In the modern age, the cyclical theory of history has been advanced by Arnold Toynbee (1884-1975) and Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), both of whom based their work on the premise that history is cyclical: civilizations rise and fall, each new one rising to a greater level. The "civilization" phase witnesses drastic social upheavals, mass movements of peoples, continual wars and constant crises. With this arrives the "imperialistic" stage of civilization, in which the Caesars with their bands of followers battle each other for control of the earth. Here no attempt will be made to summarize this story; the subject of the present paper is the latest and, to ourselves, most striking exposition of the general theory, contained in Dr Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West. The Decline of the West (Vol. "peerReview": true, Nevertheless he kept at his work, often writing by candle-light, and in 1917 was ready to publish. Oswald Spengler A well-formatted version based on the Alfred A. Knopf, 1926 (vol. Save. Campbell, David The high-water mark of a High Culture is its phase of fulfillment -- called the "culture" phase. Fennelly, John F. Twilight of the Evening Lands: Oswald Spengler a Half Century Later. Oswald Spengler as a man of the ‘Right’ is anathema to the whole genre of the Left, as well as the Liberalism of the 19 th century ‘Whig’ variety, if for no other reason (although there are a multitude) than that his organic, cyclical interpretation of history rejects the positivist, progressive-lineal history that continues to be the dominant outlook among academia. Beyond a matter-of-fact recognition of the "colored peril" and the superiority of white civilization, Spengler repeated his own "non-materialist" concept of race (which he had already expressed in Decline): Certain men -- of whatever ancestry -- have "race" (a kind of will-to-power), and these are the makers of history. Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 1927, Hostname: page-component-546c57c664-sf4z9 In fact, its present stage in the organic development-process can be pinpointed. 2, "Perspectives of World History"). "metrics": true, "Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler was a German historian and philosopher of history whose interests included mathematics, science, and art and their relation to his cyclical theory of history. He did occasionally give lectures, and wrote some essays, only a few of which have survived. The young Oswald never enjoyed the best of health, and suffered from migraine headaches that were to plague him all his life. He taught mathematics, physical sciences, history, and German literature, and by all accounts was a good and conscientious instructor. His first post was at a school in Saarbrücken. Spengler: ‘The Destiny of Civilisations’ Oswald Spengler, a German school teacher, in his book “the Decline of the West” – 1978, pointed out that the fate of civilizations was a matter of “destiny”. Age of Faith. Untergang des Abendlandes, 1918. "isLogged": "0", ©2013-2021 INSTITUTE FOR HISTORICAL REVIEW. The great masses are uncomprehending and uncaring; the megalopoli slowly depopulate, and the masses gradually "return to the land," to busy themselves there with the same soil-tasks as their ancestors centuries before. His mother's side of the family was quite artistically bent. The years 1920-23 saw Spengler retreat into a preoccupation with the revision of the first volume of Decline, and the completion of the second. It predicts a time when the Colored peoples of the earth will use the very technology of the West to destroy the West. Dark Ages. But the true bearers of the culture -- the men whose souls are still one with the culture-soul -- are disgusted and repelled by the Money-power and its fellaheen, and act to break it, as they are compelled to do so -- and as the mass culture-soul compels finally the end of the dictatorship of money. This data will be updated every 24 hours. A cyclical theory of history that explained how Western civilization had declined was proposed by. Oswald Spengler was born in 1880 in Blankenburg at the foot of the Harz mountains, the eldest of four children, and the only boy. With the civilization phase comes the rule of Money and its twin tools, Democracy and the Press. I quote from the admirable English translation, Allen and Unwin, 1926. "comments": true, C) Sigmund Freud. Every Culture's life-span can be seen to last about a thousand years: The Classical existed from 900 BC to 100 AD; the Arabian (Hebraic-semitic Christian-Islamic) from 100 BC to 900 AD; the Western from 1000 AD to 2000 AD. It is possible from the vantage point of the twentieth century to glean from the past the meaning of cyclic history, and thus to predict the decline and fall of the West. The turmoil of events goes on above their heads. Spengler's cyclic interpretation of history stated that a civilization was an organism having a definite and fixed life-span and moving from infancy to senescence and death by an internal necessity comparable to the biological necessity that decrees the development of the human organism from infantile imbecility to senile decrepitude. These Cultures are in reality super life-forms, that is, they are organic in nature, and like all organisms must pass through the phases of birth-life-death. As an exponent of the cyclical theory, according to which human history is essentially a repetition of a certain basic pattern of events, Spengler's main efforts were directed towards exhibiting this pattern in eight major self-contained "cultures": the Egyptian, the Babylonian, the Indian, the Chinese, the Classical, the Arabian or Magian, the Mexican, and the Western or Faustian. (1922), he wrote that the men of the West must still be men, and do all they could to realize the immense possibilities still open to them. This "Prussian" socialism he sharply contrasted both to the capitalistic ethic of England and the "socialism" of Marx (! Categories: In this session we have discussed about cyclic theory of social change - with reference to Oswald Spengler,Arnold Toynbee and … His views about the National Socialists and the direction Germany should properly be taking surfaced in late 1933, in his book The Hour of Decision [translation of Die Jahre der Entscheidung]. In a later essay, Pessimism? 