Ressentiment Quotes

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Ressentiment Ressentiment by Max Scheler
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Ressentiment Quotes (showing 1-11 of 11)
“The precepts “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you” ... are born from the Gospel’s profound spirit of individualism, which refuses to let one’s own actions and conduct depend in any way on somebody else’s acts. The Christian refuses to let his acts be mere reactions—such conduct would lower him to the level of his enemy. The act is to grow organically from the person, “as the fruit from the tree.” ... What the Gospel demands is not a reaction which is the reverse of the natural reaction, as if it said: “Because he strikes you on the cheek, tend the other”—but a rejection of all reactive activity, of any participation in common and average ways of acting and standards of judgment.”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
“Ressentiment must therefore be strongest in a society like ours, where approximately equal rights (political and otherwise) or formal social equality, publicly recognized, go hand in hand with wide factual differences in power, property, and education.”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
“It is peculiar to “ressentiment criticism” that it does not seriously desire that its demands be fulfilled. It does not want to cure the evil. The evil is merely the pretext for the criticism.”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
“The “noble” person has a completely naïve and non-reflective awareness of his own value and of his fullness of being, an obscure conviction which enriches every conscious moment of his existence, as if he were autonomously rooted in the universe. This should not be mistaken for “pride.” Quite on the contrary, pride results from an experienced diminution of this “naive” self-confidence. It is a way of “holding on” to one’s value, of seizing and “preserving” it deliberately. The noble man’s naive self-confidence, which is as natural to him as tension is to the muscles, permits him calmly to assimilate the merits of others in all the fullness of their substance and configuration. He never “grudges” them their merits. On the contrary: he rejoices in their virtues and feels that they make the world more worthy of love. His naive self-confidence is by no means “compounded” of a series of positive valuations based on specific qualities, talents, and virtues: it is originally directed at his very essence and being. Therefore he can afford to admit that another person has certain “qualities” superior to his own or is more “gifted” in some respects—indeed in all respects. Such a conclusion does not diminish his naïve awareness of his own value, which needs no justification or proof by achievements or abilities. Achievements merely serve to confirm it. On the other hand, the “common” man (in the exact acceptation of the term) can only experience his value and that of another if he relates the two, and he clearly perceives only those qualities which constitute possible differences. The noble man experiences value prior to any comparison, the common man in and through a comparison. For the latter, the relation is the selective precondition for apprehending any value. Every value is a relative thing, “higher” or “lower,” “more” or “less” than his own. He arrives at value judgments by comparing himself to others and others to himself”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
“The ultimate goal of the arriviste’s aspirations is not to acquire a thing of value, but to be more highly esteemed than others. He merely uses the “thing” as an indifferent occasion for overcoming the oppressive feeling of inferiority which results from his constant comparisons.”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
tags: envy
“If the awareness of our limitations begins to limit or to dim our value consciousness as well—as happens, for instance, in old age with regard to the values of youth—then we have already started the movement of devaluation which will end with the defamation of the world and all its values. Only a timely act of resignation can deliver us from this tendency toward self-delusion.”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
“Whenever convictions are not arrived at by direct contact with the world and the objects themselves, but indirectly through a critique of the opinions of others, the processes of thinking are impregnated with ressentiment. The establishment of “criteria” for testing the correctness of opinions then becomes the most important task. Genuine and fruitful criticism judges all opinions with reference to the object itself. Ressentiment criticism, on the contrary, accepts no “object” that has not stood the test of criticism”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
“Ressentiment is always to some degree a determinant of the romantic type of mind. At least this is so when the romantic nostalgia for some past era (Hellas, the Middle Ages, etc.) is not primarily based on the values of that period, but on the wish to escape from the present. Then all praise of the “past” has the implied purpose of downgrading present-day reality.”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
“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, Ressentiment
“Antiquity believed that the forces of love in the universe were limited. Therefore they were to be used sparingly,and everyone was to be loved only according to his value.”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment
tags: love
“In ressentiment morality, love for the “small,” the “poor,” the “weak,” and the “oppressed” is really disguised hatred, repressed envy, an impulse to detract, etc., directed against the opposite phenomena: “wealth,” “strength,” “power,” “largesse.” When hatred does not dare to come out into the open, it can be easily expressed in the form of ostensible love—love for something which has features that are the opposite of those of the hated object. This can happen in such a way that the hatred remains secret. When we hear that falsely pious, unctuous tone (it is the tone of a certain “socially-minded” type of priest), sermonizing that love for the “small” is our first duty, love for the “humble” inspirit, since God gives “grace” to them, then it is often only hatred posing as Christian love.”
Max Scheler, Ressentiment

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