In one of my English classes we have been talking about the idea of Apolline nature versus Dionysiac nature. We talked about how the world, specifically Greek tragedies, has been influenced by the ever competing views of one’s self. Apollonian nature wants to say that we, as humans, are always striving to build one’s character, to be better. However, the contradicting Dionysiac nature says that in order for our interest to really be sparked, we must tear ourselves apart. We are always competing with our very own thoughts. We are at war with our shadow.
My mind has been wondering lately down the road of literary theory, and god forbid, the ever allusive philosophy. I have been questioning the balance of these two great concepts and have been struggling to find where the line is located that keeps the balance in humanity, and even within my own mind. How are we supposed to balance the construction and destruction of our own moral, intellectual, and emotional character? We don’t.
If we look back on history, we find that great civilizations seem to have times of great peace and great disharmony. In fact, the only time that things are “average” is during those transitions between the two. One could argue that, as a society, we only know the extremes. In addition, we thrive in the extremes; it is in those moments that humanity shines. We are built not to balance everything like the circus performer who rides on a unicycle, juggles bowling balls, balances a broom stick on his nose; all while wearing a ridiculous costume. We are too simple. We struggle to balance those things that we lust for and those things that we know are not as appealing, but every bit necessary.
It is from this ability, or some would argue lack of ability, that we are capable of a slew of other dichotomies in our lives. For instance, we can love someone and hate someone in the same thought; we have the ability to be interested in two different courses of study: English major who is also pre-med. We can laugh while we cry, or cry while we laugh. We can beat ourselves up, and feel impassioned about our life. We are living our lives while we are actually dying. We are walking dichotomies.
We are an architect who has recurring memory loss. Every day he comes to the job site, cancels the current building plans, and tries a new design. He doesn’t realize how much work he is putting into the building. However, he knows that when it’s finished, it will be spectacular. Sadly, it will never be finished; it will always be under construction. Yet another interesting point.
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