'The Decline of the West' by Oswold Spengler (1923). Vol. 2

Philosophy, Klimt, 1900.

[Work in Progress]

Note: for a selection from Vol. 1, see here

Chapter I
Origin and Landscape.

The Cosmic and the Microcosm


Regard the flowers at eventide as, one after another, they close in the setting sun. Strange is the feeling that then presses in upon you-- a feeling of enigmatic fear in the presence of this blind dreamlike earth-bound existence. [...] Only the little gnat is free-- ...he moves whither he will.
A plant... forms a part of the landscape in which... it took root.

This midget swarm that dances on and on, that solitary bird still flying through the evening, the fox approaching furtively the nest-- these are little worlds of their own within another great world.

...only the plant is wholly and entirely what it is; in the being of the animal there is something dual. A vegetable is only a vegetable; an animal is a vegetable and something more besides. A herd that huddles together trembling in the presence of danger, a child that clings weeping to its mother, a man desperately striving to force a way into his God-- all these are seeking to return out of the life of freedom into the vegetal servitude from which they were emancipated into individuality and loneliness.

The plant is something cosmic, and the animal is additionally a microcosm in relation to a macrocosm. When, and not until, the unit has thus separated itself from the All and can define its position with respect to the All, it becomes thereby a microcosm. ... Only through this individualism of the microcosm does that which the light offers to its eyes- our eyes- acquire meaning as 'body'... .

The blood of the ancestors flowes through the chain of the generations and binds them in a great linkage of destiny, beat, and time.

In being a destiny rules, while waking-consciousness distinguishes causes and effects.

A plant leads an existence that is without waking-consciousness. In sleep all creatures become plants... . [...] The upthrust of the first green shoots out of the wintry earth, the swelling of the buds, the whole mighty process of blooming and ripening-- all this is desire to fulfil a destiny... .

...it is only the pulse-beat of Being that endures throughout the generations, whereas waking-consciousness begins anew for each microcosm. 

Chapter II
Origin and Landscape

The Group of the Higher Cultures

Every time, every land, every living aggregate has its own historical horizons, and it is the mark of the genuine historical thinker that he actualizes the picture of history that his time demands. 

Children's eyes are keen, and the facts of the nearest environment, the life of the family and the house and the street, are sensed and felt right down to the core, long before the city and its population come into their visual field, and while the words "people," "country," "state," are still quite destitute of tangible meaning to them. [...] The life-horizon widens, and shows not lives, but Life coming and going. The pageant is not now of villages and clans, but of remote races and countries; not of years, but of centuries. The history that is actually lived with and participated in never reaches over more than a grandfather's span... . Here the horizon of living ends, and a new plane begins wherein the picture is based upon hearsay and historical tradition, a plane in which direct sympathies are adapted to a mind-picture that is both distinct and, from long use, stable. The picture so developed shows very different amplitudes for the men of the different Cultures. For us Westerners it is with this secondary picture that genuine history begins, for we live under the aspect of eternity, whereas for the Greeks and Romans it is just then that history ceases.

And beyond this plane again, other historic unit-pictures rise to the view-- pictures of the destinies of the plant world and the animal world, the landscape, the stars-- which at the last fuse with the last pictures of natural science into mythic images of the creation and the end of the world.


There is no history-in-itself. [...] The German looks upon the World War otherwise than the Englishman..., and the historian of the West has a quite other world-history before his eyes than that of the great Arabian and Chinese historians.

It is not incompatible with, rather it is essential to, a profound knowledge of men that the appraiser should see through glasses of his own colour. This knowledge, indeed, is exactly the component that we discern to be wanting in those generalizations that distort or altogether ignore that all-important fact, the uniqueness of the constituent event in history-- the worst example of this being the "materialistic" conception of history, about which we have said almost all there is to say when we have described it as physiognomic barrenness.

Whatever the Greeks may (and indeed must) have known of ancient Egyptian history, they never allowed it to penetrate into their peculiar history-picture, which for the majority was limited to the field of events that could be related by the oldest surviving participant, and which even for the finer minds stopped at the Trojan War, a frontier beyond which they would not concede that there had been historical life at all. [Translators note: Even at the level of the Trojan War the timeless mythological figures of gods and demigods are still involved... in the human story.]
The Arabian Culture, on the other hand, very early dared the astounding gesture-- we see it in the historical thought alike of the Jews and of the Persians from Cyrus's time-- of connecting the legend of creation to the present by means of a genuine chronology; the Persians indeed comprised the future as well in the sweep of the gesture, and predated the last judgment and the coming of the Messiah. This exact and very narrow definition of human history-- the Persian reckoning allows twelve millennia from first to last, the Jewish counts less than six up to the present-- is a necessary expression of the Magian world-feeling and fundamentally distinguishes the Judaeo-Persian creation-sagas from those of the Babylonian Culture, from which so many of their external traits are derived.
Different, again, are the primary feelings which give historical thought in the Chinese and the Egyptian Cultures its characteristically wide and unbounded horizons, represented by chronologically stated sequences of dynasties which stretch over millennia and finally dissolve into a grey remoteness.
The Faustian picture of world-history, again, prepared in advance by the existence of a Christian chronology, [Authors note: Introduced in Rome in 522 during the Ostrogoth domination, not until Charlemagne's time did it make headway in the Germanic lands. Then, however, its spread was very rapid.] came into being suddenly, with an immense extension and deepening of the Magian picture which the Western Church had taken over, an extension and deepening that was to give Joachim of Floris in the high Gothic the basis of his wonderful interpretation of all world-destinies as a sequence of three aeons under the aspects of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Parallel with this there was an immense widening of the geographical horizon, which even in Gothic times (thanks to Vikings and Crusaders) came to extend from Iceland to the remotest ends of Asia; and from 1500 onwards, the developed man of the Baroque is able to do what none of his peers in the other Cultures could do and - for the first time in human history-- to regard the whole surface of the planet as its field. Thanks to compass and telescope, the savant of that mature age could for the first time not merely posit the sphericity of the earth as a matter of theory, but actually feel that he. was living upon a sphere in space. The land-horizon is no more.

In all other Cultures the aspects of world-history and of man-history coincide. The beginning of the world is the beginning of man, and the end of man is the end of the world. But the Faustian infinity-craving for the first time separated the two notions during the Baroque, and now it has made human history, for all its immense and still unknown span, a mere episode in world-history, while the Earth-- of which other Cultures had seen not even the whole, but only superficial fractions as "the world"-- has become a little star amongst millions o solar systems.

The typically Faustian separation of human history, as such, from the far wider history of the world has had the result that since the end of the Baroque our world-picture has contained several horizons disposed one behind the other in as many planes. For the exploration of' these, individual sciences, more or less overtly historical in character, have taken shape. Astronomy, geology, biology, anthropology, one after the other follow up the destinies of the star-world, the earth's crust, life, and man, and only then do we come to the "world"-history-- as it is still called even to-day-- of the higher Cultures, to which, again, are attached the histories of the several cultural elements, family, history, and lastly (that highly developed speciality of the West) biography.
Each of these planes demands a particular self-focusing, and the moment the special focus becomes sharp the narrower and the broader planes cease to be live Being and become mere given facts. 

[return to text. p30]


The picture that we possess of the history of the Earth's crust and of life is at present still dominated by the ideas which civilized English thought has developed, since the Age of Enlightenment, out of the English habit of life-- Lyell's "phlegmatic" theory of the formation of the geological strata, and Darwin's of the origin of species, are actually but derivatives of the development of England herself. In place of the incalculable catastrophes and metamorphoses such as von Buch and Cuvier admitted, they put a methodical evolution over very long periods of time and recognize as causes only scientifically calculable and indeed mechanical utility-causes
This "English" type of causality is not only shallow, but also far too narrow. It limits possible causal connexions, in the first place, to those which work out their entire course on the earth's surface; but this immediately excludes all great cosmic relations between earthly life-phenomena and the events of the solar system and the stellar universe, and assumes the impossible postulate that the exterior face of the earth-ball is a completely insulated region of natural phenomena. And, secondly, it assumes that connexions which are not comprehensible by the means at present available to the human consciousness - namely, sensation refined by instruments and thought precised by theory - do not even exist.
It will be the characteristic task of the twentieth century, as compared with the nineteenth, to get rid of this system of superficial causality, whose roots reach back into the rationalism of the Baroque period, and to put in its place a pure physiognomic. We are sceptics in regard to any and every mode of thought which "explains" causally. We let things speak for themselves, and confine ourselves to sensing the Destiny immanent in them... . [...] For the nineteenth century the word "evolution" meant progress in the sense of increasing fitness of life to purposes. [...] ...for Goethe... it meant fulfilment in the sense of increasing connotation of the form. The two concepts, Goethe's form-fulfilment and Darwin's evolution, are in as complete opposition as destiny to causality, and (be it added) as German to English thought... . 


That which we know of man divides clearly into two great ages of his being. The first is, as far as our view is concerned, limited on the one side by that profound fugue of planetary Destiny which we call the beginning of the Ice Age... and on the other by the beginnings of high cultures on Nile and Euphrates, with which the whole meaning of human existence became suddenly different. We discover everywhere the sharp frontier of Tertiary and Deluvial ['Pleistocene'], and on the hither side of it [at the end of the last glaciation] we see man as a completely formed type, familiar with custom, myth, wit, ornament, and technique and endowed with a bodily structure that has not materially altered up to the present day.

My kind of thought and observation is limited to the physiognomy of the actual. ...our experiencing of the primitive Culture consists not only in surveying, in its relics, a self-contained and closed off thing, but also in reacting to its deeper meaning by virtue of an inward relation to it which persists in us. [...] Our licence to proceed thus comes from general experience of organic being.


About 3000 after a long "Merovingian" period, which is still distinctly perceptible in Egypt, the two oldest Cultures began, in exceedingly limited areas on the lower Nile and the lower Euphrates [Editors note: the discoveries of Sumer in Ur pushed the dates about 1000 years further back into the distance]. In these cases the distinctions between early and late periods have long ago been labelled as Old and Middle Kingdom, Sumer and Akkad. [...] ...about 1800 on the Nile and rather earlier in Sumer-Akkad, we perceive the beginnings of the first Civilization [Editors note: in the Authors sense of that term]. [...] The "achievements of the Babylonian Civilization" (as the books say), many things and notions connected with measuring, numbering, and accounting, travelled probably as far as the North and the Yellow Seas.

It is a first example-- soon paralleled in Egypt-- of the "Roman Empire" style.

After 1500 three new Cultures begin-- first, the Indian, in the upper Punjab; then, a hundred years later, the Chinese on the middle Hwang-Ho [Yellow River]; and then, about 1100, the Classical, on the Aegean Sea.

The period 480-230 [Editors note: following the period, beginning in the 8th and ending in the 5th century B.C, known as the '
Spring and Autumn period', after the name of the chronicles of the state of Lu which covers this time] is called by the Chinese historians the "Period of the Contending States" [Editors note: or simply 'Warring States']; it culminated in a century of unbroken warfare between mass-armies with frightful social upheavals, and out of it came the "Roman" state of Tsin [Editors note: or 'Qin'] as founder of a Chinese Imperium [Editors note: with Shi Huang Ti as its Caesar]. This phase Egypt experience between 1780 and 1580, of which the last century was the "Hyksos" time. The Classical experienced it from Chaeronea (338), and, at the high pitch of horror, from the Gracchi (133) to Actium (31 B.C.). And it is the destiny of the West-European-American world for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
During this period the centre of gravity changes-- as from Attica to Latium... .

...in the colonization-field of foundering Rome... the future Western Culture ripening underground in the north-west, while in the east the Arabian Culture had flowered already.
The Arabian Culture is a discovery. Its unity... has so entirely escaped Western historical research that not even a satisfactory name can be found for it. Conformably to the dominant languages, the seed-time and the spring might be called the Aramaic and the later time the Arabian... . In this field the Cultures were close to one another, and the extension of the corresponding Civilizations led to much overlaying. The pre-Cultural period of the Arabian, which we can follow out in Persian and Jewish history, lay completely within the area of the old Babylonian world, but the springtime was under the mighty spell of Classical Civilization, which invaded from the West with all the power of a just-attained maturity, and the Egyptian and Indian Civilizations also made themselves distinctly felt. And then in turn the Arabian spirit-- under Late Classical disguises for the most part-- cast its spell over the nascent Culture of the West. The Arabian Civilization... became the model upon which the Gothic soul educataed itself. The proper landscape of this Culture is ramarkably extended and singularly fragmented. Let one put oneself at Palmyra [in the very heart of modern Syria, between Damascas and the Euphrates]..., and, musing, look outwards all round. In the north is Osrhoene; Edessa [the capital of Osrhoene] became the Florence of the Arabian spring. to the west are [ancient] Syria [i.e., Palmyra was situated on its eastern brim] and Palestine-- the home of the New Testament and of the Jewish Mishna, with Alexandria as a standing outpost. To the east Mazdaism experienced a might regeneration, which corresponded to the birth of Jesus in Jewry and about which the fragmentary state of Avesta [i.e., Zoroastrian] literature enables us to say only that it happened. Here, too, were born the Talmud and the religion of Mani [the Iranian founded of the Manichaeus in the 3rd century A.D.]. Deep in the south, the future home of Islam... . [...] In the extreme north was Byzantium... . Into this world Islam at last-- and far too late-- brought a consciousness of [pre-existing] unity, and this [fact of the pre-existence of the unity it would manifest so monolythically] accounts for the self-evident character of its victorious progress... [Editors note: see
verse 49:13 of the Qur'an: ]. Out of Islam in due course arose the Arabian Civilization which was at the peak of its intellectual completeness when the barbarians from the West broke in for a moment, marching on Jerusalem. How, we may ask ourselves, did this inroad appear in the eyes of cultivated Arabians of the time? Somewhat like Bolshevism, perhaps? For the statecraft of the Arabian World the political relations of "Frankistan" were something on a lower plane. Even in our Thirty Years' War-- from that point of view a drama of the "Far West"--... the statesman who handled policy over a field stretching from Morocco to India, evidently judged that the little predatory states on the horizon were of no real interest. And even when Napoleon landed in Egypt, there were still many without an inkling of the future.

...that which distinguished Faustian man... from the man of any other Culture was his irrepressible urge into distance. It was this, in the last resort, that killed and even annihilated the Mexican and Peruvian Culture... . [...] ...the relation between this forceful young Civilization and the still remaining old ones-- is that it covers them, all alike, with ever-thickening layers of West-European-American life-forms under which, slowly, the ancient native form disappears.


Stone Age and Baroque are age-grades in the existence of respectively a genus and a Culture-- i.e., two organisms belonging to two fundamentally different settings. And here I would protest against two assumptions that have so far vitiated all historical thought: the assertion of an ultimate aim of mankind as a whole and the denial of there being ultimate aims at all. The life has an aim. It is the fulfilment of that which was ordained at its conception. [...] "Historical" man, as I understand the word and as all great historians have meant it to be taken, is the man of a Culture that is in full march towards self-fulfilment. Before this, after this, outside this, man is historyless... .

From this there follows a fact of the most decisive importance, and one that has never before been established: that man is not only historyless before the birth of the Culture, but again becomes so as soon as a Civilization has worked itself out fully to the definitive form which betokens the end of the living development of the Culture and the exhaustion of the last potentialities of its significant existence.

This it is that confers upon these very Late conditions-- which to the people living in them seem almost self-evident-- that character of changeless pageantry which the genuine Culture-man-- e.g., Herodotus in Egypt and the Western successors of Marco Polo in China-- has found so astronishing in comparison with his own vigorous pulse of development. It is the changelessness of non-history.
Is not Classical history at an end with Actium and the Pax Romana?

When Vindex and Galba in 68 set out to restore "the Republic," they were gambling on a notion in days when notions having genuine symbolic force had ceased to be, and the only question was who should have the plain material power. The struggle for the Caesar-title became steadily more and more negroid, and might have gone on century after century in increasingly primitive and, therefore, "eternal" forms.

Chapter III
Origin and Landscape

The Relations Between the Cultures


What a wealth of psychology there is in the probings, rejections, choices, transvaluations, errors, penetrations, and welcomings!-- and not only between Cultures which immediately touch one another, wonder at one another, fight one another, but also as between a living Culture and the form-world of a dead one whose remains still stand visible in the landscape. And how narrow and poor, on the other hand, are the conceptions which the historians label "influence," "continuity," and "permanent effects"!
At bottom, this mode of treatment rests upon that idea which inspired the great Gothics long ago, the idea of a significant singleness in the history of all mankind. They saw how, on earth, men and peoples changed, but ideas stayed, and the powerful impressiveness of the picture has not worn itself out even to-day. [...] Being has been confused with waking-being, life with the means by which it expresses itself. The critical thought, or even simple waking-consciousness, sees every-where theoretical units subjected to motion. That is truly dynamic and Faustian, for in no other Culture have men imagined history thus.
 The German whom Boniface converted did not transfer himself into the missionary's soul.. It was a springtide quiver that passed in those days through the whole young world of the North, and what it meant was that each man found suddenly in conversion a language wherein to express his own religiousness.
It is not, then, microcosmic units that move, but cosmic entities that pick amongst them and appropriate them. [...] Consider how every maturing man and every living Culture is continuously bathed in innumerable potential influences. Out of all these, only some few are admitted as such-- the great majority are not. 
The historian who is intent upon establishing causal series counts only the influences that are present, and the other side of the reckoning-- those that are not-- does not appear. With the psychology of the "positive" influences is associated that of the "negative." This is a domain into which no one has yet ventured, but here, if anywhere, there are fruits to be reaped, and it must be tackled unless the answer to the whole question is to be left indeterminate; for if we try to evade it, we are driven into illusory visions of world-historical happening as a continuous process in which everything is properly accounted for. Two Cultures may touch between man and man, or the man of one Culture may be confronted by the dead form-world of another as presented in its communicable relics. In both cases the agent is the man himself. The closed-off act of A can be vivified by B only out of his own being, and eo ipso it becomes B's, his inward property, his work, and part of himself. [...] What matters in all such cases is not the original meanings of the forms, but the forms themselves, as disclosing to the active sensibility and understanding of the observer potential modes of his own creativeness. Connotations are not transferable. Men of two different kinds are parted, each in his own spiritual loneliness, by an impassable gulf.

Searching through all Cultures, then, one will always find that the continuation of earlier creations into a later Culture is only apparent, and that in fact the younger being has set up a few (very few) relations to the older being, always without regard to the original meanings of that which it makes its own. What becomes, then, of the "permanent conquests" of philosophy and science? We are told again and again how much of Greek philosophy still lives on to-day, but this is only a figure of speech without real content, for first Magian and then Faustian humanity, each with the deep wisdom of its unimpaired instincts, rejected that philosophy, or passed unregarding by it, or retained its formulae under radically new interpretations. The naive credulity of erudite enthusiasm deceives itself here-- Greek philosophic notions would make a long catalogue, and the further it is taken, the more vanishingly small becomes the proportion of the alleged survivals. Our custom is simply to overlook as incidental "errors" such conceptions as Democritus's theory of atomic images, [Translators note: I.e., that sensation consists in the absorption of small particles radiated by the object.] the very corporeal world of Plato's "ideas," and the fifty-two hollow spheres of Aristotle's universe, as though we could presume to know what the dead meant better than they knew themselves! These things are truths and essential-- only, not for us.
All round the Classical landscape there were working, or had. worked, Egyptians, Cretans, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Persians, and Phoenicians, and the works of these peoples-- their buildings, ornaments, art-works, cults, state-forms, scripts, and sciences were known to the Greeks in profusion. But how much out of all this mass did the Classical soul extract as its own means of expression? I repeat, it is only the relations that are accepted that we observe. But what of those that were not accepted? [...] Truly, someone ought to have written the history of the "three Aristotles"-- Greek, Arabian, and Gothic-- who had not one concept or thought in common. Or the history of the transformation of Magian Christianity into Faustian! [...] Magian man evolved out of the deepest depths of his dualistic world-consciousness a language of his own religious awareness that we call "the" Christian religion. So much of this experience as was communicable-- words, formulae, rites-- was accepted by the man of the Late-Classical Civilization as a means of expression for his religious need; then it passed from man to man, even to the Germans of the Western pre-Culture, in words always the same and in sense always altering. [...] Were Paul or Augustine to become acquainted with our ideas of Christianity, they would reject all our dogmas, all our books, and all our concepts as utterly erroneous and heretical.

Chapter IV
Cities and Peoples

The Soul of the City


A deep transformation sets in first with agriculture-- for that is something artificial, with which hunter and shepherd have no touch. He who digs and ploughs is seeking not to plunder, but to alter Nature. To plant implies, not to take something, but to produce something. But with this, man himself becomes plant-- namely, as peasant. He roots in the earth that he tends, the soul of man discovers a soul in the countryside, and a new earth-boundness of being, a new feeling, pronounces itself. ...earth becomes Mother Earth. Between sowing and begetting, harvest and death, the child and the grain, a profound affinity is set up. A new devoutness addresses itself in chthonian cults to the fruitful earth that grows up along with man. [...] The peasant's dwelling is the great symbol of settledness. It is itself plant, thrusts its roots deep into its "own" soil. It is property in the most sacred sense of the word. The kindly spirits of hearth and door, floor and chamber-- Vesta, Janus, Lares and Penates-- are as firmly fixed in it as the man himself.

What his cottage is to the peasant, that the town is to the Culture-man. [...] The town, too, is a plantlike being... . ...only in the Civilization with its giant cities do we come to despise and disengage ourselves from these roots. Man as civilized, as intellectual nomad, is again wholly microcosmic, wholly homeless, as free intellectually as hunter and herdsman were free sensually. [...] To-day, at the end of this Culture, the rootless intellect ranges over all landscapes and all possibilities of thought.

As all thinkers of all Cultures themselves live in the town (even though they may reside bodily in the country), they are perfectly unaware of what a bizarre thing a town is. To feel this we have to put ourselves unreservedly in the place of the wonder-struck primitive who for the first time sees this mass of stone and wood set in the landscape, with its stone-enclosed streets and its stone-paved squares-- a domicile, truly, of strange form and strangely teeming with men!

...we find very large settlements that are nevertheless not to be called cities. They are centres of landscape; they do not inwardly form worlds in themselves.

Never has the feeling of earth-boundness, of the plantwise-cosmic, expressed itself so powerfully as it did in the architecture of the petty early towns, which consisted of hardly more than a few streets about a market-place or a castle or a place of worship. Here, if anywhere, it is manifest that every grand style is itself plantlike. The Doric column, the Egyptian pyramid, the Gothic cathedral, grow out of the ground... . The Ionic column, the buildings of the Middle Kingdom and those of the Baroque,... stand on the ground. There, separated from the power of the land-- cut off from it, even, by the pavement underfoot-- Being becomes more and more languid... . Man becomes intellect, "free" like the nomads, whom he comes to resemble, but narrower and colder than they. [...] All art, all religion and science, become slowly intellectualized, alien to the land, incomprehensible to the peasant of the soil. [...] The immemorially old roots of Being are dried up in the stone-masses of its cities. And the free intellect-- fateful word!-- appears like a flame, mounts splendid into the air, and pitiably dies.


The village, with its quiet hillocky roofs, its evening smoke, its wells, its hedges, and its beasts, lies completely fused and embedded in the landscape. The country town confirms the country, is an instensification of the picture of the country. It is the Late city that first defies the land, contradicts Nature in the lines of its silhouette, denies all Nature. It wants to be something different from and higher than Nature. [...] And then begins the gigantic megalopolis, the city-as-world... . [...] IN a vilage the thatched roof is still hill-like and the street is of the same nature as the baulk of earth between fields. But here the picture is of deep, long gorges between high, stony houses... . Costumes, even faces, are adjusted to a background of stone. By day there is a street traffic of strange colours and tones, and by night a new light that outshines the moon. And the yokel stands helpless on the pavement, understanding nothing and understood by nobody... .

...we cannot comprehend political and economic history at all unless we realize that the city, with its gradual detachment from and final bankrupting of the country, is the determinative form to which the course and sense of higher history generally conforms. World history is city history.

The Classical forum, the Western press, are, essentially, intellectual engines of the ruling City. [....] ...it is the Forum of the City of Rome alone that is the scene of Classical history


The peasant is historyless [Toynbee spoke of the 'barbarians' beyond the northern frontiers of Rome as being 'without history']. The village stands outside world-history, and all evolution... from the Saxon emperors to the World War of 1914, passes by these little points on the landscape, occasionally destroying them and wasting their blood, but never in the least touching their inwardness. The peasant is the eternal man, independent of every Culture that ensconces itself in the cities. He precedes it, he outlives it, a dumb creature propagating himself from generation to generation, limited to soil-bound callings and aptitudes, a mystical soul, a dry, shrewd understanding that sticks to practical matters, the origin and the ever-flowing source of the blood that makes world-history in the cities.

The city is intellect. The Megalopolis is "free" intellect. It is in resistence to the "feudal" powers of blood and tradition that the burgherdom or bourgeoisie, the intellectual class, begins to be conscious of its own separate existence. It upsets thrones and limits old rights in the name of reason and above all in the name of "the People," which henceforward means exclusively the people of the city.

The sly-shrewdness of the country and the intelligence of the megalopolis are two forms of waking-consciousness between which reciprocal understanding is scarcely possible.


