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José Ortega y Gasset on Humans - Dictionary of Arguments

Brocker I 193
Human/Ortega y Gasset: As a being that is destined for freedom, that is, always has to decide who he/she wants to be and how he/she wants to live - for "circumstances" cannot decide for him/her - the human is historically situated, existentially anchored in certain constellations of action and decision that he cannot ignore. They are a certain space of possibilities and options within which the human can act and decide to live on at all. They are his "purpose in life". About this purpose in life or "vital destiny" it is said: "The circumstances - the possibilities - are the given and imposed on us in our lives. They form our world. Life does not choose its world; it is found from the outset in a certain, inexchangeable world in this present world. Our world is the fateful component that enters our lives. But this vital determination is not the same as physical determination." (1).
However, this "vital determination" does not abolish the human's freedom of choice. It provides options. But within circumstances. These options are not identical to the circumstances.
Brocker I 196
Mass Human/Ortega: the "process of making masses" (See Mass/Ortega) has led to the fact that the average human has become master of society. He acts at his own discretion, asserts his/her way of enjoying and living, refuses any subordination and does not listen to anyone.
Brocker I 197
Def Mass Human/Ortega: 1. he/she is a statistical average size, a type, an anonymous bundle of characteristics ((s) Nevertheless, Ortega here does not speak of a type in the sense of category, but of individuals as one meets them in public and Ortega means that they lack an individuality.).
2. The mass human is emotionally determined, not primarily guided by reason and therefore easily influenced.
3. If the mass human is not distinguished by intelligence and responsibility. In the masses, the level of individual individuals decreases, both in intelligence and in personal responsibility. (See Collective Intelligence, See Masses/Freud).
4. Characteristic: the uninhibited expansion of wishes and a fundamental ingratitude for everything that made his smooth, comfortable life possible. Similar to a spoiled child. (2)
5. Unlearnability: He/she is self-sufficient. He/she is satisfied with himself/herself as he/she is and does not feel the need to broaden his/her own horizon and go beyond it. (3)
Brocker I 198
For Ortega, the mass human is a product of liberal democracy, experimental science and technical industrialism (4).
See also Behaviour/Ortega.

1. José Ortega y Gasset, La Rebelión de las Masas (con un prólogo para franceses, un epílogo para ingleses y un apéndice: Dinámica del tiempo), Madrid 1937 (zuerst 1929). Dt.: José Ortega y Gasset, Der Aufstand der Massen, Reinbek 1956, S. 33.
2. Ebenda S. 41
3. Ebenda S. 44
4. Ebenda S. 39.

Thomas Gil, „Ortega y Gasset, Der Aufstand der Massen (1929)“ In: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Ortega y Gasset, José
Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-04-11
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