CULTURE

Decline of American hegemony

Western civilization is on a downhill course and American hegemony bears all the symptoms of a rapid slide toward decay, said Stantis Apostolidis, a literary scholar, during a presentation of Spengler’s book in Athens last month. All of Spengler’s prophecies have been confirmed, Apostolidis said. His disquieting message is clear: «We are finished – any time now.» The American superpower, Apostolidis maintained, embodies all the symptoms of decline as set out by the German philosopher of history, including its mastery of new technology and its thirsty imperial drive – the last stage of civilization, according to Spengler. «Technical progress is the gravestone of civilization. We make perfect cars, perfect roads, perfect buildings – but people think less and less. Our spirit is sick,» Apostolidis said, projecting Spengler’s diagnosis onto the current Zeitgeist, or spirit of the times. «Imperialism is a symptom of a moribund civilization. A civilization’s expansionist drive is a sign of its approaching demise,» he added. Spengler tells us that Western civilization is coming to a close but his message, Apostolidis said, must not be misconstrued of as one of pessimism. «It is the hard reality of living that is essential, not the concept of life,» Apostolidis quoted Spengler as saying, stressing the latter’s scorn for the «ostrich-philosophy of idealism.» We are doomed by destiny but we must keep our cool before the inevitable. «There is no way we can stop the headlong rush of globalization. Instead of talking about it, we’d be better off designing a better internal combustion engine. You can’t do anything about it. Civilization is coming to an end and you can see it. The only people who can’t see it have their eyes shut.»