Thursday, September 07, 2006

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

Having used the grand Spenglerian title in the previous post I went for the genuine article. It was as I recalled. I suppose it must be my Anglo-Saxon cum Nordic cultural background that I find most German philosophical writing overly stuffy and formless (even in translation). Spengler is mostly obscure, non-analytical but with many poetic flashes of genius - and many sinister undertones echoing some other strident German analysis of our liberal-materialist Western civilization. But I wonder whether he still doesn't have a point. I used to appreciate this certain spiritual vacuum in the centre of our society: it leaves people free to live their private lives, to have their loves and losses in material comfort, it lets them fill the vacuum individually. Now I wonder if any non-aware, non-enlightened human society can retain this sort of emptiness indefinitely. When you look around you see tired people filling their free time with mindless entertainment, you hear a political discourse totally devoid of honesty, you see a society utterly dominated by profit seeking structures. Naturally I would prefer even this over any imaginable ideological alternative other than a transformation towards a genuinely enlightened and rational culture, but that is hardly the question.

No comments: