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Thread: On the Legendary German Morality

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    Senior Member Jens's Avatar
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    On the Legendary German Morality

    I've seen talk of the legendary German morality as the core of our culture, the thing that sets us apart from the rest. I'm not here to debate that. I'd like to, with your help, define what we mean by German morality. Lets please not discuss the various merits of these values here, there are other threads for that, but tell me, what ARE German values, and what do you base that on.

    German Morals

    I will get us started. The oldest records we have about German society (and the only pre-christian ones) come from our enemies, the Romans. Namely Julius Ceaser in Bello Gallico, and Tacitus in Germania. As outsiders with limited insights into the culture, their observations should be taken with a grain of salt. But here they are:

    1. German culture requires strict and faithful monogamy.
    2. Courage is the greatest virtue
    3. There is a strong emphasis on physical health and agility, lots of comments about how robust the Germans are.
    4. Hard work and efficiency. (Ingvaeonic)
    5. That our word is holy, and a handshake is all that it takes (Neophyte)
    6. Personal honor (fidelity and honesty) is more important than your own life (renownedwolf) (Ingvaeonic)
    7. Hospitality. Cheerful giving within reason.(Moody)
    8. Self-reliance (Ingvaeonic)
    9. Discipline and self control. (Ingvaeonic)

    There was an interesting bit by Caeser that I found fascinating. He said the Germans would swap land around every growing season so that families and men would not grow too accustomed to being in one place, lest they start building fancy homes and accumulate too many possessions and become too comfortable to go to war. Not sure what to make of that.

    Aright, lay it on me. Please give me some sort of source. Just pulling pie in the sky ideals out of thin air won't fly here, values that we can actually glean from evidence or history. I'll add everything people can substantiate to the list above.
    Last edited by Jens; Friday, June 22nd, 2012 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Adding valid answers
    Apfelstrudel mit Vanillesoße, yeah I said it, what are you gonna do?

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    Senior Member Neophyte's Avatar
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    5. That our word is holy, and a handshake is all that it takes.

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    6. Honour is everything and worth fighting and dying for.

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    Senior Member Jens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by renownedwolf View Post
    6. Honour is everything and worth fighting and dying for.
    I took the liberty of rewording it to exclude any confusion about justifying honor killings of the family and so forth. In ancient German tradition, when a suicide was warranted a person in the case of cowardice would face expulsion and shunning, not execution according to any sources I've seen.
    Apfelstrudel mit Vanillesoße, yeah I said it, what are you gonna do?

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Taking the Anglo Saxon rune poem as a source, two main ethical principles emerge in that work.

    The first has been mentioned, that of courage. See the second stanza, for example. Endurance of pain is advocated in stanza three, while the eighth says there will be no joy without pain.

    The second ethical principle has yet to be mentioned, and that is generosity. It is in the first stanza and has therefore premier importance. It is remphasised in the seventh stanza, and is given a rationale in the 12th stanza, for example, in the suggestion that Nature herself bestows her riches on all, noble and base.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Senior Member Jens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moody View Post
    The second ethical principle has yet to be mentioned, and that is generosity. It is in the first stanza and has therefore premier importance. It is remphasised in the seventh stanza, and is given a rationale in the 12th stanza, for example, in the suggestion that Nature herself bestows her riches on all, noble and base.
    Good point. Tacitus mentions that too but I forgot about it.
    Apfelstrudel mit Vanillesoße, yeah I said it, what are you gonna do?

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    Generosity within the bounds of hospitality. It works both ways.

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by renownedwolf View Post
    Generosity within the bounds of hospitality. It works both ways.
    The 23rd stanza (ethel rune) says that homeland is sacred. The rune's form suggests a boundary, and therefore a limitation, as it were, to generosity.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Senior Member Jens's Avatar
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    Ok, so how should I word that? Just call the virtue "Hospitality"? I think that kind of implies generosity in regard to certain things, and not others. Thoughts?
    Apfelstrudel mit Vanillesoße, yeah I said it, what are you gonna do?

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    A lot of German morality consists of believing that one is a God. Just sayin . Nah, just kidding, I've met hardcore Germans before who were downright awesome and funny.
    Under Capitalism man exploits man; under socialism the reverse is true.

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