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of the utmost importance. At his particular request. "You may like to a word. Once recast in this way. Monsieur Bergson realized the difficulties with which the translators were confronted. An example. which has a wider meaning in French than in English.TRANSLATORS' PREFACE IN undertaking to place before the English public M. Here the thought is the outcome of twenty-five years' reflection and research. they have been submitted to his final approval. and with the kindly courtesy which is characteristic of him helped them in their task. Henri Bergson 's great work. though this has in some cases been done. these passages have been re-written and even re-thought in English. was the word "morale". The Two Sources of Morality ahd Religion. There are obvious disadvantages in attempting to use now the one now the other of these two terms. attribute start what meaning you clearly defining that by The path This is of all translation is strewn with stumbling-blocks. conveying both morality and ethics. As Monsieur Bergson himself says more than once. the language becomes inseparable from the thought it expresses. That is why the reader who cares to compare the English with the French text will find a certain number of passages which might appear at first sight to have been altered from the original. A closer study will reveal that this is not the case and that in almost every instance an effort has been made to convey the meaning of the French sentence more accurately still than would have been possible by a word-for-word translation. and under his guidance. the translators were confronted at the outset with great difficulties. But we have in most cases kept to the word "morality". especially true of . and therefore consider it advisable to inform our readers of the wide sense in which we use it. cast with unfailing skill in the language in which it was conceived. which since its publication in March 1932 has gone through seventeen editions. provided you meaning".

with a fresh mind. Cloudesley Brereton the work of final revision (owing to the latter's illCarter. W. who work of translation. The translators also wish particularly to thank Mr.vi TRANSLATORS PREFACE 1 The and the reader owe him a debt of gratitude for his generous and careful collaboration. R. together with a consummate knowledge of French. ASHLEY AUDRA CLOUDESLEY BRERETON . his assistance has been of the greatest value. and has undertaken the arduous and delicate task of re-reading the book as a whole. Owing to his remarkable command of his own language. has taken over health). Horstranslators fall the has helped them with his advice throughout from Dr.

TABLE OF CONTENTS MORAL OBLIGATION Social order . III . .. morality STATIC RELIGION .. . I in CHAPTER PAGE i and natural order The individual in society Society in the individual Spontaneous obedience Resistance to resistances Obligation and life The closed society The call of the hero Propulsive force of emotion Emotion and creation Emotion and representation Liberation of the soul Forward movement Closed morality and open morality Self-respect Justice Of intellectualism Moral education Training and the mystical..178 meanings of the word religion Why we use one word Greek mysticism Oriental mysticism The prophets of Christian mysticism Mysticism and regeneration Israel Philosophic value of mysticism Of the existence of God Nature of God Creation and love The problem of evil Survival Of experience and probability in metaphysics. CHAPTER DYNAMIC RELIGION . CHAPTER II 83 absurdity in the reasoning being The myth-making function Myth-making and life Significance of the "vital impetus'* Part played in society by myth-making General themes of practical myth-making Assurance against dis- Of Assurance organization against the unforeseeable tality" in civilized man to Assurance depression The "primitive menPartial personification of events On against On chance magic in general Deference paid ture Magic and science. .. . Two ......Magic and religion animals Totemism BelielT"in goHs Mythological fantasy The myth-making function and litera- On the existence ofjgxis General function of static religion..

FINAL REMARKS: MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM 229 Persistance of the natural of natural society Natural society and Natural society and war The Industrial Age Evolution of tendencies The law of dichotomy Law of double frenzy Possible return to the simple life Mechanics and mysticism.viii CONTENTS CHAPTER Closed society and open society Characteristics IV PAGE . . democracy .

and for the greatest good of the whole naturally submit to a discipline that may demand the sacrifice of the however. social life . or rather some shadowy. united by imperceptible links. neither visible nor tangible: a prohibition. their authority came less from themselves than from their status in relation to us. Why did we obey? The question hardly occurred to us. All the same we knew very well that it was because they were our parents. parents and teachers seemed to act by proxy. but behind our parents and our teachers we had an inkling of some enormous. we should compare it to an organism whose cells. Therefore. Later we would say it was society. in our eyes. We this. can only be a comparison. We did not fully realize this. once these wills are organized. should notice others which were not this recollection overlaid by a we are more inclined to dwell upon. In other words. From this first standpoint. because they were our teachers. thing that exerted pressure on us through them. ism subject artificial organism habit plays the same role as necessity in the works of nature. and in this more or less part. But. fall into their respective places in a highly developed hierarchy. We had formed the habit of deferring to our parents and teachers. This. had it issued from some other quarter. as it is in that of mankind. What childhood we should have had if only we had been left to do as we pleased! We should have flitted from pleasure to pleasure. They occupied command a certain station. And speculating upon it. posed'of they assume the guise of an organism. for an organto inexorable laws is one thing.CHAPTER I MORAL OBLIGATION the THE remembrance of forbidden fruit is the earliest thing in memory of each of us. But all of a sudden an obstacle arose. that was the source of true which. would not have possessed the same weight. and a society comfree wills another.

we do not explicitly think of a mass of partial duties added together and constituting a single total obligation. Some of them are habits of command. In a word. Perhaps there is really not an aggregation of parts. whether we obey a person commanding by virtue of a mandate from society. Many of them would be trivial obligations if they appeared singly. The strength which one obligation derives from all the others is rather to be comundivided authority of the its ' totality. we feel a sense of obligation. or whether from society itself. We can evade it. appears to us a system of more or less deeply rooted habits. we feel that they are interrelated. drawn back to it. there emanates an impersonal imperative. compared to that of other such that the difference in degree amounts to a habits.2 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. like a pendulum which has swung away from the vertical. as with all habits. But in this case the obligation is immeasurably stronger. When a certain magnitude is so much greater than another that the latter say that is it negligible in comparison. As a matter of fact. vaguely perceived or felt. which is what it is owing to the contributions of its parts. mathematicians belongs to another order. Each one corresponds. it must be restored. Each of these habits of obedience exerts a pressure on our will. So it is with social is obligation. what duty bids' triumphs over the hesitations we might feel in the presence of a single duty. The pressure of it. and so they all hang together. to the aid of each of . but then we are attracted towards it. Although we may riot speculate on their essence and on their origin. to a social necessity. or by the surroundings of those surroundings. most of them are habits of obedience. It should be noted that all habits of this nature lend one another mutual support. which would be society. A certain order of things has been upset. they form a solid block. directly or indirectly. being demanded of us by our immediate surroundings. and this whole. corresponding to the needs of the community. But they are an integral part of obligation in general. and so on to the uttermost limit. in its turn confers upon each one the Thus the sum-total comes and the general sentence "do parts. difference in kind.

The evil is so well screened. I admit that the difference is a radical one in the eyes of the philosopher. The laws which it necessity. The obligations which enable it to subsist. It our kept. by each of the cells from the depths of the organism of which it is an element. we contrive that they should appear so. Just as we do not notice disease when walking along the street. that in this case each individual is the dupe of all: however severely we may profess to judge other men. To him the law which enunciates facts is one thing. even in those cases where moral precepts implied in judgments of values are not observed. has claims which. not this idea. at bottom we think them better than ourselves. moreover. each express the sum-total of its vitality. here we have obligation. another. It is possible to evade the latter. The human nature from which we then turn away is the human nature we have discovered in the depths of our own being. The former is.i SOCIAL ORDER AND NATURAL ORDER 3 pared to the breath of life drawn. I mean that. On much of our social life is grounded. present within each of its members. It is natural that society this happy illusion should do everything to encourage promulgates and which maintain the social order resemble. A human community it is a collectivity of free beings. complete and indivisible. and which a regularity which has lays merely some analogy to the inflexible order of the phenomena of life. the laws of nature. introduce into it down. But let us again repeat that this is only a comparison. Society. I do not allude And merely to the unanimity of mankind in praising certain acts and blaming others. so we do not gauge the degree of possible immorality behind the exterior which humanity presents to the world. the law which commands. whether great or small. the secret so universally ourselves to the observation of others. yet everything conspires to make us believe that this regularity is comparable with that of nature. unescapable. for it we should be wrong in having . in certain aspects. if any fact diverged from on the contrary. It would take a good deal of time to become a misanthrope if we confined is when we detect own weaknesses that we come to pity or despise mankind.

True enough. . like the Platonic Idea on which all things had to model themselves. formulated in such a way as to express everything we observe and to which the recalcitrant fact would then conform like the rest. It may go much religious And ments which may further. This part. but to the majority of people the distinction is far from being so clear. is a complex one: it varies with time and place. whether it be social in essence or by accident.4 MORAL OBLIGATION it en. willy-nilly. The scientist himself can hardly help believing that the law "governs" facts and consequently is prior to them. Thus a breach of the social order assumes a anti-natural character. A law. repeated. There is a certain order of nature which finds expression in laws: the facts are presumed to "obey" these laws so as to conform assumed to with that order. one thing is certain. there would exist another one. social or moral every law is in their eyes a command. But if physical law tends to assume in our imagination the form of a command when it this imperative character. be it physical. Society institutes punishstrike the innocent and spare the guilty. It goes at least thus far. that it has always played a social role. indeed. the command receives from the law its inevitability. but in societies such as our own the first effect of religion is to sustain and reinforce the claims of society. even when frequently in our minds. effect an exchange. tions the The more he higher he rises in the scale of generalizatends. Between them the two ideas. in its turn an imperawhich applies to everybody appears to us somewhat like a law of nature. the true one. tive attains to a certain degree of generality. being to society what a freak creation is to nature. coming together The law borrows from the command its prerogative of compulsion. it strikes us as an exception. be a law. to endow the law with it requires a very real struggle our own prepossessions to imagine the principles of against mechanics otherwise than as inscribed from all eternity on the transcendent tables that modern science has apparently fetched down from another Sinai. suppose we discern behind the social imperative a command? No matter the relation between the two terms: whether religion be interpreted in one way or another.

the sense of this necessity. An individual forming part of a community may bend or even break a necessity of the same to create. 5 it takes broad views and what human scales could weigh. would barely have outlived the wish to emancipate itself when it would be social forces: unlike individual motives. It is evident that each of us. more. served by intelligence and imagination. being more or less artificially obtained by man. so religion admits us to a city whose most prominent features are here and there roughly typified by our institutions. which. feels at liberty to follow his bent. But this inclination has no sooner taken shape than it comes up against a force composed of the accumulation of all each pulling its own an order not without analogy to that of natural phenomena. The community hold together like the cells of an organism. succeeds in filling in the gap. in its perfection and fulness.i SOCIAL ORDER AND NATURAL ORDER rewards are few and far between. and not consider his fellow- men. Here below. >which to still some extent he has helped . in our eyes. would result in recaptured by necessity. introduces among them a discipline resembling. together with the consciousness of being able to evade it. that reality which we only see in crude imitations. above it is perfect. The component cell of an organism. as they easily satisfied. yet appropriate We enough to the point with which we are dealing. Habit. thinking of himself alone. should be weighed. just as the Platonic Ideas reveal to us. already narrowed by our habitual way of looking at things. is none the less what he calls an obligation. our laws and our customs. yet again. and self-creative. his desire or his fancy. Everything. in the interof a civic members dependence it establishes between separate individuals. rewards and punishments? But. From this point of kind. between a command of society and a law its is of nature. are thus being perpetually brought back to the same comparison. but to he has to yield. defective though it be in many ways. on becoming momentarily conscious. conspires to make social order an imitation of the order observed in nature. order is merely approximate. the unity of an organism of anastomosic cells. Religion therefore. this force way.

incommensurable with the others and indeed undefinable in words. reveals to him. still more desirable than the one on the surface. It to does not come then exactly from without. However. that our ego generally finds its point of attachment. Certain aquatic plants as they rise selves. and taken in its most usual meaning. caprice and regret. and united to them by a discipline which creates between them and us a relation of interdependence. But. which. It would therefore be a mistake to reproach a purely social morality with neglecting individual duties. interlace. Even if we were we should be only in theory under a state of obligation towards other men. To cultivate this social ego is the essence of our obligation to society. Each of us belongs as much to society as to himself. to the individual self. it is surface. the deeper he goes. it it would have no hold on us. its solidity lies in this solidarity. we may perhaps discover another sort of equilibrium. we are self-sufficient. an ever more original personality. on the surface of life we are in continuous contact with other men whom we resemble. at the point where it inserts itself into the close-woven tissue of other exteriorised is exceptional: and on the personalities. thus imparting to them stability above. if we . But still more stable are the roots. If possible at it all. at the point where it is attached. delving we know how to look for it. meeting above the water. Has the self no other means of clinging to something solid than by taking up its position in that part of us which is socialised ? That would be so if there were no other way of escape from a life of impulse. in each of us. so in fact towards ourselves. obligation necessity what habit is to nature. While his conscious- downwards. firmly planted in the earth. is view. it is itself socialized. if to the surface are ceaselessly jostled by the current: their leaves. and we find it scarcely need seek out. since social solid- arity exists only in so far as a social ego is superadded. support them from below. But in our innermost ness. we shall not dwell for the present on the effort to delve down to the depths of our being. Were there not some part of it in us. which we look upon as a bond between men. first binds us to ourselves. Obligation.6 MORAL ^OBLIGATION CH.

