Oswald Spengler on the Evolution of Care Economy Orientations Across Civilizations

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- Excerpt from Vol. I; Chapter IV. Part II. Section VI.

(not the full text of the section, but selected phrases, occasionally slightly adapted for smoother sentences - mb)

Oswald Spengler:

"It is the primitive feeling of care which dominates the physiognomy of the Western ("as that of the Egyptians ... and the Chinese") .. It creates the symbolism of the erotic which represents the flowing on of endless life. (p. 102)

Classical man conceived only the here and now:

   - the birth pangs of mother (was) made the center of the Demeter worship
   - the Dionysiac symbol of the phallus (was) the sign of a sexuality wholly concentrated on the moment (p. 103)

The domestic religion of Rome centered on the genius, i.e. the creative power of the head of the family. (p. 103).

To all this, the deep and careful care of the Western soul has opposed the sign of mother love .. The Mother with Child - the future at her breast. The Mary cult in the new 'Faustian' form began to flower only in the centuries of the Gothic. (p. 103)

(Magian Christianity had elevated Maria as 'Theotokos', i.e. 'she who gave birth to God', a symbol felt quite otherwise than by us.", p. 103)

Madonna with the Child answers exactly to the Egyptian Isis with Horus, both are caring, nursing mothers. This symbol had vanished for a thousand years or more! (p. 103)

From the maternal care the way leads to the paternal, and there we meet the State! .. The meaning of the state to the man is comradeship in arms, for the protection of hearth and home. (p. 103)

The state is the inward form of a nation, and .. history .. is the state conceived as kinesis .. The Woman as 'Mother' <is>, and the Man as Warrior and Politician 'makes' history. (p. 103)

The history of Higher Cultures shows us 3 examples of state formations in which the element of care is conspicuous:

   - the Egyptian administration even of the Old Kingdom (from 3,000 BC)
   - the Chinese state of the Chou dynasty (1169-256 BC)
   - the states of the West (p. 103)

On the other hand, we have in 2 examples - the Classical and the Indian - a picture of utterly careless submission to the moment and its incidents. (p. 103)

Stoicism and Buddhism .. are .. one in their negation of the historical feeling of care, their contempt for zeal. (p. 104)

In contrast to "Western Europe, with the model agriculture of the Orders, .. in the Classical world, men managed from day to day .. Casual surpluses were instantly squandered on the city mob. (p. 104)

Great statesmen of the Classical (did not) economically look far ahead. The meaning of the agrarian reform of the Gracchi .. was to make their supporters 'possessors' of the land, NOT 'managers of the land'. (p. 104)

Of this economic Stoicism, the exact antithesis is Socialism .. i.e. (not that of Marx!), the Prussian practice of Frederick William, .. that comprehends care for permanent economic relations, trains the individual in his duty for the whole, and glorifies hard work as the affirmation of Time and Future." (p. 104)