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Max Scheler

Geburtstag: 22. August 1874
Todesdatum: 19. Mai 1928

Max Ferdinand Scheler war ein deutscher Philosoph, Anthropologe und Soziologe.

Photo: Unknown author / Public domain

„Zum Sein unserer Person können wir uns nur sammeln, zu ihm hin uns konzentrieren - nicht aber es objektivieren.“

—  Max Scheler

Die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos, 1928, zitiert nach: Hrsg. Karl-Maria Guth, Die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos, Vollständige Neuausgabe, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-8430-1765-7, S.45,

„nur der Liebende ist es, der an den Übeln und Schwächen des Geliebten wahrhaft leidet.“

—  Max Scheler

Zur Rehabilitierung der Tugend, in: Abhandlungen und Aufsätze von Max Scheler, Erster Band, Verlag der Weissen Bücher, Leipzig 1915, S.20 Mitte, archive.org https://archive.org/stream/abhandlungenunda01sche#page/20/mode/2up

„Es genügt unter Umständen eine einzige Handlung oder ein einziger Mensch, damit wir in ihm das Wesen dieser Werte erfassen können.“

—  Max Scheler

Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, 1913/1916, zitiert nach: Max Scheler, Der Wert, in: Ethik, Lehr- und Lesebuch, Hg. Robert Spaemann, Walter Schweidler, Klett-Cotta, Dritte Auflage, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-608-94445-7, S.137,

„Der Mensch ist also beides zugleich: eine Sackgasse und - ein Ausweg.“

—  Max Scheler

Die Formen des Wissens und die Bildung, zitiert nach: Max Scheler, Philosophische Weltanschauung, Verlag Friedrich Cohen, Bonn 1929, S.97, Ende zweiter Abschnitt, University of Oxford http://solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=OXVU1&docId=oxfaleph012432410

„Bildung ist nicht „Ausbildung für etwas”, „für” Beruf, Fach, Leistung jeder Art, noch gar ist Bildung um solcher Ausbildung willen. Sondern alle Ausbildung „zu etwas” ist für die aller äußeren „Zwecke” ermangelnde Bildung da - für den wohlgeformten Menschen selbst.“

—  Max Scheler

Die Formen des Wissens und die Bildung, zitiert nach: Max Scheler, Philosophische Weltanschauung, Verlag Friedrich Cohen, Bonn 1929, S.104, Ende erster Abschnitt, University of Oxford http://solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=OXVU1&docId=oxfaleph012432410

„There are two fundamentally different ways for the strong to bend down to the weak, for the rich to help the poor, for the more perfect life to help the “less perfect.” This action can be motivated by a powerful feeling of security, strength, and inner salvation, of the invincible fullness of one’s own life and existence. All this unites into the clear awareness that one is rich enough to share one’s being and possessions. Love, sacrifice, help, the descent to the small and the weak, here spring from a spontaneous overflow of force, accompanied by bliss and deep inner calm. Compared to this natural readiness for love and sacrifice, all specific “egoism,” the concern for oneself and one’s interest, and even the instinct of “self-preservation” are signs of a blocked and weakened life. Life is essentially expansion, development, growth in plenitude, and not “self-preservation,” as a false doctrine has it. Development, expansion, and growth are not epiphenomena of mere preservative forces and cannot be reduced to the preservation of the “better adapted.” … There is a form of sacrifice which is a free renunciation of one’s own vital abundance, a beautiful and natural overflow of one’s forces. Every living being has a natural instinct of sympathy for other living beings, which increases with their proximity and similarity to himself. Thus we sacrifice ourselves for beings with whom we feel united and solidary, in contrast to everything “dead.” This sacrificial impulse is by no means a later acquisition of life, derived from originally egoistic urges. It is an original component of life and precedes all those particular “aims” and “goals” which calculation, intelligence, and reflection impose upon it later. We have an urge to sacrifice before we ever know why, for what, and for whom! Jesus’ view of nature and life, which sometimes shines through his speeches and parables in fragments and hidden allusions, shows quite clearly that he understood this fact. When he tells us not to worry about eating and drinking, it is not because he is indifferent to life and its preservation, but because he sees also a vital weakness in all “worrying” about the next day, in all concentration on one’s own physical well-being. … all voluntary concentration on one’s own bodily wellbeing, all worry and anxiety, hampers rather than furthers the creative force which instinctively and beneficently governs all life. … This kind of indifference to the external means of life (food, clothing, etc.) is not a sign of indifference to life and its value, but rather of a profound and secret confidence in life’s own vigor and of an inner security from the mechanical accidents which may befall it. A gay, light, bold, knightly indifference to external circumstances, drawn from the depth of life itself—that is the feeling which inspires these words! Egoism and fear of death are signs of a declining, sick, and broken life. …
This attitude is completely different from that of recent modern realism in art and literature, the exposure of social misery, the description of little people, the wallowing in the morbid—a typical ressentiment phenomenon. Those people saw something bug-like in everything that lives, whereas Francis sees the holiness of “life” even in a bug.“

—  Max Scheler

Quelle: Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912), L. Coser, trans. (1961), pp. 88-92

„Jesus’ “mysterious” affection for the sinners, which is closely related to his ever-ready militancy against the scribes and pharisees, against every kind of social respectability … contains a kind of awareness that the great transformation of life, the radical change in outlook he demands of man (in Christian parlance it is called “rebirth”) is more accessible to the sinner than to the “just.” … Jesus is deeply skeptical toward all those who can feign the good man’s blissful existence through the simple lack of strong instincts and vitality. But all this does not suffice to explain this mysterious affection. In it there is something which can scarcely be expressed and must be felt. When the noblest men are in the company of the “good”—even of the truly “good,” not only of the pharisees—they are often overcome by a sudden impetuous yearning to go to the sinners, to suffer and struggle at their side and to share their grievous, gloomy lives. This is truly no temptation by the pleasures of sin, nor a demoniacal love for its “sweetness,” nor the attraction of the forbidden or the lure of novel experiences. It is an outburst of tempestuous love and tempestuous compassion for all men who are felt as one, indeed for the universe as a whole; a love which makes it seem frightful that only some should be “good,” while the others are “bad” and reprobate. In such moments, love and a deep sense of solidarity are repelled by the thought that we alone should be “good,” together with some others. This fills us with a kind of loathing for those who can accept this privilege, and we have an urge to move away from them.“

