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Title: Thymos  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mood (psychology)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Thumos (also commonly spelled "thymos") (Greek: θυμός) is a Greek word expressing the concept of "spiritedness" (as in "spirited stallion" or "spirited debate"). The word indicates a physical association with breath or blood. The word is also used to express the human desire for recognition.

Today in Greece thymos means simply "anger".

In [1].


Megalothymia and isothymia

Megalothymia refers to the need to be recognized as superior to others, while isothymia is the need to be recognized as merely equal to others.

Cultural impact

  • The Phi Theta Kappa honor society took the letter theta for thumos, representing the "aspiration" that they seek in their potential members.
  • Thymos is the name of an academic Journal of Boyhood Studies [3].

Thumos and democracy

In his book The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama mentions Thymos in relation to Liberal Democracy and recognition. He relates Socrates' ideas about Thymos and desire to how people want to be recognized within their government. Problems emerge when other people do not recognize another's Thymos and therefore do not provide the justice that it requires. In order for people to exist in harmony, he argues, isothymia rather than megalothymia must be used to satisfy the human need for recognition. Any system that creates political inequality is necessarily feeding the megalothymia of some members while denying it to others. Fukuyama explains how Thymos relates to history with the example of anti-communism in relation to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China. He states, "We cannot understand the totality of the revolutionary phenomenon unless we appreciate the working of thymotic anger and the demand for recognition that accompanied communism's economic crisis."[1]


See also

External links

  • Christopher A. Faraone, "Thumos as Masculine Ideal and Social Pathology in Ancient Greek Magical Spells," in Ancient Anger: Perspectives from Homer to Galen, edited by Susanna Braund and Glenn W. Most (Cambridge University Press, 2003), limited preview.
  • A review of Fukuyama's book, including his use of the concept of thymos in his argument.
  • An essay about The End of History that describes megalothymia and isothymia.
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