Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Order vs Chaos in Pop Culture

The funny thing about order vs chaos and the human condition is how much it pops up in entertainment. The opposing forces of Apollonian and Dionysian fighting for power and/or balance crop up all over the place.

The girls and I were just watching Jurassic park the other night and sure enough, there it was. Though I was somewhat aware of it before, only after thinking about it for this blog did I realize how blatant it really was.

John Hammond, the creator of Jurassic Park, represents the Apollonian side. He's dressed in white and has complete control (or so he thinks) of this amusement park with electric fences and safety precautions.

Dr. Ian Malcolm, a mathematician and dressed in black, is spokes person for the Dionysus side which is actually represented by the Dinosaurs. He is the one who keeps talking about the chaos theory.

In this scenario, the Dionysian is not necessarily bad. It is just nature doing what nature does. And when that nature is as big and unpredictable as dinosaurs, it is the Apollonian that comes off as in the wrong for trying to create and control what cannot be controlled so easily.

Another obvious place that speaks of the struggle between chaos and control is the TV series and movie "Get Smart". The opposing forces actually bear the names. The good guys work for "Control" and the bad guys work for "Kaos". And in this scenario control is obviously good while chaos is obviously bad.

Remember the old Star Trek from the 60s or at least have you seen a few reruns? Did you know that Captain Kirk had Apollonian and Dionysian advisers. Dr. McCoy was Dionysian and ran on emotion and intuition, whereas Mr. Spock was strictly Apollonian in nature always concerned with logic and reason. And Kirk was always trying to find the balance between them. In this case, then, there are no good guys or bad guys, only a striving for balance between the two poles.

Others who were influenced by the concept of Apollonian vs Dionysian include Stephan King, Ayn Rand, Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, and the band Rush

The point of this post is to make people aware of how our culture is influenced by this thinking and how WE are influenced by this thinking and how we may apply it to our lives whether we are aware of it or not. Again remember Job and how his friends worked so hard to Apollonize or use Apollonianisms to order and explain Job's unexplainable chaos. It is human nature to do this. But we must remember, our nature is flawed and fallen and we are but finite living in a universe much bigger than we are. We must take care and not use Apollonianisms when really we ought to be seeking God.

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