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‘“Mankind,” however, has no aim, no idea, no plan, any more than the family of butterflies or orchids.’—Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West

Jesus, there it was.

On a shelf in a tiny overcrowded Farmer’s Market stall. Granted, the Cafe already had two copies on its shelves: a single volume unabridged version from 1934 and a softcover abridged Oxford University Press edition dated 1991.

“Events have justified much and refuted nothing.”—Oswald Spengler, from his Preface to the First Edition.

This one was an abridged hardcover Modern Library edition, published in 1962. It had a dust jacket and was wrapped in clear plastic. Leafing through it before forking over my $20 I noticed someone had done some underlining. Understandable, given the content, thankfully in light pencil.

“I have not hitherto found one who has carefully considered the morphological relationship that inwardly binds together the expression-forms of all branches of a culture.”—Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West

Call it a public service, this buying and squirrelling away of Spengler’s monumental classic. Wouldn’t want it to fall into the wrong person’s hands, or any person’s hands for that matter. They’d be royally screwed, messed up, unhinged. Leave it with them for too long and they’d lose all their friends and wander the planet aimlessly uttering incomprehensible gibberish.

“As he was browsing the Carmel library one day, his hand moved, as if by itself, he said, to a copy of Oswald Spengler’s monumental Decline Of The West, only recently published in America.”-Stephen and Robin Larsen, A Fire In The Mind, The Life Of Joseph Campbell

Campbell would read it seven times!

What did Will Durant, penner of the eleven volume Story of Civilization say of Spengler? Something like: “the greatest German thinker of the twentieth century.”

Pessimistic? Naw, those who’d say that just don’t get it.

“Those who refuse to be bluffed by enunciations will not regard this as pessimism; and the rest do not matter.”—Oswald Spengler, from his Preface to the Revised Edition.

“…and the rest do not matter.” Ouch. Pure sparkling Spengler.

“I see world-history as a picture of endless formations and transformations, of the marvellous waxing and waning of organic forms.”—Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West

Best put this one away.

When people tire of the waning his song, his poem, will be part of the waxing.