Section one. Is man overcome?
Chapter one. Prospects and limits of the Faustian soul
1. The bourgeois individual and the bankruptcy of traditional ideals
2. Faustian man in 'The decline of the West
Chapter two. The death of god and the agony of man
1. The individual stripped of personality
2. The agony of man
3. Moral aestheticism and aestheticising moralism



1. The Bourgeois Individual and the Bankruptcy of Traditional Ideals

The inner world of Max Weber was rocked by the confrontation of two diametrically opposed views, and rocked all the harder for his inability to choose between them. Weber the rationalist was convinced the principle of Reason (or Truth) could not be proven primary or supreme. Weber the liberal was all too well aware that historical development can shake the very foundations of liberalism. Weber the humanist agonised over his failure to find a scientific basis for a single cherished ideal and would accept no substitute. Finally, the Weber who supported the Renaissance-Romantic concept of man made no secret of its poor prospects.

Weber stands as one of the nineteenth century's last spokesmen. Officially laid to rest by World War I, the age took one last look about and found its beloved kingdom of Truth, Beauty and the Good in ruins. Weber confirmed the discovery by noting that Truth had detached itself from Beauty and the Good, the Good–from Truth and Beauty, and Beauty–from Truth and the Good, that a kingdom of harmony and light had become a jungle in the process, a chaotic battlefield of the gods fighting each against all and all against each.

``We now know," he declares in "Wissenschaft als Beruf", "an object to be sacred to the extent it is not beautiful. .. We also know it as beautiful for not being good, we've known it since Nietzsche's day and earlier, since 'Fleurs du mal. .'. It is something of a platitude that a thing can be true, though neither beautiful, sacred nor good. These are but rudimentary instances in the battle of the gods of separate orders and values.''1In other words, the world of values perceived by such Neo-Kantians as Rickert as an integral whole opposed to the elements of life has disintegrated into a welter of warring fiefdoms to deprive the "Western man" of his last remnants of wholeness.

Two factors were involved. The first and most general is summed up in Nietzsche's pithy "God is dead". With the single God of Christianity gone, and humanity's continuing need for ideals (taken by Weber as simple, empiric fact), the latter became gods themselves, each demanding his share of piety. Christian monotheism thereby reverts, in a sense, to a polytheistic past. Granted, the ancient pagan gods are somewhat tarnished in the process: "The many gods of old, shorn of their magic and thus reduced to impersonal forces, rise from their graves to claim our lives and resume their eternal internecine strife.''2 With no one principle supreme over all, a pecking or even elementary order is out of the question. Insofar, moreover, as "God is dead", there is no distinguishing the forces of light and darkness. Each god claims absolute status, each maintains a value so sublime as to absorb, ostensibly, the full human potential in service. The universal sun has vanished to reveal a multitude of stars, each now shining with its own light, each at last visible in all its singularity. But it remains a moot point as to which is supreme. The individual and the individual alone must henceforth choose, as his own absolute, whichever strikes his fancy.

The second factor in the fall of the kingdom of Truth, Beauty and the Good is more concrete. It becomes paramount when the accent shifts from the Christian context considered above to the history of rationalism in general and its torchbearer, science.

Weber lists here three stages, or rather three historical forms, in the advance of learning. The first encompasses classical or Greek science, which discovered logic and, utterly enchanted, declared it the sole key to the Truth, eternal, ultimate and identified with Beauty and the Good. The second takes us into the Renaissance, discoverer of the scientific experiment, now seen to lead to the true perception of nature, "divine Nature", at once true, beautiful and good. The third is Protestant science, still taken to lead to God the Creator, who is now to be known "by his fruits" as his Son taught: [the Protestant] "hoped in the natural sciences, where his [God's] creations are tangible, to trace his purpose for the world".3In all three historical forms, Reason is held to be supreme, divine and the synthesis, though a varying synthesis, of Truth, Beauty and the Good. Science accordingly becomes the basis of an entire outlook, the unity of divine Reason in its three hypostases. It continues in this vein right up to the advent of modern science, whose development parallels the disintegration of that same unity in a deepening crisis ending with the fall of rationalism 'per se'.

Modern science is unique, according to Weber, in its utter indifference to Truth as once thought identical to the higher sense of the object studied, to the Truth whose discovery would reveal the sense of human existence and of life itself. Modern science stakes no claim on Truth with a capital T, but is content instead with the lower case of "minor truths". It assumes a far more modest task in drawing certain conclusions from other premises, in recording the phenomena observed under certain conditions and determining how to turn certain means to desired ends. It accepts its basic premises as axiomatic, neither sets nor judges them but is rather set and judged itself by them in the problems, the general direction and specific methods of research assigned. Still less does it question the goals of research as latent in its pre-set basic premises. Science thus becomes a mental exercise, the truths it bestows upon us–mere instruments, technical devices in the mastering of ``life''.

This, however, would imply that scientific or technical reason can no longer claim to guide man's speculating on the Truth of ``life'', taken in the old sense, not as something to be mastered or made to yield certain results, but rather as a matter to be questioned in and of itself–why should a lifetime be spent, if it comes to that, in mastering life? Weber maintains science (provided it is fully aware of what the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have made of it) is best left mute. The scholar of conscience must refer the questioner to other ``gods'': art, morality, religion, etc. Yet this would indicate that scientific reason (the only kind there is, in Weber's strict opinion) can no longer hope to encompass the ideal but must surrender its sovereignty to the equal rights of all.

Thus does Weber account in his non-religious, soberly scientific way, in his conscientious attempt to remain impartial to good and evil alike,4for the fall of the Kingdom of Truth, Beauty and the Good. And here he raises a most urgent tangle of problems. For to accept that "man does not live by bread alone" is to concede that these issues are vital indeed.

The point is, Weber set down in black and white the West European's dangling between the heaven of ideals and the earth of empirical reality, in the very halfway zone where the devil is said to lie in wait. He is faced, on the one hand, by a real world devoid of sense, if only as the creation of science and its offshoot technology, of a purely ``technical'' science to boot. High above him, on the other hand, soars the kingdom of the Ideal, cut off from the earth below and, what is more, shaken to its very core by the rivalry of the gods moving from a hierarchical to an egalitarian order.

It is man's most urgent task to link, to the best of his ability, heaven and earth, to impart meaning to existence through the higher values, to bring to the empirical world all that he can of the ideal. This he must fulfil in the sober awareness there is no one else to turn to: the earth transformed by a science and technology founded on the utilitarian principle will move no closer to the ideal unaided; heaven, drained by divine internecine strife, can barely stave off collapse, let alone ennoble the earth below. Man is forced, as so many times before, to cry after Hamlet: "The time is out of joint:–O cursed spite/That ever I was born to set it right!''

The mood is uncannily Nietzschean. Hore too, a heroic stance is assumed on a heroism far from exuberant. True, the underlying aim is to "set it right", to reaffirm ideals anything but Nielzschean.

Insofar as Weber deals with traditionally humanistic, liberal values, rationalism and humanism may be said to have traded places with their irrational and cynical opposites. Nietzsche had to affirm his anti-ideals "in reason's spite"; Weber follows suit, traditional idealist and scientific thinker that he was. Insofar as the ``reason'' prevailing in post-war Europe reflected the Dionysian Philosophy of Life, its opponent was bound to feel very much like the author of 'Untimely Thoughts'. Where Nietzsche spoke of "heroic pessimism", Weber has every right to echo him, if only in form, as opposed to the heroic scientism and tragic liberalism of his content.

One aspect carries the formal identity into content as well: Wober too sees man poised between heaven and earth in an isolation just as acute as Nietzsche's, if not more so. As for making a ``value-sense'' of existence, Weber's Everyman can rely neither on the value-neutral utilitarian principle behind technicised science and ``scienticised'' technology, nor on values exhausted, neutralised and paralysed by internal strife. Having despaired of the gods of heaven and earth ever revealing the meaning of existence, Weber's Everyman must turn to himself, to the fate that tossed him to his present halfway point. This is his only hope of lending his fate, once perceived and accepted, the universally significant form of some ideal. And that, in turn, should set him a place in this earthly life. Weber's Everyman stands all the more alone in solving the riddle of existence for expecting no answer from either biology or physiology, whereas Nietzsche often overestimated, on the positivist's side, the powers of science.

A second factor makes Weber's stance by far the more complex: his Everyman perceives himself as abandoned by history, looks heavenward to choose the god closest to him, to cry for a universally meaningful shape to existence–and is thwarted by Weber, guardian of scientific honour. In his article on the vocation of science, he leaves West European man no hope for making any universally meaningful choice among the warring gods. For it is the fate and hence the universal significance of the era to assign equal rights to the gods in their conflict. And if European man is to choose himself in any universally significant way, he must link his fate, not to one god, but to the whole warring lot of them, to nothing other than their war itself.

He is to impart true meaning to his existence by recognising this war, since his every action is open to a multitude of contradictory readings. He may not hide behind the god of good from knowing that his act of virtue is aesthetically ugly and politically senseless or even harmful. Or seek refuge with the goddess of beauty before admitting his work of art is immoral and illogical. His choosing any one deity, in other words, entails the enmity of all others. And his referring to any one chosen god relates that same act, if only in a negative sense, to all the others as well. He cannot escape the fate mapped out for him beneath the sign of the warring gods.

Thus, each individual is to choose a personal god alone, to seek a purely personal sense to existence. Woe to him who would foist his god on others, however philanthropic his aims. The. god foisted upon humanity in the age of equality and gods at war is of necessity the fiercest of all to have gone before him, thirsting as he does for the blood of millions. Modern gods are good enough to confine themselves to small communities, which recognise the right of all others to pray, so to speak, as they choose. "It is the fate of our era," says Weber, "to see the last and most subtle values abandon the public domain for either the ethereal kingdom of the mystic life or the fraternal immediacy of all. Nor is it by chance that our highest art is intimate, not monumental, that only in the narrowest circles, the person-to-person context and pianissimo tones is there any pulse approaching the prophetic breath that once swept like a raging fire through entire communities and bound them. Were we to impose or `invent' a taste for the monumental, the results would be as miserably grotesque as so many of the monuments of the past twenty years.''5

Because, in Weber's opinion, such is the fate of our era, the earth beneath a god-warring sky must seek its meaning first and foremost in those interpersonal and intergovernmental relations which leave the individual to make whatever sense he chooses of his own life. The only political arrangement conforming to this ideal is, again to Weber's mind, bourgeois-liberal democracy. Recall the Germany to emerge shortly thereafter and Weber's political, existential ideas are clearly progressive. Not by chance were most of his students to take an antifascist stand. The extreme demands he made of the individual, however, the excessive responsibility placed on the single citizen, reveal an all too conspicuous Utopian slant.

Weber left the West European no choice in the matter of facing himself, his freedom and his fate–though, to be sure, the latter two were identical, made no extrapersonai demands and offered no guarantees. The burden of freedom proved immensely cruel, as did the trial by conceit, one's own passing fancy.

This was Weber's antidote to the mood originally formulated by the Philosophy of Life movement and soon adopted far beyond its professional ranks as the pursuit of. enervating ``experience'' '(Erlebnis)'. Under its amorphous banner, the youth of Germany and many another country besides sought the very support and binding force for a crumbling world that Weber meant to deny them. They sought, in the process of intensifying, refining, aestheticising and finally converting experience into symbol, a synthesis which would reconcile the irreconcilable gods; they sought a new god to restore order to the strife-torn kingdom of Truth, Beauty and the Good.

The chaotic, ill-defined and highly ambivalent nature of this experience was taken by many young intellectuals for a positive value, pregnant in promise. The eclecticism and lack of principle thus disguised were seen to indicate flexibility, dialectical drive, immediacy–all that promotes contact with the truest wellsprings of life. Such. expectations and premonitions could only outweigh Weber's proposition. His "trial by freedom" promised no shining future to those who preferred to surrender, in the feminine spirit, to the flow of a life which placed no inordinate demands on will. Weber opposed this feminine trend with sober predictions of what its ascendancy in the German social ethos would lead to–and was obviously doomed to the tragic role of Cassandra.

This debilitating plunge into the muddy waters of experience was made all the more alarming, in Weber's eyes, by its concomitant hankering for a Prophet to herald the birth of a new, true god. To the chilling sobriety of Weber's view, the post-war European, and particularly the post-war German preferred the "metaphysical solace"6of plunging into life, of the philistine's 'que sera sera'. Few had the strength to withstand post-war Germany's `` flowing'' into the arms of a new prophet. A horrible end is preferable to endless horror, a horrible god to the horror of perpetually warring gods, a false prophet to a never-tomaterialise true one–such was the mood Weber found among his fellow Germans.7

In such a hysterically lax atmosphere, Weber's announcing that "the prophet so many of our young folk long for has yet to appear", that the religiously musical man who craves the ecstatic dissolution of self in the experience of God must "live in a godless, prophetless age", was doomed to fall on deaf ears. Torn between its warring gods and the longing for a single, supreme deity to restore order to the shaken world of ideals, post-war Germany could not bear such seemingly endless tension. Weber's warnings it simply ignored.

