torsdag 31 december 2009


Here you can find a compressed version of the masterpiece The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler in 31 chapters. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss something, please make a comment.

When you've finished the course you can take the examination:
Philosophy of Spengler, advanced level Philosophy of Spengler, basic level
Origin of the High Cultures
The eight High Cultures

Good luck!



Quote from: Spengler vol II p.499

Technique is as old as free-moving life itself. Only the plant so far as we can see into Nature is the mere theatre of technical processes. The animal, in that it moves, has a technique of movement so that it may nourish and protect itself. The original relation between a waking-microcosm and its macrocosm "Nature" consists in a touch through the senses which rises from mere sense-impressions to sense-judgment, so that already it works critically (that is, separatingly) or, what comes to the same thing, causal-analytically. The stock of what has been determined then is enlarged into a system, as complete as may be, of the most primary experiences identifying marks a spontaneous method by which one is enabled to feel at home in one's world; in the case of many animals this has led to an amazing richness of experience that no human science has transcended. But the primary waking-being is always an active one, remote from mere theory of all sorts, and thus it is in the minor technique of everyday life, and upon things in so far as they are dead that these experiences are involuntarily acquired. This is the difference between Cult and Myth, for at this level there is no boundary line between religion and the profane all waking-consciousness is religion. The decisive turn in the history of the higher life occurs when the determination of Nature (in order to be guided by it) changes into a fixation that is, a purposed alteration of Nature. With this, technique becomes more or less sovereign and the instinctive prime-experience changes into a definitely "conscious" prime-knowing. Thought has emancipated itself from sensation. It is the language of words that brings about this epochal change. The liberation of speech from speaking gives rise to a stock of signs for communication-speech which are much more than identification-marks they are names bound up with a sense of meaning, whereby man has the secret of numina (deities, natureforces) in his power, and number (formul ae, simple laws), whereby the inner form of the actual is abstracted form the accidental-sensuous.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.500-501

By numerical experience man is enabled to switch the secret on and off, but he has not discovered it. The figure of the modern sorcerer a switchboard with levers and labels at which the workman calls mighty effects into play by the pressure of a finger without possessing the slightest notion of their essence is only the symbol of human technique in general. The picture of the light-world around us in so far as we have developed it critically, analytically, as theory, as picture is nothing but a switchboard of the kind, on which particular things are so labelled that by (so to say) pressing the appropriate button particular effects follow with certainty. The secret itself remains none the less oppressive on that account. But through this technique the waking-consciousness does, all the same, intervene masterfully in the fact-world. Life makes use of thought as an "open sesame," and at the peak of many a Civilization, in its great cities, there arrives finally the moment when technical critique becomes tired of being life's servant and makes itself tyrant. The Western Culture is even now experiencing an orgy of this unbridled thought, and on a tragic scale. Man has listened-in to the march of Nature and made notes of its indices. He begins to imitate it by means and methods that utilize the laws of the cosmic pulse. He is emboldened to play the part of God, and it is easy to understand how the earliest preparers and experts of these artificial things for it was here that art came to be, as counter-concept to nature and how in particular the guardians of the smith's art, appeared to those around them as something uncanny and were regarded with awe or horror as the case might be. The stock of such discoveries grew and grew. Often they were made and forgotten and made again, were imitated, shunned, improved. But in the e nd they constituted for whole continents a store of self-evident means fire, metal-working, instruments, arms, ploughs, boats, houses, animal-taming, and husbandry. Above all, the metals, to whose site in the earth primitive man is led by some uncannily mystical trait in him. Immemoriably old trade-routes lead to oredeposits that are kept secret, through the life of the settled countryside and over frequented seas, and along these, later, travel cults and ornaments and persistent legends of islands of tin and lands of gold. The primary trade of all is the metal trade, and with it the economics of production and of work are joined intrusively by a third alien, venturesome, free-ranging over the lands.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.501-502

The Classical investigator "contemplated" like Aristotle's deity, the Arabian sought as alchemist for magical means (such as the Philosophers' Stone) whereby to possess himself of Nature's treasures without effort but the Western strives to direct the world according to his will. The Faustian inventor and discoverer is a unique type. The primitive force of his will, the brilliance of his visions, the steely energy of his practical ponderings, must appear queer and incomprehensible to anyone at the standpoint of another Culture, but for us they are in the blood. Our whole Culture has a discoverer's soul. To dis-cover that which is not seen, to draw it into the light-world of the inner eye so as to master it that was its stubborn passion from the first days on. All its great inventions slowly ripened in the deeps, to emerge at last with the necessity of a Destiny. All of them were very nearly approached by the high-hearted, happy research of the early Gothic monks. Here, if anywhere, the religious origins of all technical thought are manifested. These meditative discoverers in their cells, who with prayers and fastings wrung God's secret out of him, felt that they were serving God thereby. Here is the Faust-figure, th e grand symbol of a true discovering Culture. The Scientia ixperimcntalis, as Roger Bacon was the first to call nature-research, the insistent questioning of Nature with levers and screws, began that of which the issue lies under our eyes as a countryside sprouting factory-chimneys and conveyortowers. But for all of them, too, there was the truly Faustian danger of the Devil's having a hand in the game, the risk that he was leading them in spirit to that mountain on which he promises all the power of the earth. This is the significance of the perpetuum mobile dreamed of by those strange Dominicans like Petrus Peregrinus, which would wrest the almightiness from God. Again and again they succumbed to this ambition; they forced this secret out of God in order themselves to be God. They listened for the laws of the cosmic pulse in order to overpower it. And so they created the idea of the machine as a small cosmos obeying the will of man alone. But with that they overpassed the slender border-line whereat the reverent piety of others saw the beginning of sin, and on it, from Roger Bacon to Giordano Bruno, they came to grief. Ever and ever again, true belief has regarded the machine as of the Devil.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.502-503

The passion of discovery declares itself as early as the Gothic architecture compare with this the deliberate form-poverty of the Doric ! and is manifest throughout our music. Book-printing appeared, and the long-range weapon. On the heels of Columbus and Copernicus come the telescope, the microscope, the chemical elements, and lastly the immense technological corpus of the early Baroque. Then followed, however, simultaneously with Rationalism, the discovery of the steam-engine, which upset everything and transformed economic life from the foundations up. Till then nature had rendered services, but now she was tied to the yoke as a slave, and her work was as though in contempt measured by a standard of horse-power. We adva nced from the muscle-force of the Negro, which was set to work in organized routines, to the organic reserves of the Earth's crust, where the life-forces of millennia lay stored as coal; and to-day we cast our eyes on inorganic nature, where water-forces are already being brought in to supplement coal. As the horse-powers run to millions and milliards, the numbers of the population increase and increase, on a scale that no other Culture ever thought possible. This growth is a product of the Machine, which insists on being used and directed, and to that end centuples the forces of each individual. For the sake of the machine, human life becomes precious. Work becomes the great word of ethical thinking; in the eighteenth century it loses its derogatory implication in all languages. The machine works and forces the man to co-operate. The entire Culture reaches a degree of activity such that the earth trembles under it.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.503-504

And these machines become in their forms less and ever less human, more ascetic, mystic, esoteric. They weave the earth over with an infinite web of subtle forces, currents, and tensions. Their bodies become ever more and more immaterial, ever less noisy. The wheels, rollers, and levers are vocal no more. All that matters withdraws itself into the interior. Man has felt the machine to be devilish, and rightly. It signifies in the eyes of the believer the deposition of God. It delivers sacred Causality over to man and by him, with a sort of foreseeing omniscience is set in motion, silent and irresistible.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.504-505

Never save here has a microcosm felt itself superior to its macrocosm, but here the little life-units have by the sheer force of their intellect made the unliving dependent upon themselves. It is a triumph, so far as we can see, unparalleled. Only this our Culture has achieved i t, and perhaps only for a few centuries. But for that very reason Faustian man has become the slave of his creation. His number, and the arrangement of life as he lives it, have been driven by the machine on to a path where there is no standing still and no turning back. The peasant, the hand-worker, even the merchant, appear suddenly as inessential in comparison with the three great figures that the Machine has bred and trained up in the cause of its development: the entrepreneur, the engineer, and the factoryworker. Out of a quite small branch of manual work namely, the preparationeconomy there has grown up (in this one Culture alone) a mighty tree that casts its shadow over all the other vocations namely, the economy of the machineindustry. It forces the entrepreneur not less than the workman to obedience. Both become slaves, and not masters, of the machine, that now for the first time develops its devilish and occult power. But although the Socialistic theory of the present day has insisted upon looking only at the latter's contribution and has claimed the word "work" for him alone, it has all become possible only through the sovereign and decisive achievement of the former. The famous phrase concerning the "strong arm" that bids every wheel cease from running is a piece of wrong-headedness. To stop them yes ! but it does not need a worker to do that. To keep them running no ! The centre of this artificial and complicated realm of the Machine is the organizer and manager. The mind, not the hand, holds it together. But, for that very reason, to preserve the ever endangered structure, one figure is even more important than all the energy of enterprising master-men that make cities to grow out of the ground and alter the picture of the landscape; it is a figure that is apt to be forgotten in this conflict of politics the engineer, the priest of the machine, the man who knows it. Not merely the importance, but the very existence of the industry depends upon the existence of the hundred thousand talented, rigorously school ed brains that command the technique and develop it onward and onward. The quiet engineer it is who is the machine's master and destiny. His thought is as possibility what the machine is as actuality. There have been fears, thoroughly materialistic fears, of the exhaustion of the coal-fields. But so long as there are worthy technical path-finders, dangers of this sort have no existence. When, and only when, the crop of recruits for this army fails this army whose thought-work forms one inward unit with the work of the machine the industry must flicker out in spite of all that managerial energy and the workers can do. Suppose that, in future generations, the most gifted minds were to find their soul's health more important than all the powers of this world; suppose that, under the influence of the metaphysic and mysticism that is taking the place of rationalism to-day, the very elite of intellect that is now concerned with the machine comes to be overpowered by a growing sense of its Satanism (it is the step from Roger Bacon to Bernard of Clairvaux) then nothing can hinder the end of this grand drama that has been a play of intellects, with hands as mere auxiliaries. The Western industry has diverted the ancient traditions of the other Cultures. The streams of economic life move towards the seats of King Coal and the great regions of raw material. Nature becomes exhausted, the globe sacrificed to Faustian thinking in energies. The working earth is the Faustian aspect of her, the aspect contemplated by the Faust of Part II, the supreme transfiguration of enterprising work and contemplating, he dies. Nothing is so utterly antipodal to the motionless satiate being of the Classical Empire. It is the engineer who is remotest from the Classical law-thought, and he will see to it that his economy has its own law, wherein forces and efficiencies will take the place of Person and Thing.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.505-506

