Oswald Spengler was a distinguished German historian and philosopher, whose expertise and skills cover math, science, art and music theory.The main and most important work of Spengler regarded two-volume "Decline of the West", his other works were not popular outside of Germany.
presented below article focuses on the bold and controversial work on the historical and philosophical themes, which is the "Decline of the West."Summary Spengler explained in the preface written by him.However, in a few pages is not possible to accommodate all the complex ideas and terms that are of particular interest to modern history.
Oswald Spengler Spengler
survived the First World War, which greatly influenced his philosophical views and to formulate his theory of the development of cultures and civilizations.The First World War forced to revise and rewrite the second part is the main work, which at that time already completed Spengler - "Decline of the West."Summary of the two-volume book written by him in the preface to the second edition, shows how large-scale military actions and their consequences have influenced the development of the theory of Spengler.
subsequent writings of the philosopher focused on policy, particularly on the nationalist and socialist ideals.
After coming to power in Germany, the National Socialist Party of Hitler's Nazis considered Spengler one of the supporters and promoters of radical ideology.However, the subsequent evolution of the party and militaristic tendencies led Spengler to doubt the future of not only the Nazis, but also in Germany.In 1933, his book "Time of Decisions" (or "Years Resolutions"), criticizing Nazi ideology and theory of racial superiority, has been completely removed from the print.
«Decline of the West»
first independent labor historian and philosopher Oscar Spengler is the most popular, influential and discussed his work.
understanding of the unique culture and identity is one of the main themes of the work, on which he worked for more than five years, Oswald Spengler, - "Decline of the West."Summary of the two-volume book, and the author wrote the introduction to the second edition will deal with difficult to formulate a comprehensive theory of Spengler.The two-volume treatise
affects a variety of topics and offers a completely rethinking how the modern world is perceived by history.According to the basic theory is wrong to perceive the development of the whole world in terms of the history of Europe, sharing the era of the ancient, medieval and new age.Eurocentric scale eras can not properly describe the emergence and formation of many Eastern cultures.
Spengler, "Decline of the West."Summary of chapters.Volume One
Immediately after the publication of the book has surprised the public intellectual in Germany.One of the most innovative and provocative work that offers argumentative critical approach to the theory of the development of crops that are formulated Spengler - "Decline of the West."Summary of the theory, part of the author's preface, is almost entirely focused on the phenomenon of perception of history in terms of morphology, that is, the flow and change.
«Decline of the West" consists of two volumes.The first is called "Form and Reality" (or "Image and Reality") and consists of six chapters, which set out the foundations of the theory of Spengler.The first chapter focuses on math, numbers, and the perception of how the concept of boundaries and infinity affect the perception of history and the development of crops.
«Shape and reality" not only builds the foundation for a critical analysis of the modern study of history, but also offers a new form of perception.According to Spengler, ancient culture and its impact on the scientific world "naturalization" of history.Thanks to the knowledge of the ancient Greek world through laws and regulations, the story has become a science, what Spengler strongly disagree.
philosopher insists that the story should be read "analog", that is to focus not on what has already been created, and what happens is created.That is why math assigned such an important role in the work.Spengler believes that with the advent of the concept of boundaries and infinity man felt the importance of clear dates and structures.
«Decline of the West", a summary of the chapters.Volume Two
- history should be seen morphologically.
- European culture moved from the period of development (culture) in the era of decay (Civilization).
It is this and there are two main points, which puzzled his contemporaries Oswald Spengler."Decline of the West" (introduction, a summary of the work and critical articles on historical subjects referred to above theses "cornerstones" of the theory of Spengler) - a book that turned much in the minds of philosophers.
second volume called "Prospects for world history" (or "views on world history");In it the author explains in detail his theory of the development of different cultures.
According to the theory of the origin and development of cultures, which has made the author, each of which runs its own life cycle similar to human life.Every culture has a childhood, adolescence, maturity and decay.Each of the time of existence seeks to fulfill its destiny.
Spengler identified 8 major crops:
- American average (Mayan and Aztec);
- classic (Greece and Rome);
- culture of the Magi (Arab and Jewish culture);
- European culture.
In "Decline of the West," the first five crops are out of focus of the author, Spengler motivated by the fact that these cultures had no direct confrontation and therefore did not affect the development of European culture, which obviously is the main theme of the work.
