Ressentiment is the French word for "resentment." It is the dominant mode of slave morality. The slaves who do not have the power to avenge themselves directly upon the masters who hurt them, instead feel ressentiment toward them. This is the form their hatred for the masters takes. The hatred the masters feel for the slaves is more in the form of contempt. They look down upon the slaves as weak, unhealthy, and undesirable. Ressentiment and contempt differ in three significant ways. First, the ressentiment of the slaves is a powerful and dominant feeling that drives their morality, whereas the contempt of the masters is an afterthought that does not much interest them. Second, ressentiment is what Nietzsche calls a "reactive affect." That is, it is produced in reaction to the behavior of the masters. While the contempt of the masters springs from them spontaneously, the ressentiment of the slaves is in a way governed by the suffering imposed upon them by the masters. Third, ressentiment is used to denote the masters as "evil," whereas contempt is used to denote the slaves only as "bad."

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