Thursday, September 13, 2018

731: Decline of the West...

In my research for this lecture I ran into the famous essayist, journalist Menno Ter Braak (1902 -1940).
He committed suicide five days after the invasion of my country, the Netherlands, by Germany .
I was struck by a quotation of his words from 1932:
"our mistake was, when we admired Spengler too eagerly, that we, living under the balance of power of democracy, 
which respects the intellect to some extent, had made only academic considerations 
of a development of power of those, who not only despised the intellect, but (what is worse)  force us to servile accepting forgeries of facts ".
I wouldn't be surprised, if you have difficulty to immediately grasp the meaning of the words of Menno Ter Braak.
What he means in 1932 is, that we live under the checks and balances of democracy, which respect the intellect
and our thoughts about those, who threaten this, have been only academic so far, while those, who threaten this status quo,
hate and despise all intellectual talk and use lies etc. to grab  power.
I couldn't help thinking of Donald Trump here and the numerous populist movements in a number of countries in Europe and Nazi-movements in the US.
Since the Middle Ages there is ongoing fight over who controls Europe, who is the number one.
The players in this fight  are Germany, England and France. This is what you have to keep in mind, for the fight still goes on.
In June 1917 was a presentation of the Dutch translation of "Der Untergang des Abendlandes"  / "Decline of the West", 
written by Oswald Spengler in the period 1914 - 1922. It has two volumes and it is important to keep in mind,
that he finished writing volume One before the beginning of World War One.
A reason for writing his book was some other event. In 1911 France wanted to occupy Morocco. 
A German warship moved into the harbor of Agadir to prevent this from happening.  However, combined political pressure of France and Great Britain forced the Germans to retreat.
This was felt as a huge humiliation in Germany and Spengler began writing. A new time would begin.
The main message of his "Decline of the West" was, that the future would be in the hands of Germany and German culture.
You should know, that according to Spengler, the Germans were so different from the French and British people.
The explanation of the difference is this: Spengler had read Werner Sombart, economist and sociologist. 
According to Sombart (1863 - 1941), due to the economical and political liberalism our whole life is commercialized, a situation which affects our moral and ethics.
In history, he claimed, there are only two types of man: heroes and merchants. And these two types were strongly represented by 
Germans, the heroes, and French / British people, the merchants. And the days of the merchants are over.
The new world would be shaped by the heroes, that is by Germany. Again, this was formulated all BEFORE the beginning of the First World War.
It all happened a hundred years ago, but yet I can not neglect my feeling that is sound so familiar....
Next time we'll discuss Spengler's ideas...Thank you for your attention...

