Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Man and Technics , please sign up. Silly question, but should I read The Decline of the West before this one? See 1 question about Man and Technics…. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Apr 01, Paul Christensen rated it liked it Shelves: philosophy. Spengler traces the history of technics in three phases: Stage 1 The Hand The genesis of man is the hand see Animal Farm , which Spengler believes occurred as a sudden mutation.
It made man creative. Stage 2 Speech and Enterprise Speech then arose for needs of conversation or command not thought or judgement. It is the means to collective doing enterprise. It emancipated the intellect from the hand. Man then separated into commanders and obeyers; individual lives mattered little at this time according to Spengler; what mattered was the whole, the tribe, the sea voyage or building project.
But the obeyers hands increased, and thus personality developed, as a protest against man in the mass. Eventually machines grew so complex that leaders and led no longer understood each other. A spiritual barrenness set in, and leaders became divorced from the people. Nordic Man became spiritually enslaved to the machine. European, Faustian culture is the most tragic culture, due to the conflict between its comprehensive intellectuality and its profound spiritual disharmony. So the Faustian mind became weary of machines, and returned to contemplating nature the green movement, the new age movement etc.
Man took refuge from civilisation. For non-whites, Spengler claims, technology is merely a weapon to be used against the Faustians who invented it and he wrote this before mass immigration! With this pronouncement, Spengler reveals himself to be part of the problem. It can still serve as a point of revival for Faustians! What could appeal to their romantic impulses more than wanting to stand on the moons of Neptune?
Given the current suicidal path Western Europe is following, this may turn out to be one of his more accurate predictions. The man himself would not have been surprised by the turn things have taken. If he were still up in the Alps, he would be nodding grimly down at the many atheists, feminists, and homosexuals who welcome the growing presence of a religion that reviles them. But we may now use that word only with a smile, when the dessert comes out.
The good news is that he refused to serve the Nazis. The bad news? They were too left-wing for his liking. As far as he was concerned, all ideologies catering to the human herd, from communism and Hitlerism to liberal democracy, were on the left and beneath contempt. What he wanted was a German Caesar and a meritocratic elite of true individuals with—to quote a Nietzschean pop song—no time for losers.
This still makes him a fascist in the catch-all sense now current. View all 5 comments. May 20, Matt rated it liked it. Here's the thing: Spengler is an extremely interesting figure in the realm of speculative philosophy. He is, however, a horrible historian and an even worse scientist. These things get in the way of his precient views on the future. It's amazing to watch him make an ass of himself insofar as Darwin is concerned, and then make up a bunch of stuff about so-called historical trends and ignore all manner of actual, contemporary scholarship on the matter at hand, and then watch him turn around and st Here's the thing: Spengler is an extremely interesting figure in the realm of speculative philosophy.
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It's amazing to watch him make an ass of himself insofar as Darwin is concerned, and then make up a bunch of stuff about so-called historical trends and ignore all manner of actual, contemporary scholarship on the matter at hand, and then watch him turn around and start making sense. Never have I read a book so wrong and so right at the same time. My god I love this crazy ass German bastard. It's hard for me, a fellow who has sometimes found comfort in the thought of lying down in front of an oncoming train, to not like him.
And, on the grounds of a shared general pessimism about this species known as Homo sapiens , I do like him. Hell, I don't even approve of the conceit Homo sapiens , translated loosely as "wise man" as it is. I'm more fond of Jonathan Swift's assessment of the species as rationis capax -- "capabl "Optimism is cowardice.
I'm more fond of Jonathan Swift's assessment of the species as rationis capax -- "capable of reason. In this short treatise, Spengler sets out, through some hackneyed and truncated anthropological gymnastics and philosophical assumptions, to chart the path and destiny of humanity in general by way of a very specific tribe of that humanity, the proud — and, in essence, superior — Nordic.
He begins with the hunter-gatherer stage, the implied apogee of this tribe because Spengler sees our species simply in episodic decline from those halcyon days before antibiotics, wherein the terrible yet inevitable decision is made to use tools by way of the hand — the appendage, never mind the big brain that requires all those calories be ingested, that truly sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. This unavoidable decision marks the Nordic as both special and tragic because tool-making becomes some sort of empirical compulsion that can never be satisfied by way of conquering nature; nevertheless, they try their damnedest as their civilization metastasizes into various stages, from agrarian to urban.