10 Philosophical Quotes from Oswald Spengler The Decline of the West is one of the most important works of the 20th century, and perhaps of all time. From The Journal of Historical Review, March-April 1998 (Vol. Classical social cycle theories include the idea that civilizations have “life cycles,” as was proposed by Nikolai Danilewski and Oswald Spengler. 2), pp. Above all, they must embrace the one absolute imperative: The destruction of Money and democracy, especially in the field of politics, that grand and all-encompassing field of endeavor. In Western culture, after architecture in the Gothic era, the great representative form was music -- actually the pluperfect expression of the Faustian soul, transcending as it does the limits of sight for the "limitless" world of sound. Here Spengler received a classical Gymnasium education, studying Greek, Latin, mathematics and natural sciences. Originally to be titled Conservative and Liberal, it was planned as an exposition and explanation of the current trends in Europe -- an accelerating arms race, Entente "encirclement" of Germany, a succession of international crises, increasing polarity of the nations -- and where they were leading. In the Classical, they were sculpture and drama. Of Hitler he supposed to have said that what Germany needed was a hero, not a heroic tenor. His planned work kept increasing in scope far, far beyond the original bounds. He himself called it the "physiogmatic" approach -- looking things directly in the face or heart, intuitively, rather than strictly scientifically. Spengler introduces his book as a " Copernican overturning " involving the rejection of the Eurocentric view of history, especially the division of history into the linear " ancient - medieval - modern " rubric. He suffered imperfect health, and was a lifelong sufferer of migraine h… Hence a "morphology" of history. Oswald Spengler, shortly after predicting that in a decade there would no longer be a German Reich, died of a heart attack on May 8, 1936, in his Munich apartment. He began the writing of a book of observations on contemporary politics whose idea had preoccupied him for some time. Dr MALVIKA KANDPAL. His main task as he saw it, however, was a grand and all-encompassing work on his metaphysics -- of which Decline had only given hints. Their ideas may be briefed here. He was certain that he lived in the twilight period of his Culture -- which, despite his foreboding and gloomy pronouncements, he loved and cared for deeply to the very end. Oswald Spengler was born in Blankenburg (Harz) in central Germany in 1880, the eldest of four children, and the only boy. "relatedCommentaries": true, However in late 1911 he was suddenly struck by the notion that the events of the day could only be interpreted in "global" and "total-cultural" terms. ), whose theories amounted to "capitalism for the proletariat.". Each Culture's symbol-soul expresses itself especially in its art, and each Culture has an art form that is most representative of its own symbol. It was approved, and Spengler received his teaching certificate. It is possible from the vantage point of the twentieth century to glean from the past the meaning of cyclic history, and thus to predict the decline and fall of the West. Would you like to get the full Thesis from Shodh ganga along with citation details? His childhood home was emotionally reserved, and the young Spengler turned to books and the great cultural personalities for succor. The "prime symbol" affects everything in the Culture, manifesting itself in art, science, technics and politics. Also, though every culture has its unique Soul and is in essence a special and separate entity, the development of the life cycle is paralleled in all of them: For each phase of the cycle in a given Culture, and for all great events affecting its course, there is a counterpart in the history of every other culture. Spengler, Oswald. The Egyptian symbol, for example, was the "Way" or "Path," which can be seen in the ancient Egyptians' preoccupation -- in religion, art, and architecture (the pyramids) -- with the sequential passages of the soul. (Spengler and Toynbee’s Cyclical theory of Social change) December 21, 2019 November 9, 2019 by Rajendra Singh. His father, originally a mining technician, who came from a long line of mineworkers, was a post office bureaucrat. However, he never joined the National Socialist party, despite the repeated entreaties of such NS luminaries as Gregor Strasser and Ernst Hanfstängl. He died in Portland, Oregon, on December 19, 1992. Spengler, Oswald. It did so in short order, partly owing to its felicitous timing, and partly to the brilliance (though not unflawed) with which Spengler presented it. 2. Germanophile though he certainly was, nevertheless he viewed the National Socialists as too narrowly German in character, and not sufficiently European. Query parameters: { The most valuable portion of the work, as even his critics acknowledge, is his comparative delineation of the parallel developments of the Classical and Western cultures. "hasAccess": "0", Professional historians, however, took great umbrage at this pretentious work by an amateur (Spengler was not a trained historian), and their criticisms -- particularly of numerous errors of fact and the unique and unapologetic "non-scientific" approach of the author -- filled many pages. He encountered great difficulty in finding a publisher, partly because of the nature of the work, partly because of the chaotic conditions prevailing at the time. Oswald Spengler. A) José Ortega y Gasset. Cyclical theories of social change: Spengler and Toynbee. Hughes, H. Stuart. 