But titanic, too, is the onsl aught of money upon this intellectual force. Industry, too, is earth-bound like the yeoman. It has its station, and its materials stream up out of the earth. Only high finance is wholly free, wholly intangible. Since 1789 the banks, and with them the bourses, have developed themselves on the credit-needs of an industry growing ever more enormous, as a power on their own account, and they will (as money wills in every Civilization) to be the only power. The ancient wrestle between the productive and the acquisitive economies intensifies now into a silent gigantomachy of intellects, fought out in the lists of the world-cities. This battle is the despairing struggle of technical thought to maintain its liberty against money-thought. The dictature of money marches on, tending to its material peak, in the Faustian Civilization as in every other. And now something happens that is intelligible only to one who has penetrated to the essence of money. If it were anything tangible, then its existence would be for ever but, as it is a form of thought, it fades out as soon as it has thought its economic world to finality, and has no more material upon which to feed. It thrust into the life of the yeoman's countryside and set the earth a-moving; its thought transformed every sort of handicraft; to-day it presses victoriously upon industry to make the productive work of entrepreneur and engineer and labourer alike its spoil. The machine with its human retinue, the real queen of this century, is in danger of succumbing to a stronger power. But with this, money, too, is at the end of its success, and the last conflict is at hand in which the Civilization receives its conclusive form the conflict between money and blood.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.506-507

The coming of Caesarism breaks the dictature of money and its political weapon democracy? After a long triumph of world-city economy and its interests over political creative force, the political side of life man ifests itself after all as the stronger of the two. The sword is victorious over the money, the masterwill subdues again the plunderer-will. If we call these money-powers "Capitalism," then we may designate as Socialism the will to call into life a mighty politico-economic order that transcends all class interests, a system of lofty thoughtfulness and duty-sense that keeps the whole in fine condition for the decisive battle of its history, and this battle is also the battle of money and law. The private powers of the economy want free paths for their acquisition of great resources. No legislation must stand in their way. They want to make the laws themselves, in their interests, and to that end they make use of the tool they have made for themselves, democracy, the subsidized party. Law needs, in order to resist this onslaught, a high tradition and an ambition of strong families that finds its satisfaction not in the heaping-up of riches, but in the tasks of true rulership, above and beyond all money-advantage. A power can be overthrown only by another power, not by a principle, and no power that can confront money is left but this one. Money is overthrown and abolished only by blood. Life is alpha and omega, the cosmic onflow in microcosmic form. It is the fact of facts within the world-as-history. Before the irresistible rhythm of the generation-sequence, everything built up by the waking-consciousness in its intellectual world vanishes at the last. Ever in History it is life and life only race-quality, the triumph of the will-to-power and not the victory of truths, discoveries, or money that signifies. World-history is the world court, and it has ever decided in favour of the stronger, fuller, and more self-assured life decreed to it, namely, the right to exist, regardless of whether its right would hold before a tribunal of waking-consciousness. Always it has sacrificed truth and justice to might and race, and passed doom of death upon men and peoples in whom truth was more than deeds, and justice than power. And so the drama of a high Culture that wondrous world of deities, arts, thoughts, battles, cities closes with the return of the pristine facts of the blood eternal that is one and the same as the ever-circling cosmic flow. The bright imaginative Waking-Being submerges itself into the silent service of Being, as the Chinese and Roman empires tell us. Time triumphs over Space, and it is Time whose inexorable movement embeds the ephemeral incident of the Culture, on this planet, in the incident of Man a form wherein the incident life flows on for a time, while behind it all the streaming horizons of geological and stellar histories pile up in the light-world of our eyes. For us, however, whom a Destiny has placed in this Culture and at this moment of its development the moment when money is celebrating its last victories, and the Csesarism that is to succeed approaches with quiet, firm step our direction, willed and obligatory at once, is set for us within narrow limits, and on any other terms life is not worth the living. We have not the freedom to reach to this or to that, but the freedom to do the necessary or to do nothing. And a task that historic necessity has set mil be accomplished with the individual or against him.
Ducunt Fata volentem, nolentem trahunt.

onsdag 30 december 2009



Quote from: Spengler vol II p.469

The standpoint from which to comprehend the economic history of great Cultures is not to be looked for on economic ground. [...] Least of all is the secure standpoint to be had on the basis of the present-day world-economics, which for the last 150 years has been mounting fantastically, perilously, and in the end almost desperately an economics, moreover, that is exclusively Western-dynamic, anything b ut common-human. That which we call national economy to-day is built up on premisses that are openly and specifically English. The industry of machines, which is unknown to all other Cultures, stands in the centre as though it were a matter of course and, without men being conscious of the fact, completely dominates the formulation of ideas and the deduction of so-called laws. Credit-money, in the special form imparted to it by the relations of world-trade and export-industry in a peasantless England, serves as the foundation whereupon to define words like capital, value, price, property and the definitions are then transferred without more ado to other Culture-stages and life-cycles. [...] The creators of this economic picture were David Hume and Adam Smith. Everything that has since been written about them or against them always presupposes the critical structure and methods of their systems. [...] As for Smith's greatest adversary, Marx, it matters little how loudly one protests against English capitalism when one is thoroughly imbued with its images; the protest is itself a recognition, and its only aim is, through a new kind of accounting, to confer upon objects the advantage of being subjects.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.470

As this outlook is the systematic and not the historical, the timeless and universal validity of its concepts and rules is an article of faith, and its ambition is to establish the one and only correct method of applying "the" science of management. And accordingly, wherever its truths have come into contact with the facts, it has experienced a complete fiasco as was the case with the prophecies of bourgeois theorists concerning the World War, and with those of proletarian theorists on the induction of the Soviet economy.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.471

Economics and politics are sides of the one livingly flowing current of being, and not o f the waking-consciousness, the intellect. In each of them is manifested the pulse of the cosmic flowings that are occluded in the sequent generations of individual existences.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.471

Life, therefore, has a political and an economic kind of "condition" of fitness for history. They overlie, they support, they oppose each other, but the political is unconditionally the first. Life's will is to preserve itself and to prevail, or, rather, to make itself stronger in order that it may prevail. [...] Nourishment and winning-through the difference of dignity between the two sides of life is recognizable in their relation to death. There is no contrast so profound as that between hunger-death and hero-death. Economically life is in the widest sense threatened, dishonoured, and debased by hunger with which is to be included stunting of possibilities, straitened circumstances, darkness, and pressure not less than starvation in the literal sense. Whole peoples have lost the tense force of their race through the gnawing wretchedness of their living. Here men die of something and not for something. Politics sacrifices men for an idea, they fall for an idea; but economy merely wastes them away. War is the creator, hunger the destroyer, of all great things. In war life is elevated by death, often to that point of irresistible force whose mere existence guarantees victory, but in the economic life hunger awakens the ugly, vulgar, and wholly unmetaphysical sort of fearfulness for one's life under which the higher form-world of a Culture miserably collapses and the naked struggle for existence of the human beasts begins.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.472

But even so economics is only a foundation, for Being that is in any way meaningful. What really signifies is not that an individual or a people is "in condition," well nourished and fruitful, but for what he or it is so; and the higher man climbs historically, the more conspicuously his political and religious will to inward symbolism and force of expression towers above everything in the way of form and depth that the economic life as such possesses. It is only with the coming of the Civilization, when the whole form-world begins to ebb, that mere life-preserving begins to outline itself, nakedly and insistently this is the time when the banal assertion that "hunger and love" are the driving forces of life ceases to be ashamed of itself; when life comes to mean, not a waxing in strength for the task, but a matter of "happiness of the greatest number," of comfort and ease, of "panem et circenses"; and when, in the place of grand politics, we have economic politics as an end in itself.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.474-475

All higher economic life develops itself on and over a peasantry. Peasantry, per se, does not presuppose any basis but itself. It is, so to say, race-in-itself, plantlike and historyless, producing and using wholly for itself [...] To this producing kind of economy there is presently opposed an acquisitive kind, which makes use of the former as an object as a source of nourishment, tribute, or plunder. Politics and trade are in their beginnings quite inseparable, both being masterful, personal, warlike, both with a hunger for power and booty that produces quite another outlook upon the world an outlook not from an angle into it, but from above down on its tempting disorder[...] Primitive war is always also booty-war, and primitive trade intimately related to plunder and piracy. [...] Politics and trade in developed form the art of achieving material successes over an opponent by means of intellectual superiority are both a replacement of war by other means. Every kind of diplomacy is of a business nature, every business of a diplomatic, and both are based upon penetrative judgment of men and physiognomic tact. The adventure-spirit in gre at seafarers like the Phoenicians, Etruscans, Normans, Venetians, Hanseatics, the spirit of shrewd banking-lords like the Fugger and the Medici and of mighty financiers like Crassus and the mining and trust magnates of our own day, must possess the strategic talent of the general if its operations are to succeed. Pride in the clan-house, the paternal heritage, the family tradition, develops and counts in the economic sphere as in the political

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.475-476

But the genuine prince and statesman wants to rule, and the genuine merchant only wants to be wealthy, and here the acquisitive economy divides to pursue aim and means separately. One may aim at booty for the sake of power, or at power for the sake of booty. [...] He who is out for purely economic advantages as the Carthaginians were in Roman times and, in a far greater degree still, the Americans in ours is correspondingly incapable of purely political thinking. In the decisions of high politics he is ever deceived and made a tool of, as the case of Wilson shows especially when the absence of statesmanlike instinct leaves a chair vacant for moral sentiments. This is why the great economic groupings of the present day (for example, employers' and employees' unions) pile one political failure on another, unless indeed they find a real political politician as leader, and he makes use of them. Economic and political thinking, in spite of a high degree of consonance of form, are in direction (and therefore in all tactical details) basically different. [...] Only when a man has really ceased to feel his enterprise as "his own business," and its aim as the simple amassing of property, does it become possible for the captain of industry to become the statesman, the Cecil Rhodes. But, conversely, the men of the political world are exposed to the danger of their will and thought for historical tasks degenerating into mere provision for their private life-upkeep; then a nobility can become a robber-order, and we see emerging the familiar types of princes and ministers, demagogues and revolution-heroes, whose zeal exhausts itself in lazy comfortableness and the piling-up of immense riches [...] And in the maturity of democracy the politics of those who have "got there" is identical, not merely with business, but with speculative business of the dirtiest great-city sort.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.477

