Leadership by Resentment

Leadership by Resentment

From Ressentiment to Redemption

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Ruth Capriles

The author explores the conditions that foster the development of ressentiment, the role of leaders and followers, and the phases of the phenomenon as it encourages destructive behaviors such as murder and suicide. Often considered an incurable disease with destructive social and political repercussions, it is a core motive for acts of terrorism, revolutions, social upheavals and processes of toxic leadership. The author puts forth a model that helps to describe certain historical processes led by ressentiment, like some revolutions and terrorist acts, and to distinguish them from other movements that are usually treated as similar (e.g., independence revolutions). The book then tackles a seemingly impossible question: Can we find a cure for this powerful and destructive impulse? With care and deliberation, the author demonstrates the power of ethical leadership, recognition and redemption as positive unifying forces during human conflicts.

Chapter 1: The problem

Ruth Capriles

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership

Extract

Ressentiment is a reclaim, so old we have forgotten who we have a claim against, but we cannot forget the original grievance which endures through time and becomes a permanent, incurable disease. It is a psychological disease, socially endemic and a historical process of destruction of values. According to all authors reviewed, it is incurable at all dimensions. Eruptions of the symptoms of the disease are revolts, according to Nietzsche who coined the very politically incorrect phrase: ‘The revolt of the slaves’. Scheler characterizes it as a repeated experience and reliving of negative, hostile emotions which are recurrently repressed due to a felt impotence to ventilate or satisfy them. It is understood as a phenomenon and an emotional process that proceeds by phases of repression and transformation of emotions which sink deeply into the center of the personality until they are removed from consciousness and rational control. When the emotion surfaces it is experienced as a renewal of both the original grievance and the feeling of impotence.