enters into any skin, into any affect: he constantly transforms himself.
URL for this article.e
No comments about this post. Yet.
Post a comment