The 70 best phrases of Max Weber
Jul 16, 2021
Maximilian Karl Emil Weber, more commonly known as Max Weber, he was a German sociologist, economist and philosopher born in the city of Munich during the year 1864.
Thanks to his particular vision of society, the economy and religion, Max Weber is currently considered one of the fathers of modern sociology, his name being on a par with other great sociologists such as Karl Marx, Auguste Comte or Émile Durkheim. Something that all of us should know is that there are many ideas of this philosopher that still retain great validity today and That is precisely why the reading of his work is still actively recommended among those who carry out certain studies academics.
- Related article: "Max Weber: biography of this German sociologist and philosopher"
Phrases and reflections of Max Weber, famous German sociologist
You may have heard a lot about this famous German thinker, but if you don't know what his main ideas were and what was his way of understanding society, the lines that you will find below will help you understand his ideas, because we will see
1. Because nothing is worth something to a person if he cannot do it with passion.
As this famous philosopher tells us in this quote, only those things that we are most passionate about are those that really fill us as individuals.
2. Enlightenment in the broadest sense of forward thinking has always pursued the goal of removing fear from people and using it as a teacher. But the fully illuminated land shines in the sign of triumphant calamity. The Enlightenment program was the world's disenchantment.
Being wiser usually also makes us less happy people, because when human beings we discover what the world around us really is like many times we also realize all the injustices it houses.
3. According to all experience, no rule is voluntarily satisfied with only material, or only affective, or only rationally valued motives as opportunities for its continued existence. Rather, each seeks to awaken and cultivate faith in its legitimacy.
We should all be very clear about our goals and try to pursue them, regardless of the feeling that motivates us every day to achieve them.
4. Unlike the savage, for whom such powers existed, one must resort to magical means to control or solicit spirits.
Skepticism is certainly a way of looking at life that can make us see the world in a much less magical or exciting way.
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5. Increasing intellectualization and rationalization does not mean increasing general awareness of the living conditions in which one finds oneself. Rather, it means something else: the knowledge of it or the belief in it: that one could experience it at any time, if only one wanted, that in principle there are no mysterious and unpredictable powers that act in it, that one rather all things, in principle, can master by calculating.
With the arrival of science, man has many times managed to go one step ahead of nature and even, learn that with observation and study he can predict many of the inclemencies that in the future he will have to to live.
6. Idea does not replace work. And work cannot replace or force idea, any more than passion can. Both, above all: both together, attract him. But he comes when he likes us, not when we like him.
The ideas arise spontaneously, but if we do not work on them later, we will never be able to obtain all the fruit that they can give us.
7. This document (the Communist Manifesto) is of its kind, however much we reject it in decisive theses (at least I do) a scientific achievement of the first order. That cannot be denied, it cannot be denied either, because no one believes it and because it cannot be denied with a clear conscience.
The idea of communism was undoubtedly a revolution at the time, something very logical considering that this new form of state organization promised at least on paper a better life for each and every citizen.
8. Fifteen years ago, when American workers were asked why they allowed themselves to be ruled by politicians who professed despise them, the answer was: We would rather have people than officials to spit on than, like you, a caste of officials who we they spit. That was the old view of American democracy: even then socialists thought completely differently.
Throughout the history of democracy the world of politics has always been ruled by the rich and the powerful are by That is, many of the policies that were once imposed on the population used to favor the wealthiest class of the society.
9. The obvious is the least expected.
Many times the simplest decision is usually the correct one, we must never discredit an idea because it may seem too obvious or obvious.
10. Just as the magician has his charisma, the god has to demonstrate his power.
With the advent of communism and industrialization the idea of an omnipotent god seemed increasingly to possess less widespread among the population and as we can see, this sociologist harbored very serious doubts about his existence of him.
11. The great advantage of capitalism is that it disciplines selfishness.
Capitalism has proven to be a very efficient system over the years although we should know that different current economists have already predicted that in the future it will probably also end up being obsolete.
12. The idea is not a substitute for work.
Without work there is no glory, no matter how brilliant we are, if we want to be able to obtain a very valuable goal, we will always have to work.
