by Buffalo Jenkins
One of the problems I wrestle with personally since opening my eyes to the realities of political and natural life is the following conundrum: can western civilization BE saved?
After reading The Decline of the West (1922) by Oswald Spengler, I accepted his theory as sound that civilizations are like living things: they are born, have a peak period, and an eventual lingering decline and death. If we accept his theorem then we are looking at being locked into irreversible decline regardless of what we do, so that even if we weren’t facing outsider invasion via immigration, falling birth rates due to feminism, and our host of other problems, we would merely be declining in some other fashion. The West as a concept and as a civilization, is doomed. One way or another.
But can that be true, and if so, what would terminal and irreversible decline be like? Is it possible we are merely experiencing a downward turn that can be reversed? A painful, exhausting and perilous transition into some new morality?
According to this theory, which seems observable and objective, all human cultures and all they entail (language, religion, morals, art) each have their day in the sun, a peak adolescence, followed by old age and death, never to return again. As Spengler says himself, their "emanations" – meaning their art and architecture, music, politics, achievements, wars and languages – are merely the apparatus or contrivance of their sentience. Greece, Egypt, Rome, Imperial Germany, the Victorians, Persia, and the U.S.A. have all seemed virtually immortal at once stage, and all eventually died (or are currently dying), never to rise again.
The same can be said of classical China and the Islamic world. Indeed, curiously, the very moment an essential element of a culture or its art is perfected, then it essentially ends. It only remains for a long, protracted decline and inevitable swallowing by a stronger society. The moment the Greeks perfected the Doric style of architecture, after a long ascending labour, is the moment the style truly ended – metaphysically, idealistically and pragmatically. The importance of the journey and not the destination has never seemed more metaphorically profound.
It is, I believe, an observable phenomenon at a more micro level within cultures, to me it brings to mind the theory of 'SickBoy' from the film Trainspotting – for a while you have it, then you don't, and The Name of the Rose is merely a blip in an otherwise downward trajectory for the career of actor Sean Connery. The mortality of culture and art seems an observable trend at the macro level in also, for instance, our favourite bands – there is the early brilliant stage, often leading to a climax of creativity, then a long lingering death of bad albums and self-parody. With the arguable exception of Johnny Cash and those that died young, this seems a universal trend. To grasp this meaning is to understand that truly everything, including ideas, ebb and flow in this cycle – they have a breath of life then must perish. Non manet in æternum.
The real disheartening part of the Spengler Theory is his observation that the entirety of 'the West' can now be thought of as one giant culture, or idea, that has been increasingly homogenized in modern times. Starting with the Renaissance onward through our present day global liberal democratic ideals (championed by the U.S.A.), we can arguably now be thought of as one massive culture. Even in Spengler’s day this seemed to be the trend.
The theory is chilling, and embraces a kind of hopelessness. However there are a few specific reasons that may suggest the theory is not foolproof, and there may be reason to doubt its implicit totality of negativity.
And in doubt, hope.
The first reason to doubt is that the death of the West is the death of a certain idea, or a certain conception of the West of itself. It means that in its death there will be fragmentation and new ideas, nothing that likely can even be predicted, something totally alien and strange. Its inhabitants, those that created the West to suit their racial yearnings and requirements, will likely still live (however few in number), and still need new idealisms, new ways to grow. Providing they are not overly mongrelized, that is.
If there’s one thing that seems certain about the future, it’s that it is absolutely impossible to predict. You could never have imagined nuclear bombs in the fifteenth century, nor the internet in the nineteen-twenties. Life always takes an unexpected route.
Secondly, even if the whole of the west falls, due to the literal truth of Spengler’s theories, then how could it be replaced by cultures that flourished and grew old and have been in lingering death for many centuries now, such as Islam or China? Islam is quite strong again, if only due to the West's own current weakness; and modern-day China appears to be a growing powerhouse with a bright future. These developments are certainly not in keeping with the rules of the Spengler's theory!
Indeed, it seems that, these ancient cultures, which flourished long ago, are enjoying a resurgence. Perhaps, though, this is only a kind of illusion. Maybe they are only advantageously skirting the toilet bowl whirlpool that is modernity. Or could it be they have actually now become a fugitive aspect of the West, and – appearances to the contrary – are in fact dying along with us?
Regardless of where we end up in future, will white people, our progeny, not still be standing on the earth in future centuries if our civilisations collapse? If the entire West dies, as did the Romans, will it not at least merely signify the rise of a new culture, such as we saw in the rise of Christianity after the fall of Rome?
Unless we are all literally annihilated to the man, there will be a need to create something. If we take the best parts of our past experience and mix them together, medievalism and the early 20th-century and ancient Greece, could we not cook up a whole new …thing? A new beginning and a new morality?
If everything in this universe has a life and a death, including the cosmos itself, and cultures, and faiths, if even ideas themselves have a lifespan, then could not Spengler’s theory itself die? In fact, should it not upon its own self-realization be assured not to come true, according to the seeming laws of unpredictability hard-coded into life’s weird patterns? Could a new a scintillating, even neo-classical culture rise in the minds of European man, to live as close to an eternity as to prove dear Oswald wrong?
..And with strange aeons even death may die. – HP lovecraft.