chapter
Introduction
Pages 21

In an essay called “Thinking Beyond Spengler,” Franz Borkenau, the German polymath and sometime beneficiary of Frankfurt School generosity, issued a warning to cultural historians. Quoting Spinoza’s dictum, Omnis determinatio est negatio (Every definition is also an exclusion), Borkenau said that “the cycles of the great high cultures are characterized by a singular evolution of style that almost might be seen as logical.” “For style,” he added, “whether one speaks of the style of clothing or of art . . . of the ‘style’ of government and economic life or – almost blasphemously – of the style of religion, is necessarily formed by acts of positing, defining, limiting, and excluding.”1