Decline Of The West Quotes

Quotes tagged as "decline-of-the-west" (showing 1-4 of 4)
Oswald Spengler
“One day the last portrait of Rembrandt and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be — though possibly a colored canvas and a sheet of notes will remain — because the last eye and the last ear accessible to their message will have gone.”
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Vol 1: Form and Actuality

“The Rome he has been trained to serve, the Rome of Augustus and Germanicus, was gone. In its place stood Neronopolis, ruled by a megalomaniac brat.”
James Romm, Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero

Emil M. Cioran
“Archaic societies have lasted so long because they know nothing of the desire to innovate, to grovel before ever-new simulacra. If you change images with each generation, you cannot anticipate historical longevity. Classical Greece and modern Europe typify civilisations stricken by a precocious death, following a greed for metamorphosis and an excessive consumption of gods, and of the surrogates for gods. Ancient China and Egypt wallowed for millennia in a magnificent sclerosis. As did African societies, before contact with the West. They too are threatened, because they have adopted another rhythm. Having lost the monopoly on stagnation, they grow increasingly frantic and will inevitably topple like their models, like those feverish civilisations incapable of lasting more than a dozen centuries. In the future, the peoples who accede to hegemony will enjoy it even less: history in slow motion has inexorably been replaced by history out of breath. Who can help regretting the pharaohs and their Chinese colleagues?
Institutions, societies, civilisations differ in duration and significance, yet all are subject to one and the same law, which decrees that the invincible impulse, the factor of their rise, must sag and settle after a certain time, this decadence corresponding to a slackening of that energiser which is . . . delirium. Compared with periods of expansion, of dementia really, those of decline seem sane and are so, are too much so—which makes them almost as deadly as the others.
A nation that has fulfilled itself, that has expended its talents and exploited the last resources of its genius, expiates such success by producing nothing thereafter. It has done its duty, it aspires to vegetate, but to its cost it will not have the latitude to do so. When the Romans—or what remained of them—sought repose, the Barbarians got under way, en masse. We read in a history of the invasions that the German tribes serving in the Empire’s army and administration assumed Latin names until the middle of the fifth century. After which, Germanic names became a requirement. Exhausted, in retreat on every front, the masters were no longer feared, no longer respected. What was the use of bearing their names? “A fatal somnolence reigned everywhere,” observed Salvian, bittersweet censor of the ancient deliquescence in its final stages.”
Emil M. Cioran

Emil M. Cioran
“In the Metro, one evening, I looked closely around me: everyone had come from somewhere else . . . Among us, though, two or three faces from here, embarrassed silhouettes that seemed to be apologising for their presence. The same spectacle in London.
Today’s migrations are no longer made by compact displacements but by successive infiltrations: little by little, individuals insinuate themselves among the “natives,” too anaemic and too distinguished to stoop to the notion of a “territory.” After a thousand years of vigilance, we open the gates . . . When one thinks of the long rivalries between the French and the English, then between the French and the Germans, it seems as if each nation, by weakening one another, had as its task to speed the hour of the common downfall so that other specimens of humanity may relay them. Like its predecessor, the new Völkerwanderung will provoke an ethnic confusion whose phases cannot be distinctly foreseen. Confronted with these disparate profiles, the notion of a community homogeneous to whatever degree is inconceivable. The very possibility of so heteroclite a crowd suggests that in the space it occupies there no longer existed, among the indigenous, any desire to safeguard even the shadow of an identity. At Rome, in the third century of our era, out of a million inhabitants, only sixty thousand were of Latin stock. Once a people has fulfilled the historical idea which was its mission to incarnate, it no longer has any excuse to preserve its difference, to cherish its singularity, to safeguard its features amidst a chaos of faces.”
Emil M. Cioran, Drawn and Quartered