Apollo and Dionysus: From Warfare to Assimilation in The Birth of Tragedy and Beyond Good and EvilBart Bryant
Between Nietzsche's first book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872), and one of his last, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), his thinking - that is, his orientation, his very presence - changes significantly. In the latter book, he criticizes the traditional philosophical emphasis on truth as well as its unreflective embrace of 'opposite values', such as appearance and reality. This same metaphysical truth and appearance-reality dualism, however, are essential aspects of his earlier work, The Birth of Tragedy, in which Apollo and Dionysus were conceived as natural-artistic life forces arising out of that "mysterious ground of our being"1, the 'primal unity'. Sixteen years later, Nietzsche has abandoned this primal unity and the metaphysical comforts associated with it, a fact that is not surprising to anyone familiar with the later Nietzsche's enthusiasm for what is difficult and earthly. Nevertheless, when finishing Beyond Good and Evil, he reserved his highest praise at the end of the book for the same god who had earlier provided our access to this primal unity: Dionysus.
What then could the Dionysian be after Dionysus has lost his claim to metaphysical dominion? And what would happen if we tried to employ Dionysian and Apollinian categories in order to understand Nietzsche's later - more developed - philosophy? This latter question depends of course on what we mean by Apollinian and Dionysian. Thus, one question is: how is the new Dionysus (and Apollo) differently conceived in Beyond Good and Evil? A second and overlapping question is: using his earliest conceptions of the Apollinian and Dionysian, how does Nietzsche's conception of the healthy, life-promoting human person become altered? In other words, do Nietzsche's own values become more 'Dionysian', more 'Apollinian', or something else?
Only after tracing the interplay between Apollinian and Dionysian artistic energies as Nietzsche presents them in The Birth of Tragedy, will we be able to understand and feel how they, as well as Nietzsche himself, have changed by the time of Beyond Good and Evil. To get a sense of the world that lies beyond good and evil, we must go back to an earlier time, even before a time when the world could be taken up as tragic. We must go back before the tragic poet and before his predecessor, the lyric poet, and attend to the two forces which made possible these forms of poetry, these forms of human existence. We must attend to the Apollinian and Dionysian impulses well before there was tragedy, back when any spiritual justification for human existence, tragic or otherwise, was less of an issue than was sheer survival itself.
The Apollinian might be best understood in contrast to those violent Titanic forces of nature which prevailed, according to Nietzsche, in pre-Homeric times. Even the character of Homer's world, not seen through the sublime Apollinian lens of his Iliad, shows itself to be a terrifying world of brutality and barbarism. Were it not for the beauty and clarity of the images Homer was able to precipitate out of this bloody world, these fighting and suffering Greeks, Nietzsche suggests, might not have endured their existence.2 The Olympian gods as well, that beautiful collective illusion which transformed, justified and ennobled human existence, was inspired by the same Apollinian impulse which then inspired Homer. Both creations gave the Greeks a more glorious, relatively dream-like vision of themselves.3 Thanks to Apollo, such beautiful dreaming provided a refuge of images for the individual Greek who could now rest in deceptive tranquillity above the violent Titanic storm of his own earthly passions, as well as that of the unjust and terrifying world which surrounded him. As such, this dreaming of visual images was a "necessity", albeit a "joyous necessity".4 Without the Apollinian impulse to beauty to pull us creatively out of Titanic darkness, their painful suffering could only have led the Greeks to despair. Without Apollo, Nietzsche says, life would not have been worth living, or even possible.5
And yet, however necessary, the images inspired in us by Apollo remain only images, mere appearances. Through Apollo, we lift ourselves out of darkness by the illuminating power of what are ultimately illusions. Such illusions, it is clear, are not illusory only because they are unachievable idealizations like Socratic "justice" or "truth". Apollinian appearances are not of the same order as reality. In fact, Nietzsche stresses that it is "pathological" to overstep the "delicate boundary" between such dream images and "crude reality".6 However delicate he makes this boundary, Nietzsche asserts here an unambiguous distinction between what is false and true, unreal and real, insane and sane. Since two references to Schopenhauer soon follow, Nietzsche presumably has the duality of will and representation in mind more than that of Kant's noumena and phenomena. But in any case, it is through the Dionysian, rather than the Apollinian, that appearances may be shed for the sake of a deeper experience of primordial reality.
As Apollo gives way to Dionysus, the self is gradually lost in a more profound merger with others and the natural world. This loss is first felt as terrifying and then joyfully liberating as the power of visual images gives way to the deeper power of music, and the illusion of individual autonomy gives way to the reality of a mysterious natural union. Terror and ecstasy are two poles of the Dionysian 'intoxication'. As if caught up in a passionate whirlwind himself, Nietzsche describes with enthusiasm how obtuse and lifeless the Apollinian individual seems to the earthy and energized Dionysian reveler: glowing and lusting with life, the reveler looks upon the tranquil dreamer of clear images as upon an empty corpse.7
In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche first introduces Dionysus as being in natural contrast, even conflict, with Apollo. Intoxication and dreaming are oppositional forces of nature. Apollo and Dionysus are manifested most directly and immediately as creative tendencies and "art-states" of nature herself. Only secondarily, or more mediately, do they become expressed through the creative efforts of the human subject.8 It is true that, at the personal level, Nietzsche describes an individual under the sway of Apollo as a "poor wretch" whose "obtuseness" or "lack of experience" leads to bewilderment in the presence of the deeper reality offered by the enchanted Dionysian. But Nietzsche does not simply praise the Dionysian as expressive of true reality and the Apollinian as expressive of mere appearance, and leave it at that. As we noted above, the Apollinian impulse to beauty was necessary for humankind to overcome meaningless suffering and despair amid the barbarous Titanic world of nature. At the level of the human subject, this Apollinian artistic impulse involved a kind of overcoming of nature itself. But even with this human achievement, nature itself was not mocked. At the deepest metaphysical level of the cosmos, the so-called 'primal unity' also craves and requires its own satisfaction in the images of mere appearance. With regard to the primal unity, "that mysterious ground of our being of which we are the phenomena"9, Nietzsche writes:
For the more clearly I perceive in nature those omnipotent art impulses, and in them an ardent longing for illusion, for redemption through illusion, the more I feel myself impelled to the metaphysical assumption that the truly existent primal unity, eternally suffering and contradictory, also needs the rapturous vision, the pleasurable illusion, for its continuous redemption.10
From this metaphysical perspective, the dreaming human being is already one remove from dreaming nature, such that a human dream, says Nietzsche, is "a still higher appeasement of the primordial desire for mere appearance." Here the word "higher" seems to suggest 'more elevated' or 'pure', implying that Apollinian dreams, although illusory, manifest a necessary achievement of nature at both the level of the personal human subject, and the deepest primal unity out of which all reality and illusion originate.
In The Birth of Tragedy, it is easier to note Nietzsche's enthusiasm for the Dionysian - that creative force which connects us with reality - than it is to understand the equally necessary role he gives to the Apollinian. After he first describes each artistic force in relief against the other, Nietzsche then, secondly, foreshadows a major point of his book by briefly diverting from the actual mytho-historical progression to portray how the intoxicated Dionysian reveler and the Apollinian dreaming individual can become merged within a single human artist in such a way that "his oneness with the inmost ground of the world, is revealed to him in a symbolical dream image."11 But the development of this all-important conjoining is what Nietzsche is intent on demonstrating, since he believes it alone accounts for the Greeks' tragic view of life, and the human development of tragedy as a form of artistic creation. Prior to any true coupling of the Dionysian and Apollinian within the human person, these two contrary and conflicting natural-artistic forces achieved a sort of détente which was expressed mythically as the seasonal sharing of the Delphic Oracle. Prior to this treaty of peace, the ever-measured and restrained Apollinian was a perpetual threat to the unmeasured reckless abandon brought about by worship of Dionysus. Only after this peace was established, with a strict boundary line drawn between them, was the cult of Dionysus able to fully develop and flourish as the otherwise unbounded creative force Nietzsche describes.12
This, then, is the third kind of relationship between Dionysus and Apollo that one encounters as one reads through The Birth of Tragedy. Such a "reconciled" relationship, Nietzsche says, has profound and extensive consequences: "wherever we turn", he says, "we note the revolutions resulting from this event."13 And the first consequence Nietzsche mentions is a sort of religious rehabilitation of those especially gruesome practices first adopted by barbaric non-Greek peoples, but which the Greeks themselves also took up in the spirit of Dionysus as soon as there was peace with Apollo. Nietzsche seems particularly distressed at this point and, in an abruptly personal-sounding statement, he even abandons his use of the royal 'we' to refer to "that horrible mixture of sensuality and cruelty which has always seemed to me to be the real 'witches' brew.'"14 More than once he asserts the inferiority of non-Greek festivals and orgies, an inferiority which today we might similarly attribute to the religious rituals of satanic cultists. Non-Greek festivals, Nietzsche says, bear "at best" the same relation to Dionysian festivals as the goat-like satyr does to the god Dionysus himself.15 Further, insofar as the power of Dionysus incites within us a gut-level awareness of the intimate link between pain and joy, ecstasy and agony, no longer can the merely savage festivals of the Babylonian Sacaea accomplish the same self-transcendent awareness. "The horrible 'witches' brew' of sensuality and cruelty", Nietzsche says, "is rendered ineffective".16 With Dionysus, orgies which pull us toward our deeper roots with each other and with nature, are now "artistic" phenomena, and savage behavior by itself is now only spiritually impotent savage behavior. To be caught up in an intoxicating Dionysian celebration is to feel an (ek)stasy, a 'standing out' that brings terror at the loss of our individual existence, as well as joy at the liberation from illusion in a truer (com)union. By contrast, the cruel and sensual rituals of the Babylonian Sacaea, no matter how gruesome, can no longer effect this same transcendence.
Whether or not one is satisfied with Nietzsche's account of how a lusty savagery is rendered powerless by the Dionysian, what are we to make of his apparent eagerness to defeat this "witches' brew" that so distresses him? Might we not connect it with his readiness - as quoted above - to find himself "impelled to the metaphysical assumption that the truly existent primal unity...also needs...the pleasurable illusion for its continuous redemption." What "impels" Nietzsche to this metaphysical assumption? What impels him to his faith in the existence of a "primal unity" in the first place? Who is it here, the primal unity or Nietzsche himself who "needs...the pleasurable illusion"?
But let us not make use of the later Nietzsche and a hundred years of psychoanalysis to attempt to smugly unmask the master of unmasking. That philosophical systems are confessions of the philosopher was his insight in the first place. And anyway, there is not enough material here to make a strong psychological argument for Nietzsche's possible defensive motivations for believing what he does. In this context, it is enough to raise the question and move on.
A more obvious consequence of the peace between Apollo and Dionysus is the lyric poet, in whom these two artistic forces, rather than merely respecting each other from a distance, first worked together. Nietzsche's understanding of exactly how they worked together in (and out of) the lyric poet's psyche, involves metaphysics, myth and history no less than psychology and aesthetics. Focusing primarily on the metaphysical and psychological dimensions, let us continue to trace the interplay between the Dionysian and Apollinian as these two divine creative impulses "continue to incite each other to new and more powerful births,"17 especially since, for the first time, they now work together through the single human being.
Whereas the Apollinian epic poet and the Dionysian reveler each had their respective gods, the lyric poet feels the influence of both of them. Insofar as he creates and contemplates symbolic images by forming and reforming language, he works and lives among beautiful appearances not unlike the Apollinian epic poet. But insofar as he is moved, not by his own personal passions and perceptions, but by the earth itself and the joy and suffering he shares with nature and other beings, to this extent he is like the intoxicated Dionysian reveler who knows terror and ecstatic joy from his contact with the deeper ground of his own being. Thus, the images captured by the language of the lyric poet are no longer mere appearances, but rather images of the awesome, shared reality which underlies all illusions of individuality and serene clarity of vision. What makes the lyric poet a true artist, and not just a self-indulgent blatherer, is that through the Dionysian his language is able to express, not the passions of his own ego, but the universal worldly basis of all differentiated things: what Nietzsche calls the 'primal one'.
It might be fair to say that the dualism between reality and appearance is overcome in the being of the lyric poet. Nietzsche does not speak this way, and is obviously committed to a dualistic metaphysic. But the lyric artist, he says, is a "union of the Apollinian and the Dionysian",18 and Nietzsche stresses the act of the artist over his knowing. It is in the act of creation that the artist is "at once subject and object, at once poet, actor, and spectator."19 In fact, Nietzsche criticizes Schopenhauer for making too much of a simple distinction between subject and object in his assessment of the lyric artist.20 As we have seen, for Nietzsche it is not the 'willing' ego-subject who is the lyric poet, but rather the subject who has already abandoned his individual subjectivity so as to express himself as a world-artist. On the side of 'reality' then, the act of the artist overlaps and "coalesces" with the primal one. But the artistic expression itself similarly overlaps with the 'mere appearance' side of things. In both metaphysical directions, then, the lyric poet extends himself beyond his merely empirical self. Said differently, in the creative act, the artist has become "the medium through which the one truly existent subject celebrates his release in appearance."21 Dionysus, it could be said, pulls the lyric artist in one direction, and Apollo in another: the one toward a disturbing contact with reality, the other toward the contemplation of beautiful images.
