In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche, following Schopenhauer, characterizes our experience of individuality (principium individuationis) as an illusion. He makes use of the Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus to personify both sides of our humanity. Nietzsche’s ideal in this work was a human being in which the Apollonian and Dionysian elements were brought into some kind of harmony with each other. Is our individuality an illusion? What could it mean to reconcile the Apollonian and Dionysian sides of our existence?
Jean-Paul Sartre’s declaration that “existence precedes essence” is a multifaceted statement that is invoked in order to defend existentialism against critics of it. In order to understand and analyze the phrase, all three words within it must be analyzed and then assembled together to comprehend the full meaning of the sentence. The declaration reverses the status quo thinking at the time, but allows mankind freedom. The statement is accurate, and is universally applicable to man, the author himself included.