Oswald Spengler

Edited by J E Bradburn

Every professed philosopher is forced to believe, without serious examination, in the existence of a Something that in his opinion is capable of being handled by the reason, for his own spiritual existence depends on the possibility of such a Something (an unspecified or unidentified object, phenomenon, action, utterance, or feeling). For every logician and psychologist, therefore, however sceptical he may be, there is a point at which criticism falls silent and faith begins, a point at which even the strictest analytical must cease to employ his method—the point, namely, at which analysis is confronted with itself and with the question of whether its problem is soluble or even exists at all.

The proposition “it is possible by thought to establish the forms of thought” was not doubted by Kant, dubious as it may appear to the unphilosophical. The proposition “there is a soul, the structure of which is scientifically accessible; and that which I determine, by critical dissection of conscious existence—acts into the form of psychic elements, functions, and complexes, is my soul” is a proposition that no psychologist has doubted hitherto. And yet it is just here that his strongest doubts should have arisen.


·        Is an abstract science of the spiritual possible at all?

·        Is that which one finds on this path identical with that which one is seeking?

·        Why has psychology—meaning thereby not knowledge of men and experience of life but scientific psychology—always been the shallowest and most worthless of the disciplines of         

             philosophy, a field so empty that it has been left entirely too mediocre minds and barren systematists? (somebody who constructs a system or system)


The reason is not far too seek. It is the misfortune of “experimental” psychology that it does not even possess an object as the word is understood in any and every scientific technique.

Its searches and solutions are fights with shadows and ghosts. What is it—the Soul? If the mere reason could give an answer to that question, then science would be ab initio unnecessary.


Genesis 2:7 (KJV) And the Lord God [First Son of God; Hebrew Elohym] formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


Genesis 2:20—25 (KJV)

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

21 And the Lord God  [First Son of God; Hebrew Elohym] caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

23 And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’”

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”


Of the thousands of psychologists of today not one can give an actual analysis or definition of “the” Willor of regret, anxiety, jealousy, disposition, artistic intention.  Naturally, since only the systematic can be dissected,

And we can only define notions by notions. No subtleties of intellectual play with notational distinction, no plausible observations of connections between sensuous-corporeal states and “inward processes” touch that which is in question here. Will—this is no notion, but a name, a prime word like God, a sign for something of which we have an immediate inward certainty but which we are forever unable to describe.

 We are dealing here with something eternally inaccessible to learned investigation [of most people]. It is not for nothing that every language presents a baffling complexity of labels for the spiritual, warning us thereby that it is something not susceptible (a negative adverb used to form structures indicating that something is to no degree or in no way the case or conveying the general notion 'no'. It is often used to express refusal, denial, or the negation of a statement just made.) of theoretical synthesis or systematic ordering. Here there is nothing for us to order. Critical (containing or involving comments and opinions that analyse or judge something, especially in a detailed way) i.e. literally, separating) methods apply only to the world-as-Nature. It would be easier to break up a theme of Beethoven with a dissecting knife or acid than to break up the soul by methods of abstract thought. Nature knowledge and man knowledge have neither aim nor ways in common. The primitive man experiences “soul,” first in other men and then in himself, as a Numen (a guiding force or influence), just as he knows numina of the outer world, and develops his impressions in mythological form. His words for these things are symbols, sounds, not descriptive of the indescribable but indicative of it for him who hath ears to hear.  They evoke images, likenesses (in the sense of Faust 11) the only language of spiritual intercourse that man has discovered to this day. Rembrandt can reveal something of his soul, to those who are in inward kinship with him, by way of a self-portrait or a landscape, and to Goethe a God gave it to say what He suffered.


Certain ineffable (unable to be expressed in words) stirrings of soul can be imparted by one man to the sensibility of another man through a look, two bars of a melody, an almost imperceptible movement. That is the real language of souls, and it remains incomprehensible (impossible or very difficult to understand) to the outsider. (i.e. The parables of Jesus for instance  The word as utterance, as poetic element, may establish the link, but the word as notion, as element of scientific

prose (writing or speech that is ordinary or matter-of-fact, without embellishment) Never.

