Talk:The Decline of the West

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Older comments[edit]

My work on Spengler's book is dreadfully incomplete. I approached his book from an international relations POV, and so my summaries present only that side of his writing. I've given short shrift to his racial ideas, and more detailed comparative cultural studies (art, math, etc). Also, I've skipped over the individual characteristics of each Culture Spengler examines, presenting only bits of the general theory. Finally, my reading was too selective for me to lay down his general schema of stages for rise & decline. If anybody has read this book, or taken a class on it, I would very much appreciate your contributions. (Also: I have tried to keep the capitalization that Spengler uses for his concepts of Culture, Civilization, History, etc; I don't know if it should remain, but it's not accidental on my part). —thames 02:36, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Also: the German wikipedia article (see the interwiki link) has a good overview. Anyone who knows German, or who wants to use machine translation could harvest a lot of useful information to improve this article. —thames 04:30, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Sections of the article could definitely do with work, and as such should get the sect-stub template. But the article as a whole is far too massive and comprehensive to be considered a stub article. Grutness|hello? Grutness.jpg 01:12, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)
This article definitely reads like it was written by "anybody [who] taken a class on it", instead of someone who actually has actually read the book. Its terrible -- just plain terrible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.226.64.200 (talk) 03:26, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Please define these important terms[edit]

"The book includes the idea of the Muslims being Magian, Greeks being Apollonian, and the Westerners being Faustian ..."

  • Magian links to Magus, which provides no definition or explanation of the term in a Spenglerian context.
  • Apollonian links to The Birth of Tragedy, with main article on this topic at Apollonian and Dionysian, neither of which provides more than the barest definition or explanation of the term.
  • Faustian links to the disamb page Faustian, which is probably somewhat confusing unless you already have some idea what Spengler is talking about, and which links to Faust, Goethe's Faust, and Faust Part One -- again, none of which are helpful to the newcomer to Spengler's ideas.

We should define these terms in The Decline of the West, and should probably include quick mentions in the other articles: e.g, "In The Decline of the West, Oswald Spengler used the term "Magian", meaning ...". -- Writtenonsand 18:06, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Writtenonsand, you're a 100% correc that these terms need to be properly defined. I have the book, but I'm in the middle of finals and can't get around to it for a while.—Perceval 01:56, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
completely agree, have added a section on Spenglerian Terms. FeydHuxtable (talk) 19:03, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Some more terms that need clarification badly (from the section "Democracy, media, and money"):

  • Money was linked to the article money but clearly has another meaning in the text than mere currency, so the article on money was misleading. Example quote: "money operates a democratic political system". What is the Spenglerian definition of "money" exactly?
  • Caesar and Caesarism - what is ment by these terms, exactly? What does eg. this mean: "Before such a leader, money collapses"?

How can the existence of "a Caesar" mean that no currency (money) can exist? This makes no sense unless these terms are both defined in a very specific and unconventional way. Further:

  • the market is used in the section "Reception" - is that a synonym for "money" or something altogether different? What market, exactly? That of the marxists, that of the liberalists, or a third version?

Last,

  • Culture seems to be used both in a Spenglerian sense and in a traditional sense interchangeably throughout the article, and it's not easy to know when this or that meaning is intended.

I hope someone with more insight can remedy these issues. clsc (talk) 20:57, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Napoleonism[edit]

I was redirected (jumped) from "Napoleonism" to "The Decline of the West" although the entry has nothing to do with Napoleonism. Napoleonism was a political-social movement in Britain which looked favorably upon the accession of Napoleon's nephew to power in France. It was distinct from Bonapartism which is the term used to denote the actual advocacy of claims to the Imperial throne. Napoleonism was more of a social disposition than political advocacy and was symptomatic of an inclination for a radical and dramatic change in society and politics. I surmise some all-knowing "SuperEditor" resolved upon simplification decided that Spengler would cover any necessary discussion of Napoleonism [Spengler's treatment of Caesarism is only remotely linked to the meaning of Napoleonism]. It remains the most substantial weakness of the Wikipedia model that ignorance clothed in authority is enabled to determine what should be entered in this, the People's Encyclopedia. LAWinans (talk) 04:26, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

