The Art that Blesses the Lie and Nietzsche


 Man's relationship with life has been destroyed. Places and people are isolated from each other. Being meaningless, indifferent, neutral by itself, is busy looking for a stage for itself. Art presents itself at this point. In order not to be lost in the face of the essential indifference of existence, we strive to contribute to our meaning creations.

And at the end of the day, a person asked only one question, and a lot of new questions came up. ''What is the meaning of life? ''Continuing the journey to the answer of this question in many perspectives in philosophy, art, religion and science. These concepts that we go after and fill in are actually a signification It stems from our desire to enter into a relationship. This question we ask is the starting point for all our activity areas. According to Nietzsche, who expresses this fact very strikingly, the main issue is to offer a justification or justification for human existence.[1] and obviously this justification essentially entails asserting a meaning, purpose, and value for human existence. Because we can only make existing for such a purpose preferable to non-existence. Contemporary philosophical discussions often do not even address this issue as a problem. In this sense, the question of the meaning of life brings to mind the oblivion and indifference that Heidegger identified in the question of the meaning of existence.[2] It's almost like asking a question about this question.  unnecessary ve  demode We live in a time of acceptance.

However, since the person lives in a context that is meaningful at every point of his life, the implicit answer he has to this question, which he often does not dare to ask, continues to determine his whole life experience and perception from beginning to end. Despite this determination, the question of the meaning of life is truly undertaken by very few. The modern individual leaves him either to the authority of religion, to the hegemony of the consumption order, or to the superficial morality of tradition, thus allowing the question to be answered for and on behalf of him. However, it is precisely our surrendering to others the answer to this question, which serves as a compass that guides who we are and what we do, and a personal perception about it. responsibility we do not undertake. In Nietzsche's words, a decadence, that is a sign of corruption. Ignoring the purpose of existence constitutes the beginning of a cycle in which the individual becomes alienated from himself. Every responsibility we throw off gives rise to ideas for others to speak on our behalf, and it is our evasion of these responsibilities that weakens us.

In this respect, Nietzsche is of the opinion that the context of meaning on which the cultural world leans today is provided by a scientific-theoretical perspective (i.e., a logical-rational perspective) based on logos, which originally broke itself away from mythos (i.e., an aesthetic perspective).[3] According to Nietzsche, one of the main reasons why "the question of the value and meaning of existence" is being ignored today; The reason is that people live in a highly theoretical and rational connection with life instead of an aesthetic relationship.

According to Nietzsche, a Socratic claim caused the culture to break completely from mythos and pass into logos. With him, Greek philosophy separated from the mythological perspective and settled on the basis of logos, that is, reason and logic. Moreover, the sanctification of science and the glorification of logic and rationality, in short, filling the cultural ground with logos - this situation has also guided philosophy and the sciences that broke away from it since Plato.

In order to deal with Apollo and Dionysus, which are the basis of Nietzsche's views on art, first of all, how art is positioned in Nietzsche's philosophy; In order to understand the place and importance of art in human life, it is necessary to look at what Nietzsche understands from life and human. First of all, Nietzsche, who set out with the desire to deal with life and man in their holism, confronts all kinds of thoughts that break this unity he defends. According to Nietzsche, who opposes all reductionist approaches that classical Western philosophy and thought see as the basis of his perception of the world, in this process that started with Socrates, man was reduced to a "thinking self" and life was reduced to a "fictional reality" that could be understood and acted upon with reason. According to Nietzsche, the basic motive of man and even all living things is the "will to power", which also forms the basis of life. According to Nietzsche, life has been devalued and humiliated by "reality designers", especially philosophers and clergy. “The wisest of all ages have made the same judgment on life: it is worthless. Always and everywhere the same words came out of their mouths—a voice full of doubt, melancholy, weariness with life, anti-life.”[4] Nietzsche stated that the tradition of rational thinking, which started with Socrates, which he called the “theoretical human type” and expresses the dominance of consciousness constructs, renders life sterile; He begins to deal with the function of art, which he says "justifies life", with his first work, The Birth of Tragedy.

For Nietzsche, art is shaped on two basic ideas. One of these is the idea that art is not a "disinterested" activity, and the other is the idea that art is the supreme power that "sanctifies the lie". The fact that art is a "disinterested" activity means that the person who takes an aesthetic attitude does not approach the object to which he or she is directed, for any explicit or implicit purpose.[5]

For Nietzsche, the fact that “art is not a disinterested activity” means that it is not “healing, calming or purifying”. Art is not an activity independent of human motives and desires. On the contrary, the stimulator of the will to power is the instigator of the will.”[6]

“What does all this art do? Doesn't he praise? Doesn't it glorify? Doesn't she choose? Doesn't it qualify? With all this, it strengthens or weakens certain value judgments… Or is this an insignificant detail? Is it a coincidence? Is it something that develops out of the artist's instinct? Or is this a prerequisite for an artist to become an artist?… Is his basic instinct oriented towards art, or is he not oriented towards life, which is the meaning of art? Is this instinct directed against the demands of life? Art is a great push towards life. How is it that it can be understood aimlessly, without purpose, as “l'art pour l'art”?[7]

The other thought that lies at the heart of art, that is, the treatment of art as a power that "sanctifies the lie", is based on Nietzsche's thoughts about life, reality and truth. First of all, it should be noted that according to Nietzsche, truth is an illusion. Thus, "art's blessing of the lie" means that the living elements in life are revealed with a kind of affirmation. In other words, art means inventing lies; truth, on the other hand, expresses the artist's revealing the rising power of life. According to Nietzsche, the fact that art is an activity that invents lies and creates constantly reveals its similarity to other human activities due to this feature. But to say that art is only a "creating" activity does not suffice to see its importance for Nietzsche. This is because while creating art, unlike other creations, it is aware that what it creates is an illusion, and yet it continues to re-create.

