Rational Conscious vs Irrational Unconscious

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University of California, Davis

Rational Conscious VS Irrational Unconscious

Rational Conscious VS Irrational Unconscious
The intellectual concerns of late nineteenth century Europe was built around the notions such as rational and irrational or as Nietzsche states, Apollonian and Dionysian. Europe was entering a new intellectual phase of questioning logic and imagination. Controversial topics such as religion and science were now being targeted in the Apollonian and Dionysian theories. Sigmund Freud constructs his own myths on the topic of logic and imagination when referring to dreams. Philologist Friedrich Nietzsche and psychologist Sigmund Freud both analyzed the theory of the conscious rational and the unconscious irrational theory. While Nietzsche revels in the Dionysian theory, Freud approaches the topic strategically. Freud and Nietzsche both agree that rational cannot exist without irrational, and human nature fundamentally balances them. Dreams are rational and irrational just as human nature but both reach their arguments through different tactics, Nietzsche through mythology while Freud through psychological means. Nietzsche uses the mythology of Apollo and Dionysus to redefine art in “The Birth of Tragedy”. Apollo and Dionysus are sons of Zeus. Apollo is the God of the Sun, which represents rationality and reason. Dionysus is the God of wine which represents drunkenness and ecstasy. Both are the oppositions of each other. Nietzsche definition of aesthetics is conducted on new terms, and tries to structure the art and its process through imposing views of Apollo and Dionysus. This dichotomy of Apollonian and Dionysian is what surrounds his argument about the two realms of art. He engulfs himself in the theory and “continuous evolution” to the “Apollonian-Dionysian duality” or the rational and irrational duality (Nietzsche, 19). He saw both concepts, Apollonian and Dionysian, as art realms and compares them to the “two physiological phenomenon’s”, which are “dream(s) and intoxication” (Nietzsche, 19). It was dreams were Greek Mythology begin, “marvelous gods, and goddesses first presented themselves to the minds of men” (Nietzsche, 19). Dreams for Nietzsche represent a beauty, and the appearance of light and order. And when he speaks of drunkenness he’s talking about beastly desires that see no real line between oneself and another. For him dreams were an “appearance”. He explains that a dreamer “sees life before him” but not “like mere shadows on the wall” because the dreamer does “live(s)”, “suffers”, and has a “fleeing sensation of appearance” (Nietzsche, 84). These are experience through appearance and reality is just underling it. He also concludes that a dreamer always knows that he is dreaming and feeling the Apollonian beauty or the rational beauty. But it’s when the individual is completely engulfed in their dream who reach Dionysian happiness. His idea of this duality is completely abstract. He sees rationality in dreams, and irrationality through music. Nietzsche also perceives them as equally important. He believed that before Dionysus the Greek art was raw. The presence of Apollo was shielding, while the entrance of Dionysus shook the senses. Dionysian is what underlined Greek tragedy. Dionysian is internal so, true redemption could not be found without it. Dionysian rises beyond the consciousness, and engrossing in Dionysian one reaches Primordial Unity. Nietzsche does indicate that both concepts are intertwined. That without Apollo’s revelation the essence of Dionysus can’t be obtained. When both these concepts are entwined, that’s the occurrence of real tragic art. Mythology runs Nietzsche’s theories and arguments; rather Freud concerns himself with psychological aspect. Sigmund Freud, “On Dreams”, discusses the same concept. What are the underlying motives of dreams? Are dreams appearances of our will, or they merely appearances that occurred in our daily activities. Freud had a...
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