Books: Patterns in Chaos

THE DECLINE OF THE WEST—Vol. II—Perspectives of World History—Oswald Spengler—Translated from the German by Charles Francis Atkinson—Knopf ($7.50).

Beset by doubts, historical philosophers base their theories on one certitude. Civilizations are never static. They are always in motion, creatively toward stronger outpourings of their spirit or destructively toward decay and dissolution. Thus Western civilization, with its vaulting expression in Gothic cathedrals, Beethoven, da Vinci, Einstein, Manhattan's sun-smitten towers, is either seething onward toward mightier transactions, more luminous cultural & scientific manifestations, or suffering the nervous, senile disintegration which desolated Rome, Egypt,...