Interpretations of History

The Classical spirit, with its oracles and its omens, wants only to know the future, but the Westerner would shape it […] The Socialist - the dying Faust of Part II - is the man of historical care, who feels the Future as his task and aim, and accounts the happiness of the moment as worthless in comparison.

It is well, at this point, to recall once more that each of the different great Cultures has pictured world-history in its own special way. Classical man only saw himself and his fortunes as statically present with himself, and did not ask "whence" or "whither." Universal history was for him an impossible notion. This is the static way of looking at history.

Magian man sees it as the great cosmic drama of creation and foundering, the struggle between Soul and Spirit, Good and Evil, God and Devil - a strictly-defined happening with, as its culmination, one single Peripeteia - the appearance of the Saviour.

Faustian man sees in history a tense unfolding towards an aim; its "ancient-mediƦval-modern" sequence is a dynamic image. He cannot picture history to himself in any other way. This scheme of three parts is not indeed world-history as such general world-history. 

But it is the image of world-history as it is conceived in the Faustian style.

It begins to be true and consistent with the beginning of the Western Culture and ceases with its ceasing; and Socialism in the highest sense is logically the crown of it, the form of its conclusive state that has been implicit in it from Gothic onwards.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p.363

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