Birth of Tragedy

Socrates: The Music-Making Logician

Alternatively dubbed that “despotic logician” and “the vortex and turning-point of so-called world history,” Socrates represents a radical departure point in the history of philosophy. To Friedrich Nietzsche, the father of rationalism puts forth a worldview that is ultimately incapable of putting forth values that affirm life. Locating value only in what is logical, Socratism rejects anything that cannot be rationally explained. Nietzsche takes issue with this view for its inability to motivate a life-affirming interpretation of an existence that is, by definition, irrational. In a deathbed conversion, Socrates sheds his logically rigid ethos for one that is capable of embracing art. Nietzsche points christens this music-making Socrates as the unifier of two divergent worldviews – reason and myth – which, together, affirm life.

Nietzsche sees the music-making Socrates as the founder of a tragic and rational culture. When facing death, Socrates is unable to banish the tragedy of reason from the forefront of his mind. He is finally converted to the saving power of that art against which he protests for most of his life. An inclination of his conscience convinces him to allow the urge towards art to overtake him, functioning as...

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