The stone Colossus "Cosmopolis" stands at the end of the life's course of every great Culture. The Culture-man whom the land has spiritually formed is seized and possessed by his own creation, the City, and is made into its creature... . [...] The spirit-pervaded stone of Gothic buildings, after a millennium of style-evolution, has become the soulless material of this daemonic stone-desert.
These final cities are wholly intellect. Their houses are no longer, as those of the Ionic and the Baroque were, derivatives of the old peasant's house, whence the Culture took its spring into history. [...] So long as the hearth has a pious meaning as the actual and genuine centre of a family, the old relation to the land is not wholly extinct. But when that, too, follows the rest into oblivion, and the mass of tenants and bed-occupiers in the sea of houses leads a vagrant existence from shelter to shelter like the hunters and pastors of the 'pre-' time, then the intellectual nomad is completely developed. This city is a world, is the world.

Now the old mature cities with their Gothic nucleus of cathedral, town-halls, and high-gabled streets, with their old walls, towers, and gates, ringed about by the Baroque growth of brighter and more elegant patricians' houses, palaces, and hall-churches, begin to overflow in all directions in formless massess, to eat into the decaying country-side with their multiplied barrack-tenements and utility buildings, and to destroy the noble aspect of the old time by clearances and rebuildings. Looking down from one of the old towers upon the sea of houses, we perceive in this petrification of a historical being the exact epoch that marks the end of organic growth and the beginning of an inorganic and therefore unrestrained process of massing without limit. And now, too, appears that artificial, mathematical, utterly land-alien product of a pure intellect..., the city of the city-architect. ...these cities aim at the chessboard form, which is the symbol of soullessness. Regular rectangle-blocks astounded Herodotus in Babylon... . In the Classical world the series of "abstract" cities begins with Thurii, which was "planned" by Hippodamus of Mietus in 441. Priene, whose chessboard scheme entirely ignores the ups and downs of the site, Rhodes, and Alexandria follow, and become in turn models for innumerable provincial cities of the Imperial Age. The Islamic architects laid out Baghdad from 762, and the giant city of Samarra [founded on the banks of the Tigris] a century later, according to plan. In the West-European and American world the lay-out of Washington in 1791 [Pierre Charles L'Enfant's plan for the new capital, commisioned by Geroge Washington, was conceived in the Baroque style, now known as the District of Columbia] is the first big example. [...] Even now the world-cities of Western Civilization are far from having reached the peak of their development. I see, long after A.D. 2000, cities laid out for ten to twenty million inhabitants, spread over enormous areas of countryside, with buildings that will dwarf the biggest of today and notions of traffic and communication that we should regard as fantastic to the point of madness.
... the genuine Classical world-city ever strove, not to expand, but to thicken... . [...] The synoecism [Grk, 'dwelling together in the same house'] that in the early Classical had gradually drawn the land-folk into the cities, and so created the type of the Polis, repeated itself at the last in absurd form; everyone wanted to live in the middle of the city, in its densest nucleus, for otherwise he could not feel himself to be the urban man that he was.

...always the splendid mass-cities harbour lamentable poverty and degraded habits, and the attics and the mansards, the cellars and backyards are breeding a new type of raw man [Ed. note: alt transl. reads 'a new primitive man']... .

...a peasant cottage and a tenament-block are related to one another as soul and intellect, as blood and stone. [...] Primitive folk can loose themselves from the soil and wander, but the intellectual nomad never. Home-sickness for the great city is keener than any other nostalgia. Home is for him any one of these giant cities, but even the nearest village is alien territory. He would sooner die upon the pavement than go 'back' to the land [i.e., Dostoyevski, Pessoa]. Even disgust at this pretentiousness, weariness of the thousand-hued glitter, the taedium vitae that in the end overcomes many, does not set them free. They take the City with them into the mountains or on the sea. They have lost the country within themselves and will never regain it outside.

The intelligent visage [of 'cosmopolitan man'] is similar in all races- what is recessive in them is, precisely, race.


If the Early period is characterized by the birth of the City out of the country, and the Late by the battle between city and country, the period of Civilization is that of the victory of city over country, whereby it frees itself from the grip of the ground, but to its own ultimate ruin. Rootless, dead to the cosmic, irrevocably commited to stone and to intellectualism, it develops a form-language that reproduces every trait of its essence-- not the language of a becoming and growth, but that of a becomeness and completion... . Not now Destiny, but Causality, not now living Direction, but Extension, rules.

Chapter V
Cities and Peoples

Peoples, Races, Tongues


A race has roots. Race and landscape belong together. Where a plant takes root, there it dies also. There is certainly a sense in which we can... work backwards from a race to its 'home'... . If in that home the race cannot now be found, this means that the race has ceased to exist. A race does not migrate. Men migrate, and their successive generations are born in ever-changing landscapes; but the landscape exercises a secret force upon the plant-nature in them, and eventually the race-expression is completely transformed by the extinction of the old and the appearance of a new one. Englishmen and Germans did not migrate to America, but human beings migrated thither as Englishmen and Germans, and their descendants are there as Americans. It has long been obvious that the soil of the Indians has made its mark upon them- generation by generation they become more and more like the people they eradicated. Gould and Baxter have shown that White of all races, Indians, and Negroes have come to the same average in size of body and time of maturity-- and that so rapidly that Irish immigrants, arriving young and developing very slowly, come under this power of the landscape within the same generation. Boas has shown that the American-born children of long-headed Sicilian and short-headed German Jews at once conform to the same head-type. 


Of all expressions of race, the purest is the House.

There is... as yet no world-history of the House and its Races, and to give us such a history should be one of the most urgent tasks of the researcher. But we must work with means quite other than those of art-history. The peasant dwelling is, as compared with the tempo of all art-history, something constant and "eternal" like the peasant himself. [...] [Although] every sort of ornament and style was borrowed from the Orient,... no Roman would ever think of imitating the Syrian house... .

Ornaments spread when a people incorporates them in its form-language, but a house-type is only transplanted along with its race. The disappearance of an ornament means no more than a change of language, but when a house-type vanishes it means that race is extinguished.

...the peasant-house, with its unaltered race-form, lives on. 


The practical importance of the house as race-expression begins to be appreciated as and when one realizes the immense difficulty of approaching the kernel of race. [...] ...what are the hall-marks... by which we recognize and distinguish races? This is a matter that belongs to the domain of Physiognomic just as surely as the classification of tongues belongs to that of Systematic.

What in the speech of East-European Jews is a race-trait of the land, and present therefore in Russian also, and what is a race-trait of the blood common to all Jews, independent of their habitat and their hosts, in their speaking of any of the European "mother"- tongues?

...science has completely failed to note that race is not the same for rooted plants as it is for mobile animals, that with the microcosmic side of life a fresh group of characters appear, and that for the animal world it is decisive. [...] With its talk of adaptation and of inheritance it sets up a soulless causal concantenation of superficial characters, and blots out the fact that here the blood and there the power of the land over the blood are expressing themselves... .

Blumenbach classified the races of man according to skull-forms, Friedrich Muller (as a true German) by hair and language-structure, Topinard (as a true Frenchman) by skin-colour and shape of nose, and Huxley (as a true Englishman) by, so to say, sport characteristics. 

But besides the energy of the blood-- which coins the same living features ("family" traits) over and over again for centuries-- and the power of the soil-- evidenced in its stamp of man-- there is that mysterious cosmic force of the syntony of close human connexions. [...] It is a matter of common observation that elderly married people become strangely like one another.

If the race-expression of the plant consists predominantly in the physiognomy of position, the animal-expression resides in a physiognomy of movement-- namely, in the form as having motion, in the motion itself, and in the set of the limbs as figuring the motion. [...] Hence it is that in vertebrates the limbs are more expressive than the bones. [...] ...it is not, I repeat, the mathematical form of the visible parts, but exclusively the expression of the movement, that displays this physiognomy.

In reality, the race-expression of a human head can associate itself with any conceivable skull-form, the decisive element being not the bone [as Blumenbach contented], but the flesh, the look, the play of feature. Since the days of Romanticism we have spoken of an "Indogermanic" race. But is there such a thing as an Aryan or a Semitic skull? [...] Take a set of men with every conceivable race-difference, and, while mentally picturing "race," observe them in an X-ray apparatus. The result is simply comic. As soon as light is let through it, "race" vanishes suddenly and completely.
It canot be too often repeated, moreover, that the little that is really illustrative in skeletal structure is a growth of the landscape and never a function of the blood. [...] It would be true, in a measure, to say that "race" has travelled as flesh over the fixed skeleton-form of the land.

Chapter VII
Problems of the Arabian Culture

Historical Pseudomorphosis


In a rock-stratum are embedded crystals of a mineral. Clefts and cracks occur, water filters in and the crystals are gradually washed out so that in due course only their hollow mold remains. Then come volcanic outbursts which explode the mountain; molten masses pour in, stiffen and crystallize out in their turn. But these are not free to do so in their own special forms. They must fill up the spaces that they find available. Thus there arise distorted forms, crystals whose inner structure contradicts their external shape, stones of one kind presenting the appearance of stones of another kind. The mineralogists call this phenomenon Psuedomorphosis.
By the term "historical pseudomorphosis" I propose to designate those cases in which an older alien Culture lies so massively over the land that a young Culture, born in this land, cannot get its breath and fails not only to achieve pure and specific expression-forms, but even to develop fully its own self-consciousness. All that wells up from the depths of the young soul is cast in the old moulds, young feelings stiffen in senile works, and instead of rearing itself up in its own creative power, it can only hate the distant power with a hate that grows to be monstrous.
This is the case of the Arabian Culture. Its pre-history lies entirely within the ambit of the ancient Babylonian Civilization, which for two thousand years had been the prey of successive conquerors. [...] But from 300 B.C onwards there begins and spreads a great awakening in the young Aramaic-speaking peoples between Sinai and the Zagros range. ...a new relation of man to God, a wholly new world-feeling, penetrated all the current religions, whether these bore the name of Ahuramazda, Baal, or Yahweh, impelling everywhere to a great effort of creation. But precisely at this juncture there came the Macedonians-- so appositely that some inner connexion is not altogether impossible, for the Persian power had rested on spiritual postulates, and it was precisely these that had disappeared. [...] They laid down a thin sheet of Classical Civilization over the lands as far as Turkestan and India. The kingdoms of the Diadochi [those left with to administer and fight over the Empire which Alexander left behind him after his death in 323 B.C.] might indeed have become, insensibly, states of pre-Arabian spirit-- the Seleucid Empire, which actually coincided geographically with the region of Aramaic speech, was in fact such a state [i.e., of 'pre-Arabian spirit'] by 200 B.C. But from the battle of Pydna [
168 B.C.] onwards it was, in its western part, more and more embodied in the Classical Imperium and so subjected to the powerful workings of a spirit which had its centre of gravity in a distant region [which swung from the Macedonian Kingdom in the Greek peninsula to the growing Republic of Rome in Italy]. And thus was prepared the Pseudomorphosis.
The Magian Culture, geographically and historically, is the midmost of the group of higher Cultures-- the only one which, in point both of space and of time, was in touch with practically all others. The structure of its history as a whole in our world-picture depends, therefore, entirely on our recognizing the true inner form which the outer moulds distorted. Unhappily, that is just what we do not yet know, thanks to theological and philological prepossessions, and even more to the modern tendency of over-specialization whcih has unreasonably subdivided Western research into a number of separate branches-- each distinguished from the others not merely by its materials and its methods, but by its very way of thinking-- and so prevented the big problems from being even seen. [...] The historians proper stayed within the domain of Classical philology and made the Classical language-frontier their eastern horizon; hence they entirely failed to perceive the deep unity of development on both sides of their frontier... . The result is a perspective of "Ancient," "Medieval," and "Modern" history, ordered, and defined by the use of the Greek and Latin languages.



The Roman world of the Imperial period had a good idea of its own state. The later writers are full of complaints concerning the depopulation and spiritual emptiness of Africa, Spain, Gaul, and, above all, the mother countries Italy and Greece. But those provinces which belong to the Magian world are consistently excepted in these mournful surveys. 

The preponderance of the young East, palpable to all, had sooner or later to find political expression also. Viewing the scene from this standpoint, we see behind the epic and pageant of Marius and Sulla, Caesar and Pompey, Antony and Octavian, the East striving ever more intensely to free itself from the historically dying West, the fellah [فلاح, peasant, Arabic word for ploughman or tiller]-world waking up. The transfer of the capital to Byzantium was a great symbol. Diocletian had selected Nicodemia; Caesar had had thoughts of Alexandria or Troy. A better choice than any would have been Antioch [editors note:
"The mixture of Roman, Greek, and Jewish elements admirably adapted Antioch for the great part it played in the early history of Christianity. The city was the cradle of the church", Encyclopaedia Biblica: A Critical Dictionary of the Literary, Political and Religion History, the Archeology, Geography and Natural History of the Bible (1899)]. But the act came too late by three centuries, and these had been the decisive period of the Magian Springtime. 
The Pseudomorphosis began with Actium [31 B.C.]; there it should have been Antony who one. [...] At Actium it was the unborn Arabian Culture that was opposed to the iron-grey Classical Civilization; the issue lay between Principate and Caliphate. Antony's victory would have freed the Magian soul; his defeat drew over its lands the hard sheet of Roman Imperium

A second pseudomorphosis is presented to our eyes to-day in Russia. [...] The Russian "Merovingian" period begins with the overthrow of the Tatar domination by Ivan III (1480) and passes... to Peter the Great (1689-1725). [...] This Muscovite period of the great Boyar families and Patriarchs, in which a constant element is the resistence of an Old Russia party to the friends of Western Culture, is followed, from the founding of Petersburg in 1703, by the pseudomorphosis which forced the primitive Russian soul into the alien mould, first of Baroque [
Petrine Baroque, as it has been called], then of the Enlightenment, and then of the nineteenth century. The fate-figure of Russian history is Peter the Great, with whom we may ocmpare the Charlemagne who deliberately and with all his might strove to impose the very thing which Charles Martel had just prevented, the rule of the Moorish-Byzantine spirit. The possibility was there... of choosing between Old Russia and "Western" ways, and the Romanovs chose the latter. [...] The primitive tsarism of Moscow is the only form which is even today appropriate to the Russian world, but in Petersburg it was distorted to the dynastic form of western Europe. The pull of the sacred South-- of Byzantium and Jerusalem-- strong in every Orthodox soul, was twisted by the worldly diplomacy which set its face to the West. The burning of Moscow, that mighty symbolic act of a primitive people, that expression of Maccabean hatred of the foreigner and heretic, was followed by the entry of Alexander I into Paris, the Holy Alliance, and the concert of the Great Powers of the West. And thus a nationality whose destiny should have been to live without a history for some generations still was forced into a false and artificial history that the soul of Old Russia was simply incapable of understanding. Late-period arts and sciences, enlightenment, social ethics, the materialism of world-cities, were introduced, although in this pre-cultural time religion was the only language in which man understood himself and the world. In the townless land with its primitive peasantry, cities of alien type fixed themselves like ulcers-- lase, unnatural, unconvincing. "Petersburg," says Dostoyevski, "is the most abstract and artificial city in the world." Born in it though he was, he had the feeling that one day it might vanish with the mourning mist. Just so ghostly, so incredible, were the Hellenistic artifict-cities scattered in the Aramaic peasant-lands. Jesus in his Galilee knew this. St. Peter must have felt it when he set eyes on Imperial Rome.

A truly apocalyptic hatred was directed on Europe, and "Europe" was all that was not Russia, including Athens and Rome, just as for the Magian world in its time Old Egypt and Babylon had been antique, pagan, devilish. "The first condition of emancipation for the Russian soul," wrote Aksakov in 1863 to Dostoyevski, "is that it should hate Petersburg with all its might and its soul." Moscow is holy, Petersburg Satanic. A widespread popular legend presents Peter the Great as Antichrist. Just so the Aramaic Pseudomorphosis cries out in all the Apocalypses from Daniel and Enoch in Maccabean times to John, Baruch, and Ezra IV after the destruction of Jerusalem, against Antiochus [Antiochus IV Epiphanes] the Antichrist, against Rome the Whore of Babylon, against the cities of the West with their refinement and their splendour, against the whole Classical Culture. All its works are untrue and un-clean; the polite society, the clever artistry, the classes, the alien state with its civilized diplomacy, justice, and administration. The contrast between Russian and Western, Jew-Christian and Late-Classical nihilisms is extreme — the one kind is hatred of the alien that is poisoning the unborn Culture in the womb of the land, the other a surfeited disgust of one's own proper over-growths. Depths of religious feeling, flashes of revelation, shuddering fear of the great awakening, metaphysical dreaming and yearning, belong to the beginning, as the pain of spiritual clarity belongs to the end of a history. In these pseudomorphoses they are mingled. Says Dostoyevski: "Everyone in street and market-place now speculates about the nature of Faith." So might it have been said of Edessa or Jerusalem. Those young Russians of the days before 1914... are the Jews and early Christians of the Hellenistic cities, whom the Romans regarded with a mixture of surly amusement and secret fear. In Tsarist Russia there was no bourgeoisie and, in general, no true class-system, but merely, as in the Frankish dominions, lord and peasant. There were no Russian towns. Moscow consisted of a fortified residency (the Kreml) round which was spread a gigantic market. The imitation city that grew up and ringed it in... is there for the satisfaction and utilities of the Court, the administration, the traders, but that which lives in it is, on the top, an embodiment of fiction, an Intelligentsia bent on discovering problems and conflicts, and below, an uprooted peasantry, with all the metaphysical gloom, anxiety, and misery of their own Dostoyevski, perpetually homesick for the open land and bitterly hating the stony grey world into which Antichrist has tempted them. Moscow had no proper soul. The spirit of the upper classes was Western, and the lower had brought in with them the soul of the countryside. [...] To understand the two spokesmen and victims of the pseudomorphosis, it is enought that Dostoyevski is the peasant, and Tolstoi the man of Western society. The one could never in his soul get away from the land; the other, in spite of his desperate efforts, could never get near it.
Tolstoi is the former Russia, Dostoyevski the coming Russia. The inner Tolstoi is tied to  the West. He is the great spokesman of Petrinism even when he is denying it. ...rage as he might against Europe, Tolstoi could never shake it off. Hating it, he hates himself and so becomes the father of Bolshevism. [...] Tolstoi is an event within and of Western Civilization. He stands midway between Peter and Bolshevism, and neither he nor these managed to get within sight of Russian earth. [...] This hatred Dostoyevski does not know. ..."I have two fatherlands, Russia and Europe." He has passed beyond both Petrinism and revolution, and from his future he looks back over them as from afar. His soul is apocalyptic, yearning, desperate, but of this future certain. "I will go to Europe," says Ivan Karamazov to his mother, Alyosha; "I know well enough that I shall be going only to a churchyard, but I know too that that churchyard is dear, very dear to me. Beloved dead lie buried there, every stone over them tells of a life so ardently lived, so passionate a belief in its own achievements, its own truth, its own battle, its own knowledge, that I know-- even now I know-- I shall fall down and kiss these stones and weep over them." Tolstoi, on the contrary, is essentially a great understanding, "enlightened" and "socially minded." All that he sees about him, takes the Late-period, megalopolitan, and Western form of a problem, whereas Dostoyevski does not even know what a problem is. Tolstoi is an event within and of Western Civilization. He stands midway between Peter and Bolshevism, and
neither he nor these managed to get within sight of Russian earth. The thing they are fighting against reappears, recognizable, in the very form in which they fight. Their kind of opposition is not apocalyptic but intellectual. Tolstoi's hatred of property is an economist's, his hatred of society a social reformer's, his hatred of the State a political theorist's. Hence his immense effect upon the West - he belongs, in one respect as in another, to the band of Marx, Ibsen, and Zola.
Dostoyevski, on the contrary, belongs to no band, unless it be the band of the Apostles of primitive Christianity. His "Daemons" were denounced by the Russian Intelligentsia as reactionaries. But he himself was quite unconscious of such conflicts... . [...] What has the agony of a soul to do with Communism? [...] his life of Christ, had he written it-- as he always intended to do-- would have been a genuine gospel like the Gospels of primitive Christianity, which stand completely outside Classical and Jewish literary forms. Tolstoi, on the other hand, is a master of the Western novel... and even in his peasant's garb remains a man of polite society.
Here we have beginning and end clashing together. Dostoyevski is a saint, Tolstoi only a revolutionary. From Tolstoi, the true successor of Peter, and from him only, proceeds Bolshevism, which is not the contrary, but the final issue of Petrinism, the last dishonouring of the metaphysical by the social, and ipso facto a new form of the Pseudomorphosis. If the building of Petersburg was the first act of Antichrist, the self-destruction of the society formed of that Petersburg is the second, and so the peasant soul must feel it. [...] It is all megalopolitan and "Civilized"-- the social politics, the Intelligentsia, the literature that first in the romantic and then in the economic jargon champions freedoms and reforms, before an audience that itself belongs to the society. The real Russian is a disciple of Dostoyevski. Although he may not have read Dostoyevski or anyone else, nay, perhaps because he cannot read, he is himself Dostoyevski in substance... . What gave this revolution its momentum was not the intelligentsia's hatred. It was the people itself, which, without hatred, urged only by the need of throwing off a disease, destroyed the old Westernism in one effort of upheaval, and will send the new after it in another. For what this townless people yearns for is its own life-form, its own religion, its own history. Tolstoi's Christianity was a misunderstanding. He spoke of Christ and he meant Marx. But to Dostoyevski's Christianity the next thousand years will belong.


For this young world of the first centuries of our era our antiquarians and theologians have had no eyes. Busied as they are with the state of Late Republican and Imperial Rome, the conditions of the Middle East seem to them merely primitive and void of all significance.



For the understanding of Judaism as a whole between Cyrus [the release from Babylonian captivity] and Titus [the destruction of the second Temple] it is necessary constantly to bear in mind three facts... . First, the Jews are a "nation without a land," a consensus, and in the midst, moreover, of a world of pure nations of the same type. Secondly, Jerusalem is indeed a Mecca, a holy centre, but it is neither the home nor the spiritual focus of the people. Lastly, the Jews are a peculiar phenomenon in world-history only so long as we insist on treating them as such.

It is true that the post-exilic Jews, in contradistinction to the pre-exilic Israelites are... a people of quite new type. But they are not the only representatives of the type. The Aramaean world began in those days to arrange itself in a great number of such peoples, including Persians and Chaldeans, [Authors note: The name Chaldean signifies, before the Persian epoch, a tribe; later, a religious society. See p. 175 above.]... . 
The first heralds of the new soul were the prophetic religions, with their magnificent inwardness, which began to arise about 700 B.C. [...] The more I ponder Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah on the one hand, Zarathustra on the other, the more closely related they appear to me to be. What seems to separate them is not their new beliefs, but the objects of their attack. The first battled with that savage old-Israel religion, which in fact is a whole bundle of religious elements... intermixed with indistinct traditions of Moses and Abraham and many customs and sagas of the Late Babylonian world, now after long establishment in Canaan degenerated and hardened into peasant forms. The second combated the old Vedic beliefs of heroes and Vikings, similarly coarsened, no doubt, and certainly needing to be recalled to actuality, time and again... . And it is my belief that this great epoch brought forth yet a third prophet-religion, the Chaldean. 
This, with its penetrating astronomy and its ever-amazing inwardness, was, I venture to guess, evolved at that time and by creative personalities of the Isaiah stature from relics of the old Babylonian religion. About 1000, the Chaldeans were a group of Aramaic-speaking tribes like the Israelites, and lived in the south of Sinear... . In Seleucid times the name was applied to a widespread religious community, and especially to its priests. The Chaldean religion was an astral religion, which before Hammurabi the Babylonian was not. It is the deepest of all interpretations of the Magian universe, the World-Cavern and Kismet [i.e., fate] working therein, and consequently it remained the fundamental of Islamic and Jewish speculation to their very latest phases. It was by it, and not by the Babylonian Culture, that after the seventh century there was formed an astronomy worthy to be called an exact science-- that is, a priestly technique of observation of marvellous acuteness. It replaced the Babylonian moon-week by the planet-week. [...] For a century (625-539) Chaldean kings were world-rulers, but they were also the heralds of the new religion. 

 The kernel of the prophetic teachings is already Magian. There is one god-- be he called Yahweh, Ahuramazda or Marduk-Baal-- who is the principle of good, and all other deities are either impotent or evil. To this doctrine there attached itself the hope of a Messiah, very clear in Isaiah, but aIso bursting out everywhere during the next centuries, under pressure of an inner necessity. It is the basic idea of Magian religion, for it contains implicitly the conception of the world-historical struggle between Good and Evil, with the power of Evil prevailing in the middle period, and the Good finally triumphant on the Day of Judgment. This moralization of history is common to Persians, Chaldees, and Jews. But with its coming, the idea of the localized people ipso facto vanished and the genesis of Magian nations without earthly homes and boundaries was at hand. The idea of the Chosen People emerged.