  Soul,” for the man who has advanced from mere living snf feeling to the alert and observant state, is an image derived from quite primary experiences of life and death. It is as old as thought, i.e. as the articulate separation of thinking (thinking over) from seeing. We see the world around us, and since every free moving being must for its own safety understand that world, the accumulating daily detail of technical (relating to or specializing in industrial techniques or subjects or applied science) and empirical (based on or characterized by observation and experiment instead of theory) experience becomes a stock of permanent data which man, as soon as he is proficient in speech, collects into an image of what he understands. This is the world as nature. What is not environment we do not see, but we do divine “its” physiognomic (the features of somebody's face, especially when they are used as indicators of that person's character or temperament) impressive power it invokes in us the anxiety and the desire to know; and thus arises the meditated or pondered image of a counter-world which is our mode of visualising that which remains eternally alien to the physical eye. The image of the soul is mythic (typical of myth) and remains objective in the field of spiritual religion so long as the image of Nature is contemplated in the spirit of Nature is contemplated in the spirit of religion; and it transforms itself into a scientific notion and becomes objective in the field of scientific criticism as soon as ‘Nature’ comes to be observed critically. As “Time” is a counter-concept to space, so the soul is a counter world to “Natureand therefore variable in dependence upon the notion of Nature as this stands from moment to moment. It has been shown how “Time” arose, out of the feeling of the direction quality possessed by ever mobile Life, as a conceptual negative to a positive magnitude, as an incarnation of that which is not extension; and that all properties of Time, by the cool analysis of which the philosophers believe they can solve the mystery of Time, have been gradually formed and ordered in the intellect as inverses into the properties of space. In exactly the same way, the notion of the spiritual has come into being as the inverse and negative of the notion of the world, the spatial notion of polarity assisting (“outward” and “inward”) and the terms being suitably transvalued (to re-evaluate something using a different standard, especially one that differs from conventional or accepted standards and results in a very different assessment of the worth of something) Every psychology is a counter physics.

To attempt to get an “exact” science out of the ever mysterious soul is futile. However; the late period City must needs abstract thinking and it forces the “physicist of the inner worldto elucidate (to explain or clarify) a fictitious world by ever more fictions, notions by more notions. He transmutes (change something from one form, nature, substance, or state to another, or be changed in this way) the non-extended into the extended, builds up a system by “cause” for something that is only manifested physiognomically (The art of judging human character from facial features), and comes to believe that in this system he has the structure of “the” soul before his eyes. But the very words he selects, in all the Cultures, to notify to others the results of his intellectual labours betray him.  He talks of functions, feeling complexes, mainsprings, thresholds of consciousness; course, breadth, intensity and parallelism in spiritual processes. All these are words proper to the mode of representation that natural science employs. “The will is related to objectsis a spatial image pure and simple. “Conscious” and “unconscious” are only too obviously derivatives of “above ground” and “below ground.” In modern theories of the Will we meet with all the vocabulary of electro dynamics. Will functions and thought functions are spoken of in just the same way as a function of a system of forces. To analyse a feeling means to set up a representative silhouette in its place, and then to treat this silhouette mathematically and by definition, partition, and measurement. All soul examination of this stamp, however remarkable as a study of cerebral (relating to front of brain) anatomy, is penetrated with the mechanical notion of locality, and works without knowing it under imaginary co-ordinates in an imaginary space. The “pure” psychologist is quite unaware that he is copying the physicist, but it is not at all surprising that the naivest methods of experimental psychology give depressingly unorthodox results. Brain paths and association threads, as modes of representation, conform entirely to an optical scheme—the “course” of the will or the feeling; both deal with cognate special phantoms. It does not make much difference whether I define some psychic capacity conceptually or the corresponding brain region graphically. Scientific psychology has worked out for itself a complete system of images, in which it moves with entire conviction. Every individual pronouncement of every individual psychologist proves on examination to be merely a variation of this system conformable to the style of outer world science of the day.  

  Clear thought, emancipated from all connection with seeing, presuppose as its organ a culture language, which is created by the soul of the Culture as a part supporting other parts of its expression; and presently this language itself cs a “Nature” of word meanings, a linguistic cosmos within which abstract notions, judgements, and conclusions—representations of number, casualty, motion—can lead a mechanically determinate existence. At any particular time, therefore, the current image of the soul is a function of the current language and its inner symbolism. All the Western, Faustian, languages possess the notion of Will [power]. This mythical entity manifested itself, simultaneously in all, in the transformation of the verb (a word used to show that an action is taking place or to indicate the existence of a state or condition, or the part of speech to which such a word belongs) which decisively differentiated our tongues from the Classical tongues, and therefore our soul from the Classical soul. When “ego habeo factum”  I have done” replaced “feci” “faeces” a new Numen (a god or spirit believed to inhabit a place or living object such as a tree) of the inner world spoke. The Holy Spirit was emphatic and stated in words to Paul that in the last days two significant doctrines of demons would emerge that had to be resisted and exposed by the elect who know the truth. The demons did not decide to introduce these doctrines idly. They are not insignificant. They strike at the very heart of the intent of God in the plan of salvation and the adequacy to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. These doctrines are two specific errors, which seek to undermine the rational intent of the creation.


And at the same time, under specific label, there appeared in the scientific soul pictures of all the Western psychologies the figure of the Will, of a well rounded capacity of which the definition may be formulated in different ways by different schools, but the existence is unquestionable. The word `Ashēra is from the root `āshar, to be straight, erect, or upright. From this comes the meaning, in a moral sense, to be upright, hence, to prosper or be happy. The `Ashēra was so called because it was something set upright or erect in the ground, and worshipped. The word occurs forty times, and only a careful study of each passage will give a correct view. Compared with this, all that men may think or say about the Ashēra is of little value. The word is always rendered grove or groves in the A.V.; and always left as a proper name in the R.V.

From a conspectus (A general survey of a subject) of the passages, we learn that it was either a living tree with the top cut off, and the stump or trunk fashioned into a certain shape; or it was artificially fashioned and set in the ground.

  I maintain then, that scientific psychology (and, it may be added, the psychology of the same kind that we all unconsciously practice when we try to “figure to ourselves” the stirrings of our own or others souls) has, in its inability to discover or even to approach the essence of the soul, simply added one more to the symbols that make up the macrocosm (complex system seen as single unit) of the culture man. Like everything else that is no longer becoming but become, it has put a mechanism in place of an organism. We miss in our picture that which fills our feeling of life (and should surely be soul if anything is) the Destiny quality, the necessary directedness of existence, the possibility that life in its course actualises. I do not believe that the word “Destiny” figures in any psychological system whatsoever—and we know that nothing in the world could be more remote from actual life experience and knowledge of men than a system without such elements.


Primitive language afford no foundations for abstract ordered though. But at the beginning of every Culture an inner change takes place in the language that makes it adequate for carrying out the highest symbolic tasks of the ensuing cultural development. Thus it was simultaneously with the Romanesque style that English and German arose out of the Teutonic languages of the Frankish period, and French, Italian, and Spanish, out of the “lingus rustica” (rough and unrefined) of the old Roman provinces—languages of an identical metaphysical content though so dissimilar in origin.


Associations, appreciations, affections, motives, thought, feeling, will—all are dead mechanisms, the mere topography (mapping of surface features) of which constitutes the insignificant total of our “soul-science.” One looked for Life and one found an ornamental pattern of notions [ideas]. And the soul remained what it was, something that could not be thought nor represented, the secret, the ever becoming, the pure experience.

This imaginary soul-body (let it be called so outright for the first time) is never anything but the exact mirror image of the form in which the matured culture man looks on his outer world.


1 It is true that a geometrical theorem may be proved, or rather demonstrated, by means of a drawing [Michelangelo]. But the theorem is differently constituted in every kind of geometry, and that being so, the drawing ceases to be a proof of anything whatever.  Genesis 2 (KJV)


Genesis 2:7 (KJV) “And the Lord God [First Son of God; Hebrew Elohim] formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”


In the one as in the other, the depth experience actualises the extension world. Alike out of the perception of the outside and the conception of the inside, the secret that is hinted at in the root word Time creates Space. The soul image like the world image has its directional depth, its horizon, and its boundedness or its unboundedness. As “inner eye” sees, an “inner earhears There exists a distinct idea of an inner order, and this inner order like the outer wears the badge of causal necessity.

This being so, everything that has been said in this work regarding the phenomenon of the high Cultures combines to demand an immensely wider and richer sort of soul study than anything worked upon so far. For everything that our present day psychologist has to tell us—and here we refer to not only to the systematic science but also to the wider sense to the physiognomic of men (the features of somebody's face, especially when they are used as indicators of that person's character or temperament)—relates to the present condition of the Western soul, and not, as hitherto gratuitously assumed, “to the human soulat large


Genesis 2 (KJV)

01 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

02 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

03 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

04 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

05 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

06 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

07 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

08 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

09 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.

13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:”

17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


A soul image is never anything but the image of one quite definite soul. No observer can ever step outside the conditions and the limitations of his time and  circle, and whatever it may be that he “knows  or “cognizes” (identify, someone or something from having encountered them before; know again), the very cognition itself involves in all cases choice, direction, and inner form, and is therefore ab initio an expression of his proper soul.   