The character of these divine 'pulls', however, is quite different. The Apollinian impulse to beautiful images allows, even requires, the integrity of the poet's ego. If we say Homer was 'pulled beyond' himself in his inspired composing of the Iliad, we do not mean that he lost himself during his skillful formulating of language in the same way that Archilochus, the lyric poet, lost himself in a more primal world-being. The differences here have everything to do with the differences between music and image. Although the Apollinian has its own kind of music, measured and suggestive, Dionysian music is that truly powerful music which, prior to any image, grips us from below with its "rhythmics, dynamics and harmony",22 moving our whole body to dance in an inarticulate symbolizing of the currents of primordial being. Through music, Dionysus moves us more primordially, more primally and directly, than Apollo can with his beautiful images. In a contemplative gaze, we are disturbed or aroused by something safely separated from us, as if by an inner distance. Even our ego, our self-image, the individualized identity we misguidedly take ourselves to be, can only falter and fail us in powerful, perhaps traumatic, circumstances which music is better able to express. Music defies our clear and comprehensible images, creeping up from within us, as from a dark interior where Apollo's illuminating light cannot shine. We contemplate images, but surrender to music.
It is the genius of the lyric poet - as a union of the Apollinian and Dionysian - to convey this mysterious, musical ground of our being in linguistic images. To do so, his verses must be dynamic and melodic, which is to say they must be lyrical. Since music cannot appear directly as image, through the existence of the lyric poet language must now imitate and symbolize music, thereby connecting the different domains of phenomenal appearance and noumenal reality. Nietzsche speaks of this event, this creative act, as a "discharge of music in images",23 a discharge which he views as a kind of celebration. After abandoning his merely empirical self in a Dionysian flood of connectedness with primal being, the lyric poet now, with the pronoun "I", refers to something much more essential than his own private field of experience. This equally terrifying and joyous liberation from the confines of the phenomenal world is then celebrated by a bursting forth of new images which now mirror back, in phenomenal guise, the more primordial reality that has been accessed through the Dionysian. It is the mirroring back of this more essential reality which depends, not on music itself - since music cannot be directly conveyed by linguistic images - but on the ability of language to capture the power of music. Music is a more direct imitation of the world than are images. Thus, the musical power of lyric poetry symbolizes primordial reality in the first place, and the images of that same poetry provide a second order symbolizing of that same reality. As Nietzsche says,
The inchoate, intangible reflection of the primordial pain in music, with its redemption in mere appearance, now produces a second mirroring as a specific symbol or example.24
The Apollinian is what, mytho-historically speaking, lifted us out of despairing Titanic darkness in the first place. Now this same artistic power mirrors back to us images from that very same inhuman realm that it had once helped to protect and distract us from. Have we thus regressed? Does the lyric artist simply return us to the horrors of existence we had already found so unendurable? Yes and no. As we have seen, after the Apollinian images had secured for us an illusory but glorious tranquillity with Homer's epic and the ennobling figures of the Olympian gods, the primordial and barbaric forces of nature returned in the form of Dionysus. Mythically speaking, Apollo fought Dionysus until a treaty of peace was obtained that allowed the Dionysian to develop its own transformative artistic power. This power, this transformative intoxication rendered "ineffective" the mere savagery - Nietzsche's "witches' brew" - which had formerly been able to provoke such an agonizing experience of the primordial roots of our existence. With the advent of the Dionysian, this agonizing experience, while still accompanied by anguish and horror, is taken up in ecstatic celebration. The anguish and horror which Apollo allowed us to disguise, returned with Dionysus, but in a re-appropriated form. The Titanic forces of nature became accessible, if not always welcomed, through music and dance. With Dionysus, it became possible to say that to die soon was worst, rather than best.25 Thus far, Apollo had only allowed us to avoid addressing this question authentically. But now, with the lyric poet, not only does Apollo no longer avert our gaze from our suffering, but he reflects back to us a Dionysian perspective of the barbaric reality upon which our existence is based. Through music, Dionysus gives us access to existential reality. Through imagery, Apollo redeems and elevates this reality while protecting us from a wholesale fusion with it. With lyric poetry, we are able for the first time to perceive our lives in their full compass. The lyric poet, setting the stage for the tragic poet, has "his oneness with the inmost ground of the world...revealed to him in a symbolical dream image."26
It is important to note that for Nietzsche, on a metaphysical level, the goal of the primal unity - that it achieve redemption through mere appearance27 - does not depend on the existence of the lyric poet. While on a personal level the lyric poet ushers in a new capacity for individual awareness of being, the primal one was already perpetually achieving its goal without human kind having any explicit awareness of that goal. Nature, too, often achieves its ends through illusion, Nietzsche says. "The true goal is veiled by a phantasm: and while we stretch out our hands for the latter, nature attains the former by means of our illusion."28 Thus, even prior to the advent of the lyric poet, when we are struggling with Homer's help to spiritually endure our barbaric world, primordial nature is satisfied. No, not satisfied, since nature too - and through us - is ever-impelled by creative urges. But nature, as directed from its origin in the primal unity, is not dis-satisfied prior to the arrival of the lyric poet. While we might feel particularly attached to the lyric poet's newly obtained expanded vision of human existence, the primal unity was still achieving its own redemption back with the epic poet when its contradictory, eternally suffering essence obtained expression in Apollinian appearances.
That this metaphysical goal was achieved while we human subjects, prior to Dionysus, reached out for those same illusory images trusting they were real and true, is not distressing for Nietzsche. Even here, in his earliest work, there is comedy, a light-heartedness with respect to human aspirations and the limitations of knowing. Although he praises the tragic wisdom of Dionysus and the lyric and tragic poets who allow us to simultaneously experience and see this wisdom, in The Birth of Tragedy this praise is supported by a metaphysical faith which can seem altogether too sanguine in light of the later, more courageous, Nietzsche. A superficial reading of The Birth of Tragedy can give the impression that Nietzsche's glowing enthusiasm for the Dionysian spirit does a disservice to the Apollinian, upon which Nietzsche is just as reliant. Perhaps more warranted is the view that he shrinks back from the Dionysian to the degree that his horror at facing the roots of his own existence is mitigated by a faith in the presence of an underlying unity that is meaningful and transcendent.
.....The metaphysical comfort - with which, I am suggesting even now, every true tragedy leaves us - that life is at the bottom of things, despite all the changes of appearances, indestructibly powerful and pleasurable.....29
And yet, it is largely on the basis of Nietzsche's own later work that we are at all able to hear this talk of metaphysical comfort as Apollinian illusion rather than as Dionysian openness to the unknown.
Now let us look at how, after the advent of the lyric poet, Dionysian and Apollinian forces are said by Nietzsche to have worked together in the birth of Greek tragedy. Then we will survey through Beyond Good and Evil, attending to some of the themes which relate most obviously to Nietzsche's less metaphysically weighted conception of human existence, and to what kind of role Apollo and Dionysus could be said to play in it.