The Babylonian exile... set up an important difference between the Jews and the Persians... . [...] It was the Yahweh believers who were permitted to go home and the adherents of Ahuramazda who allowed them to do so. Of two small tribes that two hundred years before had probably possessed equal numbers of fighting men, the one had taken possession of a world-- while Darius crossed the Danube in the north, his power extended in the south through eastern Arabia to the island of Sokotra on the Somali coast-- and the other had become an entirely unimportant pawn of alien policy.
This is what made one religion so lordly, the other so humble. Let the student read, in contrast to Jeremiah, the great Behistun inscription of Darius-- what a splendid pride of the King in his victorious god! And how despairing are the arguments with which the Israelite prophets sought to preserve intact the image of their god. Here, in exile, with every Jewish eye turned by the Persian victory to the Zoroastrian doctrine, the pure Judaic prophecy (Amos,
Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah) passes into Apocalypse (Deutero-Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah). All the new visions of the Son of Man, of Satan, of archangels, of the seven heavens, of the last judgment, are Persian presentations of the common world-feeling. In Isaiah xli appears Cyrus himself, hailed as Messiah. Did the great composer of Deutero-Isaiah draw his enlightenment from a Zoroastrian disciple? Is it possible that the Persians released the Jews out of a feeling of the inward relationship of their two teachings? It is certain at any rate that both shared one popular idea as to last things, and felt and expressed a common hatred of the old Babylonian and Classical religions, of unbelievers generally, which they did not feel towards one another.

We must not, however, forget to look at the "return from captivity" also from the point of view of Babylon. [...] Those who returned "home" were the small minority, the stubborn, the zealots. They numbered with their wives and children forty thousand, a figure which cannot be one-tenth or even one twentieth of the total, and anyone who confuses these settlers and their destiny with Jewry as a whole 3 must necessarily fail to read the inner meaning of all following events. The little world of Judaism lived a spiritually separate life, and the nation as a whole, while regarding this life with respect, certainly did not' share in it. In the East apocalyptic literature, the heiress of prophecy, blossomed richly. It was a genuine native poetry of the people, of which we still have the masterpiece, the Book of Job-- a work in character Islamic and decidedly un-Jewish-- while a multitude of its other tales and sagaS, such as Judith, Tobit, Achikar,5 are spread as motives over all the literatures of the "Arabian" world. In Judea only the Law flourished; the Talmudic spirit appears first in Ezekiel (chs. xl, et seq.) and after 450 is made flesh in the scribes (Sopherim) headed by Ezra. From 300 B.C. to A.D. 200 the Tannaim ("Teachers") expounded the Torah and developed the Mishnah. Neither the coming of Jesus nor the destruction of the Temple interrupted this abstract scholarship. Jerusalem became for the rigid believer a Mecca, and his Koran was a Code of laws to which was gradually added a whole primitive history compounded of Chaldeo-Persian motives reset according to Pharisaic ideas. But in this atmosphere there was no room for a worldly art, poetry, or learning. All that the Talmud contains of astronomical, medical, and juristic knowledge is exclusively of Mesopotamian origin. [...] "The Law and the Prophets"-- these two nouns practically define the4ifference hetween Judea and Mesopotamia. In the late Persian and in every other Magian theology both tendencies are united; it is only in the case here considered that they were separated in space. The decisions of Jerusalem were recognized everywhere, but it is a question how widely they were obeyed. Even as near as Galilee the Pharisees were the object of suspicion, while in Babylonia no Rabbi could be consecrated. For the great Gamaliel, Paul's teacher, it was a title to fame that his rulings were followed by the Jews "even abroad." [...] Jewry, like Persia, had since the Exile increased enormously beyond the old small clan-limits... . In the north it very early drove... to the Caucasus; in the south... it penetrated to Saba; in the west it was dominant in Alexandria, Cyrene, and Cyprus. 

 But this movement came out of Mesopotamia alone, and the spirit in it was the Apocalyptic and not the Talmudic. Jerusalem was occupied in creating yet more legal barriers against the unbeliever. [...] This is the same narrowness which in the primitive Christian brotherhood of Judea took the form of opposing the preaching of the Gospel to the heathen. In the East it would simply never have occurred to anyone to draw such barriers, which were contrary to the whole idea of the Magian nation. But in that very fact was based the spiritual superiority of the wide East. [...] Christian and Jewish research alike have failed to perceive these things. So far as I am aware, no one has noticed the important fact that the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes was directed not against "Jewry" but against Judea. And this brings us to another fact, of still greater importance. 
The destruction of Jerusalem hits only a very small part of the nation, one moreover that was spiritually and politically by far the least important. It is not true that the Jewish people has lived "in the Dispersion" since that day, for it had lived for centuries (and so too had the Persian and others) in a form which was independent of country. On the other hand, we realize equally little the impression made by this war upon the real Jewry which Judea thought of and treated as an adjunct. The victory of the heathen and the ruin of the Sanctuary was felt in the inmost soul, and in the crusade of 115 a bitter revenge was taken for it; but the ideal outraged and vindicated was the ideal of Jewry and not that of Judaism. Zionism then, as in Cyrus's day and in ours, was a reality only for a quite small and spiritually narrow minority. If the calamity had been really felt in the sense of a "loss of home" (as we figure it to ourselves with the Western mind), a hundred opportunities after Marcus Aurelius's time could have been seized to win the city back. But that would have contradicted the Magian sense of the nation, whose ideal organic form was the synagogue, the pure consensus-- like the early Catholic "visible Church" and like Islam-- and it was precisely the annihilation of Judea and the clan spirit of Judea that for the first time completely actualized this ideal.
 For Vespasian's War, directed against Judea, was a liberation of Jewry. In the first place, it ended both the claim of the people of this petty district to be the genuine nation, and the pretensions of their bald spirituality to equivalence with the soul-life of the whole. 

[Cont. p 211]


The incomparable thing which lifted the infant Christianity out above all religions of this rich Springtime is the figure of Jesus. In all the great creations of those years there is nothing which can be set beside it.

Jesus's utterances, which stayed in the memory of many of the devoted, even in old age, are those of a child in the midst of an alien, aged, and sick world. [...] Like a quiet island of bliss was the life of these fishermen and craftsmen by the Lake of Gennesareth in the midst of the age of the great Tiberius, far from all world-history and innocent of all the doings of actuality, while round them glittered the Hellenistic towns with their theatres and temples, their refined Western society, their noisy mob-diversions, their Roman cohorts, their Greek philosophy. When the friends and disciples of the sufferer had grown grey and his brother was president of their group in Jerusalem, they put together, from the sayings and narratives generally current in their small communities, a biography so arresting in its inward appeal that it evolved a presentation-form of its own, of which neither the Classical nor the Arabian Culture has any example, the Gospel. Christianity is the one religion in the history of the world in which the fate of a man of the immediate present has become the emblem and the central point of the whole creation.
A strange excitement, like that which the Germanic world experienced about A.D. 1000, ran in those days through the whole Aramaean land. The Magian soul was awakened. That element which lay in the prophetic religions like a presentiment, and expressed itself in Alexander's time in metaphysical outlines, came now to the state of fulfilment. And this fulfilment awakened, in indescribable strength, the primitive feeling of Fear. The birth of the Ego, and of the world-anxiety with which it is identical, is one of the final secrets of humanity and of mobile life generally. In front of the Microcosm there stands up a Macrocosm wide and overpowering, an abyss of alien, dazzling existence and activity that frightens the small lonely ego back into itself. Even in the blackest hours of life no adult experiences fear like the fear which sometimes overpowers a child in the crisis of awakening. Over the dawn of the new Culture likewise lay this deathly anxiety. In this early morning of Magian world-feeling, timorous and hesitant and ignorant of itself, young eyes saw the end of the world at hand-- it is the first thought in which every Culture to this day has come to knowledge of itself. All but the shallower souls trembled before revelations, miracles, glimpses into the very fundament of things. Men now lived and thought only in apocalyptic images. Actuality became appearance. Strange and terrifying visions were told mysteriously by one to another, read out from fantastic veiled texts, and seized at once with an immediate inward certainty. These writings travelled from community to community, village to village, and it is quite impossible to assign them to any one particular religion. 1 Their colouring is Persian, Chaldean, Jewish, but they have absorbed all that was circulating in men's minds. Whereas the canonical books are national, the apocalyptic literature is international in the literal sense of the word. It is there, and no one seems to have composed it. [...] These creations resemble the terrible figures of the Romanesque cathedral-porches in France, which also are not "art," but fear turned into stone. Everyone knows those angels and devils, the ascent to heaven and descent to hell of divine Essence, the Second Adam, the Envoy of God, the Redeemer of the last days, the Son of Man, the eternal city, and the last judgment. 3 In the alien cities and the high positions of strict Judaic and Persian priesthoods the different doctrines might be tangibly defined and argued about, but below in the mass of the people there was practically no specific religion, but a general Magian religiousness which filled all souls and attached itself to glimpses and visions of every conceivable origin. The Last Day was at hand. Men expected it and knew that on that day "He" of whom all these revelations spoke would appear. Prophets arose. More and more new communities and groups gathered, believing themselves to have found either a better understanding of the traditional religion, or the true religion itself. In this time of amazing, ever-increasing tension, and in the very years around Jesus's birth-year, there arose, besides endless communities and sects, another redemption-religion, the Mandaean, as to which we know
nothing of founder or origins. In spite of its hatred of the Judaism of Jerusalem and its definite preference for the Persian idea of redemption, the Mandaean religion seems to have stood very close to the popular beliefs of Syrian Jewry. One after another, pieces of its wonderful documents are becoming available, and they consistently show us a "Him," a Son of Man, a Redeemer who is sent down into the depths, who himself must be redeemed and is the goal of man's expectations. In the Book of John, the Father high upraised in the House of Fulfilment, bathed in light, says to his only begotton Son: "My Son, be to me an embassador; go into the world of darkness, where no ray of light is." And the Son calls up to him: "Father, in what have I sinned that though hast sent me into the darkness?" And finally: "Without sin did I ascend and there was no sin and defect in me."
All the characters of the great prophetic religions and of the whole store of profound glimpses and visions later collected into apocalypses are seen here as foundations. Of Classical thought and feeling not a breath reached this Magian underworld. No doubt the beginnings of the new religion are lost irrevocably. But one historical figure of Mandaeanism stands forth with startling distinctness, as tragic in his purpose and his downfall as Jesus himself — John the Baptist. He, almost emancipated from Judaism, and filled with the as mighty a hatred of the Jerusalem spirit as that of primitive Russia for Petersburg, preached the end of the world and the coming of the Barnasha, the Son of Man, who is no longer the longed-for national Messiah of the Jews, but the bringer of the world- conflagration. To him came Jesus and was his disciple. He was thirty years old when the awakening came over him. Thenceforth the apocalyptic, and in particular the Mandasan, thought-world filled his whole being. The other world of historical actuality lying round him was to him as something sham, alien, void of significance. That "He" would now come and make an end of this unreal reality was his magnificent certainty, and like his master John, he stepped forth as its herald. Even now we can see, in the oldest Gospels that were embodied into the New Testament, gleams of this period in which he was, in his consciousness, nothing but a prophet.
But there was a moment in his life when an inkling, and then high certainty, came over him-- "Thou art thyself It!" [...] If there is anything at all that clouds the complete purity and honour of his thought, it is that doubt as to whether he has deceived himself which from time to time seizes him, and of which, later, his disciples told quite frankly. He comes to his home. The village crowds to him, recognizes the former carpenter who left his work, is angered. The family-- mother and all the brothers and sisters-- are ashamed of him and would have arrested him. And with all these familiar eyes upon him he was confused and felt the magic power depart from him (Mark vi). In Gethsemane doubts of his mission mingled themselves in the terrible fear of coming things, and even on the cross men heard the anquished cry that God had forsaken him.
Even in these last hours he lived entirely in the form of his own apocalyptic world, which alone was ever real to him. What to the Roman sentries standing below him was reality was for him an object of helpless wonder, an illusion that might at any moment without warning vanish into nothingness. He possessed the pure and unadulterated soul of the townless land. The life of the cities and their spirit were to him utterly alien. Did he really see the semi-Classical Jersualem, into which he rode as the Son of Man, and understand its historical nature? This is what thrills us in the last days-- ...his entire incomprehension of what was happening about him.
So he went, proclaiming his message without reservation, through his country. But this country was Palestine. He was born in the Classical Empire and lived under the eyes of the Judaism of Jerusalem, and when his soul, fresh from the awful revelation of its mission, looked about, it was confronted by the actuality of the Roman State and that of Pharisaism. His repugnance for the stiff and selfish ideal of the latter, which he shared with all Mandaeanism and doubtless with the peasant Jewry of the wide East, is the hall-mark of all his discourses from first to last. It angered him that this wilderness of cold-hearted formulae was reputed to be the only way to salvation. Still, thus far it was only another kind of piety that his conviction was asserting against Rabbinical logic. Thus far it is only the Law versus the Prophets.
But when Jesus was taken before Pilate, then the world of facts and the world truths were face to face in immediate and implacable hostility. It is a scene appallingly distinct and overwhelming in its symbolism, such as the world's history had never before and has never since looked at. The discord that lies at the root of all mobile life from its beginning, in virtue of its very being, of its having both existence and awareness, took here the highest form that can possibly be conceived of human tragedy. In the famous question of the Roman Procurator: "What is truth?"-- the one word [
aletheia] that is race-pure in the whole Greek Testament-- lies the entire meaning of history, the exclusive validity of the deed, the prestige of the State and war and blood, the all-powerfulness of success and the pride of eminent fitness. Not indeed the mouth, but the silent feeling of Jesus answers this question by that other which is decisive in all things of religion-- What is actuality? For Pilate actuality was all; for him nothing. Were it anything, indeed, pure religiousness could never stand up against history and the powers of history... . 
Nikolai Ge, Christ and Pilate ("What is truth?"), 1890.
My kingdom is not of this world. [...] The born politician despises the inward thought-processes of the ideologue and ethical philosopher in a world of fact-- and rightly. For the believer, all ambition and succession of the historical world are sinful and without lasting value-- he, too, is right. A ruler who wishes to improve religion in the direction of political, practical purposes is a fool. A sociologist-preacher who tries to bring truth, righteousness, peace, and forgiveness into the world of actuality is a fool also. No faith yet has altered the world, and no fact can ever rebut a faith. There is no bridge between directional Time and timeless Eternity, between the course of history and the existence of a divine world-order, in the structure of which the word "providence" or "dispensation" denotes the form of causality. This is the final meaning of the moment in which Jesus and Pilate confronted one another. In the one world, the historical, the Roman caused the Galilean to be crucified-- that was his Destiny. In the other world, Rome was cast for perdition and the Cross became the pledge of Redemption-- that was the "will of God." [Authors note: The method of the present work is historical. It therefore recognizes the anti-historical as well as the historical as a fact. The religious method, on the contrary, necessarily looks upon itself as the true, and the opposite as false. This difference is quite insuperable.]
Religion is metaphysic and nothing else-- "Credo quia ahsurdum" ['I believe because it is absurd', Tertullian]-- and this metaphysic is not the metaphysic of knowledge, argument, proof (which is mere philosophy or learnedness), but lived and experienced metaphysic-- that is, the unthinkable as a certainty, the supernatural as a fact, life as existence in a world that is non-actual, but true. Jesus never lived one moment in any other world but this. He was no moralizer, and to see in moralizing the final aim of religion is to be ignorant of what religion is. Moralizing is nineteenth-century Enlightenment, humane Philistinism. [...] His teaching was the proclamation, nothing but the proclamation, of those Last Things with whose images he was constantly filled, the dawn of the New Age, the advent of heavenly envoys, the last judgment, a new heaven and a new earth. Any other conception of religion was never in Jesus, nor in any truly deep-feeling period of history. Religion is, first and last, metaphysic, other-worldliness (Jenseitigkeit), awareness in a world of which the evidence of the senses merely lights the foreground. It is life in and with the supersensible. And where the capacity for this awareness, or even the capacity for believing in its existence, is wanting, real religion is at an end. "My kingdom is not of this world," and only he who can look into the depths that this flash illumines can comprehend the voices that come out of them. It is the Late, city periods that, no longer capable of seeing into depths, have turned the remnants of religiousness upon the external world and replaced religion by humanities, and metaphysic by moralization and social ethics.

Something, it is true, must always exist to be set against and to nullify worldly fortune, and so we come back to the contrast of Tolstoi and Dostoyevski. Tolstoi, the townsman and Westerner, saw in Jesus only a social reformer, and in his metaphysical impotence-- like the whole civilized West, which can only think about distributing, never renouncing-- elevated primitive Christianity to the rank of a social revolution. Dostoyevski, who was poor, but in certain hours almost a saint, never thought about social ameliorations-- of what profit would it have been to a man's soul to abolish property?


Amongst Jesus's friends and disciples, stunned as they were by the appalling outcome of the journey to Jerusalem, there spread after a few days the news of his resurrection and reappearance. The impression of this news on such souls and in such a time can never be more than partially echoed in the sensibilities of a Late mankind. It meant the actual fulfilment of all the Apocalyptic of that Magian Springtime - the end of the present aeon marked by the ascension of the redeemed Redeemer, the second Adam, the Saoshyant, Enosh, Barnasha, or whatever other name man attached to "Him," into the light-realm of the Father. And therewith the foretold future, the new world-aeon, "the Kingdom of Heaven," became immediately present. They felt themselves at the decisive point in the history of redemption.

"His" teachings, as they flowed from his mild and noble nature... fell into the background, and their place was taken by the teaching of Him. As the Arisen he became for his disciples a new figure, in and of the Apocalyptic, and (what was more) its more important and final figure.

[cont. p 219]

Chapter VIII
Problems of the Arabian Culture

The Magian Soul


 THE world, as spread out for the Magian waking-consciousness, possesses a kind of extension that may be called cavern-like, though it is difficult for Western man to pick upon any word in his vocabulary that can convey anything more than a hint of the meaning of Magian "space." For "space" has essentially unlike meanings for the perceptions of the two Cultures. The world-as-cavern is just as different from the world-as-extent of the passionate, far-thrusting Faustian as it is from the Classical world-as-sum-of-bodily-things. The Copernican system, in which the earth, as it were, loses itself, must necessarily seem crazy and frivolous to Arabian thought. The Church of the West was perfectly right when it resisted an idea so incompatible with the world-feeling of Jesus, and the Chaldean cavern-astronomy, which was wholly natural and convincing for Persians, Jews, peoples of the Pseudomorphosis, and Islam... .

 This Culture... was characteristically the Culture of the middle. It could have borrowed forms and ideas from most of the others, and the fact that it did not do so, that in the face of all pressure and temptation it remained so profoundly mistress of its own inward form, attests an unbridgeable gulf of difference. [...] All religions of the Magian Culture, from the creations of Isaiah and Zarathustra to Islam, constitute a complete inward unit of world-feeling.

Whereas the Faustian man is an "I" that in the last resort draws its own conclusions about the Infinite; whereas the Apollinian man, as one soma among many, represents only himself; the Magian man, with his spiritual kind of being, is only a part of a pneumatic "We" that, descending from above, is one and the same in all believers. As body and soul he belongs to himself alone, but something else, something alien and higher, dwells in him, making him with all his glimpses and convictions just a member of a consensus which, as the emanation of God, excludes error, but excludes also all possibility of the self-asserting Ego. Truth is for him something other than for us. All our epistemological methods, resting upon the individual judgment, are for him madness and infatuation, and its scientific results a work of the Evil One, who has confused and deceived the spirit as to its true dispositions and purposes. Herein lies the ultimate, for us unapproachable, secret of Magian thought in its cavern-world-- the impossibility of a thinking, believing, and knowing Ego is the presupposition inherent in all the fundamentals of all these religions. [...] The idea of individual wills is simply meaningless, for "will" and "thought" in man are not prime but already effects of the deity upon him. Out of this unshakable root-feeling, which is... never essentially altered...-- there emerges of necessity the idea of the Divine Mediator, of one who transforms this state from a torment into a bliss. All Magian religions are by this idea bound together, and separated from those of all other Cultures.
The Logos-idea in its broadest sense... is the exact correlative of this sensation in Magian thought. It meant that from the unattainable Godhead its Spirit, its "Word," is released as carrier of the light and bringer of the good, and enters into relationship with human being to uplift, pervade, and redeem it. 

H we would obtain some inkling of how alien to us all the inner life of Jesus is-- a painful realization for the Christian of the West, who would be glad indeed if he could make that inner life the point of contact for his own inward piety-- if we would discover why nowadays only a pious Moslem has the capacity livingly to experience it, we should sink ourselves in this wonder-element of a world-image that was Jesus's world-image. And then, and only then, shall we perceive how little Faustian Christianity has taken over from the wealth of the Church of the Pseudomorphosis-- of its world-feeling nothing, of its inward form little, and of its concepts and figures much.


 Not only world-space, but world-time also is cavern-like. [...] Here, too, is the basis of the Early Magian (and in particular the Chaldean) astrology, which likewise presupposes that all things are written down in the stars and that the scientific calculable course of the planets authorized conclusions as to the course of earthly things. [...] It is an infallible sign of the extinction of the Classical Soul that astrology in its westward advance drove the oracle step by step before it. Nowhere is the stage of transition more clearly visible than in Tacitus, whose entire history is dominated by the confusion and dislocation of his world-picture. First of all, as a true Roman, he brings in the power of the old city-deities; then, as an intelligent cosmopolitan, he regards this very belief in their intervention as a superstition; and finally, as a Stoic (by that time the spiritual outlook of the Stoa had become Magian), he speaks of the power of the seven planets that rule the fortunes of men. 

Fundamentally, too, it is this belief that all stands written in the stars, that makes the Arabian Culture characteristicaIIy that of "eras"-- that is, of timereckonings that begin at some event felt as a peculiarly significant act of Providence. The first and most important is the generic Aramrean era, which begins about 300 B.C. with the growth of apocalyptic tension and is the "Seleucid era." [...] ...the Jewish era, beginning with the Creation, which was introduced by the Synedrion in 346... . ...that of the Christians, introduced shortly after 500 and beginning with the birth of Jesus. 
 World-history is the picture of the living world into which man sees himself woven by birth, ancestry, and progeny, and which he strives to comprehend from out of his world-feeling. The historical picture of Classical man concentrates itself upon the pure Present. Its content is no true Becoming, but a foreground Being with a conclusive background of timeless myth, rationalized as "the Golden Age." This Being, however, was a variegated swarming of ups and downs, good and ill fortune, a blind "thereabouts," an eternal alteration, yet ever in its changes the same, without direction, goal, or "Time." The cavern-feeling, on the contrary, requires a surveyable history consisting in a beginning and an end to the world that is also the beginning and the end of man-- acts of God of mighty magic-- and between these turns, spellbound to the limits of the Cavern and the ordained period, the battle of light and darkness, of the angels and Jazatas with Ahriman, Satan, and Eblis, in which Man, his Soul, and his Spirit are involved. The present Cavern God can destroy and replace by a new creation. The Persian-Chaldean apocalyptic offers to the gaze a whole series of such aeons, and Jesus, along with his time, stood in expectation of the end of the existing one.

 But, further, for the Magian human-existence, the issue of the feeling of this sort of Time and the view of this sort of space is a quite peculiar type of piety, which likewise we may put under the sign of the Cavern-- a will-less resignation, to which the spiritual "I" is unknown, and which feels the spiritual "We" that has entered into the quickened body as simply a reflection of the divine Light. The Arab word for this is Islam (= submission) but this Islam was equally Jesus's normal mode of feeling and that of every other personality of religious genius that appeared in this Culture. Classical piety is something perfectly different, while, as for that of our own Culture, if we could mentally abstract from the piety of St. Theresa and Luther and Pascal their Ego-- that Ego which wills to maintain itself against, to submit to, or even to be extinguished by the Divine Infinite-- there would be nothing left. The Faustian prime-sacrament of Contrition presupposes the strong and free will that can overcome itself. But it is precisely the impossihility of an Ego as a free power in the face of the divine that constitutes "Islam." Every attempt to meet the operations of God with a personal purpose or even a personal opinion is "masiga," [Editors note: not sure to what this is suppose to refer, presumably an Arabaic term?]-- that is, not an evil willing, but an evidence that the powers of darkness and evil have taken possession of a man and expelled the divine from him. The Magian waking-consciousness is merely the theatre of a battle between these two powers and not, so to say, a power in itself. [...] In the entire world-cavern there is but one Cause, which lies immediately behind all visible workings, and this is the Godhead... .

