*the incorporation of lived experience & the Apollinian sublime. …

*(… —follows on from *‘the “artist’s metaphysics”’. …).

 

*on ‘incorporation’, & the Apollinian sublime. …

 

*(ASIDE:—An appended disclaimer,… (—of sorts)… —

 …

 —It’s not within the scope of this present work (—of what it is that I want to do here) to address Nietzsche’s relationship to Wagner, and as such,—as I’ve already indicated in a note to my reading of Nietzsche’s early anti-Schopenhauerianism—I won’t be addressing the argument of the latter, and patently Wagnerian, sections of Birth here…

—Nor will I address Nietzsche’s argument concerning the death of tragedy (—at the hands, in particular, of Euripides and Socrates…).

*—Instead, I’m going to be focusing here, specifically, on a close reading of Nietzsche’s definition of the Apollinian and Dionysian and of the phenomenon of the Lyric Poet in the opening sections—the earlier part—of the text. … *—§§1-8. … ).*[1]

 …

*and so, then. …

 

*I’m going to argue here that the Apollinian represents the sublimation of the natural drive of-to ‘dreams’—understood here as the primary, physiological, means of incorporating lived experience—into art and culture. …

*—on ‘incorporation’. …

 *I’m… borrowing (so to.—appropriating (—?)) the term ‘incorporation’ here from Nietzsche’s later writing-philosophy, where it (it seems to me) plays a recurrent and crucial role (and referring it back to Birth)…

 *—In ‘On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life’, the second of the Untimely Meditations, Nietzsche defines ‘the plastic power of a man, a people, a culture’ as ‘the capacity to develop out of oneself in one’s own way, to transform and incorporate into oneself what is past and foreign, to heal wounds, to replace what has been lost, to recreate broken moulds’.[2]

—The capacity to incorporate experience is, for Nietzsche, the sign of health and creativity… —It’s the ‘power’ of a ‘nature’ (—an individual, a people, a culture) to ‘draw to itself and incorporate into itself all the past, its own and that most foreign to it, and as it were transform it into blood.’

Such a ‘nature’ draws nourishment and sustenance from experience.—is able (in essence,—in effect) to digest it, and to dispense with whatever is waste-dross: —superfluous or useless (—62-63). …

 

*‘Incorporation’ also forms a crucial term in Nietzsche’s first written record of ‘the eternal recurrence of the same’.[3]

In his ‘Outline’ for the exposition of ‘The Recurrence of the Same’, a passage whose terms echo the concerns of Birth of Tragedy as I have begun to outline them, the term ‘incorporation’ becomes crucial…

—Amongst those elements whose incorporation Nietzsche deems necessary he ranks ‘the passions’ and ‘knowledge’ (Wissen and Erkenntniss), and indeed sees the teaching of the ‘doctrine’ of eternal recurrence as ‘the most powerful way of incorporating it in ourselves,’ of assimilating it and affirming it as part of our experience… —

so as to create eyes for ourselves, temporarily abandoning ourselves to life so as to rest our eyes on it temporarily afterwards: to maintain the drives [of knowledge—the ‘errors’ and the ‘passions’] as the foundation of all knowing but to know at what point they become enemies of knowing: in sum to wait and see how far knowledge and truth can be incorporated.[4]

 …

 

—. *Nietzsche defines the Apollinian as the expression of ‘the principle of individuation’ *(—the principium individuationis: a term he borrows-appropriates from Schopenhauer’s philosophy…). …

 

—That is, it represents the drive to impose order (delimitiation,—delineation, restraint) on the, otherwise, inchoate-chaotic flux of experience, through limitation, selection, and restraint, —in order to forge first linguistic consensus, and, then, ultimately, culture and society themselves. …

 

*—in the plastic art forms to which it gives rise, and in particular within epic poetry (—the epic), the Apollinian drive is represented by the sublime triumph of an heroic protagonist over (seemingly) overwhelming, ‘titanic’ forces.

—As individuals, we are created by the drive (—the need) of the pre-individuated ‘primal unity’ to be redeemed through appearance.

Apollinian art,—engendered by our need to incorporate our individuated experience, appears as the highest incarnation of this natural drive to individuation. …

 

*At the outset of Birth, Nietzsche ascribes the genesis of the human experience of the gods to dreams, citing Lucretius Carus—On the Nature of Things

—‘the truth is that even in more remote antiquity the minds of mortals were visited in waking life, and still more in sleep, by visions of divine figures of matchless beauty and stupendous stature.’ (BT, §1, 33)[5]

—Although Nietzsche follows Lucretius in ascribing experience of the gods to ‘visitation’ by ‘visions’ in dreams, he doesn’t adhere to the Lucretian-Epicurean ‘theory of images,’ which describes these ‘visions’ and ‘images’ as being formed by the reception in-by the mind of particles emitted from the surface of the gods, who themselves exist in an eternal state of apathetic serenity in the intermundane interstices in-between worlds.[6]

Rather, Nietzsche ascribes these dream visions to the incorporation of lived experience, and continual (and otherwise unconscious) physiological processes, such as digestion.[7]

—Poetic inspiration, for the Apollinian Hellenic poet, Nietzsche argues, citing Hans Sachs in Richard Wagner’s Meistersinger, constitutes the experiencing, and subsequent interpretation, of dreams. (Cf. BT, §1, 34)

*Apollinian art, then, represents the harnessing of the drive to incorporation of lived experience, finding its fundamental expression in dreams, into the pre-existing plastic art forms.

