Rage and Time

Rage and Time: A Psychopolitical Investigation

PETER SLOTERDIJK
TRANSLATED BY MARIO WENNING
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/slot14522
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  • Book Info
    Rage and Time
    Book Description:

    While ancient civilizations worshipped strong, active emotions, modern societies have favored more peaceful attitudes, especially within the democratic process. We have largely forgotten the struggle to make use of thymos, the part of the soul that, following Plato, contains spirit, pride, and indignation. Rather, Christianity and psychoanalysis have promoted mutual understanding to overcome conflict. Through unique examples, Peter Sloterdijk, the preeminent posthumanist, argues exactly the opposite, showing how the history of Western civilization can be read as a suppression and return of rage.

    By way of reinterpreting the Iliad, Alexandre Dumas's Count of Monte Cristo, and recent Islamic political riots in Paris, Sloterdijk proves the fallacy that rage is an emotion capable of control. Global terrorism and economic frustrations have rendered strong emotions visibly resurgent, and the consequences of violent outbursts will determine international relations for decades to come. To better respond to rage and its complexity, Sloterdijk daringly breaks with entrenched dogma and contructs a new theory for confronting conflict. His approach acknowledges and respects the proper place of rage and channels it into productive political struggle.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51836-9
    Subjects: Philosophy, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-44)

    AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE EUROPEAN tradition, in the first verse of the Iliad, the word “rage” occurs. It appears fatally and solemnly, like a plea, a plea that does not allow for any disagreement. As is fitting for a well-formed propositional object, this noun is in the accusative: “Of the rage of Achilles, son of Peleus, sing Goddess. . . .” That it appears at the very beginning loudly and unequivocally announces its heightened pathos. Which kind of relationship to rage is proposed to the listeners in this magical prelude to this heroic song? How...

  4. 1 RAGE TRANSACTIONS
    (pp. 45-68)

    THERE IS NO PERSON LIVING TODAY WHO HAS NOT REALIZED that the Western world, and through it also indirectly all other areas of the world, is being irritated by a new theme. With a concern that is half true and half put-on, Westerners raise an alarm: “Hatred, revenge, irreconcilable hostility have suddenly appeared again among us! A mixture of foreign forces, unfathomable as the evil will, has infiltrated the civilized spheres.”

    Some people, engaged for the sake of morality, make similar observations with a form of realism marked by a tone of reproach. They emphasize that the so-called foreign forces...

  5. 2 THE WRATHFUL GOD THE DISCOVERY OF THE METAPHYSICAL REVENGE BANK
    (pp. 69-110)

    AT THE END OF THE INTRODUCTION I CLAIMED THAT THE psychopolitical constellation of rage and time (or rage and history) is anticipated by the theological constellation of rage and eternity. What this means exactly at this point needs to be developed. Nontrivial insights concerning the function and architecture of monotheistic religions will surface in the course of this investigation.

    That theology wants to be a political quantity, that it can, and that it indeed needs to be such follow from a simple diagnosis. The religions that were relevant for the course of occidental European history, that is, the Mesopotamian as...

  6. 3 THE RAGE REVOLUTION ON THE COMMUNIST WORLD BANK OF RAGE
    (pp. 111-182)

    CONSIDERING THE ORIGIN, IDENTIFICATION, AND WORKING mechanism of divine wrath reveals a rarely noticed truth: apocalyptic theory allows for a unique frenetic exhilaration. It is ignited by the expectation that everything in the last instance will happen completely differently from how those currently successful believe it will. The apocalyptic’s view transforms circumstances and events into unmistakable hints of the approaching end of the untenable old world. However, because this ending is yearned for intensely, even the darkest signs of the age are evangelically charged. While Greek theory exhilarates through the conception of participating in the timeless worldview of the gods,...

  7. 4 THE DISPERSION OF RAGE IN THE ERA OF THE CENTER
    (pp. 183-226)

    IF ONE WANTED TO EXPRESS THE STRONG CHARACTER OF THE contemporary psychopolitical international situation in one sentence, it would have to be: We have entered an era without rage collection points of global perspective. Neither in heaven nor on earth does anyone know what work could be done with the “just anger of the people.” The sacred fureur, from which Jean-Paul Marat, one of the most vicious and greatest agitators of 1789, expected the creation of a new society, leads today to nothing. It creates only dissatisfied noise and brings about hardly more than isolated symbolic actions. However large one...

  8. CONCLUSION: BEYOND RESENTMENT
    (pp. 227-230)

    AFTER EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN SAID DURING THE COURSE of this investigation, it would be absurd to claim that rage’s best days are behind it. On the contrary, rage (together with its thymotic siblings, pride, the need for recognition, and resentment) is a basic force in the ecosystem of affects, whether interpersonal, political, or cultural. This thesis remains valid, even if rage cannot concentrate itself in the future in the form of universal collectives of a communist type, but rather only in regional collections. If regression from a certain achieved state of political psychology is not possible, the thymotic energies...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 231-248)