Thursday, November 27, 2008

Decline of the West Chapter 13, part two

Decline of the West
Oswald Spengler

If you recall from part one of chapter thirteen, Spengler was saying that a "race," meaning people sharing a genetic link and developing a unique culture in a specific geographic area, once removed from its homeland where it "evolved" or developed, will never be the same. Outside influence act upon a Culture and introduce subtle or obvious changes. Once they leave their land of origin, they are different than they were. As usual, my commentary is in brackets.

Chapter 13
Cities and Peoples
Part Two

[Take wine as an example of a "race" being moved to a new soil.] The Romans brought the vine from the South to the Rhine, and there is has certainly not visibly - i.e. botanically - changed. But in this instance "race" can be determined in other ways. There is a soil-born difference not merely between Southern and Northern, between Rhine and Moselle wines, but even between the products of every different site on every different hill-side - and the same hold good for every other high-grade vegetable "race" such as tea and tobacco.

There is a like element, only sensible to the finest perceptions, a faint aroma in every form, that underneath all higher Culture connects the Etruscans and the Renaissance in Tuscany, and the Sumerians, the Persians of 500 BC and the Persians of Islam on the Tigris.

None of this is accessible to a science that measures and weighs. It exists for the feelings. And the conclusion to which I come is that Race, like Time and Destiny, is a decisive element in every question of life, something which everyone knows clearly and definitely so long as he does not try to set himself to comprehend it by way of rational - i.e. soulless - dissection and ordering. Race, Time and Destiny belong together. Race, in contrast to speech, is unsystematic through and through. In the last resort every individual man and every individual moment of his existence have their own race.

[Recall that Spengler is using the term "race" here in a 1930s academic sense of the word, as I mentioned at the outset.]

He who would penetrate into the essence of language should begin by putting aside all the philologist's apparatus and observe how a hunter speaks to his dog. The dog follows the outstretched finger [of the hunter]..."Is that what Master means?" Then, still in dog language, he expresses his pleasure at finding that he was right. In just eh same way two men who do not really possess a single word in common seek to understand one another. The locutions of today, without exception, are capable of comprehension only in association with other modes of speech - adequate by themselves they are not, and never have been.

When the dog has exhausted every other device to comprehend the various speeches of his Master, he suddenly plants himself squarely, and his eye bores into the eye of the human. The look emancipates from the limitations of waking-consciousness. Being understands itself without signs. Here the dog has become a "judge" of men, looking his opposite straight in the eye and grasping, behind the speech, the speaker.

Languages of these kinds we habitually use without being conscious of the fact. The infant speaks long before it has learned its first word, and the grown-up talks with it without even thinking of the ordinary meanings of the words he or she is using - that is, the sound-forms in this case subserve a language that is quite other than that of words. Such languages also have their groups and dialects. They, too, can be learned, mastered and misunderstood, and they are so indispensable to us that verbal language would mutiny if we were to attempt to make it do all the work without assistance from tone and gesture-language.

[We all know this is true because we have, most of us, all taken offense at one time or another at the apparently abrupt or rude wording of an email or blog comment - sentences which are perfectly fine when spoken aloud with visual and facial cues and soft tones of voice often sound angry or arrogant or sarcastic without them. The words are the same, but what is communicated is different because the visual and audio clues can make a huge difference in the MEANING of the words.]

A race-character is involved, a priori, in the way in which the matter to be communicated is set in sentences.

[Here Spengler is stating what should be obvious - our "cues" we use to interpret language are often Culture-specific. What sounds fine to one Culture may be a terrible insult to another. Also, individual words have various shades of meaning that are unique to the various Cultures that use the word. This can lead to amusing misunderstandings - or to very serious ones.]

Not the ideas and thoughts, but the thinking, the kind of life, the blood, determine in the primitive, Classical, Chinese and Western speech-communities the type of the sentence-unit, and with it the mechanical relation of the word to the sentence. The boundary between grammar and syntax should be placed at the point where the mechanical of speech ceases and the organic of speaking begins - usages, custom, the physiognomy of the way that a man employs to express himself.