But he could not do so. Those whom time to solitude. for he would be soon discouraged he had nothing else to cope with his incessant difficulties except an individual strength of which he knows the limitations. even if he wished to. and that he owes to the ever-recurring demands of social life that unbroken tension of energy. and without which he could not get along. which ensures the greatest return for his activity. Its presence is more or less marked in men. Robinson Crusoe on his island remains in contact with other men. know the penalty of "giving way". it will effect. . Even materially. You remember Kipling's Forest Officer. They will therefore be careful to maintain the latter. so that it shall not relax for one moment its strictness will seek for some material or towards the former. even in isolation. for he is perfectly aware that the greater part of his strength comes from this source. the individual ego maintains alive and pre- sent the social ego. "In the Rukh". that is to say of not stabilising the individual ego at the level prescribed by the social ego. and consequently within those of society. because the soul of society is inherent in the language he speaks. from Many Inventions. if watching him: he may not perceive it. Vainly do we try to imagine an individual cut off from social life. he is still talking to himself. and because even if there is no one present. and who circumstances condemn for a cannot find within themselves the resources of a deep inner life. keep him within the bounds of civilization. what it would with the encouragement and even the support of the whole of society. even if he is merely thinking. so as to preserve his self-respect in his isolation. He draws energy from the society to which he remains if attached in spirit. still it is there. 1 Kipling. present within us.i THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOCIETY 7 different pletely. they artificial support for it. because his memory and his imagination live on what society has im- planted in them. alone in his bungalow in the heart of the Indian rukh? He dresses every evening for 1 dinner. but no one could cut himself off from it com- Nor would he wish to do so. But a moral contact is all still more necessary to him. that steadiness of aim in effort. for the manufactured objects he saved from the wreck. If necessary.

or that it must necessarily be identified with moral conscience. Language here groups under one name very different things: what is there in common between the remorse of a murderer and that racking. Thus it is the crime itself that the criminal wants to erase. precisely because it does not borrow from society its standards. to conceal the crime and avoid being found out. which is apparently lacking in a sense of proportion. This type of conscience is not the one that is most often at work. at every moment comes the awful thought that some detail has been overlooked and that the authorities will get hold of the tell-tale clue. You might mistake it at first for the dread of punishment. Generally the verdict of conscience verdict which would be given by the social self. or that we feel pleased or displeased with ourselves according as it is favourably or unfavourably affected. At any rate it is more or less sensitive in is different people. generally speaking. and indeed you find most minute precautions. Analyse the feeling of remorse in the soul of a desperate criminal. by suppressing any knowledge of it that might come to the human ken. When nobody knows thing exists. We shall discover deeper sources for our feelings. also a remorse. to arrange things just as though the crime that a had never been committed at all. haunting pain. moral which we may feel at having wounded someone's pride or been unjust to a child? To betray the confidence of an innocent soul opening out to life is one of the most heinous offences for a certain type of conscience. perpetually supplemented and renewed. its gauges. it is speaking to somehis . its system of measurement. therefore society is not addressing him. moral distress is a throwingout of gear of the relations between the social and the individual self. and note how it drives him more and more out of that society within which he hoped to remain by obliterating the traces of his crime. But own knowledge persists. the And also. We shall not go so far as to say that this social ego is Adam Smith's "impartial spectator". it is almost as if it were non-existent. But look closer: what the fellow wants is not so much to evade punishment as to wipe out the past. For the same esteem for the man he was is still shown to the man he is no longer.8 MORAL OBLIGATION CH.

In the ordinary way we conform to our obligations rather than think of them. like so many ever-widening concentric circles. He would be punished by them. and. Such is the force which will drive a criminal to give himself up. It takes this violent break to reveal clearly the nexus of the individual to society. the image of society. for in his solitude he would carry with him. or to any decent fellow. enunciate the formula. Sometimes. From the circumference to the centre. we belong society is complete. nor with that element of it which is part of himself. but. he would be in a small degree the author of his own condemnation. He would resume his collaboration with other men. and in most cases we have only to leave well alone in order to accord to society what it expects from us. but society would then be speaking to his real self. if not in the eyes of all. But habit is enough. but now he is cut off from the image as well as the thing. By thus putting himself right. the various groups to which the individual belongs.i SOCIETY IN THE INDIVIDUAL 9 one else. Society occupies the circumference. by a thread: even if he does not reinstate himself in it. he re-attaches himself to society at a single point. would thus escape the penalty. the individual is at the centre: from the centre to the circum- ference are arranged. we follow a trade or a to our parish. He. to our district. at least he is near it. If we had every time to evoke the idea. close to it. having made himself one of them. Moreover. knowing what he is. in cases where the insertion of the group into between itself and us: we have profession. feels more isolated among his fellow-men than he would on a desert island. he no longer remains alienated from it. society has made matters very much easier for us by interpolating intermediaries a family. to our county. with fulfilling our obligations towards the group and so paying our debts to society. the best part. it would be much more tiring to do our duty. in any case he is no longer in complete rupture with it. enveloping him and supporting him. as the circles grow . at least in somebody's eyes. we may content ourselves. He could reinstate himself in society by confessing his crime: he would then be treated according to his deserts. he will confess to a friend. and a part of himself. if need be. without going so far.

Duty. is we almost always done automatically. How comes it. A We are hardly conscious of road has been marked out by society. From the practical point of view this presents no inconvenience. For. attend to the thousand and one cares of the day. in this sense. and duty itself as something harsh and unbending? Obviously because there occur cases where obedience implies an overcoming of self. passive acquiescence. and obedience to duty. and we follow it. smaller. So long as we yield to this tendency. and the individual ends by finding himself confronted with all of them advances. however naturally we do our we may meet with resistance within ourselves. it coincides together. that on the contrary this obedience appears as a state of strain. do one's shopping. without obeying rules and submitting to obligations. These cases are exceptions. It is society that like all deep-seated habits. it is wise duty. It only assumes a peremptory aspect.io MORAL OBLIGATION CH. then. to play in society the part which our station assigns to us. it Thus obligation increases as with a tendency. obligations are added to obligations. all duties are tinged with the hue taken on exceptionally by one or the other of them. is this. but. at things in this . there are even certain advantages in looking way. When it has become fully concrete. Thus. for an action which is started automatically passes almost unperceived. and the more easily accepted. it lies open before us. Every instant we have to choose. and we naturally decide on what is in keeping with the rule. it is less abstract. if restrict ourselves to the most usual case. from it. so habitual that we find it natural. there no effort. we scarcely feel it. follow a profession. but we as a notice them because they are accompanied by acute con- in fact sciousness. if we depart draws up for the individual the proof his daily routine. and because the obligation as a whole is immanent in each of its parts. might be defined form of non-exertion. go for a stroll. as happens with all forms of hesitation consciousness is this hesitation itself. owing to the interdependence of our duties. or even stay at home. it would take more initiative to cut across country. if it is more complicated. It is impossible to live a family gramme life.

in word an honest amount of truth in a Besides. Thus artificial have arisen. the necessity of education.i RESISTANCE TO RESISTANCES n to expect it. especially those it is have taken this view. and in every sense it would be dangerous. condition. which has difficulties vitiated many we make a psychological error theories of ethics. that it is only on . In one sense it would be untrue. in order to define obligation. When. After an attack of rheumatism. So it is with the individual in relation to society. yet we have had to enrol in it. the violent effort we now and again exert on ourselves to break fort some discommoving our muscles and joints. we lay down that obedience is primarily a struggle with self. It is the general sensation of a resistance set up by all our organs together. are proof of this. maxim But a maxim is one thing. or rather a subsiding. If a considerable who follow Kant. because they have confused the sense of obligation. even if he no longer needs to take counsel with himself on each one of them. and this enrolment demands an effort. a conscientious worker. its essence and its origin. to say that duty can be had done automatically. in an incipient. we may feel down Now. The rider need only allow himself to be borne along. an explanation another. It is but just to credit the individual with the consent virtually given to the totality of his obligation. ence of the child. a tranquil state akin to inclination. looming above them like a mysterious apparition. incommensurate with others. Let us then set up as a practical that obedience to duty means resistance to self. in well. and not take for granted that it is easy to remain a good husband. with number of philosophers. Obligation is in no sense a unique fact. a decent citizen. we are at liberty to fancy that it is still there. still he has to get into the saddle. problems which set philosophers at variance and which will be found to vanish when we analyse the terms in which they are expressed. The natural disobedifellow. there is a considerable this opinion. a possible obstacle to obligation. a state of tension or contraction. Little by little it decreases and ends by being lost in the consciousness we have of our movements when we are and even pain. for if it is relatively easy to keep within the social order.

when moving our arms and legs. But from the fact that we get back to obligation by rational ways it does not follow that obligation was of a rational order. We shall dwell on this point later. conjured up by the will. a state of tension or contraction is likely to result. It is natural. to keep to the right paths. running. Even if we have opposed the unlawful desire by another. We have any number of particular obligations. the latter. and having then defined it as a force opposed to a resistance. natural or acquired. Suppose that exceptionally we deviate from one of them. fit passion or interest tempt us aside. there w ould be resistance. Let us merely say that a tendency. it is a matter of habit to obey them all. . a mere diminution of pain. he would thus be giving up the attempt to account for motory habits. we do not intend to discuss ethical theories for the present. could only arise at the call of an idea. or more strictly speaking. the look-out for a chance to indeed expect attacks of Yet what should we say acute. since each of these implies a particular combination of movements. In order to resist resistance.12 MORAL OBLIGATION become more if CH. if we resist this resistance. It would seem as though some such error had been made by many of those who have speculated on obligation. an intelligent being generally exerts his influence on himself through the medium of intelligence. it is natural enough to set up rheumatism beside it as an independent entity. and can only be explained by that combination. It is also what the philosophers have in mind. is one thing. we must we are rheumatic. In a word. rheumatism of a philosopher who saw in our habitual sensations. and who then defined our motory faculty as an effort to resist rheumatic discomfort? To begin with. we must necessarily give ourselves reasons. each calling for a separate explanation. each of them finding its own explanation in the special movements it But having only considered the faculty as a whole. is but an aggregation of these elementary habits. The general faculty of walking. involves. moving the body. It is this rigidity which we objectify when we attribute so stern an aspect to T duty. when they see to resolve obligation into rational elements. when desire.