Every Culture has its own independently developed form-world. Bodily money of the Apollinian style (that is, the stamped coin) is as antithetical to relational money of the Faustian-dynamic style (that is, the booking of credit-units) as the Polis is to the State of Charles V.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.477

In every Culture the quantum of work grows bigger and bigger till at the beginning of every Civilization we find an intensity of economic life, of which the tensions are even excessive and dangerous, and which it is impossible to maintain for a long period. In the end a rigid, permanent-set condition is reached, a strange hotch-potch of refined-intellectual and crude-primitive factors, such as the Greeks found in Egypt and we have found in modern India and China

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.479

In these three economics of production, preparation, and distribution, as in everything else belonging to politics and life at large, there are the subjects and objects of leading in this case, whole groups that dispose, decide, organize, discover; and other whole groups whose function is simply to execute. [...] Nevertheless, economically there is no worker-class; that is an invention of theorists who have fixed their eyes on the position of factory-workers in England an industrial, peasantless land in a transitional phase and then extended the resultant scheme so confident ly over all the Cultures and all the ages that the politicians have taken it up and used it as a means of building themselves parties. In actuality there is an almost uncountable number of purely serving activities in workshop and counting-houses, office and cargo-deck, roads, mine-shafts, fields, and meadows.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.480-482

With the oncoming of Spring there begins in every Culture an economic life of settled form. [...] That which separates out from a life in which everyone is alike producer and consumer is goods, and traffic in goods is the mark of all early intercourse, whether the object be brought from the far distance or merely shifted about within the limits of the village or even the farm. [...] Exchange in these periods is a process whereby goods pass from one circle of life into another. They are valued with reference to life, according to a sliding-scale of felt relation to the moment. There is neither a conception of value nor a kind or amount of goods that constitutes a general measure - for gold and coin are goods too, whose rarity and indestructibility causes them to be highly prized. Into the rhythm and course of this barter the dealer only comes as an intervener. [...] With the soul of the town a quite other kind of life awakens. As soon as the market has become the town, it is not longer a question of mere centres for goods-streams traversing a purely peasant landscape, but of a second world within the walls, for which the merely producing life "out there" is nothing but object and means, and out of which another stream begins to circle. [...] With this goods become wares, exchange turnover, and in place of thinking in goods we have thinking in money. With this a purely extensional something, a form of limit-defining, is abstracted from the visible objects of economics just as mathematical thought abstracts something from the mechanistically conceived environment. Abstract money corresponds exactly to abstract number.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.483

Now gold is no longer measured against the cow, but the cow against the gold, and the result is expressed by an abstract number, the price. [...] As the seat of this thinking, the city becomes the money-market, the centre of values, and a stream of money-values begins to infuse, intellectualize, and command the stream of goods. And with this the trader, from being an organ of economic life, becomes its master. Thinking in money is always, in one way or another, trade or business thinking.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.484

All highly developed economy is urban economy. World-economy itself, the characteristic economy of all Civilizations, ought properly to be called world-city-economy. The destinies even of this world-economy are now decided in a few places, the "moneymarkets of the world [...] Finally, money is the form of intellectual energy in which the ruler-will, the political and social, technical and mental, creative power, the craving for a full-sized life, arc concentrated.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.485

What is here described as Civilization, then, is the stage of a Culture at which tradition and personality have lost their immediate effectiveness, and every idea, to be actualized, has to be put into terms of money. At the beginning a man was wealthy because he was powerful now he is powerful because he has money. Intellect reaches the throne only when money puts it there. Democracy is the completed equating of money with political power.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.485-486

The Faustian money-thinking "opens up" whole continents, the water-power of gigantic river-basins, the muscular power of the peoples of broad regions, the coal measures, the virgin forests , the laws of Nature, and transforms them all into financial energy, which is laid out in one way or in another in the shape of press, or elections, or budgets, or armies for the realization of masters' plans.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.486-490

As every Culture has its own mode of thinking in money, so also it has its proper money-symbol through which it brings to visible expression its principle of valuation in the economic field. [...] All that is possible is to set forth the essential opposition of Apollinian and Faustian money the one, money as magnitude, and the other, money as function. [...] Classical wealth does not consist in having possessions, but piling money [...] But when, from about Hannibal's time, this world advanced into the state of unlimited plutocracy, the naturally limited mass of precious metals and materially valuable works of art in its sphere of control became hopelessly inadequate to cover needs, and a veritable craving set in for new bodies capable of being used as money. Then it was that men's eyes fell upon the slave, who was another sort of body, but a thing and not a person and capable, therefore, of being thought of as money. From that point Classical slavery became unique of its kind in all economic history. [...] In extremest contrast to this stands the symbol of Faustian money - money as Function, the value of which lies in its effect and not its mere existence. [...] The decisive event, however, was the invention "contemporary" with that of the Classical coin about 650 of double-entry book-keeping by Fra Luca Pacioli in 1494. [...] "Double-entry book-keeping is born of the same spirit as the system of Galileo and Newton. . . . With the same means as these, it orders the phenomenon into an elegant system, and it may be called the first Cosmos built up on the basis of a mechanistic thought. Double-entry book-keeping discloses to us the Cosmos of the economic world by the same method as later the Cosmos of the ste llar universe was unveiled by the great investigation of natural philosophy. . . . Double-entry book-keeping rests on the basic principle, logically carried out, of comprehending all phenomena purely as quantities." Double-entry book-keeping is a -pure Analysis of the space of values, referred to a co-ordinate system, of which the origin is the "Firm." [...] Our economy-world is ordered by force and mass. A field of money-tensions lies in space and assigns to every object, irrespective of its specific kind, a positive or negative effect-value, which is represented by a book-entry.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.492

In reality, the economy of the European-American Civilization is built up on work of a kind in which distinctions go entirely according to the inner quality more so than ever in China or Egypt, let alone the Classical World. It is not for nothing that we live in a world of economic dynamism, where the works of the individual are not additive in the Euclidean way, but functionally related to one another. The purely executive work (which alone Marx takes into account) is in reality nothing but the function of an inventive, ordering, and organizing work; it is from this that the other derives its meaning, relative value, and even possibility of being done at all. The whole world-economy since the discovery of the steam-engine has been the creation of a quite small number of superior heads, without whose high-grade work everything else would never have come into being.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.493

The word "Capital" signifies the centre of this thought not the aggregate of values, but that which keeps them in movement as such. Capitalism comes into existence only with the world-city existence of a Civilization, and it is confined to the very small ring of those who represent this existence by their persons and intelligence; its opposite is the provincial econ omy.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.494

Consequently, as the Western Culture presents a maximum, so the Classical shows a minimum, of organization. [...] Sources of income were thought of only when the need of income presented itself, and then drawn upon, without any regard for the future, as the moment required even at the cost of entirely destroying them. Plunder of the treasures of one's own temples, sea-piracy against one's own city, confiscation of the wealth of one's own fellow-citizens were everyday methods of finance. If surpluses were available, they were distributed to the citizens [...] Budgets were as unknown as any other part of financial policy.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.495-496

But with the extinction of the Classical world-feeling in the early Imperial age, this mode of thinking in money disappeared also. Coins again became wares because men were again living the peasant life and this explains the immense outflow of gold into the farther East after Hadrian's reign, which has hithero been unaccountable. And as economic life in forms of gold-streams was extinguished in the upheaval of a young Culture, so also the slave ceased to be money, and the ebb of the gold was paralleled by that mass-emancipation of the slaves which numerous Imperial laws, from Augustus's reign onwards, tried in vain to check till under Diocletian, in whose famous maximum tariff money-economy was no longer the standpoint, the type of the Classical slave had ceased to exist.

tisdag 29 december 2009



Quote from: Spengler vol II p.439

To politics as an idea we have given more thought than has been good for us, since, correspondingly, we have understood all the less about the observation of Politics as a reality. The great statesmen are accustomed to act immediately and on the basis of a sure flair for facts. This is so self-evident, to them, that it simply never enters their heads to reflect upon the basic general principles of their action supposing indeed that such exist. In all ages they have known what they had to do, and any theory of this knowledge has been foreign to both their capacities and their tastes. But the professional thinkers who have turned their attention to the faits accomplts of men have been so remote, inwardly, from these actions that they have just spun for themselves a web of abstractions for preference, abstraction-myths like justice, virtue, freedom and then applied them as criteria to past and, especially, future historical happening. Thus in the end they have forgotten that concepts are only concepts, and brought themselves to the conclusion that there is a political scien ce whereby we can form the course of the world according to an ideal recipe. [...] Here, on the contrary, the attempt will be made to give, instead of an ideological system, a physiognomy of politics as it has actually been practised in the course of general history, and not as it might or ought to have been practised. [...] The projects of world-improvers and the actuality of History have nothing to do with one another.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.440

Every great politician, a centre of forces in the stream of happening, has something of the noble in his feeling of self-vocation and inward obligation. On the other hand, all that is microcosmic and "intellect" is unpolitical, and so there is a something of priestliness in all program-politics and ideology. The best diplomats are the children; in their play, or when they want something, a cosmic "it" that is bound up in the individual being breaks out immediately and with the sure tread of the sleep-walker. They do not learn, but unlearn, this art of early years as they grow older hence the rarity in the world of adults of the Statesman.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.440

It is only in and between these being-streams that fill the field of the high Culture that high policy exists. They are only possible, therefore, in the plural. A people is, really, only in relation to peoples. But the natural, "race," relation between them is for that very reason a relation of war this is a fact that no truths avail to alter. War is the primary politics of everything that lives, and so much so that in the deeps battle and life are one, and being and will-to-battle expire together.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.441

In every war between life-powers the question at issue is which is to govern the whole. [...] The struggle of, not principles but men, not ideals but race-qualities, for executive power is the alpha and omega. Even revolutions are no exception, for the "sovereignty of the people" only expresses the fact that the ruling power has assumed the title of people's leader instead of that of king. The method of governing is scarcely altered thereby, and the position of the governed not at all. And even world-peace, in every case where it has existed, has been nothing but the slavery of an entire humanity under the regimen imposed by a few strong natures determined to rule.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.441-442

Politically gifted peoples do not exist. Those which are supposed to be so are simply peoples that are firmly in the hands of a ruling minority and in consequence feel themselves to be in good form. [...] But the courage of a troop depends on its confidence in the leadership, and confidence means involuntary abstention from criticism. It is the officer who makes cowards into heroes, or heroes into cowards, and this holds good equally for armies, peoples, classes, and parties. Political talent in a people is nothing but confidence in its leading. But that confidence has to be acquired; it will ripen only in its own good time, and success will stabilize it and make it into a tradition. What appears as a lack of the feeling of certainty in the ruled is really lack of leadership-talent in the ruling classes, which generates that sort of uninstinctivc and meddlesome criticism which by its very existence shows that a people has got "out of condition."

