1997 Quote

Nietzsche recalls the old legend where King Midas seeks out Silenus, the constant companion of Dionysus, and asks him:

"What is man's greatest happiness?" The demon remains sullen and uncommunicative until finally, forced by the King, he breaks into a shrill laugh."....why do you force me to tell you what it would be your greatest boon not to hear? What would be best for you is quite beyond your reach: not to have been born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best is to die soon!"

The Dionysian spirit in music makes us realize that everything that is born must be prepared to face its painful dissolution. It forces us to gaze into the horror of individual existence, yet without being turned to stone by the vision. Only through music can we face the horrible message of Silenus.

Laurence Gene, Nietzsche for Beginners

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