Quick Note: on Whitman and James

{originally written in message to esteemed peer from HUMN 555}

In The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James noted Walt Whitman’s theory to personally refuse that negative factors hold any authority, but Whitman successfully led an optimistic life – success defined as fulfilled, he led a full life and saw challenges as experience. Maybe Whitman was a little out there, but he says “I am large…I contain multitudes” (Leaves of Grass, p. 67). He is evidence that human nature is malleable and apt to alter via subjective perspective. Aware consciousness is able to recognize the ability to alter one’s viewpoint and implement positive factors to improve one’s experience. {bows to Whitman}

#PursuitofOptimism #Dionysian

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“Renegade” by X Ambassadors as Message to Dionysian Mind

Granted, Wagner, the X Ambassadors is not, lol, but… Nietzsche saw music as the best way for humans to express themselves or as an avenue to happiness. You asked about commercialism – combing through our text, I find it interesting that there is not heavy influence in capitalism, commerce, or materialism – only reference to seeking a pleasure filled life. However, there is a note from Bernard Williams in the introduction, that I feel supports my inclusion of the modern song; Williams said, “[The Gay Science], like all his others, makes it clear than any life worth living must involve daring, individuality and creative bloody-mindedness” (Nietzsche xiv).

Yes, the message I see in the song indicates that the lyrics are addressed to the Dionysian. It is a call to arms, so to speak. Another piece, “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz from 2014, has a similar connotation where the individual rejects the modern understanding of right/wrong. One of the chorus verses altered from “I” to “We” indicating that one person’s concept became mutual understanding – “collective thought” (Nico & Vinz). Before the song hit the charts, Nico & Vinz were addressing the modern group “Anonymous”; the first time I heard it was when I was tagged on a link in Facebook from one of my groups. My experiment with social media is still on-going, so I have not been exposed to collective thought for nearly a year now – I am not certain that X Ambassadors is addressing the same audience as Nico & Vinz, but I can deduce relation. It could be a ploy on consumerism, but I do not think the average person gets the same message from listening to the song as few are well read in Nietzsche. If it is just for the money, all they got from me was $1.29, so I can live with that. The message is worth far more – it is one of hope.

Here is my breakdown of the song. Enjoy!

“Run away with me / Lost souls and reverie / Running wild and running free / Two kids, you and me” (1-4). The X Ambassadors are encouraging the individual to break free from the norm and to find oneself – to release adult hibition and return to natural carefreeness of youth. I sense dualism; you and me could be two versions of one person, or body/mind.

“… Living like we’re renegades …” (Chorus 5-11). The word choice of “renegade” means one who leaves one system of order or belief for another path – one can then create a new path for themselves.

“Long live the pioneers / Rebels and mutineers / Go forth and have no fear / Come close the end is near*” (12-15). These are the types of individuals, Dionysian for Nietzsche, who are brave enough to challenge the norm. Renegades can be comparable to the Overman or ManGod because they refuse to accept what is given so that they can create what they want. They are more human than human – more than the average bear. X Ambassadors ask the Dionysian to come closer because normality is nearing its end, society will need Nietzsche’s physicists to rebuild.

*I’ve listened to the song over 100 times now, and it rather sounds like they say “Come close and bend an ear” for line 15. Maybe it is just stage 3 madness, lol, of over-listening, but just in case, it still fits: gather the unique thinkers together to sort out the plan of action.

(Chorus)

“All hail the underdogs / All hail the new kids / All hail the outlaws / Spielbergs and Kubricks” (22-25). More Dionysians: Underdogs – those that should not win but will pull through despite the odds, New Kids – evolved thinkers with fresh concepts, and Outlaws – those that reject directed order and law. And finally, the dreamers of the future, modern artistic expression – directors and writers sculpt concepts into film and literature allowing the individual mind to imagine altered conditions for life.