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.442

How is politics done? The born statesman is above all a valuer a valuer of men, situations, and things. He has the "eye" which unhesitatingly and inflexibly embraces the round of possibilities. [...] To do the correct thing without "knowing" it, to have the hands that imperceptibly tighten or ease the bit his talent is the very opposite to that of the man of theory. [...] The born statesman stands beyond true and false. He does not confuse the logic of events with the logic of systems. "Truths" or "errors" which here amount to the same only concern him as intellectual currents, and in respect of workings. [...] He has convictions, certainly, that are dear to him, but he has them as a private person; no real politician ever felt himself tied to them when in action.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.443

The essential, therefore, is to understand the time for which one is born. He who does not sense and understand its most secret forces, who does not feel in himself something cognate that drives him forward on a path neither hedged nor defined by concepts, who believes in the surface, public opinion, large phrases and ideals of the day he is not of the stature for its events. He is in their power, not they in his. Look not back to the past for measuring-rods! [...] But the true statesman must also be, in a large sense of the word, an educator not the representative of a moral or a doctrine, but an exemplar in doing. It is a patent fact that a religion has never yet altered the style of an existence. It penetrated the waking-consciousness, the intellectual man, it threw new light on another world, it created an immense happiness by way of humanity, resignation, and patience unto death, but over the forces of life it possessed no power. In the sphere of the living only the great personality the "it," the race, the cosmic force bound up in that personality has been creative (not shaping, but breeding and training) and has effectively modified the type of entire classes and peoples.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.444

Highest of all, however, is not action, but the ability to command. It is this that takes the individual up out of himself and makes him the centre of a world of action. [...] The first problem is to mak e oneself somebody; the second less obvious, but harder and greater in its ultimate effects to create a tradition, to bring on others so that one's work may be continued with one's own pulse and spirit, to release a current of like activity that does not need the original leader to maintain it in form. [...] This cosmic something, this soul of a ruling stratum, an individual can generate and leave as a heritage, and throughout history it is this that has produced the durable effects. The great statesman is rare. Whether he comes, or wins through, too soon or too late, incident determines. Great individuals often destroy more than they have built up by the gap that their death makes in the flow of happening. But the creation of tradition means the elimination of the incident. A tradition breeds a high average, with which the future can reckon no Caesar, but a Senate, no Napoleon, but an incomparable officer-corps. A strong tradition attracts talents from all quarters, and out of small gifts produces great results.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.446

Further, the necessary must be done opportunely namely, while it is a present wherewith the governing power can buy confidence in itself, whereas if it has to be conceded as a sacrifice, it discloses a weakness and excites contempt. Political forms are living forms whose changes inexorably follow a definite direction, and to attempt to prevent this course or to divert it towards some ideal is to confess oneself "out of condition."

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.447

But to be politically "in form" means necessarily, amongst other things, an unconditional command of the most modern means. [...] The means of the present are, and will be for many years, parliamentary elections and the press. He may think what he pleases about them, he may respect them or despise them, but he must command them.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.447

Politics, lastly, is the form in which is accomplished the history of a nation within a plurality of nations. The great art is to maintain one's own nation inwardly "in form" for events outside; this is the natural relation of home and foreign politics, holding not only for Peoples and States and Estates, but for living units of every kind, down to the simplest animal swarms and down into the individual bodies.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.448-449

In the early politics of all Cultures the governing powers are pre-established and unquestioned. [...] The change sets in as soon as, with the great city, the Non-Estate, the bourgeoisie, takes over the leading role. [...] Politics becomes awake, not merely comprehended, but reduced to comprehensible ideas. The powers of intellect and money set themselves up against blood and tradition. In place of the organic we have the organized; in -place of the Estate, the Party. A party is not a growth of race, but an aggregate of heads, and therefore as superior to the old estates in intellect as it is poorer in instinct. But always it is the Non-Estate, the unit of protest against the essence of Estate, whose leading minority "educated" and "well-to-do" comes forward as a party with a program, consisting of aims that are not felt but defined, and of the rejection of everything that cannot be rationally grasped. At bottom, therefore, there is only one party, that of the bourgeoisie, the liberal, and it is perfectly conscious of its position as such. [...] The prime Party is that of money and mind, the liberal, the megalopolitan. Herein lies the profound justification, in all Cultures, of the ideas of Aristocracy and Democracy. Aristocracy despises the mind of the cities, Democracy despises the boor and hates the countryside.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.453

Politico-social theory is only one of the bases of party politics, but it is a necessary one. The proud series that runs from Rousseau to Marx has its antitype in the line of the Classical Sophists up to Plato and Zeno. [...] Whether these doctrines are "true" or "false" is we must reiterate and emphasize a question without meaning for political history. The refutation of, say, Marxism belongs to the realm of academic dissertation and public debates, in which everyone is always right and his opponent always wrong. But whether they are effective from when, and for how long, the belief that actuality can be ameliorated by a system of concepts is a real force that politics must reckon with that does matter. We of to-day find ourselves in a period of boundless confidence in the omnipotence of reason. Great general ideas of freedom, justice, humanity, progress are sacrosanct. The great theories are gospels. Their power to convince does not rest upon logical premisses, for the mass of a party possesses neither the critical energy nor the detachment seriously to test them, but upon the sacramental hypostasis in their keywords. At the same time, the spell is limited to the populations of the great cities and the period of Rationalism as the "educated man's religion."

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.454-455

The power that these abstract ideals possess, however, scarcely extends in time beyond the two centuries that belong to party politics, and their end comes not from refutation, but from boredom which has killed Rousseau long since and will shortly kill Marx. Men finally give up, not this or that theory, but the belief in theory of any kind and with it the sentimental optimism of an eighteenth century that imagined that unsatisfactory actualities could be improved by the application of concepts. [...] For us, too let there be no mistake about it the age of theory is drawing to its end. The great systems of Liberalism and Socialism all arose between about 1750 and 1850. That of Marx is already half a century old, and it has had no successor. Inwardly it means, with its materialist view of history, that Nationalism has reached its extreme logical conclusion; it is therefore an end-term. But, as belief in Rousseau's Rights of Man lost its force from (say) 1848, so belief in Marx lost its force from the World War. [...] Belief in program was the mark and the glory of our grandfathers in our grandsons it will be a proof of provincialism. In its place is developing even now the seed of a new resigned piety, sprung from tortured conscience and spiritual hunger, whose task will be to found a new Hither-side that looks for secrets instead of steel-bright concepts and in the end will find them in the deeps of the "Second Religiousness."

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.456

In the beginning of a democracy the field belongs to intellect alone. [...] But, meantime, that other democratic quantity lost no time in making its appearance and reminding men of the fact that one can make use of constitutional rights only when one has money.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.458

As everywhere, the elections, from being nominations of class-representatives, have become the battle-ground of party candidates, an arena ready for the intervention of money, and, from Zama onwards, of ever bigger and bigger money. "The greater became the wealth which was capable of concentration in the hands of individuals, the more the fight for political power developed into a question of money."

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.460

the "contemporary" English-American politics have created through the press a force-field of world-wide intellectual and financial tensions in which every individual unconsciously takes up the place allotted to him, so that he must think, will, and act as a ruling pe rsonality somewhere or other in the distance thinks fit. [...] Man does not speak to man; the press and its associate, the electrical news-service, keep the waking-consciousness of whole peoples and continents under a deafening drum-fire of theses, catchwords, standpoints, scenes, feelings, day by day and year by year, so that every Ego becomes a mere function of a monstrous intellectual Something. Money does not pass, politically, from one hand to the other. It does not turn itself into cards and wine. It is turned into force, and its quantity determines the intensity of its working influence.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.461

The scattered sheets of the Age of Enlightenment transformed themselves into "the Press" a term of most significant anonymity. Now the press campaign appears as the prolongation or the preparation of war by other means, and in the course of the nineteenth century the strategy of outpost fights, feints, surprises, assaults, is developed to such a degree that a war may be lost ere the first shot is fired because the Press has won it meantime. To-day we live so cowed under the bombardment of this intellectual artillery that hardly anyone can attain to the inward detachment that is required for a clear view of the monstrous drama. The will-to-power operating under a pure democratic disguise has finished off its masterpiece so well that the object's sense of freedom is actually flattered by the most thorough-going enslavement that has ever existed. [...] Democracy has by its newspaper completely expelled the book from the mental life of the people.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.462

In the contests of to-day tactics consists in depriving the opponent of this weapon. [...] Here also money triumphs and forces the free spirits into its service. No tamer has his animals more under his power. Unleash the people as reader-mass and it will storm through the st reets and hurl itself upon the target indicated, terrifying and breaking windows; a hint to the press-staff and it will become quiet and go home.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.463

A more appalling caricature of freedom of thought cannot be imagined. Formerly a man did not dare to think freely. Now he dares, but cannot; his will to think is only a willingness to think to order, and this is what he feels as his liberty. And the other side of this belated freedom it is permitted to everyone to say what he pleases, but the Press is free to take notice of what he says or not. It can condemn any "truth" to death simply by not undertaking its communication to the world a terrible censorship of silence, which is all the more potent in that the masses of newspaper readers are absolutely unaware that it exists.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.463

This is the end of Democracy. If in the world of truths it is -proof that decides all, in that of facts it is success. Success means that one being triumphs over the others. Life has won through, and the dreams of the world-improvers have turned out to be but the tools of master-natures.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.464

Through money, democracy becomes its own destroyer, after money has destroyed intellect. [...] there wakes at last a deep yearning for all old and worthy tradition that still lingers alive. Men are tired to disgust of money-economy. They hope for salvation from somewhere or other, for some real thing of honour and chivalry, of inward nobility, of unselfishness and duty. And now dawns the time when the form-filled powers of the blood, which the rationalism of the Megalopolis has suppressed, reawaken in the depths. Everything in the order of dynastic tradition and old nobility that has saved itself up for the future, everything that there is of h igh money-disdaining ethic, everything that is intrinsically sound enough to be, in Frederick the Great's words, the servant the hard-working, self-sacrificing, caring servant of the State, all that I have described elsewhere in one word as Socialism in contrast to Capitalism all this becomes suddenly the focus of immense life-forces. Caesarism grows on the soil of Democracy, but its roots thread deeply into the underground of blood tradition.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.465

The mighty ones of the future may possess the earth as their private property for the great political form of the Culture is irremediably in ruin but it matters not, for, formless and limitless as their power may be, it has a task. And this task is the unwearying care for this world as it is, which is the very opposite of the interestedness of the money-power age, and demands high honour and conscientiousness. But for this very reason there now sets in the final battle between Democracy and Caesarism, between the leading forces of dictatorial money-economics and the purely political will-to-order of the Caesars.

