Important Essay by Eric L. Gans

In the latest of his ongoing Chronicles of Love and Resentment at the Anthropoetics website, Eric L. Gans discusses the evolution of resentment since the Middle Ages and shows the relation of a debased type of resentment to the reigning victimocracy. Gans argues that only a revival of the concept of sin can deliver us from the galloping totalitarianism of the victim-mentality. I strongly recommend the essay to Orthosphereans.  The link is here:

8 thoughts on “Important Essay by Eric L. Gans

    • The “originary event” is the moment when the proto-human group crosses the threshold into language, consciousness, and culture; the “originary event” institutes the sacred as the founding institution of culture. The first word is “god.” Gans argues (see especially Science and Religion) that religion is the original science – a human science.

      • Thank you for banning him—from this thread, at least.

        We have been polite to this interloper, and have extended him every courtesy. He has shown that he is either unwilling or unable to engage in the sort of mature, rational discussion that is the hallmark of the Orthosphere. I am very happy to see you insist upon standards, and exclude those who fail to keep them.


  1. Glad you posted this. It relates to the sense of racial grievance I see from time to time on city streets and on public transportation. “Micro-aggressions” are very common in the form of smoking where it is prohibited, littering, talking loudly among strangers, putting one’s feet on the train seats, playing music, and using cell phones in the enclosed space of a train car.

    Your post gives me an opportunity to note for readers here that Prof. Gans’s Generative Anthropology (GA) was a sort of praeparatio evangelica for me, part of the providence that brought me back to the Church after many years’ absence. The apparent Darwinian bias of GA always seemed entirely reversible to me, because the originary event that creates a time-horizon for us and enables us to make models that purport to represent time before the event is itself, from the Christian perspective, providential, and does not exclude other temporalities or a-temporalities unknown to us, either because we are not capable of knowing them or because it simply has not been given to us to know them. Thus I find GA compatible with Christian orthodoxy. Not just because Prof. Gans regards Christian doctrine (specifically the Pauline revelation) as unsurpassed anthropology, but because GA depicts all human action and consciousness in reference to the divine. In GA, the originary event is the origin of the human, the sacred, and language. For the Christian, GA provides a useful model of how the Creator brought language and human consciousness into being, and revealed Himself, and how these three poles define our world.

    • Thank you, Bill Your words are rich and helpful. I hope that Bonald takes note of them. (Regarding Bonald, I hope that he comments further on Gans’ essay.) I am exhausted on a Friday evening, but I promise to rejoin your comment tomorrow. Sincerely, Tom

      PS. Readers of The Orthosphere might like to know that Gans’ theory of human nature is justly describable as cultural creationism. And for Gans, it is impossible to invoke culture without simultaneously invoking language and consciousness.

  2. I was first introduced to the work of Gans (and through him, Girard) as a callow undergrad in the early ’90’s. He continues to remain relevant as a way to understand what is happening in our culture.


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