Toward a Holistic Politics

From People of Shambala:

Although a relatively obscure thinker in the English-speaking world, it is to the German theorist Oswald Spengler that we must look to find the influence on much of the political thought of the West. Huntington’s “clash of civilization” thesis is Spenglarian, as is Walter Laquer’s Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent and a host of similar books. Paleoconservatism is to some extent influenced by Spengler – sometimes described as the philosopher of pessimism. And, more recently, at least one neoconservative pundit has taken from the German thinker – even if his thought has been degraded in the process.
According to Spengler, civilizations are essentially organic. They have a root, they grow, and, eventually, they wither and die. Each stage can, accordingly, be discerned. And Spengler examines the civilizations of Persia, China, etc. in his magnum opus The Decline of the West, to propose that we are on the trajectory toward decay and death.
In our time of radical change, and with the Western nation states having lost much of their traditions, culture and identity over the last few centuries, the appeal of this thesis should be self-evident. Discussion of Spengler’s ideas, probing whether they are true, or to what degree they enable us to predict the future – such as we find in Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam by Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) and Marcello Pera – is undoubtedly helpful.
But the problem remains that as a philosopher of pessimism, Spengler does not enable us to see whether new potentialities are emerging, and how we might steer a new course. Rather, like traditional conservatism, it traps us into believing that not only is decline inevitable, but that we wake each day to new defeats. The mind that sees culture ravaged but cannot see where it is being reborn and reinterpreted, and, moreover, that finds fault with everything and feels affronted by it ideologically, becomes the hypnotic voice lulling us to inaction.

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About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic
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5 Responses to Toward a Holistic Politics

  1. oogenhand says:

    The West is a fertile ground for a new, post-Islamic civilization. Islam destroys itself in Syria, so the Middle-East has no other choice than to become part of that new civilization.

  2. Richard says:

    The theory ignores the fact that the decline was artificially induced and in flyover country in the US mainly in a limited area around the coasts.

  3. Hermes says:

    A nice new-age essay. But if parties are abolished, what would then happen with democracy? Shouldn’t the people be asked in a referendum if they want to be ruled under this form of government which implies that after having accepted it, there would no more choices regarding leadership? Wouldn’t this give rise to a holistic kind of dictature? It is stated that “we wish to sweep aside Left and Right. We want to envision a holistic politics that will enable an entirely new way of being, politically, educationally, and so on, that will enable the ascendance of the individual and the culture.” So if there is no left and no right,then there are no parties. Ergo democracy becomes something superfluous and innecesary, and a holistic totalitarian government steps forward, with no alternatives to it in case this hippy drean turned to be a failed stock of flowery theories.

    There are many good points in this essay, though, for example that of ending the culture of denial. But this proposals do not belong organically to a holistic view of the future. Any ruling government could implement them if it had the will to do so.

  4. Thanks for your comments.

    Richard, regarding the decline being ‘artificially induced”? What makes it artificial?

    Conservatives want to suggest that the US and other Western nations were free from neurosis before the influence of Cultural Marxism/the Frankfurt School, etc. (which I assume is what you refer to by “artificial”). Like it or not, while its proposals and worldview has proved damaging, its diagnosis — presented through film, music, television, etc. — held up a mirror to society. The narrative of “oppression” caught on because people recognized their own lives in it (the neurotic parents, the lecherous boss, the church that cared about money and obedience, racism in society, etc.). The decline had set in long before the Frankfurt School. Its theories merely sent society spinning in a new direction, and created new and different expressions for collective neurosis.

    Hermes, regarding the assertion that “if there is no left and no right,then there are no parties. Ergo democracy becomes something superfluous and innecesary [sic]” this is patently false, surely? “Left” and “Right” comes from the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly, with those on the right side being supporters of the king, and those on the Left wanting to push the Revolution on. These worldviews, rooted in 18th century France, are hardly the only ones on which to base politics in the world today.

    Indeed, “Left” and “Right” are almost completely useless as definitions today, even in the West. Just take a look at what they stand for. In many cases, it is the opposite of what those movements traditionally stood for. The “Left” defends “religion”, and the “Right” believes in women’s rights (at least when one particular religion is in view). This, according to the Left-Right paradigm, is the wrong way round. Moreover, is it true that in Asia and elsewhere, political parties operate on a Left-Right basis. I don’t think so.

    In other words, Left-Right is merely the prism through which we understand (a kind of identity) politics.

  5. Richard says:

    The far left has been working hard for over a century tryingi to remove all traditional morality from the western nations, they did this knowing that historically when a civilization looses its morals it falls. This is why I say the decline is artificial, they have had greater success in Europe then in the US, although I suspect the rural areas in Western Europe are probably hanging on to much more of the old culture and morals then the cities. Not being in Europe I have no way besides the news media and the entertainment industry to see how the culture is doing. I doubt they are giving me a true picture of the state of civilization in Europe and Britain. I know that they aren’t presenting a true picture of the US.

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