Showing posts with label Apollonian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apollonian. Show all posts

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Calvinism Akin to Christian Vulcanism?

Part 5 of New Calvinism for Dummies made me ask this of Paul Dohse. His answer was, yes. The New Calvinist works very hard to remove himself from,... uhm, himself, especially his emotional self, to make himself an objective observer of his life so he can deal with his issues.

He is more like a scientist observing himself with removed objectiveness than a human being dealing with this life. I guess this is why New Calvinist like Driscoll have such a hard time with poetry which deals with the subjective heart and emotions, up close and personal.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Something Completely Different

Well, sort of completely different.

It's no secret here that I have an appreciation for fiction and in particular, speculative fiction. I've mentioned Star Trek here more than once and did a series on Apollonian and Dionysian and the affects of stories and especially Single Stories have on us.

Well, I follow a number of blogs, more than what I have listed on the side here. I follow a fictional blog in the genre of speculative fiction that also happens to be Christian. Now don't freak. It is NOT of the CBMW or Patriarchy variety. I have no stomach for fiction from those crowds.

No this is a far more mainstream Christian Spec. Fiction blog that includes Catholics and Mainstream Protestants. It is called Avenir Eclectia. Don't ask me how to pronounce it.

Mostly I have just followed it on my own, not mentioning it here because I saw little connection between it and what we talk about here.

However today's fictional post is on a topic a little nearer to what we talk about than usual so I thought I share it. Cultic misprophecies.

The lovely thing about Spec. Fiction is how it lends itself to exploring and resolving the issues we deal with today and even reoccurring issues that come up from time to time in Christian Circles.

So please, if you have time, take a peek at this piece by Walt Staples, "Stony's World: Apocalypse Preempted".

Monday, June 6, 2011

Human Structures in Review

We have spent three months on human structures.
In March we looked at Job, false structures and started talking about order vs chaos or Apollonian vs Dionysian and even touched on yin/yang.
In April we looked at the Wild at Heart phenomenon and how it has affected the church and perpetuated a not always female friendly male vs female structure. We also looked at the tiny boxes or structures that small-minded men build for women using religion to beat them into down into those boxes.
In May, we looked at big-hearted men and contrasted the loving freedom they offer to women with the limiting, restrictive structures that small mind men uphold for their sisters. We also did a rather long series on Chimananda Adichie's "Single Story" and how this applied to human structure.

Perhaps I've spend an inordinate amount of time on human structures. If so, it is only because I want people to start discerning the existence of these human structures and begin to hold them up to the light of scripture in order to debunk the false structures.

But this month, the lovely month of June, we will turn our attention on some of the ways that God structures things and how they differ from human structures.

And here I will leave you a verse.

Isaiah 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.
Vs 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, SO are My ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yearning for Freedom

Once a person embraces the rigid structures of religion, he/she wilts under its weight and wonders if this is all there is.

Puritanical religion doesn't just hurt women, it also hurts men so men look for a way to get out from under the burden.

One of the latest moves among men is led by a man who wrote the book, Wild at Heart.

Now I read Wild at Heart and enjoyed it and took the message to heart for myself, that I also needed to be wild and free in the Lord and that it wasn't just limited to men, even though the author implied that it was men who needed to let loose their spiritual wild side, not women. But I hold no grudge toward the author. Not when his book was used to help me shake off some false structure that had attached itself to me.

However, I do hold a grudge towards certain preachers that have taken the Wild at Heart message, ran with it and excluded women from the freedom they feel men need to walk in.

Mark Driscoll is just such a preacher. While he teaches that it's okay for men to burp and fart and cuss and drink beer and a whole lot of other wild manly things, he still holds women to a structured, religious oppression and even calls on them to be saved by fulfilling a role.

Mark Driscoll Quote: "Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your roll in the scripture."

Through slight of hand, men like Driscoll allow themselves some Dionysian freedom from Apollonian over structure while making sure their women remain under rigid structure and control in order to fulfill the needs, wants, and desires of men. While the men get some level of freedom, women continue to wilt under puritanical control.