—It embodies the transformation of the natural through culture.

*For Nietzsche, the gods themselves, then, are translations—derived from dreams—which transpose physiological and psychological responses to lived experience into mythic personages and narratives.

He’s thus able to compare the experience of the dreamer, or—the poet-interpreter, to the claim made by Schopenhauer that the philosopher is often able to ‘see’—to perceive or to intuit—people and phenomena as mere ‘phantoms or dream images’. …

—the task, then, for both the dreamer and the philosopher, is to try to tear these phantoms aside, and to arrive at a knowledge of what lies beneath them: … —what it is that they are the phantoms or images of.[8]

*—Understood in this light,—the dreamer-poet is conceived of as the ‘close and willing observer’ of dreams, which thus afford an ‘interpretation of life’. (Ibid.) …

—Dreams, and the mythic figures and personages that the poet derives from them, then, embody and can thus be made to betray the physiological and psychological processes and drives which are their ground and which give rise to them.[9]

—They’re a transposition and an interpretation of lived experience in(to) ‘images’. …

*(—This is opposed to Sallis’s reading, in which he claims that the Apollinian and Dionysian represent a ‘certain monstrous break with nature.’ (21) …

—Instead,—the Apollinian here, as I will also argue is the case for the Dionysian, is inaugurated by nature, not as its ‘imitation’, as Sallis suggests (Ibid.—and see also 35), but as the transposition of natural drives into images. …).

*—In dream, and in myth, experience isn’t grasped conceptually, but rather intuitively and aesthetically,—‘in the immediate understanding of figures,’ which embody experience symbolically (sic—*in images), and help render it ‘universally intelligible’. (BT, §1, 34) …

In dreams, then, Nietzsche claims, ‘all forms speak to us; there is nothing unimportant or superfluous,’ since all the ‘forms’ are transpositions of experience.

Even when the… ‘reality’ of a dream is at its ‘most intense’, he argues,—some sort of a… prescience somehow persists that it is, nevertheless, a ‘mere appearance’. (—34-35) …

He contrasts this to a clear allusion to Plato’s (—Socrates’) *‘myth of the cave’ in Book VII of The Republic

*—the images ‘pass before’ the dreamer ‘not like mere shadows on a wall—for he lives and he suffers with these scenes—and yet not without that fleeting sensation of illusion’. (Ibid.)[10]

Nietzsche argues that—in contrast to the fettered and frustrated ignorance of the Platonic cave-dweller—‘our innermost being, our common ground experiences dreams with profound delight and a joyous necessity’, citing his own experience ‘amid the dangers and dangers of dreams’ of having had the capacity to will the dream to continue’:

—‘“It is a dream! I will dream on!”’ (Cf. 35) …

—The experience of the ‘joyous necessity’ of dreams is engendered by their function as the incorporation of lived experience.—Dreams fulfil a necessary natural function as an affirmation even of pain, suffering, and all that is terrible and questionable in existence.

 

Nietzsche argues for (in favour of) the ‘higher truth’ and the ‘perfection’ of dream ‘states’ over ‘the incompletely intelligible everyday world’. (BT, §1, 35.—See Sallis, Crossings,—29)

—Through dreams, experience is rendered intelligible and digestible. …

In this sense, dreams stand in the same hierarchical relation to quotidian existence as the gods stand in relation to the human.

and, for this reason, Nietzsche can therefore speak of having revealed a contradiction…

*—Whereas it would appear that of the ‘two halves of our existence, the waking and the dreaming states,’ the waking is the ‘infinitely preferable, more important, excellent, and worthy of being lived, indeed as that which alone is lived’, Nietzsche performs an ironic inversion of this valuation, by demonstrating ‘the very opposite value of dreams’… —their superiority over waking existence. (§4, 44) …

Nietzsche does warn, however, that this conception of the superiority or priority of dreams over waking life (this—‘image of Apollo’) must include within itself a consciousness of the ‘boundary’ which the ‘beautiful illusion’ of dreams should not be made to overstep.

—It would be dangerous to mistake the dream for ‘crude reality’, he argues, for this would elide its function as transfiguration. …

—It’s necessary, then, he argues, to remain conscious of the essential ‘measured restraint,’ enforced ‘calm’, and discipline engendered by the Apollinian.