The mood is eloquently evoked by Robert Musil in 'Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften;' of the Germanic Christian youth circle encountered by a central figure in the novel, he writes: "Just what these young people believed in was hard to say: they formed, one of those infinitesimal, infinitely free sects rampant among German youth since the fail of the humanist ideal. They were not anti-Semitic racists but rather opposed to what they lumped under the catchphrase of 'the Jewish spirit', as capitalism, socialism, science, reason, parental authority and arrogance, self-interest, psychology and scepticism. Their chief doctrine was the `symbol', . . . [by which they meant] the magnificent image of gracious goodwill that turns the confusion and pettiness of life into clarity and grandeur, the goodwill which sweeps away emotional chaos and cools the brow with the breath of another world. So they spoke of the altar of Isenheim, of the pyramids of Egypt, of Novalis; to Beethoven and Stefan George, they conceded the status of augury; while symbol, in sober terms, never crossed their lips; first, because the concept defied sober terms; second, because Aryans could not soberly say why they had, in the past hundred years, achieved no more than the auguring of symbol; and third, because ours is the century when divine moments of mercy far beyond the human scale are yet so rarely met in men far beneath the human mark.'' 8

Weber's warnings, however, were doomed to failure, both by the spiritual context of the time and as well by the alternatives they proposed. Karl Jaspers, the contemporary West European philosopher, did not lightly call him thinker in the lino of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche–nihilist, daemonic and ultimately defeated. For Weber belonged to the crisis era: he could see no solution and, what is more, advocated an attitude of stoic calm, as to a necessary turn of fate.

``Those who look today for new prophets and new saviours," he writes, "are in the same position as that described in the prophecies of Isaiah, in the song of the watchman of Edom and the time of Exile: 'He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come'.''9 Weber does not ask how soon the dawn: convinced as he was the night would stretch over more than one generation, he tried to teach his fellow man to take his bearings by the stars, knowing many might well be dead though shining still to guide the weary traveller.

Has he plunged headlong into the "stream of life" and failed to see his act as the product of a crisis in culture and the European identity? Or is he only too well aware of the crisis but afraid there is simply no escape? The two possibilities are related. Both involve "men of crisis" and the daemonic, destructive principle inherited from the ailing age that gave them birth. It is this kinship which reveals Weber's latent link to his opponents on the scent of experience.

Weber's Everyman, released from his traditional obligations to heaven and earth and left to his fate and his time, is actually very close to the individual released by the Philosophy of Life from any and all duties except that of living life to its fullest. The only puzzling point is why the former, tied to history, could not abandon the quest for a meaning to existence, as did the latter, tied to life; why he should know himself fated to live in a godless age and yet continue to look up to azure ideals, to rely on the stars instead of his own dark "life instinct''?

Weber gives no answer, for therein lies the secret behind the freedom of choice enjoyed by Weberian man who seeks a meaning to existence, to the flow of life and his own fate in history not 'for' sufficient cause but 'despite' the total lack of any cause whatsoever. His quest is the unadulterated product of his will.

This was, in every respect, too fragile a base on which to resurrect the kingdom of Truth, Beauty and the Good. Yet it and no other was chosen by Weber's existentialist disciple, Karl Jaspers. Having milked the master's concept of man for every conclusion to be had, Jaspers founded the existentialist line in West European philosophy of the twentieth century to influence the literature and indeed entire cultural process of the Western world.

In point of fact, Weber's conceptual system reflected the reification of interpersonal relations described earlier by Marx, albeit at a later stage, as ``free'' capitalism shifted into its state-monopoly phase and the traditional bourgeois forms of self-alienation took on the added pressure of a pseudo-collective spirit. From Weber's statement on the status of Western man, Jaspers derived a concept of the individual designed to survive in the face of aggravated alienation.

Hence Jaspers' (or the existentialist's) distinction between personality '(Personlichkeil)' and individuality '( Individualitdt)', reminiscent of the apophastic definition of God.10All formalised, reified or alienated elements are discarded from the personality; because everything under late capitalism is to some extent formalised, reified or alienated, the individual is left without positive definition–all traits are negative. The inherent leaning to Husserl's phenomenological reduction is only too apparent: one aspect after another is dismissed to reveal the phenomenon in its purest state, impinging unadorned upon consciousness. The two methods quite naturally combine in existentialism.

Hence in turn the ever-widening breach between what the existentialist saw as the ``authentic'' existence of the personality and the individuality's own ``empiric'' or even `spurious' muddling through interpersonal relations and the reality of social time and space. And the wider the breach in the existentialist's view, the more tragic he found the personality's lot under modern capitalism. Finally, this unbridgeable gap between authentic and spurious existence cast an ambiguous pall over authenticity itself,11fatally limited by an antipode (spuriousness) which drove it further and further, and irrevocably, into the thick of subjectivity to reign itself triumphant.

Man's division against himself into authentic and spurious, and the truly metaphysical rupture it precipitated, could not but raise an insurmountable barrier between him and the rest of a humanity met exclusively on his own, spurious terms. This is what lies behind the existentialist's no-communication cry, raised in the late 1930s arid early 1940s, by Camus, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to become the raging fashion in the West of the following decade. The theme expanded into the catchphraso of Western cinematography through Fellini's 'La Strada', Bergman's 'Wild Strawberries', Antonioni's 'L'eclisse, La Notte' and others.

This, however, bears on the later history of the climate so tellingly conveyed, under the impact of World War I, by Max Weber. Nor should the existentialist (Jaspers', Heidegger's and Marcel's) response to the human predicament in the post-war years be considered a historical first or anything but unique. By no means is Weber's philosophy to be identified with existentialism (either the German or still less the French school), though his mood in the post-war years as witnessed by "Wissenschaft als Beruf", was strikingly close to the subsequent emergence of that same teaching. Fixed only with the close of the 1920s, existentialism was anticipated by the Philosophy-of-Life response to World War I, the general philosophical mood inspired by Nietzsche and in all but Weber's interpretation hostile to science and the scientific spirit 'per se'. The first postwar years saw the sentiment expressed in 'The Decline of the West',12which Spengler began before, finished during and proofread after Germany's defeat in the war.

Spengler focused on a different aspect of Nietzsche, ignoring the Apollonic, individualist strain for its Dionysian opposite, the brute collectivism which transformed the author's concept of man into a mandate, not for self-perfection but rather for surmounting or altogether doing away with the individual, seen to dissolve in a biologicalised power-drive. Accordingly, he slighted such details as the human entity and its individual nature–mere instances of the anonymous, impersonal forces he considered to bear the only real weight.

2. Faustian Man in The Decline of the West

While Spengler represents the bourgeois antithesis to Weber's concept of man, both philosophers insist on his "historical fate"–however their interpretations of the latter may differ. The stance, in Weber's case, was the necessary, logical outcome of a peculiar brand of polytheism, taken to mean the perpetual war of the gods (ideals or values). A host of gods incapable of reaching any internal agreement must settle its feuds by lot and let fate be the judge.

National cultural values are now seen to hinge on fate. "How anyone can draw a `scientific' distinction between the cultural 'worth' of France and Germany, I do not know," he confessed. "This too is disputed among the gods and eternally disputed at that... And both the gods and their dispute are ruled by fate and certainly not `science'..." 13 Weber's verdict, like that of such liberal thinkers as Croce in his war-time articles, thus coincides entirely with Spengler's basic postulates and could even, as such, be included in 'The Decline of the West'.

Spengler's 'Anschluss', in other words, his annexing the philosophy of history to the philosophy of life was anticipated by Weber in the doctrine of absolute historicism–so well hM the Trojan horse of ``life'' performed.

Just what did this 'Anschluss' do to the philosophy of man and its affiliate philosophy of art, to the status '(Sein)' of art and the kingdom of ideals?

Spengler's concept of culture as set forth in 'The Decline of the West' rests on two postulates, the first derived from Goethe's distinction between 'das Werden' or "coming into existence" and 'das Gewordene', the product of that same process and a product wholly determined by its origins.14He shares the conviction with Henri Bergson, metaphysician and the systematising head of the Philosophy of Life (though Bergson and indeed all other contemporary thinkers are mentioned in a purely derogatory context). Like Bergson, Spengler emphasises not so much the formative link as the radical difference between 'Werden' and ' Gewordenes'. Where, in the notion of 'Werden', both are aligned to the German classical tradition, on 'Gewordenes' they part company. From 'Gewordenes', moreover, sprang a whole new outlook on life, based on a permanent rupture between becoming and being, which renders every act of creation tragic. As well it might, if the product of 'Werden' is to take up arms against its suffering parent to become its primordial antithesis, relentless negation–in short, its very destruction.

The outlook, in fact, merely generalises the philosophic mood of the early German Romantics, who were plagued by the contradiction between the universal essence of the Prime Artist's design (the cosmic nature of the creative impulse) and the limitations imposed on its products as divorced from their creator's individual identity. The Romantic irony, which set a buffer between creating and the created end-result, had given way to the unabashedly tragic sense of their root incompatibility. Humour yielded to sarcasm, the ironic mood to the tragic, the Divine Comedy to the Divine Tragedy and a pan-tragic view of life. The feeling gave rise to Spengler's second postulate, a natural corollary to the first.

Thus, Spengler goes on to distinguish between two " primary facts of consciousness"–``self'' '(eigentliches)' and ``other'' '(anderes)'. These are easily identified with the emotional attributes of 'Werden' and 'Gewordenes' (the act of creation and its product) sensed by the individual experiencing his own inner world '(Innerlichkeit)' as forever in creation. This applies most of all to the artist, and the Romantically-inclined artist at that.

The distinction contains the profound antithesis between life and death itself. And as the chief experience '( Erlebnis)', upon perceiving this rift in its entirety, Sprengler points to fear '(Angst)', to cosmic horror, that most basic of all human emotions. Fear enters the human soul at birth, he maintains, and the human soul is no more than the awakening of the cosmic soul from the unconscious, vegetative state, the triggering of the contradiction between its primal urge to life and all that would thwart it.

The soul and fear, in Spengler's opinion, have one and the same birth, the soul in its vegetative state being identical to the basic urge to life (cf. Bergson's "elan vital"). This in turn amounts to non-existence, to a sleeping state that marks the very absence of life.15Not until life in its push towards self-realisation encountered the insurmountable obstacle of radical negation, not until the opposition pressed upon life itself, did the soul emerge from nonbeing. And its first sensation was fear, inspired by that very antithesis, by something wholly other, by a 'Gewordenes' drained of life and organic heat.

``When from the universal chaos of impressions and before the startled gaze of primitive man there appear the first rough outlines of this glimmering world of ordered lengths and reasoned 'Gewordenes,"' Spengler writes, "when the deep-felt contradiction between this external world and the individual soul lends shape and direction to conscious life, a 'proto-sense of longing (Urgefühl der Sehnsucht)', together with all the other new cultural prospects, stirs within that soul in its sudden awareness of solitude. This is a longing for, a straining towards the goal of becoming, the exhaustion of all inner potential and the development of the notion of individual existence. It is the longing of a child that breaks with growing lucidity into consciousness as the sense of necessary 'direction' and stands before the adult mind as the horrific, enticing, insoluble 'riddle of time'. `Past' and `present' are suddenly full of deadly significance.

``Yet this longing, born of the wealth and bliss of the inner act of becoming, is also, in the depths of every soul, a sense of fear. Just as every instance of becoming is aimed at and culminated in being, the proto-sense of becoming, longing, touches upon the final sense of fear. . . This is the deep-rooted -terror of the world that preys upon the childish soul and haunts the superior man, the believer, the poet and the artist in his infinite solitude, a terror of vast, eternal, threatening powers invested in the sensible images which impinge upon our glimmering world.''16

Our two antithetical pairs–'Werden' vs. 'Gewordenes' and self vs. other–are now joined by a third and fourth, or actually two new hypostases of the first. 'Werden', seen in its psychological aspect as pertaining to the self, becomes on a deeper level the proto-sense of longing, the soul's straining to realise its full potential, and straining because it conceives of itself as bearing some cosmic life force swelling within as though fit to burst and revert to chaos. The tension is associated as well with the ``fatedness'' '( Schicksal)' of it, the soul's dominant vital drive, oriented as of the dawn of time, now and forever, from past to present, beginning to end, becoming to being. Hence the highly dramatic cast to this, the soul's most intimate, most primeval aspiration, the sense of external command by an immeasurably higher being: "The direction of all becoming '[Werden]' in its implacability–its 'irreversibility'–is confidently assumed to be an external element. Something external to the self transforms the future into the past, which lends to time as opposed to space that paradoxical quality of horror and oppressive ambiguity no eminent man may ever entirely escape.'' 17

And there is the word we were looking for: 'Werden', manifest as the "proto-sense of longing", has been defined as 'time'. Spengler sees man as symbolising that proto-sense through a concept of time pre-set in terms of direction, irreversibility and fate, though we who use it seldom appreciate its full mystic sense.

