What I'll Be Covering..
1. Diminishing Happiness Levels
Critical thinkers and even those with a smidgen of common sense will all agree that happiness levels have been diminishing recently. Statistics, inaccurate perhaps, but approximately true, reveal rates of mental wellbeing have plummeted, with the proportion of those saying they’re “very happy” falling from around one third of Americans to less than a fifth in recent years.
Add to that research suggesting that global rates of anxiety and depression rocketed by nearly a third in 2020 alone——the largest increase ever recorded——and it’s clear that we have entered into an era of disappointment and disillusionment.
And I think this raises an important but often overlooked question. What are the reasons behind this blossoming miasma of dissatisfaction? Culturally, you might point to the decline of the family, collapsing marriage rates, and an empty culture of brand and commodity-worship. Economically, you could argue that decades of wage stagnation, alongside the more recent spike in inflation, have, when taken together, eroded living standards. Biologically, you need look no further than unhealthy eating habits and sky-rocketing rates of addiction.
Nevertheless, we haven’t yet got the full story. At its core, our predicament stems from a deep-seated spiritual misalignment. And it’s this disconnect that in many ways is driving the societal, economic, and biological trends we’ve been observing.
2. The Modern Disconnect
“Human beings are driven by the primary desires to feed themselves and to reproduce,” writes Barry Cunliffe, in Britain Begins. “Both tendencies require aggression and self-assertiveness; instincts that are hard-wired into our biology, but are constrained to prevent them from wreaking total havoc, by the formation and acceptance of social hierarchies.”
The key point is simple. From the dawn of civilisation, human behaviour has been shaped by the tug-of-war between cultural and biological factors. On the one hand, social structures have provided the order and discipline we needed to cooperate. Our instincts, on the other hand, have driven us to explore, to conquer, and to procreate. Taken together, this bright-dark duality between chaos and control has driven humanity forwards: leading to remarkable advancements in science, literature, art, and innovation.
This might be as imagined, but recent shifts have thrown this cultural harmony into disarray——the speed at which we’re being exposed to societal influences, particularly through smart phones and mass media, is fostering the rise of a malevolent collective consciousness. And as this ever-expanding hive mind, with its insidious intrusion into our private thoughts, begins to tighten its grip over individual thought and behaviour, we’re becoming more and more divorced from our primal nature.
A recent study highlighted that in London, there are now 13.21 surveillance cameras for every 1,000 people. Add to that, a Pew Research Centre survey reported American teenagers spend an average of 8 hours and 39 minutes on their screens each day.
Every one of us has experienced it——the relentless push to conform to the all encompassing norms and social conventions that seek to regulate our behaviour. Whereas once we followed our instincts without hesitation or self-reflection, these seismic upheavals have twisted and warped our natural urges, transforming us into guilt-ridden, manipulable, and tame creatures; more predictable and herd-like.
Now suppose these upheavals are reshaping our mental landscape. In his writing, Ted Kaczynski, infamously known as the “Unabomber”, wrote extensively about the concept of over-socialisation. He maintained that as the constant struggle to conform and repress our true nature begins to override our core beliefs and natural drives, it sets the stage for internal conflict. For in being suppressed and forced underground, our primal urges do not simply vanish——instead, they “turn inwards, against themselves,”——breeding dissatisfaction with life, feelings of low self-esteem, resentment and powerlessness.
“Can we truly deem ourselves individuals, free to think and free to act, when nearly everything we think and do is sourced from, and eventually circulates itself back into our smartphones?” writes on author in the Economia, “as the collective consciousness coalesces through the digital screens we scroll through on a daily basis——have we become slaves to its all-encompassing hive mind?”
The 2019 movie, ‘American Psycho,’ explores what can happen when these repressed desires lead us down a darker path. It follows Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker who becomes obsessed with his appearance, clothing, and image on Wall Street. No longer able to express himself openly he buries his warped desires beneath more and more layers of deception. After decades of psychological repression, he reaches a breaking point——culminating in a bloody and violent rampage that leaves a trail of destruction in its wake.
