Monday, 29 October 2012
My first awareness of this word was during a sermon a couple decades ago. I then read about it in a book, "Idols for Destruction", by Herbert Schlossberg.
The book's partial description is as follows..." The twisted path from humanism's soaring tributes in honor of the human divinity to the consequences of modern humanitarianism is best explained by the concept of ressentiment. When Nietzsche wrote his celebrated attack on Christianity, he transliterated this word from the French because he could find no German equivalent. Max Scheler, a German sociologist, built on and corrected Nietzsche's work and again used the French word. When Scheler's book was translated into English the same practice was followed, because "resentment" is too weak to convey the meaning he intended. Ressentiment begins with perceived injury that may have a basis in fact, but more often is occasioned by envy for the possessions or the qualities possessed by another person.......the result is hatred and the impulse to spite and to say things that detract from the others worth. (I'm thinking of a current POTUS who does this, Obama. - My comment added) Vengeance is the principle manifestation of ressentiment. It's not the same as mere envy or resentment because it is not content to suffer quietly but as a festering quality that seeks outlet in doing harm to its object. Ressentiment has its origin in the tendency to make comparisons between the attributes of another and one's own attributes: wealth, possessions, appearance, intelligence, personality, friends, children. Ressentitment "whispers continually" the other's very existence is a reproach."
"With this many of that which seems senseless crimes to us are explained. Ressentiment values its own welfare "less than" it does the debasement or harm of its object."
Again, senseless crimes of vandalism, brutality, and murder could be explained in that way. I'll add senseless political views which use the civil government to plunder, injure or destroy.
Ressentiment could also explain the political climate of America today. Many are out in the street protesting for movements which will simply destroy America. One example is the Wisconsin governor race and recall these last couple years. The political and public union leaders such as Obama, Trumka along with their close followers have really revealed their envy, resentment and even ressentiment with their words, behaviors. Their court, protesting, boycotting and political strategies seek to undermine our freedoms, political fairness, promote political money laundering, redistribution of wealth from tax payers to public union bosses, i.e. Trumka and teachers. Obama seems to be a leader in blowing on the flames of envy and resentment with his divisional tactics, the list goes on. These types of thoughts or views begin with envy or resentment and has carried itself further to action described as ressentiment.
There are many other excellent topics in this book. You should check it out at the library possibly. ISBN 0-8407-5828-2. Paper back is 0-8407-5832-4. Copyright 1983.
The bible warns us about the root causes of this....."A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones." - Proverbs 14:30
Trying to add this to any table side discussion and one may just stir up a bit of ....... ressentiment.
This is to be remembered also, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13:4-8
Have a blessed day.
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