The return of martyrdom as an ideal calls for specifying the psychological mechanisms involved. Sacralised violence gives death a cosmic meaning, while death in the service of a secular ideology, national or supra-national, can have only a historical meaning. The idea and the ideal of martyrdom, central to all historical religions, have been marginalised in the modern world, as the creation of sacred space has been narrowed. Modernity means the marginalisation of honour, death and immortality, which were once so central to humans. The inspiration for martyrdom, both for individuals and for groups, must include not only honour and the belief in immortality, but real despair as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (all)