Oswald Spengler Quotes


Best 59 Quotes by Oswald Spengler – Page 1 of 2

“History is direction — but Nature is extension — ergo, everyone gets eaten by a bear.”

“Once upon a time, Freedom and Necessity were identical; but now what is understood by freedom is in fact indiscipline.”

“Philosophy, the love of Wisdom, is at the very bottom defence against the incomprehensible.”

“The Apollinian Culture recognized as actual only that which was immediately present in time and place – and thus it repudiated the background as pictorial element.

The Faustian strove through all sensuous barriers towards infinity-and it projected the center of gravity of the pictorial idea into the distance by means of perspective.

The Magian felt all happening as an expression of mysterious powers that filled the world-cavern with their spiritual substance – and it shut off the depicted scene with a gold background, that is, by something that stood beyond and outside all nature – colours.

Gold is not a colour.”

“This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us, to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves, to act in such a way that some part of us lives on.”

Aphorisms Quotes

“Man makes history; woman is history. The reproduction of the species is feminine: it runs steadily and quietly through all species, animal or human, through all short-lived cultures.

It is primary, unchanging, everlasting, maternal, plantlike, and cultureless. If we look back we find that it is synonymous with life itself.”


“Suddenly all those individuals who yesterday felt that 'we' meant only their families, their professions, or perhaps their communities, become men of the nation.

Their emotions and thoughts, their egos, that 'something' within them, all are transformed: they have become historical.”


“Talk of world peace is heard today only among the white peoples, and not among the much more numerous coloured races. This is a perilous state of affairs. When individual thinkers and idealists talk of peace, as they have done since time immemorial, the effect is negligible.

But when whole peoples become pacifistic it is a symptom of senility. Strong and unspent races are not pacifistic. To adopt such a position is to abandon the future, for the pacifist ideal is a terminal condition that is contrary to the basic facts of existence. As long as man continues to evolve, there will be wars.”


“The common man wants nothing of life but health, longevity, amusement, comfort – 'happiness'. He who does not despise this should turn his eyes from world history, for it contains nothing of the sort. The best that history has created is great suffering.”


“The question of whether world peace will ever be possible can only be answered by someone familiar with world history.

To be familiar with world history means, however, to know human beings as they have been and always will be.

There is a vast difference, which most people will never comprehend, between viewing future history as it will be and viewing it as one might like it to be.

Peace is a desire, war is a fact; and history has never paid heed to human desires and ideals.”


Early Days of World History Quotes

“Higher man is a tragedy. With his graves he leaves behind the earth a battlefield and a wasteland.

He has drawn plant and animal, the sea and mountain into his decline. He has painted the face of the world with blood, deformed and mutilated it.

But there was greatness in it. When he is no more, his destiny will have been something great.”

Early Days of World History

Man and Technics Quotes

“A beast of prey tamed and in captivity — every zoological garden can furnish examples — is mutilated, world-sick, inwardly dead.

Some of them voluntarily hunger-strike when they are captured. Herbivores give up nothing in being domesticated.”

Man and Technics

“All great discoveries and inventions spring from the delight of strong men in victory. They are expressions of personality and not of the utilitarian thinking of the masses, who are merely spectators of the event, but must take its consequences whatever they may be.”

Man and Technics

“Faced as we are with this destiny, there is only one world. Outlook that is worthy of us, that which has already been mentioned as the Choice of Achilles — better a short life, lull of deeds and glory, than a long life without content.

Already the danger is so great, for every individual, every class, every people, that to cherish any illusion whatever is deplorable. Time does not suffer itself to be halted; there is no question of prudent retreat or wise renunciation.

Only dreamers believe that there is a way out. Optimism is cowardice.”

Man and Technics

“Man was, and is, too shallow and cowardly to endure the fact of the mortality of everything living. He wraps it up in rose-coloured progress-optimism, he heaps upon it the flowers of literature, he crawls behind the shelter of ideals so as not to see anything.

But impermanence, the birth and the passing, is the form of all that is actual – from the stars, whose destiny is for us incalculable, right down to the ephemeral concourses on our planet. The life of the individual – whether this be animal or plant or man – is as perishable as that of peoples of Cultures.

