Bergson, Politics, and Religion by Alexandre Lefebvre

By Alexandre Lefebvre

Henri Bergson is basically recognized for his paintings on time, reminiscence, and creativity. His both leading edge interventions into politics and faith have, although, been ignored or brushed off previously. within the first e-book in English devoted to Bergson as a political philosopher, major Bergson students light up his positions on middle issues inside political philosophy: the importance of emotion in ethical judgment, the connection among biology and society, and the entanglement of politics and faith. Ranging throughout Bergson's writings yet drawing quite often on his final publication, The resources of Morality and Religion, the individuals reflect on Bergson's relevance to modern discussions of human rights, democratic pluralism, and environmental ethics.

Contributors. Keith Ansell-Pearson, G. William Barnard, Claire Colebrook, Hisashi Fujita, Suzanne Guerlac, Vladimir Jankélévitch, Frédéric Keck, Leonard Lawlor, Alexandre Lefebvre, Paola Marrati, John Mullarkey, Paulina Ochoa Espejo, Carl energy, Philippe Soulez, Jim Urpeth, Melanie White, Frédéric Worms

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And what effectively happens during a war? This: ‘‘Murder and pillage and perfidy, cheating and lying become not only lawful, they are actually praiseworthy’’ (ts 31/1000). ’’ Certainly morality has not lost its validity; it simply reveals that it was only valid for the members of a given society to the exclusion of others: it reveals their limits or closure through its own. Such is the very simple and literal definition of closed societies: ‘‘They may be very vast . . [but] their essential characteristic is none the less to include at any moment a certain number of individuals, and exclude others’’ (ts 31/1000; translation modified).

Who can gainsay Bergson on this point? But what is more often forgotten, and more seriously still, is that the very criterion of mysticism is to be sought, in the first instance, within the openness that would thus be opposed, more than ever, to closure! We rightly seek to characterize the metaphysical implications of mysticism. We wonder about the distinction Bergson makes between mystics. And yet if there is one criterion of mysticism that ensures that not just anyone can call him- or herself a mystic, that ensures there can be no mistake about the matter, it is surely the distinction between the closed and the open.

It is their voice we hear when a great injustice has been done and condoned. From the depths of the centuries they raise their protest’’ (ts 76/1039). It is almost as if we were—and in our opinion we are—hearing Charles Péguy talking about Bernard Lazare during the Dreyfus affair. It is therefore indeed the opposition between the closed and the open that governs Bergson’s theory, both of religion as well as morality. Yet far from this opposition finding only a foundation in mysticism, it also finds a further difficulty: for while there have been mystics (without whom access to the distinction itself would have been impossible), once again they are both definitive and exceptional, unimpeachable and met with resistance.

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