Rage and Time: A Psychopolitical Investigation

Rage and Time: A Psychopolitical Investigation

by Peter Sloterdijk
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

An impressive, wide-ranging examination of rage in Western civilization.... Highly recommended.

Ulrich Baer

Peter Sloterdijk attempts rather impressively what many academic writers desperately seek and frequently fail to achieve: he writes a highly relevant and incisive analysis of the current state of world affairs by analyzing the role of anger in contemporary global conflicts.

Publishers Weekly
A brilliant and conceptually rich analysis of the influence of rage on the development of Western culture. Tracing rage from its earliest Greek articulation as Thymos in the Iliad, Sloterdijk (Critique of Cynical Reason) argues for a notion of rage both as a motivating force in man’s struggle for reward and recognition and as a foundational feature of the human understanding of time. According to the author, modernity has downplayed the primacy of rage in favor of a Freudian focus on desire as more fundamental to psychic life. These claims provide the framework for a demonstration of how rage has operated in the development of the “psychopolitical” history of the West, a history characterized by various attempts to “save” and “invest” rage, utilizing its force to further particular ideological ends, primarily religious and revolutionary. Though frequently hampered by excessive academic jargon and a theoretically questionable oscillation between the non-equivalent notions of Thymos and rage, the book offers a fascinating account of the historical dynamics of social development, one capable of holding a vast array of phenomena, from Biblical psalms to the 2005 Paris riots, within its purview. (May)
Library Journal
Peter Sloterdijk (philosophy, Univ. of Karlsruhe, Germany) looks at rage in Western civilization through its history, philosophy, and religion. According to the author, the place of rage within our societies and governments has changed. He explains that Plato, through his dialogs, showed how acts of rage could become moral actions by allowing the person to correct injustices and gain back self-respect and moral balance. This view changed with the movement away from the wrathful God of past Western societies toward the Christian beliefs of forgiveness and understanding one's enemies. This change has also occurred in politics by what Sloterdijk views as a planned political movement of rage that is more entrepreneurial. He concludes that modern governments should find a balance between the use of rage for fights that are necessary and provoking needless conflicts. VERDICT Sloterdijk's writing is very technical, and his theories offer a unique perspective on morality and the use of force in resolving conflicts. This book will interest scholars and readers with a background in philosophy and an interest in Continental philosophy.—Scott Duimstra, Capital Area Dist. Lib., Lansing, MI

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231145237
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
05/15/2012
Series:
Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
640,740
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Ulrich Baer

Peter Sloterdijk attempts rather impressively what many academic writers desperately seek and frequently fail to achieve: he writes a highly relevant and incisive analysis of the current state of world affairs by analyzing the role of anger in contemporary global conflicts.

Ulrich Baer, New York University, and author of Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma

Sjoerd van Tuinen

Peter Sloterdijk is one of contemporary philosophy's most provocative and productive thinkers and writers. The originality, scope, and conceptual athleticism of his work together with his many extra-academic appearances confront us with a genuine philosophical event.

Meet the Author

Peter Sloterdijk is professor of philosophy and president of the State Academy of Design at the University of Karlsruhe. His numerous works include the best-selling philosophical Critique of Cynical Reason and the Spheres trilogy.

Mario Wenning is assistant professor at the University of Macau. He publishes in the areas of critical theory and German idealism.

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