This—‘restraint’, acts as the measure of something which must itself be restrained (—‘the wilder emotions’), in order for the Apollinian to exist. (Ibid.)

Nietzsche frames this restraint through an image of the sublime, borrowed from Schopenhauer’s presentation of the Kantian distinction between the thing-in-itself and appearance… —

Just as the boatman sits in his small boat, trusting his frail craft in a stormy sea that is boundless in every direction, rising and falling with the howling, mountainous waves, so in the midst of a world full of suffering and misery the individual man calmly sits, supported by and trusting the principium individuationis.[11]

—The Apollinian represents the creation of the individual… —the principle of individuation. …

In the figure of Apollo, Nietzsche argues, the ‘unshaken faith’ and ‘calm repose’ of the ‘man wrapped up’ in the principle of individuation, ‘receive their most sublime expression’.

—The Apollinian represents the necessity of the artistic creation of the individual as an ‘“illusion”’ and, therefore, the ‘joy’ that the fulfilment of this process engenders.

*To understand the nature of this necessity Nietzsche argues that it is necessary to effectively deconstruct ‘Apollinian culture’ in order to render its ‘foundations’ ‘visible’. (Cf. §3, 41)…

He defines this process of deconstruction through a sculptural metaphor. …

—At first, the images or representations of the gods themselves are encountered, their ‘figures’ standing on the ‘gables’ of the Apollinian.

That Apollo seems to take his place among the gods and their deeds is a deception—‘for the same impulse that embodied itself in Apollo [—the artistic impulse to incorporation] gave birth to this entire Olympian world.’ (Ibid.)[12]

Nietzsche’s question is: —what ‘terrific need’ motivated the creation of the Olympian gods… —?

—He argues that this isn’t a question of ‘moral elevation’ (with the emphasis added here),—nor is it one of a ‘disincarnate spirituality’, which would denigrate the body and seek to renounce worldly existence. (Ibid.—and, again, the emphasis is added…)

Instead,… —it’s a question concerned with physiology, psychology, and the incorporation of lived experience…

*—the formation of the individual and the redemption of existence. …

*—For Nietzsche, the question of what need gave rise to the creation of the Olympian gods is one that, essentially, seeks to define the foundation of the ‘fantastic excess of life’ which, he argues, typified Hellenic art and culture and rendered them an exception within history: an example and an artistic model to be revivified…

Nietzsche seeks to comprehend what drives gave birth to the ‘exuberant triumphant life’ of the Hellene ‘in which all things, whether good or evil are deified’—in which all of existence is affirmed. (41.—emphases added)

Abandoning a moral, specifically Christian, perspective for his own form of nascent naturalism, Nietzsche argues that this ‘inexplicable gaiety unfolds itself’ and reveals its origins and constitution in ‘Greek folk wisdom’. (42) …

As the epitome of this wisdom, he cites the story of King Midas’s encounter with Silenus: the ‘demigod’ and ‘companion of Dionysus’…

*—Having captured Silenus after a long pursuit, King Midas asked him ‘what is best and most desirable of all things for man.’ …

After giving a ‘shrill’, sarcastic laugh, Silenus replied… —‘“Oh, wretched and ephemeral race, children of chance and misery, why do you compel me to tell you what it would be most expedient for you not to hear? What is best of all is utterly beyond your reach: not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best for you is—to die soon.”’ (Ibid.) …

—According to the wisdom of Silenus, Nietzsche argues, suffering lies at the heart of the human condition (existence).

Non-existence, in the most radical form possible,—of never having existed, is revealed as preferable to existence and yet (of course) is impossible…

Pessimism lies at the heart of the ‘Greek folk wisdom’. …

It is this substratum of pessimistic wisdom upon which the edifice of Apollinian culture stands:

*—‘The Greek knew and felt the terror and horror of existence. That he might endure this terror at all, he had to interpose between himself and life the radiant dream birth of the Olympians.’ (Ibid. Sallis, 36-37)

…—Conscious, then, of the terrifying, chaotic flux at the foundation of existence, and in order not to be crushed beneath the weight of the pessimism this consciousness inevitably engendered, the Hellene was compelled to create the beautiful illusions of Apollinian culture… —

That overwhelming dismay in the face of the titanic powers of nature, the Moira [—fate] enthroned over all knowledge, the vulture of the great lover of mankind, Prometheus, the terrible fate of the wise Oedipus […] the entire philosophy of the sylvan god, with its mythical exemplars […] all this was again and again overcome by the Greeks with the aid of the Olympian middle world of art; or at any rate it was veiled and withdrawn from sight. (42)

 For Nietzsche, the fates of Prometheus and Oedipus stand as ‘mythical exemplars’ of the inevitable state of pessimism inspired by the truth embodied in the wisdom of Silenus.—

In order to overcome this pessimism the Hellenes interposed—between themselves and existence—the ‘middle world’ of Apollinian art…

Thus, (and why not?)… —the Olympian gods relate to the wisdom of Silenus ‘as the rapturous vision of the tortured martyr [relates to] his suffering’: as a ‘veil’ and as a remedy. (Ibid.)