In reality we have merely swept aside something that hampered or checked it. it is and passion join in the discussion. Even if we confine ourselves to a certain aspect of morality. and even in those instances where our duty is fully mapped out. it is And in order to succeed perhaps better to imagine that things did happen in the former way. must because you must". enunciate the principle. It comes to the same thing. the distances out and back we shall have to cover if we try several paths one after another. In the second case new problems arise with more or less frequency. But to state that this is actually the case would be to vitiate the whole theory of Has not this been the case with most philosophers? Let there be no misunderstanding. however much we may reason in each particular case. two habits. we make all sorts of distinctions in fulfilling it. formulate the maxim. place. I one way or another.i RESISTANCE TO RESISTANCES 13 another thing the necessarily rational method which a reasonable being will use to restore to it its force and to combat what is opposing it. In the latter case the tendency which has been obscured may reappear. the former attitude is that of the immense majority of probably general in backward communities. in practice: explain the fact in fact is there. in the first take. But. we are on the point of falling. They line the intervening space between the extremes of two obligation. we shall find many different attitudes towards duty. as we have done up to now. the quintessence of innumerable specific habits of obedience to the countless particular requirements of social ticular thing and. we have achieved success. or rather how far to go. of obligation": the concentrated extract. the grant you. after all. what was it that pulled us suddenly " up? A force asserts itself which we have called the totality the consequences: if is if desire if strong. And. deduce men. Hence the work . along or on the contrary hesitating and deliberating on which way to attitudes. if it it life. that of moving so naturally the ways laid down by society as barely to notice them. This force is no one par- would say: "You could speak (whereas it prefers to act). and then everything doubtless happens as though we had succeeded by this method in reestablishing the tendency anew. if temptation we recover ourselves.

But in that case the usefulness of the rule solely accrues. since the obedience of everyone to laws. No doubt they have mission to gradually detached themselves from the others and survived them. I freely admit that such logic has been late in taking possession of society. Nor are they without their use. going back to was to introduce more logical consistency into a line of conduct subordinated by its very nature to the claims of society. introduces a rational order into his conduct by the mere fact of obeying rules which are logically connected together. even absurd ones. as well believe that the fly-wheel drives the machinery. if I may put it so. But no matter. and even the man who does not reason out his conduct will conforms to these principles. by contrast. from the fact of our sub' Prescriptions or prohibitions which are intrinuseful are those that are explicitly designed for the sically preservation or well-being of society. Besides. by superstition. We terest. by a kind of reverse it.14 MORAL OBLIGATION intelligence in first principles. Social demands therefore become reciprocally coordinate and subordinate to principles. in our hours of temptation. the greater the proportion of unaccountable and inconfind in primitive races many sistent rules. live reasonably if he . Even the individual whose decent behaviour is the least based might on reasoning and. action. philosophy has been led to look upon it as a principle of obligation. Never. We prohibitions and prescriptions explicable at most by vague associations of ideas. CH. whole it first Nature. by automatism. comparing maxims. is lavish. our vanity. From a roughly extracts certain principles and then excludes everything which is not in accordance with them. the demands of a society dovetail into one another. it lays down. Logical co-ordination is essentially economy. "Logic permeates indeed present-day communities. Because in a reasonable being reason does indeed intervene as a regulator to assure this consistency between obligatory rules or maxims. should sacrifice to the mere need for logical consistency our in- our passion. assures greater cohesion to the community. The closer a community is to nature. but this social claim was the real we root of obligation. the most conventional. done by weighing reasons.

But. elementary. This "must because you must" would . Conceive obligation as weighing on the will like a habit. correspond more and more io reality as one came to deal with less developed communities and more rudimentary stages of consciousness. This is all we have tried to suggest so far. A military order. We should find it very difficult to discover examples of such an imperative in everyday life. just as long as the ray of intelligence. is what obligation could. we must construct one a priori or at least make an arbitrary abstraction of experience. such as is found to-day in the ordinary decent person. when instinct regaining the mastery would drag her back by sheer force to her task.i THE "CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE" 15 But the essence of obligation is a different thing from a requirement of reason. But precisely because we are in this case dealing with a strange complex of feelings. though you may give the soldier no reason. So let us imagine an ant stirred by a gleam of reflexion and who thereupon judges she has been wrong to work unremittingly for others. we think. It remains a bare outline so long as we confine ourselves to the normal conscience. as its parting word: "You must because you must". That is the essential: that to. Our description would. each obligation dragging behind it the accumulated mass of the others. of ideas and tendencies all interpenetrating each other. and utilising thus for the pressure it is exerting the weight of the whole: here you have the totality of obligation for a simple. If we want a pure case of the categorical imperative. even in those cases where attains its highest This shows when and in what sense (how slightly Kantian!) obligation in its elementary state takes the form of a "categorical imperative". moral conscience. Such is the outline we have attempted to trace. he will imagine one. Her inclination to laziness would indeed endure but a few moments. which is a command that admits neither reason nor reply. intelligence at the point of relapsing into instinct would say. In the last of these moments. be reduced complexity. we shall only avoid artificial analyses and arbitrary syntheses if we have at hand an outline which gives the essential. it if necessary. does say in fact: "You must because you must".

although intelligent. is necessarily the one which best imitates instinct. in the short separates obligation merely experienced as a force from obligation fully realized and justified by all living sorts of reasons. only be the momentary feeling of awareness of a tug which the ant experiences the tug which the string. starting as intelligent. In a word. to those of instinct in the other. not long enough to seek for reasons. And the most powerful habit. Is it then surprising that. obligation should indeed take the form of the categorical imperative: moment which "you must because you must"? lines of evolution Let us consider two divergent societies at the extremities of each. will tend to become instinctive? But an activity which. a habit. the link that unites the bees of a hive resembles far The more the link which holds together the cells of an organism. Let us suppose for an instant that nature has intended to produce at the extremity of the second line societies where a certain latitude was left to individual choice: she would have arranged that intelligence should achieve here results comparable. an imperative will tend to become categorical in proportion as the activity brought into play. a categorimperative would express in words. the inevitableness of the relapse. or even actually beginning to wake. in a reasonable being. she would have had recourse to habit.16 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. then. momentarily relaxed. Each of these habits. from the dream he is enact- he lapsed back at once into a hypnotic state. represented as such if reflexion is roused long enough to take 'form. as regards their regularity. the habit whose strength is made up of the accumulated force of all the elementary social habits. in man. enacted as such in a normal state. which may . progresses to- wards an imitation of instinct is exactly what we call. on behalf of the reflexion which had just been on the point of emerging and ing: if ical had instantly disappeared. with type of society which will appear the more natural will obviously be the instinctive type. The same command would ring in the ear of a sleep-walker on the point of waking. an absolutely categorical imperative is instinctive or somnambulistic. But. is it not evident that. co-ordinate and subordinate to one another. exerts as it drags her back.

in instinct as well as in intel- ligence: this ideal finds its hive or the ant-hill on the most complete expression in the one hand. it therefore exhibits. society But.i THE "CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE" 17 be called "moral". organs supplied by nature and hence immutable. the may progress. But in a hive or an ant-hill the riveted to his task is organization by his structure. be it said. This. whereas the human comrelatively . a and laws. in human societies on the other. Without going Now deeply into a matter we have dealt with elsewhere. At the end of the former we have the instinct of insects. expressing the purpose of nature. Instinct and intelligence have each as their essen- object the utilisation of implements. But the aggregate of them. The implement is. and therefore varied and unforeseen. let us simply say that intelligence and instinct are forms of consciousness which must have interpenetrated each other in their rudimentary state and become dissociated as they grew. whether merely embodied individual collection of rules is in life or. would be incidental. however much human grow complicated and spiritualized. in the tial other. will only apply to human societies at the moment of emerging from the hands of nature. and the invariable. it implies a co-ordination and generally also a subordination of elements. in the one case. more especially the Hymenopterae. this is exactly what has happened. designed for a certain type of work. being at the very basis of societies and $ necessary condition of their existence. like a vague ideal. This development occurred on the two main lines of evolution of animal life. It will apply to primitive what we have and to elementary societies. the more it is divided up between diversely qualified workers who mutually supplement one another. Whether human or animal. in addition. and this work is all the more efficient the more it is specialized. would have a force comparable to that of instinct both in respect of intensity and regularity. a society is an organization. human intelligence. will remain. with the Arthropodes and the Vertebrates. Social life is thus immanent. at the end of the second. moreover. original design. invented tools. I mean the habit of contracting these habits. specifically formulated. This is exactly called the "totality of obligation".

which seems probable. is inventive and called intelligence. If ants exchange signs. What we must perpetually recall is no one obligation being instinctive. obligation as a whole would have been instinct if human societies were not. can we say that they feel themselves liable to obligation and that they are obeying a social instinct? . signs are provided by the very instinct that makes the ants communicate with one another. It ranks among phenomena df When the elements which go to make up an organism submit to a rigid discipline. ballasted with variability and intelligence. munity The variable in form. since it makes and uses tools. which are presumably used in a community of insects. the necessity of a rule. to instinct. to instinct. exhibit what our language would have been.1 8 is MORAL OBLIGATION result en. Thus the more. and yet we must think of this instinctive society as the counterpart of intelligent society. whatever it might be. It is a virtual instinct. in human society. The morality of a human society may indeed be compared to its language. in its peremptory aspect. we delve down to the root of the various obligations to reach obligation in general. acter. and is necessary: whereas in the latter only one thing is natural. if nature in bestowing on us the faculty of speech had not added that function which. those that. And yet we should make a great mistake if we tried to ascribe any particular obligation. comes from nature. On the contrary. if we went no further. our languages are the product of custom. so to speak. or even in the syntax. the nearer it will draw. natural in origin. we shall even give of obligation in general an idea which w6uld be false. is that in the former each rule is laid down by nature. We must perpetually recur to what obligation would have been if human society had been instinctive instead of intelligent: natural. Nothing in the vocabulary. open to every kind of progress. this will not explain any particular obligation. But speech is and unvarying signs. if we are not to start without any clue in quest of the foundations of morality. the more obligation will tend to become necessity. like that which lies behind the habit of speech. From this point of view obligation loses the most general its specific charlife.

towards obligation in tion only he free. community. intelligence. as used to be supposed. very But it re- mains much alive. throughout the centuries. It is true that we could consider what is natural as negligible in our analysis of obligation. but rather of necessity. but. the more obligation appears as the very form assumed by necessity in the realm of life. for example. whatever it be. toils for the greatest good of the whole. by virtue of which every tissue. but it endures. as through a more or less if transparent is veil. for the accomplishment of certain ends. general. habits and knowledge by no means impregnate the organism to the extent of being transmitted by heredity. every cell of a living body. from primitive man by enormous mass of knowledge and habits which he has absorbed. in excellent condition. implies liberty. the elements of which are united by invisible ties. at the foundations of moral obligation. almost unchangeable. A human being feels an obliga- and each obligation. above all. away from those particular obligations which are at the top. and the social instinct of an ant I mean the force by virtue of which the worker. strictly speaking. in the most . considered separBut it is necessary that there should be ately. and the deeper we go. performs the task to which she is predestined by her structure cannot differ radically from the cause. if it had been crushed out by the acquired habits which have accumulated over it in the course of centuries of civilization. when it demands. since the first awakening of his consciousness. or. obligations. Indeed it is. as we have said. from the social surroundings in which they were stored up. Here again it may be alleged that this applies to very simple societies. that is to say primitive or rudimentary societies. towards obligation as a whole. but whereas such an organism is barely a the hive and the ant-hill are actual organisms. not actual but virtual. choice. Certainly. and therefore liberty. civilized the acquired. It is just this necessity that we perceive. as we shall have occasion to point out human man differs.i OBLIGATION AND LIFE 19 Obviously not. no more a matter of obligation in the one case than in the other. which is at the bottom. What is natural is in great measure overlaid by what is later.