In several unsettling ways, we are in our own situation, more like Patrick Bateman than we’d like to admit. Just think on it for a moment: we’ve become dissatisfied, grappling with feelings of low self-esteem and resentment. The control sphere’s expansion, with its insidious creep into the private quarters of our minds, has rapidly become an accepted aspect of everyday life. And while therapeutic treatments or medications may function as helpful coping tools, they shouldn’t take precedence over building a life with harmony and understanding.
3. Lessons From Greek Mythology: Apollo & Dionysus
Okay, let’s simplify things a bit before we move on. In the past, individuals have tended to integrate their innate instincts with rationale thought, harnessing their combined strength to drive civilisation forwards. Yet, with the rapid expansion of technology and mass media, this careful balance has started to fall apart, playing havoc with our mental health.
The question which then arises is, how do we halt our complacency, reignite our instincts and reclaim the wisdom and tenacity needed to overcome the challenges ahead of us? Frederic Nietzsche, who has written compellingly about these themes, provides answers in his seminal work: The Birth Of Tragedy. “We must turn our gaze back towards the Greeks,” he maintains, “who knew how to blend the vigour of passion with the clarity of reason, and who gave clear voice to these teachings, not through abstract concepts, but in the divine forms of their mythological beings.”
Surprisingly, Greek mythology has gotten very little attention from mental health experts over recent decades. As a rule, the many myths and legends that make up its world address the cosmic dualities that shape human lives. The gods themselves, as varied and complex as they are, tend to embody one side of human nature. Nietzsche highlights two figures in particular——Apollo and Dionysus.
Apollo, the most Greek of all the gods, embodied structure, principle and calm reason. His temple, inscribed with the famous Delphic maxim “everything in moderation”, stood as a mark of his intellectual and artistic mastery. Often depicted as a strikingly handsome young man with flowing blond hair, Apollo represented the importance of structured thinking, societal harmony, and the pursuit of knowledge.
Dionysus, on the other hand, represented the force behind our most profound desires, our deepest yearnings, and our connection with the primal forces of nature. His wild, unpredictable nature contrasts sharply with Apollo’s orderliness. Dionysus was marked by everything in excess——drunkenness, bloody feasts, people acting like mad creatures, shrieking and shouting and dancing wildly. Whereas Apollo’s music is precise, Dionysus’s is wild, unpredictable, and intoxicating. Through Dionysus, the Greeks explored the boundaries of self, the strength of unfiltered feelings, and the inherent need for release from societal constraints.
Curiously, despite their stark differences, Apollo and Dionysus often appear in various mythological stories involving one another. One notable example is r Apollo’s mythical conquest of Delphi. Located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, Delphi was originally associated with the Earth goddess Gaia, and had long been protected by a fearsome chthonic serpent named Python.
The story goes that Apollo, aiming to establish a sanctuary where humans could seek divine guidance, embarked on a journey to Delphi. There, he engaged in a climactic battle with Python, ultimately emerging victorious through the might of his luminous golden bow.
This victory marked a significant turning point, as Apollo subsequently transformed Delphi into a centre of his prophetic and oracular powers. His triumph, often interpreted as symbolising the rise of the new Olympian gods over the ancient earth deities, and was celebrated every four years during the Pythian Games.
Yet, the stewardship of Delphi was not Apollo’s alone. Legend has it that during the winter months, he would retreat to live among the Hyperboreans, allowing Dionysus to step in and endow the oracle with his own unique essence. Far from being mere adversaries, the dynamic interplay between the two gods reflects the fundamental integration of these opposing forces, the formation of a cultural dynamism that drove Greek civilization to remarkable achievements.
