Preferred Citation: Dodds, Eric R. The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley: University of California Press, c!, printing : The Greeks and the Irrational (Sather Classical Lectures) ( ): Eric R. Dodds: Books. E. R. DODDS. The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley and Los. Angeles, University of California Press, Pp. ix + $ (Sather Classical Lectures.

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The Greeks and the Irrational by E.R. Dodds

And his purpose is not to lead his fellow-countrymen doxds into that world, but, on the contrary, to lead them through it and out of it. The directness enargeia of its message was also important. The scope of the work is broad and every chapter addresses some different aspect of Greek irrationality.

Account Options Sign in. Logically, still more god-like when liberated by death. The dreamer does not suppose himself to be anywhere else than in his bed, and in fact he knows himself to be asleep, since the dream-figure znd at pains to point this out to him: But the passage does not stand alone. Sather Classical Lectures, Vol.

It had me re-think much of what I thought I knew about the ancient Greeks. Both Fromm and Popper were refugees from Nazi Europe, the first a psychoanalyst, the second a philosopher.

Every rumour of a cure, bringing as it did fresh hope to the desperate, will have been seized on and magnified in that expectant community of suffering, which was bound together, as Aristides tells us, by a stronger sense of fellow- – – ship than a school or a ship’s company.

I am aware that these irgational are not self-explanatory, that they are probably new to most classical scholars, and that they lend themselves easily to misconception. If we may judge by the furniture of their tombs, the inhabitants of the Aegean region had felt since Neolithic times that man’s need for food, drink, and thf, and his desire for service and entertainment, did not cease with thw. The ate here a sort of stunned bewilderment which overtook Patroclus after Apollo had struck him might possibly be claimed as an instance, since Patroclus had rashly routed the – 6 – Trojans trip aluo.

Ate still stands for irrational as distinct from rationally purposive behaviour: So far as our fragmentary knowledge goes, the first man who explicitly put the dream in its proper place was – – Heraclitus, with his observation that in sleep each of us retreats to a world of his own. For example, in the dream of the man with the sore toe, the godlike beauty of the dream-figure is the sort of traditional trait which would easily be added at this stage.

Extraordinarily erudite and inciteful. The temporary possession of a heightened menos is, like atean abnormal state which demands a supernormal explanation. I have also abstained as far as possible from encumbering the text with controversial arguments on points of detail, which could mean little to readers unfamiliar with the views controverted, and from complicating my main theme by pursuing the numerous side-issues which tempt the professional scholar.


The Greeks and the irrational

There the dodd projection of unconscious desires is surely transparent— as Plato perhaps felt when he declared that this story was fit to – 47 – be communicated only to a very few in some exceptional nvcrlipiov and should at all costs be kept from the young.

By using the word daemon he “expresses the fact that a higher power has made something happen, ” [b3 thw 1 and this fact is all he irrarional. Again, in Penelope’s dream of the eagle and the geese in Odyssey 19 we have a simple wish-fulfilment dream with symbolism and what Freud calls “condensation” and “displacement”: It is likely that these were commoner in former times than they are to-day, since they seem to be relatively frequent among primitives; and even with us they are less rare than is often ghe.

To-day they reap it with Death’s red vodds, The dodcs mouth and the tempter who sits in the irgational. In it we meet, as a rule, only the neighbours, whereas the dream world offers the chance of intercourse, however fugitive, with our distant friends, our ghe, and our gods.

The evolution of a culture is too complex a thing to be explained without residue in terms of any simple formula, whether economic or psychological, begotten of Marx or begotten of Freud. Both sought to apply the tools of their trades toward understanding how Totalitarianism was possible, in a world that seemed to be progressing toward freedom and enlightenment. But it is something much more spontaneous and instinctive than what we call “resolution”; animals can have it, [ and it is used by analogy to describe the devouring energy of fire.

Despite being first published in and considering all of the advances in anthropology, psychology and our knowledge of Greek civilisation, Dodds’ book still holds its place as an important Similar statements appear in Plato, and in a fragment of an early work by Aristotle. Dodds takes on the traditional view of Greek culture as a triumph of rationalism. From ShameCulture to GuiltCulture. A connection of some sort goes back, as we all know, to epic tradition. Here once again the difference between Homer and the Archaic – 36 – Age is relative, not absolute; for it is a mistake to deny that a certain minimum of catharsis is practised in both epics.

Are Homer’s people exceptionally unstable, as compared with the characters in other early epics?

So Dodds wrote the book to explore that idea. Partly because questioning everything gave a good number of young men to believe in rights without responsibilities, Right Makes Thf, and other beliefs that no society can possibly survive when they run wild. Does the poet mean anything more than that Glaucus was a fool to make the bargain he did? I insta ordered the book despite having no interest i I bought this book on a one click impulse a while back.


Dec 05, Regan rated it it was amazing. Pragmatically speaking, this would be for me about two stars, but as I can sense more than rationally grasp the quality and use of so much of the book I cannot read such as most of sodds footnotes, almost all of which are pure Greek plus a smattering of French and German with a pinch of LatinI’ve deigned out of my wellspring of munificence to bestow an up-rounded three stars.

So what could I do? Whether the dream figure is identified as a god or as an ancestor naturally depends on the local culture-pattern.

Its occurrence in Phoenicia is attested by an Egyptian document of the eleventh century; and three centuries earlier still we find the Hittite king Mursili II praying for a “divine man” tge do what Delphi was so often asked to do— to reveal for what sins tje people were afflicted with a plague. Tylor’s animism, Mannhardt’s vegetation-magic, Frazer’s year-spirits, Codrington’s mana, have all in their day helped to illuminate dark places in the ancient record. The Greeks and the Irrational.

Men knew that it was dangerous to be happy. But like Jaynes, no doubt under Dodds’ influence, was later to do, he pivots in his last chapter to essentially say, “however, all this irrationality is actually why the Greeks were stupid and terrible, and your desire for something else, student, means you desire totalitarianism. Penelope is crying over the murder of her beautiful geese [21] when the eagle suddenly speaks with a human voice and explains that he is Odysseus.

But they excluded it from their poems, as they excluded much else that seemed barbarous to them and to their upper-class audience. It hreeks as if the objective, visionary dream had struck deep roots not only in literary tradition but in the popular imagination.

Doxds, mountaineers, and airmen sometimes have odd experiences even today: But I think they are worth asking. It is applied not only to the sinner’s state of mind, but to the objective disasters resulting from it: It is a standard, and it is excellent–though definitely in the Greek Geek category.