The Apollonian and Dionysian is a philosophical and literary concept and dichotomy/dialectic, based on Apollo and Dionysus in Greek mythology. Some Western philosophical and literary figures have invoked this dichotomy in critical and creative works, most notably Friedrich Nietzsche and later followers.
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Dionysus are both sons of Zeus. Apollo is the god of the sun, of rational thinking and order, and appeals to logic, prudence and purity. Dionysus is the god of wine and dance, of irrationality and chaos, and appeals to emotions and instincts. The Ancient Greeks did not consider the two gods to be opposites or rivals, although they were often entwined by nature.
Although the use of the concepts of the Apollonian and Dionysian is linked to Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy, the terms were used before him in German culture. The poet Hölderlin spoke of them, while Winckelmann talked of Bacchus, the god of wine. After Nietzsche, others have continued to make use of the distinction. For example, Rudolf Steiner treated in depth the Apollonian and Dionysian and placed them in the general history and spiritual evolution of mankind.
Nietzsche's aesthetic usage of the concepts, which was latter developed philosophically, first appeared in his 1872 book The Birth of Tragedy. His major premise here was that the fusion of Dionysian and Apollonian "Kunsttriebe" ("artistic impulses") form dramatic arts, or tragedies. He goes on to argue that this fusion has not been achieved since the ancient Greek tragedians. Nietzsche is adamant that the works of Aeschylus and Sophocles represent the apex of artistic creation, the true realization of tragedy; it is with Euripides that tragedy begins its downfall ("Untergang"). Nietzsche objects to Euripides's use of Socratic rationalism (the dialectic) in his tragedies, claiming that the infusion of ethics and reason robs tragedy of its foundation, namely the fragile balance of the Dionysian and Apollonian.
To further the split, Nietzsche diagnoses the Socratic Dialectic as being diseased in the manner that it deals with looking at life. The scholarly dialectic is directly opposed to the concept of the Dionysian because it only seeks to negate life; it uses reason to always deflect, but never to create. Socrates rejects the intrinsic value of the senses and life for "higher" ideals. Nietzsche claims in The Gay Science that when Socrates drinks the hemlock, he sees the hemlock as the cure for life, proclaiming that he has been sick a long time. (Section 340.) In contrast, the Dionysian existence constantly seeks to affirm life. Whether in pain or pleasure, suffering or joy, the intoxicating revelry that Dionysus has for life itself overcomes the Socratic sickness and perpetuates the growth and flourishing of visceral life force—a great Dionysian 'Yes', to a Socratic 'No'.
The interplay between the Apollonian and Dionysian is apparent, Nietzsche claimed in The Birth of Tragedy, from their use in Greek tragedy: the tragic hero of the drama, the main protagonist, struggles to make order of his unjust fate, though he dies unfulfilled in the end. For the audience of such a drama, Nietzsche claimed, this tragedy allows them to sense an underlying essence, what he called the "Primordial Unity", which revives our Dionysian nature—which is almost indescribably pleasurable. However, he later dropped this concept saying it was "...burdened with all the errors of youth" (Attempt at Self-Criticism, §2), the overarching theme was a sort of metaphysical solace or connection with the heart of creation.
Different from Immanuel Kant's idea of the sublime, the Dionysian is all-inclusive rather than alienating to the viewer as a sublimating experience. The sublime needs critical distance, while the Dionysian demands a closeness of experience. According to Nietzsche, the critical distance, which separates man from his closest emotions, originates in Apollonian ideals, which in turn separate him from his essential connection with self. The Dionysian embraces the chaotic nature of such experience as all-important; not just on its own, but as it is intimately connected with the Apollonian. The Dionysian magnifies man, but only so far as he realizes that he is one and the same with all ordered human experience. The godlike unity of the Dionysian experience is of utmost importance in viewing the Dionysian as it is related to the Apollonian, because it emphasizes the harmony that can be found within one's chaotic experience.
Nietzsche's idea has been interpreted as an expression of fragmented consciousness or existential instability by a variety of modern and post-modern writers, especially Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. According to Peter Sloterdijk, the Dionysian and the Apollonian form a dialectic; they are contrasting, but Nietzsche does not mean one to be valued more than the other. Truth being primordial pain, our existential being is determined by the Dionysian/Apollonian dialectic.
