The Culture of Today and the Dionysian Society
Missing Works Cited
Foreseeing the future, pain, drugs and alcohol. It all sounds like elements in the plot of a Hollywood movie. These elements, however, are not of a movie, but of the past of a society. “The Pueblos of New Mexico”, an essay written by Ruth Benedict talks of these different societies. Dionysian, derived from the Greek god of wine Dionysus, perceives values through “the annihilation of the ordinary bounds and limits of existence” (517). The Dionysian culture holds values that approve recklessness, glorification, states of emotional excess, and a general passion to break through the usual routine of everyday life. This society is one that has very similar characteristics to the societies of today. The frequent use of drugs and alcohol, the desire to foresee the future, and the constant self-inflicted pain were just some of the things that the Dionysian cultures believed in.
“The most conspicuous… is probably their practice of obtaining supernatural power in a dream or vision…” (519). The Dionysian cultures believed that they could go on quests to achieve a vision of the future. Today, those quests are no farther than the telephone, advertisements on television, or on your computer screen. Everyday, people are introduced to different experiences where they can “find out their own future”. Societies have always wanted to know their futures. Recently though, the urgency to know one’s own future has increased dramatically. With the technological advances that have taken place in our society, fortune telling has become more apparent. Societies are feeling increasingly out of control of their own lives, and are going to these fortunetellers to feel more self-assured. “On the western plains they believed that when the vision came it determined their life and the success they might expect.” (519). Today, the societies feel that no matter what the fortuneteller says, it is the truth and that is one-hundred percent what is going to happen.
“They valued all violent experience, all means by which human beings may break through the usual sensory routine, and to all such experiences they attributed the highest value” (518). Dionysian cultures did many horrifying things to themselves. Cutting strips of skin off of their arms, cutting fingers off and going without food and water for days were some of the things that the people of the Dionysian cultures did. Today, violence is a major part of one society’s existence. Gangs today rely very highly on violence...