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The Misanthrope (painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder , around 1568)

Misanthropy (from ancient Greek μισεῖν miseín "hate, reject" and ἄνθρωπος ánthrōpos "human") is the view of a person who hates people or rejects their proximity. Such a person is called a misanthrope (" misanthropist , misanthropist ").

Definition of terms

Misanthropy characterizes an attitude, not an act. A misanthrope does not have to be violent, aggressive or arrogant, altruistic behavior is not excluded. Misanthropy, despite its etymological appearance, is not conceptually in conflict with the related term philanthropy , which is generally used to describe a person's behavior rather than their attitudes. In extreme cases of disgust towards human beings, the misanthrope isolates itself and leads a hermit existence . This self-chosen isolation must be distinguished from pathological fear of people , in which, despite the desire for it, no closeness to the surrounding human community can be achieved.


In his General Comment on the Exposure of Aesthetic Reflective Judgments, Immanuel Kant condemned misanthropy:

"On the other hand, people have to flee, out of misanthropy because one is hostile to them, or out of anthropophobia (fear of people) because one fears them as one's enemies, sometimes ugly, sometimes scornful."

Arthur Schopenhauer often expressed himself in a misanthropic way, for example in the porcupine parable :

“This is how the need of society, arising from the emptiness and monotony of one's own interior, drives people towards one another; but their many repulsive properties and unbearable faults repel them again. "


The misanthrope. Martinus Rørbye .

In the literature, misanthropy was among others by the playwrights Menandros ( Dyskolos , German The Curmudgeon or The Misanthrope ), Shakespeare ( Timon of Athens , German Timon von Athen ), Molière ( Le Misanthrope , German Der misanthrope ) and Schiller ( The reconciled misanthropist ) treated, as well as by the satirist Lukian of Samosata ( Timon ). Thomas Bernhard's first novels , above all Frost and Disturbance , are deeply misanthropic in their basic features and considerations of the environment. The Norwegian author Matias Faldbakken published his Scandinavian Misantrophy Trilogy with his works Cocka Hola Company , Macht and Rebel and Unfun .

See also


Overview representations


Web links

Commons : Misanthropy  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Misanthropy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations