What is attitude

Human being"We are our attitudes"

Christiane Florin: Show posture, maintain posture, assume posture: if you can't hear us jogging, then you may have sat up a little more upright. The word attitude alone inspires respect. One would like to have an attitude, if only opportunism, pragmatism and capitalism did not keep intervening. The writer Husch Josten is in my studio. It is their job to listen to words very carefully. And in the past few weeks - in the election campaign weeks, to be more precise - she has taken on the word "attitude". Everything that resonates with the word attitude - and what that has to do with faith. That is the subject of this program. Good morning, Mrs. Josten.

Husch Josten: Good Morning.

Florin: Do you miss attitude?

Josten: In the last few weeks we have encountered this attitude everywhere. I don't know about you, but in almost every newspaper article, in political debates, on television, everywhere we hear of attitude. We are confronted with the most varied of attitudes and - yes, almost energetically asked to have an attitude, to show an attitude. But the interesting question is: what is attitude anyway? Where do we get them from?

If you look up - quite simply - in the Duden, we will find many terms subsumed under "attitude". It goes from disposition and composure to attitude and opinion to posture. The keeping of animals, the wrong keeping and - especially nice - a term from the sport, which one could think differently in times of the election campaign: the posture grade!

Florin: You got help. You talked to people who think full time and also think full time about what holds society together.

Josten: That was very exciting and interesting in that some of the people I spoke to also avoided the topic and said directly: Pooh, okay, attitude? But that's difficult now.

The Cologne journalist and writer Husch Josten (private / Sandra Then)

Florin:But then did you find people who wanted to talk to you about it? Or who have thought about it.

Josten: Fortunately, I've opened a few.

Florin:Christiane Woopen, Chair of the European Ethics Council, is one who has not evaded, and who cannot avoid difficult questions, even for professional reasons. We'll hear what she suggests as a definition of posture.

Christiane Woopen: "To me, having an attitude means acting from a basic conviction that encompasses the whole person, that is, their body, their mind and their feelings. An attitude does not consist of a concrete rule such as" You should not kill ", it is rather, a disposition to act that develops in the course of a person's life and experience, i.e. in the individual life. The basic conviction is then, for example, that life is something extremely valuable. And that then leads to the disposition to act to protect and preserve life, without thinking about it specifically now. "

Josten: Christiane Woopen said succinctly with "basic disposition" that attitude is something that is in us. It is like this: Anyone who regards thinking and feeling as opposites denies the fundamental brokenness of the human being - he is always related to everything at the same time: thinking, feeling, experience. Does all this determine our attitude - or is there perhaps more necessary for an inner attitude? I asked the philosopher Professor Armin Wildfeuer about this.

Armin Wildfeuer: "The concept of attitude is what ethics have called virtue since Plato and Aristotle. Virtues, incidentally also vices and vices, thus arise through habituation. One could define virtues as an attitude to life acquired through continued practice, a disposition or one Habitus of the emotional and cognitive powers and abilities, namely to pursue what has been recognized as right and good, so that it is neither out of chance nor out of coercion, but out of freedom, nevertheless with a certain necessity, namely from the ability and the strength of the ego of a moral one educated personality happens. "

Florin: The philosopher Armin Wildfeuer speaks of virtues, of habitus and cognitive powers. It's a very abstract level. What definition of attitude have you been given by people who are in conflict situations on a daily basis, who cannot first question the entire history of philosophy, but who have to decide quickly?

Josten: I spoke to Monika Kleine, the manager of the Social Services for Catholic Women in Cologne. And this is a woman who has to show attitude again and again. On the most varied of political and socio-political questions, but also on very personal fates.

Monika Kleine: "For me there are no people without an attitude. The most rudimentary thing is that people place themselves at the center of the question of attitude. In other words, the individual need shapes the attitude. The decisive question for me is: Does the individual exist as a means, The linchpin of the ethical orientation is a social understanding of generally valid, recognized values. Today we can no longer assume this collective reassurance. That makes coexistence more unpredictable and ultimately also makes democracy more difficult. "

Florin: So attitude not only has consequences for the individual, but it is socially relevant, relevant to democracy, says Monika Kleine from the Social Service of Catholic Women. That also sounds good at first. But if you look at democratic practice, the question arises: Is it worth taking an attitude in politics at all? Or is it better to ask the opinion polls before making a decision, so that you can see where the wind is coming from, in which you can then hang your flag? So is attitude worthwhile, Husch Josten?

Josten: I would like to turn the question around: Can you do politics without taking an attitude? And now many listeners will probably smile, if not laugh out loud, and think of one or the other very specific politician. But the thing is, as we have just heard in Mr Wildfeuer's statement: attitude is the reflective self-reference, the philosophical exposition of the power of judgment. So there is nothing without reference - without attitude. And that means: If we think we can identify politicians who make politics without attitude, this is precisely their inner attitude: arbitrariness, megalomania, impulse decisions based on their own experiences, opinions, knowledge, feelings. We can find that good or bad. That is our attitude towards it.

