Oswald Spengler citations

Oswald Spengler foto
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Oswald Spengler

Date de naissance: 29. mai 1880
Date de décès: 8. mai 1936


Oswald Spengler, né à Blankenburg dans le Harz le 29 mai 1880 et mort le 8 mai 1936 à Munich, est un philosophe allemand. Après des débuts comme professeur de lycée à Hambourg, il se consacra exclusivement à son travail d'essayiste. Son œuvre majeure, Le Déclin de l'Occident, rédigée avant la Première Guerre mondiale mais dont la première partie ne fut publiée qu'en 1918, lui valut une célébrité mondiale. En Allemagne, il devint l'un des auteurs phares de la « révolution conservatrice » qui s'opposa à la République de Weimar.

Citations Oswald Spengler

„The press today is an army with carefully organized weapons, the journalists its officers, the readers its soldiers. The reader neither knows nor is supposed to know the purposes for which he is used and the role he is to play.“

— Oswald Spengler
Context: The press to-day is an army with carefully organized arms and branches, with journalists as officers, and readers as soldiers. But here, as in every army, the soldier obeys blindly, and war-aims and operation-plans change without his knowledge. The reader neither knows, nor is allowed to know, the purposes for which he is used, nor even the role that he is to play. 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.


„What is truth? For the multitude, that which it continually reads and hears.“

— Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Vol 2: Perspectives of World History


„p>To the new International that is now in the irreversible process of preparation we can contribute the ideas of worldwide organization and the world state; the English can suggest the idea of worldwide exploitation and trusts; the French can offer nothing....
Thus we find two great economic principles opposed to each other in the modern world. The Viking has become a free-tradesman; the Teutonic knight is now an administrative official. There can be no reconciliation. Each of these principles is proclaimed by a German people, Faustian men par excellence. Neither can accept a restriction of its will, and neither can be satisfied until the whole world has succumbed to its particular idea. This being the case, war will be waged until one side gains final victory. Is world economy to be worldwide exploitation, or worldwide organization? Are the Caesars of the coming empire to be billionaires or universal administrators? Shall the population of the earth, so long as this empire of Faustian civilization holds together, be subjected to cartels and trusts, or to men such as those envisioned in the closing pages of Goethe’s Faust, Part II? Truly, the destiny of the world is at stake....
This brings us to the political aspects of the English-Prussian antithesis. Politics is the highest and most powerful dimension of all historical existence. World history is the history of states; the history of states is the history of wars. Ideas, when they press for decisions, assume the form of political units: countries, peoples, or parties. They must be fought over not with words but with weapons. Economic warfare becomes military warfare between countries or within countries. Religious associations such as Jewry and Islam, Huguenots and Mormons, constitute themselves as countries when it becomes a matter of their continued existence or their success. Everything that proceeds from the innermost soul to become flesh or fleshly creation demands a sacrifice of flesh in return. Ideas that have become blood demand blood. War is the eternal pattern of higher human existence, and countries exist for war’s sake; they are signs of readiness for war. And even if a tired and blood-drained humanity desired to do away with war, like the citizens of the Classical world during its final centuries, like the Indians and Chinese of today, it would merely exchange its role of war-wager for that of the object about and with which others would wage war. Even if a Faustian universal harmony could be attained, masterful types on the order of late Roman, late Chinese, or late Egyptian Caesars would battle each other for this Empire—for the possession of it, if its final form were capitalistic; or for the highest rank in it, if it should become socialistic.“

— Oswald Spengler

„And at that point, too, in Buddhist India as in Babylon, in Rome as in our own cities, a man's choice of the woman who is to be, not mother of his children as amongst peasants and primitives, but his own "companion for life", becomes a problem of mentalities. The Ibsen marriage appears, the "higher spiritual affinity" in which both parties are "free"—free, that is, as intelligences, free from the plantlike urge of the blood to continue itself, and it becomes possible for a Shaw to say "that unless Woman repudiates her womanliness, her duty to her husband, to her children, to society, to the law, and to everyone but herself, she cannot emancipate herself." The primary woman, the peasant woman, is mother. The whole vocation towards which she has yearned from childhood is included in that one word. But now emerges the Ibsen woman, the comrade, the heroine of a whole megalopolitan literature from Northern drama to Parisian novel. Instead of children, she has soul-conflicts; marriage is a craft-art for the achievement of "mutual understanding"....
At this level all Civilizations enter upon a stage, which lasts for centuries, of appalling depopulation. The whole pyramid of cultural man vanishes. It crumbles from the summit, first the world-cities, then the provincial forms, and finally the land itself, whose best blood has incontinently poured into the towns, merely to bolster them up awhile. At the last, only the primitive blood remains, alive, but robbed of its strongest and most promising elements. This residue is the Fellah type.
If anything has demonstrated the fact that Causality has nothing to do with history, it is the familiar "decline" of the Classical, which accomplished itself long before the irruption of Germanic migrants. The Imperium enjoyed the completest peace; it was rich and highly developed; it was well organized; and it possessed in its emperors from Nerva to Marcus Aurelius a series of rulers such as the Caesarism of no other Civilization can show. And yet the population dwindled, quickly and wholesale. The desperate marriage-and-children laws of Augustus—amongst them the Lex de maritandis ordinibus, which dismayed Roman society more than the destruction of Varus's legions—the wholesale adoptions, the incessant plantation of soldiers of barbarian origin to fill the depleted country-side, the immense food-charities of Nerva and Trajan for the children of poor parents—nothing availed to check the process.“

— Oswald Spengler
Vol. II, Alfred A. Knopf, 1928, [https://archive.org/stream/Decline-Of-The-West-Oswald-Spengler/Decline_Of_The_West#page/n573/mode/2up/search/depopulation pp. 104–06]

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