The annual exchange represents the fundamental integration of these opposing forces, the formation of a cultural dynamism that drove Greek civilization to remarkable achievements.
the Greeks recognised that Apollo, the embodiment of order, rationality, and restraint, and Dionysus, the figure of disorder, fervour, and natural impulse, were not mutually exclusive but rather existed in a dynamic tension.
The story of Delphi serves to illustrate the understanding that true brilliance doesn’t spring from a singular approach, but from a delicate balance between opposing forces. It’s this oscillation, this to-and-fro movement, that creates friction. And it’s this friction, this dynamic tension, that propelled Greek civilisation into new heights of creative and artistic freedom.
In a sense, what Greek mythology does is present two characters caught up in an eternal dialogue between chaos and order. These character’s are forced to navigate a labyrinth of different values, to make decisive choices, to align their actions in a universe of ambiguous values where nothing is definitively stable or unambiguous.
Taken together, Apollo and Dionysus serve as examples of human duality——reminding us of man’s complex nature and the inherent contrasts and contradictions within each one of us. What their stories invite is neither is neither the blind impulsiveness of action, nor some retreat into isolated reflection, but accepting the difficulty and uncertainty of action in a world defined by ambiguity, where right always seems to be on both sides.
The blending of Apollonian and Dionysian wasn’t just an artistic or philosophical endeavour; it was a way of life for the Greeks. Consider the festivals: Greek celebrations, such as the Dionysia, would often commence with solemn, ritualistic processions (Apollonian) and culminate in joyous, ecstatic dances and feasts (Dionysian).
In a world where chaos and order often seem at odds, the relationship between Apollo and Dionysus serves as a reminder that living a deep & fulfilling life comes from embracing both chaos and control——and finding the right balance in-between.
The logic being that it’s the friction between these two counterpoints that supplies the conditions needed to thrive in this world——like Summer and Winter. Eternal Summer would burn the world up. But eternal Winter would freeze it to death. It’s the fact that they oscillate between one another that allows life to grow and flourish.
In a sense, the Greeks were telling us that the most creative and meaningful lives are those that embrace both reason and passion, as opposed to living a purely one-sided existence.
4. The Struggle for Balance in Modern Thinking
There’s a widespread view, let’s call it “early Nietzschean”, that the relationship between the Apollonian and Dionysian is fundamental to civilisation as the interplay of light and shadow. Both forces are deeply embedded in our nature, influencing our decisions, behaviours, and the way in which they related to the world. Yet, as we navigate our way through the digital corridors of the 21st century, the dynamic interplay between these opposing forces seems to have fallen apart.
For one thing, people today are much more monochromatic in their thinking. Those who lean towards the Apollonian mindset may seem stable and dependable on the surface, but their reliance on dogmatic rules and subverted hierarchal structure makes them susceptible to herd mentality and group think. The simple truth is that these types rarely bother to question the state media apparatus which is forever blaring down at them.
On the flip side, those who remain attuned with the Dionysian aspect are emotional intelligent and present to the moment. And yet, without the calm discipline and structured reason needed to navigate through the world, they become drawn into the cheap thrills and easy satisfactions that saturate modern culture.
To be clear, I’m not saying that either approach is completely misguided. Rather, life might be better approached as a fluid interplay between the two, with each force shifting and changing into its opposite.
And it’s also true, I think, as Aristotle sagely and somewhat whimsically observed, nearly a century after the apex of Greek civilisation in the latter half of the fifth century BC, that this mindset fundamentally misses out on something, “he who is not inspired and has no touch of madness in his soul, and who comes to the door and thinks he will get into the temple by the help of reason alone——he is, I say, not admitted.”
It doesn’t stop there: modern technology, like a crafty puppet master, has been guiding us down this path of spiritual misalignment: shifting our focus towards pleasure and comfort at the expense of personal growth. From being able to shop online, to getting food delivered straight to our doorsteps, everything is at our fingertips. The consequence? Stagnation. We don’t grow. We don’t learn. We aren’t challenged. And we lead lives without passion, without drive, without ambition… we drift, devoid of any real purpose.
