Spengler Oswald - The decline of the west

Author : Spengler Oswald
Title : The decline of the west Form and Actuality
Year : 1926

Link download : Spengler_Oswald_-_The_decline_of_the_west.zip

Wenn im Unendlichen dasselbe Sich wiederholend ewig ftiesst, Das tausendfaltige Gewolhe Sich kraftig ineinander schliesst; Stromt Lehenslust aus allen Dingen, Dem kJeinsten wie dem grossten Stem, Und alles Drangen, alles Ringen Ist ewige Ruh in Gott dem Herm. - GOETHE. PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION. AT the close of a.n undertaking which, from the first brief sketch to the final shaping of a complete work of quite unforeseen dimensions, has spread itself over ten years, it will not be out of place to glance back at what I intended and what I have achieved, my standpoint then and my standpoint to-day. In the Introduction to the 1918 edition - inwardly and outwardly a fragment I stated my conviction that an idea had now been irrefutably formulated which no one would oppose, once the idea had been put into words. I ought to have said: once that idea had been understood. And for that we must look - as I more and more realize - not only in this instance but in the whole history of thought - to the new generation that is hom with the ability to do it. I added that this must be considered as a first attempt, loaded with all the customary faults, incomplete and not without inward opposition. The remark was not taken anything like as seriously as it was intended. Those who have looked searchingly into the hypotheses of living thought will know that it is not given to us to gain insight into the fundamental principles of existence without conflicting emotions. A thinker is a person whose part it is to symbolize time according to his vision and understanding. He has no choice; he thinks as he has to think. Truth in the long run is to him the picture of the world which was born at his birth. It is that which he does not invent but rather discovers within himself. It is himself over again: his being expressed in words; the meaning of his personality formed into a doctrine which so far as concerns his life is unalterable, because truth and his life are identical. This symbolism is the one essential, the vessel and the expression of human history. The learned philosophical works that arise out of it are superfluous and only serve to swell the bulk of a professional literature. I can then call the essence of what I have discovered .. true II - that is, true for me, and as I believe, true for the leading minds of the coming time; not true in itself as dissociated from the conditions imposed by blood and by history, for that is impossible. But what I wrote in the storm and stress of those years was, it must be admitted, a very imperfect statement of what stood clearly before me, and it remained to devote the years that followed to the task of correlating facts and finding means of expression which should enable me to present my idea in the most forcible form. To perfect that form would be impossible - life itself is only fulfilled in death. But I have once more made the attempt to bring up even the earliest portions of the work to the level of definiteness with which I now feel able to speak; and with that I take leave of this book with its hopes and disappointments, its merits and its faults. The result has in the meantime justified itself as far as I myself am concerned and - judging by the effect that it is slowly beginning to exercise upon extensive fields of learning - as far as others are concerned also. Let no one expect to find everything set forth here. It is hilt one side of what I see before me, a new outlook on history and the philosophy of destiny - the first indeed of its kind. It is intuitive and depictive through and through, written in a language which seeks to present objects and relations illustratively instead of offering an army of ranked concepts. It addresses itself solely to readers who are capable of living themselves into the word-sounds and. pictures as they read. Difficult this undoubtedly is, particularly as our awe in face of mystery - the respect that Goethe felt - denies us the satisfaction of thinking that dissections are the same as penetrations. Of course, the cry of "pessimism" was raised at once by those who live eternally in yesterday (Ewiggestrigen) and greet every idea that is intended for the pathfinder of to-morrow only. But I have not written for people who imagine that delving for the springs of action is the same as action itself; those who make definitions do not know destiny. By understanding the world I mean being equal to the world. It is the hard reality of living that is the essential, not the concept of life, that the ostrichphilosophy of idealism propounds. Those who refuse to be bluffed byenunciations will not regard this as pessimism; and the rest do not matter. For the benefit of serious readers who are seeking a glimpse at life and not a definition, I have - in view of the far too great concentration of the text - mentioned in my notes a number of works which will carry that glance into more distant realms of knowledge. And now, finally, I feel urged to name once more those to whom lowe practically everything: Goethe and Nietzsche. Goethe gave me method, Nietzsche the questioning faculty - and if I were asked to find a formula for my relation to the latter I should say that I had made of his •• outlook" (AushUck) an .. overlook" (UberhUck). But Goethe was, without knowing it, a disciple of Leibniz in his whole mode of thought. And, therefore, that which has at last (and to my own astonishment) taken shape in my hands I am able to regard and, despite the misery and disgust of these years, proud to call a German philosophy. Blankenburg am Harz, December, I922. OSWALD SPENGLER. ...

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