...the Magian proto-sacrament of Baptism... forms a contrast of the deepest intensity with the Faustian idea of Contrition. Contrition presupposes the will of an Ego, but Grace knows of no such thing. It was Augustine's high achievement to develop this essentially Islamic thought with an inexorable logic... . [...] ...Augustine was the last great thinker of Early Arabian Scholasticism, anything but a Western intellect. [Authors note: "He is in truth the conclusion and completion of the Christian Classical, its last and greatest thinker, its intellectual practitioner and tribune. This is the starting-point from which he must be understood. What later ages have made of him is another affair...." (E. Troeltsch, Augustin, die christliche Antike unddas Mittelalter, 1915, p. 7) . His power, like Tertullian's, rested also on the fact that his writings were not translated into Latin, but thought in this language, the sacred language of the Western Church; it was precisely this that excluded both from the field of Aramaean thought. Cf. p.224 above.] Not only was he at times a Manichaean, but he remained so even as a Christian in some important characteristics, and his closest relations are to be found amongst the Persian theologians of the later Avesta, with their doctrines of the Store of Grace of the Holy and of absolute guilt. For him grace is the substantial inflowing of something divine... . The Godhead radiates it; man receives it, but does not acquire it. From Augustine, as from Spinoza so many centuries later, the notion of force is absent... .  Magian waking-being is the theatre of a conflict between the two world-substances of light and darkness. The Early Faustian thinkers such as Duns Scotus and William of Occam, on the contrary, see a contest inherent in dynamic waking-consciousness itself, a contest of the two forces of the Ego-- namely, will and reason, and so imperceptibly the question posed by Augustine changes into another, which he himself would have been incapable of understanding-- are willing and thinking free forces, or are they not? Answer this question as we may, one thing at any rate is certain, that the individual ego has to wage this war and not to suffer it. The Faustian Grace refers to the success of the Will and not to the species of a substance. Says the Westminster Confession of the Presbyterians (1646): "The rest of Mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable Counsel of his own Will, whereby he extendeth, or withholdeth Mercy, as he pleaseth, for the Glory of his Sovereign Power over his Creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to Dishonour and Wrath, for their Sin, to the Praise of his glorious Justice." The other conception, that the idea of Grace excludes every individual will and every cause but the One, that it is sinful even to question why man suffers, finds an expression in one of the most powerful poems known to world-history, a poem that came into being in the midst of the Arabian pre-Culture and is in inward grandeur unparalleled by any product of that Culture itself-- the Book of Job. [Authors note: The period at which it was written corresponds to our Carolingian.] It is not Job, but his friends who look for a sin as the Cause of his troubles. They-- like the bulk of mankind in this and every other Culture, present-day readers and critics of the work, therefore, included-- lack the metaphysical depth to get near the ultimate meaning of suffering within the world-cavern. Only the Hero himself fights through the fulfilment, to pure Islam, and he becomes thereby the only possible figure of tragedy that Magian feeling can set up by the side of our Faust.


"The mystic Community of Islam extends from the here into the beyond; it reaches beyond the grave, in that it comprises the dead Moslems of earlier generations, nay, even the righteous of the times before Islam. The Moslem feels himself bound up in one unity with them all. ..." [Horten, op. cit., p. xii.] The same, precisely, was what the Christians and the Syncretists of the Pseudomorphosis meant when they used the words Polis and Civitas-- these words, which had formerly implied a sum of bodies, now denoted a coosensus of fellow believers. Augustine's famous Civitas Dei was neither a Classical Polis nor a Westem Church, but a unity of believers, blessed, and angels, exactly as were the communes of Mithras, of Islam, of Manichaeism, and of Persia. As the community was based upon consensus, it was in spiritual things infallible, "My people," said Mohammed, "can never agree in an error," and the same is premised in Augustine's State of God. With him there was not and could not be any question of an infallible Papal ego or of any other sort of authority to settle dogmatic truths; that would completely destroy the Magian concept of the Consensus. [...] In the Magian world, consequently, the separation of politics and religion is theoretically impossible and nonsensical, whereas in the Faustian Culture the battle of Church and State is inherent in the very conceptions-- logical, necessary, unending. In the Magian, civil and ecclesiastical law are simply identical. Side by side with the Emperor of Constantinople stood the Patriarch, by the Shah was the Zarathustratema, by the Exilarch the Gaon, by the Caliph the Sheikh-ul-Islam, at once superiors and subjects. There is not in this the slightest affinity to the Gothic relation of Emperor and Pope; equally, all such ideas were alien to the Classical world. In the constitution of Diocletian this Magian embedding of the State in the community of the faithful was for the first time actualized, and by Constantine it was carried into full effect. It has been shown already that State, Church, and Nation formed a spiritual unit-- namely, that part of the orthodox consensus which manifested itself in the living man. And hence for the Emperor, as ruler of the Faithful-- that is, of that portion of the Magian community which God had entrusted to him-- it was a self-evident duty to conduct the Councils so as to bring about the consensus of the elect.


The sacred book in which it [the "Word of God"] has become visibly evident, in which it has been captured by the spell of a sacred script, is part of the stock of every Magian religion. In this conception three Magian notions are interwoven... . These ideas are: God, the Spirit of God, the Word of God.[...] A Magian revelation is a mystical process in which the eternal and unformed word of God-- or the Godhead as Word-- enters into a man in order to assume through him the manifest, sensible form of sounds and especially of letters. "Koran" means "reading." [Editors note: it hardly needs to be pointed out that "Bible" means "book."]

But such a Koran is by its very nature unconditionally right, and therefore unalterable and incapable of improvement. 

 The only strictly scientific method that an unalterable Koran leaves open for progressive opinion is that of commentary. As by hypothesis the "word" of an authority cannot be improved upon, the only resource is reinterpretation. No one in Alexandria would ever have asserted that Plato was in "error"; instead, he was glossed upon. [...] ...the Fathers compiled written commentaries upon the Bible... . But the "Roman" jurists of about A.D. 200 and the "Late Classical" philosophers-- that is, the Schoolmen of the growing cult-Church-- went just the same way; the Apocalypse of this Church, commented over and over again after Posidonius, was the Timaeus of Plato. The Mishnah is one vast commentary upon the Torah. And when the oldest exegetes had become themselves authorities and their writings Korans, commentaries were written upon commentaries... . [Editors note: on the ceasless work of commentaries see Foucault's Order of Things, ch 'The Prose of the World']

This method, which fictitiously refers back every saying to an immediate inspired delivery, was brought to its keenest edge in the Talmudic and the Islamic theologies. 


 With such researches to build upon, it will become possible in the future to write a history of the Magian group of religions. It forms an inseparable unit of spirit and evolution, and let no one imagine that any individual one of them can be really comprehended without reference to the rest. Their birth, unfolding, and inward confirmation occupy the period 0-500. It corresponds exactly to the rise of the Western religion from the Cluniac movement to the Reformation. A mutual give-and-take, a confusingly rich blossoming, ripening, transformation - overlayings, migrations, adaptations, rejections fill these centuries, without any sort of dependence of one system upon the others being demonstrable. But only the forms and the structures change; in the depths it is one and the same spirituality... .
In the wide realm of old-Babylonian fellahdom young peoples lived. There everything was making ready. The first premonitions of the future awoke about 700 B.C. in the prophetic religions of the Persians, Jews, and Chaldeans. An image of creation of the same kind that later was to be the preface of the Torah showed itself in clear outlines, and with that an orientation, a direction. a goal of desire, was set. Something was descried in the far future, indefinitely
and darkly still, but with a profound certainty that it would come. From that time on men lived with the vision of this, with the feeling of a mission.
The second wave swelled up steeply in the Apocalyptic currents after 300. Here it was the Magian waking-consciousness that arose and built itself a metaphysic of Last Things, based already upon the prime-symbol of the coming Culture, the Cavern. Ideas of an awful End of the World, of the Last Judgment. of Resurrection, Paradise, and Hell, and with them the grand thought of a process of salvation in which earth's destiny and man's were one, burst forth everywhere-- we cannot say what land or people it was that created them-- mantled in wondrous scenes and figures and names. The Messiah-figure presents itself, complete at one stroke.

The third upheaval came in the time of Caesar and brought to birth the great religions of Salvation. 

Now arose in the Persian, the Mandaean, the Jewish, the Christian, circles of belief, and in that of the Western Pseudomorphosis as well... the Grand Myth. In this Arabian Culture religious and national heroism are no more distinctly separable than nation, church, and state, or sacred and secular law. The prophet merges with the fighter, and the story of a great Sufferer rises to the rank of a national epic. [...] In the West the suffering of Jesus, ever broadening and developing, became the veritable epic of the Christian nation... . 

With the end of the second century the sounds of this exaltation die away. [...] The doctrines of the new Churches are brought into theological systems. Heroism yields to Scholasticism, poetry to thought, the seer and seeker to the priest. The early Scholasticism which ends about 200 (as in the Western about 1200) comprises the whole Gnosis... . 

Slowly and steadily now the great Churches moved to fulfilment. It had been decided - the most important religious result of the second centurythat the outcome of the teaching of Jesus was not to be a transformation of Judaism, but a new Church, which took its way westward while Judaism, without loss of inward strength, turned itself to the East.

By about 300, outside the Pagan, Christian, Persian, Jewish, and Manichaean Churches no important Magian religions remained in being. 


...there set in also, from 200, the effort to identify the visible community, as its organization became ever stricter, with the organism of the State. This followed of necessity from the world-feeling of Magian man, and in turn it led to the transformation of the rulers into caliphs-- lords of a creed-society far more than of domains-- to the idea of orthodoxy as the premiss of real citizenship; to the duty of persecuting false religions (the "Holy War" of Islam is as old as the Culture itself, and the first centuries were full of it); and to a special regime within the State of unbelievers - just tolerated and under laws and governance of their own 1 (for the law God had given was not for heretics) - and, with it, the ghetto manner of living.
First, Osrhoene, in the centre of the Aramrean landscape, adopted Christianity as the State religion about 2.00. Then Mazdaism assumed the same position in the Sassanid Empire (226) while under Aurelian (d. 275) and above all Diocletian (295) Syncretism as a compound of the Divus, Sol, and Mithras cults became the state religion of the Roman Imperium. Constantine in 312., King Trdat of Armenia about 321, and King Mirian of Georgia a few years later, went over to Christianity. In the far South, Saba must already have become Christian in the third century, Axum in the fourth; on the other hand, simultaneously with these, the Himaryite State became Jewish, and there was one more effort, that of Julian, to bring back the Pagan Church to supremacy. 

In opposition to this-- likewise in all the religions of this Culture-- we
find the spread of Monasticism, with its radical aversion from State, history, and actuality in general.

Christianity... grew suddenly vast about the year 250.



 Islam... is to be regarded as the Puritanism of the whole group of Early Magian religions... . It is this deeper significance, and not merely the force of its warlike onslaught, that gives the key to its fabulous success. [....] Judaism, Mazdaism, and the Southern and Eastern churches of Christianity were swiftly and almost completely dissolved in it. The Katholikos of Seleucia, Jesujabh III, complains that tens of thousands of Christians went over to it as soon as it came
on the scene, and in North Africa-- the home of Augustine-- the entire population fell away to Islam at once. Mohammed died in 632. In 641 the whole domain of the Monophysites and the Nestorians (and, therefore, of the Talmud and the Avesta) were in the possession of Islam. In 717 it stood before Constantinople, and the Greek Church was in peril of extinction. Already in 628 a relative of the prophet had brought presents to the Chinese Emperor Taidsung and obtained leave to institute a mission. From 700 there were mosques in Shantung, and in 720 Damascus sent instructions to the Arabs long established in southern France to conquer the realm of the Franks. Two centuries later, when in the West a new religious world was arising out of the remains of the old Western Church, Islam was in the Sudan and in Java.

For all this, Islam is significant only as a piece outward religious history. The inner history of the Magian religion ends with Justinian's time, as truly as that of the Faustian ends with Charles V and the Council of Trent. Any book on religious history shows "the" Christian religion as having had two ages of grand thought-movements-- 0-500 in the East and 1000-1500 in the West. [Authors note: A third, "contemporary," movement should follow in the Russian world in the first half of the coming millennium.] But these are two springtimes of two Cultures, and in them are comprised also the non-Christian forms which belong to each religious development. The closing of the University of Athens by Justinian in 529 was not, as is always stated, the end of Classical philosophy-- there had been no Classical philosophy for centuries. What he did, forty years. before the birth of Mohammed, was to end the theology of the Pagan Church by closing this school and-- as the historians forget to add-- to end the Christian theology also by closing those of Antioch and Alexandria. Dogma was complete, finished-- just as it was in the West with the Council of Trent (1564) and the Confession of Augsburg (1540), for with the city and intellectualism religious creative force comes to an end. 

 Chapter IX
Problems of the Arabian Culture


Pythagoras, Mohammed, Cromwell


Race-life and the pulse of its drive dwindle as the eyes gaze into an extended, tense, and light-filled world, and Time yields to Space. The plantlike desire for fulfilment goes out, and from primary depths there wells up the animal fear of the fulfilment, of the ceasing of direction, of death.

There are two sorts of deeper fear-- one is fear (known even to the animals) in presence of microcosmic freedom in space, before space itself and its powers, before death; the other is fear for the cosmic current of being, for life, for directional time [Editors note: and here we discover the full meaning of the word 'reluctance' in the Biblical phrase, so often repeated, "Lust councils one thing, reason another. There is a new reluctance in man"]. 

The higher religion requires tense alertness against the powers of blood and being that ever lurk in the depths ready to recapture their primeval rights over the younger side of life. "Watch and pray, that ye fall not into temptation." Nevertheless, "liberation" is a fundamental word in every religion and an eternal wish of every waking-being. In this general, almost prereligious, sense, it means the desire for freedom from the anxieties and anguishes of waking-consciousness; for relaxation of the tensions of fear-born thought and search ['watchfulness']; for the obliteration and removal of the consciousness of the Ego's loneliness in the universe, the rigid conditionedness of nature, the prospect of the immovable boundary of all Being in eld [Old English, 'old age'] and death.
Sleep, too, liberates-- "Death and his brother Sleep." And holy wine, intoxication, breaks the rigour of the spirit's tension, and dancing, the Dionysus art, and every other form of stupefaction and ecstacy. These are modes of slipping out of awareness by the aid of being, the cosmic, the "it," the escape out of space into time.

[Gap, p. 267]

"One has merely to declare oneself free, and one feels the moment to be conditioned. But if one has the courage to declare oneself conditioned, then one has the feeling of being free" (Goethe)

....primitive man would discover no difference between the magic wherewith the priests of his villages command the daemons and that wherewith the civilized technician commands his machines.

p. 268

...to evade the possibilities of Destiny, always to look upon the race in oneself as the lurking enemy-- nothing but hard system, doctrine, and exercise will give that. No action must be causal or impulsive-- that is, left to the blood-- everything must be considered according to motives and results and "carried out" according to orders. Extreme tension of awareness is required lest we fall into sin. First of all things, continence in what pertains to the blood, love, marriage. Love and hate in mankind are cosmic and evil; the love of the sexes is the very polar opposite of timeless love and fear of God, and therefore it is the prime sin, for which Adam was cast forth from paradise and burdened man with the heritage of guilt. Conception and death define the... body in space,... the former sin and the latter punishment. [Greek text] (the Classical body a grave !) was the confession of the Orphic religion. Aeschylus and Pindar comphrehend Being as a reproach, and the saints of all Cultures feel it as an impiety that has to be killed off by askesis or (what is nearly related thereto) orgiastic squandering. Action, the field of history, the deed, heroism, delight in battle and victory and spoil, [Editors note: 'worldly affairs'] are evil. For in them the pulse of cosmic being knocks on the door too loudly and disturbingly for contemplativeness and thought. The whole world-- meaning the world-as-history-- is infamous. It fights instead of renouncing; it does not possess the idea of sacrifice. It prevails over truth by means of facts. As it follows impulse, it baffles thought about cause and effect. And therefore the highest sacrifice that intellectual man can offer is to make a personal present of it to the powers of nature. Every moral action is a piece of this sacrifice, and an ethical life-course is an unbroken chain of such sacrifices. Above all, the offering of sympathy, com-passion, in which the inwardly strong gives up his superiority to the powerless. The compassionate man kills something within himself. But we must not confuse this sympathy in the grand religious sense with the vague sentimentality of the everyday man, who cannot command himself, still less with the race-feeling of chivalry that is not a moral of reasons and rules at all, but an upstanding and self-evident custom bred of the unconscious pulsations of a keyed-up life. That which in civilized times is called social ethics has nothing to do with religion, and its presence only goes to show the weakness and emptiness of the religiousness of the day, which has lost that force of metaphysical sureness that is the condition precedent of strong, convinced, and self-denying moral. Think for instance of the difference between Pascal and Mill. Social ethic is nothing but practical politics. It is a very Late product of the same historical world whose Springtime (in all Cultures alike) has witnessed the flowering of an ethic of high courage and knightliness in a strong stock that does not wince under the life of history and fate; an ethic of natural and acquired reactions that polite society to-day would call "the instincts of a gentleman"; an ethic of which vulgarity and not sin is the antithesis. Once again it is the Castle versus the Cathedral. The castle character does not ask about precepts and reasons. In fact, it does not ask questions at all. Its code lies in the blood-- which is pulse-- and its fear is not of punishment or requital, but of contempt and especially self-contempt. It is not selfless; on the contrary, it springs from the very fullness of a strong self. But Compassion likewise demands inward greatness of soul, and so it is those selfsame Springtimes that produce the most saintly servants of pity, the Francis of Assisi, the Bernard of Clairvaux, in whom renunciation was a pervading fragrance, to whom self-offering was bliss, whose caritas [Christian Charity] was ethereal, bloodless, timeless, historyless, in whom fear of the universe had dissolved itself into pure, flawless love, a summit of causal moral of which Late periods are simply no longer capable. 
To constrain one's blood, one must have blood. Consequently it is only in knightly warrior-times that we find a monasticism of the great style, and the highest symbol for the complete victory of Space over Time is the warrior become ascetic-- not the born dreamer and weakling, who belongs by nature to the cloister, nor again the scholar, who works at a moral system in the study. Putting cant aside, that which is called moral to-day-- a proper affection for one's nearest, or the exercise of worthy inclinations, or the practice of caritas with an arriere-pensee [ultiria motive] of acquiring political power by that means-- is not honour-moral, or even a low grade of it, according to Springtime standards. To repeat: there is grand moral only with reference to death, and its sources are a fear, pervading the whole waking-consciousness, of metaphysical causes and consequences, a love that overcomes life, a consciousness that one is under the inexorable magic of a causal system of sacred laws and purposes, which are honoured as truths and which one must either wholly belong to or wholly renounce. Constant tension, self-watching, self-testing, accompany the exercise of this moral, which is an art, and in the presence of which the world-as-history· sinks to nothingness. Let a man be either a hero or a saint. In between lies, not wisdom, but banality.


If there were truths independent of the currents of being, there could be no history of truths. If there were one single eternally right religion, religious history would be an inconceivable idea.

Not that "eternal truths" do not exist. Every man possesses them... to the extent that he exists and exercises the understanding faculty in a world of thoughts, in the connected ensemble of which they are, in and for the instant of thought, unalterable fixtures - ironbound as cause-effect combinations in hoops of premisses and conclusions. Nothing in this disposition can become displaced, he believes. But in reality it is just one surge of life that is lifting his waking self and its world together. Its unity remains integral, but as a unit, a whole, a fact, it has a history. Absolute and relative are to one another as transverse and longitudinal sections of a succession of generations, the latter ignoring Space, and the former Time.

Alles Vergangliche ist nur ein Gleichnis ["All that is transitory is but a metaphor"] holds good for the eternal truths also, as soon as we follow their course in the stream of history, and watch them move on as elements in the world-picture of the generations that live and die. [...] In the world-as-nature there are eternal truths; in the world-as-history there is an eternally changing trueness.  
A morphology of religious history... is a task that the Faustian spirit alone could ever formulate, and one that it is only now, at this present stage of its development, fit to deal with. The problem is enunciated, and we must dare the effort of getting completely away from our own convictions and seeing before us everything indifferently as equally alien. And how hard it is! He who undertakes the task must possess the strength not merely to imagine himself in an illusory detachment from the truths of his world-understanding-- illusory even to one for whom truths are just a set of concepts and methods-- but actually to penetrate his own system physiognomically to its very last cells.

Western research has been at great pains, not only to set in order individual observations gathered from all parts of the world, but to arrange them according to assumed gradations that "lead up" from animism (or other beginnings, as you please) to the belief that it holds itself. Unfortunately, it is one particular religion that has provided the values of the scheme, and Chinese or Greeks would have built it quite differently. In reality no such gradation, leading a general human evolution up to one goal, exists. [...] Such a world-picture does not "progress"; nor is it a fixed sum of particulars from which this one and that one ought to be (though usually they are) picked out for comparison irrespective of time, land, and people. In reality they form a world of organic religions, which, all over the world, possessed (and, where they linger, still possess) proper and very significant modes of originating, growing, expanding, and fading out, and a well-established specific character in point of structure, style, tempo, and duration. The religions of the high Cultures are not developed from these, but different. [...] The primitive religiousness penetrates everything; the later and individualized religions are self-contained form-worlds of their own. 
All the more enigmatic, therefore, are the "pre-" periods of the grand Cultures, still primitive through and through, and yet more and more distinctly anticipating and pointing in a definite deirection. It is just these periods, of some centuries' duration, that ought to have been accurately examined and compared amongst themselves and for themselves.

But what are the features... of the primitive religion of Merovingian times that foreshadow the mighty uprising of the Gothic that was at hand? That both are ostensibly the same religion, Christianity, proves nothing when we consider the entire difference in their deeps. For (we must be quite clear in our own mind on this) the primitive character of a religion does not lie in its stock of doctrines and usages, but in the specific spirituality of the mankind that adopts them and feels, speaks, and thinks with them. The student has to familiarize himself with the fact that primitive Christianity (more exactly, the early Christianity of the Western Church) has twice subsequently become the expression-vehicle of a primitive piety, and therefore itself a primitive religion-- namely, in the Celtic-Germanic West between 500 and 900, and in Russia up to this day.



...the group of Magian religions arose in the region intermediate between the Classical and the Indian field... . A thousand years later... there appeared on the unpromising soil of France, sudden and swiftly mounting, Germanic-Catholic Christianity. [...] ...whether the whole stock of names and practices came from the East, or whether thousands of particular details were derived from primeval Germanic and Celtic feelings, the Gothic religion is something so new and unheard-of, something of which the final depths are so completely incomprehensible by anyone outside its faith, that to contrive linkages for them on the historical surfaces is meaningless jugglery.
The mythic world that... formed itself around this young soul, an integer of force, will, and direction seen under the symbol of Infinity, a stupendous action-into-distance, chasms of terror and of bliss suddenly opening up-- it was all, for the elect of this early religiousness, something so entirely natural that they could not even detach themselves sufficiently to "know" it as a unit. They lived in it.

...the whole longing of the young breed, the whole desire of this strongly coursing blood,... found its expression in the figure of the Virgin and Mother Mary, whose crowning in the heavens was one of the earliest motives of the Gothic art. She is the light-figure, in white, blue, and gold, surrounded by the heavenly hosts. She leans over the new-born Child; she feels the sword in her heart; she stands at the foot of the cross; she holds the corpse of the dead Son. [...] Countless legends gathered round her figure. She is the guardian of the Church's store of Grace, the Great Intercessor.

But this world of purity, light, and utter beauty of soul would have been unimaginable without the counter-idea, inseparable from it, an idea that constitutes one of the maxima of Gothic, one of its unfathomable creations-- one that the present day forgets, and deliberately forgets. While she there sits enthroned, smiling in her beauty and tenderness, there lies in the background another world that throughout nature and throughout mankind weaves and breeds ill, pierces, destroys, seduces-- namely, the realm of the Devil. It penetrates the whole of Creation, it lies ambushed everywhere
[editors note: recall the antidote related by Heinrich Heine's in his  History of religion and philosophy in Germany about the abbots engaged in theological disputation as they walked through the forest and coming to a halt at the sound of a birds charming song, which they all agreed was a rouse of the devil trying to trick them, an indication of how deeply this fear penetrated the experience of nature, as the nature spirits of the primeval religion were turned into chothonic daemons]. All around is an army of goblins, night-spirits, witches, werewolves, all in human shape. [...] An appalling fear... weighs upon man. Every moment he may stumble into the abyss. There were black magic, and devils' masses and witches' sabbaths, night feasts on mountain-tops, magic draughts and charm-formulae. The Prince of hell, with his... fallen angels and his uncanny henchmen, is one of the most tremendous creations in all religious history. The Germanic Loki is hardly more than a preliminary hint of him. Their grotesque figures, with horns, claws, and horses' hoofs, were already fully formed in the mystery plays of the eleventh century; everywhere the artist's fancy abounded in them, and, right up to Durer and Grunewald, Gothic painting is unthinkable without them.

The Mary-myths and the Devil-myths formed themselves side by side, neither possible without the other. [...] There was a Mary-cult prayer, and a Devil-cult of spells and exorcisms. Man walked continuously on the thin crust of [/over] the bottomless pit. Life in this world is a ceaseless and desperate contest with the Devil, into which every individual plunges as a member of the Church Militant, to do battle for himself and to win his knight's spurs. The Church Triumphant of angels and saints in their glory looks down from on high, and heavenly Grace is the warrior's shield in the battle. Mary is the protectress to whose bosom he can fly to be comforted, and the high lady who awards the prizes of valour. [...] ...to the Madonna belong white and blue, to the Devil black, sulphur-yellow, and red. The saints and angels float in the aether, but the devils leap and crouch and the witches rustle through the night. It is the two together, light and night, which fill Gothic art with its indescribable inwardness... . [...] The light-encircled angels of Fra Angelico and the early Rhenish masters, and the grimacing things on the portals of the great cathedrals, really filled the air. Men saw them, felt their presence everywhere. Today we simply no longer know what a myth is, for it is no mere aesthetically pleasing mode of representing something to oneself, but a piece of the most lively actuality... . [...] What we call myth nowadays, our litterateur's and connoisseur's taste for Gothic colour, is nothing but Alexandrinism.