First of all, however strange it is,30 no one seems to doubt that tragedy arose from the Greek chorus of satyrs, where these bearded satyrs are understood to be "fictitious natural beings"31 who "borrowed [their] name and attributes from the goat".32 For the Greeks, these satyrs were "sublime and divine" beings who manifest "the archetype of man, the embodiment of his highest and most intense emotions, the ecstatic reveler enraptured by the proximity of his god" - Dionysus.33 Exactly how tragedy evolved from this chorus, and what purpose the chorus served in the first place, is not agreed upon, however. Nietzsche says he agrees with Schiller that the chorus functioned "as a living wall...in order to close itself off from the world of reality".34 In the presence of this satyric chorus, Nietzsche says, "the Greek man of culture felt himself nullified...and this is the most immediate effect of the Dionysian tragedy, that the state and society and, quite generally, the gulfs between man and man give way to an overwhelming feeling of unity leading back to the very heart of nature."35 Well before tragedy had any action, plot, or dialogue to it - before these enraptured cultists were separated into spectators and enchanted participants36 - this proto-tragic chorus by itself enabled its votaries, its dancing revelers, to leave the everyday world behind for the experience of a truer, more religious reality.
But when the rapture faded, when the chorist stopped living as a "bearded satyr jubilating to his god"37, two feelings threatened to overwhelm him: horror and nausea. "Conscious of the truth he has once seen," Nietzsche says, "man now sees everywhere only the horror or absurdity of existence."38 To be Dionysian is to share in the sufferings of the god Dionysus who himself sees and expresses this horror and absurdity.39 But it is also to share in his transforming wisdom, the wisdom obtained from having looked into the terrifying heart of nature; a Dionysian wisdom that manifests itself as an artistic antidote to the horror and nausea that would otherwise destroy the despairing person. Only Dionysus "knows how to turn these nauseous thoughts about the horror or absurdity of existence into notions with which one can live".40 The Dionysian is thus a necessary mediating force that, on one hand, allows man to come into enchanted contact with his painful existential reality, and that allows him on the other hand to endure his awareness of that reality after the enchantment has gone. It is the sublime and the comic, respectively, these two artistic-existential Dionysian responses, that allow us first to spiritually prevail in an awareness of the horrifying roots of our existence, and then to overcome the nausea we can feel at its absurdity. Only through Dionysus as intermediary can man leave behind "the lie of culture"41 to stare enraptured and terrified into the natural ground of his existence, and only the Dionysian allows him a way back from contact with this reality.
Tragedy as an art form depended first and foremost on the power of the chorus of satyrs to invoke for its participants this religious contact with reality. For "originally", Nietzsche says, "tragedy was only 'chorus' and not yet 'drama'."42 With the advent of drama per se, this same transfiguring power enthralled those who - not quite full participants themselves - looked upon the dancing chorus as relative 'spectators'. With the further development of individual characters and something like 'plot', the role of the chorus was to excite "the mood of the listeners to such a Dionysian degree that, when the tragic hero appeared on the stage, they did not see the awkwardly masked human being but rather a visionary figure, born as it were from their own rapture."43 Given this Dionysian rapture, various 'awkwardly masked human beings' thus took on an imaginary life quite displaced from the everyday world of mundane reality. In a dreamlike fashion, real characters emerged against the musical background of the dithyrambic lyrics chanted and danced by the chorus of satyrs, followers of Dionysus. But the new presence of these living characters, with their different mode of expression and appearance, ushered in a relatively objectified form of the - now dramatic - Dionysian spell. As such, there began an Apollinian dimension to the tragic chorus, and tragedy as we know it was born.
Regarding this specifically Apollinian dimension of dramatic tragedy, Nietzsche says, "Everything that comes to the surface in the Apollinian part of Greek tragedy, in the dialogue, looks simple, transparent, and beautiful."44 Relative to the Dionysian, this is what we expect from Apollo: clear and transparent beautiful images. In tragedy, as in lyric poetry, these Apollinian images mirror back, not just any mere appearances, but images of a deeper Dionysian reality. Perhaps, then, these images are not mere images at all. In any case, the genuine religious contact with the natural roots of our human being which the dancing and chanting satyrs enable us to feel, we then project - under the sway of Apollinian impulse - onto the now visible figure of Orestes or Oedipus standing there before us on the stage.
Felt reality and dream-like appearances are thus again in tension with each other, now in a form even more powerful than that manifested by the lyric poet. Reality and appearance, music and image, poetry, dancing, and staging, all work together to produce, not just a new artistic form, but a new way of being, a more profound existence. But music cannot be fully captured by words, and my sight of Orestes remains distinguishable - not only reflectively, but in my actual experience - from how I hear him speak and the pain I feel for his and all humankind's condition, and so on. In short, the unity of my experiencing - as tragic spectator/participant - is nevertheless a differentiated experience. What I see, hear, feel and think is all caught up together in my own being, but in a mutually augmenting and never totally arbitrary or amorphous manner. The experience of tragedy owes its power to the spiritually efficacious interaction between distinguishable but never totally independent modes of experience. From this perspective, Nietzsche's use of Apollinian and Dionysian as natural-artistic-existential- metaphysical categories is the most general possible grouping of the modes of our experience - the most general grouping, that is, which still permits the presence of a tension, since any tension requires at least two antagonistic forces.
Sixteen years after writing The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche again speaks of a tension, "a magnificent tension of the spirit the like of which had never yet existed on earth".45 This time he is questioning philosophy and the philosopher, criticizing dogmatism and the priority attributed to philosophical 'truth'. In this very different context, Nietzsche asserts that Plato was wrong to invent "the pure spirit and the good as such".46 This dangerous invention stood truth "on her head" and denied "perspective, the basic condition of life." But what has been so very valuable, says Nietzsche, has been the fight against Plato. It is this fight, Nietzsche says in his preface to Beyond Good and Evil, which has generated such a "magnificent tension of the spirit" over the past two-thousand years, a tension which can still be felt by the "free spirits" among us, even though the fight itself has been won!
How far we seem to be from the manifold tension between the Apollinian and Dionysian. Now the tension he speaks of sounds less mythological, less metaphysical and above all, more personal. Nietzsche himself is raging - though sometimes with great subtlety and delicacy - against Plato, against Christians, against philosophers, Germans, women, and others, even as he is also laughing - cheerfully, or so he claims. In short, Beyond Good and Evil is a very different book. Yet, at the end of this different book, Nietzsche says that since the time of his own last offering, his previous "sacrifice" for Dionysus - whereby he means his book, The Birth of Tragedy itself - he has "learned much, all too much, more about the philosophy of this god...I, the last disciple and initiate of the god Dionysus..."47 But what can he mean that Dionysus has a philosophy? Dionysus philosophizing? Among the questions raised above at the beginning, let us wonder whether it is possible that this new divine character is worthy of the same name as that terrifying and enrapturing god so crucial for the development of tragedy. How might Dionysus the divine artistic impulse be related to Dionysus the philosopher god?
