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Georg Simmel

Datum narození: 1. březen 1858
Datum úmrtí: 28. září 1918
Další jména: George Simmel

Georg Simmel byl německý filosof a sociolog, představitel formální sociologie a filosofie života. Bývá řazen mezi "otce zakladatele" moderní sociologie.


„Že pociťujeme tvář jako symbol nejen ducha, ale také nezaměnitelné osobnosti, bylo, zvláště počínaje křesťanstvím, mimořádně zvýhodněno zahalením těla. Tvář byla dědicem těla, které má v té míře, ve které panuje nezahalenost, jistě svůj podíl na výrazu individuality… Svým svébytným utvářením stala se tvář takřka geometrickým místem niterné osobnosti, pokud ji lze nahlížet, a také v tomto směru se křesťanství, jehož tendence k zahalování nechaly zjev člověka zastupovat tváří samotnou, stalo školou vědomí individuality,“

„By my existence I am nothing more than an empty place, an outline, that is reserved within being in general. Given with it, though, is the duty to fill in this empty place. That is my life.“ The View of Life: Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms


„The calculative exactness of practical life which the money economy has brought about corresponds to the ideal of natural science: to transform the world by mathematical formulas. Only money economy has filled the days of so many people with weighing, calculating, with numerical determinations, with a reduction of qualitative values to quantitative ones.“ The Sociology of Georg Simmel

„The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces, of historical heritage, of external culture, and of the technique of life.“

„[Nostalgic sentiments] are nothing other than the rosy illumination of a past that has been spared the shadows of the present.“

„Perhaps one has to have placed life in the center of one’s worldview and valued it as much as I have in order to know that one may not keep it, but must yield it up.“ The View of Life: Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms

„Nothing more can be attempted than to establish the beginning and the direction of an infinitely long road. The pretension of any systematic and definitive completeness would be, at least, a self-illusion. Perfection can here be obtained by the individual student only in the subjective sense that he communicates everything he has been able to see.“

„The educated person is one who knows how to find out what he does not know“


„One needs to properly possess only a couple of great thoughts--they shed light on many stretches whose illumination one would never have believed in.“ The View of Life: Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms

„A man is well educated when he knows where to find what he doesn’t know.“

„A metrópole é a sede desta cultura, que eliminou todas as características da pessoa“ Le metropoli e la vita dello spirito

„The exchangeability that is expressed in money must inevitably have repercussions upon the quality of commodities themselves, or must interact
with it. The disparagement of the interest in the individuality of a
commodity leads to a disparagement of
individuality itself. If the two sides
to a commodity are its quality and it
s price, then it seems logically
impossible for the interest to be focused on only one of these sides: for
cheapness is an empty word if it does not imply a low price for a relative
good quality, and good quality is
an economic attraction only for a
correspondingly fair price. And yet this conceptual impossibility is psychologically real and effective.
The interest in the one side can be so
great that its logically necessary counterpart completely disappears. The
typical instance of one of these case
s is the ‘fifty cents bazaar’. The
principle of valuation in the mode
rn money economy finds its clearest
expression here. It is not the commodity
that is the centre of interest here
but the price—a principle that in former times not only would have appeared shameless but would have been
absolutely impossible. It has been
rightly pointed out that the medieval town, despite all the progress it
embodied, still lacked the extensive
capital economy, and that this was the
reason for seeking the ideal of the economy not so much in the expansion
(which is possibly only through cheapness) but rather in the quality of the goods offered; hence the great contributions of the applied arts, the
rigorous control of production, the
strict policing of basic necessities, etc.
Such is one extreme pole of the
series, whose other pole is characterized by the slogan, ‘cheap and bad’—a synthesis that is possibly only if we are hypnotized by cheapness and are not aware of anything else. The levelling of objects to that of money reduces the subjective interest first in their specific qualities and then, as a further consequence, in the objects
themselves. The production of cheap
trash is, as it were, the vengeance of
the objects for the fact that they have been ousted from the focal point of
interest by a merely indifferent means.“
The Philosophy of Money


„Finally, the inner accessibility and reflectiveness of theoretical knowledge which cannot basically be withheld from anybody, as can certain emotions and volitions, has a consequence that directly offsets its practical results. In the first place, it is precisely because of their general accessibility that factors quite independent of personal capacities decide on the factual utilization of knowledge. This leads to the enormous preponderance of the most unintelligent 'educated' person over the cleverest proletarian. The apparent equality with which educational materials are available to everyone interested in them is, in reality, a sheer mockery. The same is true of the other freedoms accorded by the liberal doctrines which, though they certainly do not hamper the individual from gaining goods of any kind, do however disregard the fact that only those already privileged in some way or another have the possibility of acquiring them. For just as the substance of education - in spite of, or because of it general availability - can ultimately be acquired only through individual activity, so it gives rise to the most intangible and thus the most unassailable aristocracy, to a distinction between high and low which can be abolished neither (as can socioeconomic differences) by a decree or a revolution. Thus it was appropriate for Jesus to say to the rich youth: 'Give away your goods to the poor', but not for him to say: 'Give your education to the underprivileged'. There is no advantage that appears to those in inferior positions to be so despised, and before which they feel so deprived and helpless, as the advantage of education. For this reason, attempts to achieve practical equality very often and in so many variations scorn intellectual education. This is true of Buddha, the Cynics, certain currents in Christianity, down to Robespierre's 'nous n'avons pas besoin de savants'. In speech and writing - which, viewed abstractly, are a manifestation of its communal nature - makes possible its accumulation, and, especially, its concentration so that, in this respect, the gulf between high and low is persistently widened. The intellectually gifted or the materially independent person will have all the more chances for standing out from the masses the larger and more concentrated are the available educational materials. Just as the proletarian today has many comforts and cultural enjoyments that were formerly denied to him, while at the same time - particularly if we look back over several centuries and millennia - the gulf between his way of life and that of the higher strata has certainly become much deeper, so, similarly, the rise in the general level of knowledge as a whole does not by any means bring about a general levelling, but rather its opposite.“ The Philosophy of Money

„Die Lebensbedingungen der Mode als einer durchgängigen Erscheinung in der Geschichte unserer Gattung sind hiermit umschrieben. Sie ist Nachahmung eines gegebenen Musters und genügt damit dem Bedürfnis nach sozialer Anlehnung, sie führt den Einzelnen auf die Bahn, die Alle gehen, sie gibt ein Allgemeines, das das Verhalten jedes Einzelnen zu einem bloßen Beispiel macht. Nicht weniger aber befriedigt sie das Unterschiedsbedürfnis, die Tendenz auf Differenzierung, Abwechslung, Sich-abheben.“ Philosophie der Mode

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