The Discussion

[13:18] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:18] CB Axel: Thank you.
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): let me guess, The merchants won ad now commerse and greed is ruling the world
[13:19] CB Axel: Is it still heroes vs merchants or is it now intellectuals and merchants?
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): money is everything
[13:19] herman Bergson: Well, so far Spengler seemed to have been wrong
[13:20] CB Axel: Yes, the merchants have been winning hands down no matter who you think their rivals are.
[13:20] herman Bergson: The German heroism has disappeared
[13:20] herman Bergson: They have become good merchants themselves I suppose :-)
[13:21] herman Bergson: But like a century ago, again politicians complain about the threats to our culture
[13:22] CB Axel: To whose culture specifically?
[13:22] CB Axel: Dutch? German? French? English?
[13:22] herman Bergson: I heard those in Sweden say....Yes we have to preserve and defend our Swedish culture
[13:22] CB Axel: Ah, everyone. Yes.
[13:23] herman Bergson: Western Culture, CB....that is threatened according to many populist politicians
[13:23] herman Bergson: In US terms it would be that White Supremacy is threatened
[13:23] CB Axel: But each western country is concerned about their own specific culture.
[13:24] herman Bergson: Well...I guess muslims will never wear wooden shoes :-)
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:24] herman Bergson: We have to live with that :-)
[13:24] CB Axel: But I probably never will, either. °͜°
[13:24] CB Axel: Although, if I moved to the Netherlands I probably would.
[13:24] herman Bergson: I always have known you are a muslima, CB :-))
[13:24] CB Axel: LOL
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): wooden shoes are comfy
[13:25] herman Bergson: If you would, I guess you would be the only one wearing wooden shoes, CB :-))))
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i use to wear those when working in the garden with my parents, fixing the plantages
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): perfect for such things
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:26] herman Bergson: I'll be honest....
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): making sure there will be lot of strawberries for me
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:26] herman Bergson: When I was a young student I also wore wooden shoes in my vegetables garden
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): my son always wore them to go to school
[13:27] herman Bergson: Western Culture in decline...?
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i could hear him when he was on his way home...klep...klep...klep
[13:27] herman Bergson: cute :-))
[13:27] CB Axel: I keep meaning to read about the fall of Rome to see if there are parallels.
[13:28] herman Bergson: That is a serious issue CB.....
[13:28] herman Bergson: History explained by analogies....
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): does history really repeat itself?
[13:28] CB Axel: I have heard there are parallels.
[13:29] herman Bergson: I would say no
[13:30] herman Bergson: Using analogie s in explaining history is highly questionable
[13:30] herman Bergson: Not even the humans are the same
[13:30] CB Axel: How are we different from then?
[13:31] herman Bergson: our look at life is completely   different from ...say...ancient Romans
[13:31] herman Bergson: The way we interpret reality....
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): much to technology i guess like electricity, computers ect
[13:31] herman Bergson: They believed in a plethora ogf gods...
[13:31] herman Bergson: we don't
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and science
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): all those were unknown by then
[13:32] CB Axel: Our one god is as troublesome as their plethora.
[13:32] herman Bergson: But there is something we have in common with all men through history.....
[13:33] herman Bergson: that is our basic feelings of fear, joy, hate, disgust, jealousy, affection and the like
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): testosteron
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa that seems logical
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): those are things we are born with
[13:33] herman Bergson: They are caused by the brain and hormons indeed Beertje
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): technology dont change that
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): unless we do gene manipulation that is
[13:34] herman Bergson: But the context we use these basic emotions in are totallydifferent
[13:34] CB Axel: Religion doesn't change that either.
[13:35] herman Bergson: That is the point, CB...belief systems manipulate how we use our basic emotions
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): even from our early childhood
[13:36] herman Bergson: yes
[13:36] CB Axel: But their belief in many gods controlling their lives isn't different than the belief that one god controls lives. It's still believing in magic rather than people.
[13:37] herman Bergson: True.... magic that doesn't work, however :-))
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its all about us to take care of things, there is no supernatural ghost or entity telling you what to do!
[13:38] CB Axel: Right
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): still so many believes this is the case
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i have never heard anyone speak to me from the sky for sure, have you?
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes, it still will take centuries of evolution to change that, Bejiita
[13:38] CB Axel: Believing that God is sending a hurricane to the Carolinas allows us to continue to destroy the environment.
[13:39] CB Axel: Let's just keep burning fossil fuels. God will take care of us.
[13:39] CB Axel rolls her eyes
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): using it as an excuse to continue polluting and dump trash everywhere makes it even more terrible
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just look at the trash mt everests drifting in the seas now, i was shocked when i saw that
[13:40] herman Bergson: It is so weird, CB...History shows that he never did take care of us.....but they keep expecting it
[13:40] CB Axel: ikr
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes...that trash on that mountain....tonss of it :-))
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm there too
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but have u seen the mountains /islands of trash and plastc in the seas at some places
[13:42] herman Bergson: I read about that
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i have seen it Bejiita
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): big as an entire country some of them
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes...that is unbelievable
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's terrifying
[13:42] CB Axel: It's outrageous.
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we think when we flush stuff dowh the toilet its gone or if we throw it somewhere its someone elses job to pick it up instead of properly dispose of it
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in the end it ends up in the sea
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cause we are so lazy
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): plastics, chemicals ect
[13:43] herman Bergson: As a final thought...let me bring something to your attention.......
[13:44] herman Bergson: when you look at primates in the jungle, what do yo see....
[13:44] herman Bergson: they got eaten by lions or a python.....
[13:44] herman Bergson: they are somewhere in the middle of the foodchain.....
[13:45] herman Bergson: when homo sapiens appeared, a 2.5 million years ago htings changed....
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we don't need to be eaten by a lion, we are distroying ourselves
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we eat/kill everything
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least some of us do
[13:45] herman Bergson: the smarter he became the more destructive he became for the whole eco-system of the earth
[13:46] herman Bergson: so if you talk about threatening the earth.....
[13:46] herman Bergson: the very moment homo sapiens appeared the food chain was wrecked.....
[13:46] herman Bergson: all of a sudden he was on top
[13:46] CB Axel: So before man greed was kept in check by stupidity? LOL
[13:47] herman Bergson: that was now how this earth was organized as an eco system
[13:47] CB Axel nods
[13:48] herman Bergson: so....we are an anomaly :-))
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): were different for sure
[13:48] herman Bergson: in the eco-system of this planet
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can theearth handle us?
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the earth
[13:48] CB Axel: When we were stupid apes the ecosystem was in balance, but once we grew our great big hominid brains our greed was able to be set free and we began to destroy the world.
[13:49] herman Bergson: Yet ...bad luck for earth...we are part of its evolutionary process yet
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:49] CB Axel: I've been saying for a while that the best thing that could happen to the earth is for mankind to be eliminated.
[13:49] herman Bergson: Something like that CB
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we must at least learn we cant go on like this
[13:50] herman Bergson: I have to think about that argument, CB :-)
[13:50] CB Axel: °͜°
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but when rainforests are cut dow to make money from palm oil its the usual problem, when money is involved we don't care if we destroy the planet
[13:50] CB Axel: Serves you right! You make us think all the time. LOL
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so money and greed is a big issue here to
[13:50] herman Bergson: This is also our earth, for we are a product of it....
[13:51] herman Bergson grins
[13:51] herman Bergson: sorry....won't happen again ^_^
[13:51] CB Axel: Maybe the MAGA people will get eaten by lions.
[13:51] CB Axel crosses her fingers
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): heheheh cb
[13:51] CB Axel: That's OK, Herman. Thinking is good for me. °͜°
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats the interesting part of this
[13:52] herman Bergson: Ok CB....
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same with my coding, its a challenge and its part of the fun it makes u think a lot
[13:52] herman Bergson: I'll dismiss class now so you can f go on thinking :-)
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same with this
[13:52] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your attention again
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): interesting as crazy it it
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): is
[13:52] CB Axel: I'll have to do my thinking at the grocery store. °͜°
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): oki gonna finish my lamp scripts in Unity now
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman :)
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time
[13:53] CB Axel: I'll see you all on Thursday.
[13:53] CB Axel: Bye!
[13:53] herman Bergson: Good luck Bejiita :-)
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ill be even more uplit hopefully next time
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu

[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): f in IM

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