Sunday, October 23, 2011

Art and Truth; Is Truth Enervating?

Is art that is truthful will-shattering?  Art that reveals the meaninglessness and arbitrary violence of the world destroys the will to maintain an arduous struggle toward virtue or artistic elegance.  After Schopenhauer's descent into chaos and futility, Friedrich Nietzsche posed a solution to the dilemma of will-shattering truth. 

Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy describes the tension that he found in the Greek tragedies between Dionysian and Apollonian art.  Dionysian art embodies the chaotic energy of the world, which in Greek thought is antithetical to reality as differentiated by form delineated in Apollonian art and philosophy.

Nietzsche was for a time an admirer and promoter of the music dramas of Richard Wagner.  He saw in Wagner's music an illusion that could sustain the will against the chaos of Dionysus. 

Here are a few references that may be useful:
Nietzsche; The Birth of Tragedy
Arthur Schopenhauer
Aaron Ridley on Nietzsche; Art and Truth

To put the quesion in more contemporary setting, here is a link to my review of a book by Carson Holloway titled All Shook Up; Music, Passion, and Politics.

The question of art and will makes an interesting discussion.  How is an artist to persist against the banality and chaos of the world?

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