—Their creation stems from the Hellenic ‘excess of life’, a will for life to continue in spite of pessimism: ‘it was in order to be able to live that the Greeks had to create these gods from a most profound need.’

—The need to justify life and existence, over and against the pragmatic honesty of pessimism and the ‘titanic forces of nature’, in order thus to maintain them, motivated the birth of the gods.

—In effect, then,—the… ‘edifice’ (so to) of the Apollinian stands on the very foundation of the ‘titanic’. (Ibid.) …

Having thus deconstructed the Apollinian, Nietzsche then proceeds to analyse the process of its historical development from the moment of its instantiation… —‘out of the original Titanic divine order of terror, the Olympian divine order of joy gradually evolved through the Apollinian impulse toward beauty.’ (42-43)

Emerging from the foundation of the ‘titanic’, the Apollinian art impulse was engendered in order to create the edifice of the Olympian world as a ‘veil’ covering and transfiguring existence, overcoming the pessimism which it ineluctably inspired…

—‘How else could this people, so sensitive, so vehement in its desires, so singularly capable of suffering, have endured existence if it had not been revealed to them in their gods, surrounded with a higher glory?’ (43)

The same art impulse which gave rise to dreams and ‘which calls art [itself] into being’ as (both) the interpretation and incorporation of existence, was also then, ‘the cause of the Olympian world which the Hellenic “will” made use of as a transfiguring mirror.’ (Ibid.)

Just as with dreams,—the ‘cause’ (so to) of the creation of the gods was a response to an immanent physiological and psychological need to incorporate existence.

*—art is ‘the complement and consummation of existence’. …

—the ‘complement’, insofar as it is the ‘transfiguring mirror’ held up to existence. …

—the ‘consummation’, insofar as it represents that which makes life possible and desirable…

—‘Thus do the gods justify the life of man: they themselves live it—the only satisfactory theodicy!’ (Ibid.)

*—The ways of the gods are explained as the transfiguration and redemption of existence in and through ‘mere appearance’. …

For Nietzsche, ‘illusion’ is thus necessary to ‘nature’.

—art is a device employed by nature in order to ‘achieve her own ends’…

—And the end, at least in this instance (—for ol’ Fritz, at least), is the seduction of ‘man’ (—humanity) toward a continuation of existence…

—‘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.’ (44)

The Apollinian ‘phantasm’ (—phan–tasm. hmm. …) is the means by which ‘nature’ achieves the goal of redeeming existence from the pessimism inspired by the consciousness of its ‘titanic’ ground.

*—For Nietzsche, to understand the end of this process is to understand the meaning of the terms ‘nature’ and the ‘naïve’, as Nietzsche employs them in Birth.

—The first moment of the process of the evolution of the Apollinian sublime as redemption is the primordial ‘titanic’: ‘the terror and horror of existence’. (42) The conscious acknowledgement of the ‘titanic’ engenders a nihilistic pessimism and desire to renounce existence that threatens the ‘will’…

In response, the same ‘art impulse’ which gives rise to dreams as the incorporation of lived experience, is harnessed to invert the ‘wisdom’ of pessimism into an affirmation of existence.

—This is the moment of theogony

 

*—Apollo gives birth to his fellow Olympian gods…

 

In the same sense that dreams represent the incorporation of experience, myth and the plastic arts are engendered in order to transfigure existence and surround it with a ‘higher glory’.

In the final moment of the process nature attains its goal and redeems itself and existence in the ironic inversion of the pessimism inspired by the wisdom of Silenus into the affirmation inspired by the Apollinian ‘wisdom of illusion’.

This, for Nietzsche, I would argue, is the aetiology of myth and of the ‘plastic’ arts and, simultaneously, his account of Hellenic-Olympian theogony.

*—Both here combine to form Nietzsche’s (—ironic) ‘theodicy’. …

Through the ‘transfiguration of genius and the world of art,’—that is, through the transposition of existence into the ‘higher sphere’ of art—the Hellenic Greeks rendered themselves able to feel ‘worthy of glory’ and therefore to affirm all of existence, without that ‘higher sphere’ acting as a ‘command or a reproach’—a moral judgment against their existence. …

The process of transposition was in-and-of-itself affirmed in this way, and Nietzsche compares this affirmation to his own insight into the nature of dreams: —‘“It is a dream, I will dream on.”’ (Cf. §§3-4, 44)

—This cry, on the part of the dreamer in the midst of illusion, which fails to shatter that illusion, is also, for Nietzsche, the cry of the artist. …

—Just as the function of dreams is felt as necessary, and their experience is therefore accompanied by joy, so the Apollinian arts are experienced with ‘a deep inner joy in contemplation’. (§4, 44)

