The Folk Tale We don't know whether there was a historical Oedipus. Laius and Jocasta were king and queen of Thebes, a town in Greece. One day, they had a baby boy.
Friedrich Nietzsche 1 We will have achieved much for the study of aesthetics when we come, not merely to a logical understanding, but also to the immediately certain apprehension of the fact that the further development of art is bound up with the duality of the Apollonian and the Dionysian, just as reproduction depends upon the duality of the sexes, their continuing strife and only periodically occurring reconciliation.
We take these names from the Greeks who gave a clear voice to the profound secret teachings of their contemplative art, not in ideas, but in the powerfully clear forms of their divine world. With those two gods of art, Apollo and Dionysus, we link our recognition that in the Greek world there exists a huge contrast, in origins and purposes, between visual plastic arts, the Apollonian, and the non-visual art of music, the Dionysian.
In order to get closer to these two instinctual drives, let us think of them next as the separate artistic worlds of dreams and of intoxication, physiological phenomena between which we can observe an opposition corresponding to the one between the Apollonian and the Dionysian. According to the ideas of Tragic heroes in antigone, the marvelous divine shapes first appeared to the mind of man in a dream.
It was in a dream that the great artist saw the delightful anatomy of superhuman existence, and the Hellenic poet, questioned about the secrets of poetic creativity, would have recalled his dreams and given an explanation exactly similar to the one Hans Sachs provides in Die Meistersinger.
Believe me, the truest illusion of mankind Is revealed to him in dreams: All poetic art and poeticizing Is nothing but interpreting true dreams. The beautiful appearance of the world of dreams, in whose creation each man is a complete artist, is the condition of all plastic art, indeed, as we shall see, an important half of poetry.
We enjoy the form with an immediate understanding, all shapes speak to us, nothing is indifferent and unnecessary. For all the very intense life of these dream realities, we nevertheless have the thoroughly disagreeable sense of their illusory quality.
At least that is my experience. For their frequency, even normality, I can point to many witnesses and the utterances of poets. Even the philosophical man has the presentiment that this reality in which we live and have our being is an illusion, that under it lies hidden a second quite different reality.
And Schopenhauer specifically designates as the trademark of philosophical talent the ability to recognize at certain times that human beings and all things are mere phantoms or dream pictures. Now, just as the philosopher behaves in relation to the reality of existence, so the artistically excitable man behaves in relation to the reality of dreams.
He looks at them precisely and with pleasure, for from these pictures he fashions his interpretation of life; from these events he rehearses his life.
This is not merely a case of agreeable and friendly images which he experiences with a complete understanding. And perhaps several people remember, like me, amid the dangers and terrors of a dream, successfully cheering themselves up by shouting: I want to dream it some more!
These facts are clear evidence showing that our innermost beings, the secret underground in all of us, experiences its dreams with deep enjoyment, as a delightful necessity.
The Greeks expressed this joyful necessity of the dream experience in their god Apollo, who, as god of all the plastic arts, is at the same time the god of prophecy.
In accordance with the root meaning of his association with brightness, he is the god of light. He also rules over the beautiful appearance of the inner fantasy world. The higher truth, the perfection of this condition in contrast to the sketchy understanding of our daily reality, as well as the deep consciousness of a healing and helping nature in sleep and dreaming, is the symbolic analogy to the capacity to prophesy the truth, as well as to art in general, through which life is made possible and worth living.
His eye must be sun-like, in keeping with his origin. Even when he is angry and gazes with displeasure, the consecration of the beautiful illusion rests on him.
And so one may verify in an eccentric way what Schopenhauer says of the man trapped in the veil of Maja: Yes, we could say of Apollo that the imperturbable trust in that principle and the calm sitting still of the man conscious of it attained its loftiest expression in him, and we may even designate Apollo himself as the marvelous divine image of the principium individuationis, from whose gestures and gaze all the joy and wisdom of illusion, together with its beauty, speak to us.
In the same place Schopenhauer also described for us the monstrous horror which seizes a man when he suddenly doubts his ways of comprehending illusion, when the sense of a foundation, in any one of its forms, appears to suffer a breakdown.
If we add to this horror the ecstatic rapture, which rises up out of the same collapse of the principium individuationis from the innermost depths of human beings, yes, from the innermost depths of nature, then we have a glimpse into the essence of the Dionysian, which is presented to us most closely through the analogy to intoxication.
Either through the influence of narcotic drink, of which all primitive men and peoples speak, or through the powerful coming on of spring, which drives joyfully through all of nature, that Dionysian excitement arises.
As its power increases, the subjective fades into complete forgetfulness of self. In the German Middle Ages under the same power of Dionysus constantly growing hordes waltzed from place to place, singing and dancing.
Under the magic of the Dionysian, not only does the bond between man and man lock itself in place once more, but also nature itself, now matter how alienated, hostile, or subjugated, rejoices again in her festival of reconciliation with her prodigal son, man.
The earth freely offers up her gifts, and the beasts of prey from the rocks and the desert approach in peace. The wagon of Dionysus is covered with flowers and wreaths. Under his yolk stride panthers and tigers. Now, with the gospel of world harmony, every man feels himself not only united with his neighbour, reconciled and fused together, but also as if the veil of Maja has been ripped apart, with only scraps fluttering around before the mysterious original unity.
Singing and dancing, man expresses himself as a member of a higher unity.The curse placed on Oedipus lingers and haunts a younger generation in this new and brilliant translation of Sophocles' classic drama.
The daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Antigone is an unconventional heroine who pits her beliefs against the King of Thebes in a bloody test of wills that leaves few unharmed.
Poetics (Penguin Classics) [Aristotle, Malcolm Heath] on ashio-midori.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
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