The concrete human being who sees his sensuality and body as prerequisites for a full and happy life was at the heart of Ludwig Feuerbach’s philosophy. “Be a friend of God among the friends of God, and a student of this world among the candidates of the afterlife,” he wants as a philosophy.
“I am a different world from philosophers who tear their eyes from their heads to think better. To think requires the senses, especially the eyes, and always thinks on the basis of the material that you acquire through sensuality” Feuerbach wrote
“God as the father of the house”
Ludwig Feuerbach developed a critique of Christianity and “the idea of sensuality” outside of college. He began his academic career as a private lecturer in Erlangen, but soon fell victim to the prevailing political situation at the time. In his anonymously published book “Thoughts on Death and Immortality,” he called the personal god of the Christian faith “home daddy, sergeant, and night watchman” who meets human needs for safety. Reckless efforts made Feuerbach’s author known, and he had to drop out of college.
This article was the cornerstone of his major work, Essence of Christianity, published in 1841. It had a strong influence as a core text of religious criticism in the 19th century. The first part explains the motives that move people to embrace the doctrines of Christianity. For Feuerbach, religion was the dream of the human spirit, not from heaven, but from earth. Belief in God is a religious human thought, an anthropological fact, nothing more. Feuerbach said, “God is the mirror of man.
Religion – “Fountain of Fanaticism”
In the second, a short section of the study, he emphasized “religion in contradiction with human nature” and attacked “the evil nature of religion – the sinister source of religious fanaticism.” It consists of wagering bloody wars in the name of religion, claiming numerous victims, and representing “the basis of all atrocities, all horrific scenes in the tragedies of religious history.”
In addition to the attack on religion, Feuerbach also included university philosophy in his critique. He demanded that philosophers step back from the pulpit. The stubborn philosopher also identified the absolute contradiction between productive and innovative philosophers and professors of philosophy. Feuerbach said that it is the hallmark of a true philosopher that he is not a professor of philosophy.
The body as “the land of the world”
Feuerbach’s critique of religion was a prerequisite for his sensual philosophy, which also included human emotions, passions, desires, impulses, and physical needs. For him, the body was the basis of human existence. The ego, superego, or sociosocial being functions as a superstructure, so to speak, as an “empty, non-substantial abstraction.” “The body is the subject of the personality,” Feuerbach said. “The real person differs from the imaginary ghost only through the body.” For him, the body was “the foundation of the world.”
“You are what you eat”
Nutrition plays an important role in Feuerbach’s sensory philosophy. His motto is “Eat and drink keeps me and you together” and “People eat.” Feuerbach was enamored with the intoxicating wines and richness of foie gras. But he also enjoyed Spartan barley soup. In his gastronomy, Feuerbach re-evaluated his philosophical values.
“Why didn’t philosophers bother themselves with the question of what was the beginning of philosophy? I or not, consciousness or being? You fools who, astonished by the riddle of the beginning, open their mouths and do not realize that the open mouth is the entrance to nature, Your teeth long ago broke their fruit, you fools who still bow their heads in vain today!”
philosophy of love
Feuerbach also explained the philosophy of love. In sensual love, he saw the basic model of human relationships satisfying the human pursuit of happiness. As Feuerbach said, “Love for others tells you who you are.” His “philosophy of love” is based on the existentially important me-you relationship for every individual. Feuerbach wrote, “Without the Other, the world would be dead, empty and meaningless to me.” “Where you are not, I am not.”
In parallel with the philosophy of sensuality, Feuerbach developed a philosophy of nature. Unlike Hegel, who regarded nature only as scarce and irrational beings, Feuerbach regarded nature as noble. He also rejected the logic of valorization of nature advocated by both capitalism and Marxism. He said to him that nature was the fulness of reality, not the mortally pounding material that must be exploited as efficiently as possible. Nature was a whole that existed by itself and did not compete with God: Feuerbach postulated “Aut deus aut natura – either God or nature”.
sympathy for communism
Through his comprehensive critique of religion that Feuerbach had replaced with materialist anthropology, Feuerbach became an intellectual leader of the revolutionary Bormatz movement. Feuerbach sympathized with the representatives of early socialism and communism and wrote politically. He lectured in Heidelberg until his death, attended by artisans as well as his students. Feuerbach left a legacy of his apologies for sensuality.
“If you want to improve people, make them happy. But if you want to make them happy, go to the source of happiness, the senses. The denial of the senses is the root of all madness, wickedness and disease in human life, and the affirmation of the senses is the root of physical, moral and theoretical health.”
At stake as a private scholar
Ludwig Feuerbach was born on July 28, 1804 in Landshut, the son of the respected jurist Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach. He studied philosophy with Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in Berlin, and after completing his doctorate and training, he lectured on the history of philosophy, logic and metaphysics. Because of his critical writings about religion, the scholar was banned from his profession and led a precarious life as a private scholar.
This was made possible by marrying Bertha Löw, the co-owner of the pottery factory. Feuerbach paid a heavy price for his radical philosophy. He became poor and became dependent on the financial support of his friends. On September 13, 1872, Feuerbach died of a stroke. His funeral was held with great sympathy from the public.