For Nietzsche, to become absorbed in the contemplation of the plastic art forms which embody the transposition of quotidian experience, is to be raised above this experience,… —to be freed from the confusion and striving which accompany it, and to be able to comprehend it. …

This incorporation and release constitutes the state of ‘joy’. …

Nietzsche argues that the need for the attainment of this state manifests itself as the ‘ardent longing for illusion and for redemption through illusion.’ (45)

He identifies this ‘longing’ at the heart of the drives (‘omnipotent art impulses’) which give rise to the dream and to myth and art. It is this which leads him to introduce what he dubs the ‘metaphysical assumption’ of Birth:

—‘the truly existent primal unity, eternally suffering and contradictory, also needs the rapturous vision, the pleasurable illusion, for its continuous redemption.’ (Ibid.)

—As I argued in the first chapter-string-thread of fragments here *(—‘On Intuition, Flux and Anti-metaphysics’, onward…), —despite Nietzsche’s own… equation of the ‘primal unity’ with the ‘metaphysical’, the concept is far closer to Henri Bergson’s later definition of the flux of the undivided continuity of states of ‘duration’ and to Nietzsche’s own later formulation of ‘the will to power’…

—Distinct from any conception of ‘the thing-in-itself’ and belonging firmly to the realm of representation, it represents the ‘suffering’ and contradiction of the flux of natural drives preceding, and at the foundation of, all individuation.

Nietzsche argues that the ‘primal unity’ finds expression in the ‘titanic’ beings and forces of Hellenic myth and identifies it with the experience of the ‘terror and horror of existence’. It is this which acts as the motivation of the need for the ‘rapturous vision, the pleasurable illusion’ of the Apollinian.

*—The Apollinian is sublime. …

—it represents the heroic triumph of the individual (which Nietzsche sees as exemplified in Homeric epic myth) over the awful and abysmal chaotic ‘titanic’ forces (the ‘primal unity’) which threaten at all times to overwhelm individuation. (BT, §3, 43)[13]

A crucial distinction appears in his definition of the necessity of and ‘longing for’ the illusion of individuation on the part of the ‘primal unity’… —

[I]f we do not consider the question of our own “reality,” if we conceive of our empirical existence, and that of the world in general, as a continuously manifested representation of the primal unity, we shall then have to look upon the dream as a mere appearance of mere appearance, hence as a still higher appeasement of the primordial desire for mere appearance. (Ibid.)

 We are compelled, then, so Nietzsche argues, to accept individuation and thus ‘empirical existence’ as the ‘transfiguring mirror’ interposed between the human and the ‘titanic’ and ‘truly existent’ reality. …

—It is a representation and a transfiguration of the ‘primal unity’ as a result of its ‘ardent longing’ for redemption through illusion.

—The dream, and subsequently myth and the plastic arts of the Apollinian, constitute the ‘mere appearance’ of this ‘mere appearance’.—They… symbolically… (—?) —imagistically *(that isin images)—transfigure empirical existence and render it intelligible. …

They thus represent a ‘higher appeasement’ of the original existential need for redemption through appearance,… —‘that is why the innermost heart of nature feels ineffable joy in the naïve artist and the naïve work of art’: empirical existence and individuation emerge as the redemption of the ‘terror and horror’ of the chaotic flux of the ‘primal unity’. (Cf. 45) In turn, art emerges as the redemption and incorporation of empirical existence…

Nietzsche defines Apollo as an ‘ethical deity’ who hands down an ‘imperative and mandatory’ ‘law’ to his disciples and ‘exacts measure’ and ‘self-knowledge’: ‘the delimiting boundaries of the individual’. (46)

This restraint demanded by Apollo is the condition of the possibility of the individual and thus of society and culture. It appears as an ethical judgment against the ‘excess’ and ‘titanic’ nature of ‘pre-Apollinian’ and ‘non-Apollinian’ cultures. The Dionysian and its effects were also regarded by Apollo and Apollinian culture as ‘“titanic”’ and ‘“barbaric”,’ and yet, as Nietzsche’s symbolic analogue of Raphael’s Transfiguration illustrates, the Apollinian is itself dependent upon these ‘titanic’ forces: (Ibid.)

Transfiguration (ii)

[14]

 …

 

—Sallis, I’d argue, is wrong when he claims that Nietzsche argues that Raphael painted both the Apollinian and Dionysian in the Transfiguration.

—The Apollinian does not ‘become’ Raphael’s painting (in contrast to the Greek temple of his architectural metaphor, or ‘magic mountain’ of his description of the birth of myth and the Olympian). (38) …

—For Nietzsche, I’d argue, the painting acts as a symbolic analogue for the emergence of the Apollinian from the ‘primal unity’. …

—He argues that the lower half of the picture embodies the ‘demotion of appearance to the level of mere appearance,’ (45.—emphasis added).