Unfortunately, the Nordic tribe ends up stratifying, abandons technology which is then taken up by other, less white, tribes, who then use it to avenge themselves upon the long dominant Nordic tribe; meanwhile, the planet is rendered an ecological disaster through this technological orgy. But, in the end, a sympathy by way of shared general pessimism is where I part ways with Herr Spengler. True, I may have a weakness for the vague and sweeping mysticism, informed by Nietzsche as it is, that gives color and flair to his pessimism, just as my own pessimism was once given color and flair by an adolescence thick with albums by The Cure.
However, I only ever knew the lyrics; I never wore the eyeliner. You can have an identity without slavishly wearing a uniform, and a species can aspire to improve itself while painfully conscious of its past failures; indeed, how could it even begin to aspire without having encountered many a failure?
We are doomed. But this heroic and tragic image, thrown in almost as an afterthought, belies the survival instinct to which this poor unfortunate guard was in thrall to well before he peacocked around in his fascist trappings. He was a human being that was driven to live; indeed, his submission to the state was an exercise in that very real biological imperative. Besides, I've seen the pictures. That bastard was running. The political left, he says, always had the sharper pens on their side. For an anti-Marxist movement to ever become politically successful it must mobilise not only the masses, but also skilled writers capable of convincingly formulating a new ideal in harmony with the prevailing zeitgeist.
If the desire to know what that curtain is made of, and even to peer behind it, is not Faustian, then I don't know what would be; and I can very well imagine that if Faustian man were to go extinct, that particular question would go with him. Still less important is what moves for a couple of instants upon its surface. But each and every one of us, in and of ourselves of no importance, is for an unspeakably brief moment - a lifetime - cast into that whirling universe.
There are no 'men-in-themselves' such as as the philospophers prattle about, but only men of a time, of locality, of a race, of a personality type, who contend in battle with a given world and win through or fail, while the universe around them moves slowly on with a godlike unconcern. This battle is life, and life in the true Nietzschean sense of a cruel, pitiless, relentless battle deriving from the the Will to Power.
Actually there is life in it, or about it. Eveything takes place with it and in it. It selects neither its position, nor its nourishment, nor the other plants with which it produces its offspring. It does not move itself, but is moved by wind and warmth and light. Above this grade of life now rises the freely mobile life of the animals. But of this there are two stages.
Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life by Oswald Spengler
There is one kind, represented in every anatomical genus from unicellular animals to aquatic birds and ungulates, whose living depends for its maintenance upon the immobile plant-world, for plants cannot flee or defend themselves. But above this there is a second kind, which lives on other animals and whose living consists of killing. Here the prey itself is mobile, and highly so, and moreover it is combative and well-equipped with dodges of all sorts.
The second kind is also found in all the genera of the system. Every drop of water is a battlefield and we, who have the land-battle so constantly before our eyes that it is taken for granted or even forgotten, shudder to see how the fantastic forms of the deep sea carry on the life of killing and being killed. The animal of prey is the highest form of mobile life. It implies a maximum of freedom from others and for oneself, of self-responsibility, of independence, and an extreme of necessity where that self can hold its own only by fighting and winning and destroying.
It imparts a high dignity to Man, as a type, that he is a beast of prey. Oct 25, Griffin Wilson rated it liked it Shelves: pol-fascism-ns , ph-modern. I have become enamored with Spengler and his book "The Decline of the West. This book examines what Spengler takes to be the impacts of technology on the human race, particularly "Faustian" or Western civilization; in some ways it reminds me of Ted Kaczynski, but backed instead by his ideas concerning the morphology of history.
In the fashion of his great mentor, Friedrich Nietzsche, Spengler gives us what he takes to be the genealogy of technics -- from the birth of 'civilization' over 5, years ago to the modern, scientific era. I rate this only 3 stars mostly because I found his argumentation in these first sections to be too short and unconvincing to justify what he was trying to say. Also unnecessarily obscure. The last section I found more convincing. In this he makes a number of predictions: most of which turned out to be more or less correct! At the end he concludes: "Only dreamers believe that there is a way out.
