In his corporate state proposals Spengler anticipated the Fascists, although he never was one, and his "socialism" was essentially that of the National Socialists (but without the folkish racialism). But the effort came to naught. Cyclical theories of social change: Spengler and Toynbee. It was approved, and Spengler received his teaching certificate. I quote from the admirable English translation, Allen and Unwin, 1926. Germanophile though he certainly was, nevertheless he viewed the National Socialists as too narrowly German in character, and not sufficiently European. He died in Portland, Oregon, on December 19, 1992. In 1922 Spengler issued a revised edition of the first volume containing minor corrections and revisions, and the year after saw the appearance of the second volume, subtitled Perspectives of World History. Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. Age of Faith. "Truth" is likewise relative, and Spengler conceded that what was true for him might not be true for another -- even another wholly of the same culture and era. He settled in Munich, there to live the life of an independent scholar/philosopher. Each civilisation is like a biological organism and has a similar life-cycle; birth, maturity, old age and death. He saw Europe as marching off to suicide, a first step toward the final demise of European culture in the world and in history. Chicago: Gateway/ Henry Regnery, 1967. The most valuable portion of the work, as even his critics acknowledge, is his comparative delineation of the parallel developments of the Classical and Western cultures. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1932. Spengler, Oswald. To no little surprise on the part of both Spengler and his publisher, the book was an immediate and unprecedented success. However, this span is the ideal, in the sense that a man's ideal life-span is 70 years, though he may never reach that age, or may live well beyond it. "clr": false, Oswald Spengler: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas. The high-water mark of a High Culture is its phase of fulfillment -- called the "culture" phase. Christopher Carleton, W. This became The Development of the Organ of Sight in the Higher Realms of the Animal Kingdom. It predicts a time when the Colored peoples of the earth will use the very technology of the West to destroy the West. His main courses of study were in the classical cultures, mathematics, and the physical sciences. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962 However in late 1911 he was suddenly struck by the notion that the events of the day could only be interpreted in "global" and "total-cultural" terms. His doctoral dissertation at Halle was on Heraclitus, the "dark philosopher" of ancient Greece whose most memorable line was "War is the Father of all things." "metrics": true, Oswald Spengler: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas. 1) & 1928 (vol. The beginning of decline and decay in a Culture is the transition point between its "culture" phase and the "civilization" phase that inevitably follows. This paper is centrally concerned with discussing critically and rethinking the theoretical concepts put forward by Oswald Spengler in Decline of the West... DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West (Der Untergang des Abendlandes) (footnote 1), published in 1918 and 1922, covering all of world history. (1922), he wrote that the men of the West must still be men, and do all they could to realize the immense possibilities still open to them. Familiar to the thinkers of the Renaissance, it was modified by Vico in the early eighteenth century and again by Hegel in the early nineteenth; and a complete history of the idea would show many curious transformations and cover a long period of time. It is exemplified, for instance, by Gothic architecture (especially the interiors of Gothic cathedrals, with their vertical lines and seeming "ceilinglessness"). However, Polybius, Ibn Khaldun (see Asabiyyah), and Giambattista Vico can be seen as precursors of this analysis. He suffered imperfect health, and was a lifelong sufferer of migraine h… It is possible from the vantage point of the twentieth century to glean from the past the meaning of cyclic history, and thus to predict the decline and fall of the West. Chicago: Gateway/ Henry Regnery, 1967. His main task as he saw it, however, was a grand and all-encompassing work on his metaphysics -- of which Decline had only given hints. "isLogged": "0", Spengler, Oswald. Their ideas may be briefed here. It offered a rational explanation for the great European disaster, explaining it as part of an inevitable world-historic process. In the face of the outer danger, what should be emphasized is the unity of the various European races, not their fragmentation. The years 1920-23 saw Spengler retreat into a preoccupation with the revision of the first volume of Decline, and the completion of the second. "metricsAbstractViews": false, Share. Utilizing his physiogmatic approach, Spengler was confident of his ability to decipher the riddle of History -- even, as he states in Decline's very first sentence, to predetermine history. 1 } There are easier books to read than Decline -- there are also harder -- but a big reason for its unprecedented (for such a work) popular success was the same reason for its by-and-large dismissal by the learned critics: its style. The basic idea and essential components of The Decline of the West are not difficult to understand or delineate. 