Dionysus Versus Apollo: An Uncertain Search for Identity Through Dark Tourism—Palestine as a Case Study

  • Rami K. Isaac
  • Vincent Platenkamp


According to Nietzsche, European civilization has entered a phase of nihilism. The catastrophes of the twentieth century confirm this image. Adorno’s moral dictum that art and thinking become impossible after the Holocaust refers to this image (Isaac and Platenkamp, 2015; Tiedemann, 2003). Western morality has ended in a form of relativism that rejects any substantial value in the everyday life of the Western world (Mann 1948). This pessimistic line of thought leads to a devastating and completely relativized concept of identity. Identities are floating around without any point of anchorage. Nietzsche compares this situation to a state of passive nihilism in which no criterion can deliver the foundation of any identity. As an alternative to this nihilism, Nietzsche also talks about human tragedy. Nietzsche sees the origin of ancient Greek tragedy in the relation between Dionysus and Apollo—the birth of the tragedy in the first book by Nietzsche published in 1872. Nietzsche was at that time classics professor at Basle. He presents himself immediately as the great philosopher who is not confined to specialist considerations, but is searching for the bigger picture. The Birth of Tragedy is an early work, all the themes Nietzsche would elaborate upon in later works, including the will to power, moral criticism, the amor fati, and the eternal return.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rami K. Isaac
    • 1
  • Vincent Platenkamp
    • 1
  1. 1.Academy for Tourism, NHTV Breda University of Applied SciencesBredaThe Netherlands

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