Optimism is cowardice. We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him.
That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honourable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man. Mooi boek. Te lezen als de inleiding tot het grotere werk van Oswald Spengler zijnde der Untergang des Abendlandes. Shelves: philosophy.
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Whilst Spengler's conception of technology as being the fruits of a predatory ur-nature, which in society is translated into creativity and Will-to-power -- for its own sake -- is interesting and his concern for ecology appreciated, the book is rife with dogmatic essentialism, a very narrow view of culture, smug pessimism and, of course, eurocentrism. Man is superior to animal whatever that may mean , some men are born to lead while others are only good for obeying, duty itself is a priori nobl Whilst Spengler's conception of technology as being the fruits of a predatory ur-nature, which in society is translated into creativity and Will-to-power -- for its own sake -- is interesting and his concern for ecology appreciated, the book is rife with dogmatic essentialism, a very narrow view of culture, smug pessimism and, of course, eurocentrism.
Oswald's prediction of there being fewer and fewer leaders of the mind or of the policy because of the daunting nature of technology -- they'd kill themselves, abscond to non-technological civilizations or become shut-ins rather than commit themselves to a technology-dependent lifestyle, ultimately hostile to our Predatory heritage -- seems unfounded and reads more like a projection of Spengler's own disgust towards and fear of the hi-tech; little did he know in 60 years teenagers would be crossing borders and dissolving national consciousness, programming apps, creating space ships and perfecting the ultimate virtual sex bot simulators.
Against the backdrop of the rise of Nazism Spengler's attitude becomes more understandable, but this still doesn't excuse the book being constructed in an ass-backwards fashion -- he exported the apocalyptic pessimism engrained in his earlier work or so I'm assuming and shaped his poorly analyzed and reductionist views on technology around it.
Reading his comments on the main modes of the noble predator contempt towards those below, hatred towards equals, envy towards the higher-ups with Erich Fromm's characterization of the totalitarian mind in mind is enriching.
Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life
Spengler appears passionately in love with the tragic European fate; he revels in his own aporia, and the scorn he has in store for those of a different attitude "Time cannot be delayed; there is no sage turnabout, no wise renunciation. Only dreamers believe in solutions. Optimism is cowardice" p he believes to be a good enough substitute for proper argumentation.
Well then. EDIT: shit, on a second reading it turns out that his thoughts on the origin of speech, sociality and tools, and the role of the eye and hand among this are actually quite thought-provoking and deserve serious reception. Ignore the prescriptive stuff, be the most critical reader of the descriptive things. View all 3 comments. Nov 18, Baethan Balor rated it it was amazing.
I picked this up as a test to see if I should commit to The Decline of the West. I will, but not without reservation. Spengler gives a compelling account of the nature of man, or at least a type of man. The man that is great, but not good.
The kind of man that Liberals would like to pretend is a historical oddity, even though he keeps resurfacing time after time to destroy everything that we build. Where Spengler loses me is in his adoration of these men.
He knows they are a disaster and that the I picked this up as a test to see if I should commit to The Decline of the West. He knows they are a disaster and that they will spell our doom over and over until we are gone forever, but in the fashion of Nietzsche, he celebrates this as a great tragedy. We should not fight our nature to better ourselves, but rather live to our potential and seize what we can while we can.
The ambivalence continues throughout the book. But then he mocks Darwin and dismisses the entire concept of evolution because he thinks something as powerful as the hand had to come to man in one powerful thunderclap, rather than a slow, gradual process. Questioning the particulars of evolution was a far more viable affair in the s than it is today, and with the rise of studying rather than simply hunting animals we regard them as much closer relatives than in Spengler's time.
It would be a treasure to know how Spengler's stance on these issues would be in our time. One of the key aspects of Spengler's work was the cycle, and reading this book 85 years on, you can't help but look for patterns and parallels. While not racist by Germany standards, Spengler saw clear competition between the west and other cultures of the world. In the ultimate, I dwell.
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