Nietzsche described this as the era of ‘the last man.’ He explained that with the rise of technology, humans have become increasingly complacent, comfortable, and disconnected from each other. He goes onto claim, with some justification in my view, that this has grown to not only dull our emotions but prevent us from becoming active architects of our own lives——and society as a whole.
Think of a it a bit like a bird with clipped wings, satisfied in a luxurious cage, but unable to take flight. From this altogether more subdued state of being we are made more malleable to the corporate and ideological interests that seek to shape us.
Nietzsche viewed this trend as deeply problematic, arguing that it signified a regression in human potential and a betrayal of the great achievements of earlier civilisations. In doing so it has made us “smaller”, deprived of the tools needed to reach our fullest potential as individuals——a sentiment echoed by Henry David Thoreau who wrote: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still within them.”
And indeed, this is proving to be the running theme throughout my research. The growing disconnect between the Apollonian and Dionysian principles——and the cheap thrills that have filled their place——have suppressed and undermined all that embodies strength and excellence. In a sense, we have become spineless, pleasure-seeking creatures, held in perpetual thrall to our most base animalistic desires and instincts.
Despite these many added complexities, the reality of the situation we find ourselves in remains unchanged. We’re charged with turning this around. All of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice. We may think we’re domesticated but we’re not.
5. Greek Dualism's Role in Shaping Cultural Excellence
The question which then arises is what set the early Greeks apart? What prevented the spiritual rot that has been spreading through modern societies like bone cancer?
Countervailing forces were at work on the Greek mind during the sixth and fifth centuries BC. On the one hand, these were a people brimming with physical vigour, unyielding and defiant in the face of challenges. Citizens, particularly young men, carried in their breasts a fervent desire to win over their peers, to be the best, and institutions separated the best out from the masses and marked them for distinction and honours.
On the other hand, these were a people who inhabited a world shaped by reason, a world sculpted by intellectual fervour. The Greek mind was free to think about the world as it pleased, to reject all traditional explanations, to disregard all that the priests taught, to search unhampered by any outside authority for the truth. It was this dynamism that propelled Socrates to question the status quo, Plato to envisage the ideal republic, and Heraclitus to delve into the mysteries of being and knowing.
There is an important line of thinking in both of Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, that invokes reflection on the part of the hero, on the one hand weighing up the pros and cons of a line of action, and on the other hand risking himself in a terrain that is strictly unknown and incomprehensible because it is ordained by the gods.
Edith Hamilton puts it like this in her book The Greek Way: “The Greeks didn’t ignore the external world for the sake of their inner experiences, nor did they reject rational thought for emotional expression. For them, reality and perception were fitted—their understanding of the world and their minds harmonised. They grasped the paradoxical nature of truth, favouring neither side, and in all their art there is an absence of struggle, a unifying force that effortlessly resolves conflict, something of calm and serenity, the world has yet to reproduce.”
Spoken more plainly, the Greeks were evolving in a bimodal way, diverging as the elites, caring only for what was beautiful and strong, devoted themselves to an idealised vision of what humanity could be, or perhaps what it already was on another plane just out of sight. “All that they achieved was stamped by this dualism,” writes Edith Hamilton in The Greek Way. “Greek civilisation rested on the immense energy released when the vitality of passion was wedded with with the clarity of reason.”
This is evident in the development of Greek sculpture, which sees them struggling to carve ever-more perfect specimens out of marble, to realise in stone their minds’ ideal.
6. The Suppression of Splendour: How Modern Banality Stifles Human Potential
In an age characterised by the hegemonic ubiquity of egalitarianism inherent to all totalising economic worldviews, it becomes strikingly apparent that this animating spirit of dualism has been lost. Content in our comfortable and banally uneventful bourgeois existence, we’re devoid of the fire of passion, the spark of creativity, and the noble yearnings that once propelled the Greeks towards the heavens.