And the other way round: There will be a lot of people who will not go to the polls on September 24th, or who will not go to the polls without giving much thought, without having conscientiously checked their attitude. This also expresses an attitude: perhaps that of a certain indifference. Then we are not talking about an attitude in the sense of a conviction.

Florin: What is so reprehensible about this no matter attitude? What are the social consequences?

Josten: I do think that attitude has social consequences, because in attitudes people's relationships to themselves and relationships with the world are crystallized and concretized. You can say: We are our attitudes. And of course that has consequences for society. A small example: I recently went to my son's enrollment in secondary school, which started with a church service. I was a little bit late. In the back of the church, many parents were chatting as if it were the summer party in the schoolyard. They did this for an hour without a break. And because I've been so busy with posture in the last few weeks, I thought: What kind of posture does it show? What is that supposed to give us now? It is, I assume, completely thoughtless, it is not meant to be angry or disrespectful at all. You don't have to be a believer, you don't have to be able to do anything with it - but when a school choir rehearses songs for the service and then the performance is drowned out in the parents' reunion chat, what kind of attitude is that towards the singing children, towards the choirmaster? And towards parents and children, to whom the service might mean something?

Florin: Being late isn't exactly an expression of respect, either. Interesting that you gave the example of a church service. Why do we come to religion so quickly when we talk about attitude?

Josten: Because, above all, we find attitudes towards the world in religious traditions. Yoga, mindfulness and meditation, for example, were once - Daniel Herbststreit wrote this in "Die Zeit" - the tools of the trade for religious people to cultivate a certain attitude towards life and towards God. The love for oneself and for all living beings, the connection to God. Today the religious tools of the past are for many people an expression of their attitude or their will to act - only without reference to God.

Florin: How much God can it be? I imagine that was the most contentious point in your conversations?

Josten: Yes. Everyone agrees that it takes firm conviction for an attitude. But whether the firm conviction has to be based on belief in God, opinions differ very widely.

Florin: And what do the experts say? For example, what does Christiane Woopen from the European Ethics Council say about the connection between religion and attitudes?

Christiane Woopen: "You probably don't need a concrete belief to have an attitude. But I am convinced that you cannot develop an attitude without at least dealing with the question of belief."

Florin: Attitude is not possible without serious struggle with questions of religion, says Christiane Woopen. So you don't have to believe yourself, but you should have dealt with the beliefs of others. But what about those who are religious, who say of themselves: I am a believer. Maybe even: I am pious. How free are you for an argument that can also shake certainties?

Josten: I talked to Frauke Kurbacher from Berlin, who teaches at various universities and did her doctorate and habilitation on "attitude". She's also just brought out a book - titled "What Is Attitude" Spoken. She says about the relationship between belief, attitude and freedom:

Frauke Kurbacher: "Even in the Christian faith, man is thought of as freer. God creates people, and not believers in himself. We are not determined to accept or believe anything in particular, we can examine it critically and decide on something. And that is something, which from my point of view unites believers and non-believers, because doubting is a constitutive part of faith. "

Florin: Frauke Kurbacher strongly accentuates the freedom of the Christian. For religious people too, attitude means: questioning. And just not: take a stand, in the sense of standing at attention, out of fear of hell. It is a religious belief that at the same time allows for religious criticism. Have you also met interlocutors who said: I believe in God without constantly questioning and this belief tells me very clearly what is right and wrong.

Josten: Yes, typically there where you would not expect it cliché, namely in a management consultancy.

Hans-Peter Lauffs: "Posture determines our behavior, but what is more important is that it has to be based on hold, that is, it has to have a break point in order to be firm and clear. In my opinion, the best hold of all is a personal relationship that is characterized by love. The greater or The more powerful or firm the stopping point is than we ourselves, the stronger it will be able to offer us support. From the perspective of the believing Christian, God is love per se. In my opinion, however, an ethic or other worldview that is detached from God can also offer a certain support Without reference to something that is bigger than ourselves, there is always the risk of becoming a temporary, not really binding, or perhaps even a promising but ultimately heartless set of rules. "

Florin: That was Hans-Peter Lauffs, a freelance management consultant from Munich. He is absolutely convinced, and there is no doubt about it. Ms. Josten, you have probably found someone who, with this firm belief, with this firm conviction based on the Christian faith, objects against it.

Josten: Yes I have. And the counter-argument makes the actress Cordula Stratmann strong.