Actually, there is one place that Mark pushes for Dionysian freedom to the hurt of women, as my friend Jane pointed out. One place and one place only. This place is in the bedroom where she must throw off all inhibitions and change from a mild and meek mouse and turn into a nymphomaniac porn star. All for the sake of satisfying men and keeping them from straying off to real porn stars.

So, here is the dynamic of Apollonian and Dionysian being used and manipulated so that the man gets the best benefits of both principles and the woman must conform to the structures men create for them.

This building of structures on the sand of human thinking is hurting and even destroying many. This is why it is needful to see the false structures and false dynamics for what they are. Human, man made, and false.

We have looked at a couple of overviews of Apollonian/Dionysian thought and structure. I hope to look at a few specific arguments used against women.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What I Said Was...

Since my last Blogger post is all messed up, I thought I'd repeat something here that is at the end of the previous crunched together post.

Apollonian is always about light, structure, order, and is always portrayed as male. Dionysian can be chaos and negative. Or it can be freedom from over structured repression making it good. And even though Dionysian is a man, he had some 'feminine qualities.

I've seen people claiming that anarchy is good and believe what they mean is freedom from oppressive rule. Dionysian can also be portrayed as nature loving and happy dancing out in the forest with flower garlands on their heads. This is also generally viewed as positive but can also be viewed as negative.

I'm saying all this to point out that Apollonian/Dionysian can be portrayed as order/chaos or oppression/freedom or structured/freestyle or stiff/creative or any other number of things. It really is all quite squishy and mailable in the hands of whoever wants to tell the story or use it for their own purposes.

And again, for the sake of labeling and understanding our world, these constructs aren't necessarily bad. But they are not suitable foundations for building doctrine. And this is what I want to get into in future posts.

Order vs Chaos Recap

We've talked about order vs chaos here and I'd like to move on to more specific and general examples, but first feel the need to pull a couple things together and clarify something in particular.

We mentioned in the March 4th post the story of Job and how his friends tried to make sense of a situation that doesn't make sense and pointed out that it is human nature to try to do this. The story of Job happened long before the Greeks came along with their Apollo and Dionysus and even longer ago than when the terms and philosophy of Apollonian and Dionysian were coined by Nietzsche in the late 1800s.

Nietzsche was only labeling what he saw as the push and pull of the opposing forces that people have always seen like in Job's case. (We talked about the Philosophy in the March 7th post.)

We also compare the Apollonian and Dionysian concept to the concept of yin and yang in our March 12 th post. We talked about how sometimes good and bad are attributed to Apollonian or Dionysian or both or how they can just sort of balance each other and how this is pretty arbitrary and left to the discretion of the one who applies it.

One other thing I want to bring up is that, whereas Apollonian is nearly always about light and structure, Dionysian can be about either chaos and somewhat negative, or about freedom from restriction and even tyranny and this is always good. I've seen some people claim that anarchy is good, and it appears that what those people want is freedom from oppression.

Dionysian is also portrayed as nature loving, peace loving, all happy and dancing out in the forest with garlands on their heads. This is also viewed, generally, as positive. But just as much, it can be viewed as negative. I guess what I'm saying is that is it a bit mixed up. Apollonian/Dionysian can be viewed as, order/chaos or oppression/freedom or structure/freestyle or any other number of things. And again, for the sake of labeling and understanding our world, these things don't have to be viewed as anything more than description or light categorizing. But these thought processes are not a foundation on which to build doctrine. And this is what I'm wanting to deal with a bit in future posts.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Order/Chaos vs Yin/Yang

There are both differences and similarities between Apollonian/Dionysian and Yin/Yang. They both deal with opposing forces and are methods of trying to explain how this world works.

But the differences are bigger than the similarities, in my opinion.

First of all, the definition or concept of Apollonian/Dionysian is far more squishy than Yin/Yang. Whereas Apollonian/Dionysian can work in harmony, it often doesn't. Yin/Yang always does.

Second, in Yin/Yang, Yang is seen as active and Yin is seen as passive. But in Apollonian/Dionysian, neither is passive, both are very active forces.

The reason I bring this up is because our culture is influenced by both and they may overlap, but they are not the same. In my opinion, Yin/Yang is the more honest and steady of the two with very specific and stable definitions.

