Nikolai Berdyaev
1874 - 1948

Philosophy ... is the creative perception by the spirit
of the meaning of human existence.
-- Solitude and Society



Biographical Note
    by E. L. Allen
Brief Biography
    by Nino Langiulli

Berdyaev's Philosophy

Berdyaev Quotes
8th Day of Creation

Articles & Essays


Discussion List




On "Objectivization"

Freedom is more primary than being: it cannot be determined by our being; it is bottomless, foundationless. In determination, in rationalization, that is to say in objectivization, freedom disappears. (TR, 55)

Consciousness not only orients us in the midst of this world, not only gives out light, but also creates a great quantity of illusions. (BE, 80)

Objectivization is not true realization, but only symbolization; it produces signs of reality, but not reality itself. (BE, 67)

In objectivization we may find only symbols, but not basic realities. The objective spirit is only a symbol of spirit. The spirit is real. Culture and social life are symbolic. There is never reality in an object: in an object there is only a symbol of reality. Reality itself is always in the subject.... (SR, 50)

This [objectivization] is only the way of division along which man must pass, his living-out his destiny in which he becomes alienated from himself, in order later to return unto himself. (SR, 54)

I do not believe in the possibility of a return to a pre-critical, dogmatic metaphysic. I am speaking of the transition to the object itself; of the elimination of the splitting in two, that undermines the power of the act of knowledge. It was inevitable that philosophical knowledge should pass through bifurcation and critical reflex action.... (DM)(CE, 32)

In the cultural and ideal tendencies of our epoch, dehumanization moves in two directions, toward naturalism and toward technicism. Man is subject either to cosmic forces or to technical civilization. It is not enough to say that he subjects himself: he is dissolved and disappears either in cosmic life or else in almighty technics; he takes upon himself the image, either of nature or of the machine. But in either case he loses his own image and is dissolved into his component elements. Man as a whole being, as a creature centred within himself, disappears; he ceases to be a being with a spiritual centre, retaining his inner continuity and his unity. To the fractional and partial elements of man there is offered not only the right to autonomy, but to supremacy in life. (FM, 34)

From the collision of atoms reason and meaning can never be developed. (CE, 296)

The indispensable conditions of life are not the cause which give birth to the wholeness of life's fullness. (CE, 296)

It is impossible to construct a theory of knowledge which would not itself be knowledge. It is impossible to make knowledge the object of one's research without having the researcher accomplish an act of knowing. (SS, 41)

Man needs psychosynthesis more than psychoanalysis. (DH, 165)

Last revised: February 21, 2021