Thymos


The word "thymos" was used in ancient Greece to denote the driving emotions of the human soul.

The heroes of Homer's poems are driven by thymos, and thymos dies when the hero dies. It is not "menos" (the vital force) but an unconscious psychic force. Thymos encompasses not only the mind but also the heart and the lung: all the things that keep one alive and functioning. Homer's thymos is similar to Freud's unconscious in that it drives sexual desire and primal instincts. Thymos is responsible for the "character" of people.

Empedocles calls thymos the "seat of life."

The term was then used by Plato in Book IV of "The Republic" where he divided the psyche (soul) in logos (reason), eros (desire) and thymos. Socrates was the exemplary embodiment of Plato's thymos.


See the Oxford dictionary of philosophy (and avoid at all costs the Wikipedia article!)

See Piero Scaruffi's website for thymos-related articles.


The souls of the dead in the underworld lack thymos

A form of collective thymos was the collective driving force of the counterculture.

A form of thymos is the collective driving force of all the nodes of a network that creates some kind of progressive order.

A form of thymos is perhaps the collective driving force of all the avatars of a metaverse.


Thymos was rediscovered by the historian Francis Fukuyama in his essay "The End of History" (1989), later expanded and published in a best-selling book, and especially in his book "Identity" (2018). Fukuyama argues that it is a universal element of humanity, and consists in a desire for respect, dignity and public recognition. Hegel in "Phenomenology of Spirit" (1807) argued for a similar force driving human history, a struggle for "recognition" (Anerkennung). Fukuyama thinks that thymos is what drives humans to seek recognition. Fukuyama relates this desire for recognition to the "identity politics" that has emerged since 2005 in which individuals identify with their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, etc. According to the Oxford Dictionary, since 2005 the word "identity" has been used also to identify as a member of a particular group. The way we think of ourselves as members of a group can change the way we behave and interpret the behavior of others. Quote: "identity builds on the universal human psychology of thymos." And therefore identity politics is inevitable. Fukuyama proposes a new form of nationalism as the alternative to the political fragmentation created by identity politics, but there is another possible alternative: a cyberspace with no predetermined groups in which group identities are self-chosen rather than predetermined by biological factors or historical accidents. He writes: "Our present world is simultaneously moving toward the opposing dystopias of hypercentralization and endless fragmentation". He may underestimate the nature of the latter on cyberspace, where blockchain technology can remove the hypercentralization but replacing it with coordinated (not endless) fragmentation.
The Thymos project of 2021 aims at developing a sustainable cryptocurrency. If the metaverse will have millions of users and billions of transactions (NFTs, GameFi and who knows what else), no existing cryptocurrency can become it's standard currency. Follow us on Twitter: twitterlabs.
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