Art; It has the power to both reveal and hide not only the positive and pleasant aspects of life, but also its negativities and pains. In the face of the artwork, which is known to reflect a certain perspective of the artist, the viewer does not perceive it as life itself by generalizing, even if it is the ugliest and most painful face of life they see in the work. “Like a vaccine that provides immunity by causing a mild illness, it protects people's health”[8] instead of escaping from the reality of life, art constantly enriches life in a process that is aware of creation. According to Nietzsche, who thinks that there is always a search for a fulcrum on the basis of man's creations of truth, in fact, life has no safe and correct ground on which to dwell. Since the views claiming the truth are devoid of perspective, they make their claims absolute and create grounds for life in the form of "good" or "bad". Art, on the other hand, as an expression of the irrational side of man, reveals that there is no "right center" for man in life, with the power to look at life from many different angles. A person who does not believe in the ground that art reveals to people and knows that this is not real, believes in every "reality" that is shown to him outside of art.

While Nietzsche deals with "art as the only activity that is aware of the illusion" in life, where everything is an illusion, he especially focuses on the understanding of art of the ancient Greeks. Nietzsche sees something completely different in ancient Greek art. The ancient Greeks “recognized and sensed both the fears and horrors of existence”[9]Nietzsche sees this understanding of art as an experience that affirms illusion and life, not one that leads to truth, unlike the Romantics. In ancient Greek art, especially in tragedy; Life itself is not to blame for the negativities encountered in life, the bad aspects of life or its pain. On the contrary, tragedy is the expression of a life-affirming understanding by showing the intertwining of all aspects of life. For this reason, Nietzsche says the following for his first work, The Birth of Tragedy, in which the ideas of the ancient Greeks about art were expressed:

“I heard this article often referred to as “The Rebirth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music”; In it, they saw only Wagner's art, what he wanted to do, my homework for the first time, - they missed the real value of the article, by the way. “Greekism and Pessimism”: It would be a title that could not be taken any further: Because in fact, how the Greeks overcame pessimism, how they defeated it, this is what was taught for the first time… The tragedy itself is proof that the Greeks were not pessimistic.[10]

For Nietzsche, art is the only perspective that justifies existence despite all its pain and suffering, and actually allows us to tolerate reality. Nietzsche, who sees the completely useless and even deepening feature of science in the problem of the meaning of life and the value of existence, is therefore of the opinion that it is necessary to return to the mythos that allows to connect with the world in an artistic way. Thus, according to Nietzsche, the individual can find a solution to the problem of the meaning of life only when he establishes an aesthetic relationship with life. So much so that, despite all the pain and tragedies, art has the power to justify and make sense of existence and unexpectedly push one to embrace this existence.

With what feature can art present a world of life to people? The approach of art here is to confront the essential meaninglessness of life and transform the initially visible negative effect of fiction on people into an affirmative process with the power of presentation. In other words, the existence of fiction does not undermine the artistic orientation, and the absence of a rational justification does not prevent artistic activity in any way. On the contrary, art fully embraces the structure of fiction in order to increase its expressive power. Thus, the aesthetic, that is, the perception-based perspective that art exhibits, actually creates the most productive type of relationship that a person can establish with life.

Let's accept the meaning of life as a work of art. So that the subjective view and experience of the artist gain a universal perspective with the power of presentation. Thus, the singular experience will be felt as a universal experience and meaning through art. Although it is impossible to connect to a universal meaning theoretically, it is very possible to include such a meaning as an aesthetic fiction. Even if the person knows theoretically that the work of art is actually a fiction, he may feel that the work is included in a semantic level that connects all humanity with the aesthetic effect/pleasure it causes. Here, all the existential troubles brought by life are included in a kind of "universal" meaning layer through the work of art and made it attractive for people. If the whole point is to give birth to the feeling/desire of a meaning transcendent to man and thus to establish a healthy relationship between life and man, the question of whether this created meaning is real becomes completely unnecessary.

Don't be without art...


[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Kritische Studienausgabe Band IV, hersg. von Giorgio Colli und Mazzino Montinari, (München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG 1999)

[2] Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2006)

[3] Friedrich Nietzsche, Die Geburt der Tragödie, Kritische Studienausgabe Band I, hersg. von Giorgio Colli und Mazzino Montinari, (München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG 1999), Chapter 15.

[4] F. Nietzsche, The Twilight of the Idols, trans. H. Kaytan, All Zamanlar Publishing, 2000, p. 15.

[5]  J. Stolnitz, “The Aesthetic Atti tude”, Aesthetics: The Big Quests, (ed) C. Korsmeyer, Blackwell Publishers, 1998, 80

[6] G. Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, ing. trans. H. Tomlinson, Colombia University Press, 1998, p. 102.

[7] F. Nietzsche, The Twilight of the Idols, trans. H. Kaytan, All Zamanlar Publishing, 2000, p. 77.

[8] P. Berkowitz, Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Anti-Moral, trans. E. Demirel, Details Publications, 2003, p. 96

[9] F. Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, trans. NS. Z. Eyüboğlu, Say Publications, 2002, p. 60

[10]  F. Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, trans. C. Alkor, Ithaki Publications, 2003, p. 60


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