The primitive himself appropriates a soul image out of facts of his own life as subject to the formative working of the basic experiences of waking consciousness (distinction of ego and world, of ego and tu (you have) and those of being (distinction of body and soul, sense life and reflection, sex life, and sentiment). And as it is thoughtful men who think upon these matters, and inner numen (a god or spirit believed to inhabit a place or living) such as

[Spirit, Logos, Ka, Ruach.) always arises as an opposite to the rest. But the dispositions and relations of this numen in the individual case, and the conception (a general understanding of something) that is formed of the spiritual elements—layers of forces or substances, unity or polarity or plurality—mark the thinker from the outset aspart of his own specific Culture

  When, therefore, one convinces one’s self that one knows the soul of an alien Culture from its workings in actuality, the soul image underlying the knowledge is really one’s own soul image. In this wise new experiences are readily assimilated into the system that is already there, and it is not surprising that in the end one comes to believe that one has discovered forms of eternal validity.

  In reality, every Culture possesses its own style of knowledge of men and experience of life; and just as even each separate stage—the age of Scholasticism, that of the Sophists (a member of a school of ancient Greek professional philosophers who were expert in and taught the skills of rhetoric, argument, and debate, but were criticized for specious reasoning. The sophists were active before and during the time of Socrates and Plato, who were their main critics). The age of Enlightenment—forms special ideas of numbers and thought and nature that pertain to itself only, so even each separate century mirrors itself in a soul image of its own. The best judge of men in the Western world goes wrong when he tries to understand a Japanese, and vice versa But the man of learning goes equally wrong when he tries to translate basic words of Arabic or Greek by basic words of his own tongue. “Nephesh” is not “animus” (a feeling or display of animosity) and “atmân” (in Hinduism, Brahman regarded as the Universal Soul) is not “soul,” and what we consistently discover under our label “will” Classical man did not find in his soul picture at all.

  Taking one thing with another, it is no longer possible to doubt the immense importance of the individual soul images that have severally arisen (in a separate or individual way) through a general history of thought. Classical, Apollonian man, the man of Euclidean point formed being, looked upon his soul as a Cosmos ordered in a group of excellent parts. Plato called it voΰs, θυμόϛ, έπίθυμια and compared it with man, beast and plant, in one place even with Southern, Northern, and Hellenic man. What seems to be copied here is nature as seen by the classical age, a well ordered sum of tangible things (able to be touched or perceived through the sense of touch), in contrast to a space that was felt as the non-existent, the Nonent (something that does not exist) Where in this field is “Will”? or the idea of functional conexxtions? Or the other creations of our psychology? Do we really believe that Plato and Aristotle were less sure in analysis than we are, and did not see what is insistently obvious to every layman amongst us? Or is it that Will [power] is missing here for the same reason as space is missing in the Classical mathematic and force in the Classical physics?

  Take, on the contrary, any Western psychology that you please, and you will always find a functional and never a bodily ordering. The basic form of all impressions which we receive from within is y = f(x), and that, because the function is the basis of our outer world. Thinking, feeling, willing—no Western psychologist can step outside this trinity, however much he may desire to do so; even in the controversies of Gothic thinkers concerning the primacy of will (the state of being the first or most important part or aspect of something) or reason it already emerges that is one of a relation between forces. It matters not whether these old philosophers put forward their theories as original or read them into Augustine or Aristotle. Association, apperceptions (the comprehension or assimilation of something such as a new idea, in terms of previous experiences or perceptions), will process, call them what you will, the elements of our picture are without exception of the type of the mathematico—physical Function, and in very form radically un-Classical. Now, such psychology examines the soul, not physiognomic-ally to indicate its traits, but physically, as an object, to ascertain (to find out something with certainty) its elements, and it is quite natural therefore to find psychology reduced to perplexity (something that is difficult to understand, especially because it is complex or part of a complicated whole) when confronted with the problem of motion.  

Classical man, too, had his inward Eleatic difficulty (elating to an ancient Greek school of philosophy that flourished in the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. It argued that philosophical reflection was more important than sensory observation.) 1 That is, discussions of the doctrines of the Greek Eleatic school regarding unity and plurality, the Ent and Nonent, focused themselves, in Zeno, down to the famous paradoxes concerning the nature of motion (such as “Achilles and the Tortoise”)  which within the Greek discipline were unanswerable. Their general effect was to show that motion depended upon the existence of an indefinitely great plurality, that is, of infinitely small subdivisions as well as indefinitely great quantities, and the denial of this plurality (numerous) being the essential feature of the Eleatic philosophy, its applications to motion was bound to produce “paradoxes” (something absurd or contradictory).

 The enunciations, with a brief but close critique, will be found in the Ency. Brit., XI ed., Article Zeno of Elea. Here it suffices to draw attention to the difficulties that are caused by the absence (or unwelcome presence) of time and direction elements, not only in the treatment of plurality itself (which is conceived of indifferently as an augmentation or as a subdivision of the finite magnitude) but especially in the conclusion of the “arrow” paradox and in the very obscure enunciation of Paradox 8 (to give a speech or statement that explains something clearly).

And the inability of the Schoolmen to agree as to the primacy (he state of being the first or most important part or aspect of something) of Will or Reason foreshadows the dangerous flaw in Baroque physics—its inability to reach an unchallengeable statement of the relation between force and movement. Directional energy, denied in the Classical (Greek) and also in the Indian soul image (where all is settled and rounded), is emphatically affirmed in the Faustian  and in the Egyptian  (wherein all is systems and centres of forces); and yet, precisely because this affirmation cannot but involve the elements of time, thought, which is alien to Time, finds itself committed to self-contradiction.    

  The Faustian and the Apollinian images of the soul are in blunt opposition. Once more all the old contrasts crop up. In the Apollinian we have, so to call it, the soul body, in the Faustian the soul space, as the imagination unit. The body possesses parts, while the space is the scene of processes, man conceives of his world plastically. Even Homer’s idiom betrays it, echoing, we may well believe, immemorial temple traditions, he shows us, for instance the dead in Hades as well as recognizable copies of the bodies that had been The Pre-Socratic philosophy, with its three well-ordered parts, suggests at once the Laocoön group. In our case the impress (have a strong, usually favourable effect on the mind or feelings of somebody) is a musical one) the sonata of the inner life has the will as first subject, thought and feeling as themes of the second subject; the movement is bound by the strict rules of a spiritual counterpoint (relating to the soul or spirit, usually in contrast to material things) and psychology’s business is to discover this counterpoint. The simplest elements fall into antithesis like Classical and Western number on the one hand magnitudes (greatness of size, volume, or extent), on the other spiritual relations (relating to the soul or spirit, usually in contrast to material things).—and the spiritual static of Apollonian existence, the stereo-metric ideal stands opposed to the soul dynamic of Faustian.

  The Apollinian soul image—Plato’s biga-team with voûs (you) as charioteer—takes to fight at once on the approach of the Magi-an soul (In the Bible, the group of three men who came to Bethlehem from the East to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Matthew 2:1-12 (KJV). They are sometimes known individually as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, and jointly as the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings.) It is fading out already in the later Stoa (n ancient Greece, a covered walkway), where the principal teachers came predominantly from the Aramaic East, and by the time of the early Roman Empire, even in the literature of the city itself, it has come to be a mere reminiscence. The hall mark of the Magi-an soul-image is a strict dualism of two mysterious substances, Spirit and Soul. (As image on the left). Between these two there is neither the Classical (static) nor the Western (Greek functional) relation, but an altogether differently constituted relation which we are obliged to call merely

Magi-an” for want of a more helpful term, though we may illustrate it by contrasting the physics of Democritus and the physics of Galileo with Alchemy and the Philosopher’s Stone. On this specifically Middle-Eastern soul- image rests, of inward necessity, all the psychology and particularly the Theology with which the “Gothic” springtime of the Arabian Culture (0—300 A.D.) is filled. The Gospel of St John belongs thereto, and the writings of the Gnostics, the Early Fathers, the Neoplatonist’s, the Manichæans, and the dogmatic texts in the Talmud and the Avesta; so, too, does the tired spirit of the Imperium Romanum, now expressed only in religiosity and drawing the little life that is in philosophy from the young East, Syria, and Persia. Even in the 1st Century B.C the great Posidonius, a true Semite and young Arabian in spite of the classical dress of his immense learning, was inwardly sensible of the complete opposition between the:

1.      Classical life feeling and this

2.      Magi-an soul-structure which for him was the true one. 

There is a patent difference of value between a Substance permeating the body, and a substance which falls from the world cavern into humanity, abstract and divine making of all participants a Consensus (a concept of society in which the absence of conflict is seen as the equilibrium state of society)

This Spirit it is which evokes the higher world, and through creation triumphs over mere life, “the flesh” and the nature. This is the prime image that underlies all feeling of ego. Sometimes it is seen in religious, sometimes in philosophical, sometimes in artistic guise. Consider the portraits of the Constantium age, with their fixed stare into the infinite—that look stands for the πυεΰμα. It is felt by Plotinus and by Origen. Paul distinguishes, for example in:


1 Corinthians 15:44 (KJV) It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.


Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJV) Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”


Genesis 2:7 (KJV) “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”


The conception of a double, bodily or spiritual, ecstasy and of the partition of men into lower and higher, physics and pneumatics (study of the soul and the branch of physics dealing with the mechanical properties of air and other gases) was familiar currency amongst the Gnostics. Late-Classical literature (Plutarch) is full of the dualistic psychology derived from Oriental sources. It was very soon brought into correlation with the contrast between Christian and Heathen and that between Spirit and Nature, and it issued in that scheme of world history as man’s drama from Creation (Genesis) to Last Judgement (with an intervention of God as means) which is common to Gnostics, Christians, Persians, and Jews alike and has not even now been altogether overcome.

  This Magi-an soul-image received its rigorously scientific completion in the schools of Baghdad and Basra. Al-Arabiya and Alcindor dealt thoroughly with the problems of this Magi-an psychology, which to us are tangled and largely inaccessible. And we must by no means underrate its influence upon the young and wholly abstract soul-theory (as distinct from the ego feeling) of the West. Scholastic and Mystic philosophy, no less than Gothic art, drew upon Moorish Spain, Sicily, and the East for many of its forms. It must not be forgotten that the Arabian Culture is the Culture of the established Revelation Religions, all of which assume a dualistic soul image. The Kabbala (a body of mystical Jewish teachings based on an interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures as containing hidden meanings) and the part played by Jewish philosophers in the so called medieval philosophy—i.e., late Arabian followed by early Gothic—is well known. But I will only refer here to the remarkable and little appreciated Spinoza Child of the Ghetto, he is with his contemporary Schirazi, the last belated representative of the Magi-an, a stranger in the form world of the Faustian feeling. As a prudent pupil of the Baroque he contrived to clothe his system in the colours of Western thought, but at bottom he stands entirely under the the aspect of the Arabian dualism of two soul substances. And this is the true and inward reason why he lacked the force concept of Galileo and Descartes.    

  This concept is the centre of gravity of a dynamic universe and ipsa facto (by that very fact or act) is alien to the Magian world feeling. There is no link between the idea of the Philosophers Stone (which is implicit in Spinoza’s idea of Deity as “causa sui ) and the causal necessity of our nature picture Consequently, his determinism is precisely that which the orthodox wisdom of Baghdad had maintained—“Kismet” (destiny, fate). It was there that the home of the more geometrico (to a greater extent, or in a larger number or amount) method was to be looked for—it is common to the Talmud, the Zend Avesta (the Zoroastrian sacred writings, comprising the Avesta (the text) and Zend (the commentary). And the Arabian Kalaam (speech, conversation, talk), but its appearance in Spinoza’s “Ethics” is a grotesque freak in our philosophy.

Once more this Magi-an soul image was to be conjured up, for a moment. German Romanticism found in magic and the tangled thought threads of Gothic philosophers the same attractiveness as it found in the Crusade ideals of cloisters and castles, and even more in Saracen-ic art and poetry—without of course understanding very much of these remote things. Schelling, Oken, Baader, Görres, and their circle indulged in barren speculations in the Arabic, Jewish style, which they felt with evident self-satisfaction to be “dark” and “deep”—precisely what, for Orientals, they were not—understanding them but partially themselves and hoping for similar quasi-incomprehension in their audiences. The only noteworthy point in the episode is the attractiveness of obscurity. We may venture the conclusion that the clearest and most accessible conceptions of Faustian thought—as we have it, for instance, in Descartes or in Kant’s “Prolegomena” (a critical or discursive introduction to a book) would in the same way have been regarded by an Arabian student as nebulous (unclear) and abstruse (obscure). What for us is true, for them is false, and vice versa; and this is valid for the soul images of the different Cultures as it is for every other product of their thinking.

  The separation of its ultimate elements is a task that the Gothic world outlook and its philosophy leave to the courage of the future. Just as the ornamentation of the cathedral and the primitive contemporary painting still shirk the decision between gold and wide atmosphere in backgrounds—between the Mag-an and Faustian aspects of God in Nature—so this early, timid, immature soul image as it presents itself in this philosophy mingles characters derived from the Christian-Arabian metaphysic (philosophy) and its dualism of Spirit and Soul with Northern inklings of functional soul forces not yet avowed (to state or affirm that something is true). This is the discrepancy that underlies the conflict concerning the primacy of will or reason, the basic problem of the Gothic philosophy, which men tried to solve now in the old Arabian, now in the new Western sense. It is this myth of the mind—which under ever changing guises accompanies our philosophy throughout its course—that distinguishes it so sharply from every other. The rationalism of late Baroque, in all the pride of the self-assured city-spirit, decided in favour of the greater power of the goddess Reason (Kant, the Jacobins); but almost immediately thereafter the 19th Century (Nietzsche above all) went back to the stronger formulae Voluntus superior intellectu, and this indeed is in the blood of all of us. 1

1 When, therefore, in the present work also, precedence (the right or need to be dealt with before somebody or something else or to be treated as more important than somebody or something else) is consistently given to Time, Direction and Destiny over Space and Causality, this must not be supposed to be the result of reasoned proofs. It is the outcome of (quite unconscious) tendencies of life feeling—the only mode of origin of philosophic ideas.        