For further information on Napoleonism, see "The Napoleonists: A Study in Political Disaffection, 1760-1960" [Oxford 1970] LAWinans (talk) 01:28, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Blood[edit]

I've wrote a long description about how Spengler didn't primarily use the word Blood to refer to race feeling and Im going to edit a line in the article that could be read that way. This is important not just for scholarly accuracy as per comments above, but also as its been understood by serious people in the Financial world they could thwart Spenglers prophecy about their downfall by over promoting diversity and thus diluting any sense of racial identity. While diversity can immigration are good things I hope most can agree that is only true up to a point. For sure most folk who believe in free markets and who argue for open immigration do so as they feel its the right thing to do, or as they feel its in their economic interest as they will benefit from downwards pressure on unskilled labour rates. Yet from my experience of International Bankers I know some do indeed see racial identity as an enemy. You can get an idea of this from this Investment Bank Diversify and conquer report I dont consider that Money will succeed in delaying the downfall of their world view by lobbying for more immigration than is good for social relations - if anything they will achieve the opposite. However they will cause much unnecessary social unrest by doing so. FeydHuxtable (talk) 19:27, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Prediction – worth not deleting?[edit]

I see a lot a value in retaining this section and clearly its attracted some interest since it was introduced. How is it original research? The editor who added the OR didnt explain, Im assuming he or she was referring to the lack of references on each prediction. I plan to later add a reference for each prediction showing where in the book Spengler made them. Essentially the section reports on Spenglers predictions, then references events which justified the predictions. Decline of the West is largely a prophetic book, Spengler said so himself. This aspect of the book surely warrants attention? Now granted this section does involve interpretation, but that is not grounds for deletion. You surely cant write an encyclopaedia without interpretation? —Preceding unsigned comment added by FeydHuxtable (talkcontribs) 20:04, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Prediction issues[edit]

The issue with these predictions is that, though they are often backed up with some reference, you could potentially do the same thing with the predictions of Nostradamus and the entire Apocalypse (or numerous other predictions). You could find interpretations of Hinduism, the Quran and Buddha's teachings that seemingly confirm Quantum mechanics, the expanding universe and cyclic universe. All of this can be backed up with some reference and a little creativity in your writing style. However, the same thing can essentially be done to back up exactly opposite views... In that, I view the Predictions section, at least in its current form, essentially Sophism. I don't say that Spengler was wrong, I don't say he was right, but I do think that while it may be no OR, the author it at least drawing his own, rather creative, conclusions from the facts presented in various hand-picked references. Therefore, the section needs to be updated with references to sources that elaborate the views of experts on this topic. 77.20.56.229 (talk) 12:57, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree absolutely: putting such figures as Hitler, Obama and Putin in the one list is but a most blatant example of this section's inadequacy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kallikanzarid (talkcontribs) 03:04, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I think the above statement takes a narrow and simplistic view of Spengler's work. For example the predictions of Rule of the Rich, Caesarism, Cults of science, The last mathematical thinkers etc., denote very definite historical events. It may be an open question of debate whether these predictions correspond to present day reality, but it is quite apparent that these predictions have an obvious sense and it is not in fact possible to "back up the exactly opposite views". That said I do not approve of the predictions section given the form that it was presented in, as it appeared merely as a rationalization of various cross-section's of current events to fit Spengler's models. Perhaps it would make sense to make a section restating the more strongly formulated statements of Spengler's predictions, without passing comment on whether these are true or false (unless there are specific and credible sources that can be cited). [I don't know if the section containing the summary of the cyclical theory of civilization with the corresponding attributes already qualifies for this.]

