Мario Kalik

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Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade


Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Scheler perceive the spirit of their time and its deep social and spiritual crisis of Western civilization, emphasizing that the loss of common values ​​and landmarks in social life led to ressentiment alienation, meaninglessness, pessimism, despair, decadence, decay, nihilism. In the paper, by method of comparative analysis, it is presented Nietzsche's and Scheler's perspectives of perceiving the crisis of the spirit of modern civilization and their proposals to overcome it. Both authors see the foundation of the crisis in the loss of meaning, the rise of nihilism and the wrong values ​​that society promotes, as a consequence of resentment. Scheler emphasizes the importance and power of the "world of life". Scheler opposes the decadence of modern civilization by rehabilitating and reaffirming the absolute and eternal order of values, and resentment represents the destruction of the eternal order of values ​​in human consciousness. Nietzsche's overcoming of resentment seeks to be achieved through the "affirmation of life", the will to power that the subject lacks. Power determines human behavior as the main feature of Nietzsche's affirmative ethics, so contrary to nihilism, as the spirit of the times. For Nietzsche, the unstoppable decline in the modern period is the result of nihilism, which he explains as a lack of goal or intention. All values ​​lack the will to power because the values ​​of decay rule, nihilistic values. In order to overcome the crisis, political reforms must be accompanied by cultural reforms and changes that would be carried out by philosophers-legislators by giving new guidelines and establishing new values ​​as guiding principles of man. By depriving the strong and the aristocratic of their right to domination and revenge, ressentiment has become an extremely effective weapon in the hands of the weakling. For Nietzsche, ressentiment is the father of Christianity. Grown out of a destructive source, it has become a major creative cultural force in the shape of Christianity and its offspring. Ressentiment is definitely a dominant factor in our culture. Born out of the Christian attack on violence, it became the father of modern Western society. Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Scheler defined ressentiment as a form of political anger that does not seek a clear remedy. It is this particular conception of irremediable political discontent that appears. Nietzsche and Scheler originally conceived ressentiment as a critique of the striving towards egalitarianism. Scheler sought to discover how to save man from the crisis of civilization, opposing all the false teachings about salvation that do not solve the crisis, but deepen it. The solutions he proposes are the rise of heroism and spirit in the war and the reintegrated national community, as in the days before and at the beginning of the First World War; affirmation of individual spiritual personalities and their solidarity under the auspices of the Church, as in the period from the second half of the war to the beginning of the 1920s; or the creation of a liberal elite of education that will unite science with (rational) metaphysics, in the last period. Nietzsche strives for self-transcendence and the establishment of a hierarchy in society according to the greatness of humanity itself as a need for the policy of salvation in the age of nihilism, which will be led by the superman. Nietzsche longs for a new humanity that would be just an expression of the nihilistic conditions he wants to overcome. Undisguised is his dissatisfaction with the present man whom he identifies with the resentment towards life. Because of the crisis of authority, and in search of a dead God, humanity needs new idols or ideas, which will be the new metaphysical foundations of morality. It is essential, for a modern man to find himself, while at the same time showing that it is necessary to establish new legislation. The paper concludes that the causes of the crisis of modern civilization are found in the "inverted values" of the lower class according to Scheler and slavish morality with values ​​that lack the will to power in Nietzsche.