...if we eliminate this appalling reality from Gothic, all that remains is mere romanticism. It was not only the love-glowing hymns to Mary, but the cries of countless pyres as well that rose up to heaven. Hard by the Cathedral were the gallows and the wheel. Every man lived in those days in the consciousness of an immense danger, and it was hell, not the hangman, that he feared. [...] Inquisitors, in tears and compassion for the fallen wretches, doomed them to the rack in order to save their souls. That is the Gothic myth, out of which came the cathedral, the crusader, the deep and spiritual painting, the mysticism.

St. Francis's "Hymn to the Sun" [
"Laudes Creaturarum"] had not long been written, and the Franciscans were kneeling in intimate prayer before Mary and spreading her cult afar, when the Dominicans armed themselves for battle with the Devil by setting up the Inquisition. Heavenly love found its focus in the Mary-image, and eo ipso earthly love became akin to the Devil. Woman is Sin-- so the great ascetics felt... . The Devil rules only woman. The witch is the propagator of deadly sin. It was Thomas Aquinas who evolved the repulsive theory of Incubus and Succuba. Inward mystics like Bonaventura, Albertus Magnus, Duns Scotus, developed a full metaphysic of the devilish. 
The Renaissance had ever the strong faith of the Gothic at the back of its world-outlook. [...] Let us be rid at last of the fable of a renewal of Classical "Antiquity." Renaissance, Rinascita, meant then the Gothic uplift from A.D. 1000 onward, [authors note: This is the real conclusion that emerges from Burdach's Reformation, Renaissance, Humanismus (1918).] the new Faustian world-feeling, the new personal experience of the Ego in the Infinite. [...] The Classical myth was entertainment-material, an allegorical play, through the thin veil of which men saw, no less definitely than before, the old Gothic actuality. [...] It was all for the church that the Florentines laboured, and with conviction. [...] A firm belief in the realm of Satan, and in deliverance from it through the saints, lay at the root of all this art and literature; and every one of them, painters, architects, and humanists-- however often the names of Cicero and Virgil, Venus and Apollo were on their lips-- looked upon the burning of witches as something entirely natural and wore amulets against the devil. The writings of Marsilius Ficinus [who translated Plato's work into Latin, and wrote Platonic Theology and Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love] are full of learned disquisitions on devils and witches. Francesco della Mirandola wrote (in elegant Latin) his dialogue "The Witch" in order to warn the fine intellects of his circle against a danger. When Leonardo da Vinci, at the summit of the Renaissance, was working upon his "Anna Selbdritt," [Tr note: Italian, "Anna Metterza." The reference is to the St. Anne of the Louvre and the Royal Academy Diploma Gallery, London.] the "Witches' Hammer" was being written in Rome (1487) in the finest Humanistic Latin. It was these that constitute the real myth of the Renaissance, and without them we shall never understand the glorious and truly Gothic force of this anti-Gothic movement. [Tr note: see 'Act and Portrait', volume 1] Men who did not feel the Devil very near at hand could not have created the Divina Commedia or the frescoes of Orvieto or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. 

The Fall of the Damned, Luca Signorelli, fresco, Orvieto.
Torment of Saint Anthony, Michelangelo, 1488

It was the tremendous background of this myth that awakened in the Faustian soul a feeling of what it was. An Ego lost in Infinity, an Ego that was all force, but a force negligibly weak in an infinity of greater forces; that was all will, but a will full of fear for its freedom. Never has the problem of Free-will been meditated upon more deeply or more painfully. Other Cultures have simply not known it.

The result of this in-looking was that immense sense of guilt which runs throughout these centuries like one long, desperate lament. The cathedrals rose evermore supplicatingly to heaven... . ...the Latin hymns, tell of bruised knees and flagellations in the nocturnal cell. For Magian man the world-cavern had been close and the heaven impending, but for Gothic man heaven was infinitely far. ...all about the lone Ego the mocking Devil's world lay in leaguer [i.e., seige]. And, therefore, the great longing of Mysticism was... to be rid of self and all things (Meister Eckart), to abandon selfness (Theologie deutsch).

To be able to will freely is, at the very bottom, the one gift that the Faustian soul asks of heaven. The seven sacraments of the Gothic, felt as one by Peter Lombard, elevated into dogma by the Lateran Council of 1215, and grounded in mystical foundations by Thomas Aquinas, mean this and only this. They accompany the unit soul from birth to death and protect it against the diabolical powers that seek to nest themselves in its will. For to sell oneself to the Devil means to deliver up one's will to him.

[Editors note: recall that the very idea of purgatory is contemporaneous with the sacrament of contrition]

...the essentially Faustian prime-sacrament [is] Contrition. This ranks with the Mary-myth and the Devil-myth as the third great creation of the Gothic. And, indeed, it is from this third that the other two derive depth and meaning. [...] The effect of the Magian baptism was to incorporate a man in the great consensus... . But in the Faustian contrition the idea of personality was implicit. It is not true that the Renaissance discovered personality [authors note: ...Faustian man is a centre in the universe, which with its soul embraces the whole. But personality (individuality) means, not something separate (einzelnes), but something single (einziges).]; what it did was to bring personality up to a brilliant surface, whereby it suddenly became visible to everyone. Its birth is in Gothic; it is the most intimate and peculiar property of Gothic; it is one and the same with Gothic soul. For this contrition is something that each one accomplishes for himself alone. He alone can search his own conscience. He alone stands rueful in the presence of the Infinite. He alone can and must in confession understand and put into words his own past. [...] Baptism is wholly impersonal-- one receives it because one is a man, not because one is this man-- but the idea of contrition presupposes that the value of every act depends uniquely upon the man who does it. This is what differentiates the Western drama from the Classical, the Chinese, and the Indian. [...] Faustian responsibility instead of Magian resignedness, the individual instead of the consensus; relief from, instead of submissiveness under, burdens-- that is the difference beteween the most active and the most passive of all sacraments, and at the back of it again lies the difference between the world-cavern and infinity-dynamics. Baptism is something done upon one, Contrition something done by oneself within oneself. And, moreover, this conscientious searching of one's own past is both the earliest evidence of, and the finest training for, the historical sense of Faustian mankind. There is no other Culture in which the personal life of the living man, the conscientious tracing of each feature, has been so important, for this alone has required the accounts to be rendered in words. If historical research and biography are characteristic of the spirit of the West from its beginnings; if both in the last resort are self-examination and confession... --we have this sacrament of the Gothic Church, this continual unburdening of the Ego by historical test and justification to thank for it. Every confession is an autobiography. This peculiar liberation of the will is to us so necessary that the refusal of absolution drives to despair, even to destruction. Only he who senses the bliss of such an inward acquittal can comprehend the old name of the sacramentum resurgentium, the sacrament of those who are risen again [authors note: ...the notion of confession as a duty, which was finally established in 1215, first arose in England, whence came also the first confession-books (Penitentials). [...] It is evidence of the independence of Faustian Christianity from Magian that its decisive ideas grew up in those remote parts of its field which lay beyond the Frankish Empire.].
When in this heaviest of decisions the soul is left to its own resources, something unresolved remains hanging over it like a perpetual cloud [Editors note: recall that one of the questions which Jung was responding to in his lecture 'The Symbolic Life', delivered in London on the eve of the Second World War, was to try to explain why the Protestant Clergy were more prone to Neurosis than the Catholic]. [...] The whole inwardness and heavenly love of the Gothic rests upon the certainty of full absolution through the power invested in the priest. In the insecurity that ensued from the decline of this sacrament, both Gothic joy of life and the Mary-world of the light faded out. Only the Devil's world, with its grim all-presentness, remained. And then, in place of the blissfulness irrecoverably lost, came the Protestant, and especially Puritan, heroism...  . "Auricular confession," said Goethe once, "ought never to have been taken from mankind." Over the lands in which it had died out, a heavy earnestness spread itself. Ethic and costume, art and thought, took on the night-colour of the only myth that remained outstanding. Nothing is less sunlit than the doctrines of Kant. "Every man his own priest" is a conviction to which men could win through, but only as to that part of priesthood that involves duties, not as to that which possesses powers. No man confesses himself with the inward certainty of absolution. ...in Protestant countries music and painting, letter-writting and memoirs, from being modes of description became modes of self-denunciation, penance, and unbounded confession. [...] Outlook on the world was lost in ceaseless mine-warfare within the self. [...] Personal art, in the sense that distinguishes Goethe from Dante, and Rembrandt from Michelangelo, was a substitute for the sacrament of confession.


Reformation is Gothic, the accomplishment and the testament thereof. [...] Luther, like every reformer that had arisen since the year 1000, fought the Church not because it demanded too much, but because it demanded too little. The great stream flows on from Cluny: through Arnold of Brescia, who preached return to Apostolic simplicity and was burned in 1155; through Joachim of Floris, who was the first to use the word "reformare;" the spirituals ['Fraticelli'] of the Franciscan order; Jacopone da Todi, [a Fraticelli] revolutionary and singer of the Stabat Mater ['the sorrowful mother', a hymn to Mary], the knight whom the death of a young wife turned into an ascetic and who tried to overthrow Boniface VIII for governing the Church too slackly; through Wyclif and Hus and Savonarola; to Luther, Karlstadt, Zwingli, Calvin, and-- Loyola. The intention of these men, one and all, was not to overcome the Christianity of the Gothic, but to bring it to inward fulfilment.[...] It is an ending, not a new beginning, that these signify. 

[gap, 297]

...key to the opposition of the Renaissance and Reformation... was an opposition of class and not a difference in world-feeling like that of Renaissance and Gothic. 

...the last reformers..., the Luthers and Savonarolas, were urban monks, and this differentiates them profoundly from the Joachims and the Bernards [of Clairvaux]. Their intellectual and urban askesis is the stepping-stone from the hermitages of quiet valleys to the scholar's study of the Baroque. The mystic experience of Luther which gave birth to his doctrine of justification is the expression, not of a St. Bernard in the presence of woods and hills and clouds and stars, but of a man who looks through narrow windows on the streets and house walls and gables. Broad God-perfused nature is remote, outside the city wall, and the free intellect, detached from the soil, is inside it. Within the urban, stone-walled waking consciousness sense and reason part company and become enemies, and the city-mysticism of the last reformers is thus a mysticism of pure reason through and through, and not one of the eye-- an illumination of concepts, in presence of which the brightly coloured figures of the old myth fade into paleness.

[Luther] completely liberated the Faustian personality-- the intermediate person of the priest, which had formerly stood between it and the Infinite, was removed. And now it was wholly alone, self-orientated, its own priest and its own judge. But the common people could only feel, not understand, the element of liberation in it all. They welcomed, enthusiastically, indeed, the tearing-up of visible duties, but they did not come to realize that these had been replaced by intellectual duties that were still stricter. Francis of Assis had given much and taken little, but the urban Reformation took much and, as far as the majority of people were concerned, gave little.
The holy Causality of the Contrition-sacrament Luther replaced by the mystic experience of inward absolution "by faith alone." [...] This visible link with the Infinite, [in the consecrated person of the Priest, with its 'character indelebilis',] Protestantism destroyed. [...] ...the very illumination of [Saint Bernard] soul showed him the Mary-world of living nature, all-pervading, ever near, and ever helpful. [...] For [Luther] life was desperate battle against the Devil, and that battle he called upon everyone to fight. And everyone who fought it fought alone.

 The Reformation abolished the whole bright and consoling side of the Gothic myth-- the cult of Mary, the veneration of the saints, the relics, the pilgrimages, the mass. But the myth of devildom and witchcraft remained, for it was the embodiment and cause of the inner torture, and now that torture at last rose to its supreme horror. Baptism was, for Luther at least, an exorcism, the veritable sacrament of devil-banning. There grew up a large, purely Protestant literature about the Devi1. Out of the Gothic wealth of colour, there remained black; of its arts, music, in particular organ-music.


Intellectual creativeness of the Late period begins, not with, but after, the Reformation. Its most typical creation is free science. [...] The thought of the Springtime... had felt its vocation to be the justification of faith by criticism. If criticism did not succeed, the critical method must be wrong. Knowledge was faith justified, not faith controverted. 
Now, however, the critical powers of the city intellect have become so great that it is no longer content to affirm, but must test.

Within Baroque philosophy, Western natural-science stands by itself. No other Culture possesses anything like it, and assuredly it must have been from its beginnings, not a "handmaid of theology," but the servant of the technical Will-to-Power...-- from its very foundations a practical mechanics. And as it is firstly technique and only secondly theory, it must be as old as Faustian man himself. Accordingly, we find technical works of an astounding energy of combination even by 1000 [Tr note: Clocks being an outstanding example. See Vol. 1, p.15, footnote]. As early as the thirteenth century Robert Grosseteste [Editors note, see his 13th century Tract on Light
] was treating space as a function of light. [...] ...the Faustian symbol of the machine... urged us to mechanical constructions even in the twelfth century and made "Perpetuum mobile" the Prometheus-idea of the Western intellect [Editors note: recall here the work of Nicholas Tesla, which holds such fascination today]. For us the first thing is ever the working-hypothesis... . It is an astounding fact (to which, however, we must accustom ourselves) that the idea of immediately exploiting in practice any knowledge of natural relations that may be acquired is alien to every sort of mankind except the Faustian (and those who, like Japanese, Jews, and Russians, have today come under the intellectual spell of its Civilization). The very notion of the working hypothesis implicitly contains a dynamic lay-out of the universe. Theoria... was for those subtly inquiring monks only secondary, and, being itself the outcome of the technical passion, it presently led them, quite imperceptibly, to the typically Faustian conception of God as the Grand Master of the machine, who could accomplish everything that they themselves in their impotence only dared to wish. Insensibly the world of God became, century by century, more and more like the Perpetuum mobile.

Just as the Classical mind felt Prometheus's defiance of the gods as "hybris," so our Baroque felt the machine as diabolica1. The spirit of Hell had betrayed to man the secret of mastering the world-mechanism and even of himself enacting the part of God. And hence it is that all purely priestly natures, that live wholly in the world of the spirit and expect nothing of "this world"-- and notably the idealist philosophers, the Classicists, the Humanists, and even Nietzsche-- have for technique nothing but silent hostility. 

Every Late philosophy contains this critical protest against the uncritical intuitiveness of the Spring. But this criticism of the intellect that is sure of its own superiority effects also faith itself and evokes the one great creation in the field of religion that is the peculiarity of the Late period-- every Late period-- namely, Puritanism.
Puritanism manifests itself int he army of Cromwell and his Independents, iron, Bible-firm, psalm-singing as they rode into battle... . Milton's Paradise Lost, many surahs of the Koran, the little that we know of Pythagorean teachings-- all come to the same thing. They are enthusiasms of a sober spirit, cold intensities, dry mysticism, pedantic ecstacy. [...] Deadly earnest broods over the Jansenist mind of Port Royal [Editors note: and which lies in the background of the Logic and Grammar which grew out of it. On Port Royal Logic and Grammar see Foucault's Order of Things], over the meetings of the black-clothed Roundheads, by whom Shakespeare's "Merry England"... was annihilated in a few years. Now for the first time the battle against the Devil, whose bodily nearness they all felt, was fought with a dark and bitter fury. In the seventeenth century more than a million witches were burnt-- alike in the Protestant North, the Catholic South, and even the communities in America and India. Joyless and sour are the duty-doctrines of Islam (Fikh), with its hard intellectuality, and the Westminster Catechism of 1643, and the Jansenist ethics (Jansen's Augustinus, 1640) as well-- for in the realm of Loyola, too, there was of inward necessity a Puritan movement. [...] In all Puritan poetry the place of the old Gothic visions is taken by an unbridled, yet withal jejune, spirit of allegory [Editors note: which in the 17th century followed the strict rule: only allegories which find their terms in the bible are permissable, everything else being unbridled fantasy]. In the waking-consciousness of these ascetics the concept is the only real power. [...] Milton, Cromwell's great secretary of state, clothed concepts with shapes, and Bunyan brings a hole mythology of concepts into ethical-allegorical activity [Editors note: Pilgrims Progress]. From that it is but a step to Kant, in whose conceptual ethics the Devil assumes his final shape as the Radically Evil. 

We have to emancipate ourselves from the surfaces of history-- and, especially, to thrust aside the artificial fences in which the methodology of Western sciences has paddocked it-- before we can see that Pythagoras, Mohammed, and Cromwell embody one and the same movement in three Cultures. 
Pythagoras was not a philosopher. According to all statements of the Pre-Socratics, he was a saint, prophet and founder of a fanatically religious society [Editors note: which would furnish the early Christian monastaries with their paradigm for an ascetic community]... . A myth purified and conceptually fortified, combined with rigorous ethical precepts, imbued the Pythagoreans with the conviction that they would attain salvation before all other men. The gold tablets [engraved with an Orphic prayer] found in Thurii and Petelia [Editors note: and in Thessaly], which were put into the hand of the dead initiate, carried the assurance of the god: "Happy and blessed one, thou shalt be no more a mortal, but a god." It is the same certainty that the Koran gave to all believers who fought in the holy war against the infidel-- "The monasticism of Islam is the religious war," says a hadith of the Prophet-- the same which filled Cromwell's Ironsides when they scattered the King's "Philistines" and  "Amalekites" at Marston Moor and Naseby.

It is incident, and no more, that the Puritan movement for which the Magian world was ripe proceeded from a man of Mecca and not from a Monophysite or a Jew. [...] Mecca was a little island of ancient Arabian paganism in the midst of a world of Jews and Christians, a mere relic that had long been mined by the ideas of the great Magian religions. [...] At most Islam was a new religion only to the same extent as Lutheranism was one. Actually, it was the prolongation of the great early religions. Equally, its expansion was not (as is even now imagined) a "migration of peoples" proceeding from the Arabian Peninsula, but an onslaught of enthusiastic believers, which like an avalanche bore along with it Christians, Jews, and Mazdaists and set them at once in its front rank as fanatical Moslems. [...] About 650 Byzantine literature quite suddenly vanished, and the deeper meaning of the fact has so far never been noticed-- it was just that the Arabian literature took up the tale. The soul of the Magian Culture found at last its true expression in Islam, and therewith became truly the "Arabian," free thenceforth from all bondage to the Pseudo-morphosis. The Iconoclastic movement, led by Islam, but long prepared by Monophysites and Jews, advanced to and even beyond Byzantium, where the Syrian Leo III (717-41) raised this Puritan movement of Islamic-Christian sects-- the Paulicians about 650 and the Bogomils later-- to predominance. 
The great figures of Mohammed's entourage, such as Abu Bekr and Omar, are the near relatives of the Pyms and Hampdens of the English Revolution... . All of them had won out of Predestination the guarantee that they were God's elect. The grand Old Testament exaltation of Parliament and the camps of Independency-- which left behind it, in many an English family, even to the nineteenth century, [Tr Note: Not to say the twentieth] the belief that the English are the descendants of the ten Lost Tribes of Israel, a nation of saints predestined to govern the world-- dominated also the emigration to America which began with the Pilgrim Fathers of 1620 [Editors note: c.f. 'Manifest Destiny']. It formed that which may be called the American religion of today, and bred and fostered the trait which gives the Englishman even now his particular political insouciance, an assurance that is essentially religious and has its roots in predestination. 

But in Puritanism there is hidden already the seed of Rationalism, and after a few enthusiastic generations have passed, this bursts forth everywhere and makes itself supreme. This is the step from Cromwell to Hume. Not cities in general... but a few particular cities now become the theatre of intellectual history-- ...eighteenth-century London and Paris. [Tr note: To which may be added Edinburgh] "Enlightenment" is the cliche of that time. The sun bursts forth-- but what is it that clears off the heavens of the critical consciousness to make way for that sun?
Rationalism signifies the belief in the data of critical understanding (that is, of the "reason") alone. In the Springtime men could say "Credo quia absurdum," [Editors note: a medieval paraphrase of a passage in
Tertullian's defence of orthodoxy against docetism. Also recall the words of Pseudo-Dionysius 'Unitive wisdom is unreasonable, insane and foolish', and the popular theme of the early renaissance, discussed by Foucault in his History of Madness, variously expressed as 'the wisdom of God is seen as folly in the eyes of the world' and 'the reason of man is folly in the eyes of God'] because they were certain that the comprehensible and the incomprehensible were both necessary constitutes of the world... . But now a secret jealousy breeds the notion of the Irrational-- that which, as incomprehensible, is therefore valueless. It may be scorned openly as superstition, or privily as metaphysic [Editors note: Adam Smith and David Hume defined science and philosophy as the 'enemies of superstition']. Only critically -established understanding possesses value [Editors note: see Foucault on Descartes in his History of Madness]. And secrets are merely evidences of ignorance. The new secretless religion is in its highest potentialities called wisdom [Greek text], its priests philosophers, and its adherents "educated" people. According to Aristotle, the old religion is indisputable only to the uneducated [Tr note: Metaphysics XI, 8, p. 1074 (Bekker) 13.], and his view is Confucius's and Gotama Buddha's, Lessing's and Voltaire's. Men go away from Culture "back to nature," but this nature is not something livingly experienced, but something... accessible only to the intellect-- a Nature that has no existence at all for a peasantry... . Natural religion, rational religion, Deism-- all this is not lived metaphysics, but comprehended mechanics... . [...] Systems were woven out of phenomenally guaranteed beginnings, but in the long run the result was merely to say "Force" instead of "God," and "Conservation of Energy" instead of "Eternity." Under all Classical rationalism is to be found Olympus, under all Western the dogma of the sacraments. 



The wisdom of the enlightenment never interferes with comfort. Moral with the great Myth to back it is always a sacrifice, a cult, even to extremes of asceticism, even to death; but Virtue with Wisdom at its back is a sort of secret enjoyment, a superfine intellectual egoism. And so the ethical teacher who is outside real religion become the Philistine.

Along with this (shall we call it) scholasticism of sane reason, there must of inner necessity be a rationalistic mysticism of the educated. The Western Enlightenment is of English origin and Puritan parentage. The rationalism of the Continent comes wholly from Locke. In opposition to it there arose in Germany the Pietists (Herrnhut, 1700, Spener and Francke, and in Wurttemberg Oetinger) and in England the Methodists (Wesley "awakened" by herrnhut, 1738). It was Luther and Calvin over again... . The Pietists of Islam are to be found in Sufism, which is not of "Persian" but of common Aramean origin and in the eighth century spread all over the Arabian world. [...] And Pietism may ascend even to the peak of rationalist vision, of which Swedenborg is the great example [Editors note: and whose mystical revelations so fascinated Kant, who then went on to publish his critique of them]... . 


Two centuries after Puritanism the mechanistic conception of the world stands at its zenith. It is the effective religion of the time.

Socrates is alike the heir of the Sophists and the ancestor of the Cynic itinerants and of Pyrrhonian skepsis. All are manifestations of the superiority of the megalopolitan intellect that has done with the irrational for good and all and despises any waking-consciousness that still knows or acknowledges mysteries. Gothic men shrank at every step before the fathomless, more awe-inspiring still as presented in dogmatic truths. But to-day even the Catholic has arrived at the point of feeling these dogmas as a successful systematic exposition of the riddle of the universe.

Unique and self-contained, again, is the Faustian materialism, in the narrower sense of the word. In it the technical outlook upon the world reached fulfilment. The whole world a dynamic system, exact, mathematically disposed, capable down to its first causes of being experimentally probed and numerically fixed so that man can dominate it-- this is what distinguishes our particular "return to Nature" from all others. That "Knowledge is Virtue" Confucius also believed, and Buddha, and Socrates, but "Knowledge is Power" is a phrase that possesses meaning only within the European-American Civilization. "Return to nature" here means the elimination of all forces that stand between the practical intelligence and nature... . But the grand intellectual myth of Energy and Mass is at the same time a vast working hypothesis. It draws the picture of nature in such a way that men can use it. The Destiny element is mechanized as evolution, development, progress, and put into the centre of the system; the Will is an albumen-process; and all these doctrines of Monism, Darwinism, Positivism, and what not are elevated into the fitness-moral which is the beacon of American business men, British politicians, and German progress-Philistines alike-- and turns out, in
the last analysis, to be nothing but an intellectualist caricature of the old justification by faith.

