Faustian morale

Had Nietzsche regarded his own times with fewer prejudices and less disposition to romantic championship of certain ethical creations, he would have perceived that a specifically Christian morale of compassion in his sense does not exist on Western European soil.  We must not let the words of humane formulae mislead us as to their real significance.  Between the morale that one has and the morale one thinks one has, there is a relation which is very obscure and very  unsteady…

The Faustian Culture has produced a long series of granite-men, the Classical never a one.  But in the North the great Saxon, Franconian, and Hohenstaufen emperors apear on the very threshold of the Culture, surrounded by giant-men like Henry the Lion and Gregory VII.  Then came the men of the Renaissance, of the struggle of the two roses, of the Huguenot Wars, the Spanish Conquistadores, the Prussian electors and kings, Napoleon, Bismarck, Rhodes.  What other Culture has exhibited the like of these?  Where, on the hights of Faustian morale, from the Crusades to the World War, do we find anything of the “slave-morale”, the meek resignation, the deaconess’s caritas?  Only in pious and honored words, nowhere else.  The type of the very priesthood is Faustian; think of those magnificent bishops of the old German empire who on horseback led their flocks into battle, or those Popes who could force submission on a Henry IV and a Frederick II, of the Teutonic Knights in the Ostmark, of Luther’s challenge in which the old Northern heathendom rose up against old Roman, of the great Cardinals (Richelieu, Mazarin, Fleury) who shaped France.  That is Faustian morale, and one must be blind indeed if one does not see it efficient in the whole field of Western European history.  And it is only through such grand instances of worldly passion which express the consciousness of a mission that we are able to understand those of grand spiritual passion, of the upright and forthright caritas which nothing can resist, the dynamic charity that is so utterly unlike Classical moderation and early-Christian mildness.  Ther is a hardness in the sort of compassion that was practiced by the German mystics, the German and Spanish military Orders, the French and English Calvinists.  In the Russian, the Raskolnikov, type of charity a soul melts into the fraternity of souls; in the Faustian it arises out of it.

—from Spengler’s The Decline of the West

4 Responses

  1. “Christian theology is the grandmother of Bolshevism.” — Oswald Spengler

    He learned from Nietzsche well.

  2. But didn’t he more or less regard both as epiphenomena of the Faustian spirit? Christianity is what we got during our vital, cultural phase, and socialism is part of our spiritual degradation into civilization. And the life cycle of a culture is fixed. Given his own premises, I don’t see how he can blame Christian theology for anything. That is, theology can be the “grandmother” only in the sense of coming first.

  3. It’s a reiteration of the view that leftism (socialism, communism, etc.) is a this-worldly and secularized version of Christianity. The core values are the same — equality, universalism, tolerance, eschatological view of history, valorisation of the poor. Leftism merely disposes of the theological foundation (with the exception of left-wing Christian movements, obviously).

  4. […] FROM Spiritual Battles source https://bonald.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/faustian-morale/ #family movie -THE LAMP- one family's loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic […]

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