Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
While this new dichotomy is clearly understood, it is difficult to determine how exactly the Socratic urge is to be understood in relation to the former categories of the Apollinian and Dionysian. Certainly, Nietzsche considers it somewhat Apollinian, but he also tends to treat the Apollinian with more respect than the Socratic. Considering his earlier description of the aspects of the Apollinian, as well as his descriptions of the rationalizing effects of the Socratic, it seems possible that he considered the Socratic to be a derivative and weaker form of the Apollinian, one which is so deluded about the nature of appearance that it cannot allow itself to confront the Dionysian and, indeed, itself, in any meaningful way. This is likely why he treats it more harshly than the Dionysian: whereas the Socratic must destroy all unreason, rationalize all that does not stand in logical relation, the Apollinian managed to reach a sort of detente with the Dionysian, to allow it to exist and even engage with it in a meaningful way. Tragedy stands as the epitome of this ability, and the tragedy of Euripides destroys this relation, banishing the Dionysian and its effects.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
It seems as if the greatest concern for the reader must be to consider how literally Nietzsche is speaking in this section. He appears to be speaking largely figuratively, but he also is engaging in a critique of the idea of the Greeks as the inherently rational and enlightened culture which stands as one of the origins of European thought. He is using the example of Dionysus and Apollo to illustrate his conception of the divide which emerges naturally, one which stands as his own analogue to the representation/will distinction which is central to the philosophy of Schopenhauer. His aim, however, is to bring the insights of Schopenhauer to the realm of the Greeks and, in doing so, to engage in a critique of the popular conception of Greek culture in the same stroke. In this short selection, it still seems unclear from whence the Apollonian/Dionysian distinction emerges; he seems to presume it as a distinction which emerges from existence itself, but it is still unclear why this is the case. His self-criticism in the preface seems to suggest that he was also unsatisfied with the lack of clarity of the writing in his work. It is interesting that his writing became clearer as he moved towards the aphorism as a primary means of writing.