..."language," properly so a technical instrument and can be invented, improved, changed and worn out. Enunciation and expression, on the contrary, adhere to the race." We recognize a person known to us, without seeing him, by his pronunciation, and not only that, but we can recognize a member of an alien race even if he speaks perfectly correct German.

[Or Hebrew, or Yiddish, or English. A person's thought patterns are ingrained as part of their earliest Culture - back when they first learned to speak their native tongue. Those thought patterns will still prevail as a person is attempting to construct sentences in a foreign language - even a skilled non-native speaker is often easily recognized as non-native just by the way they arrange their ideas, not necessarily the way they arrange the syntax of their sentences when speaking to you.]

Words are the relatively smallest mechanical units in the sentence. There is probably nothing that is so characteristic of the thinking of a human species as the way in which these units are acquired by it.

[I recall an amusing incident when I was transcribing tapes for one of my linguistics professors. She was doing a series of interviews with other women who were in a certain program of studies at a nearby women's only college, and she really wanted one girl's story for her research. She asked the girl if she would come by her office and be interviewed, and the girl replied, "Why, I don't care to at all." The professor was disappointed, and later extremely surprised later when the girl called to make an appointment. You see, the professor didn't realize that in some areas, especially where this girl was from, "don't care to" means you're "happy to" do it. And of course, when I transcribed the tape, the girl had an obvious accent. The professor, not familiar with her Culture, didn't realize she had assented to the interview, not declined. I had to laugh, and I told her she should have asked me what the girl meant, since I have some experience with people from the Appalachian mountains, having grandparents who lived there. My point is that words mean things, but they can mean different things to different people. Words alone or words combined into phrases may have colloquial meanings which are entirely unique to a specific culture, geographic area, or race.]

The gradual replacement of bodily or sonic by grammatical gestures is thus the decisive factor in the formation of sentences, but it has never been completed. There are no purely verbal languages. The activity of speaking, in words, as it emerges more and more precise, consists in this, that through word sounds we awaken significance-feelings, which in turn through the sound of the word-connexions evoke further relation-feelings.

Words are only named, not used definitively, and the hearer has to feel what hte speaker means. This and this alone amounts to speech, and hence mein and tone play a much greater part than is generally admitted in the understandings of modern speech.

Subtle thinking - "splitting hairs," as it is called - is conversing with oneself in word-significance. It is the activity that no kind of language but the language of words can subserve, and it becomes, with the perfection of the language, distinctive in the life-habit of whole classes of human beings.

Abstract thinking consists in the use of a finite word-framework into which it is sought to squeeze the whole infinite content of life. Concepts kill Being and falsify Waking-Being. It is the ideal of every thought-system to subject life, once and for all, to he domination of intellect. This is achieved in theory by according validity only to the known and branding the actual as a sham and a delusion.

[You know where this is going already, no doubt. Who has killed the feeling and essence of life with their nit-picking and hair-splitting? The Chereidi Ravs, of course.]

Both logic and ethics alike are systems of absolute and eternal truths for the intellect, and correspondingly untruths for history.

[Context is everything.]

In the realm of facts the belief in eternal truths is a petty and absurd stage-play that exists only in the heads of individuals. A true system of thoughts emphatically cannot exist, for no sign can replace actuality. Profound and honest thinkers are always brought to the conclusion that all cognition is conditioned a priori by its own form and can never reach that which the words mean - apart, again, from the case of technics, in which the concepts are instruments and not aims in themselves.

[By denying "eternal truth" in the area of language, here Spengler is rightly insisting that words in the here and now do not and cannot mean the same thing as they meant in ancient times - by "meaning" of course we refer to how the word was understood by a Culture. The Ravs of today have placed narrow, modern, european definitions onto words that were broad, ancient, and near eastern. They have mechanically and technically analyzed every word to discern the "right" way to interpret it - except that their idea of the "right" way is 100% a product of their own ghetto-born intolerant Culture which has a need to control, regulate, and shrink the meanings of the words down so that they fit into their own pre-conceived paradigm. The original intent simply never was what the Ravs want (need) it to be today.]

