Oswald Spengler. The Decline of the West. An abridged edition by Helmut Werner. English abridged edition prepared by Arthur Helps from the translation by Charles Francis Atkinson. New York: oxford University Press c199 [1926, 1928, 1932]. xxxx,415, xvix


WESTERN mankind, without exception, is under the influence of an immense optical illusion. Everyone demands something of the rest. We say "thou shalt" in the conviction that so-and-so in fact will, can and must be changed or fashioned or arranged conformably to the order, and our belief both in the efficacy of, and in our title to give, such orders is unshakable. That, and nothing short of it, is<,/i> for us, morale. In the ethics of the West everything is direction, claim to power, will to affect the distant. here Luther is completely at one with Nietzsche, Popes with Darwinians, Socialists with jesuits; for one and all, the beginning of morale is a claim to general and permanent validity...


The moral imperative as the form of morale is Faustian and only Faustian. It is quite wrong to associate Christianity with the moral imperative. It was not Christianity that transformed Faustian man, but Faustian man who transformed Christianity--and he not only made it a new religious but also gave it a new moral direction. The "it" became "I," the passion- charged centre of the world, the foundation of the great Sacrament of personal contrition. Will-to-power even in ethics, the passionate striving to set up a proper morale as a universal truth, and to enforce it upon humanity, to reinterpret or overcome or destroy everything otherwise constituted--nothing is more characteristically our own than this is. And in virtue of it the Gothic springtime proceeded to a profound--and never yet appreciated--inward transformation of the morale of Jesus. A quite spiritual morale welling from Magian [he uses this term for culture of the Near-East] feeling--a morale or conduct recommended as potent for salvation, a morale the knowledge of which was communicated as a special act of grace-- was recast as a morale of imperative command....


Every Classical ethic that we know or can conceive of constitutes man an individual static entity, a body among bodies, and all Western valuations relate to him as a centre of effect in an infinite generality...

Sections from Spengler, The Decline of the West:
Introduction: Civilization
Introduction: Imperialism
Architecture and Divinities
Imitation and Ornament
The History of Style as an Organism
Arts as Symbol of the Higher Order
Popular and Esoteric
Will to Power
Morale of Dawning Civilizations
The History of Style as an Organism
Pergamum and Bayreuth: the End of Art
Classical Behaviour Drama and Faustian Character Drama
Every Culture Possesses its own Ethic
Every Science is Dependent upon Religion
Origin and Landscape: the Group of the Higher Cultures
Second Religiousness
The State

Links and Abbreviations (links are abbreviated by using the initials)
Home Questions History/Music Prophetic Arts World Now Broadening Interdependence
Roberts Spengler Modernity Art History Music History Music Timeline Arts Timeline