witches: "Fair The warring is foul. they are actually them and our praiseworthy. but one would like to have it believed that "human society" is already an accomsive plished fact. They may be very extencompared to the small agglomerations to which we were drawn by instinct and which the same instinct would probably tend to revive to-day if all the material and spiritual acquisitions of civilization were to disappear from the social environment in which we find them stored. Of what society were we speaking? Was it of that open society represented by all mankind? We did not settle the matter.20 civilized society. But a moral philosophy which does not emphasize this distinction misses the truth. easily. This is right enough so far as action is concerned. Murder and pillage and perfidy. any more than one usually does when speaking of a man's duty to his fellows. we must revert. a fundamental resemblance. one remains prudently vague. but to explain what we have called obligation as a whole. not to account for this or that social obligation. however the society to which we were primarily destined by nature. generally would the transformation take place so . different they may be from For they too are closed societies. and exclude others. exhibit indeed. with respect to that society. cheating and lying become not only lawful. as we shall see a little later) we should risk under- mining them. MORAL OBLIGATION To it CH. Our civilized communities. one refrains from making any assertion. were we to make a radical distinction between duties to our fellow-citizens. We have said above that underlying moral obligation there was a social demand. nations can say. when we lay down that the duty of respecting the life and property of others is a fundamental demand of social life. what society do we mean? To find an answer we need only think what happens in time of war. And it is well that we should like to have it believed. with is fair". Macbeth 's and and foul Would this be possible. for if incontestably we have duties towards man as man (although these duties have an entirely different origin. their essential characteristic is none the less to include at any moment a certain number of individuals. its analyses will thereby be inevitably distorted. In fact.

and to end by embracing all humanity. to expand while remaining identical. which. On the other hand. viewed from a certain standpoint. with all it has acquired during centuries of civilization. they are for what the time being inapplicable. we says. I repeat. peace has always hitherto been a preparation for defence or even attack. must not listen too but to know what thinks and it much to what what it wants. We are fond of saying that the apprenticeship to civic virtue is served in the family. society still has need of that primitive instinct which it coats with so thick a varnish. But it is not itself concerned with humanity. at any rate for war. It says that the duties it defines are indeed. not derived from it. If society did not express itself thus. however much society may endow man. however big. whom it has trained to discipline. we must look at it does. . appears as a constant effort to prevent disease or to avoid it. duties towards humanity. how ever r large.i THE CLOSED SOCIETY 21 wards instantaneously. regrettably unavoidable. whether we will or no they compose for us an attitude which is that of discipline in the face of the enemy. But disease is as normal as health. which it has every inducement to humour. In a word. the social instinct which we have detected at the basis of social obligation always has in view instinct being relatively unchange- able a closed society. we learn to love mankind. in principle. if it were really a certain attitude of man toman that society had been enjoining on us up till then? Oh. disease for instance. but that under exceptional circumstances. and humanity there lies the whole distance from the finite to the indefinite. I mean of its imperative character. In the same way. it would bar the road to progress for another morality. its reasons for saying so). It is doubtless overlaid by another morality which for that very reason it supports and to which it lends something of its force. This means that. For between the nation. Our sympathies are supposed to broaden out in an unbroken progression. I know what society says (it it has. it is consistent with our habits of mind to consider as abnormal anything relatively rare or exceptional. from the closed to the open. from holding our country dear. and that in the same way. Our social duties aim at social cohesion.

a different morality. And what encourages the illusion is that. We must. that religion bids man love mankind. How much greater it would be if. for the very simple reason that family and society. the facts. whether we quired. It is still there. to the latter we only come by roundabout ways. Neither in the one case nor the other do we come to humanity by degrees. have remained closely We coincidence. without having made it our goal. the right of all to command respect. and we conclude that a progressive expansion of feeling keeps pace with the increasing size of the object we love. intellectualist This a priori reasoning. the difference between the two objects is one of kind and not simply one of degree.22 MORAL OBLIGATION is CH. through the stages of the family and the nation. by a fortunate first part of the argument chances to fit in domestic virtues are indeed bound up with civic virtues. whereas love of mankind is indirect and ac- go straight to the former. the same contrast as between the closed and the open. But between the society in which we live and humanity in general there is. and that it is primarily as against all other men that we love the men with whom we live? Such is the primitive instinct. for it is only through God. passing to the realm of feeling. in a single bound. we compared with each other the two sentiments. that philosophers make us look at humanity in order to show us the pre-eminent dignity of the human being. the result of a purely observe that the three groups to conception of the soul. originally undifferentiated. which we can attach ourselves comprise an increasing number of people. We whether speak the language of religion or the language of philosophy. in God. reach it by outstripping it. and. and likewise it is through reason alone. though fortunately hidden under the accretions of civilization. but even to-day we still love naturally and directly our parents and our fellowcountrymen. another kind of obligation supervenes. with the connected. above and . love of country and love of mankind! Who can help seeing that social cohesion is largely due to the necessity for a community to protect itself against others. be carried far beyond it. that Reason in whose communion we are all partakers. we repeat. Besides. it be a question of love or respect.

It is to them that men have always turned for that complete morality which we had best call absolute morality. that saints have their imitators. the disadvantage. the second. We have been searching for pure obligation. incarnat- ing this morality. this very fact suggests to us the existence of a difference of kind and not merely one of degree between the morality with w hich we have been dealing up to now and that we are about to study. to narrow down morality enormously. Why is it. expand. Before the saints of Christianity. such as we have just defined. that of the other in a common imitation of a model. not downwards as up to now but upwards. The advantage of this has been to indicate in what obligation consisted. the prophets of Israel. starting from a primitive basis of obligation pure and simple. between the two extremes. and even come to be absorbed into something that transfigures it. then. And this very fact is at once characteristic and instructive. They have no need to exhort. 23 beyond the the latter. the Arahahts of Buddhism. The generality of the one consists in the universal acceptance of a r law. must be incarnate in a privileged person who becomes an example. Let us now see what complete morality would be like. in order to be fully itself. In all times there have arisen exceptional men. So far we have only dealt with The time has come to pass to the other. this obligation should radiate. their mere existence suffices. Whereas natural obligation is a . mankind had known the sages of Greece. We shall use the same method and once more proceed. For such is precisely the nature of this other morality. and others besides. and why do the great moral leaders draw the masses after them? They ask nothing. Whereas the former is all the more unalloyed and perfect precisely in proportion as it is the more readily reduced to impersonal formulae.i THE CALL OF THE HERO social pressure. to the extreme limit. and yet they receive. between the maximum and the minimum. Not indeed because that part of it which we have left on one side is not obligatory: is there such a thing as a duty which is not compulsory? But it is conceivable that. To find it we have had to reduce morality to its simplest expression.

proud of his approval. at to first dispersed among general precepts which our intelligence gave its allegiance. Let us merely make the point that. the longing which ideally generates the form. The duties dealt with so far are those imposed on us by social life. the word which we shall make our own is the word whose echo we have heard within ourselves. It might have been a relation or a friend whom we thus evoked in thought. pressure or a propulsive force. they are binding in respect of the city more than in respect of humanity. is an incipient resemblance. whereas the first morality was the more potent the more distinctly it broke up into impersonal obligation.24 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. Whence does af action it derive its strength? What is the principle which here takes the place of the natural obligation. stirring into life we felt might completely pervade us later. at those momentous hours when our usual maxims of conduct strike us as inadequate. 3r rather which ends by absorbing it? To discover this. As a matter of fact this perwe adopt a model. But it might quite as well have been a man we had never met. but which did not go so far as to set our will in motion. But all. fearful of his censure. let us first see what is tacitly demanded of us. into touch with a great moral personality have fully realized the nature of this appeal. have wondered what such or such a one would have expected of us under the circumstances. and to whose judgment we in imagination submitted our conduct. whose life-story had merely been told us. sonality takes shape as soon as to resemble. on the contrary the latter morality. But the person matters little. It might even be a personality brought up from the depths Only those who have come we within us. as the disciple to his teacher. complete and perfect morality has the effect of an appeal. to and which we wished to attach ourselves for the time being. becomes more and more cogent in proportion as the multiplicity and generality of its maxims merge more completely into a man's unity and individuality. which of the soul into the light of consciousness. You might say that the second two differs morality it is from the first in that if we do distinguish human instead of being .

Consequently. If we think only of the interval and the various points. between a social morality and a human morality the difference is not one of degree but of kind. the idea which is to fill it out will become operative. sacrifice of self. may therefore conjecture that if a love of humanity constitutes this morality. With certain people the will does make a feeble start. The object is too vast. but so feeble that the slight shock they feel can in fact be attributed to no more than the expansion of social duty broadened and weakened into human duty. Loyalty. one which has a direct full The teachers prevail over of the young know well that you cannot egoism by recommending "altruism". But have we. that the formula is there. eager to sacrifice itself. The former is the one of which we are generally thinking when we feel a natural obligation. It is true that for many people the occasion will never off till arise or the action will be put later. It is sufficient. we feel the advent of a new morality. In one sense it is the same thing. and that substance become animate. generally speaking. the effect too diffuse. For we have seen that it is not by widening the bounds of the city that you reach humanity. the spirit of renunciation. But only let these formulae be invested with substance. infinite in number.i THE CALL OF THE HERO 25 merely social. Superimposed upon these clearly defined duties we like to imagine others. And yet we the essence of it. in We another sense it is something entirely different. It even happens that a generous nature. arises. lo and behold! a new life is proclaimed. when the occasion in mind not. charity. . experiences a sudden chill at the idea that it is working "for mankind". it constitutes it in much the same way as the intention of reaching a certain point implies the necessity of crossing an intervening space. the lines of which are perhaps a little blurred. we understand. in speaking here of love of humanity we should doubtless be denoting this morality. for the love of sufficient force or should not be expressing humanity is not a selfefficacy. we say. such are the words we use when we think of these things. it will take on its full meaning. at such times anything more than words? Probably and we fully realize this. And you would not be entirely wrong.

True. no inducement. forced in fact to choose between its own interests and those of others. imparting to doubtless then say. thinking only of the goal or looking even beyond it. originally implanted there by nature. we shall be discouraged from starting. what the direction of the effort? What exactly. and besides there would be no object. will often do something quite different from what the general interest demands. pursuing his personal advantage. own Now it is just with this fundamental instinct that we have associated obligation as such: it implies at the beginning a state of things in which the individual and society are not . it. that it made this Such would probably be the state of mind of an ant reflecting on her conduct. which we still have to pass one by one. in a word. Both are self-centred. while maintaining that this would lead him to desire the good of others. if utilitarian ethics persists in recurring in one form or another. He is part and parcel of society. interest. She would feel that her activity hinges on something intermediate between the good of the ant and the good of the ant-hill. and it would if it were conscious. like Zeno's arrow. But if we step across the intervening space. we shall easily accomplish a simple act. where the individual and the indistinguishable. beneath the intelligent activity. it The cell lives for itself social are well-nigh and also for the organism. sacrifice in its it vitality and borrowing vitality from will sacrifice itself to the whole. it is doubtful whether private interest invariably agrees with public interest: we know against what insurmountable difficulties utilitarian ethics has always come up when it laid down the principle that the individual could only seek his own good. if need be. and at the same infinite multiplicity of which this simplicity the equivalent. is the goal. An intelligent being. and tenable the reason precisely because. in this case. he and it are absorbed together in the same task of individual and social preservation.26 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. is required of us? time overcome the is Let us first define the moral attitude of the man we have been considering up to now. if it is this means is that it is not untenable. Yet. What then. there lies a substratum of instinctive activity.

do without all of have just them. love for one's country. case. is allowed in? Suppose we say that humanity: we should not be going too far. and and the same word. At once individual and social. for filled it We it. the soul here moves round in a circle. But does it fact suffice to distinguish describe them? Or analyse them? At a glance. A psychology which too purely intellectualist. in that it embraces all would thus fill it would suffice to define the attitude taken by could. enables us to group to express them by one them under the concept "love". therefore an exclusion. following the indications of speech. though there be no other living creature on earth. love for one's family. each larger than the which they are supposed to apply. . The other attitude is that of the open soul. And yet no one of these things which What. since its love may extend to animals. they may act as incentives to strife. It is closed. persist we could as easily empty it again. The fact that these feelings are outwardly expressed by the same attitude or the same sort of motion. we should hardly be going far enough. Once again.i THE CLOSED SOUL AND THE OPEN SOUL 27 distinguishable. The former alight directly on an object which attracts them. the soul. Has it. it will see in these three inclinations one single feeling. growing ever larger. love of mankind. This does in them. The latter is all love. we then dis- tinguish other. This is what enables us to say that the attitude to which it corresponds is that of an individual and a com- munity concentrated on themselves. it has shot beyond and only reached humanity by passing through humanity. will doubtless define feelings by the is things with which they are associated. it is not by a process of expansion of the self that we can pass from the first state to the second. that all three incline us to something. to plants. Its form is not dependent on its content. it has not aimed at this object. to embrace an increasing number of persons. strictly speaking. The first imply a choice. to all nature. The latter does not yield to the attraction of its object. consciousness perceives between the two first feelings and the third a difference of kind. they do not exclude hatred. to them by naming three objects. "Charity" would in him who possesses "charity".