Schopenhauer, the last of the great systematists, has brought it down to the formulae “World as Will and Idea,” and it is only his ethic (a system of moral standards or principles) and not his metaphysic that decides against the will [power]. Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven God has willed the setup on Earth of His Kingdom as in heaven, and there is nothing or no one to prevent it.


Here we begin to see by direct light the deep foundations and meaning of Philosophising within a Culture. For what we see here is the Faustian soul trying in labour of many centuries to paint a self Portrait, The Gothic world view with its struggle of Will and Reason is in fact an expression of the life feeling of the men of the Crusades, of the Hohenstaufen empire, of the great cathedrals. These men saw the soul thus, because they were thus.

  Will and thought in the real soul image correspond to Direction and Extension, history and nature, Destiny and Causality in the image of the outer world. Both aspects of our basic characters emerge (to appear out of or from behind something) in our prime symbol which is infinite extension. Will [power] links the future to the present, and thought the unlimited to the here [and now] the historic future is becoming is distance becoming, the boundless world horizon distant become—this is the meaning of the Faustian depth experience. The direction feeling as “Will and the space feeling as “Reason” are imagined as entities, almost as legend-figures, and out of them comes the picture that our psychologists of necessity abstract from the inner life. To call the Faustian Culture a Will-Culture is only another way of expressing the eminently historical disposition of its soul. Our first person Idiom, our “ego habeo factum”—our dynamic syntax, that is—faithfully renders the “way of doing things” that results from this disposition and, with its positive directional energy, dominates not only our picture of the World-as-history but our own history to boot. This first person towers up in architecture; the spire is an “I,” the flying buttress is an “I.” And therefore the entire Faustian ethic, from Thomas Aquinas to Kant, is an “excelsior” (packing material)—fulfilment of an “I,” ethical work upon an “I,” justification of an “I,” by faith and works; respect of the neighbour “Thou for the sake of one’s “I,” and its happiness; and lastly and supremely, immortality of the “I.”


Now this, precisely this, the genuine Russian regards as contemptible vain glory. The Russian soul, will-less, having the limitless plane as its prime symbol, seeks to grow up—serving, anonymous, self-obvious—in the brother world of the plane.  To take “I” as the starting point of relations with the neighbour, to elevate “I” morally through “I’s” love of near and dear, to repent for “I’s” own sake, are to him traits of Western vanity as presumptuous as is the up-thrusting challenge to heaven of our cathedrals he that he compares with his plane church roof and its sprinkling of cupolas (a roof or ceiling in the form of a dome). Tolstoy’s hero Nechludov looks after his morale “I” as he does after his finger nails; this is just what betrays Tolstoy as belonging to the pseudomorphosis of Petrinism  But Raskolmikov is only something in a “we.” His fault is the fault of all, and even to regard his sin as special to himself is pride and vanity. Something of the kind underlies the Magi-an soul image also.


Luke 14:26 (KJV) If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”


Luke 14:26 [what it means] (KJV) “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, nor his own life also, ( if he hates any of those) he cannot be my disciple.”


It is the same feeling that makes Him call Himself by the title that we mistranslateSon of Man.” The Consensus (general or widespread agreement among all the members of a group) of the Orthodox Church too is impersonal and condemns “Ias a sin. So too with the truly Russianconception of truth as the anonymous agreement of the elect.

  Classical man, belonging wholly to the present (History: before my time), is equally without that directional energy by which our images of world and of soul are dominated, which sums up all our sense impressions as a path towards distance and our inward experiences as a feeling of future. He is will-less. The Classical idea of destiny and the symbol of the Doric column (a dialect of ancient Greek spoken mainly in the area of the modern Peloponnese) leave no doubt as to that. And the contest of thinking and willing that is the hidden theme of every serious portrait from Jan Van Eyck to Mar’ess is impossible in Classical portraiture, for in the classical Soul image thought, the inner Zeus, is accompanied by the wholly ahistorical (not concerned with or not taking into account history or historical development, especially when examining a phenomenon that changes over time) entities of animal and vegetive impulse wholly somatic (relating to or affecting the body, especially the body as considered to be separate from the mind) and wholly destitute of conscious direction and drive towards an end.

  The actual designation of the Faustian principle, which belongs to us and us alone, is a matter of indifference. A name is in itself mere sound.  Space too, is a word that is capable of being employed with a thousand

Nuances (The use or awareness of subtle shades of meaning or feeling, especially in artistic expression or performance)—by mathematicians, and philosophers, poets, and painters-to express one and the same indescribable; a word that is also ostensibly (apparently but not really) common to all mankind and yet, carrying a metaphysical under-meaning that we gave it and could not but give it, is in that sense valid only for our culture. (Who else do we know who is subtle).


