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The malady of the ideal and the assault on nature

Abstract

The environmental catastrophe now unfolding challenges the grip that the ideal – a place without time, loss, vulnerability, or dependency – has on us who live in contemporary society, a grip constantly reinforced by the cultural arrangements of neoliberalism. The seductive lure of the ideal faces us with three possibilities: to possess it; to “be it”; or to refuse it. Failure to possess the ideal arouses the grievance and ressentiment of which Nietzsche and Scheler first spoke. Failure to be the ideal arouses shame. Ressentiment and shame destroy the connections we have with each other and with the ecosystems that surround us, while constituting structures of feeling provoked by and provoking a civilization at risk of collapse.

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Correspondence to Paul Hoggett.

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Hoggett, P. The malady of the ideal and the assault on nature. Psychoanal Cult Soc 25, 213–229 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-019-00158-0

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Keywords

  • nature
  • the ideal
  • ressentiment
  • shame