Appearance here takes only the form of quotidian empirical existence… —The ‘possessed boy, the despairing bearers, the bewildered terrified disciples’ stand as the symbolic embodiment of the ‘primal unity’ and are the ‘reflection’, or ‘“mere appearance”’,—of contradiction and suffering in individuation. …

From this mere appearance of empirical existence there arises ‘like ambrosial vapour, a new visionary world of mere appearances’, just as, for Nietzsche, both the dream and naïve art arise as the incorporation and redemption of experience and existence. This second world of appearance remains invisible to those ‘wrapped in the first,’ who are thus condemned to their suffering. (45)

*—Without art, as the highest manifestation and appeasement of the need for redemption through appearance, the sufferers cannot comprehend and therefore transcend their suffering. They remain trapped in mere empirical existence…

*—The Transfiguration embodies (—acts, for Nietzsche, as a metaphor for) the relationship between the Apollinian and its ‘substratum’, the wisdom of Silenus, and their ‘necessary interdependence.’ (45)

—Apollo represents the sublime ‘apotheosis’ of the principium individuationis ‘in which alone is consummated the perpetually attained goal of the primal unity, its redemption through mere appearance’. This symbolical analogue reveals the necessity of ‘the entire world of suffering’ for ‘by means of it the individual may be impelled to realize the redeeming vision.’ (Ibid.)

 

*If art is revealed as the highest form of fulfilment of the need for redemption through illusion and of the affirmation of existence, this redemption and affirmation, in turn, represent the redemption and affirmation of the necessity of suffering.[15]

—Without suffering and contradiction, Nietzsche argues, there can be no compulsion to individuation, redemption, and existential affirmation.

*Without excess, then, is no restraint. …

and—the interdependence of the Apollinian and the ‘titanic’ is (thus-therefore) revealed. …

*Within Hellenic culture itself, this was revealed to the Apollinian Hellene by the Dionysian: ‘his [—Apollo’s and the Apollinian Hellene’s] entire existence rested on a hidden substratum,’—a substratum which the Apollinian itself was inaugurated—and evolved—in order to veil… —

*—‘And behold: Apollo could not live without Dionysus! The “titanic” and the “barbaric” were in the last analysis as necessary as the Apollinian.’ (Ibid.)

 

—In revealing the ‘ethical’ process of the suppression of ‘titanic’ drives and ‘wilder emotions’ entailed in the formation of individuation and Apollinian art, Nietzsche argues, what is revealed is the indestructibility of these drives and emotions.

—Apollo can-could only ever veil, and never (truly) erase them. …

—In ‘Before the Subject: Rereading Birth of Tragedy’, Kemp Winfree frames this rather beautifully and succinctly, defining the Apollinian as a ‘form always marked by what it would need to exclude’. (—61) …

 

*—In an early draft fragment of Birth, (translated as)—*‘The Dionysiac World View,’ Nietzsche describes the sublime triumph of the Apollinian in terms which embody its role as transposition and incorporation:

—‘It was the Apolline people who laid the chains of beauty on over-mighty instinct, who yoked and harnessed nature’s most dangerous elements, her wildest beasts’.[16]

 

And again,—in contrast to Sallis’s argument, this passage indicates not a monstrous ‘break’ with nature, but (instead)—nature’s transfiguration. …

 

—The apparent contradiction in the image of beauty as a set of imprisoning ‘chains’, is resolved in the appreciation that this represents the triumph of a will to order, selection and restraint over ‘over-mighty instinct’. …

 

*This image of a ‘harnessed’ instinct recurs in ‘On Truth’, in Nietzsche’s description of the ‘fatal curiosity’ of the will to truth in terms which echo the relationship of the Apollinian and Dionysian.

—The will to truth, he argues, ‘might one day have the power to peer out and down through a crack in the chamber of consciousness and then suspect that man is sustained in the indifference of his ignorance by that which is pitiless, greedy, insatiable, and murderous – as if hanging in dreams on the back of a tiger.’ (115)

The sustenance of ‘man’, of the Apollinian Hellene and of the intellect derives from a power to suppress a substratum of powerful barbaric instinct.

*Importantly (I would argue),—these terms also recur in Nietzsche’s later definition of the ‘classical’ (—which I’ve already laid out in a note to the fragment on Nietzsche’s early anti-Schopenhauerianism *[link], and to which I want to return, later…).[17]

 

*—The constitution of the Apollinian in Birth represents Nietzsche’s first articulation of the ‘classical’ and serves to bind Nietzsche’s nascent naturalism in Birth to his later, fully articulated, ‘classical’ aesthetic. …

 

*—The ‘titanic’ drives, suppressed in-by the order, selection, and restraint in-of the Apollinian, then, must (ultimately), however, find some form of release,…

—and it is this need which finally engendered *—the rebirth of the Dionysian. …

 

 


[1] On the relationship of Birth to the influence of Wagner,—see, in particular,—Henry Staten, ‘The Birth of Tragedy Reconstructed’ in Nietzsche’s Voices (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), —187-216. *(—esp. 192). …

—According to Staten’s reading, it’s Nietzsche’s relationship to Wagner that proves problematic to a clear conception of his relationship to Schopenhauer and Schopenhauerian metaphysics. …

—The influences of both Schopenhauer and Wagner on Birth are intimately connected.