3. The coming of the Caesars (of which Napoleon was only a foreshadowing) was perhaps only decades away. He studied at San Jose State University and the University of Oregon, from where he graduated in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in history. This is basically a tragic symbol, for it reaches for what even the reacher knows is unreachable. At this time also he came under the influence of Goethe and Nietzsche, two figures whose importance to Spengler the youth and the man cannot be overestimated. But the effort came to naught. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1932. "metricsAbstractViews": false, The "linear" view of history must be rejected, in favor of the cyclical. The beginning of decline and decay in a Culture is the transition point between its "culture" phase and the "civilization" phase that inevitably follows. Also eyebrow-raising is a chapter (the very first, in fact, after the Introduction) on "The Meaning of Numbers," in which he asserted that even mathematics -- supposedly the one certain "universal" field of knowledge -- has a different meaning in different cultures: numbers are relative to the people who use them. Since Plato announced that the course of history returned upon itself in 72,000 years, since Polybius discerned a “circular movement” by which the history of states came back, over and over again, to the same point, the theory of historical cycles has been a commonplace of European thought. All this takes place along with the growth of the great "megalopolis" -- huge urban and suburban centers that sap the surrounding countrysides of their vitality, intellect, strength, and soul. Thus the civilization phase concludes with the Age of Caesarism, in which great power come into the hands of great men, helped in this by the chaos of late Money-rule. His work on the subject was only fragmentary, but 30 years after his death a compilation was published under the title Early Period of World History. First, though, a proper understanding requires a recognition of Spengler's special approach to history. Heretofore history, especially Western history, had been viewed as a "linear" progression from lower to higher, like rungs on a ladder -- an unlimited evolution upward. According to Spengler, the meaningful units for history are … Prussianism and Socialism did not meet with a favorable reaction from the critics or the public -- eager though the public had been, at first, to learn his views. (In fact, it is the work's very simplicity that was too much for his professional critics.) E) Mussolini. Render date: 2021-01-01T15:46:56.204Z Total loading time: 0.341 After his father's death in 1901, Spengler at 21 entered the University of Munich. His doctoral dissertation at Halle was on Heraclitus, the "dark philosopher" of ancient Greece whose most memorable line was "War is the Father of all things." Cyclic Theory- Of Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee And Sorokin (in hindi) Lesson 10 of 17 • 9 upvotes • 13:29 mins. He regarded the National Socialists as immature, fascinated with marching bands and patriotic slogans, playing with the bauble of power but not realizing the philosophical significance and new imperatives of the age. He began it by stating that no one could have looked forward to the National Socialist revolution with greater longing than he. In a few sentences it might be summed up: Human history is the cyclical record of the rise and fall of unrelated High Cultures. Spengler, Oswald. Familiar to the thinkers of the Renaissance, it was modified by Vico in the early eighteenth century and again by Hegel in the early nineteenth; and a complete history of the idea would show many curious transformations and cover a long period of time. There is much in Spengler's thinking that permits one to characterize him as a kind of "proto-Nazi": his call for a return to Authority, his hatred of "decadent" democracy, his exaltation of the spirit of "Prussianism," his idea of war as essential to life. Nineteen-nineteen was "Spengler's year," and his name was on many tongues. He thereafter remained satisfied with the work, and all his later writings and pronouncements are only enlargements upon the theme he laid out Decline. This is accomplished by using a simple cyclical model of the development of civilizations. Spengler, Toynbee and Sorokin can be regarded as the Champions of this theory. Finally, but after it had already achieved a wide circulation, the authorities prohibited the book's further distribution. He tried his hand at some youthful artistic creations of his own, a few of which have survived -- they are indicative of a tremendous enthusiasm but not much else. Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. Keith Stimely was born on April 9, 1957, in Connecticut, but grew up and was educated on the West coast. B) Oswald Spengler. Thanks to a subsequent increase in the number of civilizations known to Western students of cultural morphology, Oswald Spengler, a German philosopher of history, was able, in the early 20th century, to make a comparative study of civilizations over a much broader spectrum than that of Vico. Key Points. 1, "Form and Actuality"; Vol. Scorning the type of "learnedness" that demanded only cautionary and judicious statements -- every one backed by a footnote -- Spengler gave freewheeling vent to his opinions and judgments. Christopher Carleton, W. Noontide Press, 1962. He went to his death convinced that he had been right, and that events were unfolding in fulfillment of what he had written in The Decline of the West. "subject": true, Arnold Toynbee also created his own model by increasing the cycle year in Spengler’s model. A title for Medieval Western Europe since it was an age darkened by war and illiteracy. Toynbee and the Cyclical Pattern of History Abstract There has been recently a return on the part of some writers to the Greek theory that the course of history follows a cyclical pattern. All previous cultures have passed through these distinct stages, and Western culture can be no exception. 