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Saturday, February 6, 2021

Spengler: The Ptolemaic Approach to History

Oswald Spengler was appalled by the thinking of the historians who present history from a mono-civilizational (Western) perspective—in 1918, he denounced the division of history into ancient, medieval, and modern sections as the “Ptolemaic approach to history,” which obscures the multi-civilizational reality of the world and creates the false impression that the other civilizations are not transforming. In his classic The Decline of the West, he writes: “I see, in place of that empty figment of one linear history which can be kept up only by shutting one’s eyes to the overwhelming multitude of facts, the drama of a number of mighty Cultures, each springing with primitive strength from the soil of a mother-region to which it remains firmly bound throughout it’s whole life-cycle; each stamping its material, its mankind, in its own image; each having its own idea, its own passions, its own life, will and feelings, its own death. Here indeed are colors, lights, movements, that no intellectual eye has yet discovered.”

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