Once and for all, I decided to create a blog that wouldn’t grow obsolete over time.
I’m no longer inside the safety of the Vandy bubble, so the website I maintained for my radio show there has been passed down to a young protege. And I’m no longer traipsing around Europe with two of my best friends, so it would make no sense for me to convert my account of our travels into a personal space to rant about life afterwards. That would be like the million false endings of Return of the King except if the movie had continued past Samwise closing his door and just showed him getting older and fatter each year.
So a new website was necessary. Luckily WordPress doesn’t have a limit on how many websites I can create. The only inconvenience was having to create yet another Gmail account, but I suppose in the long run that will actually be a benefit–when Chasing the Dionysian inevitably becomes world-famous, I won’t need to sift through all the spambots commenters’ messages in my personal inbox. Meanwhile, back in reality, I’ll check the new email every day and sigh when the only comments are from my mother and maybe my grandma.
So why did I name this blog Chasing the Dionysian, you ask? Great question, I was hoping this would come up! I even thought to prepare an answer for you!
During my college years I came to several major realizations about my life and myself, but two are particularly relevant to this story: first, that I love the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche; and second, that I am going to make my living as a creator. That’s a really vague term, I know, but I think Nietzsche would’ve been a fan. After all, he based his entire value system on the concept that there should be no such thing as a set value system–no permanent definitions, morals, religion, not even a permanent attachment to our own past. For him, the one constant that underlies life is the will to power, which is an instinctive drive to say “yes” to life as it happens and constantly reshape what we believe in most firmly. To grasp any value, lover, or past identity for longer than the moment is to chain ourselves to something that denies life and remove ourselves from the freedom afforded by constant change. The formless force that drives us to overcome these bastions of self is called the DIONYSIAN, and the person who can express it continuously is the UBERMENSCH.
As much as I love Nietzsche’s ideas and as much as I will defend him from people who associate him with Nazis (a tragic result of his anti-Semitic sister altering her brother’s works after his 1889 mental collapse), I don’t think I will ever be the Ubermensch. I don’t think that’s attainable for anybody. We like other people too much, we steadfastly maintain our beliefs, we can’t escape ruminating over the decisions and events that have defined who we are today. The person who truly overcomes themselves lives a lonely life. Is that worth it? Not to me.
But I can still let Nietzsche inspire me, particularly on my creative side. I want to write blogs and movies and books and webseries. I want to interview interesting musicians and film their performances and put them up on YouTube. I want to make music myself and maybe join a band and quit the full-time job I don’t have yet because I just don’t know what I want out of life and I’ve had to fight the paralysis of indecision for the past I-don’t-know-how-many months. I am untapped creative potential without focus, and I live in a world of distracting people and newsfeeds that hinders my development as a creator. But if I keep Nietzsche in mind and always ask myself what the life-affirming, value-creating choice would be in any given situation, I think I will turn out alright.
Maybe one day I’ll actually turn into Dionysus and I’ll throw myself a massive Bacchanalia and anyone who likes my blog posts will be invited. But until that day, I’ll just be a young man in Chicago, trying to create something new every minute as I navigate through the craze of my 20s. Check back here as often as you want for updates on how that’s going, what I’m thinking about, and maybe some cool features. Or don’t check back at all–Nietzsche would admire your fierce independence.