By Alexandre Lefebvre
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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Extra resources for Bergson, Politics, and Religion
For Bergson too, this is how history can radically shift. The same principle is at play here, but it also runs in the opposite direction. For Rousseau, we move from a hypothetically open origin (the so-called state of nature) to an enclosure that inaugurates history. For Bergson, we move from a factually closed origin to an openness that demands effort and action but that similarly represents the real start of history or, in other words, the only thing that is truly new under the sun. A genuine, crucial problem is thus raised: how do we attain open morality?
Here is the resemblance between these ‘‘natural’’ human societies, 30 J Frédéric Worms whatever their place in history: ‘‘For they too are closed societies’’ (ts 30/1000). Why does the ‘‘whole’’ of obligation turn into closure, totality into limitation? Why is this fact fundamental, so fundamental that it actually calls for a whole other morality, one that is not only universal this time in virtue of its (vital) foundation but also in virtue of its object, in virtue of those for whom it is valid or to whom it speaks.
Everything had effectively moved at the speed of light up to that point. Without any preamble, Bergson had moved from the fact of ‘‘obligation’’ to the immediate location of its double social principle, indeed vital principle, in a ‘‘virtual instinct’’ required by life to counterbalance the disorder introduced by human freedom. ‘‘Morality’’ seemed thereby to be given a foundation: a biological foundation, to be sure, but nevertheless one that is universal, omnipresent, and in any case in every society.
Bergson, Politics, and Religion by Alexandre Lefebvre