For the former we have just seen But the latter is acquired. too. Thus do pioneers . is self-sufficient. we know it. particularly in its early stages. all the others. and that that is just as we should naturally and necessarily act did we not refrain from action to listen. Beyond instinct ind habit there is no direct action on the will except feeling. for example. weeps with these feelings into us. for the present MORAL OBLIGATION an object? CH. las always called for. When music weeps. was ordained by nature. we must because we must. it In point of fact it does not introduce introduces us into them. : how and why we eel bound to adopt it. But we shall confine ourselves to noting that this psychic attitude. pity or love. an effort. ruined. or rather psychic motion. nay. all nature. Analyse the passion of love. it calls for. Nevertheless there arises in regard to it a problem which stands ready solved in the case of the other. we feel it^ no matter. is that it which differs from obligation as meet with no resistance. but many others. as though we could not desire anything else but what the music is suggesting to us. Not only ourselves. thus leaving us the leisure to reflect it and analyse what we feel. it. How comes it that the men vho have set the example have found other men to follow hem? And what is the power that is in this case the counter>art of social pressure? We have no choice. Indeed the worst perfidy of a nascent passion The impulse counterfeits duty. in that it imposes only what has already been acquiesced in. as passersin morality by are forced into a street dance. a whole life wrecked. given by feeling can indeed closely resemble obligation. \Let the music express joy or grief. all humanity. But we need not go as far as Into the most peaceful emotion there may enter a passion. but which none the less resembles obligation in that it does impose something. This is what occurs in musical emotion. wasted. it demand described above in that will upon practical consequence. We shall ask this question. while we listen. is pleasure its aim? Could we not as well say it is pain? Perhaps a tragedy lies ahead. We feel.28 strictly speaking. every moment we are what it expresses. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in those cases where the demand ceases to have any certain for action.

of the melody or symphony. Those ordained by nature are finite. if we had not already experienced was caused by an object from which art had merely to detach it? That would be to forget that joy and sorrow. pity and love are words expressing generalities. Life holds for them unsuspected tones of feeling those of some new symphony. and that. words which we must call upon to express what music makes us feel. are real inventions. in order to express them in words. and which were indeed feelings comparable inseparable from mountains. But let us then take states of emotion caused in effect by certain things and. are recognizable because they are destined to spur us The others.i EMOTION AND PROPULSION 29 like proceed. though not attached to anything in particular. which are created by that music. But Rousseau created in connection with them a new and original emotion. unique of their suggest it it without causing in real life. on the contrary. that these emotions may be intense and that to us they are: complete. the musician could not produce this emotion in us. This emotion faculty of rousing in those . as it were. that our feeling is purely imaginative. love. sorrow. have had the who looked upon them certain with sensations. prefigured in them. that is to say limited in number. They on to acts answering to needs. Thus mountains may. are defined and delimited by the lines. anyway. are driven to compare the feeling created by the artist with the feeling most resembling it in life. joy. and within that music. it is we who. since the beginning of time. whereas each new musical work brings with it new feelings. where it kind. pity. we all know that} arouses in us well defined emotions. Taking again the example of music. They have therefore not been extracted from life by art. through excess of intellectualism that feeling is made to hinge on an object and that all emotion is held to be the reaction of our sensory faculties to an intellectual representa-* into this It is it tion. comparable to those of the musician. it. at the origin of which there has always been a man. and they draw us after them music that we may express it in action. that therefore we are playing at emotion.^ Are you going to say that we are here in the realm of art and not among real things.

Rousseau having put it into circulation. by a true creation. what we call in our respective countries the sentiment of nature. as is the case in the East.30 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. as though welded to it. and produced in this way someexisting some person or persons. And even to-day it is Rousseau who makes us feel it. But Rousseau gathered them together. should fasten on to mountains rather than any other object. closely bound up with the objects which give rise to them. akin to sensations. It is the same with love of nature in general. has become current coin. which were by mountains must have been able to harmonize with the new emotion. henceforth as mere harmonics in a sound for which he provided. Nature has ever aroused feelings which are almost directly aroused sensations.. Feelings akin to been sensation. and pertaining both to feeling and to sensation. But romantic love has a definite date: it sprang up during the Middle Ages on the day when some person or persons conceived the idea of absorbing love into a kind of supernatural feeling. as reasons much and more than the mountains. its ate . surely the creation of arisen and used these prenotes as harmonics. sprung from the heart of Jean- Jacques. but in immediate contact. has thing to be compared with the fresh tones of a new instrument. people have always enjoyed the pleasant shade. etc. the elementary feelings. But a fresh emotion. are indeed just as likely to attract a previously created emotion as they are to connect with an entirely new one. gave them their places. the timbre would then have been different. borrowing from it its fervour. in fine all those things suggested in the word "amoenus" by which the Romans described the charm of the country. the cool waters. the principal tone. When critics reproach mysticism with expressing itself in the same terms as passionlove. This is what happened with love. True. there are why this emotion. they forget that it was love which began by plagiarizing mysticism. The fundamental tone thus introduced might have different. From time immemorial woman must have inspired man with an inclination distinct from desire. into religious emotion as created by Christianity and launched by the new religion into the world. in Japan especially.

In the one it is an oscillation of the parts without any displacement of the whole. "feeling" and "sensibility". Not only because emotion is a stimulus. her figure. her bearing. the though it belongs to the category of the intellect. in a word. of science and of civilization in general there seems to be no doubt. and not. to what we can expect of love.had transfigured. We may add that the nearer love is to adoration. two manifestations of sensibility which . its ecstasies: in using the lahguage of a passion it . description: the illusion here applies modern is only to the qualities of the loved one. for it is the gap between the divine and human. Note that the ancients had already spoken of the illusions of love. in the other the whole is driven forward. The margin left for disappointment is now enormous. in the second it remains undivided. exposed unless he decides that he will ever look at the object through the mist of the emotion and never touch it. as with the illusion. and the religious emotion summoned from without by which it has been pervaded and eventually submerged. emanating from the object itself. We must go much further. get away from metaphors. that he will. Let us. because it incites the intelligence to undertake ventures and the will to persevere with them. and invention. For we must agree upon the meaning of the words "emotion". an upheaval of the depths another. the deeper therefore the disappointment to which the lover is . her character. but a surface one thing. That a new emotion is the source of the great creations of art. treat it religiously. Between the old illusion and the illusion we have superadded to it there the same difference as between the primitive feeling. We must distinguish between two kinds of emotion. may partake of sensibility in its substance. but these were errors akin to those of the senses. two emotion is varieties of feeling. An is an affective stirring of the soul. There are emotions which beget thought. agitation The effect is in the first case diffused. the greater the disproportion between the emotion and the object. however. and they concerned Think of Lucretius' the face of the beloved. mysticism has only resumed possession of its own.i EMOTION AND CREATION 31 f raptures.

in relation to the intellectual states which are to supervene. This is just what the critic overlooks when he qualifies as "feminine". It is the stirring of by a representation. a psychology which accords so extensive and so handsome a place to sensibility. to first the In the the psychical transposition of a physical stimulus. the second kind of emotion can alone be productive of ideas. to enter upon two is sexes. Suffice it to say that woman a comparative study of the is as intelligent as is less capable of emotion. with a touch of contempt. and when we make of emotions a vague reflection of the representation. indeed the result of an which owes nothing to it. The first is infra-intellectual. but that she but sensibility. but which it draws or might draw from its own substance by an from the feeling. states distinct have this one feature in common. it is not intelligence. which is selfand which. a cause and not an effect. if the word did of value: not immediately and exclusively evoke the idea of superiority it is just as much a question of priority in time. for the mere sake of correcting an inappropriate word. is or of a mental picture. Rather is it. But of the other we should be inclined to say that it is supra-intellectual. man. the "feeling" intellectual state sufficient. if it does experience a certain re-action more than it gains. not .32 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. and is of the relation between that which generates and that which generated. and cannot be reduced. when it is so easy to use one's eyes. Indeed. case the emotion is the consequence of an idea. as it were. But the other kind of emotion is not produced by a representation which it follows and from which it remains distinct. it. I mean of course sensibility in the depths. dropped into it. that is the one with which the psychologist is generally concerned. I do not intend. that they are emotional from sensation. not one of which is actually formed. is pregnant with representations. loses sensibility organic development. First of all he should be blamed for abiding by the current commonplaces about women. and it is this we have in mind when we contrast sensibility with intelligence. and that if there or power of the soul which seems to attain less any faculty development in woman than in man. like latter.

discusses. we think of intelligence as something apart. all. Religious fervour. accepts or rejects which in a word limits itself to criticism value and the intelligence which invents. as being capable of more extensive variation according to as particular cases. to undreamt-of depths. if he were not obliged. for example. in the vision of a mother as she gazes in wonder How many . But then this diversity is not sufficiently insisted upon. at every step in his life. But how could this indeterminate attention. and having thus been deceived into assumthem to be all of the same quality. need hardly say that there are many exceptions. here the 1 We emotion little is upon her one? Illusion perhaps! This is not certain. extraneous to intelligence. Genius has been defined infinite capacity for taking pains". as a general rule. above literature or art alone. for not seeing precisely where the difference lies between that intelligence which understands. True. as though the object to which it applies: this is why on a psychology has already a tendency to use the term "interest" much as "attention". In this department she is indeed incomparable. is supposed to produce a greater or less concentration of intelligence. things rise up supra-intellectual in that it becomes divination. can attain.i EMOTION AND CREATION 33 1 agitation at the surface. as something equally apart a general faculty of attention which. The truth is that in each is case attention takes individualized by distinctive colouring. But nature has probably ordained. and. Let us rather say that reality is big with possibilities. it only perceives ing between them differences of degree. when he fancies that he would under- man if he related to sensibility the highest faculties of the mind. having psychology used the same word to denote all efforts of attention made in all possible cases. too. thus implicitly introducing sensibility. bring out of intelligence cannot help feeling that something which is not there? We once more the dupe of language when. We effort all know emotion. to choose and therefore to exclude. in women. and that the mother sees in the child not only what he will become. Still more is the critic to be blamed. that woman should concentrate on her child and confine within somewhat narrow bounds the best of her sensibility. when more or less developed. Creation signifies. but also what he would become. But no matter. a general faculty of being interested is posited. and that not in the concentration and as "an implied in scientific discovery.

it this seems a piece of unexpected good has often been necessary to assist fortune. the intellectual elements with which it is destined to unite. that is to say of intuition. It has been transported at a bound to something which problematical. born of the identification of the author with his that subject. is. like the representation. in truth. And what about literature and art? A work of of genius is in most cases the outcome of an emotion. however imperfect. constantly collecting everything that can be w orked in with them and r finally into its compelling the enunciation of the problem to expand solution. once again affords variety only through a greater or less application to its object. It is the emotion which drives the intelligence forward in spite of obstacles. to mould it to the thought. In the second. unique its kind. then solidify again into fresh ideas now shaped by the creative mind itself. and. which. and strain the meaning of a word. If these ideas find words already existing which can express them. But is not this so of all work. or rather vitalizes. for each of them luck. So do not let us speak of interest in general. and that the emotion. desire and the anticipated joy of solving a stated problem. to . or believes itself. It is the emotion above all which vivifies. In that event the effort is painful and the result such a case only that the mind be creative. being at one and the same time curiosity. Let us rather say that the problem which has aroused interest is a representation duplicated by an emotion. it would seem that the solid materials supplied by intelligence first melt and mix. while always the same faculty. into which there enters some degree of creativeness? Anyone engaged in writing has been in a position to feel the difference between an intelligence left to itself and which burns with the fire of an original and unique emotion. It no longer starts from a multiplicity of ready-made elements to arrive at a composite unity made up of a new arrangement of the old. unique. and yet which had to express itself.34 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. In the first case the mind cold-hammers the materials. combining together ideas long since cast into words and which society supplies in a solid form. which seemed to baffle expression. But it is in feels itself.