13. There are two ways to turn politics into a profession. Or: you live for politics or politics.
Politics has become a way of making a living For many people it is for this reason that in most countries they have a fairly large number of politicians.
14. That is where the crucial point lies. We have to realize that any ethically oriented action can be subject to two maxims fundamentally different and inalienable contradictory: it can be oriented towards ethical convictions or ethically responsible.
Our personal values often do not have to coincide with those of the majority of society, a fact that many times it can lead to confusion when having to make relevant decisions in a very hasty.
15. Another basic concept is that of exercise. It means: Increasing the ease, speed, safety and uniformity of a certain performance through its frequent repetition.
Certainly when people repeat the same action a lot, in the end we are able to perform it in a way very fast and efficient, because, as is often said, practice is what will generally lead us to perfection.
16. For us, "politics" means fighting for a share of power or to influence distribution of power, be it between states, be it within a state, or between groups of people who surround.
With the exercise of politics and with patience, we can all reach a relevant position in society. It is precisely for this reason that many people, upon realizing this fact, usually say that they dedicate themselves specifically to the exercise of this profession.
17. If there were only social structures for which violence was unknown as a means, then the term state would have disappeared and what would have happened in this particular sense of the word as anarchy.
As we can see in this quote, the idea of anarchy was presented as a very interesting form of social organization for this famous According to this ideology, a sociologist, the absence of the state would theoretically not have to mean, much less, the end of a well-functioning society. organized.
18. The state is that human society, which within a given area claims the monopoly of legitimate physical violence for itself (successfully).
It is true that the state is the only social entity that is considered fully legitimized to exercise violence, a repression that According to the theory, it will always be applied with the sole idea of preserving the correct functioning of society in set.
19. An empirical science cannot teach anyone what it should, but only what it can and, under certain circumstances, what it wants.
The human being only learns when he wants to. As every teacher knows, no matter how much we try to teach a person, if she does not put her part, she will never absorb the knowledge we try to instill in her.
20. Because the most radical doubt is that of the father of knowledge.
Curiosity is the mother of science and for it to awaken in us many of us need an existential doubt to put it into operation.
21. Because the rule is paramount in everyday life: administration.
Knowing how to manage correctly can undoubtedly help us a lot in our daily lives, thanks to this we may even be able to afford more than one important whim over time.
22. All political structures are structures of violence.
A very curious way of understanding politics, but it is true that the legislative power can be seen as an organ that exercises a certain repression.
23. Only through strict specialization can the scientific worker make the full feeling his own, once and perhaps never again in life: I have achieved something here that will last.
Few things in the world are more important to a scientist than the pleasure of being able to make a new discovery.
24. The idea is usually only prepared on the basis of very hard work.
For a great idea to come to us, it is true that it is very likely that we will have to spend a long time looking for it first.
25. Therefore, the cause of the different behaviors should be sought mainly in the quality internal enduring of these religions and not only in their respective historical-political situations external.
Each religion has a different way of approaching the daily life of people and organizing their own economy, a characteristic without a doubt very curious which most people tend to high.
26. Politics means hard and slow drilling of hard boards with passion and a sense of proportion at the same time.
There are many policies that, being rejected at first, end up being supported by the population over time. A fact that shows us once again that a lie told a thousand times can end up becoming a truth for certain people.
27. Sociology (in the sense of this very ambiguous word) should mean: a science that interprets social action and wants to explain its course and effects causally.
Weber had a very particular vision of what sociology was for him, an idea that in broad strokes we can clearly reflect in this brief quote.
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28. Politicians fight for power.
A very brief quote that in turn reveals a great truth. Politics is in most cases the most used tool to achieve power.
29. Power means every opportunity within a social relationship to enforce one's will even against resistance, no matter what this opportunity is based on.
Once we obtain power there will be nothing that others can do to avoid having to fulfill our designs and It is for this reason that so many people yearn to achieve this certain status of supremacy.
30. Mysticism claims a state of possession, not action, and the individual is not a tool but a container of the divine.
The way in which religion understood people's lives differed greatly from the ideas possessed by this sociologist; At the beginning of the 20th century, modernity was something that, as we see, left less and less space for ideas based on the divine and the transcendental.