If truth is a woman, Nietzsche says playfully, at the beginning of Beyond Good and Evil, then one thing is certain: "she has not allowed herself to be won."48 But why, he asks, should we want truth rather than untruth, and what is the value of this supposed will-to-truth which we take such pride in?49 Nietzsche asserts that it is actually the "falsest judgments [which] are the most indispensable for us". "Untruth" is a condition of life, and without "fictions" and "false judgments" we could not live.50 Insofar as philosophers claim to reach true opinions "through the self-development of a cold, pure, divinely unconcerned dialectic", Nietzsche laughs. Such philosophers, he thinks, are only blind to the personal selfishness, lust, and 'reasons of the heart' that more deeply inspire and motivate these claims to philosophical truth.51 The complicated philosophical systems they generate are only "personal confessions", "involuntary and unconscious memoirs."52 If truth is a woman, then, not only do these philosophers fail to win her over, they are like a pathetic man who haughtily denies having any sexual feelings for a beautiful woman, even though he believes he has thoroughly charmed her. (Oh, how pure and selfless is his affection for her!) But these fumbling, disingenuous philosophers remain unaware that their love object - their truth - mocks and derides, or simply ignores, them, always eluding their falsely 'Platonic' grasp!
Where does this leave us in terms of Apollinian and Dionysian artistic impulses? There is no mention here of metaphysical solace, or of a primal unity out of which divine forces emerge. Even if the indispensability of illusion and untruth does suggest the life-saving Apollinian impulse to beautiful images, now these mere images are not contrasted with any Dionysian reality. False judgments are necessary for life, Nietzsche says, but he adds nothing about a standard against which truth and falsity may be assessed. Without that mysterious and absolute ground of our being we knew as das Ur-Eine, truth and falsity take on a relatively, even relativistic, blurriness as the true and false now swim around each other without ultimate foundation. No longer interested in the dubious attempt to establish an absolute foundation for truth, Nietzsche now encourages a new and different kind of standard which could be called 'life'. Rather than deceiving ourselves and others with talk about how true a judgment is - as if we had use of some divine metaphysical reference - we must now, with refreshing honesty, assess our judgments in terms of the degree to which they promote life. For behind our pretentious logical reasoning is always the implicit demand for one sort of life or another.53 Why not acknowledge this more openly and directly, instead of pretending that what we value - humility over pride, the definite over the indefinite, etc. - is also somehow true?
But if the Dionysian no longer leads us toward the truth of our essential oneness with each other and nature, does it at least permit us to go on valuing this essential oneness? It might, except that, independent of whatever 'Dionysian' may now mean for Nietzsche sixteen years after The Birth of Tragedy, he now values what is life-promoting more than he values any tragic wisdom that is metaphysically comforting. Anything merely 'comfortable' is rarely life-promoting. In the first chapter of Beyond Good and Evil, "On the Prejudices of Philosophers", Nietzsche mentions neither Apollo nor Dionysus, although he does describe human physiological "drives" as "inspiring spirits...or demons".54 In the psyche of the philosopher, underlying his philosophical clamoring about metaphysical truth, are more primitive spirits and demons, all of whom fight to be the master inspirational force in the philosopher's philosophizing and "to represent just itself as the ultimate purpose of existence."55 In great philosophers, these 'physiological spirits' motivate and genuinely characterize their human subject. Scholars, by contrast, particularly those who are scientifically inclined, may manifest a merely mechanical 'will to knowledge' that involves them in mundane and arbitrary searches for knowledge that do not at all characterize them as a particular person, a particular (re-)searcher. In the true philosopher, nothing is arbitrary, and no suspiciously value-neutral 'will to knowledge' is ever at work. "In the philosopher", Nietzsche says, "there is nothing whatever that is impersonal."56 And philosophy, he adds, is "the most spiritual will to power".57
Having abandoned his own dualistic metaphysic - criticizing, as he does, all metaphysicians who maintain a prejudicial faith in "opposite values" such as appearance and reality58 - Nietzsche no longer speaks of any pair of artistic drives as being capable of explicating art, human nature, and nature itself. And yet spirits and demons still inspire us, assuming Nietzsche is not speaking of them only metaphorically - although it is not clear what speaking "only metaphorically" would mean now that truth has lost its absolute foundation. In any case, it remains to be seen how 'Apollinian' and 'Dionysian' these inspiriting physiological forces are for the later Nietzsche. Speaking less mythologically than he does in The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche includes among the prejudices of the philosophers a superficial and prejudicial regard for the "world", the "I", the "I think" and the "will".59 Too quickly, he thinks, have philosophers glossed over these rich phenomena by reifying them into taken-for-granted entities, as if they must be obvious to everyone. For example, "Willing", says Nietzsche, "seems to me to be above all something complicated, something that is a unit only as a word - and it is precisely in this one word that the popular prejudice lurks, which has defeated the always inadequate caution of philosophers."60 Nietzsche goes on to explicate three dimensions of willing: sensation, thinking, and affect. In a single act of willing, we sense both that which we will ourselves toward and that which we will ourselves away from, not to mention the muscular tension in our arms and legs, and many other sensations. There is also the thinking, apart from which no willing would be possible. And third, there is affect, which, in the case of willing, necessarily involves the affect of a command. As Nietzsche says,
"I am free, 'he' must obey" - this consciousness is inherent in every will..."61
But how might Apollo and Dionysus fit in with this willing person? In this commanding individual, is there any room left for inspiration? Can the willing, commanding person still be moved by an artistic impulse, an internal mytho-psychic spirit or demon, or even another person? We seem to move toward Apollinian illusion with this conception of the willing individual. How beautiful and illusory it is to believe we are in control, dictating and directing our destinies, commanding people, controlling objects around us..... But this is our illusion, not Nietzsche's! For commanding is only the affect of willing. While this affect is a necessary and essential quality of the will, according to Nietzsche, it is inseparable from sensation and thought, those other dimensions of willing. To exaggerate the commanding aspect of the will would contradict Nietzsche's own understanding of it, whether this exaggeration is made by adolescent boys eager to hide their awkwardness behind bigger muscles, or by Nazi's eager to justify their brutality.62
Further, Nietzsche is quick to dismiss those who believe either in a total freedom or a total unfreedom of the will. He considers it absurd to totally "absolve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society"63 or "the affinity of languages"64 from their influence upon us, and equally absurd on the other hand, to side with determinists who conceive human existence in terms of the natural scientific myths of cause and effect.65 To thus acknowledge these various limitations to our individual power to will something seems relatively non-Apollinian, since it is Apollo who, with the aid of illusory appearances, helps us to feel more beautiful and secure than we really are. Presumably, the Apollinian principle of individuation would readily permit a person to believe in a completely free or unfree will, whichever seemed more beautiful and protective. But Nietzsche denies us - or at least himself - these two extreme illusory views of freedom.
