A metaphor for the danger of a broken colonial Weltanschauung

The West has lost the power it once held because its Weltanschauung has collapsed.

In a passage in this chapter, Ross presents his understanding of the nature of Weltanschauung: he argues that Europe has colonized the world successfully because it has interpreted the world and engaged with it through a colonial worldview. The strength of its will has transferred this interpretative framework to the colonized, who have accepted it either as the truth or as insuperable reality. But now, this Weltanschauung is in decline, and the rise of the colonized peoples can only be staved off by the timely introduction of a new, equally powerful Weltanschauung:

“Through the centuries, we have strode carrying a precious vessel, one permeated with holiness and immanent power, and permeated with our calling to be its bearer. With time, we have brought all of the people of the world to believe in the truth of this vessel, or, more accurately, we have convinced ourselves that they believe in it. Without us noticing, however, this vessel has shattered, and we now only carry its shards. But we keep striding, as if it were whole, and as if we were still carrying the the key to power and salvation in our hands.

“The other races, though, the colored peoples, the disdained who long struggled against accepting our ways of life, are now grabbing at the shards, whether trustful and blinded by their former brilliance, or in the knowledge that they are just ruins, and with the ulterior motive of using the sharp shards as weapons, should the situation arise, against the dominating white race that they have always hated”.

The colonial Weltanschauung has not only become obsolete, but also a danger to the Europeans who continue to hold it.

Kristin Kopp

Colin Ross. Das alte Weltbild und die Hypothese eines neuen. In: Die Welt auf der Waage: Der Querschnitt von 20 Jahren Weltreise. 29. Aufl. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus; 1937 [1929]; 13-27.

Topic: Colonialism
Case: Geopolitics

Scroll to page top