Max Weber Quotes

“Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and perspective. Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth – that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible. But to do that a man must be a leader, and not only a leader but a hero as well, in a very sober sense of the word. And even those who are neither leaders nor heroes must arm themselves with that steadfastness of heart which can brave even the crumbling of all hopes. This is necessary right now, or else men will not be able to attain even that which is possible today.”

Max Weber Quotes“specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved.”

“it is not true that good can follow only from good and evil only from evil, but that often the opposite is true. Anyone who fails to see this is, indeed, a political infant.”

“It is horrible to think that the world could one day be filled with nothing but those little cogs, little men clinging to little jobs and striving towards bigger ones – a state of affairs which is to be seen once more, as in the Egyptian records, playing an ever-increasing part in the spirit of our present administrative system, and especially of its offspring, the students. This passion for bureaucracy … is enough to drive one to despair. It is as if in politics … we were deliberately to become men who need “order” and nothing but order, become nervous and cowardly if for one moment this order wavers, and helpless if they are torn away from their total incorporation in it. That the world should know no men but these: it is such an evolution that we are already caught up, and the great question is, therefore, not how we can promote and hasten it, but what can we oppose to this machinery in order to keep a portion of mankind free from this parcelling-out of the soul, from this supreme mastery of the bureaucratic way of life.”

“In a democracy the people choose a leader in whom they trust. Then the chosen leader says, ‘Now shut up and obey me.’ People and party are then no longer free to interfere in his business.”

“It is true that the path of human destiny cannot but appal him who surveys a section of it. But he will do well to keep his small personal commentarie to himself, as one does at the sight of the sea or of majestic mountains, unless he knows himself to be called and gifted to give them expression in artistic or prophetic form. In most other cases, the voluminous talk about intuition does nothing but conceal a lack of perspective toward the object, which merits the same judgement as a similar lack of perspective toward men.”

“The fate of an epoch that has eaten of the tree of knowledge is that it must…recognize that general views of life and the universe can never be the products of increasing empirical knowledge, and that the highest ideals, which move us most forcefully, are always formed only in the struggle with other ideals which are just as sacred to others as ours are to us.”

“The ultimately possible attitudes toward life are irreconcilable, and hence their struggle can never be brought to a final conclusion.”

Max Weber Quotes“Calvinist believers were psychologically isolated. Their distance from God could only be precariously bridged, and their inner tensions only partially relieved, by unstinting, purposeful labor.”

“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world.”

“The purely emotional form of Pietism is, as Ritschl has pointed out, a religious dilettantism for the leisure class.”

“No sociologist, for instance, should think himself too good, even in his old age, to make tens of thousands of quite trivial computations in his head and perhaps for months at a time.”

“…the ultimately possible attitudes toward life are irreconcilable, and hence their struggle can never be brought to a final conclusion. Thus it is necessary to make a decisive choice. Whether, under such conditions, science is a worth while ‘vocation’ for somebody, and whether science itself has an objectively valuable ‘vocation’ are again value judgments about which nothing can be said in the lecture-room. To affirm the value of science is a presupposition for teaching there. I personally by my very work answer in the affirmative, and I also do so from precisely the standpoint that hates intellectualism as the worst devil, as youth does today, or usually only fancies it does. In that case the word holds for these youths: ‘Mind you, the devil is old; grow old to understand him.’ This does not mean age in the sense of the birth certificate. It means that if one wishes to settle with this devil, one must not take flight before him as so many like to do nowadays. First of all, one has to see the devil’s ways to the end in order to realize his power and his limitations.”

“In the midst of a culture that is rationally organized for a vocational workaday life, there is hardly any room for the cultivation of acosmic brotherliness, unless it is among strata who are economically carefree. Under the technical and social conditions of rational culture, an imitation of the life of Buddha, Jesus, or Francis seems condemned to failure for purely external reasons.”

“The process of sanctifying life could thus almost take on the character of a business enterprise. ”

“Beware of thinking all your own that you possess, and of living accordingly. It is a mistake that many people who have credit fall into.”

“No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals, or, if neither, mechanized petrifaction, embellished with a sort of convulsive self-importance. For of the last stage of this cultural development, it might well be truly said: ‘Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved.”

Max Weber Quotes“The ability of mental concentration, as well as the absolutely essential feeling of obligation  to one’s job, are here most often combined with a strict economy which calculates the possibility of high earnings, and a cool self-control and frugality which enormously increase performance.”

“In Baxter’s view the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the “saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment”.114 But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage.”

“Remember, that money is of the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on.”

“As intellectualism suppresses belief in magic, the world’s processes become disenchanted, lose the magical significance, and henceforth simply ‘are’ and ‘happen’ but no longer signify anything.”

“Low wages fail even from a purely business point of view wherever it is a question of producing goods which require any sort of skilled labour, or the use of expensive machinery which is easily damaged, or in general wherever any great amount of sharp attention or of initiative is required. Here low wages do not pay, and their effect is the opposite of what was intended. For not only is a developed sense of responsibility absolutely indispensable, but in general also an attitude which, at least during working hours, is freed from continual calculations of how the customary wage may be earned with a maximum of comfort and a minimum of exertion. Labour must, on the contrary, be performed as if it were an absolute end in itself, a calling. But such an attitude is by no means a product of nature. It cannot be evoked by low wages or high ones alone, but can only be the product of a long and arduous process of education.”

“spirit of capitalism is best understood as part of the development of rationalism as a whole,”

“For bourgeois classes as such have seldom before and never since displayed heroism. It was “the last of our heroisms”, as Carlyle, not without reason, has said. ”

“Its entry on the scene was not generally peaceful. A flood of mistrust, sometimes of hatred, above all of moral indignation, regularly opposed itself to the first innovator.”

“The final result of political action often, no regularly, stands in completely inadequate and often even paradoxical relation to its original meaning.”

Max Weber Quotes

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