if it has entered elicited that morality my being. not from constraint or necessity. and is to a certain extent its cause. previously provided by language. but by virtue of an inclination which I should not want to resist. But if the atmosphere of the emotion is there. of one and the same melody. more or less satisfactorily. A play may be scarcely a work of literature and yet it may rack our nerves and cause an emotion of the first kind. in terms of ideas or images. I shall always be able to say that I will not accept it. in concepts both multiple and common. but it was a specific one. Unique of its kind. It was no more than a creative exigency. And instead of explaining . large share in the genesis of the moral disposition.i EMOTION AND CREATION 35 seems both one and unique. culled from those we experience in the course of daily life. it has sprung up in the soul of the poet and there alone. Which amounts to saying that. But the emotion excited within us by a great dramatic work is of quite a distinct character. intense. if I have breathed it in. From this particular doctrine we could never have amount of speculation any more than from any other. to this emotion the author was continually harking back throughout the composition of the work. which virtually contains it. and even if I do accept it. alongside of the emotion which is a result of the representation and which is added to it. and in any case devoid of mental content. no will create an obligation or anything like it: the theory may be all very fine. I shall claim to be free and do as I please. no doubt. but commonplace. we are " not by any means enunciating a moral philosophy of senti- ment ". in attributing to emotion a finished. uplifted by it. there is the emotion which precedes the image. now satisfied once the work is which would not have been satisfied by some other work unless that other had possessed an inward and profound resemblance with the former. before stirring our own. such as that which exists between two equally satisfactory renderings. and which will contrive later to express itself. from this emotion the work has sprung. I shall act in accordance with it. For we are dealing with an emotion capable of crystallising into representations and even into an ethical doctrine. To sum up.

the universe. Metaphysics and morality . can render the doctrine intellectually preferable. nor the moral practice induced a disposition to its metaphysics. theoretically preferable to the others. But neither has its metaphysics enforced the moral practice. and this ideal and this rule are perforce supplied by the morality which is already in occupation? On the other hand. as a purely above all. my act by emotion itself. the practice of the corresponding morality. how could a new conception of the them with universal order of things it anything but an explanation. ensure the adoption and. by the superiority of its morality that a religion wins over souls and reveals to them a certain conception of things.36 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. certain rules of conduct. the relation of the one to the other. for example. But the truth is that the doctrine cannot. and as an explicative representation intellectual representation. We here get a glimpse of the possible reply to a weighty question which we have just touched on incidentally and with which we shall be confronted later. we shall never see in be anything but yet another Even if our will. considered by intelligence as a system 6f rules of conduct. in that of intelligence. Antecedent to the new morality. a certain behaviour ensues and a certain doctrine is disseminated. since it can only appreciate differences of value by comparing a rule or an ideal. Take. by its ideas on God. there will be a wide gap between this assent of the intellect and a conversion of the philosophy to set alongside of those we know? intelligence is won over. People are fond of saying that if a religion brings us a new morality. the emotion introduced by Christianity under the name of charity: if it wins over souls. which develops as an impetus in the realm of the will. and also the new metaphysics. But would intelligence recognize the superiority of the proposed morality. it imposes that morality by means of the metaphysics which it disposes us to accept. To which the answer has been made that it is. there is the^mption. on the contrary. Even if it seems to enjoin on us. as more in harmony with itself. I might in this case just as well deduce it from the theory built up by the transposition of that emotion into ideas. any more than the particular morality.

and it is therefore easy for us. one in terms of intelligence. becomes less strictly social. and which have settled in what call the social conscience according as. get back to the original emotion in the depths of our hearts. But that the rest of we morality expresses a certain emotional state.I EMOTION AND REPRESENTATION 37 express here the self-same thing. There exist formulae which are we may the residue of this emotion. placed side by appear now to be only one. But let us stir the some of them still warm. generally speaking. it will gradually spread. we shall find filled with significance and acquires the capacity to act. that actually yield not to a pressure but to an attraction. received from it in exchange a connotation side. the . by grasping them where they are entirely visible. of life took form or rather a Precisely because we find ourselves in the presence of the ashes of an extinct emotion. ceasing to be abstract. expressing the fundamental requirements of social life. as soon as the thing is there to be expressed. because they have a clear precise formula. did not by contagious influence communicate to them something of their obligatory character. on the other hand. and the two expressions of the thing are accepted together. because these duties are a matter of current practice. the former having lent to the latter something of its imperative character and having. That a substantial half of our morality includes duties' whose obligatory character is to be explained fundamentally by the pressure of society on the individual will be readily granted. to discover the social requirements from which they sprang. a new conception life. many people will hesitate to acknowledge. ashes. These two moralities. and at length the sparks will kindle into flame. and then going down to the roots. like those of the first: as soon as one of them. The reason is that here we can- not. the fire may blaze up again. if older formulae. if it does. more broadly human. the other in terms of will. within that emotion. and because the driving power of that emotion came from the fire within it. the formulae which have remained would generally certain attitude towards be incapable of rousing our will. I mean that the maxims of the second morality do not work singly. and.

Founders and now come to reformers of religions. they are all there: inspired by their example. The first has handed on to the second something of its compulsive second has diffused over the other something of its We find ourselves in the presence of a series of steps up or down. they have chiefly a theoretical interest. Let us. by the two moralities in conceptual thought and in speech. when we dispel appearances to get at reality. set aside the common form assumed. obscure heroes of moral life whom we have met on our way and who are in our eyes the equals of the greatest. in the human species once constituted. tion. But there no need to resort to metaphysics to determine the relation between this pressure and this aspiration. They are indeed conquerors: they have broken down natural resistance and raised humanity to a new emotion which left them behind long Thus. in themselves. as it rotates on its own axis. according as we range through the dictates of morality from one extreme or from the other. through the medium of privileged persons. True. nevertheforce. as if we were joining an army of conquerors. closer to those natural forces which we call habit or even instinct. at the two extremes of the single morality we find pressure and aspiration: the former the more perfect as it becomes more impersonal. Once again. as to the two extreme limits. when we powerful according as definite persons. the perfume. there is some difficulty in comparing the two moralities ' because they are no longer to be found in a pure state. it is more obviously aroused in us by and the more it apparently triumphs over nature. mystics and saints. it is not often that they are actually attained.38 MORAL OBLIGATION all CH. and subsequently acting indirectly. the latter the more destiny. consider separately. if we went down to the roots of nature itself we might find that it is the same force manifesting itself directly. . then. in order to drive humanity is forward. we follow them. who experienced it. thanks to mutual exchanges. others tend to do the same: at last they fuse in the warm ago. the circular less. pressure and aspiraImmanent in the former is the representation of a society which aims only at self-preservation. life again. and in the men.

The feeling which would characterize the consciousness of these pure medium assuming they were all fulfilled. while the joy does imply and encompass the pleasure. through them. would be a and social well-being similar to that which Accompanies the normal working of life. and reformers of religion. But we must . it is not necessary that we [should picture a goal that we are trying to reach or a perfection to which we are approximating. as it same spot. In breaking away from them they feel relief. breaking with nature.i LIBERATION OF THE SOUL in 39 movement revolves on the which it carries round with it individuals. But antecedent to this metaphysical theory. The emotion of which we were speaking is the enthusiasm of a forward movement. far from hinging on a metaphysical theory. leave them indifferent. spread over the world. implicitly contains the feeling of progress. It would resemble pleasure rather than joy. "Progress" and "advance". it We merely expresses in representait tions the emotions peculiar to a soul opening out. We feel this to be so. Not that nature was wrong in attaching us by strong ties to the life she had ordained for us. which enclosed the city. all those things that mean so much to the common run of men. the mystics and the saints. in pro- were speaking of the founders portion as we dwell on it. and far nearer to what we have directly experienced. through the of habit. pleasures. and then exhilaration. is a vague imitation. are the simpler representations. of the immobility of instinct. state of individual contrary. are in this case indistinguishable from the enthusiasm itself. Let us hearken to their language. both within itself and within They begin by saying that what they experience is a feeling of liberation. The morality of aspiration. and the certainty thus obtained. is what will provide it with its firmest support. Well-being. enthusiasm by means of which this morality has won over a few and has then. It is enough that the joy ^To become conscious of them of enthusiasm involves something more than the pleasure of well-being. the pleasure not implying the joy. riches. which in this case spring from the emotion. on the obligations. moreover.

For heroism itself a return to movement. and even with the whole of nature. We cannot even say of this moral conviction that it moves It will . was not due precisely to the fact that nature has split humanity into a variety of individuals by the very act which constituted the human species. Like all acts creative of a species. there will be the hope that the circle may be broken in the end. Now. with the begin- ning of accomplishment. and emanates from an emotion all infectious like emotions akin to the creative act. burdensome impedimenta. and if this already the others imagine they would do likewise on occasion. By a resumption of the forward movement. if we had to take them on our travels. or that we can break it. means a great deal. we cannot repeat too often that it is not by preaching the love of our neighbour that we can obtain it. However much our intelligence may convince itself that this is the line of advance. experience ing is intervenes. to obtain a complete effect. might surprise us. The truth its is is that heroism may be it heroism cannot be preached. if the relative immobility of the soul. the privileged soul would have to carry the rest of humanity with it. That a soul thus equipped for action would be more drawn to sympathize with other souls. True. henceforth. Let no one speak of material obstacles to a soul thus freed! not answer that we can get round the obstacle. Religion expresses this truth in its that we love all other own way by saying that it is in God men. has only to show itself. revolving in a circle in an enclosed society. and flowing back again from God to mankind. and mere presence may stir others to action. the decision to break is broken. What is simple for our understandfeelings that not necessarily so for our will. It is not by expanding >our narrower we can embrace humanity. And all great mystics declare that they have the impression of a current passing from their soul to God.40 MORAL OBLIGATION real CH. and the amenities which are comforts at home would become hindrances. But if a few follow. this was a halt on the road. the only way to love. it will declare that there is no obstacle. and finds that in that direction there is no road. things behave differently. go further. In cases where logic affirms that a certain road should be the shortest. In any case.

one by one. at a stroke. a love which absorbs D . to an analysis which might be carried on indefinitely. it will stay where it is. is no end to a description of the structure of an eye such as ours. and though the distance is great from a rule of conduct to a power of nature. if we only took into account what we saw. It is similar to the simple act of an invisible hand plunged into iron filings. If seen from outside. there may be no limit to their number. it has always been from the contact with the generative principle of the human species that a man has felt he drew the strength to love mankind. in but a number of obstacles overcome. So long as you argue about the obstacle. for it sees no mountains to move. perhaps you will never exhaust them. if you deny its existence. in each of its there works. real or imaginary. we should find an impression of coincidence. the action of is simple. But you can do away with the whole. is it presents to the senses and the intelligence which analyse surprising that a soul which no more recognizes material obstacle should feel itself. and the infinite complexity of the mechanism seems to have built up piece by piece to achieve the power of vision is but the endless network of opposing forces which have cancelled one another out to secure an uninter- nature which it rupted channel for the functioning of the faculty. with the generative effort of life. which. rightly or wrongly. reality. of course. By going deeply into this new aspect of morality. and therefore fruitless. the stages of the intervening space.i FORWARD MOVEMENT 41 mountains. and so long as you look at it. at any aspect one with the principle of life? Whatever heterogeneity we may at first find between the effect and the cause. which Zeno judged indispensable to cover. the activity of life lends itself. If such is the contrast between the real working of life and the it it. perpetually to be renewed. you will divide it into parts which will have to be overcome one by one. By this I mean. But what we call a series of means employed is. That is what the philosopher did who proved movement by walking: his act was the negation pure and simple of the effort. would seem like an inexhaustible interplay of actions and reactions among the filings themselves in order to effect an equilibrium.

