Friday, July 01, 2011

The Night, the night

Some days, the Night in Seattle reminds me of the analysis of Tristan and Isolde given the free lecture given before the performance of the opera in Seattle in 2010. According to the lecturer, Wagner's masterpiece about love drew heavily from Schopenhauer's philosophy positing a division between the world of the day and night. Day was the time where people faced restrictions and had to act in set roles, and Night was where people are freer to explore their true selves. Night became a type of temporary autonomous zone where romance and playful indulgence can take place, where roles are temporarily suspended, and where the Dionysian can be accepted and not frowned upon.
Seattle in a good city night feels the same way. Love and pleasure, not only carnal pleasure but the pleasure of friendly enjoyment with your fellow men and women is accepted and cultivated. It reminds me of the subject and feel of a story titled 'No Tomorrow' included in Ari Hustvedt's "The Libertine Reader", put out by Zone Books. In the story, exotic sensual and sexual enjoyment gives way to actions done as if the considerations of the day, of tomorrow, did not exist. Not out of irresponsibility, but out of pursuing your true desires as if the restrictions of the Day were not there, as if were possible to pursue the ideal realm without reality intruding. A very Tristan and Isolde like theme.

I shouldn’t have to say it, but Wagner's political opinions have little to do with Tristan and Isolde. None of them show up in the play.

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