Neoteny Quote / Spengler


“Formerly no one was allowed to think freely;

now it is permitted,

but no one is capable of it any more.

Now people want to think only

what they are supposed to want to think,

and this they consider freedom.

Decline of the West / Oswald Spengler.


My reaction to Oswald Spengler is that he was possibly Asperger, and certainly a non-typical thinker. His PhD thesis was rejected for lack of references – he may have been unable to conform to formal academic standards. His insights about modern culture, and where it was headed, were prophetic; his thinking was not bound by linear processes but had that “big picture, interconnected pattern” quality familiar to Aspergers like me. Contrary to limitations in the socially modern  imagination, some of my nurturers (mothers) are individuals such as Spengler.

“but no one is capable of it anymore”

I believe this statement is true (at least in the U.S.) and a consequence of psychological neoteny. If the human brain has been juvenalized (can no longer develop to adult capabilities) it may be impossible to move beyond failure. It is obvious that the people elected to operate the country are incapable of serious analysis, common sense and competent decision-making. They are utterly confused by the requirements of positions of authority.


________________________________________________________ Author profile:

Spengler died May 08, 1936 Influences: Friedrich Nietzsche, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Oswald Spengler was born in 1880 in Blankenburg at the foot of the Harz mountains, the eldest of four children, and the only boy. His family was conservative German of the petite bourgeoisie. His childhood home was emotionally reserved, and the young Spengler turned to books and the great cultural personalities for succor. He had imperfect health, and suffered throughout his life from migraine headaches and from an anxiety complex.
At the age of ten, his family moved to the university city of Halle. Here Spengler received a classical education at the local Gymnasium studying Greek, Latin, mathematics and natural sciences. Here, too, he developed his affinity for the arts—especially poetry, drama, and music—and came under the influence of the ideas of Goethe and Nietzsche.
Spengler attended several universities (Munich, Berlin, and Halle) as a private scholar, taking courses in a wide range of subjects: history, philosophy, mathematics, natural science, literature, the classics, music, and fine arts. In 1905 suffered a nervous breakdown.
He briefly served as a teacher in Saarbrücken and then in Düsseldorf. From 1908 to 1911 he worked at a grammar school (Realgymnasium) in Hamburg, where he taught science, German history, and mathematics. In 1911 he moved to Munich, where he would live until his death in 1936. He lived as a cloistered scholar, supported by his modest inheritance. Spengler survived on very limited means and was marked by loneliness. He owned no books, and took jobs as a tutor or wrote for magazines to earn additional income.Decline of the West was completed in 1914, but publishing was delayed by World War I. Due to a congenital heart problem, he was not called up for military service; Spengler lived in genuine poverty for this period.

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