2018. They argued that societies and civilisations change according to cycles of rise, decline and fall just as individual persons are born, mature, grow old, and die. Every Culture's life-span can be seen to last about a thousand years: The Classical existed from 900 BC to 100 AD; the Arabian (Hebraic-semitic Christian-Islamic) from 100 BC to 900 AD; the Western from 1000 AD to 2000 AD. His family was typically conservative German petit-bourgeoisie. The Hour of Decision. The advent of the Caesars marks the return of Authority and Duty, of Honor and "Blood," and the end of democracy. Scorning the type of "learnedness" that demanded only cautionary and judicious statements -- every one backed by a footnote -- Spengler gave freewheeling vent to his opinions and judgments. Now, amidst all the chaos of the times, there comes a "second religiosity"; a longing return to the old symbols of the faith of the culture. Man and Technics is a racialist book, though not in a narrow "Germanic" sense. Heretofore history, especially Western history, had been viewed as a "linear" progression from lower to higher, like rungs on a ladder -- an unlimited evolution upward. "crossMark": true, Categories: Man and Technics. Finally, but after it had already achieved a wide circulation, the authorities prohibited the book's further distribution. Cyclical Theory: Cyclical change is a variation on unilinear theory which was developed by Oswald Spengler (Decline of the West, 1918) and Arnold J. Toynbee (A Study of History, 1956). "languageSwitch": true Thus the civilization phase concludes with the Age of Caesarism, in which great power come into the hands of great men, helped in this by the chaos of late Money-rule. High Cultures are "living" things -- organic in nature -- and must pass through the stages of birth-development-fulfillment-decay-death. Originally to be titled Conservative and Liberal, it was planned as an exposition and explanation of the current trends in Europe -- an accelerating arms race, Entente "encirclement" of Germany, a succession of international crises, increasing polarity of the nations -- and where they were leading. Spengler, Oswald. Oswald Spengler. Oswald Spengler was born in 1880 in Blankenburg at the foot of the Harz mountains, the eldest of four children, and the only boy. (Spengler and Toynbee’s Cyclical theory of Social change) December 21, 2019 November 9, 2019 by Rajendra Singh. Key Points. His father, originally a mining technician, who came from a long line of mineworkers, was a post office bureaucrat. New York: Scribner's, 1952 [revised ed., 1962]. 1. Interpretation of history as repeating cycles of Dark and Golden Ages was a common belief among ancient cultures. Then he moved to Düsseldorf and, finally, Hamburg. Oswald Spengler has established a new model for this understanding and has classified this model. "hasAccess": "0", What do you see? The Saecul… Spengler, Oswald. In 1931 he published Man and Technics, a book that reflected his fascination with the development and usage, past and future, of the technical. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West, published in 1918 and 1922, covering all of world history. But the true bearers of the culture -- the men whose souls are still one with the culture-soul -- are disgusted and repelled by the Money-power and its fellaheen, and act to break it, as they are compelled to do so -- and as the mass culture-soul compels finally the end of the dictatorship of money. Dakin, Edwin F. Today and Destiny: Vital Excepts from the Decline of the West of Oswald Spengler. Thus, Napoleon, who ushered in the civilization phase of the Western, finds his counterpart in Alexander of Macedon, who did the same for the Classical. "comments": true, He met Hitler in person only once, in July 1933, but Spengler came away unimpressed from their lengthy discussion. Here Spengler received a classical Gymnasium education, studying Greek, Latin, mathematics and natural sciences. "lang": "en" Press, 1937; translation of Deutscher Sozialismus (1934)]. The coming of the Caesars (of which Napoleon was only a foreshadowing) was perhaps only decades away. The Decline of the West (Vol. But is was his placing of the current West into his historical scheme that aroused the most interest and the most controversy. 2, "Perspectives of World History"). His most direct criticism was phrased in this way: "And the National Socialists believe that they can afford to ignore the world or oppose it, and build their castles-in-the-air without creating a possibly silent, but very palpable reaction from abroad." The inhabitants of these urban conglomerations -- now the bulk of the populace -- are a rootless, soulless, godless, and materialistic mass, who love nothing more than their panem et circenses. After his father's death in 1901, Spengler at 21 entered the University of Munich. Feature Flags last update: Fri Jan 01 2021 15:17:19 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Essay on Cyclical Theories of Social Change – “Cyclical theories of social change focus on the rise and fall of civilisations attempting to discover and account for these patterns of growth and decay” – (Ian Robertson). "relatedCommentaries": true, Spengler, Oswald. View all Google Scholar citations Cyclical history started with Ibn Haldun in the scientific sense. His early appraisal of a corporation for which the State would have directional control but not ownership of or direct responsibility for the various private segments of the economy sounded much like Werner Sombart's later favorable review of National Socialist economics in his A New Social Philosophy [Princeton Univ. His planned work kept increasing in scope far, far beyond the original bounds. He began it by stating that no one could have looked forward to the National Socialist revolution with greater longing than he. The German philosopher Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) is famous for his Decline of the West. Keith Stimely was born on April 9, 1957, in Connecticut, but grew up and was educated on the West coast. Also eyebrow-raising is a chapter (the very first, in fact, after