This chain of intuitive perceptions generated by the original intuitive sense of 'Werden' is paralleled by a second, which imagines 'Gewordenes' to be both primary and definite. The anxious sense of a vital, irreversible, fated drive entering the awakening soul is considered by Spengler analogous to the sense of a counter-drive, of all that has become, is complete, exhausted within and taken by man for a pre-set image of the world. Spengler identifies it as fear of the world and dubs it the most creative of all primeval experience. The soul's congenital 'Angst' thus takes on a dual aspect: the horror inspired by the irreversibility of one's individual fate is expressed in the concept of time, whereas that instilled by the world without, by an inescapable, implacable opposition, by the categorical negation of that same drive, works through the medium of extension ultimately fixed in the concept of space.

The two aspects could conceivably be reintegrated as two faces of one and the same fear–that inspired by the finite, by non-being, by nothingness (cf. Heidegger). That Spengler could well have done it is evident in 'The Decline of the West', where both are linked to the soul's attitude to its negation, with the first termed fear of immutability and finality and the second–that of the materialising factor in both. But he could take no such step unless he held the vital drive born by the soul to be innate to the human race. Because, on the contrary, he thought of it as a cosmic force pre-dating mankind and merely triggered by the soul's awakening, Spengler thought it totally impossible.

The fear attendant upon the act of becoming, or life creation as the experience of implacability, irreversibility and the finitude of existence (whether affecting the individual or an entire culture) is seen by Spengler to dissolve into and tinge with tragedy the greater experience of becoming proper. The life drive is on the whole more joyous than fearful, more extrovert than introvert, more likely to forget than exorcise or conceal the horrors of existence. The second has to do with the fear that is separate from the experience of becoming.

Put in Schopenhauer's terms, this second form of fear is seen to emerge for that facet of the human soul which, disengaged from the process of becoming, is able to observe from without. And to an observer unmoved by its pathos, impervious to its hypnotic charge, all things becoming are obviously bound to end in being, all life surges doomed to utter negation in death. Yet the soul made aware of this carries on irregardless, pursuing its full potential step by step unto death. For its advance is not a matter of self-will but of fate, which instils in all living beings a lust for life and a direction to the span allotted each individual or culture. Where the individual has disengaged his conscious soul from the process, its unconscious half is all too thoroughly absorbed and rendered dominant for it.

Therefore, the soul aware of its finite fate has no other option but to disarm it through either resignation or making sense of the inevitable. This, in Spengler's view, is the true source of culture, whose first act, born of the soul's fear of the world without and its own mortality therein, is to create a "symbol of extension" as canvas for the images of a culture which has exorcised being '(Gewordenes)', lent it meaning and restored its long-lost living heat.

The exorcism is in itself ambivalent, in the Freudian sense of the word, the ambivalence stemming from the dual meaning of enchanted submission by the exorcised to the exorcist, on the one hand, and, on the other, of supplication, replete with sacred awe and humility. It is best conveyed, according to Spengler, by the notion of taboo, based on the "primal emotion which invariably 'precedes' perception and comprehension of one's environment and for that matter, any and all self-conscious distinction between the soul and the world without''.18The emotion comprises "distraught fear, sacred awe, profound helplessness, despair, hatred and vague stirrings towards intimacy, unity and withdrawal [eventually lapsing into] mute indecision".19

The feeling is regarded by Spengler as the true origin of all formative human endeavour, of rudimentary form in general and by extension, human culture as a whole. All young cultures are manifestly linked to taboo, suffused with prohibitions no less abstruse than sacred, whose transgression is unthinkably, indescribably horrible. This is the source of "hieratic ornament and petty ceremony, the strict codes of primitive custom and curious cults",20 all permeated with an acute sense of form directly perceived as linked to taboo.

As a culture develops away from categorical restrictions, the connection between its forms and taboos fades. It nonetheless perseveres, as does the artist's awareness of the same.

To the extent that all these developments stem from the soul's striving to exorcise the foreign element of death, Spengler takes as culture's most meaningful phenomena those of immediate relevance to death. Hence the decisive role assigned to the Temple, symbol of every culture's means of exorcising death through creating its own image of space. In fact, Spengler traces the originality of every cultural 'form he happens to consider to its particular spatial organisation in interior and exterior templar architectonics–this includes the pyramids of ancient Egypt, the Parthenon, the Moorish mosque and the Gothic cathedral. The Temple, for Spengler, reveals the proto-phenomenon behind every culture that will generate its own unique art, philosophy, religion, ethics, science, technology, politics, economics and what have you.

The above description of Spengler's deriving culture from the experience of otherness and fear of the world conveys as well his concept of the origin and function of art. For he is concerned with culture as an integral phenomenon which resists, if indeed it permits at all, dissection into art vs. science, or science vs. religion, religion vs. politics and so on.

All these forms may be considered different hypostases of religious emotion: each springs from the awesome experience of death embodied in the architectonics of the Temple, its interior and exterior decor, as well as the rites performed in and at its doors. Yet each could just as well derive from the aesthetic sense. Spengler, for that matter, is very much inclined to treat his Temple as a purely aesthetic phenomenon, an aesthetic ordering of the chaos of impressions bombarding the soul into a harmonious cosmic whole. When it is recalled that Spengler holds man's other primal symbol of otherness converted into cultural space –mathematics–to be an art form, the aesthetic sense must be recognised as a basic, if not 'the' basic building block in the cultural cosmos by virtue, if nothing else, of the arch it supplies to join the separate into a whole, and the formless into form.

Spengler, then, returns to the principle, lost and longed for in Europe, of the unity of culture, of Truth, Beauty and the Good. Granted, the resurrection is as ambiguous as any other achievement in the Philosophy of Life. Truth, Beauty and the Good are united in a single–and most singular–function, that of exorcising the other or, as Spengler so eloquently puts it, tossing the veil of Maya over death, the true end of the life drive in any form. The truth of mathematics and the other sciences, the good of religion and ethics, the beauty of art (philosophy, mathematics, religion and ethics too) align in the common (false!) effort to conceal reality from the human soul, to distract it from the true countenance of death, a Gorgon's head turning all who look upon it to stone.

This is what produces the primal split described above; it goes on to penetrate all forms of culture to the very core. In postulating that all cultural forms seek to exorcise the other, that which annuls the soul's life drive, Spengler has sketched in a basic scheme of severance. His proposition clearly attributes a shadow-for-the-substance slant to culture: creative activity based on something quite irrelevant, on relieving the living of their cosmic fear of the dead, the finite of its dread of fmitude. Culture is thus adapted as a cathartic tool of sorts, though the human soul can never be purged of fear altogether.

But let us take a closer look at Spengler's concept of the fear-culture alliance. Is fear inherent to the life drive, to life itself, to Schopenhauer's ``will-to-life''? Obviously, ``life'' in this sense (Spengler's or Schopenhauer's, as the case may be) does not know fear; it simply longs for itself, for limitless self-realisation. It is, after all, immortal in itself, or so Schopenhauer and Spengler (in Nietzsche's wake) contend; it need fear death only but invariably in the individual instance, in its organic incarnations and exclusively those whose individualisation (i.e. mortality) has been actualised in the specific experience of the soul, the individual or human consciousness. Spengler's concept of fear, in other words, is associated with the individualisation principle, no less of an illusion, in the final analysis, than the culture erected on fear.

Human finitude, expressed in an abiding sense of fear of the inevitable end, casts a shadow over the culture based on that same emotion–it too is made finite, mortal. True, its lifespan is a great deal more generous, according to Spengler, than that accorded the individual; nevertheless, both face the same, mortal fate, both eventually 56 sink into the waters of Lethe. To the extent that the individual's fear of death is somewhat ephemeral–life itself being immortal–culture is tinged accordingly. The chief paradox, however, is this: culture, the ostensible product of the individualisation principle and the by-product of life's individualisation in the human being, develops, in Spengler's view, independently of the individual or at least of his conscious intent. Just as life in the aggregate works through the individual organism towards its eternal goal, the supra-individual organism of culture uses the individual to attain its fundamental proto-phenomenon. The individual, even (or rather, particularly) the genius cannot and must not know whose tool he is; like a mere bystander, he must leave all the decisions to the particular culture pursuing its principle through him and realising its best where he is least conscious of the purport of his own actions. Culture grows through him, discarding generation after generation as each serves its purpose without ever letting any know what purpose was actually served in the pursuit of their conscious goals.

In other words, Spengler's individual, a self-conscious being setting his own conscious goals, is doubly ephemeral as the unconscious agent of the self-realisation of a culture, which is in itself illusory, dependent in all major aspects on the life force at its base; its self-realisation is a fiction, a mere vessel for the self-realisation of life. Although, therefore, Spengler's individualisation principle is the true source of fear and its outgrowth, culture, the individual conscious of himself as such is denied any role in his cultural-historical construct. Spengler's individual is not of little, but of no value whatsoever, a nonentity when set apart from all others; he only acquires significance as he sheds his individuality to become the faceless drone of culture (and life in general), blindly furthering whichever tendencies arise at his given point in its evolution.

Spengler, in 'The Decline of the West', conceives of the individual as the being furthest removed from the fount of cosmic, elemental life. The closest is the plant, which lives in time totally ignorant of space, totally absorbed in the cosmic rhythm of life and totally unaware of any separate freedom. There is no relation between it and elemental life–so wholly are the two identified. In contrast, the animal enjoys freedom of movement in space and thus a certain measure of self-detachment to form its own microcosm or life withdrawn into the individual organism and thereby detached from itself as an immediate, self-sufficient drive. Hence the tension between the all-embracing cosmos of life and its microcosmic offshoots: "Everything microcosmic exhibits polarity. The word `anti' captures its full essence. It has 'tension."'21

The tension separating the organism from life as a whole to dampen its own life thrust reaches an extreme in the individual human being. He is removed from the immediate element of life not only by the freedom of movement in space he shares with all animate creatures, but as well by every fibre of the consciousness which turns his life into a problem, for consciousness deals first and foremost with the finitude and mortality of the individual. Where vegetable matter is simply at one with existence at hand or its own life drive, the animate being is removed by a waking state intent on the world about it. In man, this waking state subsumes the relationship between ego, where the human microcosm acts as a light source of sorts, and the world without so lit; the nocturnal world of the plant becomes the diurnal world of human individualism. Fear of the invisible, says Spengler is congenital to the ego, testimony to the "distinctiveness of human religiosity".22

The further the individual (as opposed to the animal and especially the vegetable worlds) from life unalloyed, the greater the role played in his own existence by death and its attendant fear. "The animal knows only life, not death" (in which respect the plant is more closely attuned to life as simply living, ignorant of death). Man -not only observes the death of others, as does any animate creature; he knows it to await him too. Consequently, the animal fears not death but the world about it; only in the human animal is this anxiety transferred to death;23 only the human knowledge of death endows man, of all the animals, with an outlook on the world '(Weltanschauung)'.24 'In fine', man is far more profoundly, more universally mortal than the plant or the animal, the special role of death in his life accounting for his 'Weltanschauung' and culture– both of which have removed him still further from the immediate element of life to reduce the vitality and magnetism of its rhythm.

To the extent this all derives from the ultra-individualisation attained by life in the human, ego-endowed entity, man's greater alienation from life and enthrallment to death is seen to hinge entirely on the " individualisation principle": it enters the life element simultaneously with death, peaks and falls in its derivative, individual microcosms to begin the cycle anew. On these grounds, the author of 'The Decline of the West' is suspicious of and even hostile to the individual and individuality 'per se', with its eye on something bigger than the status of unconscious, faceless vessel to the life or race element working towards self-realisation through culture and history much as it works through the ant or the bee.

Spengler accordingly concludes that the "great moments in history" are utterly irrelevant to the microcosm of the lone individual, effected as they are by supra-individual forces. These he terms ``cosmic'', as opposed to `` microcosmic'' essences, and relates to "peoples, parties, masses and classes".25While he does insist on a 'Führer' for each, this is by no means to be taken as an outstanding individual or microcosm at constant loggerheads with the cosmic elements of senselessly self-devoted life. Spengler's 'Fiihrer' is rather a clean copy of the race element he represents; there is nothing of the individual as commonly understood in him. The entire argument is, without a doubt, the logical extreme of the "crisis of man", Spengler having pronounced the European concepts of individual and personality exhausted of value and liquidated the principle itself as a suspected counter-charge to life, an instrument of death.

