I am (believe it or don’t) still pursuing the task of an alternative translation of a portion of Der Untergang des Abendlandes. Not having any real familiarity with the source of Spengler’s ideas or the structure of his thought, though, I have felt compelled to read secondary sources to provide perspective. This feeling of never quite having enough data, of course, can be paralyzing; my objective is to actually produce a draft translation of my chosen excerpt after finishing two secondary sources and a word study of significant terms.
One of the obstacles to completing this particular task is the need to pursue my many other divergent interests.* Some years ago I settled on a strategy of “plurality of focus” in order to balance the demands of life, the demands of my roving attention, and my uneasiness with shallow, narrow-minded people. The demands of life are always multifocal and contradictory, except for those who deliberately separate themselves from humanity (and here I include also those who separate themselves from their own humanity). My roving attention is such that after being fully immersed in a text or perspective, I yearn for its antinomy. My uneasiness with myopic, flattened people has led me over the years to flee any social situation where it seems I am in danger of becoming caricatured.
This last behavior I had formerly attributed to being inordinately smart or growing up displaced, but later I determined that it is more likely a social abscess (due to some kind of impairment) that I have simply scabbed over with habits of avoidance. I have always been shunned by “normal” people as being too smart in an alien way, while also being disdained by tech geeks and intellectuals** as an incompetent dilettante. Recently I have been confronted with numerous opinions from flattened people expressing their resentment at anyone who collects data or contemplates its meaning. This is disturbing, but only to the extent that I have to control my tongue.