The Dionysian spirit, rooted in instinct, passion, and raw emotion, hasn’t vanished. Yet, unlike in ancient Greece where such energies were channelled through avenues like theatre or festivals, today we find them manifesting in the corrupted forms of cheap thrills and digital escapism.
The Apollonian drive, characterised by its focus on structure, order, and logical thought, hasn’t disappeared. Yet, unlike in ancient Greece where such energies were orientated towards personal excellence and common consciousness, today we find them twisted, channelled into divisive propaganda and the growth of technocratic superstructures.
We inhabit a future where mediocrity reigns supreme, as mankind succumbs to complacency and forfeits all lofty aspirations. We have become spineless, pleasure-seeking creatures, held in perpetual thrall to our most base animalistic desires and instincts. The emergence of modern consciousness, fixated on the trifecta of safety, security, and comfort, serves as a formidable barrier that we must surpass in order to unlock the depths of our full potential and embrace a path of magnificence and elevation.
Dire perils continue to proliferate——global economic collapse, epidemics, resource depletion, mass immigration, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, strained relations between the Global South and the West, and a declining population—all simultaneously converging into a catastrophic crescendo that threatens the very survival of modern people. And yet, as bizarre as it is to type, this state of affairs is not easily communicated to modern people. They have invested heavily in their understanding of themselves as a great mass to be shaped, guided and instructed by a mixture of corporate and state ideology, but only reluctantly encouraged and never entrusted to their own devices.
Freedom, anarchism, and dissent have all been purged from public discourse. Corporate and ideological control has begun to smother the modern public square like shrink-wrap on the face of a murder victim
The West teeters at the precipice of a vast abyss, confronted by an array of existential threats and civilization-threatening challenges.
Nietzsche exhorts those in the present to cast off the fetters imposed upon them by the prevailing stranglehold of the bourgeois mindset. We inhabit a future where mediocrity reigns supreme, as mankind succumbs to complacency and forfeits all lofty aspirations. This mindset, fixated on the trifecta of safety, security, and comfort, serves as a formidable barrier that we must surpass in order to unlock the depths of our full potential and embrace a path of magnificence and elevation.
Modern bureaucratic institutions behave in ways that are increasingly impossible to understand and contrary to human flourishing.
The Last Man personifies We inhabit a future where mediocrity reigns supreme, as mankind succumbs to complacency and forfeits all lofty aspirations. The Last Man represents the culmination of a decadent civilization that has forsaken all higher values and abandoned the pursuit of excellence and greatness achieved through the noble enterprise. Content in his comfortable and banally uneventful bourgeois existence, he is devoid of the fire of passion, the spark of creativity, and the noble yearnings that once propelled his ancestors forward towards the heavens.
The ideologies that have held hypnotic sway over the Western world since the Age of Enlightenment have transfigured man into a spineless, pleasure-seeking animal, who is held in perpetual thrall to his most base animalistic desires and instincts.
The West teeters at the precipice of a vast abyss, confronted by an array of existential threats and civilization-threatening challenges, expressively termed by the brilliant French thinker Guillaume Faye as the Convergence of Catastrophes. Multiple perils loom large—global economic collapse, epidemics, resource depletion, mass immigration, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, strained relations between the Global South and the West, and a declining population—all simultaneously converging into a catastrophic crescendo that threatens the very survival of the West and its people.
Freedom, anarchism, and dissent have all been purged from public discourse. It’s the age of Pat Garrett, not Billy the Kid. The land has all been bought, the fences are going up, and all that remains is to clear out and expunge the spirit of those who wish to roam free and take pleasure in the joy of living.