Extending the use of the Apollonian and Dionysian onto an argument on interaction between the mind and physical environment, Abraham Akkerman has pointed to masculine and feminine features of city form.
Anthropologist Ruth Benedict used the terms to characterize cultures that value restraint and modesty (Apollonian) and ostentatiousness and excess (Dionysian). An example of an Apollonian culture in Benedict's analysis was the Zuñi people as opposed to the Dionysian Kwakiutl people. The theme was developed by Benedict in her main work Patterns of Culture.
Albert Szent-Györgyi, who wrote that "a discovery must be, by definition, at variance with existing knowledge", divided scientists into two categories: the Apollonians and the Dionysians. He called scientific dissenters, who explored "the fringes of knowledge", Dionysians. He wrote, "In science the Apollonian tends to develop established lines to perfection, while the Dionysian rather relies on intuition and is more likely to open new, unexpected alleys for research...The future of mankind depends on the progress of science, and the progress of science depends on the support it can find. Support mostly takes the form of grants, and the present methods of distributing grants unduly favor the Apollonian".
American humanities scholar Camille Paglia writes about the Apollonian and Dionysian in her 1990 bestseller Sexual Personae. The broad outline of her concept has roots in Nietzschean discourse, an admitted influence, although Paglia's ideas diverge significantly.
The Apollonian and Dionysian concepts comprise a dichotomy that serves as the basis of Paglia's theory of art and culture. For Paglia, the Apollonian is light and structured while the Dionysian is dark and chthonic (she prefers Chthonic to Dionysian throughout the book, arguing that the latter concept has become all but synonymous with hedonism and is inadequate for her purposes, declaring that "the Dionysian is no picnic"). The Chthonic is associated with females, wild/chaotic nature, and unconstrained sex/procreation. In contrast, the Apollonian is associated with males, clarity, celibacy and/or homosexuality, rationality/reason, and solidity, along with the goal of oriented progress: "Everything great in western civilization comes from struggle against our origins".
She argues that there is a biological basis to the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, writing: "The quarrel between Apollo and Dionysus is the quarrel between the higher cortex and the older limbic and reptilian brains". Moreover, Paglia attributes all the progress of human civilization to masculinity revolting against the Chthonic forces of nature, and turning instead to the Apollonian trait of ordered creation. The Dionysian is a force of chaos and destruction, which is the overpowering and alluring chaotic state of wild nature. Rejection of – or combat with – Chthonianism by socially constructed Apollonian virtues accounts for the historical dominance of men (including asexual and homosexual men; and childless and/or lesbian-leaning women) in science, literature, arts, technology and politics. As an example, Paglia states: "The male orientation of classical Athens was inseparable from its genius. Athens became great not despite but because of its misogyny".
Arthur Schopenhauer's aesthetics result from his doctrine of the primacy of the Will as the thing in itself, the ground of life and all being; and from his judgment that individuation of the Will is evil. Schopenhauer held that art offers a way for people to temporarily escape the suffering that results from willing. Basing his doctrine on the dual aspect of the world as will and the world as representation, he taught that if consciousness or attention is fully engrossed, absorbed, or occupied with the world as painless representations or images, then there is no consciousness of the world as painful willing. Aesthetic pleasure results from being a spectator of "the world as representation" [mental image or idea] without any experience of "the world as will" [need, craving, urge]. Art, according to Schopenhauer, also provides essential knowledge of the world’s objects in a way that is more profound than science or everyday experience.Athens Conservatoire
The Athens Conservatoire (Greek: Ωδείο Αθηνών) is the oldest educational institution for the performing arts in modern Greece. It was founded in 1871 by the non-profit organization "Music and Drama Association".Cult of Dionysus
The Cult of Dionysus is strongly associated with satyrs, centaurs, and sileni, and its characteristic symbols are the bull, the serpent, tigers/leopards, the ivy, and the wine. The Dionysia and Lenaia festivals in Athens were dedicated to Dionysus, as well as the Phallic processions. Initiates worshipped him in the Dionysian Mysteries, which were comparable to and linked with the Orphic Mysteries, and may have influenced Gnosticism. Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus.The Cult of Dionysus traces back to at least Mycenaean Greece, since his name is found on Mycenean Linear B tablets as 𐀇𐀺𐀝𐀰, di-wo-nu-so. Dionysus is often shown riding a leopard, wearing a leopard skin, or in a chariot drawn by panthers, and may also be recognized by the thyrsus he carries. Besides the grapevine and its wild barren alter-ego, the toxic ivy plant, both sacred to him, the fig was also his symbol. The pinecone that tipped his thyrsus linked him to Cybele.Cygnus X-1 (song series)
"Cygnus X-1" is a two-part song series by Canadian progressive rock band Rush. The first part, "Book I: The Voyage", is the last song on the 1977 album A Farewell to Kings, and the second part, "Book II: Hemispheres", is the first song on the following album, 1978's Hemispheres. Book I is ten minutes and twenty-five seconds long (10:25), and Book II is eighteen minutes and seven seconds (18:07).
