Friday, October 17, 2003
How can Aristotle help us Red Sox and Cubs fans make sense of our suffering? From John Savant's "The Saving Grace of Sports":
In his Poetics, he describes the role of drama, especially tragedy, in Greek culture. Rising out of religious rites celebrating, among others, the god Dionysius (whose mysterious association with both violence and vitality touched something deep in the common psyche), drama provided the Greeks with not only entertainment but with a powerful spiritual experience that Aristotle called “catharsis.” This emotional process, he asserted, had for its object the evocation of fear and pity. Fear because audiences were exposed to the perils of being human: the instability of the will, the deceptiveness of appearances, the fallibility of human judgment, the flip indifference of fortune. And pity, because they came to identify the fate of the play’s protagonists with their own lives. As ritual rather than mere entertainment, these tragedies were meant to be moral engagements—not diversions designed for momentary escape from reality, but formative experiences exposing audiences to the awesome and extraordinary realities underlying their ordinary lives.
Fallibility of human judgment: ouch! Flip indifference of fortune: ouch! Identifying with the fate of others: ouch! It's all so true. Sophocles must have scripted this season.
Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 17 October 2003 at 4:59 PM