Aphorisms: From the Writings of Oswald Spengler

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.


Little as we know about the events of the future, one thing is certain: the moving forces of the future will be none other than those of the past — the will of the stronger, healthy instincts, race, will to property, and power.


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 …


Talk of world peace is heard today only among the white peoples, and not among the much more numerous colored 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 …


Pacifism means letting the non-pacifists have control … Pacifism will remain an ideal, war a fact. If the white races are resolved never to wage war again, the colored will act differently and become rulers of the world.


The wealth of birth in primitive populations is a natural phenomenon, the very existence of which no one thinks about, let alone its advantages or disadvantages. Where reasons for questioning the existence of life enter the human consciousness, life itself has already become questionable.


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.


This is our task: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us, this reality with which fate has surrounded 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.


Animals and primitive men are neither perverse nor licentious. Their Eros is in rhythmic harmony with the universe… Only civilization has made a problem of erotism, converted it into unrestrained greed.


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.


In history it is not idealism, goodness or morality that reign — their kingdom is not of this world — but rather resolve, energy, presence of mind, and practical ability. One cannot erase this fact with laments and moral judgments. That is the way man is; that is the way life is; that is way history is.


Bibliographic information
Author: Spengler, Oswald
Title: Aphorisms: From the Writings of Oswald Spengler
Source: The Journal for Historical Review
Date: March/April 1998
Issue: Volume 17 number 2
Location: Page 8
ISSN: 0195-6752
Attribution: "Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, PO Box 2739, Newport Beach, CA 92659, USA.”
Please send a copy of all reprints to the Editor.