It was released as an extended play on April 22, 2017.Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche
Therese Elisabeth Alexandra Förster-Nietzsche (10 July 1846 – 8 November 1935) was the sister of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the creator of the Nietzsche Archive in 1894.
Förster-Nietzsche was two years younger than her brother. Their father was a Lutheran pastor in the German village of Röcken bei Lützen. The two children were close during their childhood and early adult years. However, they grew apart in 1885 when Elisabeth married Bernhard Förster, a former high school teacher who had become a prominent German nationalist and antisemite.As his caretaker, Förster-Nietzsche assumed the roles of curator and editor of her brother's manuscripts. She reworked his unpublished writings to fit her own ideology often in ways contrary to her brother's stated opinions. Through Förster-Nietzsche's editions, Nietzsche's name became associated with German militarism and National Socialism, while later 20th-century scholars have strongly disputed this conception of his ideas.She became later in life a member of the Nazi German Party. When she died in 1935, Adolf Hitler attended her funeral.Equus (film)
Equus is a 1977 British-U.S. drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Peter Shaffer, based on his play of the same name. The film stars Richard Burton, Peter Firth, Colin Blakely, Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins, and Jenny Agutter. The story concerns a psychiatrist treating a teenager who has blinded horses in a stable, attempting to find the root of his horse worship.
Lumet's translation of the acclaimed play to a cinematic version incorporated some realism, in the use of real horses as opposed to human actors, and a graphic portrayal of the blinding. Despite some criticism of this approach, the film received positive reviews, with awards for Burton, Firth and Agutter.Equus (play)
Equus is a drama play by Peter Shaffer written in 1973, telling the story of a psychiatrist who attempts to treat a young man who has a pathological religious fascination with horses.Shaffer was inspired to write Equus when he heard of a crime involving a 17-year-old who blinded six horses in a small town near Suffolk. He set out to construct a fictional account of what might have caused the incident, without knowing any of the details of the crime. The play's action is something of a detective story, involving the attempts of the child psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart to understand the cause of the boy's actions while wrestling with his own sense of purpose.The original stage production ran at the National Theatre in London between 1973 and 1975, directed by John Dexter. Alec McCowen played Dysart, and Peter Firth played Alan Strang. Later came the Broadway productions that starred Anthony Hopkins as Dysart (later played by Richard Burton, Leonard Nimoy, and Anthony Perkins) and from the London production, Peter Firth as Alan. When Firth left for Broadway, Dai Bradley took over the role of Alan in the London production, playing opposite Michael Jayston as Dr. Dysart. Tom Hulce replaced Firth during the Broadway run. The Broadway production ran for 1,209 performances. Marian Seldes appeared in every single performance of the Broadway run, first in the role of Hesther and then as Dora. Shaffer also adapted his play for a 1977 film of the same name.
