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34

 

title of the book, "The Decline of the West." Spengler's main idea is the same as Leontyev's: the transformation of cultures into civilizations. Each culture has its own life-course and follows the full cycle of the seasons, from Spring birth to Autumn fruitfulness and decay. Then comes Winter, a period of frozen stiffness and ossification. The wave-cycle is closed.

 

World history, said Spengler, should not be divided into Ancient, Medieval and Modern, but rather compared to a mountain chain with its deep abysses and lofty summits outlined on the horizon. Around the Mediterranean Sea, in the Nile Valley, in different corners of Asia, in Arabia, Mexico and Peru, great cultures arose, developed, reached their highest peak and finally vanished in the darkness. Europe is no exception to this natural law. Its once glorious culture turned into a drab civilization under the impact of disruptive forces and the "Rights of Man" degenerated into license and vulgarity.

 

One thing seems to be axiomatic: we learn from history that we learn nothing from history. For over four decades humanity is witnessing one great catastrophe after another. Now the world is divided into two belligerent camps. Russia, an enormous land, 1/6th of the globe in unbroken territory with an abundance of everything essential for today's existence, has turned since the revolution of 1917, into the godless USSR, which, like a hissing dragon, is ready to encircle the earth, counting on the complacency of the "degenerated" West. Unheard-of horrors and cruelty are leading to a complete dehumanization of human beings. On this 11th anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima, it is well to remember that the atom bomb which killed 178,000 people in a few minutes was merely a firecracker as compared to her hydrogen daughter, which could destroy millions of lives, as well as the planet itself, thus creating a universal catastrophe.

 

In recent years, tremendous technical developments have surpassed by far man's spiritual evolution. In his frail hand he holds the destiny of the world and is losing faith in the Divine Guidance. It is hard to reconcile Divine Perfection with the imperfections of this tortured earth. For countless generations the greatest minds have pondered upon this perplexing contradiction.

 

In the 6th Century B.C., Heraclitus, one of the most outstanding Greek philosophers, believed that things exist in a "constant flux," always changing, assuming new forms . . . "One cannot step twice into the same river."

 

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