Cordula Stratmann: "Of course you can have an attitude without belief. Because attitude is not necessarily an intellectual achievement that can be described in any religious affiliation. For me, apart from an intellectual confrontation with a higher order, attitude is also fed from experiences that form the basis for me offer for my confrontation with the world. Faith can be the result of an attitude, as well as the result of experience. I would almost say: First the attitude is there, then the belief. Faith is always what has been learned and that is preceded by the experience in turn shapes my attitude, because of which I lean towards this or that idea of ​​faith. "

Florin: The actress Cordula Stratmann, she says: I don't need any faith for attitude, at least no faith in God or no faith that the churches define.

Josten: But there are other ways to believe without religion and teaching.

Florin: Which?

Josten: Ultimately, it is about finding oneself - in everything that one has noticed in life - in one's knowledge, in what has been learned, in dealing with one's attitude. The question is: what are we referring to? And here I have the interesting opinion of Rainer Osnowski - one of the directors and founders of lit.COLOGNE and phil.cologne:

Rainer Osnowski: "The search for the meaning of life leads in various ways to the question of attitude. This is on the one hand based on the intellectual tradition of the Enlightenment, on the other hand it is also profane in an attempt to find a certain To develop love for life, for existence. The basis of this is the belief in the good, even if according to the daily news it seems that the world is going to end. So it is certainly an advantage if there is a second level besides the intellectual level that underpins the attitude. But this belief is to be seen completely detached from a religion. It is even the question of whether the metaphysical does not inhibit the knowledge of oneself and the world. Hence: There is an attitude without belief, however, their foundations can be shaken. "

Florin: The sense of life. Belief in the good. I would now say: That's a bit sentimental too.

Josten: No, I don't think so. If we agree on values, then hopefully we want to assume the good! We want to go there. In this respect, it is not sentimental at all, but desirable. But of course it can also be more objective. For example, I spoke to the publicist and moderator Michel Friedman in Frankfurt, who incidentally not only studied law but also philosophy. And with his wife, the author and radio presenter Bärbel Schäfer.

Michel Friedmann: "Attitude is not just a question of belief or emotions, but above all of knowledge, reason, science, and enlightenment. With these instruments you can not only develop an attitude, but above all else and arguments are always stronger than diffuse emotions alone. "

Bärbel Schäfer: "For me, the prerequisite for an attitude is knowledge and reflection and checking and putting it into context. In case of doubt, always for the argument and not for the gut feeling."

Florin: A harmonious couple! Both totally sensible. Reason and belief - with both of them it sounds as if reason excludes belief. An age-old theme of philosophy and many thinkers have also come to a different conclusion, namely that it may be reasonable to believe in something that cannot be argued and scientifically tested, but which nevertheless stands up to such testing.

Josten: Yes, as you say, the question between faith and reason is based on millennia of thought - philosophical thoughts and treatises from all ages. They tie in with the considerations of countless natural scientists and philosophers at all times: Where do we come from? What are we referring to? Can we prove that God exists? Can we prove it doesn't exist? Are belief and knowledge mutually exclusive or do they need each other? The thing is: everyone has to think about what they are referring to in order to gain composure - and this is summed up very nicely by the philosopher Frauke Kurbacher:

Frauke Kurbacher: "In the enlightenment tradition of Kant, we could assume with regard to the question of orientation that we are all the flawed, limited and fragile people we are, nonetheless equipped with the skills, cognitive, emotional, sensitive and voluntary that we are be able to orientate in life and in thinking. And then, even for this enlightened thinker, it is also a consideration that we can reasonably accept a God, although I can only believe him and not know him. "

Florin: She has an attitude. He has an attitude. Is that a compliment for you?

Josten: Yes, absolutely. "Spineless" would spontaneously come to mind as an antonym. I find it remarkable when someone has found a clear stance and can also justify it - I am completely with Michel Friedman, who we heard earlier: Arguments are important. That doesn't mean you can't change your posture if you've gotten smarter over time. But basically, posture is something that - yes ... gives a person character and at best makes them predictable and sociable, if you can, hopefully, discuss it with them. Unsteady, unsettled, indifference make it difficult for us.

Florin: But the circumstances also make it difficult for us - when flexibility is required everywhere, mobility both physically and mentally? Where should posture come from?

Josten: From a pause? The reflected stance on certain issues - and we're not just talking about "opinion" now, but precisely this more: the stance - must be laboriously fought for at some point. You can't go there, at least when it comes to the essential questions, and assume that you have found an attitude in a very short time. You have to look at the matter from all sides, listen to yourself: feelings, knowledge, experience, wishes ... see everything. That doesn't contradict the fact that we are our attitude. So anyway and always express them - for example when we walk into a room and greet others, then how we do it shows our attitude towards the people in the room. But there are some things that we have to rethink before they belong to us and become part of us. I am convinced that we must fight for this position.

Further reading: Frauke Kurbacher: What is posture? Reflections on a theory of attitude with regard to inter-individuality.