On Enmity, Terror and Fear


  • Ernst E. Boesch




enmity, terror, fear, polyvalence, psychological balance, human condition


In this article, HARM presents a small excerpt from Ernst E. Boesch’s book “Von Kunst bis Terror - Über den Zwiespalt in der Kultur” [From art to terror - On the dichotomy in culture], published in 2005. The editors of HARM want to draw attention to a psychologist and social theorist who saw himself as a cultural psychologist and, as such, wanted to show how much more complex, ambivalent, opaque and unpredictable human thinking, feeling, behaviour, and actions are than mainstream psychology — which models and primarily quantifies and measures — would have us believe. This, according to one of his convictions which continues to shape modern cultural psychology, is because it recognises humans not primarily as natural creatures, but also as cultural beings who, as beings gifted with special language, are entangled in an indissoluble network of meaningful symbolic worlds and thus are capable of manifold processes of sense-making. In order to depict and reconstruct these entanglements and to understand their significance for human experience, attitudes and actions, Boesch argues that hermeneutic-interpretative procedures are required which, we are convinced, also contribute significantly to refining the depiction and analysis of phenomena that are relevant in the context of HARM.

— Boesch’s text is preceded by a brief introduction to his life, his thinking and the selected text.