The Thinking 

An Essay on Oswald Spengler

June 9, 2012


AT The Brussels Journal, Thomas F. Bertonneau has an interesting essay on Oswald Spengler. Regarding the piece, Mr. Bertonneau writes:

I have come to think of him as the “Dutch Uncle” of the contemporary West, the guy your father warned you that you’d need “to have a talk with” if you got out of line.

He quotes from Spengler’s last book, The Hour of Decision (1933):

Has [anyone] eyes to see what is going on around him on the face of the globe? To see the immensity of the danger which looms over this mass of peoples? I do not speak of the educated or uneducated city crowds, the newspaper-readers, the herds who vote at elections – and for that matter, there is no longer any quality-difference between voters and those for whom they vote – but of the ruling classes of the White nations, insofar as they have not been destroyed, of the statesmen insofar as there are any left; of the true leaders of policy, of economic life, of armies, and of thought. Does anyone, I ask, see over and beyond his time, his own continent, his country, or even the narrow circle of his own activities?

                                      — Comments —

Steve Kogan writes:

There are certain books that I carry within me for their remarkable prose and depth of insight into the modern age, among them John Dos Passos’ Orient Express (1927) and his trilogy U.S.A. (1936), Spengler’s The Hour of Decision (1933), and Blaise Cendrars’ L’Homme Foudroyé (1945) – literally and figuratively “The Man Who Was Blown Away.” I applaud Tom Bertonneau for helping to bring The Hour of Decision into public view, nor is it the size of the audience that matters, only that a particle of truth be made available to take root where it can.

Mr. Bertonneau writes:

Thank you for drawing reader attention to the essay on Oswald Spengler at The Brussels Journal. I would ask interested parties also to read the sensitive and illuminating comments that follow the article, all of which add original insights to the discussion of Spengler’s understanding of our time. If I singled out Steve Kogan’s comment and “Mpresley’s,” it would not imply any defect in any of the other comments.

Joseph L. Ebbecke writes:

This is as good as finding out about The Bostonians on your site for which, by the way, I have never thanked you. I do so now.

I’ve been a Spenglerian for almost 40 years.

My recently deceased cyber-friend, John Reilly, was deeply informed by Spengler’s thought and wrote several books about it, including a computer program to predict future history.

I’ve put up a brief tribute to John, who deserves to be better known.

Mr. Bertonneau writes:

My thanks go to Mr. Ebbecke for reference to John Reilly, who appears to have had as good a grasp of Spengler as any. It is quite interesting how certain other names turn inevitably in any discussion of Spengler: Nietzsche, Guenon, Toynbee, Berdyaev. They are all present in Reilly’s discussion.




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