31. In this sense I also consider myself an invalid, a stunted man whose destiny is to honestly admit that he must endure this state of affairs.
We all suffer vicissitudes throughout our lives, regardless of our social status or how much money we have.
32. For the true mystic, the principle remains valid: the creature must be silent so that God can speak.
Religion is an idea that has almost always demanded submission from its faithful; On the other hand, science has always asked those who practice it to collaborate, perhaps this is why, since the appearance of time of the enlightenment, religions and above all Christianity saw with the passage of time a clear decrease in the number of their faithful.
33. The contrast between asceticism and mysticism is also attenuated if the contemplative mystic does not come to the conclusion that he must flee from the world, but, like the asceticism of the inner world, must remain in the orders of the world.
Regardless of whether we believe in a higher power or if we don't, a deep sense of respect among all people should always prevail.
34. Spiritless specialists, heartless sensualists; this nullity imagines that it has reached a level of civilization never before reached.
Although today's civilization is very advanced, it is true that interpersonal relationships are getting colder each time, as it seems be, that according to this logic the more we evolve as a society at the individual level, over time we become less passionate.
35. It is true that good can only be derived from good and evil only from evil, but the opposite is often the case. Anyone who does not see this is, in fact, a political infant.
Good and evil are actually much closer than we usually thinkEven the difference between one and the other may actually only lie in our particular point of view.
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36. Rationalism is a historical concept that contains within itself a world of contradictions.
The more explanations we seek of how the world around us really works, the more unknowns we are likely to find in turn. Without a doubt all a gibberish with which science has been forced to live from its very appearance.
37. Both as ruling and ruled strata and as majority and minority, Protestants... they have shown a specific tendency toward economic rationalism. This trend has not been observed in the same way in the present or in the past among Catholics, regardless of whether they were the dominant or dominated stratum or constituted a majority or a minority.
In Weber's view, the United States had a climate wholly conducive to future economic growth and As we all know, with the passage of time it was unequivocally demonstrated that this celebrated sociologist was totally right. certain.
38. Certainly, even with the best will, the modern person in general seems incapable of imagining how great is the importance that these components of our conscience rooted in religious beliefs have had in the culture, the national character and the organization of the lifetime. However, it cannot, of course, be the intention here to place a spiritualistic analysis one-sided of the causes of culture and history rather than an equally "materialistic" analysis unilateral. Both are equally possible. Historical truth, however, is of equally little use if any of these analyzes is intended to be the conclusion of an investigation rather than its preparatory stage.
As human beings we have all been affected for a long time by many external religious and social ideas, some ideas that with the passage of time have gradually formed most of the moral principles that many of us possess today. today.
39. This naive way of conceptualizing capitalism in reference to a pursuit of profit must be relegated to the kindergarten of the methodology of cultural history and abandoned once and for all. all. A totally unrestricted compulsion to acquire goods cannot be understood as synonymous with capitalism, and even less as its spirit. On the contrary, capitalism can be identical to the domestication of this irrational motivation, or at least to its rational restraint. However, capitalism is distinguished by the pursuit of profit, in fact, profits are pursued from rational and continuous way in companies and firms, and then pursued again and again, just like the cost effectiveness. There are no options. If the entire economy is organized according to the rules of the open market, let's start by defining the terms in a more precise way than is usually the case. For us, a capitalist economic act implies above all an expectation of profit based on the use of exchange opportunities; that is, of (formally) peaceful opportunities for acquisition. Formal and actual acquisition through violence follows its own special laws and is therefore best placed, however much it is recommended to do so, in a different category. Wherever capitalist acquisition is rationally pursued, action is computationally oriented in terms of capital.
In today's capitalist world, people live only for the sole purpose of acquiring wealth and goods, a lifestyle that as we will discover over the years, many times it ends up becoming very tedious and unsatisfactory for many of those who they practice.
40. The finally possible attitudes towards life are irreconcilable and therefore their struggle can never reach a definitive conclusion.