go to meet it: this mechanism. to the in-* dividual. we should say that nature. be sociable. is what we moral obligation in general. each one of which became contingent. without ceasing to be a man. In the former. In the second. and kindles the whole soul. if you will. reject all the pieces to together and cease to accept a mechanism of preservation. in social life. but that obligation is the force of an aspiration or an impetus.42 . left behind in the mind or deposited in speech. and at which it had provisionally halted. one of which follows from the original structure of human society. faint and fleeting. But a more lukewarm love. but since intelligence was there. a pressure whose effect is prefigured in each of us by a system of habits which. call felt behind the contingency of the parts. in a system of habits which bears a resemblance more or less to which each separate part is parable to an instinct. yet instinctive in that man could not. but whose whole is combeen prepared by nature. if not a still paler and colder image of it. the maintenance of social life had to be entrusted to an all but intelligent mechanism: intelligent in that each piece could be remodelled by human intelligence. it being understood that the parts are contingent in the eyes of society only. to sum up what has gone before. instinct: the primitive setting down it the human species along the line of evolution. Thus. in the same way as it did the comintended munities of ants and bees. MORAL OBLIGATION CH. and this necessity bringing back instinct with it. has impetus here comes into play directly. the part is as necessary as the whoj^jfjfow the mechanism designed by . their convergence towards the preservation of society being alone necessary. Instinct gave place temporarily to a system of habits. while the other finds its explanation in the principle which explains this structure. obligation stands for the pressure exerted by the elements of society on one another in order to maintain the shape of the whole. In short. of a habit. The necessity of the whole. of the very impetus which culminated in the human species. into ivhom society inculcates its habits. morality comprises two different parts. can only be a radiation of the former. there is still obligation. and no longer through the medium of the mechanisms it had set up. so to speak.

original and fundamental in man. In spite of humanity having become civilized. she took the most minute precautions to ensure the preservation of the species by the multiplication on us that of individuals. that nature foresaw a certain expansion of social life through intelligence. mean morality. hence she had not foreseen. that intelligence would at once find a way of divorcing the sexual act from refrain man might its consequences. I grant that the organic tendencies do not stand out clearly to our consciousness. in spite of the transformation of society. and from reaping without forgoing the .I FORWARD MOVEMENT 43 nature was simple. The result of this that the tendencies we maintain investigation is clear. We can trace them back and study them. when bestowing intelligence. according to the rule followed by all other living creatures. designed or foreseen anything whatever. organic in social life have remained what they were in the beginning. so knowing and wise. Such then the first half of other had no place in nature's plan. it is to these natural tendencies that we come in the end. is made. However complex our morality has grown and though it has become coupled with tendencies which are not mere modifications of natural tendencies. strictly speaking. simple societies that the moral structure. yet so simple-minded. when we want to obtain a precipitate of the pure obligation conis tained in this fluid mass. Did she foresee the immense development and the endcomplexities of societies such as ours? Let us first agfee as to the meaning of this question. who speaks of nature's intentions every time he assigns a function to an organ: he merely expresses thus the adequateness of the organ to the function. as it were. it is for closed. They constitute. Nature surely intended that men should beget men endlessly. and whose trend is not in the direction of nature. do not assert that less We nature has. but it was to be a limited expansion. like the societies originally constituted by her. which are. the strongest element of obligation. nevertheless. Numerous indeed are the instances where man has thus outwitted nature. But we have the right to proceed like a biologist. She could The We not have intended that this should go on so far as to endanger the original structure.

that nature designed war for war's sake. but that hostility. path is strewn with obstacles. for those societies whpse design was prefigured in the original structure of the human soul. This being so. at least for themselves. It has freed men from restrictions to which they were condemned by the limitations of their nature. . leaders of humanity drawing men after them. Not. and the species which have appeared. It might be said. but he is deceiving her too. species was being constituted. Their example has ended in leading others forward. it was not impossible that some of them. of course. his intelligence being designed to further individual and group life. what nature could not possibly have done for mankind. but not with all nature. by slightly distorting the to natura naturans that terms of Spinoza. one after the other. But intelligence. Hence in passing from social solidarity to the brotherhood of man.44 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. has developed unexpectedly. in imagination at least. seem indeed to have Those thereby found their place again in the direction of the vital impetus. But this impetus inherent in life is. Man. that it is to get back we break away from natura naturata. in another way. pleasure of sowing. It is in quite another sense that man outwits nature when he extends social solidarity into the brother- hood of man. There is a genius of the will as there is a genius of the mind. should reopen that which was closed and do. wrests from it. and of which we can still perceive the plan in the innate and fundamental tendencies of modern man. was a being both intelligent and social. the impetus traversing matter. the others making us turn in a circle. finite. and genius defies all Through those geniuses of the will. promises such as were out of the question when the anticipation. who have broken down the gates of the city. fresh from the hands of nature. specially gifted. we break with one particular nature. required that the group be closely united. Its his sociability being devised to find its scope in small communities. of life. like life. expanding through its own efforts. between group and group there should be virtual we were always to be prepared for attack or defence. for the future of the species. are so many combinations of this force with opposing forces: the former urging us forward.

Pleasure and well-being That is why the first morality is comparatively easy to formulate. common to the individual and to society. whereas they are virtually contained in joy. Those who regularly put into practice the morality of the know this feeling of well-being. if we consider the disappears. . movement includes immobility. indeed. or it acknowledges no change. between the first morality and the second. in its it more borders upon paradox. are something. they are less at home in representing transitions or progress. while joy is a step forward. what becomes of justice. But city the soul that is objects vanish. They mean.i FORWARD MOVEMENT 45 Hence. would it be able at first to define. is lost opening. For our intelligence and our language deal in fact with things. without there can be no "charity"? But the paradox the contradiction vanishes. There is a difference of vital tone. any more than you can from one or several positions of a moveable body derive motion. after all. and even upon definite admonitions? If riches are an is evil. If it changes. But a detailed demonstration is unnecessary: the superiority is experienced before ever it is represented. joy is more. and before whose eyes material in sheer joy. not be injuring the poor in giving them he who has been smitten on the one cheek to offer the other also. indeed. a halt or a marking time. on the contrary. Thus would it prove. should we If what we possess? which. and furthermore could not be demonstrated afterwards if it had not first been felt. each position traversed the moving object being conceived and even perceived as by a virtual stop. Postulate the first. thus alone. you cannot bring the second out of it. But the second is a forward thrust. For it is not contained in these. it immediately forgets that it has changed. The shape it assumes at any given time claims to be the final shape. which is the outward sign of the interplay of material resistances neutralizing each other. a demand for movement. The morality of the Gospels is essentially that of the open soul: are we not justified in pointing out that contradiction. but not the second. But. The first is supposed to be immutable. it is the very essence of mobility. lies the whole distance between repose and movement. its superiority.

The Stoics proclaimed themselves citizens of the world. Current morality is not abolished. something like a snapshot view of movement. that the rich man should give up his riches: blessed are the poor "in spirit"! The beauty lies. stop in the course of actual progression. not even in depriving oneself. The old method is not given up. the doctrine of the Stoics with Christian morality. but it is fitted into a more general method. the impetus was not there which would have solutions made them spring from the static to the dynamic." On the one hand the closed. as is the case when the dynamic reabsorbs the static. we shall into the language be confronted with we might compare what is impracticable in certain precepts of the Gospels to what was illogical in the first explanations of the differential calculus. between the morality of the ancients and Christianity we should find much the same relation as that between the mathematics of antiquity and our own.46 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. . but it appears like a virtual . a means of expressing directly the movement and the tendency. and added that all men were brothers. formulae that border on contradiction. I say unto you. not in being deprived. but for own sake.. intent of these maxims. . an anticipated application of our general methods. so to say. Indeed. It is not for the sake of the poor. but in not feeling the deprivation. but it never brought out these methods. The act by which the soul opens out his broadens and raises to pure spirituality a morality enclosed and materialized in ready-made rules: the latter then becomes. but if we still want and we cannot avoid it to translate them of the static and the motionless. Now. the latter then becoming a mere particular instance of the former. Such is the inner meaning of the antitheses that occur one after the other in the Sermon on the Mount: "Ye have heard that it was said .. we have just the same impression for example. rate it carried as far as possible the imitation of the when we compare. We should need then. which is to create a certain disposition of the soul. So The geometry of the ancients may have provided particular which were. in comparison with the other. strictly speaking. But at any dynamic by the static. on the other the open.

philosophers without having written anything. above everything else. Socrates. but rather to the exalts the exercise of reason. The irony he parades is meant to dispose of opinions which have not under- gone the test of reflection. to put them to shame. also essentially rational. he thus paves the way for the doctrine which will absorb all moral life in the rational function of thought. The philosopher who is so enamoured of this noble doctrine as to become wrapped up in it doubtless vitalizes it by translating life malion's love breathe it into practice. Dialogue. and particularly the logical function of the mind. To find something of the kind in classical antiquity. unceasingly. because they were not spoken with the same accent. so to speak. essentially rational. will serve as a model for the systems. virtue itself he holds to be a science. by setting them in contradiction with themselves. just so did Pyginto the statue once it was carven. He has received a mission. or even several different doctrines having no other resemblance between them than a kinship of the spirit. as he understands it. The Stoics provided some very fine examples.i CLOSED MORALITY AND OPEN MORALITY 47 having come from the same God. Socrates teaches because the oracle of Delphi has spoken. but they did not find the same echo. we must not go to the But it is man who inspired all the great of Greece without contributing any system. At least that is what strikes us at first. like a conflagration. Socrates indeed Stoics. of traditional metaphysics. The words were almost the same. and . these concepts will become the Platonic Ideas. But let us look closer. The object of such a dialogue is to arrive at concepts that may be circumscribed by definitions. spreads Such an emotion may indeed develop into ideas which make up a doctrine. has given birth to the Platonic dialectics and consequently to the philosophical method. He is poor. in its turn. it is because Stoicism is essentially a philosophy. he identifies the practice of good with our knowledge of it. but it precedes the idea instead of following it. If they did not succeed in drawing humanity after them. and the theory of Ideas. Reason has never been set so high. which we still practice. Socrates goes further still. a far cry from this emotion to the enthusiasm which from soul to soul.

Soc- working through the incomparable prestige of his Let us go further. so perfectly rational. philosophy down from heaven to earth. He must mix with the common folk. he must become one of them. if he goes to meet his condemnation. if he refuses to defend himself before the popular tribunal. or simply to go about his inner self Socrates is there. Whenever the philosopher. as has always been down because they develop the teaching of the Master in its various directions. It has been said that he brought person. if the master's language had always been such Xenophon attributes to him. it is because the "daemon" has said nothing to dissuade him. above all. his speech must get back to their speech.48 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. though no way an ascetic. closeted with his wisdom. to serve as a model. but also. only that he is delivered from material needs. could we understand the enthusiasm which fired his disciples. and emancipated from his body. in the present-day meaning of the words. But do we not detect this in his teaching itself? If the inspired. a living thing. stands apart from the common rule of mankind be it to teach his work of perfecting them. be it will write nothing. which makes its voice heard when a warning is necessary. all the Greek moralists spring from Socrates not only. in it. and. and above all his death. his mission is of a religi- voice" that he dies rather than not follow ous and mystic order. his teaching. to minds who shall convey He He is indifferent to cold and hunger. He so thoroughly believes in this "daemonic to other minds. and which has come the ages? Stoics. But could we understand his life. . because they borrow from him the attitude which is so little in keeping said. so that his thought shall communicated. which occur throughout the dialogues of Plato. A "daemon" accompanies him. with the Greek spirit and which he created. In a word. poor he must remain. but those of Plato as himself. if the conception of the soul which Plato attributes to him in the Phaedo had not been his? More generally speaking. do the myths we find in the rates alive. the attitude of the Sage. or at all events lyrical sayings. were not those of Socrates. Epicureans. hinges on something that seems to transcend pure reason. Cynics.