Numerous other issues inform the narrative. Most important are religious and ritual sacrifice themes, and the manner in which character Alan Strang constructs a personal theology involving the horses and the supreme godhead, "Equus". Alan sees the horses as representative of God and confuses his adoration of his "God" with sexual attraction. Also important is Shaffer's examination of the conflict between personal values and satisfaction and societal mores, expectations, and institutions. In reference to the play's classical structure, themes, and characterisation, Shaffer has discussed the conflict between Apollonian and Dionysian values and systems in human life.Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (, German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːtʃə] (listen) or [- ˈniːtsʃə]; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24. Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life; he completed much of his core writing in the following decade. In 1889 at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward, a complete loss of his mental faculties. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897 and then with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Nietzsche died in 1900.Nietzsche's body of work touched a wide range of topics, including art, philology, history, religion, tragedy, culture, and science. His writing spans philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony. His early inspiration was drawn from figures such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Wagner, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Prominent elements of his philosophy include his radical critique of truth in favor of perspectivism; his genealogical critique of religion and Christian morality and his related theory of master–slave morality; his aesthetic affirmation of existence in response to the "death of God" and the profound crisis of nihilism; his notion of the Apollonian and Dionysian; and his characterization of the human subject as the expression of competing wills, collectively understood as the will to power. He also developed influential concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal return. In his later work, he became increasingly preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social, cultural and moral contexts in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health.After his death, his sister Elisabeth became the curator and editor of Nietzsche's manuscripts, reworking his unpublished writings to fit her own German nationalist ideology while often contradicting or obfuscating Nietzsche's stated opinions, which were explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism. Through her published editions, Nietzsche's work became associated with fascism and Nazism; 20th century scholars contested this interpretation of his work and corrected editions of his writings were soon made available. Nietzsche's thought enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1960s and his ideas have since had a profound impact on 20th and early-21st century thinkers across philosophy—especially in schools of continental philosophy such as existentialism, postmodernism and post-structuralism—as well as art, literature, psychology, politics and popular culture.Greek tragedy
Greek tragedy is a form of theatre from Ancient Greece and Asia Minor. It reached its most significant form in Athens in the 5th century BC, the works of which are sometimes called Attic tragedy. Greek tragedy is widely believed to be an extension of the ancient rites carried out in honor of Dionysus, and it heavily influenced the theatre of Ancient Rome and the Renaissance. Tragic plots were most often based upon myths from the oral traditions of archaic epics. In tragic theatre, however, these narratives were presented by actors. The most acclaimed Greek tragedians are Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.Jacob Burckhardt
Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt (May 25, 1818 – August 8, 1897) was a Swiss historian of art and culture and an influential figure in the historiography of both fields. He is known as one of the major progenitors of cultural history. Sigfried Giedion described Burckhardt's achievement in the following terms: "The great discoverer of the age of the Renaissance, he first showed how a period should be treated in its entirety, with regard not only for its painting, sculpture and architecture, but for the social institutions of its daily life as well." Burckhardt's best known work is The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860).Miriam Leonard
Miriam Anna Leonard is Professor of Greek Literature and its Reception at University College, London. She is known in particular for her work on the reception of Greek tragedy in modern intellectual thought.Narcissus and Goldmund
Narcissus and Goldmund (German: Narziß und Goldmund; also published as Death and the Lover) is a novel written by the German–Swiss author Hermann Hesse which was first published in 1930. At its publication, Narcissus and Goldmund was considered Hesse's literary triumph; chronologically, it follows Steppenwolf.Peter Esdaile
Peter Esdaile (born 20 October 1947 in Montréal, Canada) is a Norwegian painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Esdaile was educated in the period 1966 - 1973 at the National Academy of Craft and Art Industry, and at the National Academy of Fine Arts where he received his MFA. He studied under Chrix Dahl, Åge Storstein, Ludvig Eikaas, Halvdan Ljøsne, and Arne Malmedal.While Esdaile's early works were more political in nature, his later works have evolved to become a fusion of surrealism and expressionism. Esdaile's works are informed by Western and Oriental philosophy and have been influenced by Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Piet Mondrian, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Anselm Kiefer, Alberto Giacometti, Knut Rose and Jens Johanessen.Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche developed his philosophy during the late 19th century. He owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading Arthur Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Representation, 1819, revised 1844) and said that Schopenhauer was one of the few thinkers that he respected, dedicating to him his essay Schopenhauer als Erzieher (Schopenhauer as Educator), published in 1874 as one of his Untimely Meditations.
