The Lie of Life

Something has come to an end.

The Northern soul has exhausted its inner possibilities, and of the dynamic force and insistence that had expressed itself in world-historical visions of the future - visions of millennial scope - nothing remains but the mere pressure, the passion yearning to create, the form without the content.

This soul was Will and nothing but Will. It needed an aim for its Columbus-longing; it had to give its inherent activity at least the illusion of a meaning and an object.

And so the keener critic will find a trace of Hjalmar Ekdal in all modernity, even its highest phenomena. Ibsen called it the lie of life. There is something of this lie in the entire intellect of the Western Civilization, so far as this applies itself to the future of religion, of art or of philosophy, to a social-ethical aim, a Third Kingdom.

For deep down beneath it all is the gloomy feeling, not to be repressed, that all this hectic zeal is the effort of a soul that may not and cannot rest to deceive itself.

This is the tragic situation — the inversion of the Hamlet motive — that produced Nietzsche's strained conception of a "return," which nobody really believed but he himself clutched fast lest the feeling of a mission should slip out of him. This Life's lie is the foundation of Bayreuth – which would be something whereas Pergamum was something - and a thread through the entire fabric of Socialism, political, economic and ethical, which forces itself to ignore the annihilating seriousness of its own final implications, so as to keep alive the illusion of the historical necessity of its own existence.

[Oswald Spengler] 
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 364

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