Culture pessimism

under culture pessimism is understood an opinion, which faces the present tendencies and future developments of a culture with pessimism. The term was originally related to the culture as social order and should describe a Gegenpol to the progress faith and the culture optimism. Today culture pessimism is used particularly regarding the cultural products of a society.

The culture pessimist sees fatefully fall and fall alleged by Dekadenz of art, culture and society - he is disappointed of the products of the culture industry and manipulating media insignificant banal from its view and, because her - or actual - contradict a erleseneren cultural value attitude or are not sufficient. On the other hand e.g. becomes. swore to a faustisch heroische, the fate affirming living standard at Spengler in view of the threatening Apokalypse. Behind the culture pessimism a conservative, more rarely also revolutionary world view often stands - both exemplarily in the conservative revolution verquickt. Finally also fascism in many possessed its facets most certainly more or less clearly stepping out culture-pessimistic moment.

Roger Griffin differentiates two types from culture pessimism: “the type, which does not see a way out and which leads to despair, and which palingenetische variant, which the dark night not as final and as if play to death, but understands cyclically as announcement of a new dawn. If palingenetischer culture pessimism is changed into the ideological fuel of a political mass movement, it can unfold revolutionary energies for the cleaning of the society of its internal Dekadenz and corruption by systematic pursuit and mass murder. Outstanding ones and in particular the victims this may appear 'nihilistic ', but in the spirit of the planners and participants the goal is of overcoming the Nihilismus and of transforming the Dekadenz in new birth, a convicition, which is called in the Nietz will for the power of active Nihilismus in contrast to passive. “(S. “Völki volume” S. 28).

Roger Griffin points “political modernism”, its to representatives in a phase of the purge sees itself and by new technical possibilities - e.g. by the genetic engineering - visions for a fundamental reorganization of the society “dream of” (white), the characteristics of the culture pessimism too: It is directed against the time, from which it rose.

Certainly criticism is appropriate to Griffin in the measure, in which it links culture pessimism and Barbarei or people hate -, this as inevitable result of that one regards. So must be spoken also of the fruitful (or at least generally consciousness so outstanding) consequences of the culture pessimism, bspw: sharpening the art and style and above all value consciousness, the creation of an classical-inspired, strict form masterful in itself (Nietz style, which is recognized far away as unsurpassed) and the energizing stimulus to the culture within all ranges (probably-noticed: the low-pessimistic twenties of the last century not least owing to philosophy, natural science and way of life at that time “golden” mentioned).

Importantly to stress it remains however that both culture optimism, and - pessimism always devaluing combat terms one as materialists representing, and thus no requirements on “neutrality” in the positivistic sense off historical connections to be sufficient to be able itself.

The substantial thoughts on the topic are already with victory mouth Freud in its text (culture-theoretical writings) “the uneasiness in the culture “(1930).


  • of peoples white: Fascism and political modernism. In: Phase2 number: 17/2005 [1]
  • Heiko Kauffmann, Helmut Kellershohn, Jobst Paul (Hg.): Völki gang. Dekadenz and Wiedergeburt - analyses of right ideology. Münster, 2005. ISBN 3-89771-737-9 (there esp. the contributions of Griffin, white, steer.)
  • olive van Essenberg: Culture pessimism and elite consciousness. To texts by Peter Handke, Heiner Mueller and Both bunch. (Marburg 2004, Tectum publishing house)
  • Fritz star: Culture pessimism as political danger - an analysis of national ideology in Germany. Klett Cotta publishing house, Stuttgart 2005. ISBN 3608941363, review Germany radio culture [2]

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