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Max Scheler

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

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

Zitate Max Scheler

„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

„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

„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,

„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,

„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

„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

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

„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

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

„"Another situation generally exposed to ressentiment danger is the older generation's relation with the younger. The process of aging can only be fruitful and satisfactory if the important transitions are accompanied by free resignation, by the renunciation of the values proper to the preceding stage of life. Those spiritual and intellectual values which remain untouched by the process of aging, together with the values of the next stage of life, must compensate for what has been lost. Only if this happens can we cheerfully relive the values of our past in memory, without envy for the young to whom they are still accessible. If we cannot compensate, we avoid and flee the “tormenting” recollection of youth, thus blocking our possibilities of understanding younger people. At the same time we tend to negate the specific values of earlier stages. No wonder that youth always has a hard fight to sustain against the ressentiment of the older generation. Yet this source of ressentiment is also subject to an important historical variation. In the earliest stages of civilization, old age as such is so highly honored and respected for its experience that ressentiment has hardly any chance to develop. But education spreads through printing and other modern media and increasingly replaces the advantage of experience. Younger people displace the old from their positions and professions and push them into the defensive. As the pace of “progress” increases in all fields, and as the changes of fashion tend to affect even the higher domains (such as art and science), the old can no longer keep up with their juniors. “Novelty‟ becomes an ever greater value. This is doubly true when the generation as such is seized by an intense lust for life, and when the generations compete with each other instead of cooperating for the creation of works which outlast them. “Every cathedral,” Werner Sombart writes, “every monastery, every town hall, every castle of the Middle Ages bears testimony to the transcendence of the individual's span of life: its completion spans generations which thought that they lived for ever. Only when the individual cut himself loose from the community which outlasted him, did the duration of his personal life become his standard of happiness.” Therefore buildings are constructed ever more hastily—Sombart cites a number of examples. A corresponding phenomenon is the ever more rapid alternation of political regimes which goes hand in hand with the progression of the democratic movement. But every change of government, every parliamentary change of party domination leaves a remnant of absolute opposition against the values of the new ruling group. This opposition is spent in ressentiment the more the losing group feels unable to return to power. The “retired official” with his followers is a typical ressentiment figure. Even a man like Bismarck did not entirely escape from this danger."“

—  Max Scheler

Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912)

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„Impulses of revenge lead to ressentiment the more they change into actual *vindictiveness*, the more their direction shifts toward indeterminate groups of objects which need only share one common characteristic, and the less they are satisfied by vengeance taken on a specific object. If the desire for revenge remains permanently unsatisfied, and especially if the feeling of “being right (lacking in an outburst of rage, but an integral part of revenge) is intensified into the idea of a “duty,” the individual may actually wither away and die. The vindictive person is instinctively and without a conscious act of volition drawn toward events which may give rise to vengefulness, or he tends to see injurious intentions in all kinds of perfectly innocent actions and remarks of others. Great touchiness is indeed frequently a symptom of a vengeful character. The vindictive person is always in search of objects, and in fact he attacks—in the belief that he is simply wreaking vengeance. This vengeance restores his damaged feeling of personal value, his injured “honor,” or it brings “satisfaction” for the wrongs he has endured. When it is repressed, vindictiveness leads to ressentiment, a process which is intensified when the *imagination* of vengeance, too, is repressed—and finally the very emotion of revenge itself. Only then does this *state of mind* become associated with the tendency to detract from the other person's value, which brings an illusory easing of the tension."“

—  Max Scheler

Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912)

„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

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

„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)

„Yet all this is not ressentiment. These are only stages in the development of its sources. Revenge, envy, the impulse to detract, spite, *Schadenfreude*, and malice lead to ressentiment only if there occurs neither a moral self-conquest (such as genuine forgiveness in the case of revenge) nor an act or some other adequate expression of emotion (such as verbal abuse or shaking one's fist), and if this restraint is caused by a pronounced awareness of impotence. There will be no ressentiment if he who thirsts for revenge really acts and avenges himself, if he who is consumed by hatred harms his enemy, gives him “a piece of his mind,” or even merely vents his spleen in the presence of others. Nor will the envious fall under the dominion of ressentiment if he seeks to acquire the envied possession by means of work, barter, crime, or violence. Ressentiment can only arise if these emotions are particularly powerful and yet must be suppressed because they are coupled with the feeling that one is unable to act them out—either because of weakness, physical or mental, or because of fear. Through its very origin, ressentiment is therefore chiefly confined to those who serve and are dominated at the moment, who fruitlessly resent the sting of authority. When it occurs elsewhere, it is either due to psychological contagion—and the spiritual venom of ressentiment is extremely contagious—or to the violent suppression of an impulse which subsequently revolts by “embittering” and “poisoning” the personality. If an ill-treated servant can vent his spleen in the antechamber, he will remain free from the inner venom of ressentiment, but it will engulf him if he must hide his feelings and keep his negative and hostile emotions to himself.“

—  Max Scheler

Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912)

„There is usually no ressentiment just where a superficial view would look for it first: in the criminal. The criminal is essentially an active type. Instead of repressing hatred, revenge, envy, and greed, he releases them in crime. Ressentiment is a basic impulse only in the crimes of spite. These are crimes which require only a minimum of action and risk and from which the criminal draws no advantage, since they are inspired by nothing but the desire to do harm. The arsonist is the purest type in point, provided that he is not motivated by the pathological urge of watching fire (a rare case) or by the wish to collect insurance. Criminals of this type strangely resemble each other. Usually they are quiet, taciturn, shy, quite settled and hostile to all alcoholic or other excesses. Their criminal act is nearly always a sudden outburst of impulses of revenge or envy which have been repressed for years. A typical cause would be the continual deflation of one's ego by the constant sight of the neighbor's rich and beautiful farm. Certain expressions of class ressentiment, which have lately been on the increase, also fall under this heading. I mention a crime committed near Berlin in 1912: in the darkness, the criminal stretched a wire between two trees across the road, so that the heads of passing automobilists would be shorn off. This is a typical case of ressentiment, for any car driver or passenger at all could be the victim, and there is no interested motive. Also in cases of slander and defamation of character, ressentiment often plays a major role...“

—  Max Scheler

Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (1912)

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