Every creation is foredoomed to decay, every thought, every discovery, every deed to oblivion. Here, there, and everywhere we are sensible of grandly fated courses of history that have vanished. Ruins of the 'have-been' works of dead Cultures lie all about us.

The hybris of Prometheus, who thrust his hand into the heavens in order to make the divine powers subject to man, carries with it his fall. What, then, becomes of the chatter about 'undying achievements'?”

Man and Technics

“Optimism is cowardice.”

Man and Technics

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“If the social regulations forbid direct satisfaction of the sexual impulses the emotional conflict is expressed in another way, and that what we call 'civilization' has always been built up by compulsory sacrifices in the gratification of innate desires.”

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“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way.

Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him.

That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.”

Man and Technics

“We have learned that history is something that takes no notice whatever of our expectations.”

Man and Technics

Primal Questions Quotes

“Man is an element of all-living nature that rises in rebellion against nature. He will pay for this defiance with his life.

Through this act of defiance, man distinguishes himself from all other living things, which as pure nature are blended into the tapestry of the natural universe. Mankind is the hero of this tragedy, world history the final act of the tragedy itself.”

Primal Questions

Prussianism and Socialism Quotes

“One cannot learn how to be creative by reading Marx. Either one is creative or one is not.”

Prussianism and Socialism

“When the Englishman speaks of national wealth he means the number of millionaires in the country.”

Prussianism and Socialism

“When three liberals get together they form a new party; that is their idea of individualism. They never join a bowling club without introducing as part of the 'agenda' an 'amendment of the statutes.”

Prussianism and Socialism

The Decline of the West Quotes

“A thinker is a person whose part it is to symbolize time according to his vision and understanding. He has no choice; he thinks as he has to think.”

The Decline of the West

“All world-improvers are Socialists. And consequently there are no Classical world-improvers.”

The Decline of the West

“At the beginning a man was wealthy because he was powerful — now he is powerful because he has money. Intellect reaches the throne only when money puts it there. Democracy is the completed equating of money with political power.”

The Decline of the West

“Conscious and unconscious are only too obviously derivatives of 'above ground' and 'below ground'.

In modern theories of the Will we meet with all the vocabulary of electrodynamics. Will functions and thought functions are spoken of in just the same way as the function of a system of forces.

To analyze a feeling means to set up a representative silhouette in its place and then to treat this silhouette mathematically and by definition, partition, and measurement.

All soul examination of this stamp, however remarkable as a study of cerebral anatomy, is penetrated with the mechanical notion of locality, and works without knowing it under imaginary coordinates in an imaginary space.”

The Decline of the West

“Every Socialist outbreak only blazes new paths for Capitalism.”

The Decline of the West

“Every thing-become is mortal. Not only peoples, languages, races and Culture are transient.”

The Decline of the West

“For the Age has itself become vulgar, and most people have no idea to what extent they are themselves tainted.

The bad manners of all parliaments, the general tendency to connive at a rather shady business transaction if it promises to bring in money without work, jazz and N*gro dances as the spiritual outlet in all circles of society, women painted like prost*tutes, the efforts of writers to win popularity by ridiculing in their novels and plays the correctness of well-bred people, and the bad taste shown even by the nobility and old princely families in throwing off every kind of social restraint and time-honoured custom: all of these go to prove that it is now the vulgar mob that gives the tone.”

The Decline of the West

“For us, the events which took place between 1500 and 1800 on the soil of Western Europe constitute the most important third of 'world' history.

For the Chinese historian, on the contrary, who looks back on and judges by 4000 years of Chinese history, those centuries generally are a brief and unimportant episode, infinitely less significant than the centuries of the Han dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.), which in his 'world' history are epoch-making.”

The Decline of the West

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“The left is expert at framing debates. They have buzzwords they use to direct the debate toward unwinnable positions for you. They are tolerant, diverse, fighters for social justice; if you oppose them, by contrast, you are intolerant, xenophobic, and in favor of injustice.”

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