Since the dawn of the 20th century, the philosophy of Nietzsche has had great intellectual and political influence around the world. Nietzsche applied himself to such topics as morality, religion, epistemology, psychology, ontology, and social criticism. Because of Nietzsche's evocative style and his often outrageous claims, his philosophy generates passionate reactions running from love to disgust. Nietzsche noted in his autobiographical Ecce Homo that his philosophy developed and evolved over time, so interpreters have found it difficult to relate concepts central to one work to those central to another, for example, the thought of the eternal recurrence features heavily in Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), but is almost entirely absent from his next book, Beyond Good and Evil. Added to this challenge is the fact that Nietzsche did not seem concerned to develop his thought into a system, even going so far as to disparage the attempt in Beyond Good and Evil.
Common themes in his thought can, however, be identified and discussed. His earliest work emphasized the opposition of Apollonian and Dionysian impulses in art, and the figure of Dionysus continued to play a role in his subsequent thought. Other major currents include the will to power, the claim that God is dead, the distinction between master and slave moralities, and radical perspectivism. Other concepts appear rarely, or are confined to one or two major works, yet are considered centerpieces of Nietzschean philosophy, such as the Übermensch and the thought of eternal recurrence. His later works involved a sustained attack on Christianity and Christian morality, and he seemed to be working toward what he called the transvaluation of all values (Umwertung aller Werte). While Nietzsche is often associated in the public mind with fatalism and nihilism, Nietzsche himself viewed his project as the attempt to overcome the pessimism of Arthur Schopenhauer.Sexual Personae
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson is a 1990 work about sexual decadence in Western literature and the visual arts by scholar Camille Paglia, in which the author addresses major artists and writers such as Donatello, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Emily Brontë, and Oscar Wilde. Following Nietzsche, Paglia argues that the primary conflict in Western culture is between the binary forces of the Apollonian and Dionysian, Apollo being associated with order and symmetry, and Dionysus with chaos, disorder, and nature. The book received critical reviews from numerous feminist scholars, but was praised by some literary critics.Shakespearean comedy
In the First Folio, the plays of William Shakespeare were grouped into three categories: comedies, histories, and tragedies; and modern scholars recognize a fourth category, romance, to describe the specific types of comedy that appear in Shakespeare's later works.The Love of the Nightingale (opera)
The Love of the Nightingale is an opera in two acts by Richard Mills. The libretto by Timberlake Wertenbaker is based on her play of the same name. It is an adaptation of the ancient Greek legend of the rape of Philomela by her brother-in-law Tereus, and the gruesome revenge undertaken by Philomela and her sister Procne.
It premiered on 10 February 2007 at His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, Western Australia, in a co-production of Perth International Arts Festival, West Australian Opera, Queensland Music Festival, Opera Queensland, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Victorian Opera. The Perth production received four Helpmann Awards in 2007: for Best Music Direction to Richard Mills; Best Female Performer in an Opera to Emma Matthews; Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera to James Egglestone; and Best Female Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera to Orla Boylan. The production was shown later that year at the Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane, and at Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, with Richard Gill conducting.In October 2011, Opera Australia produced the opera at the Sydney Opera House with Emma Matthews (Philomele), Anke Höppner (Procne), Elizabeth Campbell (Niobe), Richard Anderson (Tereus), the composer conducting.Yury Kharchenko
Yury Kharchenko (Russian Юрий Харченко, born 1986 in Moscow, Soviet Union) is a Russian German artist. He lives and works in Berlin.Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (ZAMM), by Robert M. Pirsig, is a book that was first published in 1974. It is a work of fictionalized autobiography, and is the first of Pirsig's texts in which he explores his Metaphysics of Quality.
The title is an apparent play on the title of the 1948 book Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. In its introduction, Pirsig explains that, despite its title, "it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either."
Pirsig received a remarkable 126 rejections before an editor finally accepted it for publication--and he did so thinking it would never make a bit of profit. Then it was on best-selling lists for decades. Initially, the book sold at least 5 million copies worldwide.