Catharsis is a process of emotional clearing; where we find ourselves to be improved or bettered, or “topped up” of bad emotions. Aristotle believed that a good drama would bring Catharsis and provoked the betterment of a person.
A way to understand this strange concept is by the transliterated word purging; where we are purged of those heavy feelings and feel better for getting them out of us. There seems to be multiple ways in which we can realise catharsis; through the consumption of art, which, in a sense, is a passive act; but there are also positive and active ways in which we also engage in catharsis.
I was just thinking right now; Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s writings seem to be the most interesting instance of catharsis, for, Nietzsche’s middle-late period is his expression of bitter resent, despair, anger, derision, and yet, fantasy. I get the distinct impression that Nietzsche’s writing is like fantasy; an intellectual pornography; his bitter hatred for the masses is iconic of the archetypal sexual lust of man. He, insofar as he is the author, engages in his own self-indulgence of catharsis. We, are his bitches, insofar as we indulge in his writing, and derision of us, the herd.