Thursday, October 11, 2012
Sublimating war into evolution
QuintinTaylor described how early Nietzsche thought the Ancient Greeks sublimated war into their sublime goals of art, culture and genius, at least until the Persian war, when political intrigue took up all the cultural energy. Nietzsche also wondered, in his notes, why the Spartan's needed such a powerful warrior ethos when they had so little culture to protect.
Competition, agonism, contention for a prize, was in every element of Greek culture. Before the all-out Persian war there was cooperative competition between city states, in all areas, which helped to create excellence. Cooperative competition was also a way to put the brakes on aggression and war---and it was a preventive against a single totalitarian ascendency.
America and the West too have been politicized, involving themselves in many little wars, which takes up all our cultural energy. This is not leading to high culture. At the same time competition is increasing frowned upon by liberals in their increasingly hedonistic world. But the competitive spirit still hangs on in professional sports, and in the business world, although large corporations are increasingly choking out competition.
If we are to survive and evolve from the beasts to the gods we will need to sublimate war and aggression into a cooperative competition of evolution. High art, culture and genius are not the single goal of humanity, high culture needs to be affirming our evolution toward Godhood, and this requires a religious character, tone and guiding belief. Art, culture and genius are evolving steps along the way toward Godhood. It is that simple, and that difficult.