On the other hand, Nietzsche describes our tendency to erroneously equate willing with the active result of such willing. The strangest thing about the will, Nietzsche says - as if a single word could be sufficient for it! - is that "we are at the same time the commanding and the obeying parties".66 When we overlook the obeying dimension of our willing - the resisting pressure we feel, for example, after attempting to lift something that turns out to be far heavier than we expected - we come to expect that simply willing a thing to happen will necessarily lead to its actually happening. Most of the time objects that appear liftable are liftable. Thus, "he who wills", Nietzsche says, comes to believe "sincerely that willing suffices for action" and that "will and action are somehow one".67 To the degree that Nietzsche wants to awaken us to the obeying dimension of the will and to the deceptively "synthetic concept 'I'" which enables this blindness, he is working against an Apollinian impulse which would allow us any such illusions for the sake of beauty and safety. But despite the fact that he describes our common views of the 'I' and the 'will' as blatantly "erroneous", he also points out - with appreciation - the "increase of the sensation of power" which accompanies such an error. Nietzsche goes on to describe the additional error of identifying oneself as commander and one's 'will' as a subordinate executive or "under-soul". This has the effect, he says, of further increasing the delight of the willing person who now overcomes obstacles as a commander of even greater rank and distinction.
In short, it is not truth and falsity by which Nietzsche assesses the ultimate value of willing - that is to say, the ultimate value he attributes to it - even though his criticisms of the common understandings of the will - and Schopenhauer's - include phrases like "erroneous conclusions" and "false evaluations"68. It is as if Nietzsche still believes it is possible to be right or wrong, even though correctness can no longer be measured against some absolute standard. Thus, he can simultaneously claim that an understanding of the will that overlooks its obeying dimension is false, even while he greatly values that very perspective of the will insofar as it augments the experience of power for the individual who employs it. Here, Nietzsche seems to admire an enthusiastic spirit more than that person who is phenomenologically accurate. But what then is the value of his criticisms of other thinkers? How can we take him seriously when on one hand he criticizes Schopenhauer for drawing "erroneous conclusions" about the will, when Nietzsche himself then writes appreciatively of the typical person's tacit understanding of the will precisely because of its erroneous self-deceptiveness? The answer is that his real criticism of Schopenhauer's view of the will is not that it is inaccurate, but that it is weak and not life-promoting.
The fact that Nietzsche can bring out an experiential aspect of the will that he believes Schopenhauer overlooked is ultimately not what he uses to argue against Schopenhauer. That Schopenhauer was blind to the obeying dimension of the will allows Nietzsche to assert that Schopenhauer's understanding of the will is to that extent 'false'. But even assuming a phenomenological rather than a metaphysical standard of truth or evidence, Nietzsche would not condemn such falsity if only it were in the service of life. To split oneself off from one's 'will' in order to regard it as a subordinate executive might be just as false as overlooking the fact that willing involves intrapsychic obeying as much as commanding. But Nietzsche will cheer the former falsity and condemn the latter on the basis of what is life-promoting. And should someone say, "But Nietzsche, you prioritize life and power over truth in just as interpretive a fashion as you accuse me of doing when I prioritize truth!", Nietzsche would say, "Exactly!", and be delighted to battle one interpretation against another without dealing with the presumptive presupposition that "truth" refers to anything more than a reification of a kind of life that we value above others.
Insofar as the Apollinian is regarded as an impulse to beauty in mere appearances, we would now have to thoroughly eliminate the adjectival "mere" in light of Nietzsche's later philosophy. It is now irrelevant whether the Apollinian impulse is toward a beauty that is illusory and deceptive, or grounded in what is believed to be absolutely real and true. That this divine force is also said to engender a clarity that is "dreamlike", requires that another modification be made. The Apollinian can remain dreamlike in the sense of creating a meaningful coherence that is primarily objective and visual, but not dreamlike in the sense of 'unreal'. In the Nietzsche of Beyond Good and Evil, nighttime dreams as well as day-dreams and psychological projections of all kinds can ultimately be (e)valuated only on the life-serving power they permit the willing subject. Thus, we must ask if the principle of individuation promotes or discourages life before deciding if this typically Apollinian characteristic can remain without contradicting Nietzsche's valuation of power and life. If we were to read Nietzsche like the adolescent jock or the Nazi, we might quickly assume that all individualism, all tough-guy, up-by-the-bootstraps sorts of people with clear interpersonal boundaries and strong work ethics are obviously life-promoting persons. But toughness and a strong work ethic can be life-limiting defenses, and clear interpersonal boundaries can sometimes be only rigid constraints to a greater relatedness with others - without any life-serving gain. Images of self, whether illusory or not, whether psychologically defensive or not, might either augment or stifle the flow of life. Individuation, then, - no less than an impulse to beauty and visual clarity generally - must be judged on a case by case basis before we could consider it to be an Apollinian quality that is consistent with the later Nietzsche.
As such, we are left with an 'Apollinian' artistic drive to beauty that involves unambiguously bright and clear appearances which remain safely distant, comprehensible and meaningful for us. But it is not the Apollinian, in any sense, which returns explicitly in Beyond Good and Evil, but the Dionysian. At the risk of reading Nietzsche superficially and thus not perceiving him in his (dare we say) true spirit, let us briefly reflect on some passages in the rest of his book to see if we might appreciate what or who he has in mind when he finally invokes Dionysus as the philosopher-god he says he has always been following as a devoted disciple.69
It was Dionysus who the dancing Greeks invoked with their goat-like satyr masks as they chanted their dithyrambic odes, transporting themselves from their everyday world to an ecstatic, religious, and collective contact with the more primordial reality that underlay it. Such were the Dionysian roots that led to tragedy as a new form of expression in art and human existence, simultaneously. One could say that tragic wisdom - a shared awareness of primordial suffering - is the greatest gift of Dionysus, and that in The Birth of Tragedy it is tragic wisdom which Nietzsche embraces as the highest form of human knowing and being. Apollo too is crucial in all this, but Dionysus is understood to provide the more primordial spiritual ingredient. For, as described in The Birth of Tragedy, except in lyric and tragic poetry in which the Apollinian mirrors back the Dionysian, it is Dionysus and not Apollo who leads us towards Truth. Also, it is to the intoxicating Dionysian that Nietzsche's enthusiasm seems more committed.