Materialism would not be complete without the need of now and again easing the intellectual tension, by giving way to moods of myth, by performing rites of some sort, or by enjoying with an inward light-heartedness the charms of the irrational, the unnatural, the repulsive, and even, if need be, the merely silly. [...] The Isis-cult in Republican Rome was something very different both from the emperor-worship that succeeded it and from the deeply earnest Isis-religion of Egypt; it was a religious pastime of high society, which at times provoked public ridicule and at times led to public scandal and the closing of the cult-centres. [Authors note: Which was ordered no less than four times in the decade 58-49.] [...] Correspondingly, we have in the EuropeanAmerican world of to-day the occultist and theosophist fraud, the American Christian Science, the untrue Buddhism of drawing-rooms, the religious arts-and-crafts business (brisker in Germany than even in England) that caters for groups and cults of Gothic or Late Classical or Taoist sentiment. Everywhere it is just a toying with myths that no one really believes, a tasting of cults that it is hoped might fill the inner void. The real belief is always the belief in atoms and numbers, but it requires this highbrow hocus-pocus to make it bearable in the long run. Materialism is shallow and honest, mock-religion shallow and dishonest. But the fact that the latter is possible at all foreshadows a new and genuine spirit of seeking that declares itself, first quietly, but soon emphatically and openly, in the civilized waking-consciousness.
This next phase I call the Second Religiousness. It appears in all Civilizations as soon as they have fully formed themselves as such and are beginning to pass, slowly and imperceptibly, into the non-historical state in which time-periods cease to mean anything. (So far as the Western Civilization is concerned, therefore, we are still many generations short of that point.) The Second Religiousness
is the necessary counterpart of Caesarism, which is the final political constitution of Late Civilizations; it becomes visible, therefore, in the Augustan Age of the Classical and about the time of Shi-hwang-ti's time in China. In both phenomena the creative young strength of the Early Culture is lacking. But both have their greatness nevertheless. That of the Second Religiousness consists in a deep piety that fills the waking-consciousness-- the piety that impressed Herodotus in the (Late) Egyptians and impresses West-Europeans in China, India, and Islam-- and that of Caesarism consists in its unchained might of colossal facts. [...] Nothing is built up, no idea unfolds itself-- it is only as if a mist cleared off the land and revealed the old forms, uncertainly at first, but presently with increasing distinctness. The material of the Second Religiousness is simply that of the first, genuine, young religiousness-- only otherwise experienced and expressed. It starts with Rationalism's fading out in helplessness, then the forms of the Springtime become visible, and finally the whole world of primitive religion, which had receded before the grand forms of the early faith, returns to the foreground, powerful, in the guise of the popular syncretism that is to be found in every Culture at this phase.
Every "Age of Enlightenment" proceeds from an unlimited optimism of the reason - always associated with the type of the megalopolitan - to an equally unqualified scepticism. The sovereign waking-consciousness, cut off by walls and artificialities from living nature and the land about it and under it, cognises nothing outside itself. It applies criticism to its imaginary world, which it has cleared of everyday sense-experience, and continues to do so till it has found the last and subtlest result, the form of the form-- itself: namely, nothing. With this the possibilities of physics as a critical mode of world-understanding are exhausted, and the hunger for metaphysics presents itself afresh. But it is not the religious pastimes of educated and literature-soaked cliques, still less is it the intellect, that gives rise to the Second Religiousness. Its source is the naive belief that arises, unremarked but spontaneous, among the masses that there is some sort of mystic constitution of actuality (as to which formal proofs are presently regarded as barren and tiresome word-jugglery), and an equally naive heart-need reverently responding to the myth with a cult. The forms of neither can be foreseen, still less chosen-- they appear of themselves, and as far as we are ourselves concerned, we are as yet far distant from them. [Authors note: It is perhaps possible for us to make some guess already as to these forms, which (it is self-evident) must lead back to certain elements of Gothic Christianity.]

The Classical philosophy had exhausted its ground by about 250 B.C. From that time on, "knowledge" was no longer a continually tested and augmented stock, but a belief therein, due basically to force of habit, but still able to convince, thanks to an old and well-tried methodology. In the time of Socrates there had been Rationalism as the religion of educated men, with, above it, the scholar-philosophy and, below it, the "superstition" of the masses. [...] ...myth-belief and piety spread, not downwards, but upwards. Philosophy had much to receive and little to give.


In the end Second Religiousness issues in the fellah-religions. [...] Religion becomes entirely historyless; where formerly decades constituted an epoch, now whole centuries pass unimportantly, and the ups and downs of superficial changes only serve to show the unalterable finality of the inner state.


...Moses Maimonides... in 1175 collected the entire dogmatic material of Judaism as something fixed and complete, in a great work of the type of the Chinese Li-ki, entirely regardless of whether the particular items still retained any meaning or not.

In their "Merovingian" period-- approximately the last five centuries before the birth of Christ-- both Jewry and Persia evolve from tribal groups into nations of Magian cast, without land, without unity of origin, and (even so soon) with the characteristic ghetto mode of life that endures unchanged today for the Jews of Brooklyn and the Parsees of Bombay alike. 

In the Springtime (first five centuries of the Christian era) this landless Consensus spread geographically from Spain to Shantung. This was the Jewish Age of Chivalry and its "Gothic" blossoming-time of religious creative-force. The later Apocalyptic, the Mishnah [the first major work of Rabbinic literature], and also primitive Christianity (which was not cast off till after Trajan's and Hadrian's time) are creations of this nation.

About 500 begins the Jewish Baroque... . The Jewish Consensus, like the Persian, Islamic, and Byzantine, now advances to an urban and intellectual awareness, and thenceforward its is master of the forms of city-economics and city-science. Tarragona, Toledo, and Granada are predominantly Jewish cities. Jews constitute an essential element in Moorish high society. Their finished forms, their esprit, their knightliness, amazed the Gothic nobility of the Crusades, which tried to imitate them; but the diplomacy also, and the war-management and the administration of the Moorish cities would all have been unthinkable without the Jewish aristocracy, which was every whit as thoroughbred as the Islamic. 

But an entirely new situation was created when, from about the year 1000, the Western portion of the Consensus found itself suddenly in the field of the young Western Culture. The Jews, like the Parsees, the Byzantines, and the Moslems, had become by then civilized and cosmopolitan, whereas the German-Roman world lived in the townless land, and the settlements that had just come (or were coming) into existence around monasteries and market-places were still many generations short of possessing souls of their own. While the Jews were already almost fellaheen, the Western peoples were still almost primitives. The Jew could not comprehend the Gothic inwardness, the castle, the Cathedral; nor the Christian the Jew's superior, almost cynical, intelligence and his finished expertness in "money-making." There was mutual hate and contempt, due not to race-distinction, but to difference of phase.Into all the hamlets and country towns the Jewish Consensus built its essentially megalopolitan-- proleterian-- ghettos. The Judengasse is a thousand years in advance of the Gothic towns.

But these young nations were, besides, bound up with the soil and the idea of a fatherland, and the landless "Consensus," which was cemented, not by deliberate organization, but by a wholly unconscious, wholly metaphysical impulse-- an expression of the Magi an world-feeling in its simplest and directest form-- appeared to them as something uncanny and incomprehensible. It was in this period that the legend of the Wandering Jew arose. It meant a good deal for a Scottish monk to visit a Lombard monastery, and nostalgia soon took him home again, but when a rabbi of Mainz-- in 1000 the seat of the most important Talmudic seminary of the West-- or of Salerno betook himself to Cairo or Merv or Basra, he was at home in every ghetto. In this tacit cohesion lay the very idea of the Magian nation-- although the contemporary West was unaware of the fact, it was for the Jews, as for the Greeks of the period and the Parsees and Islam, State and Church and people all in one. This State had its own jurisprudence and (what Christians never perceived) its own public life, and despised the surrounding world of the host-peoples as a sort of outland; and it was a veritable treason-trial that expelled Spinoza and Uriel Acosta-- an event of which these host-peoples could not possibly grasp the under meaning.

[Cont. p.318] 

Over and above these oppositions there was that of race, which passed from contempt into hate in proportion as the Western Culture itself caught up with the Civilization and the "difference of age," expressed in the way of life and the increasing primacy of intelligence, became smaller.

While Western man, from the days of the Saxon emperors to the present, has (in the most significant sense of the words) lived his history, and lived it with a consciousness of it that no other Culture can parallel, the Jewish Consensus ceased to have a history at all [Authors note: see p. 48]. Its problems were solved, its inner form was complete, conclusive, and unalterable. For it, as for Islam, the Greek Church, and the Parsees [Zorastorian communities], centuries ceased to mean anything, and consequently no one belonging inwardly to the Consensus can even begin to comprehend the passion with which Faustians livingly experience the short crowded epochs in which their history and destiny take decisive turns-- the beginning of the Crusades, the Reformation, the French Revolution, the German Wars of Liberation, and each and every turning-point in the existence of the several peoples. All this, for the Jew, lies thirty generations back. Outside him history on the grand style flowed on and past. Epochs succeeded to epochs, every century witnessed fundamental human changes, but in the ghetto and in the souls of its denizens all stood still. And even when he regarded himself as a member of the people amongst whom he sojourned and took part in their good and evil fortune-- as happened in so many countries in 1914-- he lived these experiences, not really as something his own, but as a partisan, a supporter; he judged them as an interested spectator, and hence it is just the deepest meanings of the struggle that must ever remain hidden from him. A Jewish calvary-general found in the Thirty Years' War (he lies buried in the old Jewish cemetery at Prague)-- but what did the ideas of Luther or Loyola mean to him? What did the Byzantines-- near relatives of the Jews--comprehend of the Crusades? [...] The Romans, then an ageing people, cannot possibly have understood what was at issue for the Jews in the trial of Jesus or the rising of Barcochebas [Editors note: who lead the Jewish revolt against Rome in the time of Hadrian (A.D. 132-135)]. [...] The member of an alien Culture can be a spectator, and therefore also a descriptive historian of the past, but he can never be a statesman, a man who feels the future working in him. If he does not possess the material power to enable him to act in the cadre of his own Culture, ignoring or manipulating those of the alien (which, of course, may occur, as with the Romans in the young East or Disraeli in England), he stands helpless in the midst of events. The Roman and the Greek always mentally projected the life-conditions of his Polis into the alien event; the modern European always regards alien Destinies in terms of constitution, parliament, and democracy, although the application of such ideas to other Cultures is ridiculous and meaningless; and the Jew of the Consesus follows the history of the present (which is nothing but that of the Faustian Civilization spread over continents and oceans) with the fundamental feelings of Magian mankind, even when he himself is firmly convinced of the Western character of his thought.
As every Magian Consensus is non-territorial and geographically unlimited, it involuntarily sees in all conflicts concerning the Faustian ideas fatherland, mother tongue, ruling house, monarchy, constitution, a return from forms that are thoroughly alien (therefore burdensome and meaningless) to him towards forms matching his own nature. Hence the word "international," whether it be coupled with socialism, pacificism, or capitalism, can excite him to enthusiasm, but what he hears in that word is the essence of his landless and boundless Consensus [Editors note: think of how Humanism has become synonomous with 'Judaism', say for example in the German-Jewish Zionism Moses Hess's writings Rome and Jersualem (1862), and Herman Cohen's Religion of Reason, Out of the Sources of Judaism (1917)]. While for the European-American democracy constitutional struggles and revolutions mean an evolution towards the Civilized ideal, for him they mean (as he almost never consciously realizes) the breaking-down of all that is of other build than himself. Even when the force of the Consensus in him is broken and the life of his host-people exercises an outward attraction upon him to the point of an induced patriotism, yet the party that he supports is always that of which the aims are most nearly comparable with the Magian essence. Hence in Germany he is a democrat and in England... an imperialist. [...] What the Western Culture has destroyed, by reform-efforts of its own type where it has had power, hardly bears thinking of; and Jewry has been equally destructive where it has intervened. The sense of the inevitableness of this reciprocal misunderstanding leads to the appalling hatred that settles deep in the blood and, fastening upon visible marks like race, mode of life, profession, speech, leads both sides to waste, ruin, and bloody excesses wherever these conditions occur. [Authors note: Instance-- besides that of Mithradates and the Cyprus massacre (p. 198) [Ed note: the Jewish massacre of Greeks in 117 A.D.] quoted above-- are the Sepoy Mutiny in India, the Boxer Rebellion in China, and the Bolshevist fury of Jews, Letts, and other alien peoples against Tsarist Russia.]
This applies also, and above all, to the religiousness of the Faustian world, which feels itself to be threatened, hated, and undermined by an alien metaphysic in the midst. From the reforms of Hugh of Cluny and St. Bernard and the Lateran Council of 1215 to Luther, Calvin, and Puritanism and thence to the Age of Enlightenment, what a tide flowed through our waking-consciousness, when for the Jewish religion history had long ceased altogether!

p. 320

In the "Enlightenment" of the eighteenth century the Western Culture in turn becomes megalopolitan and intellectual, and so, suddenly, accessible to the intelligentsia of the Consensus. 

Chapter X. 
The State.
The Problem of the Estates.

Nobility and Priesthood


The feminine stands closer to the Cosmic. It is rooted deeper in the earth and it is immediately involved in the grand cyclic rhythms of Nature. The masculine is freer, more animal, more mobile... more awake and more tense.

The male livingly experience Destiny, and he comprehends Causality, the causal logic of the Become. The female, on the contrary, is herself Destiny and Time and the organic logic of the Becoming, and for that very reason the principle of Causality is forever alien to her. [...] Primevally... woman is the seeress, and not because she knows the future, but because she is the future. The priest merely interprets the oracle; the woman is the oracle itself, and it is Time that speaks through her. 
The man makes History, the woman is History. Here, strangely clear yet enigmatic still, we have a dual significance of all living happenings-- on the one hand we sense cosmic flow as such, and on the other hand the chain and train of successive individuals brings us back to the microcosms themselves as the recipients, containers, and preservers of the flowing. It is this "second" history that is characteristically masculine-- political, social, more conscious, freer, and more agitated that the other. It reaches back deep into the animal world, and receives highest symbolic and world-historical expression in the life-courses of the great Cultures. Feminine, on the contrary, is the primary, the eternal, the maternal, the plantlike (for the plant ever has something female in it), the cultureless history of the generation-sequence... . In retrospect, it is synonymous with Life itself. 

Man's history sacrifices woman's history to itself,... but nevertheless there was and is and ever will be a secret politic of the woman-- of the female of the animal world even-- that seeks to draw away her male from his kind of history and to weave him body and soul into her own plantlike history of generic succession-- that is, into herself. 

The man climbs up in his history until he has the future of a country in his hands-- and then woman comes and forces him to his knees. Peoples and states may go down in ruin over it, but she in her history has conquered. 


There are streams of being which are "in form" in the same sense in which the term is used in sports. [...] When wrestlers, fencers, ball-players are "in form," the riskiest acts and moves come off easily and naturally. [...] An army is in form when it is like the army of Napoleon at Austerlitz and the army of Moltke [the Elder] at Sedan. Practically everything that has been achieved in world-history, in war and in that continuation of war by intellectual means [Tr note: An inversion of Clausewitz's famous expression that war is a continuation of policy by other means] that we call politics [Editors note: this inversion was quoted by Foucault in his lectures published as 'Society Must be Defended']; in all successful diplomacy, tactics, strategy; in the competition of states or social classes or parties; has been the product of living unities that found themselves "in form." 

The distinction between Estate and Caste is that between earliest Culture and latest Civilization. In the rise of the prime Estates-- nobles and priests-- the Culture is unfolding itself, while the castes are the expression of its definitive fellah-state. The Estate is the most living of all, Culture launched on the path of fulfilment, "the form that living must itself unfold." [Tr note: see Vol. 1. , p. 157] The caste is absolute finished-ness, the phase in which development has been succeeded by immutable fixation.

The living form has become formula, still possessing style, but possessing it as stylistic rigidity.



In the Carolingian pre-Culture men distinguished Knechte [servants], Frieie [free], and Edle [noble]. [...] But in Early Gothic times it runs:
God hath shapen lives three,
Boor [peasant] and knight and priest they be.
Here we have status-differences of a high Culture that has just awakened. And the stole and the sword stand together in face of the plough in strongest assertiveness as estates vis-a-vis the rest, the Non-Estate, that which, like themselves, is fact, but, unlike themselves, fact without deeper significance. 

Later, with the cities, but younger than they, burgherdom, bourgeoisie, arises as the "Third Estate." The burgher, too, now looks with contempt upon the countryside, which lies about him dull, unaltered, and patient, and in contrast to which he feels himself more awake and freer and therefore further advanced on the road of the Culture. He despises also the primary estates, "squire and parson," as something lying intellectually below him and historically behind him. Yet, as compared with these two, the burgher is, as the boor was, a residue, a non-estate. In the minds of the "privileged" the peasant hardly now counts at all-- the burgher counts, but as an opposite and a background. He is the foil against which the others become conscious of their own significance. 

It is the two sides of all freely moving life that come to expression in these Estates [Nobility and Priesthood]; the one is wholly being, the other wholly waking-consciousness.
Every nobility is a living symbol of Time, every priesthood of Space. Destiny and sacred Causality.... attain in them to the highest possible expression. The noble lives in a world of facts, the priest in one of truths;... the one is a doer, the other a thinker. [...] Between the time of Charlemagne and that of Conrad II [c. 990 -- 1039] something formed itself in the time-stream that cannot be elucidated, but has to be felt if we are to understand the dawn of the new Culture. [....] So mighty is this onset of a symbolism that at first all other distinctions, such as those of country, people, and language, fall into the background. In all the lands from Ireland to Calabria the Gothic hierarchy was a single great community;... the Early Gothic [chivalry] before Jerusalem seems to us as of one great family. 

The two Estates in principle exclude one another. The prime opposition of cosmic and microcosmic, which pervades all being that moves freely in space, underlies this dual existence also.

Of the two... it is the nobility that is the true Estate, the sum of blood and race, being-stream in the fullest imaginable form. And therefore nobility is a higher peasantry. [...] In contrast to the cathedral, the castle was a development, by way of the country noble's house of Frankish times, from the peasant-dwelling. [...] Nobility and peasantry are plant-like and instinctive, deep-rooted in the ancestral land, propagating themselves in the family tree, breeding and bred. In comparison with them the priesthood is essentially the counter-estate, the estate of negation, of non-race, of detachment from earth-- of free, timeless, and historyless waking-consciousness. [...] Macbeth and King Lear might perfectly well have been thought out as village tragedies-- and the fact is a proof of their tragic truth. In all Cultures nobility and peasantry appear in forms of family descent... . [...] The existence of entire states comes to depend on a few private destinies, vastly magnified.

Of all this the priesthood (and philosophy so far as it is priesthood) is the direct negative. The Estate of pure waking-consciousness and eternal truths combats time and race and sex in every sense. [...] The phenomenal forms of this second Estate that occur again and again are celibacy, cloister, battlings with sex-impulse fought to extreme of self-emasculation... . Throughout the Classical world it was the rule that in the sacred precinct, the Temenos, no one must be born or die. The timeless must not come into contact with time. [Editors note: the word Temenos derives from the Greek verb τέμνω (temnō), "to cut"]

The castle, with its chambers and towers, walls and moats, tells of a strong-flowing life, but the cathedral, with its vaulting and pillars and choir, is, through and through, Meaning-- that is to say, Ornament-- and every venerable priesthood has developed itself up to that marvellous gravity and beauty of bearing in which every item, from facial expression and voice-inflection to constume and walk, is ornament... . [...] If a priest has race, he leads an outward existence like peasant, knight, or prince. The Pope and cardinals of the Gothic period were feudal princes, leaders of armies, found of the chase, connoisseurs and adepts in family politics. 

...Civilization, the real "return to Nature," is the extinction of nobility-- not as physical stock (which would not matter), but as living tradition-- and the supplanting of destiny-pulse by causal intelligence. With this, nobility becomes no more than a prefix.  


...a true and strong priesthood is always... a community of waking-consciousness, having no relation to origin in the race sense; and thus, in this respect as in others, it is a negation of Time and History. Intellectual affinity and blood-affinity-- ponder and probe into the depths of these contrasted expressions! Heritable priesthood is a contradiction in terms. 

As two world-outlooks... are interwoven, there arise in the end... two sorts of moral, of which each looks down upon the other-- namely, noble custom, and priestly askesis, reciprocally censured as worldly and servile. [...] These units are the band of heroes and the community of saints. 
It will always remain the great merit of Nietzsche that he was the first to recognize the dual nature of all moral. [Editors note: see section 260 of his Beyond Good and Evil, and section --- of Geneology of Morals] His designations of "master-" and "slave-" moral were inexact, and his presentation of "Christianity" placed it much too definitely on the one side of the dividing line, but at the basis of all his opinions this lies strong and clear, that good and bad are aristocratic ['Totemistic'], and good and evil priestly ['Taboo'], distinctions. 


While Priesthood is microcosmic and animal-like, Nobility is cosmic and plantlike (hence its profound connexion with the land). It is itself a plant, strongly rooted in the soil, established on the soil-- in this, as in so many other respects, a supreme peasantry. It is from this kind of cosmic boundness that the idea of property arises, which to the microcosm as such, freely moving in space, is wholly alien. [...] When the priest gives up property, he is giving up something dangerous and alien; when a noble does so, he is giving up himself.

...priesthood and learning separate out. [...] Now... there develops a profane Causality in contrast to the sacred. "Profane" is the new counter-concept to "religious," which so far had tolerated learning only as a handmaiden. The whole of Late criticism, its spirit, its method, its aims, are profane-- and the Late theology, even, is no exception to the rule. But invariably, nevertheless, the learning of all Cultures moves in the forms of the preceding priesthood-- thus showing that it is merely a product of the contradiction itself, and how dependent it is and remains, in every particular, upon the primary image. Classical science, therefore, lives in cult-communities of the Orphic style, such as the school of Miletus, the Pythagorean society, the medical schools of Croton and Cos, the Attic schools of the Academy, the Peripatos, and the Stoa, every one of whose leaders belongs to the type of the sacrificial priest and seer, and even the Roman legal schools of the Sabiniani and Proculiani. The sacred book, the Canon is, scientifically as in other respects, Arabian-- the scientific canon of Ptolemy (Almagest), the medical of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), and the philosophical corpus designated "Aristotle," but so largely spurious - so also the (mostly unwritten) laws and methods of quotation: 1 the Commentary as the form of thought-development; the universities as cloisters (Medrashim) which provided teachers and students with cell, food, and clothing; and tendencies in scholarship taking form as brotherhoods. The learned world of the West possesses unmistakably the form of the Catholic Church, and more particularly so in Protestant regions. The connecting link between the learned orders of the Gothic period and the order-like schools of the nineteenth century-- the schools of Hegel, of Kant, of historical jurisprudence, and not a few of the English university colleges-- is formed by the Maurists [Congregation of Saint Maur] and Bollandists [an association of Jesuit scholars, philologists, and historians] of France, who from 1650 on mastered and largely created the ancillary "science" of history. In all the specialist sciences (medicine and lecture-room philosophy included) there are fully developed hierarchies leading up to school-popes, grades, and dignities (the doctor's degree as an ordination), sacraments and councils. The uninitiate is rigorously treated as the "layman," and the idea of a generalized priesthood residing in the believers themselves, which is manifested in "popular" science-- for example, Darwinism-- is passionately combated. The language of learning was originally Latin, but to-day all sorts of special languages have formed themselves which (in the domain of radioactivity, for example, or that of the law of contract) are unintelligible save to those who have received the higher initiation. There are founders of sects, such as many of Kant's and Hegel's disciples were; there are missionaries to the unbelievers, like the Monists. There are heretics, like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, there is the weapon of the ban, and there is the Index in the form of the Conspiracy of Silence. There are ethical truths (for example, in Law the division of the objects into persons and things) and dogmas (like that of energy and mass, or the theory of inheritance), a ritual in the citation of orthodox writings, and even a scientific sort of beatification. [Authors note: After death the teachers of error are excluded from the eternal bliss of the text-book and cast into the purgatorial fires of foot-notes, whence, purged by the intercession of the believers, they ascend into the paradise of the paragraphs.]
 More, the savant-type of the West (which in the nineteenth century reached its zenith, corresponding to the nadir of true priesthood) has brought to high perfection the study as the cell of a profane monachism [monasticism] that has its unconscious vows-- of Poverty, in the shape of honourable disdain for fat living and wealth, and unfeigned contempt for the commercial professional and for all exploitation of scientific results for gain; of Chastity, which has evolved a veritable celibacy of science, with Kant as exemplar and culmination; and of Obedience, even to the point of sacrificing oneself to the standpoint of the School. Further, and lastly, there is a sort of estrangement from the world which is the profane echo of the Gothic flight from it... . Nobility, even in its later ramifications-- the judge, the squire, the officer-- still retains the old root-strong natural satisfaction in carrying on the stock, in possessions and honour, but the scientist counts these things as little beside the possession of a pure scientific conscience and the carrying on of a method or a view unimpaired by the commercialism of the world. The fact that the savant today has ceased to be remote from the world, and puts his science at the service of (not seldom, indeed, most shrewdly applies it to) technics and money-making, is a sign that the pure type is entering upon its decline and that the great age of intellectual optimism that is livingly expressed in him belongs already to the past.
In sum, we see that the Estates have a natural build which in its evolution and action forms the basic structure of every Culture's life-course. [...] First, nobility and priesthood arise out of the open landscape, and figure the pure symbolism of Being and Waking-Being, Time and Space. Then out of the one under the aspect of booty, and out of the other under the aspect of research, there develop doubled types of lower symbolic force, which in the urban Late periods rise to prepotency in the shapes of economy and science. In these two being-streams the ideas of Destiny and Causality are thought out to their limit, unrelentingly and anti-traditionally. Forces emerge which are separated by a deadly enmity from the old class[/estate]-ideals of heroism [castle] and saintliness [cathedral]-- these forces are money and intellect, and they are related to those ideals as the city to the country. ...a desanctified Destiny and a profane Causality. [...] Economy... finds an enemy... in the shape of the ascetic moral which rejects money-getting, just as the genuine land-based nobility despises it. 


Only when there emerges the feeling of being different from the two symbolic "lives"-- Freidank's Bescheidenheit [13th Century] comes into our minds-- does this life become an Estate, the nourishing estate in the fullest sense of the word, the root of the great plant Culture, which has driven its fibres deep into Mother Earth and darkly, industriously, draws all juices into itself and sends them to the upper parts, where trunks and branches tower up in the light of history. 

