Zitate von Felix Adler

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Felix Adler

Geburtstag: 13. August 1851
Todesdatum: 24. April 1933

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Felix Adler war ein US-amerikanischer Philosoph deutsch-jüdischer Herkunft. Er war Professor für hebräische und orientalische Literatur an der Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Er wurde als Sohn des Alzeyer Rabbiners Dr. Samuel Adler geboren, der 1857 mit ihm nach Amerika auswanderte. Felix Adler studierte an der Columbia University, kehrte nach Deutschland zurück und promovierte an der Universität Heidelberg. 1874 ging er wieder in die USA, wo er für zwei Jahre als Professor für hebräische und orientalische Literatur an der Cornell University tätig war.

1876 gründete Adler in New York die für einen säkularen Humanismus eintretende „Society for Ethical Culture“, deren moralischer und geistiger Führer er bis zu seinem Tod blieb. Adler fand Anhänger für seine Ideen zunächst in vielen Staaten der USA, bald aber auch in einigen europäischen Staaten. Ein wichtiger Vertreter dieser Anschauungen im deutschen Sprachraum war der im Anschluss an Ludwig Feuerbach wirkende Wiener Philosophieprofessor Friedrich Jodl als Mitbegründer und Vorstand der „Deutschen Gesellschaft für Ethische Kultur“. Das Bestreben dieser Gesellschaften wird als ethische Bewegung bezeichnet.

Von 1902 bis 1918 war Adler Professor für „Politische und Soziale Ethik“ an der Columbia University. Er war auch Gründer von The Ethical Record und The International Journal of Ethics , rief 1900 den New York Philosophy Club ins Leben und war ab 1928 bis zu seinem Tod Präsident der American Philosophical Association.

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Zitate Felix Adler

„Spiritual evolution is the progressive advance of mankind toward a state of things in which the light of ethical perfection shall be reflected from the face of human society; that is, in which all men shall live and move and have their being in mutually promoting the highest life of each and all.“

— Felix Adler
Context: Spiritual evolution is the progressive advance of mankind toward a state of things in which the light of ethical perfection shall be reflected from the face of human society; that is, in which all men shall live and move and have their being in mutually promoting the highest life of each and all. It means that the object of social reformation shall not be a mere change in the conditions under which men live, but a change in human nature itself. It means that we shall look forward consciously to the breaking forth of new powers in ourselves, to the release, through our own efforts, of capacities dimly latent in us.

„The very names that ought to be held up as luminaries of honor have become bywords of villainy, and the foul stench of corruption fills our public offices.“

— Felix Adler
Context: The very names that ought to be held up as luminaries of honor have become bywords of villainy, and the foul stench of corruption fills our public offices. See how the Nation, in this the festal epoch of her marriage to Liberty, stands blackened with the crimes of her first dignitaries, and hides her head in shame before the nations!

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„It is the business of the preacher, not only to state moral truths, but to inspire his hearers with a realising sense of their value, and to awaken in them the desire to act accordingly.“

— Felix Adler
Context: It is the business of the preacher, not only to state moral truths, but to inspire his hearers with a realising sense of their value, and to awaken in them the desire to act accordingly. He can do this only by putting his own purpose as a yeast into their hearts. The influence of the right sort of preachers cannot be spared. The human race is not yet so far advanced that it can dispense with the impulses that come from men of more than average intensity of moral energy. Let us produce, through the efficacy of a better moral life and of a deeper moral experience, a surer faith in the ultimate victory of the good. Let us found religion upon a basis of perfect intellectual honesty. Religion, if it is to mean anything at all, must stand for the highest truth. How then can the cause of truth be served by the sacrifice, more or less disguised, of one's intellectual convictions?

„We live in order to develop the superior qualities of man which are, as yet, for the most part latent.“

— Felix Adler
Context: I believe in the supreme excellence of righteousness; I believe that the law of righteousness will triumph in the universe over all evil; I believe that in the attempt to fulfil the law of righteousness, however imperfect it must remain, are to be found the inspiration, the consolation, and the sanctification of human existence. We live in order to finish an, as yet, unfinished universe, unfinished so far as the human, that is, the highest part of it, is concerned. We live in order to develop the superior qualities of man which are, as yet, for the most part latent. Section 9 : Ethical Outlook

„Deep down in every human heart is the seed of a diviner life, which only needs the quickening influence of right conditions to germinate.“

— Felix Adler
Context: There is a difficulty in the way of teaching the higher life, due to the fact that only those who have begun to lead it can understand the meaning of it. Nevertheless, all men can be induced to begin to lead it. Though they seem blind, their eyes can be opened so as to see. Deep down in every human heart is the seed of a diviner life, which only needs the quickening influence of right conditions to germinate. Section 6 : Higher Life

„The moral improvement of the nations and their individual components has not kept pace with the march of intellect and the advance of industry.“

— Felix Adler
Context: The moral improvement of the nations and their individual components has not kept pace with the march of intellect and the advance of industry. Before the assaults of criticism many ancient strongholds of faith have given way, and doubt is fast spreading even into circles where its expression is forbidden. Morality, long accustomed to the watchful tutelage of faith, finds this connection loosened or severed, while no new protector has arisen to champion her rights, no new instruments been created to enforce her lessons among the people. As a consequence we behold a general laxness in regard to obligations the most sacred and dear. An anxious unrest, a fierce craving desire for gain has taken possession of the commercial world, and in instances no longer rare the most precious and permanent goods of human life have been madly sacrificed in the interests of momentary enrichment.