Clearly this, Spengler's definitive pronouncement, is closely allied to Domenach's "end of man" theory, which has fuelled cultural evolution in the West, particularly in the arts, for the past ten to fifteen years. There is nothing new under the sun, as they say; what the crisis of man began with in West Europe fifty years ago has been taken up by such "new thinkers" as Marshall MacLuhan, such writers as Beckett and Robbe-Grillet, Roland Barthes and his Tel Quel disciples among the structuralists, Foucault and Lacan of the theoretician set, not to mention the cultural activists responsible in the 1960s for a complete about-face from tradition to the counter-culture. Much of the criticism addressed to Spengler fifty years ago can be applied to statements made by counter-culturalists over the past fifteen years.

In essence, Spengler takes culture and human individuality too, for that matter, as the personification of finitude, mortality and perishability in the infinite, immortal lifestream. Culture symbolises death by the very fact of its being. The history of cultural forms is thus seen to record branchings-off from the stream of life–life's individualisation, in other words, its dessication in the institutional labyrinths that riddle all cultures, its destruction as the price for specialisation.

The Decline of the West, as of any other cultural form in history's constant succession, acquires in this light a pre-determined air. It was the natural, logical outcome of Spengler's premises, which resurrected the ancient god Ghronos, devourer of his own children.

This bloodthirsty god of time sprung from the loins of cosmic Life to exploit the human soul dominates Spengler's system. He was to be loved and prayed to, if only for want of any other deity. Each of his children–culture and the historical forms of human existence–was granted 1,100 years. Within this span all cultures were to complete their life cycle–childhood, youth, maturity and old age– and then vanish forever into the belly of time. This is the highest purpose of every culture: the obvious lack of any purpose whatsoever.

Such is the conclusion necessarily drawn from Spengler's premises. Nor could he argue otherwise, for once the vicious Chronos had invaded his thinking, he was bound to demand sacrifice. The first to fall was Truth, Beauty and the Good, and the rite left Spengler defenceless before his implacable god. The 1,100 years allotted each culture lost all meaning. Culture and the individual too had no choice but to toy with a chimeric beauty, truth and goodness in 60 the vain attempt to forget their inevitable end in the jaws of time.

From culture's ambiguous relation to life Spengler proceeded to its utter senselessness under heartless Chronos. Or perhaps it was the other way on: doubting culture in general led him to an ambiguous view on its relation to Life.

Whatever the case may be, any thinker who had retained his faith in the meaning of culture must, upon closing 'The Decline of the West', have longed Zeus-like to overthrow Chronos. Significantly, among Spengler's critics of the 1920s stands Thomas Mann with his "Uber die Lehre Spenglers" (1924). He particularly objected to the marked fatalism that prompted Spengler to dismiss the creative role played by personality in history "Spengler claims he is no pessimist. Still less would he appreciate the label of optimist. He is a fatalist. But his fatalism, as expressed in 'we must want either the historically inevitable or nothing' is a far cry from tragic heroism of the Dionysian principle Nietzsche used to reconcile pessimism and optimism. Rather it exhibits a wickedly apodeictic, hostile attitude to the future, disguised as scientific implacability. It is not 'amor fati. Amor', in fact, is the least part of it–that is what makes it so repulsive. Pessimism and optimism are beside the point. One can take a very dim view of the fate of man, doomed or called upon to suffer till the end of time; one could, at the mention of `happiness' lying in some unspecified future, affect a profound scepticism and still have no taste for the pedantic indifference of Spenglerian fatalism. Pessimism is not heartlessness. It does not by any means imply a cold, `scientific' view of evolution or inimical contempt for such imponderables as spirit and will, which just possibly impart to evolution an irrational element beyond the grasp of the exact sciences. Yet such is the arrogance, the contempt Spengler shows for all things human. If only he were fiendishly cynical! But he is simply fatalistic. And quite wrong to name Goethe, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche his forerunners in hyena-like prophecy. They were men. Whereas he is a mere defeatist.''26 ``It is ludicrous," says Mann, paraphrasing Spengler, ``to be full of goodwill and the self-flattering confidence that spirit, the good and a will to establish a social order worthy of man is 'likewise' related to the concept of fate and could have a salutary effect on the course of history. The future is set to hold colossal wars among the Caesars for power and booty, rivers of blood and, for the felaheen, silence and suffering. Man, sunk back into the zoological cosmos void of history, will be a farmer bound to his mother-earth, or vegetating amidst the ruins of world capitals. His beggared soul will invent the narcotic of a socalled 'second religion', a surrogate for the first, which was rich in culture and creativity; it will be powerless in all but helping him bear his suffering in silence."27

Spengler, Mann continues, refers to the laws of nature simply "for scientific convenience, and the sake of an arrogant, apodeictic indifference! . . He is also motivated by the smug conceit which, in lusting after treachery, haughtily sides against spirit and man with nature, in whose name he speaks of merciless laws and considers himself marvellously staunch and noble".28 The same could be said of the extra-personal trend in bourgeois philosophy of the twentieth century, represented in the 1960s by Levi-Strauss, Lacan and Foucault.

I shall return to this issue below. What interests me now is how Weber's and Spengler's prospects for man affected the development of the philosophic and artistic ethos in Western Europe.

1. The Individual Stripped of Personality

Could man be surmounted was a controversial issue in the West of the 1910-1920s, temporarily dropped in the 1930-1940s as progressive mankind threw all its physical and spiritual might into battling an all too real barbarism, the brown plague of nazism. Western intellectuals gravitated at the time to thinkers advocating a balanced, more sober view of man's prospects, though to be sure, such inclinations were seldom acted upon. Among the voices then raised was the Catholic philosopher Romano Guardini, author of that remarkable book, 'Das Ende der Neuzeit' (1950).29

If Guardini's study is to be properly understood, a few words must be said on its underlying assumptions, taken for granted by the European intellectual of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Today, some quarter of a century after its first appearance in print, commentary is in order on several important points. First, the feeling long dominant in Guardini and his middle-class readers, that European culture, or at any rate, its post-Renaissance configuration was actually in decline, that Europe itself, now past its twilight years, desperately needed some guiding light in the darkness (not quite conducive to the optimistic outlook!). Second, the conviction, based on considerable practical and political experience, as well as numerous attempts to articulate both, that this European decline was intimately connected with the "rebellion of the masses" (Nietzsche's term, popularised by Ortega y Gasset),30that the masses' entry into the theatre of history signalled the end of an era and the dawn of a new age of mass movements, in which case the mass was a problem to be solved, and not simply or negatively formulated as Ortega had done, if any serious outlook or significant creation were to be achieved.

Curiously enough, Guardini uses the term ``mass'' exactly as described by the phenomenon's fierce, frank enemy in his study of rebellion, by the author o! the elitist concept of culture, Ortega y Gasset. Like Ortega, Guardini associates its emergence in modern form with the development of machine production in the large-scale standardised industry that churns out its very own ``mediocritised'', impersonalised–in short, standardised–``mass-man''. He also concurs in viewing this creature, with its aversion to independent self-realisation and its meek manipulability, as the antithesis to the spontaneous individual attentive only to his own genius, cultivated throughout Europe ever since the Renaissance and raised to an apogee in the Romantic age. In this light, Guardini's every remark on the depersonalisation of man in the twentieth century may be taken to pursue Ortega's Critique of the Capitalist civilisation which mass-produces the mass-man as any other consumer good.

Whereas Ortega did not think the mass-man would inevitably prevail, but rather hoped he would fade, together with his antecedent, modern technology, "much faster than might now be supposed",31 Guardini, on the other hand, was confident both developments were serious, long-term and but a taste of things to come. He was therefore- anything but inclined to carry on with the Renaissance-Romantic censure of the mass-man (which in any case had been fairly well exhausted by Ortega before him). On the contrary, he worked for a radical re-orientation in bourgeois thought by demanding it understand and accept the mass-man as fated and of special significance to the new era. This significance might well escape the Renaissance man or Romantic, who owed their very existence to the new age and lost all creative spirit with its end, but it was real nonetheless and intelligible only by looking to the root causes of the phenomenon: the mass-man was human too, 'obliged' to live by the fate that created him and anxious as any man to find meaning in existence.

On this point Guardini is at fundamental variance with Ortega and the entire Renaissance-Romantic tradition of censuring the mass-man. His chief complaint is against identifying "the mass of today" with the "amorphous human multitude"32of the new age serving in turn as a backdrop for the "highly-advanced individual". The ``common'' man of the new age, "he continues, was after the self-realisation sought by his contemporary ``aristocrats'' (taken in a much broader sense than that of blood inheritance) ; he failed for an infinite number of reasons to attain inner personal development and self-realisation in the external ``material'' of history. Therein lies the definitive difference, according to Guardini, between the amorphous multitude of individuals deprived of any chance at self-fulfilment and the "masses as now understood" to have no inner need for any such thing or indeed set any ideal value on it as lending sense to existence or awakening any will to struggle.

If the amorphous multitude of the new age (which is no less Renaissance than individualistic) was created by man's emancipation from any and all (and none too few necessary) dependencies, the mass' heralding the end of that era sprang from an entirely different source. This Guardini sees as the ``structurising'' of the by then astronomic multitude via scientific and technical progress to correlate forces and capacities, human interests and needs with the "functional form of the machine" and machinepatterned production in general. Correlation of this sort is characteristic of the "most advanced representatives of the masses", those who set the prevailing mores as fashion and in the Renaissance era would have risen to the aristocracy of self-fulfilment.

The mass-man in Guardini's sense is beyond Renaissance individuality or subjectivity (which accentuated the expansive, infinite, immeasurable aspects of self-realisation). As a socio-historical type, he does not in any way aspire to distinction in manner, appearance or life-style, but is on the contrary quite willing to have his existence rationally planned and normalised to meet the demands of mechanised production as the logical, proper and perfectly natural yardstick of self-realisation. Nor is he any more anxious to "base his life on personal initiative". No, the mass-man prefers to follow the programmes set him by a welter of organisations: plugged into and run by these, this non-individual knows no bitter conflict with what he considers a means to live by.

Guardini has introduced a noticeable shift of emphasis in discussing individuality, the autonomous subject, the freedom enjoyed of the personality and manifested in its •cultural output, considered primary in the Renaissance era and painfully exacerbated towards the end of the new age with the onset of big business, monopoly capital and mass rebellion. Neither freedom nor individual worth developed to an inimitable full–prevalent concepts both in the Renaissance period–are granted absolute significance. What is more, he comes dangerously close to vulgar sociologicism in associating these concepts with a specific social structure, "none other than the bourgeois". Technological progress in Guardini's view ensures the universal, predominance of an entirely different social order no longer posited on the creative, autogenous individual or his full, spontaneous and wholly unique self-development.

Nevertheless, Guardini's vision of the birth of that- new socio-historical species, the mass-man, is far from rosy. It encompasses the losses to be incurred in its establishment, losses measured against the less-than-exalted (in Guardini's eyes) Renaissance man, so utterly untrammeled in his egocentric self-assertion. He is unmistakably sad to state that the mass-man instinctively avoids the limelight, preferring to remain the anonymous bearer of some collective spirit and act at all times as though distinction were fraught not only with danger but "all manner of falsity" as well. He is, moreover, clearly alarmed by the total loss, in bourgeois society, of respect for privacy, sacrificed to the ever-expanding might of statistics and administration. This last trend dances on the razor's edge of fascism.

Unlike those of his colleagues more existentially bound to the Renaissance image, however, Guardini does not think these losses have degraded either the true essence of the individual (the core-self) or its divine principle. The mass-man, in this sense, yields nothing to his Renaissance predecessor, who owes his more impressive appearance to aesthetics and certainly not ethics.

The aesthetic view of the Renaissance man who battled for unimpeded self-realisation throughout the new age is limited in its underlying ignorance–conscious or unconscious, as the case may be–of "the many, the too too many" who footed the bill for these "titanic individuals". (Nietzsche, one of the few to think the question through, set forth its monstrous practical consequences without flinching.) Profoundly religious philosopher that he was, Guardini could not help but stress the ethical and in this case alternative viewpoint, not to be distracted, not even by fate's darlings in all their heroic splendour, from the tormenting question of the ``many'': was it fair that they should have had no chance to penetrate the meaning of their existence, to discover and affirm the divine principle latent in each of us?

In the mid-twentieth century, this approach found further support in the not unreasonable assumption that the "too too many" numbered not in the hundred thousands or even millions but rather in the ten and hundred millions. Such were the stakes to be played by the new Caesar intent as ever on self-realisation in the Renaissance spirit. It came to be taken for granted that his unique talent and creative potential were best left to wither in the bud if the multitudes could survive, that their right to life was far more incontrovertible than his right to limitless self-realisation. The argument, in Guardini's case, seems to appeal for self-limitation, for a new sense of discipline opposed in the polemic spirit to the Renaissance cry for unbounded self-fulfilment, unchallenged throughout the new age. All too obvious now was the price inevitably paid and inflated with every decade of the twentieth century. Guardini calls for an act of ascesis as a countercheck to the "will to power" Machiavelli and Nietzsche raised to an absolute, to man's highest potential.

But can the individual survive in a mass-age that has stripped the word ``anonymity'' of its frightening, repulsive overtones? Isn't Guardini's concept of the mass-man at much greater odds with the core-individual than even he suspects? Not that Guardini sidesteps the questions–he makes it central to his discussion on the future of man. The mid-twentieth century offers two alternatives: either the personality surrender all distinguishing features and dissolve without a trace into the mechanical sum of his mechanical functions (in material or cultural production, as the case may be) or stave off disintegration by concentrating on the inner self at the expense of the outer, if need be, renouncing the extensive development of " external form" (presumably as the product of society and " social production" in general, now independent of distinctive, individual talent).

True, the individual who chooses to preserve his coreself via self-limitation has little in common with the allround ideal of the Renaissance. And Guardini is generally inclined to reject the type of personality '(Personlichkeit)' he ties to the Renaissance, the new age and, by extension, the whole notion of expansive self-development. He prefers, in this instance, the concept of the 'core-self', to which he links the metaphysical 'core' of personality, seen as surviving personality (and even pre-dating today's Renaissance-influenced perception of the same). The crucial distinction between 'personality' and the 'core-self', he argues, is the latter's inward concentration, or concentration on God as opposed to the world without. (Relating to the world without could no longer link man to God as the more pantheistic of the Renaissance thinkers had. supposed.)

Guardini identifies this inward concentration with the self-definition of man and opposes it to the "loss of self" which threatens and indeed ruins the outward-oriented individual (personality). The core-self, in other words, gathers into a "scant but sturdy" shell all that was scattered by the personality, conqueror of the world without (but a somewhat debatable conqueror at that), having surrendered his soul, his identity and all ties with the absolute. The socio-historical consequences are best revealed in contrast with the contemporary concept, advocated by Western sociologists, of role-playing and the individual as the sum of the roles he assumes.33

This conglomerate of various and often mutually exclusive roles–from the general who orders civilians bombed while active in charity to the devoted husband and father who faithfully discharges all family obligations while developing undeveloped potential by philandering far from home–this Protean individual is forever plagued by cruel necessity: "optimal functioning" in any one role demands he forget all others or at least those most incompatible with his present choice. He is, in other words, compelled to forget himself as embodied in the roles abandoned but days, hours or even moments before and soon to be adopted over and over again. This is the only way to avoid slips: calling his wife by his mistress' name, addressing his fellow charity workers in militaristic tones or pausing at the moment of command, to wonder if this bomb target might not include innocent women, children and senior citizens.

But what does it mean to forget one's self of a moment before in the very next, to cultivate this selective sort of amnesia? It amounts to losing the sense of identity achieved only through the reference of a constant inner experience to a constant absolute. To cultivating the bad and dangerous habit of experiencing the loss as freedom–the freedom to renew one's self-realisation in a steady succession of changing roles. To forfeiting the integral self, to frittering one's selfhood away on a surfeit of mutually-exclusive roles, to forgetting it is possible, necessary arid one's moral obligation to retain the right to use the 'same' first-person-singular at all times and thereby affirm a formal self-identity and, what is more, responsibility before one's fellow man.34 It was this outward self-development, impressive as its results may seem (the Renaissance man of broad horizons 'a la' Cesare Borgia could play both the loving father and the power-hungry tyrant who murdered a rival offspring and wept over his grave), that Guardini sets against self-limitation, the definition of the core-self by turning back to one's stable heart and burrowing into the inner man achieved through the act of ascesis and the resolute suppression of all thirst for power.

Guardini's core-self, however, is vague, especially its role in his concept of the end of the new age. The concept is described primarily through metaphor, with man's vocation to God '(Angerufen von Gott)' predominant. Personality as preserved in the core-self is concentrated in every man's being called or simply relating to God, whether or not he achieves self-realisation; the relationship indeed defines the core-self to be retained. This is the minimum left by the Renaissance individual, who luxuriated in his many manifestations, the minimum whereby a man's, even the mass-man's humanity is preserved.35The core-self is not an aristocratic privilege, a gift of fate granting self-fulfilment to the chosen few; it does not call for unbounded self-realisation at any price, nor does it justify titanic wilfulness. It simply asks that a man be true to his innate obligation to bear a higher essence than his own, outstanding as he may or may not be.

Guardini's esoteric thoughts are perhaps better expressed–for the time being, at least–in poetic form. Boris Pasternak's "There is no honour got of fame" seems to spring from a similar mood:
'There is no honour got of fame,
And glory comes of other things,
No need to hoard for history's gain
Each slip, each scrap, each scribbling'.

'The aim of art is the giving
Of self and not sensation, fuss;'
'There is shame in the legend called living
And based on idle emptiness'.

'You must live without imposture'–'such'
'To have won by the end of all in all'
'The love of space spreading many to much'
'And the sound full struck of the future's call'.

'You must learn to leave the gaps to yawn
In fate and not your reams of print,
To note life's parts and chapters with
A tick in the margin'–'and on'.

'You must leap into anonymity'
'And hide all trace of all therein',
'As the landscape hides when you cannot see'
'In the thick of a fog full bound and in'.

'Where you have walked there'll be others to
Take each step as took again,
But which were won is not for you
To know, nor which shall loss attend'.

'And not for you to part leastwise.
From the self that lies withal within,
But live, just live, always, allwise
And live till life has done living'.


Evidently Pasternak, like Guardini, draws a close parallel between the question of ``self'' (Guardini's core-self) and the purpose of an act of creation. There is no mistaking here the motifs of burrowing into or limiting the self–acts of ascesis both and entirely alien to the Renaissance concept of culture. Artistic creation is not a matter of shouting from the rooftops to all mankind (whether to proclaim truth to the world or simply assert oneself is hard to tell). The poet "must leap into anonymity", into the unknown of intimate contact with another real, living being. This is his only hope of ever seeing his writings have any real impact on fate–his own and his reader's alike. That way he is limited to the true inner essence he must have in order not to "part .,, with, the self that lies within", in order to "live, just live". Anything written for a specific individual will have meaning for all. Anything written for all has none, for having lost the ``self'' addressed.

Guardini takes a stoic attitude to what the West sees as 'the' twentieth-century predicament: the inevitable lowering of Renaissance standards in the age of mass movements. Put in these terms, he suggests, the organically inseverable correlation between "great values" and small numbers (the aristocracy, elite, etc.) cannot help but slip from a primary into a second-rate, secondary issue. Instead of asking whether culture can save the core-self facing the 'end' of the new age, the threat to millions of total depersonalisation (if not outright starvation), this crucial question is ignored for the minor issue of realising individual wealth and might (made doubly immoral for the loss of ``self'' entailed). What profit a man his editions in the millions if he has lost his core-self and his works–their soul? How nightmarish, this Napoleonic sweep of the cultural market, this victory paved with soulless beings, with living corpses! Modern culture Guardini defines as a means to save the core-self available to all and not just the chosen few, for all respond, not only the manifest geniuses among us. Everyone is guaranteed and expected to cherish above all others this personal chance; it is up to culture to see it is not missed.

Every core-self is unique, but not in the Renaissance sense so largely influenced by the notion of the innate and its chaotic diversity. Uniqueness in Guardini's system means inalienable, indivisible responsibilty, the solemn understanding that no one may make any individual's moral choices for him.

The Renaissance viewpoint, which prevailed throughout the new age, sides categorically with the chosen few; the rest simply should not have been born in the first place, but might as well serve their betters as sustenance and historical raw material. The consistently anti-Renaissance Guardini comes to the opposite conclusion: if every coreself is absolutely unique and able to assert the same whatever the circumstances, humanity would do well to increase. In other words, the mass-society of hundreds of millions compelled to get along is, according to this Catholic thinker, both inevitable and morally justified.

The picture Guardini paints is not too inspiring. No wonder his book, so close to the official Catholic line, was so long ignored in the West, despite a number of reprintings–nine by 1965, to be precise. The West European bourgeois intellectual raised on the Renaissance and Romanticism had to work through all the alternative solutions to the problem of twentieth-century man before turning to that proposed by Guardini.

Appreciating how highly contradictory are the perspectives outlined in his study of the end of the new age should not obscure their chief and–compared to other modern bourgeois philosophies of culture–distinguishing feature. Besides regarding the mass-man as the basic phenomenon and hence central issue in state-monopoly capitalism, Guardini considers the whole question crucial and indeed, in the twentieth-century context, identical to the problem of man: it cannot be skirted 'a la' Ortega and neoRomantic company, by dividing the masses from a specially-provided elite. Such is Guardini's anti-Romanticism, ever seeking a sober or at least unflinching outlook on reality.

On the end of the new age and its attendant socio-anthropological changes Guardini is best understood in the historical perspective he himself adopts. The human type spawned by this age is neither obligatory nor optimal, in his view, nor even superior to those of any other, particularly the medieval era. Quite the contrary, Guardini continues the medieval Catholic criticism of the then-emergent bourgeois money-grubber in stressing the losses incurred over the gains accruing in the Renaissance individual's historical pursuit of self-realisation under capitalism. It is on this point that he parts company with all those still tied, consciously or unconsciously, to the Renaissance model of individuality.

The difference is seen at its sharpest in comparing Guardini's concept with that set forth by Nikolai Berdyaev, in the latter's 'Meaning of History' (Berlin, 1928). Unlike Guardini, Berdyaev assumes the " Renaissance period" (concurrent with the new age) to have contributed a factor now inseparable from our concept of man–the individual's autonomous development of creative powers to the point of declaring independence from God.

In this respect, Berdyaev's Renaissance (or new age) proceeds from medieval times on a rising line, despite his general view of historical progress as highly contradictory if not meaningless in both theory and the ethics of religion. Insist as he would that the "Renaissance epoch" had, like all preceding eras, failed to meet its basic objective– in this case, absolutely untrammeled creative development for the individual–he could not conceive of the human norm apart from the qualities bestowed by that same age. Hence the tragic overtones in his contemplating the fate of human individuality at the close of the Renaissance and dawn of a new Middle Age–a mood otherwise absent in 'Das Ende der Neuzeit'. Berdyaev departs so little from the Renaissance type (perhaps for having inherited its ideals–his insisting that human freedom is the freedom to work evil could, after all, be said to ``ontologicise'' the Renaissance model) as to dentify his demise, in a perfectly apocalyptic spirit, with that of humankind in general. "We are entering the night of a new Middle Age," he proclaimed, his imagery underscoring a certain sympathy with, a certain inability and unwillingness to divorce himself from, the Renaissance attitude to the same. Guardini takes an entirely different stand, never once associating, never even dreaming to associate the Middle Ages with nocturnal imagery of any sort. Berdyaev's formal analogy between the era preceding and that following the new age fills him with more hope (if timid hope) than despair. Guardini is 'not' a Renaissance man or, unlike Berdyaev, even renegade; he would hardly identify himself with Dostoyevsky's devilish Stavrogin as Berdyaev had done in the" "revolutionary period" of his youth. Guardini never once broke with Catholicism, its ritual or the ecclesiastic discipline still steeped in the medieval image of man; nor is he entirely alien to new trends, carefully as he may choose among them those compatible with the Catholic tradition he considers more productive, at the 'end' of the new age, than its Renaissance forerunner. This accounts for his so calmly accepting the organisational, disciplinary thrust of the mass-age, for his marked reluctance to consider a matter of life and death for the individual or the principle of individuality much of that thus interpreted by thinkers more closely bound (like Berdyaev, through common sin and common remorse) to the Renaissance model of man. And even where he shares their alarm, he puts the problem in entirely different terms.

2. The Agony of Man
It is hardly surprising that Guardini's vision should have struck the Renaissance-minded as neither convincing nor inspiring. Their reaction is more than evident in Gabriel Marcel, a religious philosopher himself and author of 'Les hommes contre I'humain,'36 published one short year after 'Das Ende der Neuzeit'.

Marcel concentrates on what may be rightly considered Guardini's Achilles heel. Just how free is twentieth-century man, he asks, is he really as irreplaceable as before in moral decision-making? in choosing (to take Marcel's extreme example) between life and suicide? Marcel assumes the modern technocrat has at his disposal the means to manipulate the individual even at that crucial moment. Thus, twentieth-century man has lost what the Stoics counted their final freedom–the freedom to cease to be when life no longer measures up to human dignity, the freedom to avoid submitting to another's will, however overwhelming. The Orwellian world Marcel accuses technocrats of leading the West into, precludes the Stoic stance by exploding this last, fundamental freedom; there is no escape into non-being.