[Gap, p. 351

...the Faustian priesthood,... still without any profound import or dignity in 900, rose up thereafter to that sublime role of intermediary which placed it in principle between humanity (all humanity) and a macrocosm strained to all imaginable expanse by the Faustian passion of the third dimension. Excluded from history by celibacy and from time by its character indelebilis, it culminated in the Papacy...; even the Protestant idea of a generalized priesthood has not destroyed it, but merely de-centralized it from one point and one person into the heart of each individual believer. 
 The contradiction between being and waking-being that exists in every microcosm necessarily drives the two Estates against one another. Time seeks to absorb and subordinate Space, Space Time. [...] But this conflict has not in all Cultures come to world-historical expression.

In the Faustian Culture this battle between two high symbols of equal forces has been waged in somewhat the same spirit, but with far greater passion still than in the Egyptian-- so that, from the early Gothic onward, only armistice, never peace, has seemed possible between State and Church. But in this conflict the handicap against waking-being tells-- it would shake off its dependence upon being, but it cannot. The mind needs the blood, but the blood does not need the mind. War belongs to the world of time and history... and, therefore, a militant Church must step from the world of truths into the world of facts-- from the world of Jesus into that of Pilate. And so it becomes an element in race-history and subject to the formative powers of the political side of life.

Now supervened the city with its own soul, first emancipating itself from the soul of the countryside, then setting up as an equal to it, and finally seeking to suppress and extinguish it. [...] The city-life as such emerges-- through the inhabitants of these small settlements acquiring a common soul, and becoming conscious that the life within is something different from the life outside-- and at once the spell of personal freedom begins to operate and to attract within the walls life-streams of more and more new kinds. There sets in a sort of passion for becoming urban and for propagating urban life. It is this, and not material considerations, that produced the fever of the colonization period in the Classical world, which is still recognizable to us in its last offshoots, and which it is not quite exact to speak of as colonization at all. For it was a creative enthusiasm in the man of the city that from the tenth century (and "contemporaneously" in other Cultures) drew generation after generation under the spell of a new life, with which there emerges for the first time in human history the idea of freedom. This idea is not of political (still less of abstract) origin, but is something bringing to expression the fact that within the city walls plantlike attachment to a soil has ceased, and that the threads that run through the whole life of the countryside have been snapped. And consequently the freedom-idea ever contains a negative; it looses, redeems, defends, always frees a man from something. Of this freedom the city is the expression; the city-spirit is understanding become free, and everything in the way of intellectual, social, and national movements that bursts forth in Late periods under the name of Freedom leads back to an origin in this one prime fact of detachment from the land

...by way of protest against the ancient symbols of the soil-bound life, the city opposes to the aristocracy of birth the notion of an aristocracy of money and an aristocracy of intellect... . [...] In the Southern States of the American Union there grew up, from Baroque times onward, that planter-aristocracy which was annihilated by the money-powers of the North in the Civil War of 1861-5.

With the close of the Late period of every Culture the history of its estates also comes to a more or less violent end. The mere desire to live in rootless freedom prevails over the great imperative Culture-symbols, which a mankind  now wholly dominated by the city no longer comprehends or tolerates. Finance sheds every trace of feeling for earth-bound immovable values, and scientific criticism every residue of piety. Another such victory also, in a measure, is the liberation of the peasant, which consists in relieving him from the pressure of servage, but hands him over to the power of money, which now proceeds to turn the land into movable property-- which happened in our case in the eighteenth century;... in Rome along with the founding of the Plebeian order in 471. 

This Plebs is the Third Estate in the form in which it is constitutionally recognized as a unity... . [...] It is a Party, and what it stands for as such is freedom in the urban sense of the word. [...] The Plebs became the Populus Romanus in the same way as in 1789 the "Tiers Etat" constituted itself the Nation.

The nobility of every Springtime had been the Estate in the most primary sense, history become flesh, race at highest potential. The priesthood was its counter-estate, saying no wherever nobility said yes and thus displaying the other side of life in a grand symbol.
The Third Estate, without proper inward unity, was the non-estate-- the protest, in estate-form, against the existence of estates; not against this or that estate, but against the symbolic view of life in general. It rejects all differences not justified by reason or practically useful. And yet it does mean something itself, and means it very distinctly-- the city-life as estate in contradistinction to that of the country, freedom as a condition in contrast to attachment.

Chapter XI
The State
State and History


State is history regarded as at the halt, history the State regarded as on the move.

The woman is world-history. By conceiving and giving birth she cares for the perpetuation of the blood. The mother with the child at her breast is the grand emblem of cosmic life. [...] The man, however, makes history, which is an unending battle for the preservation of that other life. 

A people shapes history inasmuch as it is "in condition" for the task of doing so.


What this fall of Papacy and Empire meant was the victory of State over Estate. 


The Roman Imperium was nothing but the last and greatest Classical city-state standing on foundations of a colossal synoecism. [...] ...for Tacitus provincial history simply does not exist. 


...in 1640 the decisive conflict between Crown and estates broke out simulataneously in Spain, France, and England. 


In the Western world... the period of the absolutist State covers scarcely a century and a half-- from 1660... .


...when the Culture is beginning to turn itself into the Civilization, the non-Estate intervenes in affairs decisively-- and for the first time-- as an independent force.

Every bourgeois revolution has as its scene the great city, and as its hall-mark the incomprehension of old symbols, which it replaces by tangible interests and the craving (or even the mere wish) of enthusiastic thinkers and world-improvers to see their conceptions actualized. Nothing now has value but that which can be justified by reason. 

But the bourgeoisie, the class of urban "freedom," strong as its class-feeling remained for generations..., was at no time wholly master of its actions. For, first of all, it became manifest in every critical situation that its unity was a negative unity, only really existent in moments of opposition to something, anything, else-- "Tiers Etat" and "Opposition" are almost synonymous... . To be free from something-- that, all wanted. But the intellectual desired the State as an actualization of "justice" against the force of historical facts; or the "rights of man"; or freedom of criticism as against the dominant religion. And Money wanted a free path to business success. [...] In the great cities, which alone now spoke the decisive words... a mass of rootless fragments of population stands outside all social linkages. These do not feel themselves as attached either to an Estate or to a vocational class, nor even to the real working-class, although they are obliged to work. Elements drawn from all classes and conditions belong to it instinctively-- uprooted peasantry, literates, ruined business men, and above all... derailed nobles. [...] It is from them that events acquire the destructive force which distinguishes the French Revolution from the English... . The bourgeoisie looks at these masses with real uneasiness, defensively, and seeks to separate itself from them... . 

The capital cities have become so great, and urban man so superior and influential over the waking-consciousness of the whole Culture (this influence is what we call Public Opinion [Editors note: see Foucault's lectures 'Security, Territory, Population']) that the powers of the blood and the tradition inherent in the blood are shaken in their hitherto unassailable position. 

...Rationalism appears and spreads, that which has been described above [p. 97 and 305] as the community of waking-consciousness in the educated, whose religion is criticism and whose numina are not deities but concepts. Now begins the influence of books and general theories upon politics-- ...the Athens of the Sophists and the Europe of Montesquieu-- and the public opinion formed by them plant itself in the path of diplomacy as a political magnitude of quite a new sort. It would be absurd to suppose that Pisistratus or Richelieu or even Cromwell determined their actions under the influence of abstract systems, but after the victory of "Enlightenment" that is what actually happens.
Nevertheless the historical role of the great concepts of the Civilization is very different from the complexion that they presented in the minds of the ideologues who conceived them. [...] In the world of facts, truths are simply means, effective in so far as they dominate spirits and therefore determine actions. [...] We see this in the phrase "catchword," "Schlagwort." [...] But, as catchwords, they are for about two centuries powers of the first rank, stronger even than the pulse of the blood, which in the petrifying world of the outspread cities is beginning to be dulled. 

...it was on British soil... that the rationalistic catchwords had, one and all, sprung up... . "Liberty" self-evidently meant intellectual and trade freedom. [...] France received her revolutionary ideas without exception from England, as she had received the style of her absolute monarchy from Spain. To both she imparted a brilliant and irresistible shape that was taken as a model far and wide over the Continent [Editors note: the word 'civilization' is itself a product of Paris in the 18th century].

...liberalism (in the broad sense)... is freedom from the restrictions of the soil-bound life...-- freedom of the intellect for every kind of criticism, freedom of money for every kind of business. [...] Mind and money, being both inorganic, want the State, not as a matured form of high symbolism to be venerated, but as an engine to serve a purpose. 


The Classical State is the one State that was incapable of any organic widening, and the conquests of the Second Tyrannis therefore resolved themselves into a juxtaposition of two political units, the Polis and the subjugated territory, the cohesion of which was initially accidental and perpetually in danger. Thus arose that strange picture of the Hellenistic-Roman world, the true significance of which is not even yet recognized-- a circle of border-regions, and within them a congeries of Poleis to which, small as they were, the conception of the State proper, the res publica, continued to be bound as exclusively as ever. In this middle... was the theatre of all real politics. The "orbis terrarum"-- a significant expression-- was merely a means or object to it. The Roman notions of "imperium"-- dictatorial powers of administration outside the city moat... --and of "provincia" as the opposite of "res publica," express the common Classical instinct, which knew only the city's body as the State and political subject, and the "outside" only in relation to it, as object to it. Dionysius made his city of Syracuse into a fortress surrounded by a "scrap-heap of states,"... . 

Cont. 411


That which we call republic is a negation, which of inward necessity postulates that the thing denied is an ever-present possibility. It is non-monarchy in forms borrowed from the monarchy. The genealogical feeling is immensely strong in Western mankind; it strains its conscience so far as to pretend that Dynasty determines its political conduct even when Dynasty no longer exists at all. The historical is embodied therein, and unhistorically we cannot live. [...] Feeling is the secret enemy of all constitutions that are plans and not growths; they are in last analysis nothing but defensive measures born of fear and mistrust. The urban conception of freedom-- freedom from something-- narrows itself to a merely anti-dynastic significance, and republican enthusiasm lives only on this feeling.
Such a negation inevitably involves a preponderance of theory. [...] It is symptomatic that no written constitution knows of money as a political force. It is pure theory that they contain, one and all. 

[Cont. 415]

Chapter XII
The State.

Philosophy of Politics.


To politics as an idea we have given more thought than has been good for us, since, correspondingly, we have understood all the less about the observation of Politics as a reality. The great statesmen are accustomed to act immediately and on the basis of a sure flair for facts. This is so self-evident, to them, that it simply never enters their heads to reflect upon the basic general principles of their action-- supposing indeed that such exist. In all ages they have known what they had to do, and any theory of this knowledge has been foreign to both their capacities and their tastes. But the professional thinkers who have turned their attention to the faits accomplis of men have been so remote, inwardly, from these actions that they have just spun for themselves a web of abstractions-- for preference, abstraction-myths like justice, virtue, freedom-- and then applied them as criteria to past and, especially, future historical happening. Thus in the end they have forgotten that concepts are only concepts, and brought themselves to the conclusion that there is a political science whereby we can form the course of the world according to an ideal recipe. As nothing of the kind has ever or anywhere happened, political doing has come to be considered as so trivial in comparison with abstract thinking that they debate in their books whether there is a "genius of action" at all. 
Here, on the contrary, the attempt will be made to give, instead of an ideological system, a physiognomy of politics as it has actually been practised in the course of general history, and not as it might or ought to have been practised. The problem was, and is, to penetrate to the final meaning of great events, to "see" them, to feel and to transcribe the symbolically important in them.

 Every great politician, a centre of  forces in the stream of happening, has something of the noble in his feeling of self-vocation and inward obligation ['Noblesse oblige']. On the other hand,... there is something of priestliness in all program-politics and ideology. 


 To do the correct thing without "knowing" it... his [the 'born statesman'] talent is the very opposite to that of the man of theory. The secret pulse of all being is one and the same in him and in the things of history. [...] He does not confuse the logic of events with the logic of systems. 

The essential... is to understand the time for which one is born. He who does not sense and understand its most secret forces, who does not feel in himself something cognate that drives him forward on a path neither hedged nor defined by concepts, who believes in the surface, public opinion, large phrases and ideals of the day-- he is not of the stature for its events. He is in their power, not they in his. [...] The genuine statesman is incarnate history, its directedness expressed as individual will and its organic logic as character. 

...only the great personality-- the "it," the race, the cosmic force bound up in that personality-- has been creative... and has effectively modified the type of entire classes and peoples. [...] The sum of honour and duty, discipline, resolution, is a thing not learned from books, but awakened in the stream of being by a living exemplar... . 

Highest of all... is not action, but the ability to command. It is this that takes the individual up out of himself and makes him the centre of a world of action. There is one kind of commanding that makes obedience a proud, free, and noble habit. [...] There are moments-- and they indicate the maxima of cosmic flowings-- when the individual feels himself to be identical with Destiny, the centre of the world, and his own personality seems to him almost as a covering in which the history of the future is about to clothe itself. 

Every doer is born in a time and for a time, and thereby the ambit of his attainable achievement is fixed. [...] The basic forms of the state and of political life, the direction and the degree of their evolution, are given values unalterably dependent on the given time. They are the track of political success and not its goal. On the other hand the worshippers of political ideals create out of nothing. Their intellectual freedom is astounding, but their castles of the mind, built of airy concepts like wisdom and righteousness, liberty and equality, are in the end all the same; they are built from the top storey downwards. The master of fact, for his part, is content to direct imperceptibly that which he sees and accepts as plain reality. This does not seem very much, yet it is the very starting-point of freedom, in a grand sense of the word.


...as for the modern Press, the sentimentalist may beam with contentment when it is constitutionally "free"-- but the realist merely asks at whose disposal it is.


In the early politics of all Cultures the governing powers are pre-established and unquestioned. The whole being is strictly in patriarchal and symbolic form. The connexions with the mother soil are so strong, the feudal tie, and even its successor the aristocratic state, so self-evident to the life held in their spell, that politics in a Homeric or Gothic age is limited to plain action within the cadre of the given forms. [...] Blood and race speak in actions undertaken instinctively or half-consciously-- even the priest behaves, qua politician, as the man of race. The "problem" of the State are not yet awakened.

The change sets in as soon as, with the great city, the Non-Estate, the bourgeoisie, takes over the leading role. [See p 355, 398] [...] Heretofore it was ripened, now it must needs be shaped. Politics becomes awake, not merely comprehended, but reduced to comprehensible ideas. The powers of intellect and money set themselves up against blood and tradition. In place of the organic we have the organized; in place of the Estate, the Party. A party is not a growth of race, but an aggregate of heads, and therefore as superior to the old estates in intellect as it is poorer in instinct. It is the mortal enemy of naturally matured class-ordering, the mere existence of which is in contradiction with its essence. Consequently, the notion of party is always bound up with the unreservedly negative, disruptive, and socially levelling notion of equality. Noble ideals are no longer recognized, but only vocational interests.[Authors note  ] It is the same with the freedom-idea, which is likewise a negative. Parties are a purely urban phenomenon. With the emancipation of the city from the country, everywhere (whether we happen to know it evidentially or not) Estate politics gives way to party politics-- in Egypt at the end of the Middle Kingdom, in China with the Contending States, in Baghdad and Byzantium with the Abbassid period. In the capitals of the West the parties form in the parliamentary style, in the city-states of the Classical they are forum-parties... .
But always it is the Non-Estate, the unit of protest against the essence of Estate, whose leading minority - "educated" and "well-to-do"-- comes forward as a party with a program, consisting of aims that are not felt but defined, and of the rejection of everything that cannot be rationally grasped. At bottom, therefore, there is only one party, that of the bourgeoisie, the liberal, and it is perfectly conscious of its position as such. It looks on itself as coextensive with "the people." Its opponents (above all, the genuine Estates-- namely, "squire and parson") are enemies and traitors to "the people," and its opinions are the "voice of the people"-- which is inoculated by all the expedients of party-political nursing, oratory in the Forum, press in the West, until these opinions do fairly represent it.
The prime Estates are nobility and priesthood. The prime Party is that of money and mind, the liberal, the megalopolitan. Herein lies the profound justification... of the ideas of Aristocracy and Democracy. Aristocracy despises the mind of the cities, Democracy despises the boor and hates the countryside. [Authors note: The "Farmer" is spiritually a suburban and in practice carries on his farming as an industry. Instead of villages, there are only fragments of metalopolis.] [...] Aristocracy in the completed Culture, and Democracy in the incipient cosmopolitan Civilization, stand opposed till both are submerged in Caesarism.

All modern constitutions repudiate the Estates and are built on the Party as self-evidently the basic form of politics. The nineteenth century-- correspondingly, therefore, the third century B.C.-- is the heyday of party politics. Its democratic character compels the formation counter-parties, and whereas formerly, as late even as the eighteenth century, the "Tiers" constituted itself in imitation of the nobility of an Estate, now there arises the defensive figure of the Conservative party, copied from the Liberal, dominated completely by the latter's forms, bourgeois-ized without being bourgeois, and obliged to fight with rules and methods that liberalism has laid down. [...] The compulsion that there is upon every party to be bourgeois, at any rate in appearance, turns to sheer caricature when below the bourgeoisie of education and possessions the Residue also organizes itself as a party. Marxism, for example, is in theory a negation of bourgeoisie, but as a party it is in attitude and leadership essentially middle-class. There is a continuous conflict between its will... and the appearances which it feels obliged, in justice to itself, to keep up. [...] Only the bourgeoisie is in its natural place there. 

In England Tories and Whigs constituted themselves, from the beginning of the nineteenth century, as parties, both becoming in form bourgeois and both taking up the liberal program literally, whereby public opinion as usual was completely convinced and set at rest. This was a master-stroke, delivered at the correct moment, and prevented the formation of a party hostile to the Estate-principle such as arose in France in 1789. [...] The leading remained in the same hands, and the opposition of the parties, which from 1830 assumed the titles of Liberal and Conservative almost as a matter of course, was always one of pluses and minuses, never blank alternatives. In these same years the literary freedom-movement of "young Germany" changed into a party-movement, and in America under Andrew Jackson the National-Whig and Democratic parties organized themselves as opposites [Editors note: the National-Whig party was established in opposition to Jacksons' Democratic party, and has its origins in the Anti-Massonic party. The first party in America was the Fedaralist party founded by Washington.], and open recognition was given to the principle that elections were a business, and state offices from top to bottom the "spoils of the victors."

The outward sign of the end of Democracy and its transition into Caesarism is not... the disappearance of the party of the Tiers Etat, the Liberal, but the disappearance of party itself as a form. [...] An Estate has instincts, a party has a program, but a following has a master. That was the course of events from Patricians and Plebeians, through Optimates and Populares, to Pompeians and Caesarians. 

Far from this being the shipwreck of democracy, it is its very meaning and necessary issue, and the lamentations of unworldly idealists over this destruction of their hopes only show their blind ignorance of the inexorable duality of truths and facts and of the intimate linkage of intellect and money.

Whether these doctrines are "true" or "false" is-- we must reiterate and emphasize-- a question without meaning for political history. The refutation of, say, Marxism belongs to the realm of academic dissertation and public debates, in which everyone is always right and his opponents always wrong. But whether they are effective... that does matter. We of today find ourselves in a period of boundless confidence in the omnipotence of reason. Great general ideas of freedom, justice, humanity, progress are sacrosanct. The great theories are gospels. Their power to convince does not rest upon logical premisses... but upon the sacramental hypostasis in their keywords. At the same time, the spell is limited to the populations of the great cities and the period of Rationalism as the "educated man's religion." On a peasantry it has no hold, and even on the city masses its effects last only for a certain time. But for that time it has all the irresistibleness of a new revelation. They are converted to it, hang fervently upon the words and the preachers thereof, go to martyrdom on barricades and battle-field and gallows; their gaze is set upon a political and social other-world, and dry sober criticism seems base, impious, worthy of death. 

But for this very reason documents like the Contrat Social and the Communist Manifesto are engines of highest power... . 

The power that these abstract ideals possess, however, scarcely extends in time beyond the two centuries that belong to party politics, and their end comes not from refutation, but from weariness... . Men finally give up, not this or that theory, but the belief in theory of any kind and with it the sentimental optimism of an eighteenth century that imagined that unsatisfactory actualities could be improved by the application of concepts.

[Cont. p 454]


Gunpowder and printing belong together-- both discovered at the culmination of the Gothic, both arising out of Germanic technical thought-- as the two grand means of Faustian distance[conquering]-tactics. The Reformation in the beginning of the Late period witnessed the first flysheets and the first field-guns, the French Revolution in the beginning of the Civilization witnessed the first tempest of pamphlets of the autumn of 1788 and the first mass-fire of artillery at Valmy. 

Today we live so cowed under the bombardment of this intellectual artillery (the media) that hardly anyone can attain to the inward detachment that is required for a clear view of the monstrous drama.


In the contests of today tactics consists in depriving the opponent of this weapon [the Press]. 


 Through money, democracy becomes its own destroyer, after money has destroyed intellect. But, just because the illusion that actuality can allow itself to be improved by the ideas of any Zeno or Marx has fled away; because men have learned that in the realm of reality one power-will can be overthrown only by another (for that is the great human experience of Contending States periods); there wakes at last a deep yearning for all old and worthy tradition that still lingers alive. Men are tired to disgust of money-economy. They hope for salvation from somewhere or other, for some real thing of honour and chivalry, of inward nobility, of unselfishness and duty. And now dawns the time when the form-filled powers of the blood, which the rationalism of the Megalopolis has suppressed, reawaken in the depths. Everything in the order of dynastic tradition and old nobility that has saved itself up for the future, everything that there is of high money-disdaining ethic... -- all this becomes suddenly the focus of immense life-forces. Caesarism grows on the soil of Democracy, but its roots thread deeply into the underground of blood tradition. [...] Here too the soul of old Gothic wakens anew. The spirit of the knightly orders overpowers plunderous Vikingism. 

Chapter XIII

The Form-World of Economic Life




 The standpoint from which to comprehend the economic history of great Cultures is not to be looked for on economic ground

All higher economic life develops itself on and over a peasantry. [...] To this producing kind of economy there is presently opposed an acquisitive kind, which makes use of the former as an object-- as a source of nourishment, tribute, or plunder.

Politics and trade in developed form-- the art of achieving material successes over an opponent by means of intellectual superiority-- are both a replacement of war by other means. Every kind of diplomacy is of a business nature, every business of a diplomatic... .

But the genuine prince and statesman wants to rule, and the genuine merchant only wants to be wealthy, and here the acquisitive economy divides to pursue aim and means separately. One may aim at booty for the sake of power, or at power for the sake of booty. The great ruler, too, the Hwang-ti, the Tiberius, the Frederick II-- has the will to wealth, the will to be "rich in land and subjects," but it is with and under a sense of high responsibilities. A man may lay hands on the treasurers of the whole world with a good conscience, not to say as a matter of course: he may lead a life of radiant splendour or even dissipation - if only he feels himself (Napoleon, Cecil Rhodes, the Roman Senate of the third century) to be the engine of a mission.

He who is out for purely economic advantages-- as the Carthaginians were in Roman times and, in a far greater degree still, the Americans in ours-- is correspondingly incapable of purely political thinking. In the decisions of high politics he is ever deceived and made a tool of... -- especially when the absence of statesmanlike instinct leaves a chair vacant for moral sentiments. [...] Only when a man has really ceased to feel his enterprise as "his own business," and its aim as the simple amassing of property, does it become possible for the captain of industry to become the statesman, the Cecil Rhodes. But, conversely, the men of the political world are exposed to the danger of their will and thought for historical tasks degenerating into mere provision for their private life-upkeep; then a nobility can become a robber-order, and we see emerging the familiar types of princes and ministers, demagogues and revolution-heroes, whose zeal exhausts itself in lazy comfortableness and the piling-up of immense riches-- there is little to choose in this respect between Versailles and the Jacobin Club, business bosses and trade-union leaders, Russian governors and Bolshevists.

In the beginning appear the primary orders, nobility and priesthood... . The political life, like the religious experience, has its fixed place, its ordained adepts, and its allotted aims..., and down below, the economic life moves unconscious along a sure path. Then the stream of being becomes entangled in the stone structures of the town, and intellect and money thenceforward take over its historical guidance. The heroic and the saintly with their youthful symbolic force become rarer, and withdraw into narrower and narrower circles. Cool bourgeois clarity takes their place. [...] In the frictions of the city the stream of being loses its strict rich form. Elementary economic factors come to the surface and interplay with the remains of form-imbued politics, just as sovereign science at the same time adds religion to its stock of objects. [...] But out of it all emerge, in place of the decayed Estates, the individual life-courses, big with true political or religious force, that are to become destiny for the whole.
And thus we begin to discern the morphology of ecomic history. 

To feudalism belongs the economy of the townless countryside. With the State ruled radially from cities appears the urban economy of money, and this rises, with the oncoming of the Civilization, into the dictature of money, simultaneously with the victory of world-city democracy. Every Culture has its own independently developed form-world. Bodily money of the Apollinian style (that is, the stamped coin) is as antithetical to relational money of the Faustian-dynamic style (that is, the booking of credit-units) as the Polis is to the State of Charles V. But the economic life, just like the social, forms itself pyramidally. In the rustic underground a thoroughly primitive condition maintains itself almost unaffected by the Culture. The Late urban economy, which is already the activity of a resolute minority, looks down with steady contempt upon the pristine land-economy that continues all around it, while the latter in turn glares sulkily at the intellectualized style that prevails within the walls. Finally the cosmopolis brings in a Civilized world-economy, which radiates from very small nuclei within a few centres, and subjects the rest to itself as a provincial economy, while in the remoter landscapes thoroughly primitive ("patriarchal'') custom often prevails still. With the growth of the cities the way of life becomes ever more artificial, subtle and complex. The great-city worker of Cresar's Rome, of Haroun-al-Raschid's Baghdad, and of the present-day Berlin feels as self-evidently necessary much that the richest yeoman deep in the country regards as silly luxury, but this self-evident standard is hard to reach and hard to maintain. In every Culture the quantum of work grows bigger and bigger till at the beginning of every Civilization we find an intensity of economic life, of which the tensions are even excessive and dangerous, and which it is impossible to maintain for a long period.

