From Ressentiment to Redemption
New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Democracy was a dream from which Venezuelans awoke one midnight in February 1992. A coup d’état announced the commencement of the revolt of ressentiment. We did not listen to the warning and by February 1999 we saw the Leviathan rise, the Beast of State Power, seeming to come from the depths of a collective psyche or from a distant past. The revolt of ressentiment had succeeded once more; through it, the slaves became the enslavers. And again one has to make an attempt at understanding. To deal with it; to survive; to avoid the contagious effect of incubated hate erupting into total destruction. There is my motive, from the middle of the hurricane – to undertake a moral quest through individual emotions that affect collectivities that affect the world. The Venezuelan experience is but one among many instances in the contemporary world of the 21st century showing similar signs of emotions having the upper hand in social and political affairs. Genocides, terrorism, despots massacring their people, are signs that democracy, with its rational process of growing inclusion and respect for human rights, is far from the envisioned global goal of mutual understanding and deliberation. Friedrich Nietzsche, who dealt with ressentiment and on whose work all subsequent authors on the subject have elaborated, understood his moment, the end of the 19th century, as another victory of the revolt of ressentiment started 2000 years previously with the Judeo-Christian civilization. Should we say that it is happening again at the 21st century in...