The Duty to Work

It is not attitude and mien, but activity that is to be given form.

As in China and in Egypt, life only counts in so far as it is deed. And it is the mechanicalizing of the organic concept of Deed that leads to the concept of work as commonly understood, the civilized form of Faustian effecting.

This morale, the insistent tendency to give to Life the most active forms imaginable, is stronger than reason, whose moral programs — be they never so reverenced, inwardly believed or ardently championed — are only effective in so far as they either lie, or are mistakenly supposed to lie, in the direction of this force. Otherwise they remain mere words.

We have to distinguish, in all modernism, between the popular side with its dolce far niente, its solicitude for health, happiness, freedom from care, and universal peace — in a word, its supposedly Christian ideals — and the higher Ethos which values deeds only, which (like everything else that is Faustian) is neither understood nor desired by the masses, which grandly idealizes the Aim and therefore Work.

If we would set against the Roman "panem et circenses" […] some corresponding symbol of the North […] it would be the "Right to Work." This was the basis of Fichte's thoroughly Prussian (and now European) conception of State-Socialism, and in the last terrible stages of evolution it will culminate in the Duty to Work.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 362

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