“It’s our time to make a move / It’s our time to make amends / It’s our time to break the rules / Let’s begin” (26-29). X Ambassadors is prepping the Dionysian. Social media allows like-minded individuals to find one another over vast geological separation. Unique individuals, the physicists, realize that they are not alone, and that by uniting with other’s of similar disposition a new understanding is possible. Down with the old order, in with a new; le roi est mort, vive l’auto.[1]

“… Living like we’re renegades” (Chorus 30-35). Nietzsche’s belief that evil upset good in efforts to create a new understanding. Good did not change, it clung to what was “good” for the past – keeping society in stasis. But humanity, like existence itself, is static and must be able to change/adapt or species will not survive in the constantly evolving world. The opposite of adaptation is extinction. Nietzsche did not say there was no morality – he thought that societal opinion had morality wrong from the start. Good and evil were masks created to cover the true self. Evil looked for improvement, and many results are definitely good: modern necessities like indoor-plumbing, roads, electricity, and technology. However, Nietzsche was not expecting people to turn into cartoon villains – he suggested a closer look at human consideration for the term and expanded possibilities removed from black-or-white configuration.

 

Works Cited

“Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz, 2014.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. Ed. Bernard Williams. Trans.

Josefine Nauckhoff and Adrian del Caro. Cambridge, United

Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“Renegades” by X Ambassadors, 3 Mar 2015.

https://www.google.com/search?q=lyrics+renegades&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Picture c/o:  https://i.ytimg.com/vi/-SytFteQnYY/hqdefault.jpg

[1] “The king is dead; long live the self.”

#PursuitofOptimism #DionysianLifestyle

Dionysian Roll-On

it seems to me that Nietzsche’s Dionysian is comparable to Kierkegaard’s aesthetic, with the main difference being that the Seducer was viewed negatively while Nietzsche does not leave room for others to critique the man-god Dionysian. Or…Kierkegaard [in my opinion] did not like the aesthetic and sided more with Judge Wilhelm and ethics; whereas, Nietzsche was a Dionysian himself and was attempting to encourage society to embrace new concepts while letting go of past misconceptions.

The Dionysian was a man-god: a human person with exceptional abilities in which one utilized personal preference to shape one’s experience. Based on Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, the Dionysian movement encouraged participants to live fully and to try anything interesting that crossed their path. They were expected to experience severe misery because they were able to know the fullest joy. In a way, they were extremists – when they loved it was true, when they cried it was agony – there was no middle ground. Nietzsche said, “He who is richest in fullness of life, the Dionysian god and man, can allow himself not only the sight of what is terrible and questionable but also the terrible deed and every luxury of destruction, decomposition, negation …” (370). The Dionysian knew that they were creating themselves, and they were able ignore labels such as “good/evil” because, as gods, they knew that there could be good as a result of evil and evil from good intentions – it was not their playing field. Their goal was to experience, to live, and most of all, to create.

Aesthetic value is found in art and music for Nietzsche, here lay the true beauty of the human experience. Once Nietzsche stripped away the need for a god, what was the human left with…music. Art and music were the human engines of creation. I have loved Nietzsche for roughly half of my life. My motto used to be: Live one’s life as art! I still find pause with process, I see much beauty in the ability to express, not just the final project. I would pay five times as much for the same piece of art if I were able to watch the art being created before I purchase it, because later, when viewing the art, I would remember the moment the artist took his stroke or the scent of paint and mad creation in the air.

Overall, I see the Dionysian as opposite to moral expectations of the masses. Dionysian is very close to “pleasure living” with their concerns fixed in the present – they want to live life while they can because there is no afterlife, this is it. Now, I know Nietzsche gets attacked from every angle, but look at what he was arguing against – set belief aside and work with only organic natural possibilities – the religious belief system is not very believable if one is not raised with the message harped into one’s existence. Christianity, boiled way down, basically says that the physical life [the one each person actually lives] is nothing compared to the afterlife [the one we have zero proof or evidence of]; that living is just a phase before one can spend eternity in heaven. Please take a moment and truly consider this. Now tell me why it is that Nietzsche is the one off base?

 

Works Cited

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. Ed. Bernard Williams. Trans.

Josefine Nauckhoff and Adrian del Caro. Cambridge, United

Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Picture c/o:  http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sumer_anunnaki/reptiles/serpent_tribe/images/bacchanal_b4a_herm.jpg