Leadership by Resentment
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Leadership by Resentment

From Ressentiment to Redemption

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.
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Chapter 7: Nihilism and terrorism

Ruth Capriles


Nietzsche characterized nihilism as a psychological state arrived at by three phases. First, the loss of human purpose; when we look for meanings in things and find them void of meaning, then we discover there is no aim or meaning to life.61 Second, the loss of the sense of unity and belonging; when we look for, and do not find, a totality, a unity to belong to and to give sense and value to our individual existence. Third, when losing aim and unity we invent a beyond, a metaphysical world, and find it does not exist, that it was fabricated by the human mind, by our need for meaning, then we lose the sense of truth, we kill God, as Nietzsche’s madman cried: ‘God is dead and we have killed him ourselves!’ (GS: III, 125). One reaches, then, the will to nothing, an aversion to life, a revolt against the fundamental preconditions of life because ‘Men prefer to have the will to nothing rather than have no will’ (Nietzsche GM: I, 28).

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