Decline of the West, vol.2, p.103[...]And then, when Being is sufficiently uprooted and Waking Being sufficiently strained, there suddenly surges into the bright light of history a phenomenon that has long been preparing itself underground and now steps forward to make an end to the drama - the sterility of civilized man. This is not something that can be grasped as a plain matter of Causality (Note: by "Causality", Spengler means the traditional scientific study and statistics over annual births and birth control); it is to be understood as an essentially metaphysical turn towards death. The last man of the world-city no longer wants to live - he may cling to life as an individual, but as a type, as an aggregate, no, for it is a characteristic of this collective existence that it eliminates the terror of death. That which strikes the true peasant with a deep and inexplicable fear, the notion that the family and name may be extinguished, has now lost its meaning. The continuance of the blood relation in the visible world is no longer a duty of blood, and the destiny of being the last of the line is no longer felt as a doom. Children do not happen, not because children have become impossible, but principally because intelligence at the peak of intensity can no longer find any reason for its existence.
Let the reader try to merge himself in the soul of the peasant. He has sat on his glebe from primeval times, or has fastened his clutch in it, to adhere to it with his blood. He is rooted in it as the descendant of his forbears and as the forbear of future descendants. His house, his property, means, here, not the temporary connexion of person and thing for a brief span of years, but an enduring and inward union of eternal land and eternal blood. It is only from this mystical conviction of settlement that the great epochs of the cycle pro- creation, birth, and death - derive that metaphysical element of wonder which condenses in the symbolism of custom and religion that all landbound people possess. For the" last men" all this is past and gone. Intelligence and sterility are allied in old families, old peoples, and old Cultures, not merely because in each microcosm the overstrained and fettered animal element is eating up the plant element, but also because the waking-consciousness assumes that being is normally regulated by causality. When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard "having children" as a question of pro's and con's, the great turning-point has come. For Nature knows nothing of pro and' con.[...]
[...]When reasons have to be put forward at all in a question of life, life itself has become questionable. At that point begins prudent limitation of the number of births. In the Classical world the practice was deplored by Polybius as the ruin of Greece, and yet even at his date it had long been established in the great cities; in subsequent Roman times it became appallingly general. At first explained by the economic misery of the times, very soon it ceased to explain itself at all.[...]
He then proceeds on the state of women, the primary forebears themselves, and their progression into sterile denizens of High Intellect:
And at that point, to, in Buddhist India as in Babylon, in Rome as in our own cities, a man's choice of the woman who is to be, not mother of his children as amongst peasants and primitives, but his own “companion for life”, becomes a problem of mentalities. The Ibsen marriage appears, the" higher spiritual affinity" in which both parties are "free" - free, that is, as intelligences, free from the plantlike urge of the blood to continue itself, and it becomes possible for a Shaw to say "that unless Woman repudiates her womanliness, her duty to her husband, to her children, to society, to the law, and to everyone but herself, she cannot emancipate herself." The primary woman, the peasant woman, is mother. The whole vocation towards which she has yearned from childhood is included in that one word. But now emerges the Ibsen woman, the comrade, the heroine of a whole megalopolitan literature from Northern drama to Parisian novel. Instead of children, she has soul-conflicts; marriage is acraft-att for the achievment of "mutual understanding." It is all the same whether the Case against children is the American lady's who would not miss a season for anything, or the Parisienne's who fears that her lover would leave her, or an Ibsen heroine's who "belongs to herself" - they all belong to themselves and they are all unfruitful. The same fact, in conjunction with the same arguments, is to be found in the Alexandrian, in the Roman, and, as a matter of course, in every other civilized society - and conspicuously in that in which Buddha grew up. And in Hellenism and in the nineteenth century, as in the times of Lao-Tzu and the Charvaka doctrine, there is an ethic for childless intelligences, and a literature about the inner conflicts of Nora and Nana. The "quiverful", which was still an honourable enough spectacle in the days of Werther, becomes something rather provincial. The father of many children is for the great city a subject for caricature; Ibsen did not fail to note it, and presented it in his "Love's Comedy".
It is thus that he postulates a clear cause for all depopulation as being uprooted in the spiritual emptyness of the Great City, which makes itself dominant in the later stages of Civilization, irreligious, rational and dominated by money and the intellect. Interesting is how he attributes the prime cause as the metaphysical exhaustion of the Soul, which can, and otherwise would procreate if not for the fact Intellect at its peak no longer wants to drive itself forward, and no longer wants children. The cause of demographic exhaustion in the West is attributed as the direct result of our stage of civilized dominance of the trinity of city, money and the intellect, being simply the necessary outcome of the moral and spiritual exhaustion of Western Civilization as a whole under the domination of the big City, and the subsequent spiritual impoverishment for all within, the conclusion of a Civilization reaching a stage of historical fulfillment. Fulfilled as it is, and no longer strong, the men of the Civilization die off, like a moribund elder or a plant at the final stage of life.
The question being, do you agree that the necessary childless figure of the West is a result of the spiritual senility of the same as a high Civilization? Discuss. To me, it sums up nicely why the desperate urge of Governments to make child-bearing incentives AND the desperate demographic trends show a tendency towards massive depopulation in the near future: "Causality" clearly fails to explain, and Man remains blind, for it no longer acknowledges the deep metaphysical problem associated with the mean he lives, and the stage he lives. The ultimate consequences is then death and depopulation.