Charles II, the Dionysian, and the Apollonian

Charles wearing a crown and ermine-lined cape

It seems widely known that the English Stuart monarch Charles II was a bit of a hedonist, and perhaps this is an understatement. He ascended to the throne in a restoration of monarchy from the Puritan dictatorship under Cromwell. I think it is safe to say that Charles II and the hedonistic culture that came with him were essentially a Dionysian reaction against the highly Apollonian Cromwell years under the Puritan regime. We might compare this event to the situation of the present day Right. The Alt-Right, with its romanticist notions of race, breaking of social norms, and sometimes blunt hedonism (for example from the pickup artist community), is likewise a Dionysian reaction against the strict Apollonianism of modern day Puritans of a variety of political persuasions.

I remember reading a book for my literature class in 5th grade, The Giver, which portrayed a totalitarian community completely engrossed in the Apollonian: most individuals saw the world in grayscale, pain and sexual passion were suppressed through medical means (euthanasia was commonplace, and pills were administered to suppress the sex urge), and ones’ parents were never ones’ biological parents. Instinct was considered obsolete. However, one man, the Giver, was selected by the community to keep the memories which happened to be Dionysian, of passion, vivid color, and pain, and transfer them to the next person in line through a mystical, almost sacramental means. If the Giver left the community or died without transferring these memories to a successor, the memories were transferred to everyone in the community. This is eventually what happened in the story when the Giver’s successor fled the community with this purpose in mind; he wished to overthrow the Apollonian order in the community.

One might compare the sort of exclusive Apollonianism of the community in The Giver to that of today. From the political Left and Center, ethnocentric instinct is suppressed, humans are mathematized into identical units, they are falsely understood as being capable of complete rationality (I blame Kant), and irrationality is considered to be an exceptional error even when it is evident in the suicidal nature of Leftist axiology. There is also, retaining the respect I have for Catholics reading this, the idea on the Christian Right which I call ‘eroto-rationalism’, where sex is considered to only have the rationalistic industrial purpose of procreation (sort of like in 1984) and no value for intimacy or release of bodily tension; we also see the idea from some conservatives that love itself, romantic or otherwise, can be reduced to a rational decision, that there is no inherently visceral aspect to it. These are examples of the Apollonian totally excluding the Dionysian.

As with the Giver’s successor, the Alt-Right has decided to exit the exclusively Apollonian fantasy land altogether and at the same time to give the Dionysian red pill to everyone still in the community, overthrowing the Apollonian hegemony. The internet enhances the efficiency of this process. It should also be noted that the non-sensual aspects of the Dionysian are present in the ‘Wotan’ archetype identified by Carl Jung, considered to reside in the collective unconscious of the Germanic people. Jung believed that a suppression of this archetype would lead to its reawakening, and this process appears to to be underway with the Alt-Right and Identitarian movements. All we need now is for this archetype to reemerge in more people so that enough charisma can be gained to reclaim ethnic homelands. (There was an interesting short video on this topic on Red Ice radio a few days ago: link)

In conclusion: institutions which attempt to systematically combat the Dionysian, as Pentheus foolishly did in Euripides’ The Bacchae, will be destroyed in this attempt. While the Apollonian has always provided the necessary structure for civilizations to exist, attempting to undo the Dionysian attempts to undo the very primordial glue of instinct which undergirds these civilizations. This is something which the Alt-Right has grasped, perhaps unwittingly, has advantaged it. On the other hand, conservatives have gone through cycles of openly warring against the Dionysian, and then being destroyed by the Dionysian as it surfaces in uncontrollable ways. The Right must learn to carefully use the Dionysian to its own advantage instead of battling it if it is to win its battles.

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