But even so, my main point of going down this road is to point out that these are HUMAN constructs and thought patterns. They are systems created by flawed humans to help them deal with a fallen world. They are not biblical. They are shifting sands offering no solid foothold.

Though we can acknowledge the thought patterns and even appreciate art and music concerning the human condition that use these elements to paint a picture, as Christians, we are not to place our trust in these elements.

We have a solid Rock, Jesus Christ, on which to built our spiritual home. All other ground is sinking sand.

Knowing this and seeing the Apollonian and Dionysian infiltrate church thinking is what has prompted me to bring this to the attention of others which is what I hope to do in the next few weeks.

(Link to Wikipedia for definition of Yin/Yang just FYI)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Order vs Chaos in Pop Culture, part 2

Just a brief note on Apollonian and Dionysus in Pop culture. The opposing forces are often looked upon as left brain vs right brain. The left brainer being logical and good at math. The right brainer is artistic and sensitive. This is a common view of the opposing forces. And trust me, there is a reason I'm pointing all of this out. I am leading up to a point, if you can't guess it. But some of this is stuff people have never thought of before even though it is a strong under currant in our culture. Therefore I think it is worth it to lay the ground work for what is to come.

One band that sang about this back in the 70s was Rush.

Here is a link to a description of their song on Wikipedia.

NOTE: If you hate prog rock or don't give a flip about the 70s, skip this link and read about something more modern below.

If you think I'm making a big deal about this then let me give you a very stark, very modern example. Natalie Portman was given an Oscar for her portrayal of a ballerina in, wait for it, "The Black Swan". I know of few better examples of our culture's obsession with the dueling forces of Apollonian and Dionysian.

Mary Kassian has written about this on her blog and about how damaging this view of women and female sexuality really is.

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.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Seeking Order in a Chaotic World

I love talking to my friend, Jane. She stimulates my thinking beyond where I would normally go. Under my "Men Defining Sweet for Women" post we had a lively discussion about Greek myths and how we have inherited some of the ways they think and some of their attitudes in Western culture and how some of that thinking has infiltrated the church.

She brought up the Greek god, Dionysus and some of the debasing rituals that women had to go through to become part of this cult and how that relates today to the porn industry and porn entering the church via preachers who preach on sex and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in the marriage bed. She also brought up the link between porn, debasing women, and the teaching of strict gender roles and hierarchy within marriage and church. You can see her comments and her two links under that February 21 post.

And as I said, her comments and connections starts my brain up and I begin to make connections of my own. Because once a person brings up Dionysus, the Greek god of "wine, music, ecstasy, and intoxication," the first thing that jumps into my head is Dionysus's brother, Apollo, the Greek god of the "sun, dreams, reason, and plastic visual arts."

And the reason I associate these two gods together is because of a college course that I took back in the 80s on Aesthetics that used these two gods as opposing forces in the movements of art and music.

Here is a short Wiki explanation of this philosophy:

Now, I actually have more to say on the push and pull of these opposing forces and how they relate to art, music, and literature. But before I get into any of that, if I ever get into that, let me point out how much this thinking affects us.

If Dionysus represents chaos and lack of order, then Apollo represents structure and order. And we humans have a tendency to crave order. Chaos and being unsure of things or not understanding things stresses us out. We always have to come up with reasons for things. And I've noted that Art, Science, Religion, and Literature are all means of making sense out of a world that doesn't always makes sense.

Let's look back at Job whom we talked about last Friday, March 4th. Job's friends suffered from an intense desire to make sense out of a situation that made no sense. From their limited understanding of God and our fallen world, they tried to superimpose reason or order on the chaos that Job suffered. But their reason and order were terribly inadequate and faulty. We can learn from their mistake and not jump to conclusions about situations that don't make sense. That is one of the things that prayer is for. It is finite and limited us reaching out to the infinite and unlimited God who knows the end from the beginning.

The infinite God did eventually answer Job. We can learn this from Job's story as well. There is an answer. One that we may not be able to see but that God sees plainly. This is what faith is for. Knowing that there is a God and that there is One who is in control and Who can answer and Who will answer. And it is God who can bring order to our chaos. But we must make sure that we are actually seeking God's answers and not what finite men with a Western Civilization Apollonian drive say that the answers are.