coromandal


mystical mad ecstatic
March 14, 2015, 3:30 pm
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: , , ,


What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

– Ode on a Grecian Urn

Keats asked all the right questions, while we – some of anyway, most of us?-  focus on the deathless symmetry of the vase. Keats saw wild ecstasy, Nietzsche the same – release by ecstasy from ourselves to mystical life.

Far more so than most of his fellow deities, Dionysus was an accessible and democratic god, whose thiasos, or sacred band, stood open to the humble as well as the mighty.22 As Nietzsche envisioned his rites: “Now the slave emerges as a freeman; all the rigid, hostile walls which either necessity or despotism has erected between men are shattered.”23 It was Nietzsche, of all the European classical scholars, who emphasized the Dionysian roots of ancient Greek drama, who saw the mad, ecstatic inspiration behind the Greeks’ stately art — who, metaphorically speaking, dared consider not just the deathless symmetry of the vase but the wild dancing figures painted on its surface. What the god demanded, according to Nietzsche, was nothing less than the human soul, released by ecstatic ritual from the “horror of individual existence” into the “mystical Oneness” of rhythmic unity in the dance.

Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Streets, p34

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