måndag 28 december 2009



Quote from: Spengler vol II p.400-401

The idea of the State had finally mastered the blood of the first Estate, and put it wholly and without reserve at the State's service. "Absolute" means that the great being-stream is as a unit in form, possesses one kind of pulse and instinct, whether the manifestations of that pulse be diplomatic or strategic flair, dignity of moral and manners, or fastidious taste in arts and thoughts. As the contradictory to this grand fact, now, Rationalism appears and spreads, that which has been described above as the community of wakingconsciousness in the educated, whose religion is criticism and whose numina are not deities but concepts. Now begins the influence of books and general theories upon politics in the China of Lao-tse as in the Athens of the Sophists and the Europe of Montesquieu and the public opinion formed by them plants itself in the path of diplomacy as a political magnitude of quite a new sort. It would be absurd to suppose that Pisistratus or Richelieu or even Cromwell determined their actions under the influence of abstract systems, but after the victory of "Enlightenment" that is what actually happens. Nevertheless the historical role of the great concepts of the Civilization is very different from the complexion that they presented in the minds of the ideologues who conceived them. The effect of a truth is always quite different from its tendency. In the world of facts, truths are simply means, effective in so far as they dominate spirits and therefore determine actions. Their historical position is determined not by whether they are deep, correct, or even merely logical, but by whether they tell.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.401-402

But the critical spirit is only one of the two tendencies which emerge out of the chaotic mass of the Non-Estate. Along with abstract concepts abstract Money, money divorced from the prime values of the land along with the study the counting-house, appear as political forces. The two are inwardly cognate and inseparable the old opposition between priest and noble continued, acute as ever, in the bourgeois atmosphere and the city framework. Of the two, moreover, it is the Money that, as pure fact, shows itself unconditionally superior to the ideal truths, which so far as the fact-world is concerned exist (as I have just said) only as catchwords, as means. If by "democracy" we mean the form which the Third Estate as such wishes to impart to public life as a whole, it must be concluded that democracy and plutocracy are the same thing under the two aspects of wish and actuality, theory and practice, knowing and doing. It is the tragic comedy of the worldimprovers' and freedom-teachers' desperate fight against money that they are ipso facto assisting money to be effective. Respect for the big number expressed in the principles of equality for all, natural rights, and universal suffrage is just as much a class-ideal of the unclassed as freedom of public opinion (and more particularly freedom of the press) is so. These are ideals, but in actuality the feedom of public opinion involves the preparation of public opinion, which costs money; and the freedom of the press brings with it the question of possession of the press, which again is a matter of money; and with the franchise comes electioneering, in which he who pays the piper calls the tune. The representatives of the ideas look at one side only, while the representatives of money operate with the other. The concepts of Liberalism and Socialism are set in effective motion only by money.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.403-404

But it was on British soil, too, that the rationalistic catchwords had, one and all, sprung up, and their relation to the principles of the Manchester School was intimate Hume was the teacher of Adam Smith. "Liberty" self-evidently meant intellectual and trade freedom. [...] But it was in England too that money was most unhesitatingly used in politics not the bribery of individual high personages which had been customary in the Spanish or Venetian style, but the "nursing" of the democratic forces themselves. In eighteenth-century England, first the Parliamentary elections and then the decisions of the elected Commons were systematically managed by money; England, too, discovered the ideal of a Free Press, and discovered along with it that the press serves him who owns it. It does not spread "free" opinion it generates it. Both together constitute liberalism (in the broad sense); that is, freedom from the restrictions of the soil-bound life, be these privileges, forms, or feelings freedom of the intellect for every kind of criticism, freedom of money for every kind of business. But both, too, unhesitatingly aim at the domination of a class, a domination which recognizes no overriding supremacy of the State. Mind and money, being both inorganic, want the State, not as a matured form of high symbolism to be venerated, but as an engine to serve a purpose.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.404

But the well-known saying of Robespierre that "the Government of the Revolution is the desp otism of freedom against tyranny" expresses more than this. It lets out the deep fear that shakes every multitude which, in the presence of grave conjunctures, feels itself "not up to form." A regiment that is shaken in its discipline will readily concede to accidental leaders of the moment powers of an extent and a kind which the legitimate command could never acquire, and which if legitimate would be utterly intolerable. But this, on a larger scale, is the position of every commencing Civilization. Nothing reveals more tellingly the decline of political form than that upspringing of formless powers which we may conveniently designate, from its most conspicuous example, Napoleonism.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.411

If it was an improbable piece of good luck in the destinies of the Classical peoples that Rome was the only city-state to survive the Revolution with an unimpaired constitution, it was, on the contrary, almost a miracle that in our West with its genealogical forms deep-rooted in the idea of duration violent revolution broke out at all, even in one place namely, Paris. It was not the strength, but the weakness of French Absolutism which brought the English ideas, in combination with the power of money, to the point of an explosion which gave living form to the catchwords of the "Enlightenment," which bound together virtue and terror, freedom and despotism, and which echoed still even in the minor catastrophes of 1830 and 1848 and the more recent Socialistic longing for catastrophe.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.415

But to-day Parliamentarism is in full decay. It was a continuation of the Bourgeois Revolution by other means, the revolution of the Third Estate of 1789 brought into legal form and joined with its opponent the Dynasty as one governmental unit. Every modern election, in fact, is a civil war carried on by ballot-box and every sort of spoken and wri tten stimulus, and every great party-leader is a sort of Napoleon. In this form, meant to remain infinitely valid, which is peculiar to the Western Culture and would be nonsensical and impossible in any other, we discern once more our characteristic tendency to infinity, historical foresight and forethought, and will to order the distant future, in this case according to bourgeois standards of the present.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.416

With the beginning of the twentieth century Parliamentarism (even English) is tending rapidly towards taking up itself the role that it once assigned to the kingship. It is becoming an impressive spectacle for the multitude of the Orthodox, while the centre of gravity of big policy, already de jure transferred from the Crown to the people's representatives, is passing de facto from the latter to unofficial groups and the will of unofficial personages. The World War almost completed this development. There is no way back to the old parliamentarism from the domination of Lloyd George and the Napoleonism of the French militarists. And for America, hitherto lying apart and self-contained, rather a region than a State, the parallelism of President and Congress which she derived from a theory of Montesquieu has, with her entry into world politics, become untenable, and must in times of real danger make way for formless powers such as those with which Mexico and South America have long been familiar.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.416

With this enters the age of gigantic conflicts, in which we find ourselves to-day. It is the transition from Napoleonism to Caearism, a general phase of evolution, which occupies at least two centuries and can be shown to exist in all the Cultures. The Chinese call it Shan-Kwo, the "period of the Contending States" (480-230, corresponding to the Classical 300-50.

Quote from : Spengler vol II p.418

This indeed had been manifested earlier in critical times of transition. The epoch of the Fronde, the Ming-shu, the First Tyrannis, when men were not in form, but fought about form, has always thrown up a number of great figures who grew too big for definition and limitation in terms of office. The change from Culture to Civilization, with its typical Napoleonism, does so too. But with this, which is the preface to unredeemed historical formlessness, dawns the real day of the great individual. For us this period attained almost to its climax in the World War; in the Classical World it began with Hannibal, who challenged Rome in the name of Hellenism

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.419-420

The change from the absolute State to the battling Society of nations that marks the beginning of every Civilization may mean for idealists and ideologues what they like - in the world of facts it means the transition from government in the style and pulse of a strict tradition to the sic volo, sic jubeo of the unbridled personal regime. [...] None of the innumerable revolutions of this era which more and more become blind outbreaks of uprooted megalopolitan masses has ever attained, or ever had the possibility of attaining, an aim. What stands is only the historical fact of an accelerated demolition of ancient forms that leaves the path clear for Caesarism. But the same is true also of the wars, in which the armies and their tactical methods become more and more the creation, not of the epoch, but of uncontrolled individual captains, who in many cases discovered their genius very late and by accident. While in 300 there were Roman armies, in 100 there were the armies of Marius and Sulla and Caesar; and Octavian's army, which was composed of Caesar's veterans, led its general much more than it was led by him.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.420

Similarly, in every Culture, the technique of war hesitatingly followed the advance of craftsmanship, until at the beginning of the Civilization it suddenly takes the lead, presses all mechanical possibilities of the time relentlessly into its service, and under pressure of military necessity even opens up new domains hitherto unexploited but at the same time renders largely ineffectual the personal heroism of the thoroughbred, the ethos of the noble, and the subtle intellect of the Late Culture.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.421

The fundamental craving of Civilized mankind for speed, mobility, and masseffects finally combined, in the world of Europe and America, with the Faustian will to domination over Nature and produced dynamic methods of war that even to Frederick the Great would have seemed like lunacy, but to us of to-day, in close proximity to our technics of transportation and industry, are perfectly natural.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.428-429

For us this time of Contending States began with Napoleon and his violentarbitrary government by order. [...] If the nineteenth century has been relatively poor in great wars and revolutions and has overcome its worst crises diplomatically by means of congresses, this has been due precisely to the continuous and terrific war-preparedness which has made disputants, fearful at the eleventh hour of the consequences, postpone the definitive decision again and again, and led to the substitution of chess-moves for war. For this is the century of gigantic permanent armies and universal compulsory service. We ourselves are too near to it to see it under this terrifying aspect. In all worldhistory there is no parallel. Ever since Napoleon, hundreds of thousands, and latterly millions, of men have stood ready to march, and mighty fleets renewed every ten years have filled the harbours. It is a war without war[...] This is the Faustian, the dynamic, form of "the Contending States" during the first century of that period, but it ended with the explosion of the World War. For the demand of these four years has been altogether too much for the principle of universal service child of the French Revolution, revolutionary through and through, as it is in this form and for all tactical methods evolved from it. The place of the permanent armies as we know them will gradually be taken by professional forces of volunteer war-keen soldiers; and from millions we shall revert to hundreds of thousands. But ipso facto this second century will be one of actually Contending States. These armies are not substitutes for war they are for war, and they want war. Within two generations it will be they whose will prevails over that of all the comfortables put together. In these wars of theirs for the heritage of the whole world, continents will be staked, India, China, South Africa, Russia, Islam called out, new technics and tactics played and counterplayed. The great cosmopolitan foci of power will dispose at their pleasure of smaller states their territory, their economy and their men alike all that is now merely province, passive object, means to end, and its destinies are without importance to the great march of things. [...] Again and again between these catastrophes of blood and terror the cry rises up for reconciliation of the peoples and for peace on earth. [...] Esteem as we may the wish towards all this, we must have the courage to face facts as they are that is the hallmark of men of race-quality and it is by the being of these men that alone history is. Life if it would be great, is hard; it lets choose only between victory and ruin, not between war and peace, and to the victory belong the sacrifices of victory. For that which shuffles querulously and jealously by the side of the events is only literature, written or thought or lived literature mere truths that lose themselves in the moving crush of facts. History has never deigned to take n otice of these propositions.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.430

