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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

PHILOSOPHERS   AND   SOPHISTS                   443

though subordinated to mind, must keep its power; his doctrine
is essentially one of mechanical production under the control of
conscious mind.1

Man as the slave and ultimately the victim of machinery is the
subject of Der Mensch und die Technik (1931) by OSWALD SPENGLER
(1880-1936), who in his famous book Der Untergangdes Abendlandes
(1918-22) had argued that the victory of the city means the ultim-
ate extinction of civilization; this, he says, is simply a cake of dead
custom plastered over the vital urges of culture and stifling them.
He - a mathematician - studies the morphology of cultures as
Goethe studied the morphology of plants; he denies that one cul-
ture springs organically from another - Rome from Greece, etc.
(though a new culture may finish off its fa9ade with stones from
the one it succeeds), but declares that it is an independent organ-
ism, which grows, unfolds its blossom of civilization, and must
then by the very nature of a blossoming plant wither and die. The
only remedy Spengler can find (Preussentum und So^ialismus> 1920)
is in the fusion of Prussianism and Socialism; hence the saying
that Spengler held Hitler over the baptismal font. I&Jahre derEnt-
scheidung (1933), however (written just after the accession to power
of the Nazis), he rejects the worship of racial purity and argues
that the Jews, by reason of their vitality, should be absorbed by
and form part of the mighty Faustian race which some day must
settle accounts with the black and yellow races." What is needed
now is 'heroic pessimism", the first task of which is to crush the

Post-War pessimism encouraged the vogue both of theosophy
and mysticism. The head of the ' Anthroposophetf was RUDOLF
STEINER (1861-1925), who founded the Goetheanum. Christian
Morgenstern ended his mystic meanderings in this shallow. Wal-
demar Bonsels weaves theosophy into his animal symbolism, and
it provides GRAF HERMANN KEYSERLING (1880-1946), the cousin
of Eduard von Keyserling, with an illusion of depth and an air of
authority for the pretentious personal style of his Das Reisetagebuch
eines Philosophen (1918) and Schopferische Erkenntnis (1923). There
is more depth and genuine brilliance of style in the mysticism of
MARTIN BUBER (1878- ): a Jew, he dreams a modern mysticism
into the dogmatic clearness of Jewish religion; not medieval Ger-

1 ZurKritikderZeit (1912); ZurMechanikdes &&/ (1913); Von kommenden
Dingen (1917); Wirtscbaft, Stoat md Gesellschaft (yth ed. 1925).