Relatively to this economic movement, men are economically "in form" as an economic class, just as they are in form for world-history as a political Estate. 

A life insists on being, and on meaning something as well, and the confusion of our ideas is made worse confounded by the fact that, today, as in Hellenistic times, political parties... have elevated these groups to the dignity of a political Estate, as Marx, for instance, elevated the class of factory-workers.
Confusion - for the first and genuine Estate is nobility. From it the officer and the judge and all concerned in the highest duties of government and administration are direct derivatives. They are Estate-like formations that mean something. So, too, the body of scholars and scientists belongs to the priesthood [Authors note: Including the medical profession, which indeed is indistinguishable in primitive times from the priests and magicians] and has a very sharply definite kind of class-exclusiveness. But the grand symbolism of the Estates goes out with castle and cathedral. The Tiers, already, is the Non-Estate, the remainder, a miscellaneous and manifold congeries, which means very little as such save in the moments of political protest, so that the importance it creates for itself is a party importance. [...] In the cities, at any rate, a man is primarily designated according to the way in which he makes his living.
Economically, the first (and anciently almost the only) mode of life is that of the peasant, which is pure production, and therefore the pre-condition of every other mode. [...] In opposition to it stands trade, the mode of the acquisitive middleman or intervener...-- a refined parasitism, completely unproductive and, therefore, land-alien and far-ranging, "free," and unhampered spiritually, too, by the ethic and the practice of the countryside, a life sustainging itself on another life.


...counting-up, portering, running of errands, hammering, serving, and minding often enough lacks that element which elevates life above mere upkeep and invests work with the dignity and the delight attaching, for example, to the status-duties of the officer and the savant, or the personal triumphs of the engineer, the manager, and the merchant... . 


With the oncoming of Spring there begins in every Culture an economic life of settled form. The life of the population is entirely that of the peasant on the open land. The experience of the town has not yet come. All that elevates itself from amongst the villages, castles, palaces, monasteries, temple-closes, is not a city, but a market, a mere meeting-point of yeomen's interest, which... certainly cannot be said to have had a special life of its own.


...at places where fleets and caravans unload, trade only appears as the organ of countryside traffic. It is the "eternal" form of economy, and is even today seen in the immemorially ancient figure of the pedlar of the country districts remote from towns, and in out-of-the-way suburban lanes where small barter-circles form naturally... .
With the soul of the town a quite other kind of life awakens. As soon as the market has become the town, it is not longer a question of mere centres for goods-streams traversing a purely peasant landscape, but of a second world within the walls, for which the merely producing life "out there" is nothing but object and means, and out of which another stream begins to circle. The decisive point is this - the true urban man is not a producer in the prime terrene sense. He has not the inward linkage with soil or with the goods that pass through his hands. He does not live with these, but looks at them from outside and appraises them in relation to his own life-upkeep.
With this goods become wares, exchange turnover, and in place of thinking in goods we have thinking in money.
With this a purely extensional something, a form of limit-defining, is abstracted from the visible objects of economics just as mathematical thought abstracts something from the mechanistically conceived environment. Abstract money corresponds exactly to abstract number. Both are entirely inorganic. The economic picture is reduced exclusively to quantities, whereas the important point about "goods" had been their quality. For the early-period peasant "his" cow is, first of all, just what it is, a unit being, and only secondarily an object of exchange; but for the economic outlook of the true townsman the only thing that exists is an abstract money-value which at the moment happens to be in the shape of a cow that can always be transformed into that of, say, a bank-note. Even so the genuine engineer sees in a famous waterfall not a unique natural spectacle, but just a calculable quantum of unexploited energy.

This... "value-in-itself," like number-in-itself, the man of the town, the man without roots, is the first to imagine; for peasants there are only ephemeral felt values in relation to now this and now that object of exchange. What he does not use, or does not want to possess, has "no value" for him. 

Whereas the earlier mankind compares goods, and does so not by means of the reason only, the later reckons the values of wares, and does so by rigid unqualitative measures. Now gold is no longer measured against the cow, but the cow against the gold, and the result is expressed by an abstract number, the price. 

As the seat of this thinking, the city becomes the money-market, the centre of values, and a stream of money-values begins to infuse, intellectualize, and command the stream of goods. [...] Thinking in money is always, in one way or another, trade or business thinking. [...] The very words "acquisition," "gain," "speculation," point to a profit tricked off from the goods en route to the consumer-- an intellectual plunder-- and for that reason are inapplicable to the early peasantry. [...] ...with money-traffic there appears between producer and consumer, as though between two separate worlds, the third party, the middleman, whose thought is dominated a priori by the business side of life. 

He who commands this mode of thinking is the master of money. In all the Cultures evolution takes this road. Lysias informs us in his oration against the corn-merchants that the speculators at the Piraeus frequently spread reports of the wreck of a grain-fleet or of the outbreak of war, in order to produce a panic. In Hellenistic-Roman times it was a widespread practice to arrange for land to go out of cultivation, or for imports to be held in bond, in order to force up prices. [...] To think economically on any terms but these is simply to become a mere pawn in the money-operations of the great city. This style of thought soon gets hold of the waking-consciousness of the entire urban population... . [...] In theory and, therefore, constitutionally, a man may be free in principle, but actually, in the economy private-life of the cities, he is made free only by money. [...]    All highly developed economy is urban economy. World-economy itself, the characteristic economy of all Civilizations, ought properly to be called world-city-economy. The destinies even of this world-economy are now decided in a few places, the "money-markets" of the world-- in Babylon, Thebes, and Rome, in Byzantium and Baghdad, in London, New York, Berlin, and Paris. The residue is a starveling provincial economy that runs on in its narrow circles without being conscious of its utter dependence. Finally, money is the form of intellectual energy in which the ruler-will, the political and social, technical and mental, creative power, the craving for a full-sized life, are concentrated. [...] What is here described as Civilization, then, is the stage of a Culture at which tradition and personality have lost their immediate effectiveness, and every idea, to be actualized, has to be put into terms of money. 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.
Though the economic history of every Culture there runs a desperate conflict waged by the soil-rooted tradition of a race, by its soul, against the spirit of money. The peasant-wars of the beginning of a Late period (in the Classical, 700-500; in the Western, 1450-1650; in the Egyptian, end of Old Kingdom) are the first reaction of the blood against the money that is stretching forth its hand from the waxing cities over the soil. [...] Money aims at mobilizing all things. World-economy is the actualized economy of values that are completely detached in thought from the land, and made fluid. The Classical money-thinking, from Hannibal's day, transformed whole cities into coin and whole populations into slaves and thereby converted both into money that could be brought from everywhere to Rome, and used outwards from Rome as a power.
The Faustian money-thinking "opens up" whole continents, the water-power of gigantic river-basins, the muscular power of the peoples of broad regions, the coal measures, the virgin forests, the laws of Nature, and transforms them all into financial energy, which is laid out in one way or in another-- in the shape of press, or elections, or budgets, or armies-- for the realization of masters' plans. Ever new values are abstracted from whatever world-stock is still, from the business point of view, unclaimed, "the slumbering spirits of gold," as John Gabriel Borkman says; and what the things themselves are, apart from this, is of no economic significance at all.


Economically, as in other ways, Classical man saw his world-around as a sum of bodies that changed their place, travelled, drove or hit or annihilated one another, as in Democritus's description of Nature. Man was a body among bodies, and the Polis as sum thereof a body of higher order. [...] About 650, simultaneously with the stone body of the Doric temple and the free statue true-modelled in the round, appeared the coin, a metal weight of beautiful impressed form. Value as a magnitude had long existed-- in fact, as long as this Culture itself. In homer, a talent is a little aggregate of gold, in bullion and decorative objects, of a definite total weight.
Lydia coin circa early 6th Century B.C.

The discovery of the Classically formed money-body, however, is so extraordinary that we have not even yet grasped it in its deep and purely Classical significance. We regard it as one of the "achievements of humanity," and so we strike these coinages everywhere, just as we put statues in our streets and squares.

In extreme contrast to this stands the symbol of Faustian money-- money [not as 'corporal object' but] as Function, the value of which lies in its effcct and not its mere existence. The specific style of this economic thinking appears already in the way in which the Normans of A.D. 1000 organized their spoils and men and land into an economic force. Compare the pure book-valuation of these ducal officials (commemorated in our words "cheque," "account," and "checking") [Authors note: The clerici of these exchequer offices were the archetypes of the modern bank-clerk. C.f. p. 371.] with the "contemporary" gold talent of the Iliad, one meets at the very outset of the Culture the rudiments of its modern credit-system... . These financial methods, transplanted to the Roman Kingdom of Sicily by Roger II, were developed by the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick II (about 1230) into a powerful systems far surpassing the original in dynamism and making him the "first capitalist power of the world"; and while this fraternization of mathematical thinking-power and royal will-to-power made its way from Normandy into France and was applied on the grand scale to the exploitation of conquered England (to this day English soil is nominally royal demesne) its Sicilian side was imitated by the Italian city-republics, and (as their ruling patricians soon took the methods of the civic economy into use for their private book-keeping,) spread over the commercial thought and practice of the whole Western world. Little later, the Sicilian methods were adopted by the Order of the Teutonic Knights and by the dynasty of Aragon, and it is probably to these origins that we should assign the model accountancy of Spain in the days of Philip II, and of Prussia in those of Frederick William I.

The decisive event, however, was the invention-- "contemporary" with that of the Classical coin about 650-- of double-entry book-keeping by Fra Luca Pacioli in 1494 [Editors note: Some historians have taken a certain passage found in Pliny the Elder's writings as a reference to this method of accounting, "To her [Fortuna] account all expenditure and all receipts are entered, and in the account-book of every mortal she alone makes out both pages", though it is not clear that the phrase "both pages" refer to the juxtapositioning of credits and debits and the balancing of their totals. And althought there is evidence of its use in the thirteenth century, notably by Amatino Manucci, a Florentine merchant, Fra Luca Pacioli was the first to codify the system in his textbook on mathematics.]. Goethe calls this in Wilhelm Meister "one of the finest discoveries of the human intellect," and indeed its author may without hesitation be ranked with his contemporaries Columbus and Copernicus. To the Normans we owe our modes of reckoning and to the Lombards our book-keeping. These, be it observed, were the same two Germanic stocks which created the two most suggestive juristic works of the early Gothic [Frankish and Norman Law, see section VII of chapter III of book II], and whose longing into distant seas gave the impulses for the two discoveries of America. "Double-entry book-keeping is born of the same spirit as the system of Galileo and Newton... With the same means as these, it orders the phenomenon into an elegant system, and it may be called the first Cosmos built up on the basis of a mechanistic thought. Double-entry book-keeping discloses to us the Cosmos of the economic world by the same method as later the Cosmos of the stellar universe was unveiled by the great investigation of natural philosophy. ... Double-entry book-keeping rests on the basic principle, logically carried out, of comprehending all phenomena purely as quantities."
[Alt translation from Sombart: With the same means as these it orders the phenomena in an ingenious system and one can characterize it as the first kosmos to be built on the principle of mechanical thinking. Double-entry bookkeeping opens up for us the kosmos of the world of economics after the same fashion as that later used by the great physicists with the kosmos of the firmament . . . Double-entry bookkeeping rests on the logically applied ...  premise of conceptualizing all phenomena as quantities.]

[Editors note: Thomas Munzer, the sixteenth century Anabaptist and peasant leader, described the invention of double-entry bookkeeping as one of the great crimes in history. In his Medieval and Modern Commercial Enterprise Sombart said that "The very concept of capital is derived from this way of looking at things; one can say that capital, as a category, did not exist before double-entry bookkeeping. Capital can be defined as that amount of wealth which is used in making profits and which enters into the accounts."]
Double-entry book-keeping is a pure Analysis of the space of values, referred to a co-ordinate system, of which the origin is the "Firm."

The whole world-economy since the discovery of the steam-engine has been the creation of a quite small number of superior heads, without whose high-grade work everything would never have come into being. [...] Thinking in money generates money-- that is the secret of the world-economy. 

As every stream of Being consists of a minority of leaders and a huge majority of led, so every sort of economy consists in leader-work and executive work.


Capitalism comes into existence only with the world-city existence of a Civilization, and it is confined to the very small ring of those who represent this existence by their persons and intelligence; its opposite is the provincial economy. It was the unconditional supremacy achieved by the coin in Classical life... that generated the static capital, the [Grk text] or starting point, that by its existence drew to itself, in a sort of magnetic attraction, things and again things en masse. It was the supremacy of book-values, whose abstract system was quickly detached from personality by double-entry book-keeping and worked forward by virtue of its own inward dynamism, that produced the modern capital that spans the whole earth with its field of forces. [Authors note: ...it is only since 1770 that the banks have become centres of an economic power which made its first intervention with politics at the Congress of Vienna. Till then the banker had in the main concerned himself with bill business. ...the Classical banks, even in the Rome of Caesar's day, may best be described as cash-tills. They collected the yield of taxes in cash, and lent cash against replacement; thus the temples, with their stock of precious metal in the form of votive offerings, became "banks." The temple of Delos, through several centuries, lent at ten per cent.]
Under the influence of its own sort of capital the economic life of the Classical world took the form of a gold-stream that flowed from the provinces to Rome and back, and was ever seeking new areas whose stock of worked-up gold had not yet been "opened up." Brutus and Cassius carried the gold of Asia Minor on long mule-trains to the battlefield of Philippi... and even C. Gracchus, almost a century earlier, alluded to the amphorae that went out from Rome to the provinces full of wine and came back full of gold. This hunt for the gold possessions of alien peoples corresponds exactly to the present-day hunt for coal, which in its deeper meaning is not a thing, but a store of energy.

Chapter XIV

The Form-World of Economic Life


The Machine

Still from Fritz Lang's Metropolis, 1927.


[note: check for italics in the following]

The figure of the modern sorcerer-- a switchboard with levers and labels at which the workman calls mighty effects into play by the pressure of a finger without possessing the slightest notion of their essence-- is only the symbol of human technique in general. The picture of the light-world around us-- in so far as we have developed it critically, analytically, as theory, as picture-- is nothing but a switchboard of the kind, on which particular things are so labelled that by (so to speak) pressing the appropriate button particular effects follow with certainty. The secret itself remains none the less oppressive on that account. [Authors note: The "correctness" of physical data... is wholly independent of their technical value.] [...] Life makes use of thought as an "open sesame," and at the peak of... Civilization, in its great cities, there arrives finally the moment when technical critique becomes tired of being life's servant and makes itself tyrant. The Western Culture is even now experiencing an orgy of this unbridled thought, and on a tragic scale.

Very different [from the "Classical technique"] is the Faustian technics, which with all its passion of the third dimension, and from earliest Gothic days, thrusts itself upon Nature, with the firm resolve to be its master.

The Faustian inventor and discoverer is a unique type. The primitive force of his will, the brilliance of his visions, the steely energy of his practical ponderings [Editors note: i.e., 'working hypothesis'], must appear queer and incomprehensible to anyone at the standpoint of another Culture, but for us they are in the blood. Our whole Culture has a discoverer's soul. [...] All its great inventions slowly ripened in the deeps, to emerge at last with the necessity of a Destiny. All of them were very nearly approached by the high-hearted, happy research of the early Gothic monks. Here, if anywhere, the religious origins of all technical thought are manifested. These meditative discoverers in their cells, who with prayers and fastings wrung God's secret out of him, felt that they were serving God thereby. Here is the Faust-figure, the grand symbol of a true discovering Culture. [...] But for all of them, too, there was the truly Faustian danger of the Devil's having a hand in the game, the risk that he was leading them in spirit to that mountain on which he promises all the power of the earth. This is the significance of the perpetuum mobile dreamed of by those strange Dominicans like Petrus Peregrinus, which would wrest the almightiness from God. Again and again they succumbed to this ambition; they forced this secret out of God in order themselves to be God. They listened for the laws of the cosmic pulse in order to overpower it. And so they created the idea of the machine as a small cosmos obeying the will of man alone [Editors note: recalls Giambattista Vico phrase "Nature generates physical things, so human wit gives birth to mechanics and, as God is nature's artificer, so man is the god of artifacts". Sir Thomas Brown carried the idea to its conclusion: "all things are artificial, for Nature is the art of God"]. But with that they overpassed the slender border-line whereat the reverent piety of others saw the beginning of sin, and on it, from Roger Bacon to Giordano Bruno, they came to grief. Ever and ever again, true belief has regarded the machine as of the Devil.

Book-printing appeared, and the long-range weapon. On the heels of Columbus and Copernicus come the telescope, the mircoscope, the chemical element, and lastly the immense technological corpus of the early Baroque.
Then followed, however, simultaneously with Rationalism, the discovery of the steam-engine, which upset everything and transformed economic life from the foundations up. Till then nature had rendered services, but now she was tied to the yoke as a slave, and her work was as though in contempt measured by a standard of horse-power. We advance from the muscle-force of the Negro... to the organic reserves of the Earth's crust, where the life-forces of millennia lay stored as coal; and today... water-forces are already being brought in to supplement coal [Editors note: c.f. mystical water machine conceived in the 17th century, which envisaged harnessing the power of water to control machines]. As the horse-powers run to millions and milliards, the numbers of the population increase and increase, on a scale that no other Culture ever thought possible. [...] Work becomes the great word of ethical thinking; in the eighteenth century it loses its derogatory implication in all [European] languages. The machine works and forces man to co-operate. The entire Culture reaches a degree of activity such that the earth trembles under it.

For this Faustian passion has altered the Face of the Earth.  

This is the outward-- and upward-straining life-feeling-- true descendant, therefore, of the Gothic-- as expressed in Goethe's Faust monologue when the steam-engine was yet young. The intoxicated soul wills to fly above space and Time. And ineffable longing tempts him to indefinable horizons. Man would free himself from the earth, rise into the infinite, leave the bonds of the body, and circle in the universe of space amongst the stars. [...] Hence the fantastic traffic that crosses the continents in a few days, that puts itself across oceans in floating cities, that bores through mountains, rushes about in subterranean labyrinths, uses the steam-engine till its last possibilities have been exhausted, and then passes on to the gas-engine, and finally raises itself above the roads and railways and flies in the air; hence it is that the spoken word is sent in one moment over all the oceans; hence comes the ambition to break all records and beat all dimensions..., buildings that deliriously scrape the clouds,... works of steel and glass in which tiny man moves as unlimited monarch and, at the last, feels nature as beneath him. 
And these machines become in their forms less and ever less human, more ascetic, mystic, esoteric. They weave the earth over with an infinite web of subtle forces, currents, and tensions. Their bodies become ever more and more immaterial, ever less noisy. The wheels, rollers, and levers are vocal no more. All that matters withdraws itself into the interior. Man has felt the machine to be devilish, and rightly. It signifies in the eyes of the believer the deposition of God. It delivers sacred Causality over to man and by him, with a sort of foreseeing omniscience is set in motion, silent and irresistible.

It is a triumph, so far as we can see, unparalleled. Only this our Culture has achieved it, and perhaps only for a few centuries.
But for that very reason Faustian man has become the slave of his creation. His number, and the arrangement of life as he lives it, have been driven by the machine on to a path where there is no standing still and no turning back. The peasant, the hand-worker, even the merchant, appear suddenly as inessential in comparison with the three great figures that the Machine has bred and trained up in the cause of its development: the entrepreneur, the engineer, and the factory worker. Out of a quite small branch of manual work-- namely, the preparation-economy-- there has grown up (in this one Culture alone) a mighty tree that casts its shadow over all the other vocations-- namely, the economy of the machine-industry. [Authors note: ...so long as it dominates the earth, every non-European tries and will try to fathom the secret of this terrible weapon. Nevertheless, inwardly he abhors it, be he Indian or Japanese, Russian or Arab. ... ...the Russian looks with fear and hatred at this tyranny of wheels, cables, and rails, and if he adapts himself for to-day and to-morrow to the inevitable, yet there will come a time when he will blot out the whole thing from his memory and his environment, and create about himself a wholly new world, in which nothing of this Devil's technique is left.] It forces the entrepreneur not less than the workman to obedience. Both become slaves, and not masters, of the machine, that now for the first time develops its devilish and occult power. [...] The famous [Socialistic] phrase concerning the "strong arm" that bids every wheel cease from running is a piece of wrong-headedness. To stop them-- yes! but it does not need a worker to do that. [...] The mind, not the hand, holds [the Machine] together. ...to preserve the ever endangered structure, one figure is even more important than all the energy of enterprising master-men that make cities to grow out of the ground and alter the picture of the landscape; it is a figure that is apt to be forgotten in this conflict of politics-- the engineer, the priest of the machine, the man who knows it. Not merely the importance, but the very existence of the industry depends upon the existence of the hundred thousand talented, rigorously schooled brains that command the technique and develop it onward and onward. The quiet engineer it is who is the machine's master and destiny. His thought is as possibility what the machine is as actuality. There have been fears, thoroughly materialistic fears, of the exhaustion of the coal-fields. But so long as there are worthy technical path-finders, dangers of this sort have no existence. When, and only when, the crop of recruits for this army fails-- this army whose thought-work forms one inward unit with the work of the machine-- the industry must flicker out in spite of all that managerial energy and the workers can do. Suppose that, in future generations, the most gifted minds were to find their soul's health more important than all the powers of this world; suppose that, under the influence of the metaphysic and mysticism that is taking the place of rationalism today, the very elite of intellect that is now concerned with the machine comes to be overpowered by a growing sense of its Satanism (it is the step from Roger Bacon to Bernard of Clairvaux)-- then nothing can hinder the end of this grand drama that has been a play of intellects, with hands as mere auxiliaries.
The Western industry has diverted the ancient traditions of the other Cultures. [...] Nature becomes exhausted, the globe sacrificed to Faustian thinking in energies. [...] Nothing is so utterly antipodal to the motionless satiate being of the Classical Empire. It is the engineer who is remotest from the Classical law-thought, and he will see to it that his economy has its own law, wherein forces and efficiencies will take the place of Person and Thing.



 Industry, too, is earth-bound like the yeoman. It has its station, and its materials stream up out of the earth. Only high finance is wholly free, wholly intangible. Since 1789 the banks, and with them the bourses, have developed themselves on the credit-needs of an industry growing ever more enormous, as a power on their own account, and they will... to be the only power.

The dictature of money marches on, tending to its material peak, in the Faustian Civilization... . [...] ... as it is a form of thought, it fades out as soon as it has thought its economic world to finality, and has no more material upon which to feed. It thrust into the life of the yeoman's countryside and set the earth a-moving; its thought transformed every sort of handicraft; today it presses victoriously upon industry to make the productive work of entrepreneur and engineer and labourer alike its spoil. [...] ...the last conflict is at hand in which the Civilization receives its conclusive form-- the conflict between money and blood. 
The coming of Caesarism breaks the dictature of money and its political weapon democracy. [...] If we call these money-powers "Capitalism," [Authors note: In this sense the interest-politics of the workers' movements also belong to it, in that their object is not to overcome the money-values, but to possess them.]  then we may designate as Socialism the will to call into life a mighty politico-economic order that transcends all class interests, a system of lofty thoughtfulness and duty-sense that keeps the whole in fine condition for the decisive battle of its history, and this battle is also the battle of money and law. [...] A power can be overthrown only by another power, not by a principle, and no power that can confront money is left but this one. Money is overthrown and abolished only by blood. Life is alpha and omega, the cosmic onflow in microcosmic form. It is the fact of facts within the world-as-history. Before the irresistible rhythm of the generation-sequence, everything built up by the waking-consciousness in its intellectual world vanishes at the last. Ever in History it is life and life only-- race-quality, the triumph of the will-to-power-- and not the victory of truths, discoveries, or money that signifies. World-history is the world court, and it has ever decided in favour of the stronger, fuller, and more self-assured life-- decreed to it, namely, the right to exist, regardless of whether its right would hold before a tribunal of waking-consciousness. Always it has sacrificed truth and justice to might and race, and passed doom of death upon men and peoples in whom truth was more than deeds, and justice than power. And so the drama of a high Culture-- that wondrous world of deities, arts, thoughts, battles, cities-- closes with the return of the pristine facts of the blood eternal that is one and the same as the ever-circling cosmic flow. The bright imaginative Waking-Being submerges itself into the silent service of Being, as the Chinese and Roman empires tell us. Time triumphs over Space... .

For us... whom a Destiny has placed in this Culture and at this moment of its development... our direction, willed and obligatory at once, is set for us within narrow limits, and on any other terms life is not worth the living. We have not the freedom to reach to this or to that, but the freedom to do the necessary or to do nothing. And a task that historic necessity has set will be accomplished with the individual or against him. 

Ducttnt Fata volentem, nolentem trahunt.  

[Fate leads the willing, and drags the unwilling. Seneca.]