The history of these times is no longer an intellectual match of wits in elegant forms for pluses and minuses, from which either side can withdraw when it pleases. The alternatives now are to stand fast or to go under there is no middle course. The only moral that the logic of things permits to us now is that of the climber on the face of the crag a moment's weakness and all is over.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.431-432

By the term "Caesarism" I mean that kind of government which, irrespective of any constitutional formulation that it may have, is in its inward self a return to thorough formlessness. [...] Real importance centred in the wholly personal power exercised by the Caesar [...] At the beginning, where the Civilization is developing to full bloom (today), there stands the miracle of the Cosmopolis, the great petrifact, a symbol of the formless vast, splendid, spreading in insolence. It draws within itself the being-streams of the now impotent countryside, human masses that are wafted as dunes from one to another or flow like loose sand into the chinks of the stone. Here money and intellect celebrate their greatest and their last triumphs. It is the most artificial, the cleverest phenomenon manifested in the light-world of human eyes uncanny, "too good to be true," standing already almost beyond the possibilities of cosmic formation. Presently, however, the idea-less facts come forward again, naked and gigantic. The eternal-cosmic pulse has finally overcome the intellectual tensions of a few centuries. In the form of democracy, money has won. There has been a period in which politics were almost its preserve. But as soon as it has destroyed the old orders of the Culture, the chaos gives forth a new and overpowering factor that penetrates to the very elementals of Becoming the Caesar-men. Before them the money collapses. The Imperial Age, in every Culture alike, signifies the end of the politics of mind and money. The powers of the blood, unbroken bodily forces, resume their ancient lordship.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.432

Once the Imperial Age has arrived, there are no more political problems. People manage with the situation as it is and the powers that be. In the period of Contending States, torrents of blood had reddened the pavements of all world-cities, so that the great truths of Democracy might be turned into actualities, and for the winning of rights without which life seemed not worth the living. Now these rights are won, but the grandchildren cannot be moved, even by punishment, to make use of them.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.434

With world-peace the -peace of high -policies the "sword side" of being retreats and the "spindle side" rules again; henceforth there are only -private histories, private destinies, private ambitions, from top to bottom, from the miserable troubles of fellaheen to the dreary feuds of Caesars for the private possession of the world. The wars of the age of world-peace are private wars, more fearful than any State wars because they are formless.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.435

With the formed state, high history also lays itself down weary to sleep. Man becomes a plant again, adhering to the soil, dumb and enduring. The timeless village and the "eternal" peasant reappear, begetting children and burying seed in Mother Earth a busy, not inadequate swarm, over which the tempest of soldier-emperors passingly blows. In the midst of the land lie the old world-cities, empty receptacles of an extinguished soul, in which a historyless mankind slowly nests itself. Men live from hand to mouth, with petty thrifts and petty fortunes, and endure. Masses are tr ampled on in the conflicts of the conquerors who contend for the power and the spoil of this world, but the survivors fill up the gaps with a primitive fertility and suffer on. And while in high places there is eternal alternance of victory and defeat, those in the depths pray, pray with that mighty piety of the Second Religiousness that has overcome all doubts for ever. There, in the souls, world-peace, the peace of God, the bliss of grey-haired monks and hermits, is become actual and there alone.

söndag 27 december 2009



Quote from: Spengler vol II p.361

Within the world-as-history, in which we are so livingly woven that our perception and our reason constantly obey our feelings, the cosmic flowings appear as that which we call actuality, real life, being-streams in bodily form. Their common badge is Direction. But they can be grasped differently according as it is the movement or the thing moved that is looked at. The former aspect we call history and the latter family or stock or estate or people, but the one is only possible and existent through the other. History exists only as the history of something. If we are referring to the history of the great Cultures, then nation is the thing moved. State, status, means condition, and we obtain our impression of the State when, as a Being in moved Form flows past us, we fix in our eyes the Form as such, as something extended and timelessly standing fast, and entirely ignore direction and Destiny. State is history regarded as at the halt, history the State regarded as on the move. The State of actuality is the physiognomy of a historical unit of being; only the planned State of the theorist is a system. A movement has form, and that which is moved is "in form," or, to use another sporting expression, when it is "going all out" it is in perfect condition.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.361-362

The individual class or family is the smallest, the nation the largest unit in the stream of history. Primitive peoples are subject to a movement that is not historical in the higher sense the movement may be a jog-trot or may be a charge, but it has no organic character and no profound importance. Nevertheless, these primitive peoples are in motion through and through, to such an extent, indeed, as to seem perfectly formless to the hasty observer. Fellaheen, on the contrary, are the rigid objects of a movement that conies from outside and impinges on them unmeaningly and fortuitously. The former includes the "State" of the Mycenaean period; that of the Thinite period; that of the Shang dynasty in China up to, say, the migration to Yin (1400); the Frankish realm of Charlemagne; the Visigothic Kingdom to Eurich; and Petrine Russia state-forms often ample and efficient, but still destitute of symbolism and necessity. To the latter belong the Roman, Chinese, and other Imperia, whose form has ceased to have any expressive content whatever. But between primitive and fellah lies the history of the great Culture. A people in the style of a Culture a historical people, that is is called a Nation. A nation, as a living and battling thing, possesses a State not merely as a condition of movement, but also (above all) as an idea. The State in the simplest sense of the term may be as old as free-moving life itself. Swarms and herds of even very lowly animal genera may have "constitutions" of some sort and those of the ants, of the bees, of many fish, or migrating birds, of beavers, have reached an astounding degree of perfection but the State of the grand style is as old as and no older than its two prime Estates, nobility and priesthood. These emerge with the Culture, they vanish into it, their Destinies are to a high degree identical. Culture is the being of nations in State-form.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.362

A people is as State, a kindred is as family, "in form" that is, as we have seen, the difference between political and cosmic history, public and private life, res publica and res privata. And both, moreover, are symbols of care. The woman is world-history. By conceiving and giving birth she cares for the perpetuation of the blood. The mother with the child at her breast is the grand emblem of cosmic life. Under this aspect, the life of man and woman is "in form" as marriage. The man, however, makes history, which is an unending battle for the preservation of that other life. Maternal care is supplemented and paralleled by paternal. The man with weapon in hand is the other grand emblem of the will-to-duration. A people "in condition" is originally a band warriorhood, a deep and intimately felt community of men fit for arms. State is the affair of man, it is Care for the preservation of the whole (including the spiritual self-preservation called honour and self-respect), the thwarting of attacks, the foreseeing of dangers, and, above all, the positive aggressiveness which is natural and self-evident to every life that has begun to soar.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.363

Plant-life is only plant-life in relation to animal life; nobility and priesthood reciprocally condition one another. A people is only really such in relation to other peoples, and the substance of this actuality comes out in natural and ineradicable oppositions, in attack and defence, hostility and war. War is the creator of all great things. All that is meaningful in the stream of life has emerged through victory and defeat. A people shapes history inasmuch as it is "in condition" for the task of doing so. It livingly experiences an inward history which gets it into this "condition," in which alone it becomes creative and an outward history, which consists in this creation. Peoples as State, then, are the real forces of all human happening. In the world-as-history there is nothing beyond them. They are Destiny.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.364

But in all cases the law of the stronger is the law of the weaker also. To "have the right" is an expression of power. This is a historical fact that every moment confirms, but it is not acknowledged in the realm of truth, which is not of this world. In their conceptions of right, therefore, as in other things, being and wakingbeing, Destiny and Causality, stand implacably opposed. To the priestly and idealistic moral of good and evil belongs the moral distinction of right and wrong, but in the race-moral of good and bad the distinction is between those who give and those who receive the law. An abstract idea of justice pervades the minds and writings of all whose spirit is noble and strong and whose blood is weak, pervades all religions and all philosophies but the fact-world of history knows only the success which turns the law of the stronger into the law of all. Over ideals it marches without pity, and if ever a man or a people renounces its power of the moment in order to remain righteous then, certainly, his or its theoretical fame is assured in the second world of thought and truth, but assured also is the coming of a moment in which it will succumb to another life-power that has better understood realities.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.366

It is clear, then, that on the heights of history two such life-forms, Estate and State, contend for supremacy, both being-streams of great inward form and symbolic force, each resolved to make its own destiny the Destiny of the whole. That if we try to understand the matter in its d epths and unreservedly put aside our everyday conceptions of people, economy, society, and politics is the meaning of the opposition between the social and the political conduct of events. Social and political ideas do not begin to be differentiated till a great Culture has dawned, or even till feudalism is declining and the lord-vassal relation represents the social, and the king-people relation the political, side. But the social powers of the early time (nobility and priesthood) not less actively than those of the later (money and mind) and the vocational groups of the craftsmen and officials and workers, too, as they were rising to their power in the growing cities sought, each for itself, to subordinate the State-ideal to its own Estate-ideal, or more usually to its estate interests.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.367

We are thoroughly right therefore in feeling a distinction between State-history and class-history, between political (horizontal) and social (vertical) history, war and revolution. But it is a grave error of modern doctrinaires to regard the spirit of domestic history as that of history in general. World-history is, and always will be, State-history. The inner constitution of a nation aims always at being "in condition" for the outer fight (diplomatic, military, or economic) and anyone who treats a nation's constitution as an aim and ideal in itself is merely ruining the nation's body. But, from the other point of view, it falls to the inner-political pulsesense of a ruling stratum (whether belonging to the First or to the Fourth Estate) so to manage the internal class-oppositions that the focus and ideas of the nation are not tied up in party conflict, nor treason to the country thought of as an ace of trumps. And here it becomes manifest that the State and the first Estate are cognate down to the roots akin, not merely by reason of their symbolism of Time and Care, their common relation to race and the facts of genealogical s uccession, to the family and to the primary impulses of all peasantry

