“Someone or other must be to blame for my feeling”

I don’t normally find Nietzsche worth quoting, but on the desire for revenge among those suffering ressentiment – which encompasses a depressingly large proportion of the left – he seems to be quite on the money. These madmen in Florida and Toronto, and not just there, appear to use murder as a form of self-therapy. They were described by Nietzsche in Book III – Section 15 of his Genealogy of Morals:

All those who suffer instinctively seek a cause for their suffering; more exactly, an agent; still more specifically, a guilty agent who is susceptible to suffering – in short, some living thing upon which they can, on some pretext or other, vent their emotions, actually or in effigy: for the venting of their emotions represents the greatest attempt on the part of the suffering to win relief, anaesthesia – the narcotic they cannot help desiring to deaden pain of any kind. This alone, I surmise, constitutes the actual physiological cause of ressentiment, vengefulness, and the like: the desire to deaden pain through the discharge of emotion.

The desire is to deaden, by means of a more violent emotion of any kind, a tormenting secret pain that is becoming unendurable, and to drive it out of consciousness at least for the moment: for this purpose one needs an emotion, as savage an emotion as possible, and, in order to excite that emotion, any pretext at all will do. “Someone or other must be to blame for my feeling” – this kind of reasoning is common to all the sick, and is indeed held the more firmly the more the real cause of their feeling remains hidden. . . .

All sufferers, one and all, are dreadfully eager and inventive in devising excuses for painful emotions; they revel in their suspicions, dwelling on imaginary slights; they scour the entrails of their past and present for obscure and questionable occurrences that offer them the opportunity to revel in tormenting suspicions; they intoxicate themselves with the poison of their own malice: they tear open their oldest wounds, they bleed from scars long since healed; they make evildoers out of their friends, wives, children, and whoever else stands closest to them. “I suffer: someone is to blame.”

I would also think no little part of the murderous activities among migrant communities comes from their inability to achieve positions of status within the communities in which they or their parents have come. The cause is their inability to adapt and join in on the productive side of our very open economies, but are unable to understand why. Their desire for revenge burns deep.

The denizens of Gaza, who look into the productive and generally prosperous state of Israel, have that same resentment, fuelled in no small part by their massive envy of the Israelis in company with an absolute rejection of any recognition that the Israelis are merely superior in their organisational and perhaps more general cultural abilities.

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