In Beyond Good and Evil, however, it is no longer tragic wisdom which Nietzsche holds as the highest goal of the spirit. "There are heights of the soul", he says, "from which even tragedy ceases to look tragic; and rolling together all the woe of the world - who could dare to decide whether its sight would necessarily seduce us and compel us to feel pity and thus double this woe?"70 This inquiring statement alone directly implies that human experience can achieve something more than, something higher than, tragic wisdom and the feeling of pity. But what roles do 'decision' and 'necessity' play here? Loosely speaking, the words "decide" and "necessarily" suggest that Nietzsche now has a more philosophical than artistic orientation. Reflective and relatively objective consideration of tragic images is an essential Apollinian component of the powerful - and relatively Dionysian - experience of tragedy. But trying to "decide" something about how the hypothetical appearance of all the tragic woe of the world would strike us - this degree of reflection seems to transcend the bounds of the wisdom that tragedy offers us. We needn't struggle with whether or not Nietzsche is being more Socratic than Apollinian here to be able to observe that with this single quoted sentence, he is up to something quite different than he was in The Birth of Tragedy.
A little further on, Nietzsche says,
Indeed, it might be a basic characteristic of existence that those who would know it completely would perish, in which case the strength of a spirit should be measured according to how much of the "truth" one could still barely endure - or to put it more clearly, to what degree one would require it to be thinned down, shrouded, sweetened, blunted, falsified.71
Right! But surely the Dionysian does not falsify existential truth?! Can Nietzsche mean what he says? He does not here, nor anywhere else in Beyond Good and Evil until the very end, mention Dionysus by name. But if, as we have already learned, Nietzsche now has something "higher" in mind than tragic wisdom, and if Dionysus is still to be praised at the end of the book as the always implicit guiding spiritual force, then this passage suggests that the Dionysian must be involved in "the strength of a spirit" to endure the truth of existence. This follows since in this passage the strength to endure and the sweetening and falsity required are in opposition. It is not the sweetening and falsifying of truth alone that allows one to endure it, but some kind of spiritual strength. And given the other factors mentioned, it seems that Nietzsche must believe that this strength - whatever it is - must be on the side of the Dionysian and not, as he said sixteen years earlier, that the Dionysian mediates the truth so we can endure it. Now here is a strength we have, a strength by which we may be spiritually measured or judged. It is as if the old Dionysus of The Birth of Tragedy can now be seen as - like Nietzsche himself - too metaphysical, too mediating, alleviating, mitigating, short-sighted and - in short, too weak!
Dionysus too "weak"? Too "short-sighted"? Already our new characterization of this god - for he seems to require a characterization in the context of Beyond Good and Evil's powerfully personal language - is relatively philosophical, as if we, and not only those chanting Greeks, expect him to live and breathe and be able to see more than us, beyond even tragic wisdom this time. Now we have a seeing, philosophizing god whose personal thinking we value, rather than a god who remains a hazy natural power and fuses us with our absurdity and terror, letting us share in his rapture and suffering. Now we have a god who, while fully grounded in himself, can nonetheless aim beyond himself - in reflection and action, reflection as action - and see more. We have, it seems, a more Apollinian Dionysus.
In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche describes the Dionysian influence of tragedy as occurring when "the state and society and, quite generally, the gulfs between man and man give way to an overwhelming feeling of unity leading back to the very heart of nature".72 In a surrender to music, man 'gives way' to his deeper bond with nature and other men. In contrast to Apollo, who wants to "grant repose to individual beings precisely by drawing boundaries between them",73 the tragic Dionysus could be said to precipitate a kind of spiritual- psychological 'letting go' within us. But it is precisely such a 'letting go', a laisser aller, which Nietzsche then attacks in Beyond Good and Evil.
Every artist knows how far from any feeling of letting himself go his "most natural" state is - the free ordering, placing, disposing, giving form in the moment of "inspiration" - and how strictly and subtly he obeys thousandfold laws precisely then, laws that precisely on account of their hardness and determination defy all formulation through concepts..."74
If these laws did not "defy all formulation through concepts", we might think Nietzsche was claiming that in his most natural state the artist depends on laws which manifest a kind of Socratean intelligibility. But these form-giving laws at work in the inspired artist have rather an Apollinian "hardness and determination". No doubt the artist must 'let himself go' in some relatively trivial sense, say, in order to overcome 'writer's block', or more significantly, as with the lyric poet who must 'let go' of his mundane ego-subjectivity. But for the artist as understood by the later Nietzsche, there is no wholesale abandonment of reasoned thinking and intense contemplation. In accordance with the new Dionysus, there is no 'letting go', but rather an adherence to discipline, constraint and struggle. The inspired artist orders, disposes and gives form in obedience to "thousandfold laws".
"What is essential 'in heaven and on earth'," Nietzsche says, "seems to be...that there should be obedience over a long period of time and in a single direction..."75 As such, we can again perceive this new Dionysus as having what we would have called Apollinian characteristics in The Birth of Tragedy. But now we must understand Dionysus in a new light, so to speak - as a god who has appropriated Apollo's light. Whereas in The Birth of Tragedy it seemed as if Apollo served Dionysus to some extent in lyric and tragic poetry by reflecting images of Dionysian reality rather than merely beautiful appearances, now it seems as if Dionysus himself, far from 'letting go', is 'reflective' and obedient - even commanding.
The commanding spirit, the commanding will which Nietzsche speaks much of in Beyond Good and Evil, could be mistaken by the reader as an impulse that is Apollinian in character. After all, is it not Apollo who objectifies, clarifies and orders our experience into coherence? But while Nietzsche does describe the commanding will or "the spirit" as wanting "to be master in and around its own house" and as "a will that ties up, tames, and is domineering and truly masterful", he also likens its needs and capacities to those of life itself.
Its needs and capacities are...the same as those which physiologists posit for everything that lives, grows, and multiplies. The spirit's power to appropriate the foreign stands revealed in its inclination to assimilate the new to the old, to simplify the manifold, and to overlook or repulse whatever is totally contradictory - just as it involuntarily emphasizes certain features...retouching and falsifying the whole to suit itself. Its intent in all this is to incorporate new "experiences," to file new things in old files - growth, in a word - or, more precisely, the feeling of growth, the feeling of increased power.76
Insofar as the human will is like life itself in its 'will-to-power', and thus grounded in and akin to all of nature and the earth, it may be argued that this impulse of the will is relatively Dionysian, even though in The Birth of Tragedy we did not hear the Dionysian as also being "domineering" and wanting to be "master". In the same Beyond Good and Evil passage, Nietzsche immediately goes on to say:
An apparently opposite drive serves this same will: a suddenly erupting decision in favor of ignorance, of deliberate exclusion, a shutting of one's windows, an internal No to this or that thing, a refusal to let things approach, a kind of state of defense against much that is knowable, a satisfaction with the dark, with the limiting horizon, a Yea and Amen to ignorance - all of which is necessary in proportion to a spirit's power to appropriate...Here belongs also the occasional will of the spirit to let itself be deceived...77
This second, "opposite drive" of the will might remind us of the Apollinian impulse with its "state of defense against much that is knowable" and that aspect of the spirit which "let[s] itself be deceived". But we would not expect the ever-measured Apollinian impulse to be associated with "a suddenly erupting decision", any more than would expect the Dionysian to be involved in "falsifying the whole to suit itself" (as was quoted above). Nor do we think of the Apollinian as having "a satisfaction with the dark", but rather a satisfaction with falsity in bright light. Perhaps "darkness" now refers to weakness of spirit, rather than an absence of clarity. In this case Dionysus could be said to have taken over and transformed Apollo's light, forcing it into the service of will rather than perspicuous illusion.