With technological advancements proceeding at breakneck speeds, modern society places an unprecedented emphasis on logic, efficiency, and productivity. The Dionysian essence——the realm of instinct, passion, and raw emotion——hasn’t vanished. But unlike in ancient Greece, where such energies were channelled through structured yet passionate avenues like theatre or festivals, in today’s world we find them manifesting in fetid and unpredictable ways. From the unpredictability of populist political movements to the extreme fandoms in entertainment cultures, the suppressed Dionysian spirit often bursts forth, seeking a release. But with fewer sanctioned outlets to channel and understand our intrinsic emotional energies, we find them exploding in unpredictable ways.
In the annals of human civilisation, the ancient Greeks hold a place of unique reverence. Their harmonious interplay between Apollo and Dionysus——between reason and instinct——served as the crucible from which arose some of history’s most remarkable artistic, philosophical, and societal achievements.
In what way did the Greeks distinguish themselves from the modern world? It had to do with their innate understanding of the dynamics between Apollo and Dionysus. In stark contrast to the common notion of these entities——and the forces they represent——being eternally opposed, the Greeks perceived them as harmonious allies. They recognised that Apollo, the symbol of order, reason and intellectual enlightenment, and Dionysus, the emblem of chaos, emotion and primal instincts, were not in a battle of opposition but were, in fact, co-participants in the grand dance of life.
It was perhaps one of the less celebrated but nonetheless essential aspects of their culture to embrace both reason and vigour——each with its own purpose and value.
The development of Greek sculpture seems to contradict the evolution of drama in that we see the Greeks struggling to carve ever-more perfect specimens out of marble, to realise in stone their minds’ ideal.
This dualistic approach emerges as the herald of a new age, standing in vehement opposition to the twin serpents of the reigning liberal-humanistic paradigm and mass democracy that have held hypnotic sway over the Western world since the Age of Enlightenment. According to Nietzsche, these
After all, it’s the harmonious merging of artistic and philosophical qualities, embodying purity, strength, and greatness, which enabled the Greeks to live in an unrivalled golden age, during which European creativity and achievement surpassed any other period in human history.
were a people who were keenly aware, terribly aware, of life’s uncertainty and the imminence of death. Over and over again they emphasised the brevity and the failure of human endeavour, the swift passing of all that is beautiful and joyful. But never, not in their darkest moments, did they lose their zest for life.
A high-spirited people full of physical vigour, they did not obey easily, nor did they fall prey to the trappings of collective ideology.
Content in our comfortable and banally uneventful bourgeois existence, modern humans are devoid of the fire of passion, the spark of creativity, and the noble yearnings that once propelled our ancestors towards the heavens.
stands in stark opposition to the corporate and ideological control that has smothered the twenty-first century like shrink-wrap on the face of a murder victim. Freedom, anarchism, and dissent have all been purged from public discourse.
that the loss of shared experiences and the diminished opportunity for emotional bonding and collective release leaves individuals feeling disconnected, not just from others, but also from a more profound sense of self and purpose. This disconnection is a key factor in the growing mental health crisis facing modern society.
In doing so it has made us “smaller”, deprived of the tools needed to reach our fullest potential as individuals.
Nietzsche held the aristocratic values of Classical Greece in high regard, as he writes in The Gay Science, “Oh, those Greeks! They knew how to live: for that purpose, it is necessary to keep bravely to the surface, the fold and the skin; to worship appearance, to believe in forms, tones, and words, in the whole Olympus of appearance!”
7. Chaos & Order: A Framework For Better Living
Have you seen the movie Equilibrium? It shows us a dystopic future where human emotion is outlawed and humanity is given a daily drug, Prozium, in order to suppress wild joy and uninhibited desire. Christian Bale stars as Cleric John Preston, a top-level law enforcer who administers state decrees. Early in the storyline, after realising his colleague—portrayed by Sean Bean—has started experiencing emotions again, Bale remarks, “you’ve been beside me, you know the dangers this way of life holds—the envy, the fury.” Facing his end, Sean Bean retorts, “It’s a steep price, but one I’d willingly pay.”
