Examined Life in Literature

Quote from Nietzsche and Depth Psychology: “[A]ny great artist will tell you (they are often anxious to do so) that their relation to their “daemon” or “muse” or simply “passion” is still one of intimate otherness. Thus Parkes points out that “it is a maxim of depth psychology that when something of one’s own is constantly denied it becomes alien, other, and thereby disturbing–if not terrifying” and Nietzsche responds by insisting that we “deprive the passions of their terrifying character and thereby prevent their becoming devastating torrents.” (Freud certainly picked up the maxim here, declaring that “where these is id, there shall ego be.”) The passions both define the self and are not of the self, as, in infancy, the body both escapes the self and yet defines the self.”

So I think the question here is what good is a passion, muse, or daemon, if we deny it? Why does the artist refer to it as otherness? Maybe the truth is too terrifying, so the artist works away at it through art so that they can map out its meaning from harms way. Literature, especially Greek tragedies, Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, allow the reader to examine their psyche through a safe medium without causing injury (retraumatization), which allows a safe environment for this person to explore the darkest parts of themselves. There’s something about narratives and their cathartic capability that allows a person to examine themselves, even finding entertainment while doing so. Philosophy is about the examined life, but are there limits to philosophy, that maybe reason get’s in the way of, and that objective nature can’t fully grasp? Philosophy and irrationality are at odds here, and so philosophy often alienates our passions thus we live a sort of half life unable to tap intot he mother reservoir of creativity, where we can make real contact with the real nature of nature, the noumenon that philosophy, being ultra rational, has blocked itself from. Just a rambling.