‘I Would Believe Only In A God That Knows How To Dance’ Friedrich Nietzsche – Discuss
A splendid quote from renowned philosopher and poet Friedrich Nietzsche.
Can we assume from this, that, as well as publishing critically acclaimed works such as ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra,’ from which this quote is taken, being a classical philologist who penned numerous essays on a range of challenging subjects from religion to science, in addition to attaining a professorship at the impressively young age of 24, he was also a serious clubber for whom dancing acted as a spiritual conduit that brought him closer to God? Perhaps not. Nietzsche was an avowed athiest and, whatever the interpretation, the fact that he used dancing as a metaphor and, very possibly, in its literal sense, is telling. Not only does it elevate dancing to a position of the utmost importance but, for Nietzsche, a God that doesn’t dance is neither supreme nor worth bothering with. Dancing is a fundamental criteria by which to measure the worth of a deity. Ain’t that the truth.
The importance of dancing cannot be overstated. According to recent studies, dancing ‘was designed by the forces of natural selection at the early stage of hominid evolution as a potent tool to put human groups of ancestors in a battle trance, a specific altered state of consciousness.’ Several thousand years later, not much appears to have changed. The most valid aspect of E, I always thought, was the fact that it enabled one to dance for hours on end. So it was, as loved up as I felt, there was something ironic in the fact that, once in a club, I had virtually zero interest in communicating or socialising with others. I wanted to dance. And dance and dance. For what other purpose were E, clubs and techno, the holy trinity of rave, invented? Why would anyone go to a club and not dance? Certainly before the arrival of pills, it was not unusual to be in a club where a considerable number of the patrons were barely moving, preferring instead to skirt the edges of the dancefloor, a slight nodding of the head being the only indication that there was any music being played at all. Lack of confidence, the fear of looking foolish, the idea that dancing was largely the rightful preserve of women, blacks and gays prevented countless numbers making it any further than the bar. It could be said, therefore, that E was a great leveller. The removal of the inhibition labelled ‘I will look an utter tool’ led to an eruption in dancing and general frantic movement on dancefloors across the country that had not been witnessed before. Suddenly, not dancing was considered strange. Or evidence that you hadn’t necked anything.
Scientific studies have revealed the connection between music and the orbitofrontal cortex and ventral striatum, the pleasure and reward centres, in the brain. In other words, it is innate in humans to want to dance, particularly to music. We derive great pleasure not only from dancing ourselves but watching others dance too. Given that E activated these same cerebral pleasure centres in extremis, it’s no wonder this union of the natural and artificial produced a human tsunami of bug-eyed ravers all getting their groove on simultaneously. The bad old days of a dancefloor occupied only by women dancing with each other and black guys demonstrating that yes, they really were that agile, was obliterated by the arrival of acid house and its accompanying favourite narcotic. Sure, not everyone possessed the talent of an Astaire or Kelly and certainly there was more than enough ‘big fish, little fish, cardboard box’ to last a lifetime but that really wasn’t important. What mattered was that dancing no longer belonged to the minority but had become the central focus for all who participated in a way that had not previously happened. Was there really anything better than to be in a club at 3am, with a storming set of sounds bouncing off the walls, watching a sea of heads and bodies undulating away furiously? Not for me. There was a buzz to be had from that which didn’t just come from being pilled up. To quote Nietzsche once more ‘I would not know what the spirit of a philosopher might wish more to be, than a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal.’
Tori Amos – God (Dharma Kaya mix)