the Introduction) on "The Meaning of Numbers," in which he asserted that even mathematics -- supposedly the one certain "universal" field of knowledge -- has a different meaning in different cultures: numbers are relative to the people who use them. Campbell, David Here too he developed his strong affinity for the arts -- especially poetry, drama, and music. The development of advanced technology is unique to the West, and he predicted where it would lead. The West, he said, was now in the middle of its "civilization" phase, which had begun, roughly, with Napoleon. The turmoil of events goes on above their heads. Stimely then joined the US Army, serving as a reserve officer. (In fact, it is the work's very simplicity that was too much for his professional critics.) In the course of the work, though, he expressed (sometimes in veiled form) his reservations about the new regime. Close this message to accept cookies or find out how to manage your cookie settings. He thereafter remained satisfied with the work, and all his later writings and pronouncements are only enlargements upon the theme he laid out Decline. Untergang des Abendlandes, 1918. Classical social cycle theories include the idea that civilizations have “life cycles,” as was proposed by Nikolai Danilewski and Oswald Spengler. He used the comparative method which, of course, is appropriate if indeed all the phases of a High Culture are contemporaneous with those of any other. It did so in short order, partly owing to its felicitous timing, and partly to the brilliance (though not unflawed) with which Spengler presented it. Oswald Spengler and the Theory of Historical Cycles, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00000685. Though separate entities in themselves, all High Cultures experience parallel development, and events and phases in any one find their corresponding events and phases in the others. His interest in revisionist history began in high school, and in 1980 he spoke at the second IHR Conference (Pomona College). He himself called it the "physiogmatic" approach -- looking things directly in the face or heart, intuitively, rather than strictly scientifically. However, he never joined the National Socialist party, despite the repeated entreaties of such NS luminaries as Gregor Strasser and Ernst Hanfstängl. (This essay was written in December 1978 for a University of Oregon history class.) Spengler, as the title of his work suggests, saw the West as doomed to the same eventual extinction that all the other High Cultures had faced. Here no attempt will be made to summarize this story; the subject of the present paper is the latest and, to ourselves, most striking exposition of the general theory, contained in Dr Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West. Oswald Spengler was born in Blankenburg (Harz) in central Germany in 1880, the eldest of four children, and the only boy. He encountered great difficulty in finding a publisher, partly because of the nature of the work, partly because of the chaotic conditions prevailing at the time. Render date: 2021-01-01T15:46:56.204Z He began the writing of a book of observations on contemporary politics whose idea had preoccupied him for some time. "openAccess": "0", Recorded history gives us eight such "high cultures": the Indian, the Babylonian, the Egyptian, the Chinese, the Mexican (Mayan-Aztec), the Arabian (or "Magian"), the Classical (Greece and Rome), and the European-Western. The great masses are uncomprehending and uncaring; the megalopoli slowly depopulate, and the masses gradually "return to the land," to busy themselves there with the same soil-tasks as their ancestors centuries before. Save. Although he continued the racialist tone of Man and Technics, Spengler belittled what he regarded as the exclusiveness of the National Socialist concept of race. There is much in Spengler's thinking that permits one to characterize him as a kind of "proto-Nazi": his call for a return to Authority, his hatred of "decadent" democracy, his exaltation of the spirit of "Prussianism," his idea of war as essential to life. 2ff. Oswald Spengler A well-formatted version based on the Alfred A. Knopf, 1926 (vol. Predicting a second world war, Spengler warned in Hour of Decision that the National Socialists were not sufficiently watchful of the powerful hostile forces outside the country that would mobilize to destroy them, and Germany. As an exponent of the cyclical theory, according to which human history is essentially a repetition of a certain basic pattern of events, Spengler's main efforts were directed towards exhibiting this pattern in eight major self-contained "cultures": the Egyptian, the Babylonian, the Indian, the Chinese, the Classical, the Arabian or Magian, the Mexican, and the Western or Faustian. Fennelly, John F. Twilight of the Evening Lands: Oswald Spengler a Half Century Later. Anyway, with regard to the validity of his postulate of rapid Western decline, the contemporary Spenglerian need only say to these critics: Look about you. Oliver, Revilo P. "The Shadow of Empire: Francis Parker Yockey After Twenty Years," American Mercury (Houston), June 1966. Dark Ages. His mother's side of the family was quite artistically bent. Nevertheless he kept at his work, often writing by candle-light, and in 1917 was ready to publish. Spengler introduces his book as a " Copernican overturning " involving the rejection of the Eurocentric view of history, especially the division of history into the linear " ancient - medieval - modern " rubric. Oswald Spengler as a man of the ‘Right’ is anathema to the whole genre of the Left, as well as the Liberalism of the 19 th century ‘Whig’ variety, if for no other reason (although there are a multitude) than that his organic, cyclical interpretation of history rejects the positivist, progressive-lineal history that continues to be the dominant outlook among academia. Even though it has been virtually forgotten in modern times, its bold predictions for the Western world have withstood the test of time and even been strengthened by its passage. A) José Ortega y Gasset. In a later essay, Pessimism? Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views. 17, No. Each Culture's symbol-soul expresses itself especially in its art, and each Culture has an art form that is most representative of its own symbol. No one man could possibly have an equally comprehensive knowledge of all the Cultures surveyed, hence Spengler's treatment is uneven, and he spends relatively little time on the Mexican, Indian, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Chinese -- concentrating on the Arabian, Classical, and Western, especially these last two. However, he passed a second examination in 1904, and then set to writing the secondary dissertation necessary to qualify as a high school teacher. Beyond a matter-of-fact recognition of the "colored peril" and the superiority of white civilization, Spengler repeated his own "non-materialist" concept of race (which he had already expressed in Decline): Certain men -- of whatever ancestry -- have "race" (a kind of will-to-power), and these are the makers of history. Yockey, Francis Parker. He regarded the National Socialists as immature, fascinated with marching bands and patriotic slogans, playing with the bauble of power but not realizing the philosophical significance and new imperatives of the age. Still, he did vote for Hitler against Hindenburg in the 1932 election. The "civilization" phase witnesses drastic social upheavals, mass movements of peoples, continual wars and constant crises. He tried his hand at some youthful artistic creations of his own, a few of which have survived -- they are indicative of a tremendous enthusiasm but not much else. In barest outline these are the essential components of Spengler's theory of historical Culture-cycles. Spengler contended that because most civilizations must pass through a life cycle, not only can the historian reconstruct the past but he can predict “the spiritual forms, duration, rhythm, meaning and product of the still unaccomplished stages of our Western history.” When he was ten the family moved to the university city of Halle. … Of Hitler he supposed to have said that what Germany needed was a hero, not a heroic tenor. Hence a "morphology" of history. Durham: Moore, 1977 [New York: P. Lang, 1989] asked Apr 22, 2017 in History by SweetBlue. This is accomplished by using a simple cyclical model of the development of civilizations. The cyclical movements of history are not those of mere nations, states, races, or events, but of High Cultures. The "prime symbol" affects everything in the Culture, manifesting itself in art, science, technics and politics. He did occasionally give lectures, and wrote some essays, only a few of which have survived. This data will be updated every 24 hours. "peerReview": true, Too often the real meaning of things is obscured by a mask of scientific-mechanistic "facts." From these come the subhuman "fellaheen" -- fitting participants in the dying-out of a culture. His university education was financed in large part by a legacy from a deceased aunt. The book's message was considered too "visionary" and eccentric -- it cut across too many party lines. In this session we have discussed about cyclic theory of social change - with reference to Oswald Spengler,Arnold Toynbee and … First, though, a proper understanding requires a recognition of Spengler's special approach to history. Also, though every culture has its unique Soul and is in essence a special and separate entity, the development of the life cycle is paralleled in all of them: For each phase of the cycle in a given Culture, and for all great events affecting its course, there is a counterpart in the history of every other culture. He studied at San Jose State University and the University of Oregon, from where he graduated in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in history. The prime symbol of the Classical culture was the "point-present" concern, that is, the fascination with the nearby, the small, the "space" of immediate and logical visibility: note here Euclidean geometry, the two-dimensional style of Classical painting and relief-sculpture (you will never see a vanishing point in the background, that is, where there is a background at all), and especially: the lack of facial expression of Grecian busts and statues, signifying nothing behind or beyond the outward. A cyclical theory of history that explained how Western civilization had declined was proposed by. Toynbee and the Cyclical Pattern of History Abstract There has been recently a return on the part of some writers to the Greek theory that the course of history follows a cyclical pattern. 2), pp. for this article. There are several historians widely viewed as offering a cyclical theory for the rise and fall of civilizations, including GiambattistaVico (1668-1744); Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527); Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900); and, most notably, Oswald Spengler (1880-1936). Fischer, Klaus P. History and Prophecy: Oswald Spengler and the Decline of the West. This paper is centrally concerned with discussing critically and rethinking the theoretical concepts put forward by Oswald Spengler in Decline of the West and Arnold Toynbee in A Study of History. Thanks to a subsequent increase in the number of civilizations known to Western students of cultural morphology, Oswald Spengler, a German philosopher of history, was able, in the early 20th century, to make a comparative study of civilizations over a much broader spectrum than that of Vico.