Nietzsche on dance.

Nietzsche was among the very few who talked about dancing as the complementary art of dancing, both the ultimate Dionysian art.

Here is a list of my posts on Nietzsche and dancing:

Let’s dance! Nietzsche on music and dancing.

When did we stop dancing?

Ode to dancing

Showcase: Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin (15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940) was a German philosopher, and a cultural critic, combining elements of German Idealism, Romanticism, Marxism, and Kabbalah. He was associated with the Frankfurt School.

Benjamin was early on keen on art. He saw in photography a democratic form of art. He considered that the photographic reproduction of an artwork (a poster or a postcard for example) was of higher social value than the original (only viewed in a gallery) because the artwork in question could be possessed and enjoyed (very democratically) by the art lover in a time and place that suits them. He sensed that a copy was of higher social significance on postmodern thought and has influenced (in one way or other) a number of late-20th-century art movements, including Pop art and Conceptual art.

Whereas high art needed the intervention of an art expert or critic to explain its true meaning, Benjamin was an admirer of Hollywood cinema because the sound film could be enjoyed collectively by the public without the need for a critic to explain its meaning: “the greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form,” he said of the Hollywood film, “the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public.”

In the same frame of thought, Benjamin helped explain urbanization in terms of an historical and ideological shift from a culture of production to a culture of consumption and commodification.

The Machine : A Sign of the Times

Originally posted on A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life: Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin The prophecies of George Orwell have been realized Cameras, gadgets and sensors colonize every part of our bodies The Machine slowly…

The Machine : A Sign of the Times

Platon: “Le poète est une chose légère”.

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

“De la même façon, c’est la Muse qui par elle-même rend certains hommes inspirés et qui, à travers ces hommes inspirés, forme une chaîne d’autres enthousiastes. Car ce n’est pas en vertu de la technique, mais bien en vertu de l’inspiration et de la possession que tous les poètes épiques, j’entends les bons poètes épiques, récitent tous ces beaux poèmes. Et il en va de même pour tous les poètes lyriques, les bons poètes lyriques ; tous ceux qui sont pris du délire des Corybantes n’ont plus leur raison lorsqu’ils dansent, les poètes lyriques n’ont plus leur raison lorsqu’ils composent leurs chants si beaux. Dès qu’ils sont entrés dans l’harmonie et le rythme, ils sont possédés par le transport bachique, et ils sont comme les bacchantes qui puisent aux fleuves le miel et le lait lorsqu’elles sont possédées et quand elles n’ont plus leur raison, exactement comme le fait l’âme des poètes lyriques, selon leur propre aveu. Car c’est bien là ce que nous disent ces poètes, que c’est à des sources de miel, dans certains jardins et vallons des Muses, qu’ils puisent les chants pour nous les apporter à la façon des abeilles, en volant comme elles. Et ce qu’ils disent est vrai. Car le poète est une chose légère, ailée et sacrée, qui ne peut composer avant d’être inspirée par un dieu, avant de perdre sa raison, de se mettre hors d’elle-même. Tant qu’un homme reste en possession de son intellect, il est parfaitement incapable de faire œuvre poétique et de chanter des oracles’.

Platon, Ion, 533d-543b

N.B: A partir du 1e Juillet et pour tous les samedis du mois, vous trouverez sur la page principale de mon blog, dans la rubrique “Portfolio” des cours de philosophie gratuits.

Imitation or Representation – Art Philosophy

Recently I mentioned the connections between art and philosophy — a branch of study referred to as aesthetics. On this point, which deals with beauty and taste, I’m content to go with the conventional wisdom that says beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. You like what you like. I like what I like. Sometimes […]

Imitation or Representation – Art Philosophy

The Ancient Greeks and the sense of harmony.

Photo by Christian Paul Del Rosario on Pexels.com

The Greek word “cosmos” meant initially universe/nature but also beauty and harmony. According to ancient Greeks, nature in its wide sense is the archetype of beauty and harmony. Therefore, all what an artist had to do back then is to copy the natural harmony in their work. No outrageous creative ideas, no artistic experimentation beyond what is out there, art had to imitate nature. The artistic value of any work of art depended on the imitating skill of the artist.

The obsession or faithfulness to the archetype of harmony pushed ancient Greeks to create and develop geometry, not only theoretically but practically too. Cities were built upon geometrical plans. Geometry and symmetry bring out intellectual and urban harmony.

So how did this quest for harmony reflect on philosophy and the human body?

Since Socrates – who took a different philosophical path than pre-Socratic philosophers – philosophy had an ethical goal. One would learn philosophy in order to live a better life on both individual and collective levels. Ethics was believed to be the order and the harmony for the soul.

Greeks understood that the human body had to be aligned to the multilayered harmony. This is why philosophers preached moderation in everything, which pushed the invention of the Olympic Games. It was clear to them that sports maintained the natural harmony of the human body, hence its best picture in Greek sculptures.

Philosophy – “Place Laws upon Cameras, if upon Guns” – 4/11/2021

“Is the mind not as, if not more, important than the body? Something as ephemeral as flesh should not compare to the eternity of the mind. If we regulate what restricts the body from its freedom, then we should do the same for the mind.” – Modern Romanticism There are the similarities, and then there […]

Philosophy – “Place Laws upon Cameras, if upon Guns” – 4/11/2021

What tricks do illusions play on the mind?

Thanks to the internet, optical illusions again become popular. Maybe there’s some irony about the revived interest in these visual tricks: the most popular illusions rely on people not looking too closely — and not looking too closely is one of the key side effects of internet-based media use. They are obviously fascinating if you […]

What tricks do illusions play on the mind?

Walter Benjamin on mass distraction!

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was a German philosopher who committed suicide for not being able to escape under sieged France. The text was below was taken from his books The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936), an essay on cultural criticism on mass reproduction that undervalues the uniqueness of art.

“The mass is a matrix from which all traditional behavior toward works of art issues today in a new form. Quantity has been transmuted into quality. The greatly increased mass of participants has produced a change in the mode of participation. The fact that the new mode of participation first appeared in a disreputable form must not confuse the spectator. Yet some people have launched spirited attacks against precisely this superficial aspect. Among these, Duhamel has expressed himself in the most radical manner. What he objects to most is the kind of participation which the movie elicits from the masses. Duhamel calls the movie “a pastime for helots, a diversion for uneducated, wretched, worn-out creatures who are consumed by their worries a spectacle which requires no concentration and presupposes no intelligence which kindles no light in the heart and awakens no hope other than the ridiculous one of someday becoming a ‘star’ in Los Angeles.” Clearly, this is at bottom the same ancient lament that the masses seek distraction whereas art demands concentration from the spectator. That is a commonplace.

Distraction and concentration form polar opposites which may be stated as follows: A man who concentrates before a work of art is absorbed by it. He enters into this work of art the way legend tells of the Chinese painter when he viewed his finished painting. In contrast, the distracted mass absorbs the work of art. This is most obvious with regard to buildings. Architecture has always represented the prototype of a work of art the reception of which is consummated by a collectivity in a state of distraction. The laws of its reception are most instructive.

The distracted person, too, can form habits. More, the ability to master certain tasks in a state of distraction proves that their solution has become a matter of habit

Reception in a state of distraction, which is increasing noticeably in all fields of art and is symptomatic of profound changes in apperception, finds in the film its true means of exercise”.