The inner history of word-languages shows three stages. The world awakens as a secret, and religious thought begins. In the second stage, a complete communication-speech is gradually transformed into grammatical values. The third stage is marked by a rapid decay of inflexions and a simultaneous replacement of grammer by syntax. The intellectualization of man's waking-consciousness has not proceeded so far that he no longer needs the sense-props of inflexion and, discarding the old luxuriance of word-forms, communicates freely and surely by means of the faintest nuances of idiom (particles, position of words, rhythm).

[In other words, jargon replaces real communication. This is absolutely true in the Chereidi word, as a person need only spit out the right catch-phrases and nod at the appropriate moments - what they really think and feel is not important to the community, only the appearance of conformity matters. So they use language to obfuscate, not to communicate.]

Minds and senses are not making the contact.

In this third stage of linguistic history, the history of the higher Cultures now intervenes with an entirely new speech, the speech of the distance - writing - an invention of such inward forcefulness that again there is a sudden and decisive turn in the destinies of the word-languages.

Only the initiates of the particular speech-communion understand. The same holds good also for the primary words of every other Culture-language...indications of the world-outlook of their respective Cultures that no one not bred in the Culture can comprehend.

[I can't imagine that I need to elaborate on this with regard to Chereidi Culture. The Ultra-Orthodox have had their own secret meanings to words and phrases which make what they say sound perfectly good to outsiders but is perfectly well understood to insiders to be derogatory and condescending toward non-ultra-orthodox Jews and Gentiles alike. And in regard to religious matters, even the word "Torah" itself has been stretched out of all recognition.]

The tempo of linguistic history is immensely rapid - here a mere century signifies a great deal. If we assume [for example] that the oldest Vedic texts have preserved the linguistic state of 1200 BC, then even that of 2000 may have differed from it far more completely than any Indogermanic philologists working by a posteriori methods can even surmise.

But allegro changes into lento in the moment when script, the language of duration, intervenes and ties down and immobilizes the systems at entirely different age-levels, [especially when] all that we possess is remains of written languages.

[As was mentioned before, the Bronze Age Near Easterners understood the commandments of Torah as commandments to THEM, given in their own time and place and using ordinary Bronze Age language-forms that they understood perfectly well. They needed no "interpretation." And any "interpretation" we cast onto those Bronze Age words can only reflect our own age and Culture - it cannot reflect theirs, and therefore can NEVER be "authentic." Saying our current interpretations are "authentic" or "min har Sinai" is simply a fiction put in place to assert an authority which never otherwise existed.]

Writing is above everything a matter of status, and more particularly an ancient privilege of priesthood. The peasantry is without history and therefore without writing. It is the distinction between the man of action who makes history and the scholar, who merely puts it down on paper, "eternalizes" it. In all Cultures the script is in the keeping of the priesthood, in which class we have to count also the poet and the scholar. The nobility despises writing, it has people to write for it.

[Which is how the priesthood inevitably usurps the nobility, the same way the Rabbis have usurped Hashem's throne and set themselves upon it. They made the Talmud, it's theirs - not His.]

Timeless truths came to be such, not at all through speech, but only when there came to be script for them. Which shall endure, deed or truth? The archivist's "sources" preserve facts, the holy scripture, truths. What chronicles and documents mean in the first-named, exegesis and library mean in the second.

People and Nation

For me [Spengler], the "people" is a unit of the soul. The great events of history were not really achieved by peoples. They themselves created the peoples. Every act alters the soul of the doer.

That which distinguishes a people from a population, raises it up out of the population and will one day let it find its level again in the population is always the inwardly lived experience of the "we." The deeper this feeling is, the stronger it is vis viva the people. There are energetic and tame, ephemeral and indestructible, forms of peoples. They can change speech, name, race and land, but so long as their soul lasts, they can gather themselves and transform human material of any and every provenance.