As modern humans, we must strive to embrace both ends of the spectrum like Sean Bean——and later Christian Bale——in Equilibrium. We must seamlessly integrate the ideal elements of the Apollonian (i.e. rationality, order, and harmony) with the Dionysian (i.e. irrationality, chaos, emotion and instinct), rather than favouring one side over the other.
Going even further, we must learn to balance the Apollonian and Dionysian in a way which leads to the same sense of cultural dynamism that drove Greek civilization to remarkable achievements. Or, in Nietzsche’s words: “The two creative tendencies developed alongside one another, usually in fierce opposition, each by its taunts forcing the other to more energetic production, both perpetuating in discordant concord, until at last, by an Hellenic act of will, the pair accepted the yoke of marriage and, in this condition, begot a form of aliveness which exhibits the salient features of both parents.”
It’s this oscillation, this to-and-fro movement between them, that creates friction. And it’s this friction, this dynamic tension, that propelled Greek civilisation into new heights of creative and artistic freedom.
Too many of us nowadays fall down here. We approach life through stagnant, fixed goals: things like wealth building, material acquisition, security etc. We don’t like uncertainty—not being able to predict what might happen next. And it’s also true, I think, that we seek to minimise struggle and discomfort.
Keep in mind, the challenge we face now is to restore the balance between the Apollonian and Dionysian. It’s this oscillation, this rhythmic interchange, that generates dynamic tension. And it’s this friction, this creative energy, that propelled Greek civilisation into new heights of creative and artistic freedom.
This simple statement opens the door to a new approach to living. One that sets our pulses racing, launches us beyond the comfort zone, and plunges into life’s wild and unpredictable elements. But also one that requires us to cultivate a civilised and controlled demeanour——taking care of ourselves, planning ahead, establishing a rigid framework of order and discipline. After all, we’re composite creatures: made up of both chaos and order, reason and vigour. We have to be willing to move between the extremes——passion and purpose, chaos and control, structure and freedom——if we want to regain a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. For when our attention is fixed upon one side of this equation to the disregard of the other, “human beings result who are only partially developed, their eyes blinded to half of what life and the great world offers.”
Edith Hamilton summarises it thus: The Greeks did not abstract away the outside world to prefer the written claims of the world within, nor did they deny the spirit of reason in favour of its incarnation. To them, the frame and the picture fitted——the world around them and their own minds harmonised. The Greeks understood the contradictory nature of truth, giving predominance to neither, and in all their art there is an absence of struggle, a reconciling power, something of calm and serenity, the world has yet to reproduce.”
And so, we must strive to adopt the Greek approach, embodying their wisdom, their thirst for knowledge, their defiance against authoritarianism, and the embrace of life in all its splendid colours.
Aristotle, the great Greek sage, is renowned for his concept of the Golden Mean, which suggests that the path to moral virtue lies not in extremes, but in balance.
We need to awaken the Greek within us, the spirit of enquiry and the thirst for knowledge, the defiance against authoritarianism, and the embrace of life in all its splendid colours. We need to construct a solid foundation of discipline and purpose, for it is upon this scaffolding that we will drive towards our overarching gaols. Yet, our voyage will not be a cloistered one: as composite creatures, we are called in equal measure to endeavours that quicken our heartbeats, that hurl us beyond our comfort zones, that awaken our wild, chaotic energies and drench our spirits with the vibrant colours of existence.
Rather than cancelling each other out, opposite forces — brought into agreement with one another — create a balanced and efficient whole.
Too many of us nowadays fall down here. We approach life through stagnant, fixed goals: things like wealth building, material acquisition, security etc. We don’t like uncertainty—not being able to predict what might happen next. And it’s also true, I think, that we seek to minimise struggle and discomfort.
Once we grasp the fundamental point——that life, in fact, involves a duet between order and chaos, reason and passion——we can begin to overcome the nihilistic stagnation that has overtaken the modern world. And this, more than anything else, is what Lifestyle Harmonics is here to help us with.