Yesterday I had this thought come up-
I am aquainted a bit with the concept of resentment, as it can exist in terms of a sort of enviousness of the have-nots, for the haves. Nietzsche's
"slave and master mentalities" , and the Will to Power
But what about the other phenomenon I see? Which is composed of resentment by the powerful for the powerless?
I acknowledge the existance of a will to power in myself, and that I suspect may be inherent in all humans, but I also percieve that it inhabits right
next to, and jostled by, a will to something like Epicureanism
, and ataraxia
. The desire for the simple pleasures of life, freedom from
fear and stress, investment in affectionate and trusting relationships with others.
This other drive counters
the will to power, and is, in my view, the source of what Nietszche called "slave" mentality. When giving away ones
power to another, one becomes free of responsability, free to invest in equal exchanges and relationships with others (that are not competative
relations), and gain freedom from fear, as being a follower of some sort usually provides protection for you, by the powerful.
Now, as much as I see, in my own natal culture, people sneer and put this down as "laziness" or other ways of calling it a fault, I strongly suspect
that just like the will to power, this will to powerlessness exists in everyone, inherently!
The will to power drives us to go forward in life, the will to powerlessness slows us down and demands us to smell the flowers and experience love
along the way.
My first awareness of powerful resentment was in myself and my entourage. I am someone who values highly responsability. I have the typical "eldest
sibling" mentality, and felt responsible for others from a young age, and so find it very hard to pull out of that role. Because of this, I tend to
make friends with people who are similar- many of my best friends were also the oldest siblings and very concerned with taking on responsibility, as a
duty. We tend to believe that someone needs to step in and make decisions and choices, and if no one else will, we have to.
I have also always been very aware that to others who don't feel this so strongly, this is seen only as a hunger for power over others. But in
reality, me and the people I know who share this habit, desire one thing more than anything else- that someone else would jump in and take the power
and allow us to be powerless! That we could relax and be free of having to make choices and carry responsibility.
We feel a certain amount of resentment for those who lean on us, and those we see leaning on others in general. They are stress-free in contrast, they
have more affectionate bonds with others, they are able to take time to laugh and enjoy life in a lighter way.
Sometimes it is not resentment we feel, if a person has learned to live things through another- for example through identifying with your child, then
you can experience that playful stressfree state you make possible for him, through him. Same with a spouse, a student......
I personally was lucky enough to have life situations which made it possible for me to experience powerlessness- going into a foriegn country, and
having a mate that was capable of stepping into the role of powerful. So I got to taste that, I became aware I can choose either experience, as my
mate and I decide to change roles from time to time.
But I watch some of my similar friends who didn't get that lucky... women, for example, that desire nothing more in this world than to find a man who
can take the reins from them, but they are so powerful no man can! And they are bitter and they are resentful, because of the responsibility they
I percieve that they have their ways of "punishing" in more or less passive aggressive ways, those powerless people they are resentful of. In various
judgements of being "lazy", stupid, passive... in ways of taking more of their share in things.
There is the idea that the powerful one should get more of the shared cake, because they are making the decisions and carrying the responsibility.
That brain work deserves more in return than muscle work.
But who came up with that idea?? Was it perhaps, the powerful/responsibles in a society?
Since Neitzsche, we learned to keep a skeptical and suspicious eye on the value systems that spring forth from the powerless, but why do we trust so
blindly the values that come from the powerful, and see them as above suspicion- that there couldn't be some dirty resentfulness under that, driving
I have seen, on a smaller scale, such people make decisions which they knew to be unbalanced, but they justified to themselves with this argument.
Well- he/she is leaving me with all the responsibility all the time, so screw her/him, I deserve more of this.
The problem I percieve with that is that often, these dynamics of power roles are not chosen by one side, they are more or less agreed upon. The
person in charge probably keeps taking the role without giving the other a chance to take it (usually just through habit, sometimes through fear and
But most of all, just as the person in powerless roles will feel that pressure of the Will to Power inside them being oppressed,
So will the person in the power role feel the pressure of the Will to Powerless inside them being repressed.
They each feel a part of them not being fulfilled and wanting so. The resentment is possible on both sides, and is often the source of just as many
polluted systems and values on the side of the master mentality!
Even if a person denies that they have any part of them that desires escaping power/responsibility (I won't believe you, but just for the sake of
argument) then that would mean that in having that position of power, your desire and hunger is fulfilled. You don't need to have a bigger part of the
cake- you got your reward already.
edit on 27-7-2012 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)
edit on 27-7-2012 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)