Where our life will take us is something that no one knows, but it is very true that as we progress in it many of us have the feeling that we never stop fighting. Being able to achieve our personal goals is a sometimes tortuous path that certainly many of us will not abandon throughout our lives.
41. Legitimation by a recognized religion has always been decisive for an alliance between the political and social ruling classes and the priesthood. Integration into the Hindu community provided such religious legitimation for the ruling stratum. Not only did he endow the ruling stratum of barbarians with a recognized rank in the cultural world of Hinduism, but, through its transformation into castes, ensured its superiority over the subject classes with an efficiency unsurpassed by any other religion.
Caste division in India is undoubtedly a very interesting form of social organization, because thanks to this style of society, the citizens of this nation enjoyed in the past a great social balance with which many other countries of yesteryear only they dreamed.
42. Sociology is the science whose object is to interpret the meaning of social action and, therefore, to give a causal explanation of the way in which the action proceeds and the effects it produces. By action in this definition is understood human behavior when and to the extent that the agent or agents see it as subjectively significant the meaning to which we refer may be (a) the meaning actually intended by an individual agent on a particular historical occasion or by a number of agents in an approximate average in a given set of cases, or (b) the meaning attributed to the agent or agents, as types, in a pure type constructed in abstract. In neither case should the meaning be thought to be somehow objectively correct or true by some metaphysical criterion.
As a sociologist, Max Weber always wondered how exactly society influenced the human being a question without a doubt very difficult to answer.
43. After Nietzsche's devastating critique of those "last men" who "invented happiness," I probably don't need to remind them. the naive optimism with which we once celebrated science, or technology for the mastery of life based on it, as the path to happiness.
It is true that both Weber and Nietzsche had a very different way of looking at life, and it was probably exactly that fact that made them both great philosophers.
44. In a democracy, people choose a leader they trust. Then the elected leader says: Now shut up and obey me. Then the people and the party are no longer free to interfere in your business.
Are we as free in a democracy as we often think? This Weber quote shows us that the freedom we think we live in may actually be much more subjective than we imagine.
45. A true prophecy systematically creates and guides behavior toward an internal measure of value. Against this, the "world" is seen as a material that must be ethically modeled according to the norm. Confucianism, on the contrary, meant an adjustment abroad, to the conditions of the "world." A well-adjusted man, rationalizing his behavior only to the degree required for adjustment, does not constitute a systematic unit but rather a complex of useful and particular traits.
At the beginning of the 20th century, religions began to clearly take a back seat giving a much greater relevance to the world of ideas a change of general mentality, which in reality had already been gaining great strength for a long time weather.
46. The more aware a religion is of its opposition in principle to economic rationalization as such, more apt are the virtuous of religion to reject the world, especially its economic activities.
Religion dominated people's lives for centuries and with the imminent arrival of modernity, there were many religious who decided to fight tooth and nail in order to maintain the great power within society that over the years had obtained.
47. Above all, as will be seen repeatedly in the following sections, central to our discussion is the investigation of the idea of a testimony of one's belief as the psychological origin point of ethics methodical.
Many of the ideas that we have perhaps are not really of our own harvest, society is a very important that contrary to what we sometimes think, it tends to greatly influence our daily intake of decisions.
48. The destiny of our time is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world. Precisely the last and most sublime values have been withdrawn from public life, either to the realm transcendental life of mystical life, or to the brotherhood of direct human relations and personal. It is no accident that our greatest art is intimate and not monumental.
Every time the world seems to be much less mystical and at the same time also much more practical, although with this subtle change, much of the charm that people's lives once seemed to have been lost too own.
49. The capacity for the realization of virtuous religious - the "intellectual sacrifice" - is the decisive characteristic of the positively religious man. That this is so is demonstrated by the fact that despite (or rather as a consequence) of theology (which reveals it), the tension between the spheres of values of "science" and the sphere of "the holy" is impassable.
Ever since science appeared in people's lives, there has always been a very intense struggle between it and religion. A battle that in the XXI century we still do not know what its final outcome will be.
50. No sociologist, for example, should think that he is too good, even in his old age, to do tens of thousands of rather trivial calculations in his head and perhaps for months.