1. Selected Essays. Even though it has been virtually forgotten in modern times, its bold predictions for the Western world have withstood the test of time and even been strengthened by its passage. He compiled the 1981 Revisionist Bibliography (no longer in print), and was a gifted artist and pianist. It offered a rational explanation for the great European disaster, explaining it as part of an inevitable world-historic process. Feature Flags: { Definition of Spenglerian : of or relating to the theory of world history developed by Oswald Spengler which holds that all major cultures undergo similar cyclical developments from birth to maturity to decay Other Words from Spenglerian The Saecul… Many passages are in the style of a polemic, from which no disagreement can be brooked. to understand his theory. In 1922 Spengler issued a revised edition of the first volume containing minor corrections and revisions, and the year after saw the appearance of the second volume, subtitled Perspectives of World History. Feature Flags last update: Fri Jan 01 2021 15:17:19 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Close this message to accept cookies or find out how to manage your cookie settings. Anyway, with regard to the validity of his postulate of rapid Western decline, the contemporary Spenglerian need only say to these critics: Look about you. Each civilisation is like a biological organism and has a similar life-cycle; birth, maturity, old age and death. Spengler, Oswald. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West (Der Untergang des Abendlandes) (footnote 1), published in 1918 and 1922, covering all of world history. No one man could possibly have an equally comprehensive knowledge of all the Cultures surveyed, hence Spengler's treatment is uneven, and he spends relatively little time on the Mexican, Indian, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Chinese -- concentrating on the Arabian, Classical, and Western, especially these last two. In the course of the work, though, he expressed (sometimes in veiled form) his reservations about the new regime. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962 He held that civilizations, like biological organisms, pass through a determinable life cycle and that the modern West was approaching the end of such a cycle. In Decline he had written that prehistoric man was basically without a history, but he revised that opinion. He joined the IHR Journal's editorial staff in June 1982, and served as its chief editor from February 1983 until February 1985. "languageSwitch": true (This essay was written in December 1978 for a University of Oregon history class.) Its theme was that a tragic misunderstanding of the concepts was at work: Conservatives and socialists, instead of being at loggerheads, should united under the banner of a true socialism. The development of advanced technology is unique to the West, and he predicted where it would lead. To no little surprise on the part of both Spengler and his publisher, the book was an immediate and unprecedented success. But his heart was not really in it, and when in 1911 the opportunity presented itself for him to "go his own way" (his mother had died and left him an inheritance that guaranteed him a measure of financial independence), he took it, and left the teaching profession for good. Still, he did vote for Hitler against Hindenburg in the 1932 election. … A cyclical theory of history was adopted by Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), a German historian who wrote a very influential pessimistic study of the end of progress called The Decline of the West (1920). Oswald Spengler has established a new model for this understanding and has classified this model. } Extract Since Plato announced that the course of history returned upon itself in 72,000 years, since Polybius discerned a “circular movement” by which the history of states came back, over and over again, to the same point, the theory of historical cycles has been a … His interest in revisionist history began in high school, and in 1980 he spoke at the second IHR Conference (Pomona College). Spengler, Oswald. In his corporate state proposals Spengler anticipated the Fascists, although he never was one, and his "socialism" was essentially that of the National Socialists (but without the folkish racialism). When he was ten the family moved to the university city of Halle. "openAccess": "0", However, this span is the ideal, in the sense that a man's ideal life-span is 70 years, though he may never reach that age, or may live well beyond it. His early appraisal of a corporation for which the State would have directional control but not ownership of or direct responsibility for the various private segments of the economy sounded much like Werner Sombart's later favorable review of National Socialist economics in his A New Social Philosophy [Princeton Univ. Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler was a German historian and philosopher of history whose interests included mathematics, science, and art and their relation to his cyclical theory of history. for this article. Money rules over the chaos, and only Money profits by it. Spengler had tied up most of his money in foreign investments, but the war had largely invalidated them, and he was forced to live out the war years in conditions of genuine poverty. Durham: Moore, 1977 [New York: P. 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