„Let us found religion upon a basis of perfect intellectual honesty. Religion, if it is to mean anything at all, must stand for the highest truth. How then can the cause of truth be served by the sacrifice, more or less disguised, of one's intellectual convictions?“

— Felix Adler
Context: It is the business of the preacher, not only to state moral truths, but to inspire his hearers with a realising sense of their value, and to awaken in them the desire to act accordingly. He can do this only by putting his own purpose as a yeast into their hearts. The influence of the right sort of preachers cannot be spared. The human race is not yet so far advanced that it can dispense with the impulses that come from men of more than average intensity of moral energy. Let us produce, through the efficacy of a better moral life and of a deeper moral experience, a surer faith in the ultimate victory of the good. Let us found religion upon a basis of perfect intellectual honesty. Religion, if it is to mean anything at all, must stand for the highest truth. How then can the cause of truth be served by the sacrifice, more or less disguised, of one's intellectual convictions?

„The right for the right's sake is the motto which everyone should take for his own life.“

— Felix Adler
Context: The right for the right's sake is the motto which everyone should take for his own life. With that as a standard of value we can descend into our hearts, appraise ourselves, and determine in how far we already are moral beings, in how far not yet. Section 9 : Ethical Outlook

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„Somehow the secret of the universe is hidden in our breast. Somehow the destinies of the universe depend upon our exertions.“

— Felix Adler
Context: Of the origin of things we know nothing, and can know nothing. Perfection does not reveal itself to us as existent in the beginning; but as something that ought to be, something new which we are to help create. Somehow the secret of the universe is hidden in our breast. Somehow the destinies of the universe depend upon our exertions. Section 2 : Religion

„The divine in man is our sole ground for believing that there is anything divine in the universe outside of man.“

— Felix Adler
Context: The divine in man is our sole ground for believing that there is anything divine in the universe outside of man. Man is the revealer of the divine. At bottom, the world is to be interpreted in terms of joy, but of a joy that includes all the pain, includes it and transforms it and transcends it. The Light of the World is a light that is saturated with the darkness which it has overcome and transfigured. Section 1 : The Meaning of Life

„The question what to believe is perhaps the most momentous that anyone can put to himself. Our beliefs are not to be classed among the luxuries, but among the necessaries of existence.“

— Felix Adler
Context: The question what to believe is perhaps the most momentous that anyone can put to himself. Our beliefs are not to be classed among the luxuries, but among the necessaries of existence. They become particularly important in times of trouble. They are like the life-boats carried by ocean ships. As long as the sea is smooth and there is every appearance of a prosperous voyage, the passengers seldom take note of the boats or inquire into their sea-worthiness. But when the storm breaks and danger approaches, then the capacity of the boats and their soundness become matters of the first importance. Section 9 : Ethical Outlook

„The moral ideal would embrace the whole of life. In its sight nothing is petty or indifferent. It touches the veriest trifles and turns them into shining gold.“

— Felix Adler
Context: The moral ideal would embrace the whole of life. In its sight nothing is petty or indifferent. It touches the veriest trifles and turns them into shining gold. We are royal by virtue of it, and like the kings in the fairy tale, we may never lay aside our crowns. The moral order never is, but is ever becoming. It grows with our growth. Section 4 : Moral Ideals

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„The moral order never is, but is ever becoming. It grows with our growth.“

— Felix Adler
Context: The moral ideal would embrace the whole of life. In its sight nothing is petty or indifferent. It touches the veriest trifles and turns them into shining gold. We are royal by virtue of it, and like the kings in the fairy tale, we may never lay aside our crowns. The moral order never is, but is ever becoming. It grows with our growth. Section 4 : Moral Ideals

„The frontier of the higher life is everywhere contiguous to the common life, and we can cross the border at any moment. The higher life is as real as the grosser things in which we put our trust. But our eyes must be anointed so that we may see it.“

— Felix Adler
Context: The frontier of the higher life is everywhere contiguous to the common life, and we can cross the border at any moment. The higher life is as real as the grosser things in which we put our trust. But our eyes must be anointed so that we may see it. The office of the religious teacher is to be a seer, and to make others see, and thus to win them into the upward way. Section 9 : Ethical Outlook

„There is a universal element in man which he can assert by so acting as if the purpose of the Universe were also his purpose.“

— Felix Adler
Context: There is a universal element in man which he can assert by so acting as if the purpose of the Universe were also his purpose. It is the function of the supreme ordeals of life to develop in men this power, to give to their life this distinction, this height of dignity, these vast horizons. Section 9 : Ethical Outlook

„There may be, and there ought to be, progress in the moral sphere. The moral truths which we have inherited from the past need to be expanded and restated.“

— Felix Adler
Context: There may be, and there ought to be, progress in the moral sphere. The moral truths which we have inherited from the past need to be expanded and restated. In times of misfortune we require for our support something of which the truth is beyond all question, in which we can put an implicit trust, " though the heavens should fall." A merely borrowed belief is, at such time, like a rotten plank across a raging torrent. The moment we step upon it, it gives way beneath our feet. Section 9 : Ethical Outlook

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