2

Nietzsche is well known for his notion of ressentiment which he had taken from Kierkegaard and develops in the Anti-Christ; Kierkegaard notes In the Present Age the positive value of ressentiment in an enthusiastic or passionful age; it is the tribute that the less eminent pay to the more eminent but which at the same time rescues their dignity by lowering the more eminent below the less eminent:

Even in the most enthusiastic ages people have always liked to joke enviously about their superiors. That is perfectly in order and is entirely justifiable so long as after having laughed at the great they can once more look upon them with admiration

But is a less passionate age, but which

has the strength to give ressentiment its proper character and has made up its mind what its expression signifies, ressentiment has its own, though dangerous importance.

That is ressentiment can turn into resentment/envy; but is held in check by the recognition of a real difference. But when the age turns reflective:

the more reflection gets the upper hand and thus makes people indolent, the more dangerous ressentiment becomes, because it no longer has sufficient character to make it conscious of its significance.

Why does a reflective or indolent age makes this possible? I'd suggest that it the lack of action and hence the lack of opportunity for actual differences in character to be revealed; is this right? and why is it dangerous?

  • @sunami: thanks for pointing that out, I had assumed that the extracts were from Nietszche. – Mozibur Ullah Jun 28 '14 at 4:22
  • Nietzsche never read Kierkegaard, so how did he take the concept from Kierkegaard???????? – Vincent McCarthy Feb 6 '17 at 16:36
  • @VincentMcCarthy: look here – Mozibur Ullah Feb 6 '17 at 19:09
2

Solely based on the passage quoted in the Wikipedia link you provided, Kierkegaard is worried that in a non-active age, ressentiment can actually be used to keep people from excelling, by attacking anyone who does better than anyone else --in fact, it even keeps people from trying to excel.

I think the overall concept is similar to that explored by satirist Kurt Vonnegut in his well-known short story Harrison Bergeron.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.