In contrast to Guardini, Marcel is certain that psychological pressure brought to bear on the individual and backed by modern science and technology can now replace the personal act of moral decision by a choice no less impersonal than immoral and highly convenable to the authorities at that. A man desiring only to live can be persuaded the time has come to die and actually commit suicide fully confident the choice is his own, anything but imposed or ``signalled'' from without. Conversely, the latterday Stoic determined to kill himself rather than act under coercion can, by the same, purely technical means, bo convinced beyond all doubt that suicide is immoral and its rejection–the truest, the supreme act of freedom and responsibility. Thus, the Stoic age is gone, forever: "There is no stoicism without faith in an inalienable, inner sovereignty, in absolute mastery of the self by the self.''37Kirillov in Dostoyevsky's 'The Possessed' could put off his suicide 'ad infinitum' only in the gentle-paced nineteenth century–the twentieth, in Marcel's estimate, would have hurried him on with it, what with Big Brother liable to burst in at any second and ``guide'' him to an entirely different, no less unquestionably ``freely-made'' decision.

Given this extreme instance, what of the utterly banal situations encountered daily with no thought whatsoever for the dividing line between truly free (and in this respect authentic) deeds and those dictated from without, by circumstance, injunction, dogma and the like? And if Marcel's arguments hold true for the Stoic maverick clinging in vain to a stand once thought (and rightly thought) unassailable, what of the masses created by the technology of the appropriation of human dignity, whereby the individual is replaced in the act of free resolution and removed to beyond the core of self?

Unlike Guardini, Marcel is certain the mass-man has lost all trace of personality and indeed anything even remotely resembling it. The loss, moreover, is permanent. Strictly speaking, he uses ``mass-man'' to mean the individual stripped of all personality and in so doing virtually abandons the Catholicism he would be so faithful unto, as well as all other Christian precepts besides.

This concept does, in point of fact, bring him much closer to that which in the pagan Hellenic world divided mankind into freeborn citizens on the one hand and slaves and savages on the other, the former possessing a self and all its juridical and moral consequences, the latter denied both.38 It reveals the limits in his notion of twentieth-century human degradation: he could not remain within the Christian teachings, much as he wanted to; the more he expanded his concept of the mass-man, the more obviously it diverged from the Christian view of human nature.

'Les hommes conire t'humain' exposes the utter discrepancy of its two basic postulates: first, that "the individual alone ... is educable"39and second, that the mass-man or common integer of mass-society is not and cannot be considered an individual, founded as he is on the absence of individuality 'per se'.

The contradiction all but pervades every dimension, the logical and the mood-oriented included, of Marcel's theoretical construct. The ``masses'' haunting his thoughts are summed up with the force of categorical dictum: "Man is in agony." This evokes a mood beyond even Nietzsche's heroic pessimism, that of utter despair in ever transcending the self for some positive alternative. That offered modern man by Marcel is often, in his own eyes no less, seen as the condemned man's last meal, an analogy which makes us wonder just how positive his alternative really is.

Like so many other Christian critics of mass-society (and Guardini, no doubt, as well) Marcel believes the individual's sole pledge of freedom lies in his connection with the transcendental, beyond the world of things the mass-man thinks too vital to renounce. The connection, indeed, defines his inner world, his very identity as an individual. This is what sets Marcel (and, for that matter, all es' chatologically-inclined philosophers, Christian and non-Christian alike) apart from Guardini: he takes the connected in too narrow a light, denying the "too too many" any relation to the transcendental or all part of individuality.

From what model does Marcel draw his concept of the connection between the finite individual and the transcendental; who best realises or perceives it as the Romantic poet perceives the presence of genius? "The genuine artist . ..," he writes, "has the most authentic and profound sense of this relation to the transcendental.''40 To be sure, he does go on to stipulate that "there is nothing more false or dangerous than the attempt to base on this remark some or any sort of aestheticism", given the "creative modes extraneous to the aesthetic order and intelligible to all". 41 But the stipulation remains secondary to the notion that "it is as a creator ... that any man can call himself free"–creative in the sense of "genuine artist". And the model itself is limited, not only to the Renaissance type (raised to new heights by the Romantics): it excludes, in principle, all possibility of establishing contact with the transcendental for those ordained to mechanical, as opposed to creative functions, for what, in fact, has been the majority in the West since the close of the nineteenth century. Marcel's scheme condemns them to eternal facelessness as incapable of ever communing with the higher principle or knowing the true sense of freedom. What is more, it counts among those denied all chance of ever attaining personality, 'any' man who happens to be engaged in ``reproduction'' or repetition as opposed to creation, in the daily or yearly round of such routine practices as compose the agricultural cycle, for example.

Marcel's model of personality, based on creativity and original creativity alone, is limited in its total disregard for every man's chance at sensing the transcendental, at knowing his own selfhood, in other words, when faced with such prosaic occurrences as the birth of a child and its education, in the business of living and not creation, as anxiety for others near and far, as disease, death and the like–factors no religion or world view would ignore. This highlights the sectarian or elitist (what the Russian poet Andrei Bely would have termed ``cerebral'') character of his criterion for selfhood (or the withholding thereof) in the modern era. He restricts the privilege to the creative intellectual–which is as flattering to that class as fraught with dire (and, needless to say, anything but Christian) temptation. It is on this privilege that Marcel builds the concept of a "new aristocracy" he hopes will save mankind from the levelling of mass-society.42

Symptomatically, Marcel's bourgeois-individualistic features come to the fore just as he begins to explain what he means by the ``aristocracy'' or "aristocratic ethic" he seeks. It becomes apparent that he is more impressed by the class' aesthetic and not ethic side–its honour, pride and so on, specifically as portrayed by the Renaissance.

By an emotion Jacob Burckhardt, the leading authority on the Italian period, called "an elusive blend of conscience and self-love". 43 This sense of honour, he wrote, pinpointing the very features which link it to bourgeois individualism (and its characteristic bent for antinomy), conies to terms with massive egoism and the most glaring vices; it can be singularly misleading and still backed by all noble sentiments lingering in the heart of the individual to serve as a new source of strength.44 Rabelais' instinctual view of honour he set wholly in the Renaissance–"in Italy too every man appeals to his individual noble instinct"45 and associates with the period's unbridled pursuit of individualism.46

In extolling the Spanish sense of pride he takes to indicate the genuine aristocratic spirit cultivated by medieval Catholicism, Marcel loses sight of Christianity's ambiguous attitude to the same. The devout Christian, besides not hesitating to prefer humility (conspicuously absent in Marcel's list of aristocratic virtues), would not for an instant forget pride's dangerous proximity to vanity, always top on Christianity's list of sins. Had Marcel actually taken the Christian viewpoint, he would never have opened his discussion of the "aristocratic ethic" (a contradiction in Christian terms in that it bases morality, which should be universal, on an ``estate'' as opposed to religious principle) with either ``honour'' or ``pride''. This could only have been done on a classical (pagan) stance or Renaissance concept (neo-Classical in this aspect as well) of the ethical qualities in personality.

To continue. The medieval Christian's ascetic view of ethics emphasising self-limitation is on the whole alien to Marcel. He is, in this respect, wholly influenced by the literary nostalgia that has aestheticised the psychology of the Spanish hidalgo. This, indeed, is what prompts, in true hidalgo fashion, to proclaim all human dignity lost to make depersonalisation complete where the self-limiting ascetic would simply find it put to the ultimate test. Although endless humiliation does try a man's dignity, it does not by any means amount to a loss of self since it is not freely chosen but imposed from without. Catholic as Marcel sincerely thought himself to be, he neglected St. Augustine's famous thesis on the nun raped by drunken soldiers and convinced of her own mortal sin and infinite disgrace: to the true believer, she remains utterly innocent of fornication and in full possession of her human dignity (or ``selfhood'', as Marcel puts it). At infinite odds with the French philosopher's aristocratic pathos is Dostoyevsky's ail-but central theme: humiliation carried to such an extreme that wallowing in its depths, submitting to the full and digging still further in (seen as a specific "breach of aesthetics" purging all trace of aestheticism from the human concept) becomes the sufferer's last refuge of dignity (selfhood). The situation admits of no other defence against humiliation and depersonalisation; self-humiliation is often one's sole act of freedom in protesting the rape of self.

Irrespective of what Marcel may think of the basic principle behind his philosophy–humanity's strict division into higher and lower beings, the contrast between the aristocracy and all other classes–this philosophy has nothing to do with Christianity but rather derives from specifically pagan elements of Plato's teachings, enriched by a polemic slant (unwarranted in the Middle Ages) on the Renaissance concept of aristocracy. The latter injected fresh vigour into the flagging elite of blood-lines and tradition by merging with the aristocracy of the spirit and creativity then on the uprise. Marcel refers, in this regard, to Ortega y Gasset: "The Spanish writer points out that members of groups neither crowd- nor mass-like in character are effectively bound by a certain desire, a certain idea or ideal which in and of itself precludes large numbers. Whereas a mass can, on the contrary, be defined as psychological fact beyond the point where individuals group together." 47

Where the mass-man, according to Ortega, Guardini and Marcel, finds his highest virtue in thinking and acting "like all the others" and regards the identity as a positive experience, the individual or rather group-member takes the opposite view to consider going along with not all but simply many unworthy if not altogether negative. On the basis of this experience (which would seem to have inspired Hegel to call the intelligentsia 'der Stand der Eitelkeit' or "the vain estate"), Marcel divides the mass-man from the group-member. The barrier would turn society into a hierarchy whose lower rungs, with their undampable penchant for levelling, are distinct from the higher, seen to follow the opposite trend towards inequality and discrimination via the creative self-realisation of those who happen to recognise, pursue and transcendentalise their differences. That Marcel should discover his alternative to the massman not in the Renaissance or Romantic individual but rather in the aristocrat self-proclaimed as such by virtue of belonging to a select group (or "small group" in sociological and ``groupuscule'' in political terms) marks a definite step away from individualism. A cautious polemic with that hypertrophied doctrine was, in fact, long his hallmark. In his early essay, "Ich und Andere" (1941), he contrasts the Romantic concept of ego as 1 = 1, as principally denned in relation to itself in other words, with what he calls 'personne' (indistinguishable, in his usage, from ``individual''), wherein "I am I in regard to myself and at the same time with respect to others".48 To put it another way, the ego's relationship to itself is just as important as its relation to others, insofar as the constitution of its ' personne' is concerned, as the latter's constitutive if not deciding factor. Marcel's 'personne', therefore, owes its fundamental distinction from the Romantic ego, not to 'subject' or the 'subjectivity' invariably drawn to the monadic model, but instead to an mfer-subjectivity seeking the narrow circle.

'Men do meet in circles small
And softly speak to prize withal
Each pitch, each accent, over gold'.
(Rainer Marie Rilke)

``Cutting off" the Romantic subject henceforth unable to limit himself to conversing with the absolute subject (Ego with a capital E) in his highly monologue-ish fashion, forcing him into the entirely new hypostasis of 'personne', who approaches the same Absolute through contact with his like-minded intimates–this, in Marcel's opinion, is the only way to overcome individual ``atomisation'' and avoid the ``collectivisation'' pitfall.49 Communication within the narrow circle he sees as a kind of religious rite, holy communion, where the interpersonal exchange is inseparable from the ecclesiastical sharing of universal values. Conversely, .the value-sharing which unites any given group is at one with intercourse among its individual members.

Value-sharing on these terms is the sole defense against the abstraction inevitably affecting ideals once in the hands of the Technocrat who would manipulate mass-consciousness through them. It alone sets the atmosphere which reveals the "true depth" of the spiritual content in the interaction of men bound by common aspirations; it takes the form of universals, which are diametrically opposed to abstractions by virtue of retaining their personal features and the possibility of being loved or standing object to a profoundly personal, anything but anonymous regard. To quote Marcel: "It is only within limited groups impelled by a common spirit of love that the universal can actually take shape.''50 This, by extension, is the only soil for genuine cultural growth.

Marcel, then, takes (hesitantly, as we have seen) the middle ground between Renaissance-Romantic individualism and collectivisation in the mass-society variant created by modern state-monopoly capitalism (what Marx termed ``false'' or ``sham'' collectives). Yet he is not in the least unaware of the tenuousness, the indefensibility of his position, the flaw in what should have been his bulwark, what he himself considered the central issue, namely: does the restrictiveness of the elite conflict in any way with the universal nature of spiritual content? Are elitist groups, born of a common desire to be somehow different from' all the others and escape the levelling processes of mass-society,–are they not soon overcome by a tendency to withdraw behind narrow lines? a tendency which cannot help but affect their life-giving spiritual content and destroy its universal nature? To do him credit, Marcel does not rule out or even minimise the possibility. "Every restricted group," he declares, "runs the risk of closing in again on itself to become a 'sect' or 'chapelle', to betray within the instant the universal it is called upon to embody."51 And while he does his best to defuse this confession by suggesting several counter-measures, the effect is one of chivalrous well-wishing, which merely emphasises the risks involved.

