The World Explored, the World Suffered Science and tech Issue Nr. 12 November 2018(clone) - Page 24

be  necessitated  by  the  beginning  and  necessitate  its  end.  The  final  cause  of  the  tragedy  is   its  cathartic  effect  upon  the  emotions  of  fear  and  pity  which  naturally  arise  as  a   consequence  of  what  we  are  witnessing.  The  term  catharsis  obviously  has  medical   connotations  and  one  often  forgets  that  the  medical  intention  of  purging  was  healing   and  this  was  the  argument  Aristotle  made  against  the  objection  of  Plato  to  the  arousal  of   such  emotions.  The  pleasure  that  supervenes  upon  the  learning  of  what  there  is  to  learn   in  the  tragedy  occurs  not  in  a  frenzy  of  emotion  but  rather  in  the  calm  after  the  storm..     The  resemblance  of  this  process  to  what  goes  on  in  psychoanalytical  therapy  has  often   been  mentioned.  Sir  David  Ross  in  his  work  on  Aristotle  has  the  following  to  say  on  the   process  of  catharsis:     "The  process  hinted  at  bears  a  strong  resemblance  to  the  "abreaction",  the  working  off   of  strong  emotion,  to  which  psychoanalysts  attach  importance.  There  is  some  difference   however,  to  what  they  try  to  bring  about  in  abnormal  cases  Aristotle  describes  as  the   effect  of  tragedy  on  the  normal  spectator.  Do  most  men  in  fact  go  about  with  an   excessive  tendency  to  pity  and  fear?  And  are  they  in  fact  relieved  by  witnessing  the   sufferings  of  the  tragic  hero?  That  we  somehow  benefit  by  seeing  or  reading  a  great   tragedy,  and  that  it  is  by  pity  and  fear  that  it  produces  its  effect  is  beyond  doubt:  but  is   not  the  reason  to  be  found  elsewhere.  Is  it  that  people  deficient  in  pity  and  fear  because   their  lives  give  little  occasion  for  such  feelings  are  for  once  taken  out  of  themselves  and   made  to  realise  the  heights  and  depths  of  human  experience?  Is  not  this  enlarging  of  our   experience,  and  the  accompanying  teaching  of  "self-­‐knowledge  and  self-­‐respect"  the  real   reason  of  the  value  which  is  placed  upon  tragedy?"     The  above  refers  to  Aristotle's  learning  process  in  the  arena  of  ethical  action.  The  arrival   at  the  golden  mean  via  a  process  of  inductive  trial  and  error  learning  is  here  applied  to   our  emotions  and  their  regulation.  One  can  almost  imagine  that  the  terminal  response   imagined  by  Aristotle  of  the  audience  of  the  tragedy  is  well  depicted  in  those  sculptures   of  men  in  a  state  of  contemplation.  The  reference  to  "abreaction"  is  perhaps  only  apt  if  it   refers  to    the  mental  effects  of  the  talking  cure  on  anxiety  levels  once  the  troubling   traumas  or  wishes  are  subjected  to  transformation    in  the  memory  by  being  consciously   talked  about.  Catharsis  in  psychoanalysis  differs  from  catharsis  in  art  in  that  the  former   process  is  happening  to  the  hero  of  the  tragedy  and  the  latter  is  happening  to  a   disinterested  spectator  who  is  not  viewing  or  conceptualising  the  chain  of  events  as  a   particular  series  of  events  happening  to  a  particular  person  but  more  generally  and   hypothetically:  namely,  "if  someone  does  this  kind  of  action  is  done  then  this  kind  of  fate   is  the  inevitable  consequence".  Kant  referred  to  this  as  "exemplary  necessity"  in  his   Critique  of  Aesthetic  Judgment.   The  cathartic  process  of  a  patient  involves  a  learning  or  "recognition"  which  increases   ones  own  sense  of  self  awareness  that  one  cannot  speak  with  a  universal  voice  about.   The  cathartic  process  involved  with  tragedy  on  the  other  hand  justifies  the  use  of  the   universal  voice  because  of  the  involvement  of  "exemplary  necessity".     Our  modern  tragedy  of  course  is  related  to  the  failure  of  our  present  day  culture  to  be   able  to  speak  with  a  universal  voice  about  itself.  Culturally,  i.e.  politically,  ethically    and   aesthetically  we  appear  to  live  in  a  disenchanted  tragic  world  in  which  the  voices  of   Aristotle,  Kant  and  Freud  and  their  followers  are  drowned  out  by  the  collective   contradictory  voices  of  the  popular  mythical  thousand  headed  monster.  The  knowledge