From Ressentiment to Redemption
New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Chapter 1: The problem
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.