There is nothing surprising, therefore, in eschatologism– in which Marcel fails to avoid profound and hopeless pessimism–striking the dominant chord in this study of human degradation. The author himself cites two twentieth-century factors: Hitler's death camps, his "negative absolute"52 and the invention of the atomic bomb, "a true symbol of the inclinations driving our species to self-destruction". 53 Yet seeing both factors in specifically eschatological terms (as distinct, for example, from those adopted by Guardini) reflects more than the ``factual'' side of the coin. For the theoretical roots of Marcel's eschatologism reach down into his own metaphysical depths, and particularly the flaws in his concept of 'personne'.

He unlocked the Romantic (monadic or atomistic) individual by transferring him from the subjective to the intersubjective level, only to lock him straight back up by restricting his intersubjectivity to a narrow circle of personal friends (the "small group" mentioned above), thereby removing the universal aspect from genuine human communication. Intersubjectivity, properly understood, was to encompass casual as well as close acquaintanceships and ultimately "the too too many" to the last man among them, the very masses Marcel would fence himself off from by appealing to the very concept of intersubjectivity itself. This is the sole interpretation of intersubjectivity and its attendant forms of communication that puts the latter in harmony with the universality of the spiritual content which inspired and crystallised them in the first place.

Where intersubjectivity is seen in an elitist light, the restricted ``personal-contact'' groups spawned by mass-society (and noted–but whatever he might think–'only' noted by Marcel) become one of its two poles–the second being the mass-man to whom the first is closely linked through negative dependency. For in the final analysis wanting to be different from the mass-man defines the group-member, both internally (``constituency'') and externally: without the former, the latter would lose its definitive trait.

The universality Marcel seeks in vain could not be attained without reconciling the mass and elitist poles of mass-society. This, from the philosophical standpoint, suggested that intersubjectivity be re-interpreted as the very foundation of modern selfhood and hence all other aspects of the 'personne'. That Marcel was unable to re-think his position because of the individualistic Renaissance-Romantic notion of selfhood still burdening his philosophic consciousness is most evident in his aristocratic and elitist concepts.

This attachment to the Renaissance-Romantic model of man–more existentialist, actually, than thought through– this attachment, as I say, aligns Marcel with Berdyaev, his fellow religious philosopher of the twentieth century and an incontrovertible influence. So great is the affinity that both thinkers could be said to represent the same, aristocratic stream of late-capitalist '(spdtbürgerlich)' criticism, in the very narrow sense of Renaissance-individualistic as distinct from feudal-medieval elites.

Aristocratism of this cast, it will be recalled, was brought to light by Burckhardt, reworked by Nietzsche and his followers and with such figures as Berdyaev, transformed into a bi-racial vision of mankind, including the "spiritual-aristocratic" and "thick-skinned democratic" species.~54 The idea was so convenient to his existential aspirations that he was willing to renounce his orthodox Christianity, calling instead for a splintering-off into two dimensions oriented on the "average mass-man", with his "normalistic spiritual organisation",55 and men of a "different spiritual organisation aimed at a different, creative realm, a more sensitive, subtle and complex organisation altogether".56

This, from the Orthodox and Catholic viewpoints, is outright heresy, and Marcel was evidently quite close to it himself: like Berdyaev's, his model of man was locked into a schism between higher and lower human beings seen as utterly incompatible with each other. Here lies the ultimate source of the eschatologism the two philosophers shared in equal measure and moreover proclaimed inherent to their Christian ethos.57

3. Moral Aestheticism and Aestheticising Moralism

Having now acquainted himself with Marcel's concept of man, the reader will be particularly interested in its relation, if not to his actual literary and dramatic output, then at least to his own perception of the same. There is certainly enough material at hand: his "Der dramatische Zug meines Werkes in der Sicht des Philosophen", presented in German, 12 January 1959, in Freiburg. It is evident, in reading not too far between the lines, that Marcel the playwright was often reproached for the overly cerebral character of his work; the paper, at any rate, is far from his first rebuttal.

He is determined here to prove the ``dynamic''58 character of the interrelationship between his philosophic and dramatic halves, an interrelationship dominated, moreover, by the latter. His motives, apart from the polemic considerations involved, are philosophic and two-fold at the very least. The first, and most important, has to do with the Renaissance spirit he could never quite quell, as noted above, and its central, aestheticist exaggeration of the artist's function (developed by the Romantics and inherited through them by Marcel). Granted, the Renaissance did not oppose this motive to the rationalist concept of cognition: the Renaissance artist was often a scholar and in any case never averse to the rational or scientific modes of perception. With the Romantic era, however, it was cut off from and set squarely above all other Renaissance themes.

The second motive is, in many respects, a mere modification or at least extension of the first. It concerns Marcel's own existentialist-defined vision, whereby the artistic perception of reality is considered primary (and true, whereas scientific rationalism is false), since human life is centred on empirical fact (more precisely if less succinctly known among Marcel's German mentors as 'In-der-Welt-sein)'. Life in these terms is immanently dramatic and as such presupposes dramatic modes of perception. The dramatic element stems from man's existing exclusively in context, from existence seen as a specifically dramatic context; it is the very bedrock of existence which, in Marcel's view, cannot be fathomed either by science or rationalistic philosophy insofar as both exclude man from their study of life and context, of the inevitable conflict with environment, from their study of man. Logically, then, only drama and the dramatic artist can give us the true model of human existence.

'At' this point, however, the reality Marcel appeals to begins fo split: what he first called primary is now seen to havo been filtered through and significantly reworked by his own consciousness. The paradox becomes strikingly obvious when he draws on his own background as raw material, or the very stuff of existence at the deepest levels of his plays. The autobiography he claims is his ``objective'' account of the childhood experiences which defined the direction and content of his writings is presented as though he had been existentialist even in the cradle, viewing the world exclusively in terms of fear and anxiety, freedom and existence, ethics and aesthetics.

Thus, his primary experience is the fear of death, brought home by that of his mother to haunt him in various guises throughout his early years. Among several related emotions he lists unrelieved loneliness and a somewhat precocious sense of the ``burden'' of his own existence.

Finally, to complete the picture and specify just which brand of existentialism his younger self adhered to, Marcel introduces his father and the aunt who took him in hand upon the death of his mother; between them, they represent the two poles of Kierkegaardian thought, Aesthetics and Ethics. As a child, then, like the Danish thinker before him, he was torn between two irreconcilable odds. This childhood experience, he contends, became the unconscious raw material for the play 'Le quatuor en fa diese;' later he was to note with astonishment that the character relives the central existentialist fact of his own childhood, now buried in the innermost sanctuaries of adult existence.

That Marcel took up drama (and more significantly perhaps that he gave it precedence over philosophy), points all too conclusively to his having chosen Aesthetics over Ethics. Aestheticism is evident as well in his citing the "spirit of music"–Nietzsche's fount of Greek tragedy–as the source of his philosophic and dramatic efforts alike. Over and again, he insists music was always the formative influence in his life: were it not for his music-teacher's dissuasion, he would have become a composer. This thwarted ambition, he implies, indirectly informs his dramatic writings, not so much in the thematic (music invariably assumes pivotal existentialist connotations in his plays) as in some inner, structural sense. From childhood on, he had thought of it as "a kind of miraculous escape from [the] prison" of his troubled and trembling existence; through it, in boyhood, he had celebrated reconciliation with his aesthetic father at the price, though, of estrangement from an ethical and unmusical aunt. This was to become the archetypal pattern of his entire artistic life. Nonetheless, despite the apparently overwhelming weight of evidence to the contrary–evidence supplied by Marcel himself–the roots of his aestheticism lie elsewhere.

This elsewhere lies in turn at a much deeper–and, paradoxically enough, not artistic but philosophic–level projected after the fact on his dramatic sources. It is the schism between ethics and aesthetics in his own work Cand creative endeavour in general), a schism inspired by the Nietzschean and Kierkegaardian trends popular in his youth. Kierkegaard being much closer to his own inclinations, he takes a more dramatic view of the rift than Nietzsche. Philosophically perceived as the tragedy of art, it becomes the mainspring of his dramaturgy and indeed, an entire mode of creative endeavour.

A virtue was made of necessity, the drama of art transformed into a tool for the art of drama. The split between Truth and Beauty, Beauty and the Good, the Good and Truth, given theoretical form primarily by Weber is thus converted by Marcel the playwright (carrying on a tradition founded by Baudelaire's 'Fleurs du mal)' into a peculiar source of aesthetic pleasure–that derived from contemplating not harmony, but its destruction. This singular (Plato would have said ``complex'' and ``false'') 'aesthetic satisfaction' stems from the experience of the human tragedy in existence, corroborated by and, conversely, corroborating Marcel's own dramatic output.

Existentialism in general and Marcel's brand in particular are now seen to represent a specific mode of ontologicising the tragedy of creative endeavour, of making its aesthetic features the primary criterion in human existence, 'In-der-Welt-sein' or 'I'existence-en-situation', as Marcel puts it. Complying, it would seem, with Nietzsche's dictum, Marcel justifies the world "as an aesthetic phenomenon", though the aesthetics he has in mind here reflect the pan-tragicism fashionable in Western art and philosophy of the twentieth century's first quarter. The justification too stands very much in a class all its own, verging as it does on the total rejection of the world or taking at any rate peculiar delight in contemplating its inner disintegration, innate invalidity, etc.

Strictly within the bounds of philosophy, as we have seen, this factor is manifest in Marcel's tendency, as a playwright, to dissociate 'ad infinitum' the various functions of human existence. The aim is to foment their irresolvable conflict, through exposing the very foundations of the business of living as fragile, questionable and even invalid. It is the hallmark of his dramatic work and, for that matter, his existentialism as a whole.

Marcel's most representative play, in this respect, is 'Chemin de Crete', constructed wholly on the confusion felt by a faithless wife forgiven by her pastor-husband: did he act as a loving spouse or as a cleric duty-bound to absolve all sinners? She cannot, in other words, find the crucial distinction between the man and the pastor, combined in the single person of her husband. Curiously enough, Marcel plays this dramatic line to its end, has his heroine recognise how dangerous are the many layers of meaning in the concept of love, has her eventually question her own self and then, in an abrupt about-face, takes her to task for his own faults as existentialist dramatist, for dissociating, as described above, the various definitions of human existence united in her husband, for not being bound body and soul to a husband full of faith and yet doubtful of his calling.

Besides generating 'dramatic' development in the piece, this dissociation mechanism is used by our existentialist dramatist to lend it 'meaning' by placing all characters in extremity to reveal the existentialist drama of human existence. Had the heroine not committed the fault the author so roundly castigates (and thereby distances himself from her), the play would have no existentialist content. The fault, then, is essential to the dramatic form and, as well, its existentialist content: it lends the play contentmeaning. Marcel's recognising his heroine's mistake is an unwitting confession of faulty existentialist content on his own part as author of a play built on and bound by the very same flaw.

He goes much further, though, unconsciously condemning not only this one particular heroine but the dissociation method that underlies a number of his other dramas as well. It comes down to this: first, portraying the common man effecting some sort of functional integrity in his life as ``asleep'', or unaware of the true tragedy of existence and hence condemned to falsity; second, manoeuvring this individual by fair means or foul into the kind of " existential situation" which shows (him or those around him) that his own various facets are mutually exclusive–this is the ``awakening'' Marcel speaks of, making a man face the truth and lead a true existence; third, raising the question no man may ask unless and until dissociated by his playwright-creator and the faults he inspires, the question of how to re-assemble the scattered and warring bits of self.

Of course, Marcel the playwright, putting the question as such, provides no answer. Nor does Marcel the philosopher. It is a mystery, says the latter, a mystery for the free resolution of the individual thus obliged to restore order to the rebellient elements of his existence. The protagonist must return, in other words, to the original innocence (or, in Marcel's terms, falsity) he left, not of his own accord, but by that of an existentialist author willing to use any and all means, including those he–the author, knows to be flawed. The state returned to, however, lies on a new turn of the gyre, where innocence is replaced by the experience of all existentialist temptations. Thus formulated, the problem is indeed insoluble; hence the veil of mystery hinting at worlds beyond the plays of Gabriel Marcel.

But is the problem properly put? Is it warranted? Isn't Marcel, in mesmerising his characters and audience alike, isn't he something of a tempter himself? nudging us into the depths of inextricable contradiction?

