A Critical Phase Shift

The significance of The Decline of The West,¬†extends way beyond surface level.¬†Oswald Spengler, a german historian and philosopher, whose ideals in the early twentieth century surrounded civilizations and paradigm shifts between them. The Decline of the West is a book that describes the miraculous changes of world history, and the changes that might be faced with civilizations within the coming years. Through a historical/historicists lens, Spengler uses his knowledge of history to show the causes and effects of the worlds phases; using a very informative tone to present his point in the segment from the book. Through his language, he seems to target the general reader, to inform them of what is to come. The reader could have sympathized with it or revolted against Spengler’s opinion. The intent and message of this piece however goes along different lines. Spengler writes in this piece specifically the end of eras where money and intellectuals reign. He spoke about blood and instinct and how it will assist with the victory of the Caesars, as civilization shifted from Napoleonism to Caesarism. The people will obey the strong, and uniformity will lead a better world suited for the conditions present at the time.

Discussion for the Audience:

-It is interesting to see how Spengler writes to say – “Life will descend to a level of general uniformity, a new kind of primitivism, and the world will be better for it…” instead of saying how the changes that are present now will make the world a better place. The world will have to conform to the conditions not the other way around.

What do you think?

4 thoughts on “A Critical Phase Shift

  1. I just wanted to further comment on the tone of the piece, which I found to be very informative like you said, but also at times dark. He stated, “The era of individualism, liberalism and democracy, of humanitarianism and freedom, is nearing its end. The masses will accept with resignation the victory of the Caesars, the strong men, and will obey them.” This strong take on the subordination of civilization was fascinating to me.

  2. I think Decline of the West was very impactful. It puts all cards on the table and indicates that the Western nations are being thrown into a dark future where civilization may be crumbling due to the lack of democracy and individualism. This is quite the case during the 30’s and 40’s with the atrocious second world war where some nations were completely devastated and some where controlled by dictators or corrupt leaders.

  3. I also believe the tone to be very dark and impactful and his harsh conclusion regarding the descent of life particularly stood out to me. It almost seemed as if he was warning the people of what was to come, and to be prepared. It is interesting to read this piece now however, because in many ways, he was right to have such a foreboding tone. The years following the publication of this document were very tumultuous as it is the build up for WWII.

  4. The tone did seem dark, although I don’t think it was due to Spengler’s prediction of the end of Westernism. He ends the piece stating the world will be better off without Western ideals, such as individualism and democracy. Oswald is writing in 1922, while the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919. Oswald saw the Western ideals as the root cause of the destruction caused by WWI, and due to the destructive nature of the Western system, he saw it’s demise as inevitable.

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