Spengler focuses on classical and Arab culture, while drawing parallels with the European culture of individualism, reason and desire for power.
basic ideas and terminology
Difficulty reading the "Decline of the West" is not only that Spengler frequently used terms familiar in a totally different context, but also to create new value that is almost impossible to explain outside the context of the historical-philosophical theory of Spengler.
For example, the philosopher uses the concepts of culture and civilization (in these and some other terms the author always writes with a capital letter) contrast with each other.In theory Spengler are not synonymous, and to some extent antonyms.Culture - is growth, development, finding its purpose and Destiny, while Civilization - a decline, degradation and "Living out the last days."Civilization - is what remains of the cultures that allowed top management to win creative.
Another pair of synonymous-contrasting concepts - a "what happened" and "what is happening".For Spengler's theory of "becoming" is the cornerstone.According to its basic idea, the story should not focus on the numbers, laws and facts that describe what has happened, and morphology, that is what is happening at the moment.
pseudomorphosis - term that defines Spengler underdeveloped or "stay on course" Culture.The most striking example is the pseudomorphosis Russian civilization, independent development was interrupted and changed European culture, which for the first time "imposed" by Peter I. It is this undesirable interference in their culture Spengler explains the dislike of the Russian people to "outsiders";As an example of this dislike of the author cites the burning of Moscow during the advance of Napoleon.
basic premise of the history of Spengler is the lack of absolute and eternal truths.What is important to comprehend and proven in one culture may be utter nonsense to another.This does not mean however that on one side of the crop;Rather, it says that every culture has its own truth.
addition nehronologicheskogo approach to the perception of the world, Spengler has promoted the idea of the global importance of certain crops and the lack of global influence others.That's what the philosopher uses the notion of high culture;it refers to the culture that influenced the development of the world.
Culture and Civilization
Spengler In theory, high culture becomes a separate body and is characterized by maturity and consistency, while the "primitive" characterized by instincts and desire for basic comfort.
Civilization expands without the element of being a de facto "death" of the culture, but the author sees no logical possibility of eternal existence of something, so civilization - is the inevitable withering stops growing cultures.While the main characteristic Culture - establishment and development, Civilization focuses on the well-established and has already created.
other important Spengler prerogatives of the two of these states are mega-city and the province.Culture grows "out of the land" and does not aspire to the crowd, each small town, region or province has its own way of life and pace of development, which ultimately is a unique historical structure.A striking example of this is the growth of Italy in the era of the High Renaissance, where Rome, Florence, Venice and other cultural centers were distinctive.Civilization is characterized by a desire for weight and "sameness".
races and peoples
Both of these terms are used by Spengler contextually, and their values are different from the usual.Race in the "Decline of the West" - is not biologically determined distinctive characteristic of the human species, as a conscious choice of the person for the duration of its culture.Thus, in the stage of formation and growth of human culture itself creates language, art and music, chooses a partner and place of residence, thus defines all that is in the world today is called racial differences.Thus, the cultural concept of race is different from the civilized.
concept of "people" Spengler does not associate with statehood, physical and political boundaries and language.In his philosophical theory of the people it comes from the spiritual unity, combining for a common goal, which does not pursue profit.The decisive factor in the formation of people is not a state and origin, and the inner sense of unity, "the historical moment lived unity."
sense of peace and Destiny
historical structure of every culture includes a mandatory stage - definition of attitude, knowledge of his fate and Goals and the implementation of Doom.According to Spengler, each culture perceives the world differently and committed to its goal.The aim is to carry out their own destiny.
Unlike lots borne by primitive cultures, High themselves determine their way through the development and formation.Destiny European Spengler believes global spread of individualistic morality that hides a desire for power, and eternity.
money and power
According to Spengler, democracy and freedom are closely associated with money, which are the main driving force in free societies and a major civilization.Spengler refuses to call this development a negative term (corruption, degradation, degeneration), because it considers it natural and necessary end of democracy, and often Civilization.
Philosopher argues that more money is available to individuals, the more clearly passes the war for power weapon which is almost everything - politics, information, freedom, rights and duties, the principles of equality and ideology, religion, and even charity.
Despite the low popularity in modern philosophy and history, the main creation Spengler raises questions over some of his arguments.The author uses his considerable knowledge in various fields, to ensure a perfect reasoned support their own ideas.
No matter what you want to read - and an abbreviated version of the edited work "Decline of the West", summary or critical article about her brave and independent approach of the author to change the world's perception of history and culture is not able to leave readers indifferent.