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.368-369

It is, however, a distinction of quite another kind that holds as between the State-idea and the idea of any one of the other Estates. All these are inwardly alien to the State as such, and the State-ideals that they fashion out of their own lives have not grown up out of the spirit and the political forces of actual history hence, indeed, the conscious emphasis with which they are labelled as social. And while in Early times the situation is simply that historical facts oppose the Church-community in its efforts to actualize religious ideals, in Late periods both the business ideal of the free economic life, and the Utopian ideal of the enthusiast who would actualize this or that abstraction, also come into the field. But in the historical world there are no ideals, but only facts no truths, but only facts. There is no reason, no honesty, no equity, no final aim, but only facts, and anyone who does not realize this should write books on politics - let him not try to make politics. In the real world there are no states built according to ideals, but only states that have grown, and these are nothing but living peoples "in form." No doubt it is "the form impressed that living doth itself unfold," but the impress has been that of the blood and beat of a being, wholly instinctive and involuntary; and as to the unfolding, if it is guided by the master of politics, it takes the direction inherent in the blood; if by the idealist, that dictated by his own convictions in other words, the way to nullity. But the destiny question, for States that exist in reality and not merely in intellectual schemes, is not that of their ideal task or structure, but that of their inner authority, which cannot in the long run be maintained by material means, but only by a belief of friend and foe in their effectiveness. The decisive problems lie, not in the working-out of constitutions, but in the organization of a sound working government; not in the distribution of political rights according to "just" principles (which at bottom are simply the idea that a class forms of its own legitimate claims), but in the efficient pulse of the whole (efficient in the sense that the play of muscle and sinew is efficient when an extended racehorse nears the winning-post), in that rhythm which attracts even strong genius into syntony; not, lastly, in any world-alien moral, but in the steadiness, sureness, and superiority of political leadership.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.370

Every State that emerges in history exists as it is but once and for a moment; the next moment it has, unperceived, become different, whatever the rigidity of its legal-constitutional crust. Therefore, words like "republic," "absolutism," "democracy," mean something different in every instance, and what turns them into catchwords is their use as definite concepts by philosophers and ideologues. A history of States is physiognomic and not systematic. Its business is not to show how "humanity" advances to the conquest of its eternal rights, to freedom and equality, to the evolving of a super-wise and super-just State, but to describe the political units that really exist in the fact-world, how they grow and flourish and fade, and how they are really nothing but actual life "in form."

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.371

History in the high style begins in every Culture with the feudal State, which is not a State in the coming sense of the word, but an ordering of the common life with reference to an Estate. The noblest fruit of the soil, its race in the proudest sense, here builds itself up in a rank-order from the simple knighthood to the primus inter pares, the feudal Overlord amongst his Peers. This sets in simultaneously with the architecture of the great cathedrals and the P yramids the stone and the blood elevated into symbols, the one meaning, the other being. The idea of feudalism, which has dominated all Springtimes, is the transition from the primitive, purely practical and factual, relationship of potentate to those who obey him (whether they have chosen him or have been subdued by him) into the private-law (and, therefore, deeply symbolical) relation of the lord to the vassal.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.373

The mightiest expression that the feudal idea found for itself not merely in the West, but in any Culture came out in the struggle between Empire and Papacy, both of which dreamed of a consummation in which the entire world was to become an immense feudal system, and so intimately enwove themselves into the dream that, with the decay of feudalism, both together fell from their heights in lamentable ruin.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.376

What this fall of Papacy and Empire meant was the victory of State over Estate. At the root of the feudal system there had been the feeling that the purpose of existence was that a "life" should be led in the light of what it meant. History was exhaustively comprised in the destinies of noble blood. But now the feeling sprang up that there was something else besides, something to which even nobility was subordinate, and which it shared with all other classes (whether of status or of vocation), something intangible, an idea.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.378

The combination of both elements produces the idea of Dynasty. This is so deeply rooted in the Cosmic and so closely interwoven into the factual web of historical life that the State-ideas of each and all the Cultures are modifications of this one principle, from the passionate affirmative of the Faustian to the resolute negative of the Classical Soul. The rip ening of the State-idea of a Culture is associated with the city and even the adolescence of the city. Nations, historical peoples, are town-building peoples. The capital takes the place of the castle and the palace as the centre of high history, and in it the feeling of the exercise of power, Themis, transforms itself into that of government, Dike. Here feudal unity is inwardly overcome by national, even in the consciousness of the First Estate itself, and here the bare fact of rulership elevates itself into the symbol of Sovereignty.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.385

With the beginning of the Late period there is a decisive turn, where city and country are in equilibrium and the powers proper to the city, money and brains, have become so strong that they feel themselves, as non-estate, an equal match for the old Estates. It is the moment when the State-idea finally rises superior to the Estates and begins to set up in their place the concept of the Nation. The State has fought and won to its rights along a line of advance from feudal union to the aristocratic State. In the latter the Estates exist only with reference to the State, instead of vice versa, but, on the other hand, the disposition of things is such that the Government only meets the governed nation when and in so far as the nation is class-ordered. Everyone belongs to the nation, but only an elite to the classes, and these alone count politically.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.386

In the West this struggle of the old Estates against the State-power took the form of the Fronde. In the Classical world, where there was no dynasty to represent the future and the aristocracy alone had political existence, we find that a dynastic or quasi-dynastic embodiment of the State-idea actually formed itself, and, supported by the non-privileged part of the nation, raised this latter for the first time to power. That was th e mission of the Tyrannis.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.387

The sixth-century Tyrannis brought the Polis-idea to its conclusions and created the constitutional concept of the Citizen, the Polites, the Civis, the sum of these, irrespective of their classprovenance, forming the soma of the city-state. When, therefore, the oligarchy contrived to win after all thanks once more to the Classical craving for the present, and the consequent fear and hatred evoked by the quasi-will-to-duration of the dynasts the concept of the citizen was there, firmly established, and the non-patrician had learned to regard himself as an estate vis-b-vis a "rest." He had become a political party the word "democracy" (in its specifically Classical sense) now acquired a really serious content and what he set himself to do was, no longer to come to the aid of the State, but to be himself the State as the nobility had been before. He began to count money and heads, for the money-census and the general franchise are alike bourgeois weapons whereas an aristocracy does not count, but values, and votes not by heads, but by classes.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.397-398

But Rome was unique in all Classical history in this equilibrium of Senate and Tribunate. Everywhere else it was a matter not of swaying balance, but of sheer alternatives, namely Oligarchy or Ochlocracy. The absolute Polis and the Nation which was identical with it were accepted as given premisses, but of the inward forms none possessed stability. The victory of one party meant the abolition of all the institutions of the other, and people became accustomed to regard nothing as either venerable enough or useful enough to be exempt from the chances of the day's battle. [...] With this, the future was set for Rome. It was the one state in which political passions had persons only, and no longer institutions, as their target; the only one w hich was firmly in "form." Senatus Populusque Romanus that is, Senate and Tribunate was the form of forged bronze that no party would henceforward batter, whereas all the rest, with the narrowness of their individual power-horizons in the world of Classical states, were only able to prove once more the fact that domestic politics exist simply in order that foreign politics may be possible.

lördag 26 december 2009



Quote from: Spengler vol II p.327

A fathomless secret of the cosmic Sowings that we call Life is their separation into two sexes. Already in the earth-bound existence-streams of the plant world they are trying to part from one another, as the symbol of the flower tells us into a something that is this existence and a something that keeps it going. Animals are free, little worlds in a big world the cosmic closed off as microcosms and set up against the macrocosm. And, more and more decisively as the animal kingdom unfolds its history, the dual direction of dual being, of the masculine and the feminine, manifests itself. The feminine stands closer to the Cosmic. It is rooted deeper in the earth and it is immediately involved in the grand cyclic rhythms of Nature. The masculine is freer, more animal, more mobile as to sensation and understanding as well as otherwise more awake and more tense. The male livingly experiences Destiny, and he comprehends Causality, the causal logic of the Become. The female, on the contrary, is herself Destiny and Time and the organic logic of the Becoming, and for that very reason the principle of Causality is for ever alien to her.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.327-328

The man makes History, the woman is History. [...] This history, too, is not without its battles and its tragedies. Woman in childbed wins through to her victory. The Aztecs the Ro mans of the Mexican Culture honoured the woman in labour as a battling warrior, and if she died, she was interred with the same formulas as the fallen hero. Policy for Woman is eternally the conquest of the Man, through whom she can become mother of children, through whom she can become History and Destiny and Future. The target of her profound shyness, her tactical finesse, is ever the father of her son. The man, on the contrary, whose centre of gravity lies essentially in the other kind of History, wants that son as his son, as inheritor and carrier of his blood and historical tradition. Here, in man and in woman, the two kinds of History are fighting for power. Woman is strong and wholly what she is, and she experiences the Man and the Sons only in relation to herself and her ordained role. In the masculine being, on the contrary, there is a certain contradiction; he is this man, and he is something else besides, which woman neither understands nor admits, which she feels as robbery and violence upon that which to her is holiest. This secret and fundamental war of the sexes has gone on ever since there were sexes, and will continue silent, bitter, unforgiving, pitiless while they continue.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.330-331

There are streams of being which are "in form" in the same sense in which the term is used in sports. [...] An art-period is in form when its tradition is second nature, as counterpoint was to Bach. An army is in form when it is like the army of Napoleon at Austerlitz and the army of Moltke at Sedan. Practically everything that has been achieved in world-history, in war and in that continuation of war by intellectual means that we call politics; in all successful diplomacy, tactics, strategy; in the competition of states or social classes or parties; has been the product of living unities that found themselves "in form." The word for race- or breed-education is "training" (Zucht, Zuchtung), as against the shaping (Bildung) which creates communities of waking-conciousness on a basis of uniform teachings or beliefs. Books, for example, are shaping agents, while the constant felt pulse and harmony of milieu into which one feels oneself, lives oneself like a novice or a page of early Gothic times are training influences. The "good form" and ceremonies of a given society are sense-presentations of the beat of a given species of Being, and to master them one must have the beat of them. Hence women, as more instinctive and nearer to cosmic rhythms, adapt themselves more readily than men to the forms of a new milieu.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.333

But, in sum, "caste" is a word that has been at least as much abused as it has been used. There were no castes in the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt, nor in India before Buddha, nor in China before Han times. It is only in very Late conditions that they appear, and then we find them in all Cultures. [...] The distinction between Estate and Caste is that between earliest Culture and latest Civilisation. In the rise of the prime Estates noble and priest the Culture is unfolding itself, while the castes are the expression of its definitive fellah-state. The Estate is the most living of all, Culture launched on the path of fulfilment, "the form that living must itself unfold." The caste is absolute finished-ness, the phase in which development has been succeeded by immutable fixation. [...] Within every Culture, moreover while peasantry is a piece of pure nature and growth and, therefore, a completely impersonal manifestation nobility and priesthood are the results of high breeding and forming and therefore express a thoroughly personal Culture, which, by the height of its form, rejects not merely barbarians, but presently also all who are not of their status, as a residue regarded by the nobility as the "people" and by clergy as the "laity." And this style of personality is the material that, when the fellah-age arrives, petrifies into the type of a caste, which thereafter endures unaltered for centuries.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.334

