Spenglerian terms

Oswald Spengler (1880 – 1936) was a German philosopher of history. He said that a civilisation was the end-state of culture, and wouldn’t last. He characterized Western civilization as Faustian:

From Wikipedia:

According to Spengler, the Western world is ending and we are witnessing the last last season—”winter time”—of the Faustian Civilization. In Spengler’s depiction, Western Man is a proud but tragic figure because, while he strives and creates, he secretly knows the actual goal will never be reached.

Pasted from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West>

Spengler outlines different civilisations, with the Western one being Faustian. Both Faust and Western civilization are influenced by Magian and Apollonian civilizations – the latter especially so in the eighteenth century time of Goethe and his Faust, since the rediscovery of Greek literature which helped lead Europe from the Church to a secular, humanist society.

Spengler invests certain terms with unusual meanings not commonly encountered in everyday discourse.

Apollonian / Magian / Faustian These are Spengler’s terms for Classical, Arabian and Western civilisations respectively.

Apollonian Civilisation is focused around Ancient Greece and Rome. Spengler saw its world view as being characterised by appreciation for the beauty of the human body, and a preference for the local and the present moment.

Magian Civilisation includes the Jews from about 400BC, early Christians and various Arabian religions up to and including Islam. Its world feeling revolved around the concept of world as cavern, epitomised by the domed Mosque, and a preoccupation with essence. Spengler saw the development of this civilisation as being distorted by too influential presence of older cultures, the initial vigorous expansionary impulses of Islam being in part a reaction against this.

Faustian Civilisation began in Western Europe around the 10th century and according to Spengler such has been its expansionary power that by the 20th century it was covering the entire earth, with only a few Regions where Islam provides an alternative world view. The world feeling of Faustian civilisation is inspired by the concept of infinitely wide and profound space, the yearning towards distance and infinity.

Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West>

From The Decline of the West, Spengler on Goethe:

“Plato and Goethe stand for the philosophy of Becoming, Aristotle and Kant the philosophy of Being… Goethe’s notes and verse… must be regarded as the expression of a perfectly definite metaphysical doctrine. I would not have a single word changed of this: “The Godhead is effective in the living and not in the dead, in the becoming and the changing, not in the become and the set-fast; and therefore, similarly, the reason is concerned only to strive towards the divine through the becoming and the living, and the understanding only to make use of the become and the set-fast.(Letter to Eckermann)” This sentence comprises my entire philosophy.”

Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West>

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