—For a clear biographical study of the intellectual and artistic influence of Wagner on Nietzsche, see Dieter Brochmeyer’s influential essay, ‘Wagner and Nietzsche,’ in Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, eds., Wagner Handbook, trans. John Deathridge (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), 327-342 (—on Birth in particular,—329-335…).

[2] Untimely Meditations, trans. R. J. Hollingdale, ed. Daniel Breazeale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 57-123

[3] —in notebook M III 1, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studiensausgabe, ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, 2nd edn., 15 vols (Berlin and New York: de Gruyter; Munich: dtv, 1988; CD-ROM 1995), vol. 9, *(hereafter KSA), trans. Duncan Large, Diane Morgan, and Keith Ansell Pearson, as ‘16. Notes from 1881’ in The Nietzsche Reader, ed. Ansell Pearson and Large, 238-241. …

[4] —11[141], pp. 238-239.—Nietzsche’s own emphases retained here,—words in bold being double underlined in the notebook entries…

[5] —Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things, trans. Martin Ferguson Smith (Cambridge: Hackett, 2001), 5.1161-1193, p. 169. Cf. John Sallis, Crossings: Nietzsche and the Space of Tragedy (London: The University of Chicago Press, 1991), 14.

[6] On this theory see especially 4.30-324, pp. 101-109, and on dreams in this regard, 4.453-468, 112.—On the apathy of the gods, especially 1.44-49, p. 4; 2.1093-1094, p. 63; 3.22-24,  68

[7] In a chapter on ‘The Physiology of Dreams’ in The Invention of Dionysus: An Essay on The Birth of Tragedy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), James Porter, citing Nietzsche, argues that Lucretius’s Epicurean theory of images draws ‘on a physiological account of religious superstition that stems from Democritus,’ (36-47 [39]): —‘The gods are traced back to natural events (Naturvorgänge) by Democritus and Lucretius.’ (Ibid.) …

—Porter’s argument serves to succinctly link Nietzsche’s allusion to Lucretius to an underlying anti-metaphysical naturalism in which the gods form ‘an expression of an internal, all-too-human need’, (39) which Porter refers to Democritus’ account of the ‘physiological sources of poetic inspiration’. (38, 179n.3).

This naturalistic interpretation of dreams and the origins of artistic inspiration is echoed in Daybreak (Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality, trans. R.J. Hollingdale, ed. Maudemaire Clark and Brian Leiter, [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997] hereafter D.),—§72, in which Nietzsche opposes Epicurus and Lucretius’s philosophy to Christianity’s ‘idea of punishment in hell’ and renunciation of the body (43-44).

[8] Nietzsche refers to Schopenhauer’s Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, ed. Julius Frauenstädt (1873). Cf. Schopenhauer, WWR, Vol. 1, I, §5, 16-18

[9] Compare on this: … —Human All Too Human (trans. R.J. Hollingdale [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996]):

– In sleep our nervous system is continually agitated by a multiplicity of inner events, almost all our organs are active, our blood circulates vigorously, the position of the sleeper presses on individual limbs, his bedcovers influence his sensibilities in various ways, his stomach digests and its motions disturb other organs, his intestines are active, the position of his head involves unusual muscular contortions, his feet, unshod and not pressing against the floor, produce an unfamiliar feeling, as does the difference in the way his while body is clad – all this, through its unusualness and to a differing degree each day, excites the entire system up to the functioning of the brain; and so there are a hundred occasions for the mind to be involved in puzzlement and to look for grounds for this excitation: the dream is the seeking and positing of the causes of this excitement of the sensibilities, that is to say the supposed causes. (HH I, §13, 17-19)

*—Nietzsche argues that the figures and images of the dream arise through the dreamers’ attempt to fabricate fantastical causes for—to interpret and transpose—physiological processes and stimuli.

In the preceding section (§12), he argues that the function of the brain upon which sleep and the images of dreams most encroach is memory…

—Whilst he is, in this section, dismissive of dreams as confused and capricious operations of memory, and of what he characterises as our unquestioning belief in dream images during sleep, arguing that they represent an atavistic remainder of archaic man, nevertheless the two passages serve to bind the psychological and physiological characteristics of dreams.

[10] Cf. Plato, The Republic, trans. H.D.P. Lee (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1955), §7, 278-286.

[11] Nietzsche cites Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (BT, §1, 35-36), and the passage is translated by Kaufmann, along with the rest of the text.