Sociology is a science of which we can never know everything about it because with the passage of time, there may be many great ideas that one day we thought totally immovable we discover that in reality they were not as right as we we thought.
51. The persecutions of these heterodoxies... do not explain the unusually rapid victory of Hinduism. Favorable political circumstances contributed to the victory. However, decisive was the fact that Hinduism could provide incomparable religious support to the legitimizing interest of the ruling strata.
Hinduism was a religion that provided the main foundations by which later the society of the India and that is why this religion can be revealed more as a whole lifestyle than as a religion at the use.
52. It is above all the impersonal and economically rationalized character (but for this same ethically irrational reason) of the purely commercial relationships which evokes the suspicion, never clearly expressed, but much more heartfelt, of religions ethical. Because any purely personal man-to-man relationship, of any kind, and even complete slavery, can be subject to ethical requirements and ethically regulated. This is true because the structures of these relationships depend on the individual will of the participants, leaving space in such relationships for manifestations of the virtue of charity. But this is not the situation in the realm of economically rationalized relationships, where the personal control is exercised in inverse proportion to the degree of rational differentiation of the structure economical.
The human being has been living in society for about 8,000 years, and during all this time there has always been a class struggle, first with leaders of religious origin and now due to capitalism, it is the economy that determines who is the person in charge and who is the one who should undergo.
53. For the Confucian, the expert specialist could not be elevated to a truly positive dignity, regardless of his social utility. The decisive factor was that the "cultured man" (gentleman) "was not a tool"; that is, in his adaptation to the world and in his self-perfection it was an end in itself, not a means to any functional end. This core of Confucian ethics rejected professional specialization, the modern bureaucracy of experts, and special training; Above all, he rejected training in economics to seek profit.
For Confucianism, reflection and study always came firstFor this religion, the search for personal goods and wealth was a totally absurd way of wasting time in which good men should never fall.
54. Since Judaism made Christianity possible and gave it the character of an essentially magic-free religion, it did an important service from the point of view of economic history. For the dominance of magic outside the realm in which Christianity has prevailed in one of the gravest obstructions to the rationalization of economic life. Magic implies a stereotype of technology and economic relationships. When China tried to inaugurate the construction of railways and factories, there was a conflict with geomancy... Similar is the relationship with caste capitalism in India. Each new technical process that an Indian employs means for him, in the first place, that he abandons his caste and falls into another, necessarily lower... An additional fact is that every caste makes all the others impure. Consequently, workers who dare not accept a container full of water from each other cannot work together in the same factory room. Obviously, capitalism could not develop in an economic group thus tied hand and foot by magical means.
In this revealing quote from Max Weber we can see how capitalism collided head-on with most religions in its beginnings, a fact that many of us, having lived all our lives immersed in capitalism, were very probably unknown until now.
55. What interests us here is the assimilation power of the Hindu order of life due to its legitimation of social rank.
India finally had to adapt modern life and capitalism to its society because otherwise, the leaders of this nation knew they could never have been competitive in the hyper-accelerated world in which we live.
56. The ability to distinguish between empirical knowledge and value judgments, and the fulfillment of the scientific duty to see the factual truth, as well as the practical duty to defend our own ideals, constitute the program to which we wish to adhere more and more firmness.
Only by being very clear about our objectives will we be able to achieve them over the years, a perhaps very personal idea that in turn more and more people in today's society have.
57. Only on the assumption of belief in the validity of values is the attempt to embrace value judgments meaningful. However, judging the validity of such values is a matter of faith.
Personal values are often very subjective and it is even possible that those values that today are correct for us may never be correct for other people.
58. The truth is the truth.
Finding an immovable truth is much more complicated than we think, but if we ever find one, it will be so obvious that probably no one will ever doubt it.
59. Luther understands monasticism as the product of a lack of selfish love that departs from one's duties in the world. On the contrary, this worldly work on a vocation seems to him to be a visible expression of brotherly love, a notion that anchors in a very unrealistic way reality and contrast, almost grotesquely, like the well-known passages of Adam Smith.
How people understood society 100 years ago is very different from how we do it today, although on the other hand part we must bear in mind that those people were often subjected to really harsh tests throughout their lives.