One possible, though unlikely explanation comes to mind. Dissociating, splintering a man into the sum of his conflicting facets (and ambitions) can in certain circumstances help analyse the passions through the prism of art. For every human function has its motivating passion, more readily contrasted as such to all other emotions for an isolated, idealised abstraction of itself. The principle is best exploited by Marcel in his 'La chapelle ardente', a drama centred on a mother's obsessive mourning for a son lost to war and the cruel burden it lays on his surviving friends, now stripped of sincerity, spontaneity and freedom. Exposed here as nowhere else, however, are the limitations of Marcel's analytical approach and their underlying causes.

The point is, he does not consider the individual 'possessed' of one of several passions (or even a dominant one of many), but focuses instead on the 'obsession' itself. Consequently, the individual is shunted aside as the playwright analyses the logic (or, in modern philosophical terms, the ``phenomenology'') of a passion taken to be self-sufficient. The individual is reduced to one overriding passion; he is swallowed up into it, which is a dubious assumption if only because passion separated from its bearer is no longer passion but the notion thereof–in this case, a mother's literally all-absorbing grief. It operates no longer on its own logic, that of 'human' fooling, but on the cerebral, speculative logic of the Idea substituted by our existentialist artist.

Not that such passion is bound to ruin the individual or, in this case, deaden the suffering that has eclipsed all hope and love for the living (love for the dead transformed into a monstrous indifference to the living). No, abstracted passion spells ruination in and of itself, and not only for the dramatic character concerned here, but as well for the author himself. Why? Because he cannot help but lose the individual reduced to a single emotional response and through him the emotion itself, in the long run, if emotion must of necessity become its own Idea and the "logic of passion", all of a sudden, "the passion of logic", a purely cerebral game. For a single passion isolated from (if only under the innocent guise of having absorbed) all others and thus from the bearer himself as the sum of the passions borne is 'ipso facto' doomed. Such passion is fatally restricted to existence on the outer edge, in the existentialists' extremity, thus turned to express not the authenticity but the falseness of the position unwittingly assumed.

To be sure, the argument can be extended–by way of exception, in Marcel's Kierkegaardian fashion–to beyond the context of drama. But whatever Marcel may think, however the exception may testify to ruination in extremity, it does not reveal the secret of human existence. Quite the contrary: it veils it in pan-tragic ideology. For no man is ruined here, but a false notion (or, what comes to the same thing, the passion transformed into a false notion via isolation from the bearer obsessed and thus reduced to a useless appendage of one particular function). Even when ruined, the natural end of a false notion, this passion has nothing to say on the truth of human existence. The spectacle of its self-destruction (inherent to every isolated and obsessive emotion) can be most enlightening but is not the spectacle of the truth of human existence: man 'is', by virtue of his separation from self-destroying passion, a 'fundamental whole' existing prior to and in spite of the feelings vying for dominance within.

This would imply that the problem set by our dramatistphilosopher ought to be reversed. The truth of human existence is not a tragic schism striking at the roots of everyday life; it does not pit the individual against or cause him to doubt himself. Rather the question is just what does unify man in the teeth of all these schisms, just what is it that makes the individual authentic unto himself and guarantees his human identity in the guarantee-less, antinomic world of extremities. We are not asking what takes the humanness out of a human utterly consumed by an obsession dehumanised as Idea–the answer is, obviously, the passion-Idea itself. We are asking how does he manage to remain human and whole 'despite' the passions tearing him to pieces within, 'despite' everything that makes them so lethally destructive. Indebted as he was to the RenaissanceRomantic cult of passion as the one and only authentic value in man, Marcel misunderstood that which had sparked his artist's interest in the first place. The truly human element in man is not passion 'per se' (the affect taken to an agitated extreme), but its 'human quality', or relation to the other emotions and, most importantly of all, the higher values, the integrity of spirit and life.

Detached from this integrity (read: humanness), a human being's "very own" passions become 'inhuman', pitiless and evil, something like a bloodthirsty demon devouring all human qualities within: the parallel drawn of old between obsession and possession is scarcely fortuitous. As mentioned more generally above, the bourgeois rationality principle dismantling the microstructure of interpersonal relationships and ``atomising'' individuals whose mutual bonds have ossified and reified–this principle alienates man from others, himself, and of course, his passions. ``Atomised'' or isolated man, an individual driven to self-doubt (through the process known to philosophers, sociologists and psychologists as ``self-alienation'') is very likely to treat his passions in kind, for every emotion is subject to atomisation in this sense, to being pitted against all other feelings and the bearer himself.

This is what we mean by the self-absolutisation of passion, its tendency to dehumanise itself into an evil, allconsuming, all-destroying obsession which operates not on the human, but on its own, incalculable scale. To worship this kind of passion as divine is to reject, willingly or otherwise, the humanist tradition, cite it though you may or may not do. Marcel overlooked this paradox, bound as he was to the aristocratic Renaissance-Romantic spirit. Thus, in claiming the heroine of 'La chapelle ardente' embodies a "stale suffering" which cries out for our sympathy, he misleads his audience for lack of a strict criterion on which to judge what is to be sympathised with, Aline's dehumanised passion or something else again. The dilemma becomes all the more insolvable, as Marcel sees it, in that Aline's passion has usurped every corner of her soul.

More importantly, though (at the risk of repetition), the fall of this hypertrophied passion (inevitable in all who have escaped its Romantic cult) bring us no closer to the truth of human existence; at best, it points to the excesses born of false human predicaments and the erring passions they engender. But because Marcel takes the opposite stand to insist these downfalls reveal the truth of life, he plays a tempter's part, consciously luring his audience into an impassable thicket to say: ``I've done all I could, you're on your own now.''

The audience, for its part, will naturally ask what was the point in ever entering the thicket. Wouldn't another route have done just as well? Or, as Marcel puts it, in the secret hope all will appreciate the question's rhetorical nature: "Could it be a matter of taking morbid delight in complexity and obscurity?''~59The elitist trend, no less characteristic of Marcel the playwright than of his philosopher's other half, sheds new light on the complexity that largely barred his plays, as he himself admits, to the broad public.

The chief temptation misleading the victims of the playsituation set up by Marcel's existentialist dramatic methods is to take the unmitigated 'aesthete's' approach to moral issues, to make the moral worth of an individual directly dependent on the complexity of his moral dilemmas, thus devaluing and moreover blackening moral integrity outright. Such was the invariable fruit of the existentialist (tragic) aesthetic view of morality, and the aristocratic spirit. Ultimately, it represents the very erosive trend in Western ethics and culture Marcel's theatre fans sought to escape; instead of the living bread of moral urgency, however, they were treated to the slippery stones of moral aestheticism or aestheticising moralism.

Marcel is a persuasive example of the extent to which describing a given state of affairs (in this case, the "human predicament" under state-monopoly capitalism) within the narrow confines of theoretical assumption locks the thinker into a closed perspective and prompts him to seek an outlet where it merely turns back on itself to form a "second pole". In relating this second pole to the way out of the dead end that is mass-society, Marcel looks something like a prisoner who has knocked down a cell wall and found himself ... in the next cell, with a slight change of furnishings. Confused by this last factor, he begins to pin his hopes for freedom on the second cell. The misunderstanding explains, in part, why the elitist critique of mass-society should have proved a paradoxical (and hence often unrecognised) apologetic, the elite having no meaning other than that of antithesis to the masses.

Still more indicative of the philosopher turned unwitting tool of the very forces he had hoped to topple is the Frankfurt school and its ideologists, Horkheimer and Adorno.

  • 1. 'Soziologie. Weltgeschichtliche Analysen. Politik', Stuttgart, 1956, S. 328-329.
  • 2. Ibid., S. 330.
  • 3. Weber, op. cit., S. 330
  • 4. Termed 'Wertfreiheil' (Max Weber), literally "freedom from value-judgment".
  • 5. Weber, op. cit,, S. 338.
  • 6. Nietzsche's term, used in his later period to decry Wagner and the Romantics.
  • 7. Identical to that which has so often made existentialism degenerate, ecstatically, into a cheap parody on itself (or is now turning critical sociology into the leftist brand of demagoguery).
  • 8. Bd. I: Erster und zweiter Teil, Berlin, 1975, S. 397-398.
  • 9. Weber, op. cit., S. 339.
  • 10. From the Greok 'apophatikos', ``negative''. It is based exclusively on negative traits (God is not..., nor..., and so on).
  • 11. Cf. Theodor W. Adorno, 'Jargon der Eigentlichkeit: Zur deatschen Ideologic', Frankfurt am Main, 1967.
  • 12. Cf. Oswald Spengler, 'Der Untergang des Abendlandes', Bande I-II, 1918-1922.
  • 13. Weber, op. cit, S. 329.
  • 14. Spengler, op. cit., S. 77.
  • 15. "For the soul asleep is in a sense a contradiction." Spengler, 'Urfragen. Fragmente aus dem Nachlass', Munchen, 1965, S. 33.
  • 16. 'Der Untergang des Abendlandes', S. 113-114.
  • 17. Ibid., S. 114.
  • 18. 'Der Unlergang des Abendlandes', S. 116.
  • 19. Ibid.
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. 'Der Untergang des Abendlandes', Bd. II, S. 4.
  • 22. Ibid., S. 10.
  • 23. Ibid., S. 19-20.
  • 24. Ibid., S. 20.
  • 25. Ibid., S. 24.
  • 26. Thomas Mann, 'Gesammelte Werke', Bd X S. 174.
  • 27. Mann, op. cit., S. 177-178.
  • 28. Ibid., S. 179.
  • 29. Romano Guardini, 'Das Ende der Neuzeit: Bin Versuch znr Orientierung', Wiirzburg, 1950. The references which follow are to the ninth unrevised edition (1965).
  • 30. See Ms well-known 'La rebelion de las masas', Madrid, 1930, German translation (1931), extensively discussed in my 'Art and the Elite', Moscow, 1966.
  • 31. Cf. Arthur Hübscher, 'Denker unserer Zeit', München, 1956, S. 101.
  • 32. Guardini, op. cit., S. 66; below: S. 66-67.
  • 33. Cf. Talcott Parsons, 'The Structure of Social Action: A Study in Social Theory with Special Reference to a Group of Recent European Writers', Glencoe, Illinois, 1949; Ralf Dahrendorf, "Homo Sociologicus: Versuch zur Geschichte, Bedeutung und Kritik dor Kategorie der sozialen Rolle", 'Pfade cms Utopia: Arbeiten zur Theorie und Methods der Soziologie', München, 1968.
  • 34. It is easily seen from this how Guardini's basic intentions relate to the ``polyanimous'' concept (the many souls inhabiting the individual become his illusion of a single identity). Popular among Western philosophers today, it takes its scientific aura from Jungian thought and from Adorno and company, a revolutionary opposition to the bourgeois confusion of ego and self (cf. Fichte's 1=1). For the purposes of the present discussion, the idea may be interpreted as simple, if morally sullied apologetics for the individual's having lost his identity in a morasse of mutually exclusive roles: this he may now take as a mystic or revolutionary act as he chooses. (Cf. Hesse's 'Der Steppenwolf.)'
  • 35. Guardini, op. cit., S. (59,
  • 36. Paris, 1951
  • 37. Marcel, op. cit., p. 20.
  • 38. "The masses," writes Marcel, "only exist and develop (according to fundamentally mechanical laws) far from the level at which love and reason are viable. Why so? Because they spring from the degraded human; they are the degraded state of mankind" (op. cit., p. 13).
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. Ibid., p. 24.
  • 41. Ibid.
  • 42. "It is imperative," he writes at the end of 'Les hommes contre I'humain' (p. 203), "that the aristocracy revive, for we must face the terrible fact that levelling occurs only at the base of our hierarchy–upward levelling does not and cannot exist.''
  • 43. 'Die Knltnr der Renaissance in Italien', Leipzig, 1901, Bd. II, S. 168.
  • 44. Ibid.
  • 45. Ibid.
  • 46. Ibid.
  • 47. Marcel, op. cit, p. 104.
  • 48. G. Marcel, 'Anf der Süche nach Wahrheit und Gerechtigkeit', Frankfurt am Main, 1964, S. 134.
  • 49. 'Les hommes contre I'humain', p. 202.
  • 50. Ibid.
  • 51. Ibid., p. 203.
  • 52. They, the camps, could "in a certain sense be seen to anticipate and caricaturise in sinister fashion the world to come." Ibid., p. 170.
  • 53. Ibid., p. 171.
  • 54. (The Philosophy of the Free Spirit', Book I), Paris, 1927, p. 8.
  • 55. Ibid., p. 9.
  • 56. Ibid., p. 8.
  • 57. Cf. '(An Essay in Eschatological Metaphysics), Paris, 1945'.
  • 58. Marcel, 'Auf der Suche...', S. 19.
  • 59. Marcel, 'Auf der Suche...', S. 36.

Posted By

Noa Rodman
Feb 25 2017 17:02


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