Caesarism[edit]

There is a link entitled Caesarism which links here and which might at some point be deserving of its own stub. ADM (talk) 09:40, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Following on from the above points entitled "Caesarism" and "Prediction ...", I have added something on the main page under Spengler's influence on Francis Yockey - looking in particular at World War II (and I). If what I suggest is true, then predicting the future is rendered difficult by the fact that the West has not followed its natural or "normal" course (in the Spenglerian sense). DLMcN (talk) 19:41, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

"Fascist Book"[edit]

"(Considering that I was looking for this book on the list of books about fascism I considered it might be appropriate to add to the list of fascist books (which right now is very short). This book predicts fascism very well. )" I would object to this categorisation. For one, I do not think it actually does predict facism much at all, (at least intentionally), examine the Hour of Decision wherein he further clarifies that facism was not really what he had in mind, for the 20th century at least. If I remember correctly he argued that facism was at most a sort of precursor to the force-man "caesarism" he predicted for the 21st century. Threadnecromancer (talk) 01:40, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Threadnecromancer

It could be argued that "The Hour of Decision" does relate quite strongly to the Fascism of the 1930s, by discussing the nature and possible relevance of that movement - so this book could presumably be included as "one which is about Fascism" (together with many other topics). "The Decline of the West" is of course a preliminary to that later book. --DLMcN (talk) 14:42, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
  • I suppose it depends upon how the "fascist book" category is defined, it appears to be a category dedicated exclusively to books written by fascists on the topic of fascism. So, Roger Eatwell's History of Fascism would not go on the list, but Imperium would (I agree that the list is rather small, and was actually going to add some undeniably fascist books like Imperium to it before discovering that Wikipedia does not in fact have an article on the book). Am I not comprehending what the fascist book category is intended for? Threadnecromancer (talk) 19:40, 20 December 2012 (UTC)Threadnecromancer.
OK then, going with your "...books written by Fascists on the topic of Fascism", there might be a case for arguing that Spengler displayed strong sympathies for (and approval of) the principal developments initiated by Fascism - although he did not actually regard himself as a Fascist as such. In any event, as you know, he paid tribute to Mussolini. So "The Hour of Decision" might qualify, if and when someone writes an article on it for Wikipedia. --DLMcN (talk) 17:12, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

What about Decline's influence on American writers?[edit]

Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, and (more reservedly) Saul Bellow all admired Spengler. And they were all more artistic than intellectual. It's not a big discovery...in the Influences links on some of the above writers Spengler is mentioned. But it could make for an intriguing addition to the legacy section for this article. Spengler has fared better with the imaginative types than with the professional historians. The Decline of the West is essentially an epic world poem and has often been read as such and therefore appealed to poets and novelists, especially American ones. SPOR — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.37.14.196 (talk) 04:46, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

The above was written somewhat hastily. The article on Spengler reports on Decline's influence...but not so much the article on Decline. And what were the communal Beat Poet readings of Decline like? Is there any documentation of them? I'd like to know...it would make for some interesting reading to be certain. SPOR — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.37.14.196 (talk) 04:57, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Link to Spengler's civilization model[edit]

It appears that the link to the page on Spenglers's civilization model (<-- right link here) seems to be directed to an older, highly controversial version (see Talk page), with content that does not meet Wikipedia guidelines. Specifically a section called "The Prolegomenon" is the controversial one, and it seems to have been deleted and reverted multiple times (See Previous revision). I've corrected the link so as to link to a later version of that page, without this section (ie. the link above). clsc (talk) 21:25, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Capitalization of "Culture" and "Civilization"[edit]

Aside from some other cleanups, my recent edit involved the changing of capitalization of "Culture" and "Civilization" in order to comply with the specific meaning Spengler assigned these terms. This was already present in the article, but it was inconsistent and thus could appear confusing. I've made sure each and every instance was capitalized where I believe it was used in the Spenglerian sense, and uncapitalized where I believe it was meant in the more general sense. I didn't do this with the other terms, however tempted I was, since I didn't think it was necessary and I believe that he didn't load those terms up with so much specification. The only case where this didn't apply was in the instances wherein Spengler was quoted, since I felt it was best to leave the capitalization however he had it seeing as he was the one who used the terms so particularly.

If you believe this was unnecessary, or that all the instances should be capitalized or not capitalized, feel free to respond explaining why. Otherwise, I caution anyone and everyone editing (or reading) this article to be wary of the capitalization of these terms, since it appears Spengler meant them in a very specific sense. –Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 12:08, 11 April 2015 (UTC)