60. Modern capitalism has as little use for the liberum arbitrium (undisciplined) people as workers as it is for the unscrupulous businessman in running his business.
Since the birth of capitalism, companies have always looked for workers who are serious at work and also very disciplined, two qualities that are simply essential to achieve the degree of efficiency that today's companies need.
61. Finally, and of central importance, the special life of the saint, completely separated from the life natural desires and needs, could no longer develop in monastic communities isolated from the world. Rather, religious devotees must now live holy lives in the world and in the midst of its worldly affairs. This rationalization of the conduct of life, now in the world but still oriented to the supernatural, was the effect of the concept of vocation of ascetic Protestantism.
The modern world also came into the life of monksBecause although they must actively move away from modernity, modernity simply often ended up surrounding them.
62. The Confucian candidate for office, coming from the old tradition, could not help but see a formation specialized professional of European stamp as something more than a conditioning in the Philistine more dirty.
The lives of people changed a lot during the years in which this sociologist lived and during those years he had the chance to see how some people just seemed to loathe what the world was getting into converting.
63. This effort comes to be understood completely as an end in itself, to the point that it seems completely off course. normal things and simply irrational, at least when viewed from the perspective of the happiness or usefulness of the bachelor individual. Here, people are acquisition-oriented as a life purpose; acquisition is no longer seen as a means of meeting the substantive needs of life. Those in possession of spontaneous and fun-loving dispositions experience this situation as an absolutely meaningless reversal of a "natural" condition (as we would say today). Yet this reversal is as surely a guiding principle of capitalism as the misunderstanding of this new situation characterizes all those who remain intact by the tentacles of the capitalism.
As a consequence of capitalism, singleness was seen in a very different way from how it had been done until then, since those moral principles that the church had determined to be correct many times ceased to be seen as such with the advent of the modernity.
64. Due to the inability of the higher price rate to appeal to the purchasing sense, it would seem entirely plausible to attempt to do so using the opposite strategy: lowering piece rates, to force workers to produce more in order to maintain their income usual. Furthermore, two simple observations seem to have been valid in the past, as they are today: a lower salary and a higher profit. are directly related, and anything that is paid in higher wages must imply a corresponding reduction in wages. Profits.
Profit is actually the only end pursued by capitalism and to achieve it, entrepreneurs will not hesitate to do everything in their power to try to achieve it.
65. The ascetic, when he wishes to act within the world... must be afflicted with a kind of happy closure of the mind regarding any question about the meaning of the world, because you should not worry about such questions. Therefore, it is no accident that the asceticism of the inner world reached its most consistent development on the basis of the absolute inexplicability of the Calvinist god, his total remoteness from all human criteria and the impossibility of seeking his reasons.
For this sociologist religion was sometimes nothing more than a blindfold on people, a self-imposed blindness that some people voluntarily chose to choose for themselves.
66. No one knows who will live in this hard as steel casing and whether entirely new prophets or a powerful revival of ancient ideas and ideals will be at the end of this prodigious development.
Science made many people think that it was the end of religion, although as we all know today, religions have managed to endure without any problem over time.
67. Thus, the ascetic of the inner world is the recognized "man of vocation", who neither inquires nor finds it necessary to inquire about the meaning of your actual practice of a vocation throughout the world, the total framework of which is not your responsibility but your God.
A clear difference between the religious man and the man of science is that the former believes that God He totally directs his life and the second thinks that it is he who actually chooses the path that he wants drink.
68. Capitalism has been guided repeatedly by this axiom, and even since its inception, and it has been an article of faith for centuries that lower wages are productive.
The lower wages are sometimes not enough to keep a person alive. Is this job then productive?
69. Who believes this apart from a few oversized children occupying university chairs or newsrooms?
The press was seldom to the liking of this celebrated sociologist, because in his opinion, there were many editors who were not entirely impartial when writing many of their articles.
70. To you a liberal persuasive theologian (whether Catholic or Protestant) is necessarily more abhorrent as the typical representative of a middle position.
There are many religious and scientists who have always detested theologians because as Well Weber tells us in this quote, these seem to be in a totally intermediate position between both of them.