Saturday, 23 August 2008
Nietzsche and the Daemon of Socrates
Now, while reading Murray's text on Nietzsche, I have come across a section on Socrates and his daimon. Nietzsche asserts that Socrates ( and hence, Plato and the entire neo-Platonist tradition, including Arthur Schopenhauer) erred grievously in limiting discourse always to reason and the rational, thereby dismissing - and dishonoring - the darker Dionysian elements of life, art, and culture. He points out that the daimon of Socrates seemed wholly aware of this error, and limited Socrates in order that he not "blaspheme these deities" of the irrational and creative realms within the human.
I found this an extremely interesting assertion in the light of Peakian daemonology: During the historical transition from the ancient Greek world to the rational world of Platonism (which would become the Christian and democratic Europe of his day; and of which Socrates was the prophet and the spearheading master) - the daemon itself was making provisions, and holding in reserve almost, the Dionysian realm, and not allowing Socrates a wide berth with regard to its mysteries and secret animus. As a philosopher, to see a Peakian idea leap out of a page written by a very astute philosopher, on one of the greatest philosophers of the modern world, is very invigorating, very inspiring. ( By the way, that photo is a favorite of mine: Wasn't Nietzsche the sweetest thing as a teenager?) SMK