Section 230 of Beyond Good and Evil deserves much closer attention than it will get in this paper. Parts of it have been quoted here mainly to suggest that at least the psychological character of the Apollinian and Dionysian are still involved, if not explicitly, in the willing, philosophical free spirit Nietzsche describes in his later work. With some modifications, these natural-artistic-existential-metaphysical impulses are now taken up more psychologically, more personally and philosophically:
This will to mere appearance, to simplification, to masks, to cloaks, in short, to the surface - for every surface is a cloak - is countered by that sublime inclination of the seeker after knowledge who insists on profundity, multiplicity, and thoroughness, with a will which is a kind of cruelty of the intellectual conscience and taste.78
Perhaps Nietzsche uses italics to emphasize that "This will to mere appearance" must be distinguished from the old will to mere appearance, that is, from the old Apollo. For this will to mere appearance, we are suggesting, is no longer "countered" by the old Dionysus, but appropriated by a new Dionysus. If the Apollo of The Birth of Tragedy used to serve Dionysus in lyric and tragic poetry, perhaps he does so now within the soul of the new philosopher. But if so, he is relatively taken-for-granted in this new, more controlled and reflective Dionysian spirit.
For Nietzsche ignores Apollo by name, if not psychologically, and gives full praise to Dionysus - "that great ambiguous one",79 where we can imagine that his new ambiguity stems from a kind of instantiation of the appearance-reality duality into the existence of a single godlike being. A godlike being who serves, of course, as a model for the highest human being. "[O]ne must follow the instincts", Nietzsche says, "but persuade reason to assist them with good reasons".80 In the spirit of the new Dionysus, the highest human being can look down on tragedy with a cheerful spirit. Now translated back into nature, man can stand "before the rest of nature, with intrepid Oedipus eyes and sealed Odysseus ears, deaf to the siren songs of old metaphysical bird catchers who have been piping at him too long, 'you are more, you are higher, you are of a different origin!' "81 With the new Dionysus, man is simultaneously a grounded and reflective being, whose reflections, rather than protecting him with deceptions, now further ground, enrich and expand him.
At the end of Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche and Dionysus himself have the following exchange. Speaking of mankind, Dionysus begins:
"I often reflect how I might yet advance him and make him stronger, more evil, and more profound than he is."
"Stronger, more evil, and more profound?" I asked, startled.
"Yes," he said once more; "stronger, more evil and more profound; also more beautiful" - and at that the tempter god smiled with his halcyon smile as though he had just paid an enchanting compliment.82
If it is his power to make us more beautiful, then surely Dionysus has taken over the last vestige of Apollo. Never should we think that this triumph simply leads to a more relaxed or ignorantly impulsive spirit, however. No pathetic peacefulness or total synthesis can have resulted from such an overcoming. Nietzsche would never embrace a slackening of the "tension of the spirit".83 Such spiritual tension became "magnificent", Nietzsche says, in the battle of the earthly against Platonism. With that fight behind us, we may now strive and aspire as truly freer spirits.
Accepting and transforming Apollo's essential weapon, Dionysus is able to say through Nietzsche - and which mask he wears, we cannot say - : "with so tense a bow we can now shoot for the most distant goals."84
Top of Page
1 The Birth of Tragedy, p. 44
2 The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner, Vintage Books, 1967, translated by Walter Kaufman, p. 42,43
3 Ibid., p. 43,44
4 Ibid., p. 35
5 Ibid., p. 35
6 Ibid., p. 35
7 Ibid., p. 37
8 Ibid., p. 33-38
9 Ibid., p. 44
10 Ibid., p. 45
11 Ibid., p. 38
12 Ibid., p. 39
13 Ibid., p. 39
14 Ibid., p. 39
15 Ibid., p. 39
16 Ibid., p. 40
17 Ibid., p. 33
18 Ibid., p. 53
19 Ibid., p. 52
20 Ibid., p. 52
21 Ibid., p. 52
22 Ibid., p. 40
23 Ibid., p. 54
24 Ibid., p. 49
25 Ibid., p. 43
26 Ibid., p. 38
27 Ibid., p. 45
28 Ibid., p. 44
29 Ibid., p. 59
30 Ibid., p. 59
31 Ibid., p. 59
32 Ibid., p. 39
33 Ibid., p. 61
34 Ibid., p. 58
35 Ibid., p. 59
36 Ibid., p. 62
37 Ibid., p. 61
38 Ibid,. p. 60
39 Ibid., p. 65
40 Ibid., p. 60
41 Ibid., p. 61
42 Ibid., p. 66
43 Ibid., p. 66
44 Ibid., p. 67
45 Beyond Good and Evil, p. 2
46 Ibid., p. 2
47 Ibid., p. 235
48 Ibid., p. 1
49 Ibid., p. 9
50 Ibid., p. 12
51 Ibid., p. 12
52 Ibid., p. 13
53 Ibid., p. 11
54 Ibid., p. 13
55 Ibid., p. 13, 14
56 Ibid., p. 14
57 Ibid., p. 16
58 Ibid., p. 10
59 Ibid., Sections 15, 16, 17, 19.
60 Ibid., p. 25
61 Ibid., p. 25
62 Ibid., p. 51. As Kaufmann notes, see Nietzsche's discussion of the necessity for every profound person to have masks, which leads to the consequent requirement that one must read beyond Nietzsche's own masks - including, perhaps, some of his rhetorical bravado.
63 Ibid., p. 28
64 Ibid., p. 27
65 Ibid., p. 28
66 Ibid., p. 26
67 Ibid., p. 26
68 Ibid., p. 26
69 Ibid., p. 235
70 Ibid., p. 42
71 Ibid., p. 49
72 The Birth of Tragedy, p. 59
73 Ibid., p. 72
74 Beyond Good and Evil, p. 100
75 Ibid., p. 101
76 Ibid., p. 159, 160
77 Ibid., p. 160
78 Ibid., p. 161
79 Ibid., p. 234
80 Ibid., p. 104
81 Ibid., p. 161
82 Ibid., p. 236
83 Ibid., "Preface", p. 2
84 Ibid., p. 2