Later, with the cities, but younger than they, burgherdom, bourgeoisie, arises as the "Third Estate." The burgher, too, now looks with contempt upon the countryside, which lies about him dull, unaltered, and patient, and in contrast to which he feels himself more awake and freer and therefore further advanced on the road of the Culture. He despises also the primary estates, "squire and parson," as something lying intellectually below him and historically behind him. Yet, as compared with these two, the burgher is, as the boor was, a residue, a non-estate.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.335

It is an idea that lies at the base of these two prime Estates, and only these. [...] Every nobility is a living symbol of Time, every priesthood of Space. Destiny and sacred Causality, History and Nature, the When and the Where, race and language, sex-life and feeling-life all these attain in them to the highest possible expression. The noble lives in a world of facts, the priest in one of truths; the one has shrewdness, the other knowledge; the one is a doer, the other a thinker. Aristocratic world-feeling is essentially pulse-sense; priestly world-feeling proceeds entirely by tensions.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.336

Of the two, moreover, it is the nobility that is the true Estate, the sum of blood and race, being-stream in the fullest imaginable form. And therefore nobility is a higher peasantry. Even in 1250 the West had a widespread proverb: "One who ploughs in the forenoon jousts in the afternoon," and it was quite usual for a knight to marry the daughter of a peasant. In contrast to the cathedral, the castle was a development, by way of the country noble's house of Frankish times, from the peasant-dwelling. [...] In all Cultures nobility and peasantry appear in forms of family descent, and language itself connects them with the sexes, through which life propagates itself, has history, and is history. And as woman is history, the inward rank of peasant and noble families is determined by how much of race their women have in them, how far they are Destiny. And, therefore, there is deep meaning in the fact that the purer and more race-pervaded world-history is, the more the stream of its public life passes into and adapts itself to the private lives of individual great families. This, of course, is the basis of the dynastic principle, and not only that, but the basis of the idea of world-historical personality. The existence of entire states comes to depend on a few private destinies, vastly magnified.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.337

Of all this the priesthood (and philosophy so far as it is priesthood) is the direct negative. The Estate of pure waking-consciousness and eternal truths combats time and race and sex in every sense. Man as peasant or noble turns towards, man as priest turns away from, woman. Aristocracy runs the danger of dissipating and losing the broad being-stream of public life in the petty channels of its minor ancestors and relatives. The true priest, on the other hand, refuses in principle to recognize private life, sex, family, the "house." For the man of race death begins to be real and appalling only when it is death without heirs Icelandic sagas no less than Chinese ancestor-worship teach us this. He does not entirely die who lives on in sons and nephews. But for the true priest media vita in morte sumus; what he shall bequeath is intellectual, and rejected woman bears no part in it.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.339

But Civilization, the real "return to Nature," is the extinction of nobility not as physical stock (which would not matter), but as living tradition and the supplanting of destiny-pulse by causal intelligence. With this, nobility becomes no more than a prefix. And, for that very reason, Civilized history is superficial history, directed disjointedly to obvious aims, and so become formless in the cosmic, dependent on the accident of great individuals, destitute of inward sureness, line, and meaning. With Caesarism history relapses back into the historyless, the old beat of primitive life, with endless and meaningless battles for material power, such as those of the Roman soldieremperors of the third century and the corresponding "Sixteen States" of China (265-420), which differ only in unessentials from the events of beast-life in a jungle.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.340-341

The priest circumscribes the world-as-nature and deepens his picture of it by thinking into it. The noble lives in the world-as-history and deepens it by altering its picture. Both evolve towards the great tradition, but the evolution of the one comes of shaping and that of the other from training. This is a fundamental difference between the two Estates, and consequently only one of them is truly an Estate, and the other only appears to be such because of the completeness of the contrast. The field of effect of breed and training is the blood, and they pass on, therefore, from the fathers to the sons. Shaping (Bildung), on the other hand, presupposes talents, and consequently a true and strong priesthood is always a sum of individual gifts a community of waking-consciousness having no relation to origin in the race sense; and thus, in this respect as in others, it is a negation of Time and History. Intellectual affinity and blood-affinity ponder and probe into the depths of these contrasted expressions! Heritable priesthood is a contradiction in terms.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.342

The one is historical through and through, and recognizes rank-distinctions and privileges as actual and axiomatic. Honour is always class-honour there is no such thing as an "honour of humanity." The duel is not an obligation of unfree persons. Every man, be he Bedouin or Samurai or Corsican, peasant or workman, judge or bandit, has his own binding notions of honour, loyalty, courage, revenge, that do not apply to other kinds of life.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.343

While Priesthood is microcosmic and animal-like, Nobility is cosmic and plantlike (hence its profound connexion with the land). It is itself a plant, strongly rooted in the soil, established on the soil in this, as in so many other respects, a supreme peasantry. It is from this kind of cosmic boundness that the idea of property arises, which to the microcosm as such, freely moving in space, is wholly alien. Property is a primary feeling and not a concept; it belongs to Time and History and Destiny, and not to Space and Causality. It cannot be logically based, but it is there. "Having" begins with the plant, and propagates itself in the history of higher mankinds just to the precise extent that history contains plant-character and race.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.345

As the Culture rises to its height, these two primary urges trend widely apart, and hostility develops between them. The history of this hostility is almost the same thing as world-history. From the feeling of power come conquest and -politics and law; from that of spoil, trade and economy and money. Law is the property of the powerful. Their law is the law of all. Money is the strongest weapon of the acquiring: with it he subdues the world. Economics likes and intends a state that is weak and subservient to it. Politics demands that economic life shall adapt itself to and within the State Adam Smith and Friedrich List, Capitalism and Socialism.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.347

First, nobility and priesthood arise out of the open landscape, and figure the pure symbolism of Being and Waking-Being, Time and Space. Then out of the one under the aspect of booty, and out of the other under the aspect of research, there develop doubled types of lower symbolic force, which in the urban Late periods rise to prepotency in the shapes of economy and science. In these two beingstreams the ideas of Destiny and Causality are thought out to their limit, unrelentingly and anti-traditionally. Forces emerge which are separated by a deadly enmity from the old class-ideals of heroism and saintliness these forces are money and intellect, and they are related to those ideals as the city to the country. Henceforward property is called riches, and world-outlook knowledge a desanctified Destiny and a profane Causality. But science is in contradiction with Nobility too, for this does not prove or investigate, but is.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.348

Wholly outside the category of the true Estates are the calling-classes of the craftsmen, officials, artists, and labourers, whose organization in guilds (e.g., of smiths in China, of scribes in Egypt, and of singers in the Classical world) dates from pristine antiquity, and who because of their professional segregation (which sometimes goes as far as to cut off their connubium with others) actually develop into genuine tribes, as, for instance, the Falasha of Abyssinia and some of the Sudra classes named in Manu's code. Their separation is due merely to their technical accomplishments and therefore not to their being vessels of the symbolism of Time and Space. Their tradition, likewise, is limited to their techniques and does not refer to a customary-ethic or a moral of their own, such as is always found in economy and science as such. As derived from a nobility, judges and officers are classes, whereas officia ls are a profession; as derived from priesthood, scholars are a class, while artists are a profession.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.350

Every new Culture has potentially its nobility and its priesthood. [...] But the form in which, and the force with which, these Estates first realized themselves and then took charge of the course of history - shaped it, carried it, and even represented it in their own destinies depend upon the Prime-symbol on which each individual Culture, with its entire formlanguage, is based.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.354

Now supervened the city with its own soul, first emancipating itself from the soul of the countryside, then setting up as an equal to it, and finally seeking to suppress and extinguish it. But this evolution accomplished itself in kinds of life, and it also, therefore, is part of the history of the estates. The city-life as such emerges through the inhabitants of these small settlements acquiring a common soul, and becoming conscious that the life within is something different from the life outside and at once the spell of personal freedom begins to operate and to attract within the walls life-streams of more and more new kinds. There sets in a sort of passion for becoming urban and for propagating urban life.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.357

With the close of the Late period of every Culture the history of its estates also comes to a more or less violent end. The mere desire to live in rootless freedom prevails over the great imperative Culture-symbols, which a mankind now wholly dominated by the city no longer comprehends or tolerates. Finance sheds every trace of feeling for earth-bound immovable values, and scientific criticism every residue of piety. Another such victory also, in a measure, is the liberation of the peasant, which consists in relieving him from the pressure of servage, but hands him over to the power of money, which now proceeds to turn the land into movable property [...] This Plebs is the Third Estate in the form in which it is constitutionally recognised as a unit [...] But the Plebs, as Third Estate, as residue, is only susceptible of negative definition as meaning everyone who does not belong to the land-nobility or is not the incumbent of a great priestly office. [...] Outside politics that is, socially the plcbs, as a unit distinguished from nobility and priesthood, has no existence, but falls apart at once into special callings that are perfectly distinct in interests. It is a Party, and what it stands for as such is freedom in the urban sense of the word.

Quote from: Spengler vol II p.358

The Third Estate, without proper inward unity, was the non-estate the protest, in estate-form, against the existence of estates; not against this or that estate, but against the symbolic view of life in general. It rejects all differences not justified by reason or practically useful. And yet it does mean something itself, and means it very distinctly the city-life as estate in contradistinction to that of the country, freedom as a condition in contrast to attachment. But, looked at from within its own field, it is by no means the unclassified residue that it appears in the eyes of the primary estates. The bourgeoisie has definite limits; it belongs to the Culture; it embraces, in the best sense, all who adhere to it, and under the name of people, populus, demos, rallies nobility and priesthood, money and mind, craftsman and wage-earner, as constituents of itself. This is the idea that Civilization finds prevailing when it comes on the scene, and this is what it destroys by its notion of the Fourth Estate, the Mass, which rejects the Culture and its matured forms, lock, stock, and barrel. It is the absolute of formlessness, persecuting with its hate every sort of form, every dist inction of rank, the orderliness of property, the orderliness of knowledge. It is the new nomadism of the Cosmopolis, for which slaves and barbarians in the Classical world, Sudras in the Indian, and in general anything and everything that is merely human, provide an undifferentiated floating something that falls apart the moment it is born, that recognizes no past and possesses no future. Thus the Fourth Estate becomes the expression of the passing of a history over into the historyless. The mass is the end, the radical nullity.