—The translation used here is taken from WWR, I, §63, 350-357 (352-353).

[12] Cf. Sallis, 34-35. …

—Thomas Jonavoski is thus wrong to seek to separate the Apollinian from the Olympian in his reading of Birth, and this also true of his attempt to separate Homeric epic and mythology.

(Jovanovski, Aesthetic Transformation: Taking Nietzsche at His Word [New York: Peter Lang, 2008], xxviii-xxix)

[13] This serves to qualify the readings of Birth offered by Sallis and Rampley…

—Although both offer insightful readings under the rubric of the sublime, neither considers the Apollinian in and of itself as a mode of the sublime. To do so, and to understand this artistic mode of the sublime as analogous to the principle of individuation serves to clearly explicate the naturalistic foundations of the text. (—See Sallis, 9-41 and Rampley, 78-109).

Nietzsche identifies the overcoming of the ‘barbaric’ and ‘titanic’ in the emergence of ‘the Homeric,’ heroic ‘world’ which developed, in approximately X-VIII centuries B.C. ‘under the sway of the Apollinian impulse to beauty’ as the sublime triumph over the ‘empire of Titans’. (BT, §3, 43. cf. Silk, M. S.  & Stern, J. P., Nietzsche on Tragedy [Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1981], 66)

In his essay, ‘Homer on Competition,’ Nietzsche equates this triumph over the abysmal with the emergence of the central importance of competition in Hellenic culture, and especially with the parallel, drawn from Hesiod, of the ‘two Eris-goddesses on earth’. …

*(—The essay is reproduced and translated in Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, trans. Carol Diethe, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson 187-194. ‘Homer on Competition,’ ‘The Greek State,’ and ‘three other essays—on the topics of truth, the future of education, and Schopenhauer’ which Nietzsche presented to Cosima Wagner in the Christmas of 1872 as ‘Five Prefaces to five unwritten books’, were, originally, intended by Nietzsche to form parts or chapters of Birth of Tragedy.—See Nietzsche, OGM, viii).

—The first of the goddesses was created by ‘Black Night’ in order to promote wickedness and war amongst men. The second, according to Nietzsche, created as a countermeasure by Zeus, promoted envy, and therefore the motivation for labour, and for competition between men: ‘Even potters harbour grudges against potters, carpenters against carpenters, beggars envy beggars and minstrels envy minstrels.’ (Cf. 189-190[n]. Nietzsche cites Hesiod, Works & Days ll.12-26).

This perpetual contest for excellence of the Hellenic citizens with one another, typified Homeric epic myth, Nietzsche argues, is that which motivated and drove the development of Hellenic culture, led the civilisation to prosper and precipitated its continual process of self-overcoming, over and against the brutality of pre-Apollinian ‘barbaric’ culture.

Allison argues that:

In Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, Nietzsche remarks that Heraclitus extended the notion of competition to the level of a cosmological doctrine, whereby reality itself consists in the play, the continual strife and resolution, of opposites, resulting in a dynamic world of becoming––a world of constant change and transformation (not a static world of being).

(Allison, Reading the New Nietzsche, 33n. Nietzsche, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, trans. Marianne Cowan [Chicago: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1962], §5, 55)

The cosmological conception of a ‘dynamic world of becoming’––derived primarily from the influence of Hesiod and Heraclitus––is significant in this context as it demonstrates that the inauguration of the ‘period’ or age of Homeric myth can be seen to map the emergence (the moment of conception) of Hellenic Apollinian culture, through the extension of competition ‘to the level of a cosmological doctrine,’ which served thus as a glorification and justification of the process or principle of individuation. (BT, §4, 45)

[14] —*©Vaticano, Pinacoteca Apostolica Vaticano, Rome www.anth.ucsb.edu/projects/esm/IAM/Raphael.jpg *(—accessed 16th March, 2014).

[15] See Porter, The Invention of Dionysus, 74-77. …

*—Nietzsche echoes his reading of the Transfiguration in Daybreak, (—§8): …

—‘Transfiguration. – Those that suffer helplessly, those that dream confusedly, those that are entranced by things supernatural – these are the three divisions into which Raphael divided mankind.’ (10) …

He goes on to oppose the naturalism of his own philosophy to entrancement in the supernatural, proffering what he argues is a ‘new transfiguration’. (Ibid., emphasis added)

*—This new transfiguration is precisely that outlined in Birth: *—the transfiguration and incorporation of lived experience through art.

*—See also note 6[30] from 1870 in Writings from the Early Notebooks, 31-32. …

[16] Nietzsche, ‘The Dionysiac World View,’ trans. Ronald Speirs, in The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings, trans. Ronald Speirs, ed. Raymond Geuss and Ronald Speirs, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, 117-138 *(—123).

[17] *—See HH IIa, §114 and IIb, §217 and GS V, §370.

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4 thoughts on “*the incorporation of lived experience & the Apollinian sublime. …

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