[It should be obvious, therefore, that by rejecting the rest of Jews as "not-Jews," the Chereidi have sundered themselves from all other Jews and declared themselves to be the only real Judaism. No longer are you a Jew if your mother or grandmother was Jewish - you are only Jewish is she was an ultra-orthodox Jew. They hope that the rest of the Jews will fade away and leave themselves as the sole powers of Judaism. So far that hope has not come to pass. In spite of the intermarriage rates and the assimilation rates, there are, only 60-some years after the Holocaust, about the same number of Jews as before it - and still only a fraction of those are ultra-orthodox. Many thousands of the children of those who decided to "go secular" or assimilate to a majority religion decide to return to Judaism (they feel in their soul that is where they belong) - only to have the door slammed in their face by the Chereidi, who insult the intelligence of educated people with their misogynistic, scientifically-backward, medically dangerous, hateful and intolerant positions that they insist are the "only real" Judaism. Educated intelligent people therefore walk away, cut off from their people, because a control-structure that insists on positions which are so obviously factually WRONG is something they very rightly decide they want nothing to do with. That's just fine with the Chereidi - they only care about people who join their SECT, they don't care one whit about the fates of people of Jewish blood.]

Of course, it is often quite justifiable to align people with races, but "race" in this connexion must not be interpreted in the present-day Darwinian sense of the word. No people was ever yet stirred to enthusiasm for this ideal of blood purity.

[Remember, this was written in the 1930s, before Hitler came to power, and before the Chereidi themselves set out on their quest to protect their own mythical racial purity that never before existed. Western Culture has superficially rejected the idea of "racial purity," but it still lurks underneath the Politically Correct veneer. Western Culture was, of course, born as a racist Culture in White Catholic Europe. It's a terrible shame to see that Chereidi Judaism has adopted such disgusting attitudes, but not surprising since it is a logical outcome of the ghetto us-vs-them mentality.]

Culture-peoples are more distinct in character than the rest.

[And appearance, whether skin color or clothing, is only the most superficial and useless measure of whether a person is part of a Culture or not. The fact that Chereidi Culture has been reduced to measuring hemlines and forbidding colored shirts is because it is so lacking in real depth.]

Hitherto (consciously and deliberately or not) historical research has uniformly regarded these Culture-peoples as something in being, as primaries, and have treated the Culture itself as secondary, as their product.

I [Spengler] regard it, therefore, as a discovery of decisive importance that the facts here set forth lead to the reverse conclusion. It will be established in all rigour that the Great Cultures are entities, primary or original, that arise out of the deepest foundations of spirituality, and that the peoples under the spell of a Culture are, alike in their inward form and in their whole-manifestation, its product and not its authors.

[Which is why it is so quizzical to hear Chereidi bashing of "outside culture" when their own is just as obsessed with sex, money, social position, appearances, power and control as wider Western Culture. That is because what is now Chereidi Culture is not a separate entity from Western Culture but is a step-child of it, part of it and dependent upon it for our very survival. We are parasites off a host that we disparage, yet we have made no real move to be free of it. If anything, we are now so tightly bound up with Western Culture that we no longer know how to think as Near Easterners - we no longer know how to think Hebrew. We only think in Western terms.]

World-history is the history of the great Cultures, and peoples are but the symbolic forms and vessels in which the men of these Cultures fulfill their Destinies. Peoples in the style of their Culture we will call Nations, the word itself distinguishing them from the forms that precede and that follow them. Underlying the nation there is an Idea. This stream of a collective being possesses a very deep relation to Destiny, to Time and to History, a relation that is different in each instance and one, too, that determines the relation of the human material to race, language, land, state and religion.

[And the Chereidi have rejected their land of Judah and Shomeron, their race of fellow non-orthodox Jews, their State of Israel, Hebrew Near Eastern based language-thought patterns, and of course, the multi-faceted Jewish religion of their forebears. They intend to remake Judaism into their own image - but what they are doing instead is replacing authentic Judaism with a new, artificial one created in White Catholic Europe and nurtured in the bosom of decadent Western Culture - America. Where this fiasco will end no one yet knows, but one thing is certain. Imperialistic Western Culture is collapsing under its own weight, and since Judaism is bound to it, Judaism must transform or collapse with it. The Imperialism and intolerance of the Chereidi is not a transformation, it is a continuation of the failing Western paradigm. It cannot last. The only question is, will Judaism as a whole be destroyed with it?]

1 comment:

Religion and State in Israel said...

Very well-thought out post. Kol Hakavod.

Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel