Quotes by Oswald Spengler

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Every action alters the soul of the doer. more...

Formerly no one was allowed to think freely; now it is permitted, but no one is capable of it any more. Now people want to think only what they are supposed to think, and this they consider freedom. more...

We have not chosen this time. We cannot help it if we are born as men of the early winter of full Civilization, instead of on the golden summit of a ripe Culture, in a Phidias or a Mozart time. Everything depends on our seeing our own position, our destiny, clearly, on our realizing that though we may lie to ourselves about it, we cannot evade it. He who does not acknowledge this in his heart, ceases to be counted among the men of his generation, and remains either a simpleton, a charlatan, or a pedant. more...

We have learned that history is something that takes no notice whatever of our expectations. more...

You are caught in the current of unceasing change. Your life is a ripple in it. Every moment of your conscious life links the infinite past with the infinite future. Take part in both and you will not find the present empty. more...

The common man wants nothing of life but health, longevity, amusement, comfort-"happiness." He who does not despise this should turn his eyes from world history, for it contains nothing of the sort. The best that history has created is great suffering. more...

At last, in the gray dawn of Civilization the fire in the Soul dies down. The dwindling powers rise to one more, half-successful, effort of creation, and produce the Classicism that is common to all dying Cultures. The soul thinks once again, and in Romanticism looks back piteously to its childhood; then finally, weary, reluctant, cold, it loses its desire to be, and, as in Imperial Rome, wishes itself out of the overlong daylight and back in the darkness of protomysticism in the womb of the mother in the grave. more...

Peace is a desire, war is a fact; and history has never paid heed to human desires and ideals. more...

Fortunately, at the last hour, there were always a few soldiers to save Civilization. more...

History is that form which his imagination seeks comprehension of the living existence of the world in relation to his own life, which he thereby invests with a deeper reality. more...

We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man. more...

The mathematic, then, is an art. As such it has its styles and style periods. It is not, as the layman and the philosopher (who is in this matter a layman too) imagine, substantially unalterable, but subject like every art to unnoticed changes form epoch to epoch. The development of the great arts ought never to be treated without an (assuredly not unprofitable) side-glance at contemporary mathematics. more...

Christian theology is the grandmother of Bolshevism. more...

History is direction-but Nature is extension-ergo, everyone gets eaten by a bear. more...

Every Socialist outbreak only blazes new paths for Capitalism. more...

Through money, democracy becomes its own destroyer, after money has destroyed intellect. more...

Philosophy, the love of Wisdom, is at the very bottom defence against the incomprehensible. more...

If you are clever enough to figure out what men want, you are either too wise to marry them or too intimidating for them to marry you. more...

A resolute leader who collects ten thousand adventurers about him can do as he pleases. Were the whole world a single Imperium, it would thereby become merely the maximum conceivable field for the exploits of such conquering heroes. more...

One does not reflect on a point of honor - that is already dishonor. To submit to insult, to forget a humiliation, to quail before an enemy - all these are signs of a life become worthless and superfluous. more...

The press today is an army with carefully organized weapons, the journalists its officers, the readers its soldiers. The reader neither knows nor is supposed to know the purposes for which he is used and the role he is to play. more...

When three liberals get together they form a new party; that is their idea of individualism. They never join a bowling club without introducing as part of the 'agenda' an 'amendment of the statutes. more...

Optimism is cowardice. more...

The question of whether world peace will ever be possible can only be answered by someone familiar with world history. To be familiar with world history means, however, to know human beings as they have been and always will be. There is a vast difference, which most people will never comprehend, between viewing future history as it will be and viewing it as one might like it to be. Peace is a desire, war is a fact; and history has never paid heed to human desires and ideals ... more...

One day the last portrait of Rembrandt and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be - though possibly a colored canvas and a sheet of notes will remain - because the last eye and the last ear accessible to their message will have gone. more...

Long, long ago the country bore the country-town and nourished it with her best blood. Now the giant city sucks the country dry, insatiably and incessantly demanding and devouring fresh streams of men, till it wearies and dies in the midst of an almost uninhabited waste of country. more...

All world-improvers are Socialists. And consequently there are no Classical world-improvers. more...

Man makes history; woman is history. The reproduction of the species is feminine: it runs steadily and quietly through all species, animal or human, through all short-lived cultures. It is primary, unchanging, everlasting, maternal, plantlike, and cultureless. If we look back we find that it is synonymous with life itself. more...

Talk of world peace is heard today only among the white peoples, and not among the much more numerous coloured races. This is a perilous state of affairs. When individual thinkers and idealists talk of peace, as they have done since time immemorial, the effect is negligible. But when whole peoples become pacifistic it is a symptom of senility. Strong and unspent races are not pacifistic. To adopt such a position is to abandon the future, for the pacifist ideal is a terminal condition that is contrary to the basic facts of existence. As long as man continues to evolve, there will be wars... more...

Tension without cosmic pulsation to animate it is the transition to nothingness more...

When the Englishman speaks of national wealth he means the number of millionaires in the country. more...

One cannot learn how to be creative by reading Marx. Either one is creative or one is not. more...

In place of a world, there is a city, a point, in which the whole life of broad regions is collecting while the rest dries up. In place of a type-true people, born of and grown on the soil, there is a new sort of nomad, cohering unstably in fluid masses, the parasitical city dweller, traditionless, utterly matter-of-fact, religionless, clever, unfruitful, deeply contemptuous of the countryman and especially that highest form of countryman, the country gentleman. more...

It is the Late city that first defies the land, contradicts Nature in the lines of its silhouette, denies all Nature. It wants to be something different from and higher than Nature. These high-pitched gables, these Baroque cupolas, spires, and pinnacles, neither are, nor desire to be, related with anything in Nature. And then begins the gigantic megalopolis, the city-as-world, which suffers nothing beside itself and sets about annihilating the country picture. more...

The individual's life is of importance to none besides himself: the point is whether he wishes to escape from history or give his life for it. History recks nothing of human logic more...

When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard 'having children' as a question of pro's and con's, the great turning point has come. more...

Those who talk too much about race no longer have it in them. more...

And the National Socialists believe that they can afford to ignore the world or oppose it, and build their castles-in-the-air without creating a possibly silent, but very palpable reaction from abroad. more...

The last man of the world-city no longer wants to live-he may cling to life as an individual, but as a type, as an aggregate, no, for it is a characteristic of this collective existence that it eliminates the terror of death. more...

We Germans will never produce another Goethe, but we may produce another Caesar. more...

This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us . . . to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves, to act in such a way that some part of us lives on. This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us . . . to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves, to act in such a way that some part of us lives on. more...

Pacifism will remain an ideal, war a fact, and if the White race decides to wage it no longer, the dark ones will, and will become the masters of the world. more...

It doesn't really matter what one writes into a constitution. The important thing is what the collective instinct eventually makes of it. more...

Marxism is the capitalism of the working class. more...

Formerly no one was allowed to think freely; now it is permitted, but no one is capable of it any more. Now people want to think only what they are supposed to want to think, and this they consider freedom. more...

I maintain that today many an inventor, many a diplomat, many a financier is a sounder philosopher than all those who practice the dull craft of experimental psychology. more...

To-day a democrat of the old school would demand, not freedom for the press, but freedom from the press; but mean-time the leaders have changed themselves into parvenus who have to secure their position vis-a-vis the masses. more...

Critical (i.e., separating) methods apply only to the world-as-nature. It would be easier to break up a theme of Beethoven with dissecting knife or acid than to break up the soul by methods of abstract thought . Nature-knowledge and man-knowledge have neither ways nor aims in common. more...

What is truth? For the multitude, that which it continually reads and hears. more...

To-day we live so cowed under the bombardment of this intellectual artillery(the media) that hardly anyone can attain to the inward detachment that is required for a clear view of the monstrous drama. The will-to-power operating under a pure democratic disguise has finished off its masterpiece so well that the object's sense of freedom is actually flattered by the most thorough-going enslavement that has ever existed more...

Pacifism means letting the non-pacifists have control ... Pacifism will remain an ideal, war a fact. If the white races are resolved never to wage war again, the colored will act differently and become rulers of the world. more...

This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us; to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves; to act in such a way that some part of us lives on. more...

Socialism is nothing but the capitalism of the lower classes. more...

There is no proletarian, not even a Communist movement, that has not operated in the interests of money, and for the time being permitted by money - and that without the idealists among its leaders having the slightest suspicion of the fact. more...

If few can stand a long war without deterioration of soul, none can stand a long peace. more...

I maintain that many an inventor, many a diplomat, many a financier is a sounder philosopher than all those who practice the dull craft of experimental psychology. more...


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