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Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 10 months ago

Tragic Bodies



The Birth of Tragedy


The Real Socratic Irony: What is the point of all that science and, even more serious, where did it come from? What about that? Is scientific scholarship perhaps only a fear and an excuse in the face of pessimism, a delicate self-defence against — the Truth? And speaking morally, something like cowardice and falsehood? Speaking unmorally, a clever trick? Oh, Socrates, Socrates, was that perhaps your secret? Oh you secretive ironist, was that perhaps your—irony? (1)


Inverting Silenus: In this way the gods justify the lives of men because they themselves live it—that is the only satisfactory theodicy! Existence under the bright sunshine of such gods is experienced as worth striving for in itself, and the essential pain of the Homeric men consists in the separation from that sunlight, above all in the fact that such separation is close at hand., so that we could say of them, with a reversal of the wisdom of Silenus, “the very worst thing for them was to die soon, the second worst was to die at all.” When the laments resound now, they tell of short-lived Achilles, of the changes in the race of men, transformed like leaves, of the destruction of the heroic age. It is not unworthy of the greatest heroes to long to live on, even as a day labourer. In the Apollonian stage, the “Will” so spontaneously demands to live on, the Homeric man fills himself with that feeling so much, that even his lament becomes a song of praise.(3)


Socrates vs. Dionysus: With this expression Socratic thought condemns existing art as well as contemporary ethics. Wherever he directs his searching gaze, he sees a lack of insight and the power of delusion, and from this he infers the inner falsity and worthlessness of present conditions. On the basis of this one point, Socrates believed he had to correct existence. He, one solitary individual, stepped forward with an expression of contempt and superiority, as the pioneer of a brand new style of culture, art, and morality, into that world, a scrap of which we would count it an honour to catch. (13)


Dionysus and the Soul: "It accordingly seemed worth examining how the category of 'the Dionysiac' has been elaborated on the basis of the dichotomy established by Nietzsche between Apollo and Dionysus. The key to this construction can be found in its origin, E. Rohde's Psyche, published in 1893, the earliest work in a line of inquiry that started with Rohde and continued wiht M. P. Nilsson, J. Harrison, W. Otto, E.R. Dodds and H. Jeanmaire, to name only the major contributors. The problem that these authors faced was understanding how it was possible, within the framework of the Greek religion for which Homer provides the most important evidence, for there to arise a religion of the soul that was diametrically opposed to it, in the sense that it sought to promote something akin to the divine in each one of us: the psuche, which is radically alien to everything in the earthly world and aspires only to return to its heavenly origin, escaping from its earthly prison and chains, to be united with the deity." (Jean-Pierre Vernant, Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece 384)


Theoretical Man: To demonstrate that Socrates also merits such a place among the drivers of the chariot, it is sufficient to recognize him as typifying a form of existence inconceivable before him, the type known as Theoretical Man. Our next task is to reach some insight about the meaning and purpose of such a man. The theoretical man, like the artist, takes an infinite satisfaction in the present and is, like the artist, protected by that satisfaction from the practical effects of pessimism with its lynx eyes which glow only in the darkness. But while the artist, in his revelation of the truth, always keeps his enchanted gaze hanging on what still remains hidden after his revelation, theoretical man enjoys and remains satisfied with the covers which have been thrown off and takes his greatest delight in the process of continually successful unveiling, a success which his own power has brought about. (15)




Drama vs. Tragedy: To connect with the subject at hand, I would say that the drama of history - be it individual or social - consists in being a perpetual possibility. It is characterized by an ideological tension, and its essential trademark is the 'project,' or pro jectum tending towards the future. Tragedy, on the other hand, is of the present, and is nothing but a series of actualizations: passions, thoughts, and creations that exhaust themselves in action.... Let the world turn, events unfold, catastrophes strike, politics make a spectacle of itself; all that matters is a still point where what exists can be fully enjoyed. (ETC 202)


Intensity and Inwardness: This is it, exactly: 'immediate life', non-theorized, non-rationalized, with no finality or aim, but entirely invested in the present. It is this that calls for love; in other words, intensity. In this way, I repeat, giving these terms their strictest sense: no longer tending towards something (ex-tendre), but tending inwards, to what founds and constitutes being together (in-tendere). Investment in the present, intensity, is what ties me to others in order to live this mutual investment. (ETC 203)


Amor Fati: Only this would be important, to take pleasure in it for what it is, even if this means submitting to terrible and dangerous laws that must indeed be accepted. this is of course to evoke the name of amor fati, whose major social consequences one can evaluate in a Nietzcschean spirit. (TPS 138)


Nietzsche's New Year's Resolution: For the New Year. — I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. Today everybody permits himself the expression of his wish and his dearest thought: hence I, too, shall say what it is that I wish from myself today, and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year—what thought shall be for me the reason, warranty, and sweetness of all my life henceforth!I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer. (Nietzsche, The Gay Science 276)


The Birth of Theory: To affirm existence is difficult for theories grounded in the meaning of history, whether divine or profane, that look for the significance of life in a finality that is to come and that is never attained. The Judeo-Christian and Hegelian-Marxist vulgates have based their waiting for the future coming on the negation of life 'here' in relation to a life 'over there' that would be better and free of all vicissitudes. The dramatic tension toward another life is their driving force. (TPS 146)





Philosophy/Metaphysics: Friend of Wisdom:

  • Soul/Mind
  • Transcendentalism
  • Truth ("Know Thyself," Socrates)
  • Death (Levinas: "Death is the impossibility of all our possiblities")
  • Affect as Extreme/Intense
  • the Future



Sophism/Rhetoric-Theory: Lover (Flatterer) of Wisdom

  • Body/Brain
  • Immanentism
  • Illusion/Deception ("We do not consider the falsity of a judgment as itself an objection to a judgment; this is perhaps where our new language will sound most foreign. the question is how far the judgment promotes and preserves life, how well it preserves, and perhaps even cultivates, the type. And we are fundamentally inclined to claim that the falsest judgments...are the most indispensable to us...that a renunciation of false judgments would be a renunciation of life, a negation of life," Nietzsche)
  • Life (Deleuze: "What we say of pure immanence is that is A LIFE, and nothing else")
  • Affect as Banal/Intensity
  • the Present


The Wizard of Ozymandias: Or Six Characters in Search of a Theory

  • Dionysus
  • The Confidence-Man
  • Red Peter
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Clem Snide
  • Ozymandias


Moment of Zen


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