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The Much-at-Once$
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Bruce W. Wilshire

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823268337

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823268337.001.0001

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Splitting of Sacred from Secular?

Splitting of Sacred from Secular?

Chapter:
(p.36) Segment Two Splitting of Sacred from Secular?
Source:
The Much-at-Once
Author(s):

Bruce W. Wilshire

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823268337.003.0002

Matters and relationships as we actually live them are seldom as clearly distinguished as are the words we use to refer to them. The price exacted by our prose words is an inescapable simplification. Thus we have two words that oppose and exclude each other: sacred and secular. But Greek theater does not fall on either side of the fixed, polar opposition of sacred versus secular (it never occurred to the Greeks to distinguish them). With the loss of the goat-men of Greek tragedy, some wholeness, vitality, and presence were lost. Nietzsche reacted keenly to this as if he were being personally diminished. The older Greek music-drama that Nietzsche praises held a delicate balance, an integration, and wholeness and vitality. There has always been music, dance, and theater of various sorts everywhere in human cultures. Great music, dance, and spectacle point to a suggested but not delineated “more”—a “verge of the mind” as James writes—that is always the one mysterious whole. Great music and dance orient us in the cosmos as the strange beings that we are. A fugue holds things together through time. That we all compose fugally is shared!

Keywords:   Bruckner, dance, fugue, Greek tragedy, music, Nietzsche, theater, vitality

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