—  Max Scheler

Quelle: Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912), L. Coser, trans. (1961), pp. 100-101

„One cannot love anybody without turning away from oneself. However, the crucial question is whether this movement is prompted by the desire to turn toward a positive value, or whether the intention is a radical escape from oneself. “Love” of the second variety is inspired by self-hatred, by hatred of one’s own weakness and misery. The mind is always on the point of departing for distant places. Afraid of seeing itself and its inferiority, it is driven to give itself to the other—not because of his worth, but merely for the sake of his “otherness.” Modern philosophical jargon has found a revealing term for this phenomenon, one of the many modern substitutes for love: “altruism.” This love is not directed at a previously discovered positive value, nor does any such value flash up in the act of loving: there is nothing but the urge to turn away from oneself and to lose oneself in other people’s business. We all know a certain type of man frequently found among socialists, suffragettes, and all people with an ever-ready “social conscience”— the kind of person whose social activity is quite clearly prompted by inability to keep his attention focused on himself, on his own tasks and problems. Looking away from oneself is here mistaken for love! Isn’t it abundantly clear that “altruism,” the interest in “others” and their lives, has nothing at all to do with love? The malicious or envious person also forgets his own interest, even his “preservation.” He only thinks about the other man’s feelings, about the harm and the suffering he inflicts on him. Conversely, there is a form of genuine “self-love” which has nothing at all to do with “egoism.” It is precisely the essential feature of egoism that it does not apprehend the full value of the isolated self. The egoist sees himself only with regard to the others, as a member of society who wishes to possess and acquire more than the others. Selfdirectedness or other-directedness have no essential bearing on the specific quality of love or hatred. These acts are different in themselves, quite independently of their direction.“

—  Max Scheler

Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912)

„There is not enough love in the world to squander it on anything but human beings.“

—  Max Scheler

An erster Stelle ist diese Menschenliebe die Ausdrucksform einer verdrängten Ablehnung, eines Gegenimpulses gegen Gott. Sie ist die Scheinform eines verdrängten Gotteshasses! Immer wieder führt sie sich mit der Wendung ein, es sei doch „nicht genug Liebe in der Welt“, als daß man einen Teil noch an außermenschliche Wesen abgeben könnte—eine echte von Ressentiment diktierte Wendung!
Abhandlungen und Aufsätze (1915), p. 184
As cited in Albert Camus, The Rebel. However the passage is ironic and Scheler's intention was the exact opposite. The full quote reads: "In the first place this love of mankind is an expression of suppressed hatred, a revulsion against God. It is the expression of a suppressed hatred of God! It keeps coming back to the strange idea that "there isn't enough love in the world" for one to expend any on other than human beings - a real distortion dictated by ressentiment!'

„When we cannot obtain a thing, we comfort ourselves with the reassuring thought that it is not worth nearly as much as we believed.“

—  Max Scheler

Quelle: Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912), L. Coser, trans. (1973), p. 73

„All ancient philosophers, poets, and moralists agree that love is a striving, an aspiration of the “lower” toward the “higher,” the “unformed” toward the “formed,” … “appearance” towards “essence,” “ignorance” towards “knowledge,” a “mean between fullness and privation,” as Plato says in the Symposium. … The universe is a great chain of dynamic spiritual entities, of forms of being ranging from the “prima materia” up to man—a chain in which the lower always strives for and is attracted by the higher, which never turns back but aspires upward in its turn. This process continues up to the deity, which itself does not love, but represents the eternally unmoving and unifying goal of all these aspirations of love. Too little attention has been given to the peculiar relation between this idea of love and the principle of the “agon,” the ambitious contest for the goal, which dominated Greek life in all its aspects—from the Gymnasium and the games to dialectics and the political life of the Greek city states. Even the objects try to surpass each other in a race for victory, in a cosmic “agon” for the deity. Here the prize that will crown the victor is extreme: it is a participation in the essence, knowledge, and abundance of “being.” Love is only the dynamic principle, immanent in the universe, which sets in motion this great “agon” of all things for the deity.
Let us compare this with the Christian conception. In that conception there takes place what might be called a reversal in the movement of love. The Christian view boldly denies the Greek axiom that love is an aspiration of the lower towards the higher. On the contrary, now the criterion of love is that the nobler stoops to the vulgar, the healthy to the sick, the rich to the poor, the handsome to the ugly, the good and saintly to the bad and common, the Messiah to the sinners and publicans. The Christian is not afraid, like the ancient, that he might lose something by doing so, that he might impair his own nobility. He acts in the peculiarly pious conviction that through this “condescension,” through this self-abasement and “self-renunciation” he gains the highest good and becomes equal to God. …
There is no longer any “highest good” independent of and beyond the act and movement of love! Love itself is the highest of all goods! The summum bonum is no longer the value of a thing, but of an act, the value of love itself as love—not for its results and achievements. …
Thus the picture has shifted immensely. This is no longer a band of men and things that surpass each other in striving up to the deity. It is a band in which every member looks back toward those who are further removed from God and comes to resemble the deity by helping and serving them.“

—  Max Scheler

Quelle: Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912), L. Coser, trans. (1961), pp. 85-88

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