Reflection and Ressentiment

Ressentiment is characteristic of a reflexive age, which simultaneously gives it no productive outlet (as in ancient Greek ostracism where it was a negative mark of distinction).  On top of this, the pervasive hollowness of the age, it’s foreclosing of our ability to address our inner wretchedness, makes resentment all the more intense.  Add to this the fact that so many of the distractions we use to escape despair involve indulging in depictions of greatness, wealth, broadcast into our homes and onto our phones. 

Lacking any outlet in action, resentment in the reflexive age manifests as leveling.

Since the age is grounded in abstraction, the individual cannot be allowed to rise in his particularity above the abstraction, to fail to conform to it.  Thus, our inborn inclination to greatness must be strangled in the crib.  Greatness has to be prevented at the outset, since once it exists we have no means of quelling our resentment of it (even to kill the great man acknowledges his greatness) .  Thus, the official policy becomes cultivated acedia.  Action is stifled and hindered to prevent distinction, leading to apathy.  Those invested in preserving the systems of the present age deliberately encourage resentment precisely because it allows them to fulfill the leveling impulse it requires. 

Like so many things, it is a reflexive cycle. 

Of course, distinction still occurs, it must, and it exists historically.  The great achievements of the past remain and remain memorialized through the physical memory of the landscape.  We see, therefore, as the age becomes ever more reflective the deep lack of satisfaction brought about by the internal contradictions of the age intensifies paroxysms of rage directed towards historical greatness and the heirs of that greatness in the present.  History too must be leveled.

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