notes June 17
June 17, 2008 § Leave a comment
We can think of Nietzsche’s notion of the Apollonian as referring to all those aspects of human nature that make us differ from the rest of nature, things like self-restraint, control, language, civilisation, art, technology, morality and law: all those things that we could sum up as human culture; the order and harmony of classical architecture, and the control over nature that such things demonstrate, might stand as a suitable symbol. We can think of the Dionysian as referring to all those aspects of humans that we share with nature: things like instinct, wildness, lack of restraint, intoxication, lust, unbridled competition and cruelty: the image of the wine-soaked, amoral, sexually insatiable satyr – half man, half goat – is often used to represent the Dionysian conception of humans.
We cannot conceive of human life without these cultural achievements: we are, beyond question, creatures of culture. But we are not just that. Partly because of our cultural achievements, we are also the most successful, daring predator animals on the planet, with undeniably strong impulses still toward cruelty, intoxication, lust, fierce competition, and the thrill of the hunt.