Archive for October, 2010

Rage and Time

4 October 2010

I thought it was interesting how one of the reporters on BBC News 24 observed today that the British Conservative Party Conference delegates are such a jolly crowd, especially compared to those at last week’s Labour conference who generally seemed angry, despite the fact that the Tories are the ones presiding over doom and gloom and implementing draconian spending cuts, so displays of jouissance might seem inappropriate.

Indeed, there are plenty of things to be angry about these days, so I was cheered up to discover that Peter Sloterdijk’s psychopolitical investigation into Rage and Time [Zorn und Zeit] was published in English earlier this year. Might it help explain the rage of Labour?

In any case, here are a couple of nice quotes from Zorn und Zeit, which seems to be a deliberate pun on Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit.

As much as the affinities with the basic claims of Being and Time are obvious, the Master from Messkirch only approached the temporal structure of revolutionary resentment in a formalist way before, for a time, evading it for the black heaven of the “national revolution.” Heidegger never fully understood the logical and systematic implications of the concept of revolution. He understood it just as little as he understood the connection between our historicity and Dasein’s ability to be resentful. His investigation of the temporal structures of the caring, projecting, and dying Dasein does not provide us with an appropriate conception of the deep nexus of rage and time. The birth of history out of the project form of rage and, even more, the totality of processes leading to the capitalization of resentment remain obscure in his work. (p. 66)


The concept of companionship, it could be argued, is the political form of what Heidegger referred to from the perspective of fundamental ontology as “errance” (die Irre). Whenever people “err” they move within an intermediary zone situated in between wilderness and route. Heidegger himself was an eminent witness of this, as a matter of fact, because of his periodic preference for the Nazis. Because errance signals a middle course between passage and drift, the travelers will inevitably get to a place that is different from where they wanted to go at the beginning of their journey. “Wayfaring” (das Gehen) with communism turned into an odyssey of comrades because it presupposed what should have never been assumed: that the communist actors were pursuing a more or less civilized road to destinations that could be reached. In reality, they supported a developing dictatorship that used excessive, idealistic, and exaggerated violence to bring about what a liberal state could have achieved in less time in a more spontaneous, more effective, and, to a large extent, bloodless manner. (pp. 154-155)