Genesis 3:1 (KJV) Now the serpent was more subtil (subtle) than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

There are many nuances to look out for while studying the KJV so please be alert.


It is not the notion of “Will,but the circumstance that we possess it, while the Greeks were entirely ignorant of it, that gives it highly symbolic importance. At the very bottom, there is no distinction between space- as-depth and “Will” For the one, and therefore for the other also, the Classical language had no expression.1έθέλω and βόυλομαι imply, to have the intention, or wish, or inclination (βόυλή means counsel, council, plan, and έθέλω has no equivalent noun) Voluntas is not a psychological concept but, like potestas and virtus, a thoroughly Roman, and matter of fact designation for a practical, visible and outward asset—substantially, the mass of an individual’s being. In like case, we use the word energy. The “Will” of Napoleon is something very different from the energy of Napoleon; as it were lift in contrast to weight. We must not confuse the outward-directed intelligence, which distinguishes the Romans as civilised men from the Greeks as cultured men, with “Will” as understood here. Cæsar is not a man ofWill” in the Napoleonic sense. The idioms of Roman law, which represent the root feeling of the Roman soul far better than those of poetry, are significant in this regard. Intention in the legal sense is animus (animus accidendi); the wish, directed to some criminal end, is dolus as distinct from the unintended wrongdoing (culpa). Voluntas is nowhere used as a technical term.       


The pure space of the Faustian world picture is not mere extension, but different extension into the distance (perspective), as an overcoming of the merely sensuous, as a strain and tendency as a spiritual Will-to power. I am fairly aware how inadequate these periphrases are (the use of excessively long or indirect language in order to say something). It is entirely impossible to indicate in exact terms the difference between what we, and what the men of the Indian or the Arabian Culture call space, or feel or imagine in the word. But that there is some radical distinction is proved by the by the very different fundamentals (relating to or affecting the underlying principles or structure of something) of the respective mathematics, arts of form, and above all, immediate utterances of life. “Space as a priori (A priori is a term applied to knowledge considered to be true without being based on previous experience or observation. In this sense, a priori describes knowledge that requires no evidence) form of perception,” the formulae in which Kant finally enunciated that for which Baroque philosophy had for so long and tirelessly striven, implies an assertion of supremacy of soul over the alien; the ego through the form, is to rule the world.


2The Chinese soul “wanders” in its world. This is the meaning of the East-Asiatic perspective, which places the vanishing point in the middle of the picture instead of in the depth as we do. The function of perspective is to subject things to the “I,” which in ordering comprehends them; and it is a further indication that “Will”—the claim to command the world—is absent from the Classical make-up that its painting denies the perspective background. In Chinese perspective as in Chinese technique directional energy is found wanting, and it would not be illegitimate to call East Asiatic perspective, in contrast with the powerful thrust into the depth of our landscape-paintings, a perspective of “Tao”; for the world –feeling indicated by the word is unmistakably the operative element in the picture.


The question is now: How far is the man of this Culture himself fulfilling what the soul image that he has created requires of him?


Nothing but character (the set of qualities that make somebody or something distinctive, especially somebody's qualities of mind and feeling)  To exist in this fallen world is a matter of fact; and without the KJV Bible there is no guidance of how our procedure (an established or correct method of doing something) should manifest itself.

  What “God” is for us, God as Breadth of the world, the Universal Power, the ever present doer and provider, that also–-reflected from the space of the world into the space of soul and necessarily felt as an actual presence—is  Will.” With the microcosmic dualism of the Magian Culture (In the Bible, the group of three men who came to Bethlehem from the East to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Matthew 2:1-12. They are sometimes known individually as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, and jointly as the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings), with Ruach Nephesh

Pneuma and Psyche, is necessarily associated to the macrocosmic (a complex structure, e.g. the world or the universe, considered as a single entity that contains numerous similar smaller-scale structures), opposition of God and Devil—Ormazd for Persians, Yahweh and Beelzebub for Jews,  Allah and Iblis for Mohammedi’s—in brief Absolute Good and Absolute Evil.

As the Wheat and Tares And note, further, how in the Western world-feeling both these oppositions pale together.


Matthew 13:24-30 (KJV)

24 Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:”

25 But while men slept, his enemy (Satan) came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.”

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.”

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, “Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?”

28 He said unto them, ‘An enemy hath done this.’ The servants said unto him, ‘Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?’”

29 But he said, ‘Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.”

30 Let both grow together until the harvest [Lords Day]: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,’ ‘Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.’”