Tag Archives: History

Toynbee and the Enlightenment

Arnold J Toynbee has some bad news in Volume VI of his A Study of History: Western civilisation is showing all the signs of being in its final decline. Civilisations decline when they fail to respond to challenges they face. … Continue reading

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Reading Toynbee

Perhaps there’s nothing you have to do and nowhere you have to be. You’re on your own, so you’ve only yourself to worry about. But what is there to worry about when you’ve only yourself to worry about? A quiet … Continue reading

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Reading Toynbee A Study of History

A society is a group whose members have shared problems. “There is no such thing as society” would be true if there were no shared problems, if each individual had only his or her own problems to worry about. “There … Continue reading

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Spengler and Destiny

I’ve been reading Oswald Spengler again, and what he writes about destiny. If you’re going to discover your destiny – the destiny of your culture, of your family, or your own personal destiny – you need to get out of … Continue reading

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The Silence of Ancient Egypt

For two thousand years ancient Egypt was “dead but unburied.” It existed only as stone, as a lifeless monument to its living past. The pyramids have stood silent and blind for millennia, and to Toynbee they seemed to speak: “Before … Continue reading

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Imagination and Evaluation in History: Spengler and Adorno

Oswald Spengler: “Once again, therefore, there was an act like the act of Copernicus to be accomplished, an act of emancipation from the evident present in the name of infinity. This the Western soul achieved in the domain of Nature … Continue reading

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A Note on Spengler and Historical Perspective

The Western historian writes from her own “standpoint.” But she knows she must be objective, which means opening her eyes to the infinite differences and infinite distances of history, freeing herself as far as she can from the limitations of … Continue reading

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