Rage and indignation. Theory and history of a passion Philosophy Seminar Wrath and indignation

Rage and indignation. Theory and history of a passion

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Remo Bodei
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  1. Remo BodeiRemo Bodei

    Remo Bodei es profesor de Filosofía en la Universidad de California, Los Ángeles, tras haber enseñado durante mucho tiempo en la Escuela Normal Superior de la Universidad de Pisa. También ha dado clases en diversas universidades europeas (Tubinga, Friburgo, Heidelberg, Bochum, Berlín, Ginebra, King’s College de Cambridge, École Normale Supérieure de París, Bruselas, Girona, Madrid) y americanas (New York University, Ottawa, Toronto, UNAM de Ciudad de México), dedicando sus investigaciones al idealismo clásico alemán, al peródo romántico, y a la estética y el pensamiento utópico. Desde hace veinte años viene estudiando la teoría de las pasiones, de los modelos de la conciencia y de los problemas relacionados con la identidad individual y colectiva. Entre sus trabajos más recientes, traducidos a diversas lenguas, figuran Scomposizioni. Forme dell’individuo moderno (Torino, 1987); Hölderlin. La filosofía y lo trágico (Madrid, 1990); Geometria delle passioni (Milano, 1991 [reed. 2003]), Ordo amoris. Conflitti terreni e felicità celeste (Bologna, 2005); Le prix de la liberté (Paris,1995); Le forme del bello (Bologna, 1993; 1995); La filosofia nel Novecento (Roma, 1997, 2005), Il noi diviso. Ethos e idee dell'Italia repubblicana (Torino, 1998); Le logiche del delirio. ragione, affetti, follia (Bari-Roma, 2000); Destini personali. L’età della colonizzazione delle coscienze (Milano 2002, 2004); Una scintilla di fuoco. Invito alla filosofia (Bologna, 2005), Piramidi di tempo. Storie e teoria del déjà vu (Bologna, 2006); Paesaggi sublimi. Gli uomini davanti alla natura selvaggia (Milano, 2008); La vita delle cose (Roma-Bari, 2009) e Ira. La passione furente (Bologna, 2011).

     

Anger is a furious passion born, in general, from what is perceived as an unearned offense, from a burning wound inflicted by others in our self-respect or in our, sometimes exaggerated, self-esteem.

In Western culture this is a two-faced image: while on one hand it is judged as a noble revolting passion against offenses and injustices suffered, like a desire to punish the person who we think has insulted us, on the other, it represents a feared loss of autonomy and reason. Thus, tradition is divided in two branches with a duration of more than two thousand years: one of them accepts fair anger, but condemns rage; the other rejects all kinds of anger and begs to totally refrain from all this passion.

The noble anger, the indignation, also faces the evil inflicted by others. Eliminating indignation would imply, in words of Plato and Aristoteles, "cutting the nerves of the soul". Even today, we are morally and politically entitled to experiment it and make it public when battling injustice, oppression or degradation, when its moved by the hope of modifying stagnant and intolerable social or political orders . Nevertheless, the distinction between fair and unfair anger is not accepted by the stoics, who confront anger because it removes the tranquility from your soul and leaves reason in the hands of an inner tyrant encouraging the lower instincts.

In the political scenario, anger (and the revolt following it) has been admitted as an antidote against millennial forms of subordination and abuse, as it is the case of the indignation of women and the indignation of those oppressed. Thus, anger has the conditions to justify the demonstrations of groups, crowds, social classes, and entire populations who feel (or pretend to be) oppressed, discriminated, victims of abuses or injustices. In the realm of private relationships, and because it is difficult to direct it against specific objectives, shared through time, and differentiated from the logic of the strictly personal or categoric claims, anger seems to turn in vacuum and feed, together with implosion processes, a deaf grudge within the relationships of different society components.  

(Original translation: Manuel Cruz)