Woodstock’s Legacy: The Rise of Environmentalism and the Religious Right
By Yaron Brook Recorded May 1, 2008
At Ford Hall Forum in 1969, Ayn Rand examined the cultural significance of two high-profile, enormously well-attended but very different events: Woodstock and the Apollo 11 launch. In her lecture, “Apollo and Dionysus,” she showed how philosophical ideas play out in a culture: she showed why these two events, so opposite in nature, were a product of a long-standing philosophical dichotomy, reason versus emotion. She concluded her talk by noting that, against the bromide that man’s senses and reason confine him to the grubby, material world while his mystical emotions lift him to the stars, Woodstock and the Apollo 11 launch “offered you a literal dramatization of the truth: it is man’s irrational emotions that bring him down to the mud; it is man’s reason that lifts him to the stars.”
In this talk, Yaron Brook considers how these two opposing forces, reason and emotionalism, have manifested themselves in American culture in the ensuing decades. He examines the Apollonian elements which are lifting us to the stars. And he examines the Dionysian elements—religion and environmentalism—which are dragging us back down into the mud, figuratively and literally.