In a word. of their resemblance. To confine ourselves to what would this very practical Socrates. and the Socratic conception of the soul to which they stand in the same relationship as the explanatory programme to a symphony. its origin. above all. struck by the danger of the moral empiricism of his time. before the one absorbed the best that was in the other. They have provided the Socratic soul with a body of doctrine similar to that into which was to be breathed the spirit of the Gospels. do anything more than set down in Platonic terms a creative emotion. if he had not had to deal with the most crying need first. by establishing the rights of reason. its entrance into the body. for a while the world may well have wondered whether it was to become Christian or Neo-Platonic. if he had not been. have been preserved along with the Platonic dialectics. touching the soul. and the mental anarchy of Athenian democracy. The two meta- Ammonius physics. the emotion present in the moral teaching of Socrates? The myths. in any case with Plotinus. the attitude he assumes when he rises. Between the immobility of a man seated and the motion of the same man running there is the act of getting up. in spite. but in the measure in which these outbursts cleared the road for a new spirit. gave battle to each other. Between the closed soul and the open soul there is the soul in process of opening. if he had not therefore thrust intuition and inspiration into the background. They pursue their subterranean way through Greek metaphysics. and rise to the open air again with the Alexandrine philosophers. in . between the static and the dynamic there is to be observed. and outbursts of lyricism were probably rare. with perhaps. who claims to be the successor of Socrates. the question is have done in another society and in other circumgenius stances. they have been decisive for the future of humanity. perhaps because. It was Socrates against Jesus.i BETWEEN THE CLOSED AND THE OPEN 49 dialogues of Plato. and if the Greek he was had not mastered in him who sought to come into being? have made the distinction between the closed and the open: would anyone place Socrates among the closed souls? There was the Oriental We irony running through Socratic teaching.

it is something less than intelligence. Considered in result of getting up. Compared described negatively such a soul would be manifesting indifference or insensibility. very different principles may find in it a common goal. its life would be contemplation. Between the two intelligence It is at this point that the it human soul would have down. in man. Let us put the same thing in a different way. emotion. It would have dominated the morality of the closed soul. had sprung forward from the one without reaching the other. morality too. it contains any amount of intellectuality. supra-intellectual. its attitude truly worthy of admiration and reserved for the chosen few. when at rest. thus. This intermediate state would pass unnoticed if. the lifted it to the plane of inwith the position it had just left tellectuality. or rather it would not have created. noble. from repetition to creation. it would be in the "ataraxy" or the "apathy" of the Epicureans and the Stoics. if its detachment from the old sought to be an attachment to something new. and the other is a contribution of man's genius. Its attitude. The former is characteristic of a whole group of habits which are. a transition stage. and the purely dynamic. it would conform to the Platonic and the Aristotelian ideal. From whatever angle we look at it. susceptible of analysis into ideas which furnish intellectual notations of it and branch out into infinite detail. we could develop the necessary impetus to spring straight into action. it. that of the open soul. intuition. Philosophies which start from would be upright. The reason is that there is only one road leading from action confined in a circle to action developing in the freedom of space. intellectual.50 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. would have what it positively is. Any one from the infra-intellectual to the suprahalting between the two is inevitably in . But it attracts our attention when we stop short the usual sign of insufficient impetus. Nature intended the one. lies it is more than settled intelligence. We have seen that the purely static morality might be called infra-intellectual. it would not have attained to. The latter is inspiration. like a unity which encompasses and transcends a plurality incapable of ever equalling itself. the counterpart of certain instincts in animals.

being a blend of that which is a cause of pressure and that which is an object of aspiration. Pressure and aspiration agree to meet for this purpose in that region of the mind where concepts are formed. But the result is also that we lose sight of pure pressure and pure aspiration actually at work on our wills. in a word. of course. in other words. many of them of a compound nature. naturally practises that half-virtue. withdrawing into We itself and judging that the object of life is what the ancients are speaking. so it would seem. the majority of the philosophical is The theories of duty. with in this chapter. That which is strict obligation tends to expand and to broaden out by absorbing aspiration. detachment. Not. But this influence would . no longer holding to the one but without having yet reached the other. force acting upon us is taken to be this concept: a fallacy which accounts for the failure of strictly intellectualist systems of morality. that an idea pure and simple without influence on our will. But our description was thereby condemned. some of it and some of it supra-intellectual. called "science" or contemplation. This had left it to be done. to which pressure and aspiration were respectively attached. to remain a mere outline. and in any case. are speaking of pure intelligence. That which is aspiration tends to materialize because philosophy had itself to by assuming the form of strict obligation. we have in fact distinguished the two forces that act upon us. we should be dealing with the morality of everybody if we considered intelligence as a mere infra-intellectual elaboration or co-ordinating agent of the material. and it is undone. But it would no longer be a matter of Greek We or Oriental philosophy. of what mainly characterizes the morality of the Greek Philosophers. that it has scarcely succeeded. impulsion on the one hand. we see only the concept into which the two distinct objects have amalgamated.i BETWEEN THE CLOSED AND THE OPEN 51 the zone of pure contemplation. which we have been dealing and attraction on the other. as we hinted. confining the intellectuality which to-day covers both. In order to define the very essence of duty. The result is mental pictures. in explaining how a moral motive can have a hold upon the souls of men.

that he acts from self- feeling of the dignity of man. the ego that respects is not the same as the ego respected. to use the language of Aristotle. in a word. for example. honest man will say. is the latter? it Wherein lies its dignity? Whence comes the respect task of analysing this inspires? Let us leave aside the respect. the group The . we shall see in it selfrespect coinciding with the feeling of so firm a solidarity between the individual and the group that the group remains present in the isolated individual. one of impulse. There would remain to be defined the higher ego to which the average personality defers. then. should have to open a very long parenthesis indeed if the one social. the other of attraction. An We we had to give their due share to the two forces. exerted with all these accumulated individual. and the one to which his will uplifts him.52 MORAL OBLIGATION if it CH. the attitude of the apprentice towards the master. Obviously he respect. in which we should find above all an impulse of self-effacement. of the accident in the presence of the essence. or rather. simply for the sake of theoretical clearness. demands. would not express himself thus. or. on which we have already touched. which impart to each moral motive its driving force. if he did not begin by splitting himself into two selves. It has it does triumph because of the reappearance. What. encourages or threatens him. keeps an eye on him. exerting their full strength. in their individ- and their independence. does not obey merely from a habit of discipline or from fear of punishment. moreover. There is no doubt that it is in the first place the "social ego" within each of us. behind society itself there are supernatural powers on which the group depends. the personality he would be if from a he simply let himself drift. only operate effectively over them. If we posit. uality it is difficulty in resisting hostile influences. of the pressure and the aspiration which had each renounced its own right of action by being represented together in one idea. to be consulted and obeyed. if could remain in isolation. and which make the community responsible is for the acts of the individual. a "primitive" mentality. the pressure of the social ego forces. the other supra-social.

must have been tantamount to what we call nationalism to-day. take a state of mind already more fully "evolved". a point of view which we to-day can only isolate by an effort of abstraction.i SELF-RESPECT which he belongs must. respect is. Now indeed the impulsion would self-respect were the respect for a person admired and venerated. above our human cities. in the Roman citizen. If you want to make sure of this. separating them from the common herd. also of the moral energy which went to make up the civis Romanus sum: self-respect. from the real society in which we live we betake ourselves in thought to obviously become attraction. and thus a common code of behaviour comes to be observed. These are the first components of self-respect. as a man. that of the ego which is no more than man for an ego that stands out among men. To the self-respect which every man. All the members of the group behave as a group. in the small sooifeties when men are which form \Wthin drawn together by a distinguishing badge which emphasizes a real or apparent superiority. the call has none the less gone forth. none the less. Looked at from this angle. they unite into a divine city which they bid us enter. We may not hear their voices distinctly. as the copy to an original. In reality it is not so. of course. professes is then coupled an additional respect. together with all the satisfactions that pride can give. But the great moral figures that have made their mark on history join hands across the centuries. only to rouse his courage in battle. and something answers from the depth of our soul. at the end of its evolution as at the beginning. But we need all not turn to history or pre-history to see self-respect coinciding with a group-pride. a feeling of honour springs up which is identical with esprit de corps. if 53 to exalt itself above the others. We need only observe what goes on under our very eyes the big one. whose image we bore in our hearts and with whom we would aspire to become identified. and the con- sciousness of this superiority of strength secures for him greater strength. if . for even if the word merely evokes the idea of an attitude of self towards self. it "binds" us by the prestige of the social pressure it brings with it. a social feeling. Think of all the pride.

because it includes most of the others. That reason is the distinguishing mark of man no one will deny. holding the scales. Justice is represented as signifies equality. the impersonal character is still more stressed when a philosopher explains to us that it is reason. right and righteousness are words which suggest a straight line. Pensare. All moral ideas interpenetrate each other. of the real one. But here we must take care to know what we mean. and next. in the sense in which a fine work of art is indeed valuable. lastly and above all. in simpler formulae. this ideal society. means Equity to weigh. These references to arithmetic and geometry are characteristic of justice throughout its history. in spite of its extraordinary richness. which constitutes the dignity of man. Rules and regulation. The idea must have already taken shape as far back as the days of exchange and barter. when we declare that we act from self-respect. present in each of compels our respect and commands our obedience by virtue of its paramount value. it is how that its orders are absolute and Let us not then merely assert that reason. We must add that there are. Justice has always evoked ideas of equality. the men who have made mankind divine. because here the two forms of obligation are seen to dovetail into each other. It is these men who draw us towards an ideal society. but none is more instructive than that of justice. and who have thus stamped a divine character on reason. present in each of us. which we are apparently always at liberty to counter with other reasons. That it is a thing of superior value. to this ideal society we bow down when we reverence the dignity of man within us. It is true that the influence And exerted on us by definite persons tends to become impersonal. will also be granted. behind reason. in the first place. But we must why they explain are obeyed. and it cannot barter without first finding out if the objects exchanged . of proportion. while we yield to the pressure us. of compensation. which is the essential attribute of man. however rudimentary a community may be. " " from which we derive compensation" and recompense". because it is expressed. it barters. Reason can only put forward reasons.54 MORAL OBLIGATION CH.

will clearly emerge. vaguely subject to the general law of exchanges and barter. putes community will assess the penalty according to the gravity of the offence. only apply to the exchange of objects. already implied in the idea of exchange and barter. since otherwise there would be no object in stopping. Moreover.i JUSTICE 55 are really equal in value. It will extend gradually between persons. adding its weight to the rule: here we have justice already. But is the price of an eye always an eye. let the community itself undertake to exact punishment. It is true that the quarrel might go on for ever. and the ideas of But such justice will not equality and reciprocity involved. assaults on persons concern the to injure the community only exceptionally. and avenge himself. if one of them did not up indefinitely by the two make up its mind to accept in cash. the injury received must always be equivalent to the injury inflicted. here the idea of compensation. the price of a tooth always a tooth? Quality the . the offence. react naturally. that is to say. the expectation of an injury equivalent to the injury done. and it will be said that the community is dispensing justice. in a clearly defined shape. for a long time to come. with its imperative character. It will then consist mainly in the regulation of natural impulses to intercourse by the introduction of the idea of a no less natural reciprocity. this rule be given a place among the customs of the group. once we have begun to do wrong. both exchangeable for a definite third object. for example. when the act is community itself by bringing down upon likely it the wrath of the gods. a tooth for a tooth. The injured party or his family has only therefore to obey his instinct. "damages" Now to repress all acts of violence whatsoever. if the rule to which individuals and families referred for a settlement of their diswere already being described by that term. to all appearances. and the reprisals might be out of all proportion to requital of evil for evil was not. to shake off all idea of objects and exchanges. In primitive societies. Let this equality of value be set up as a rule. if this the "vendetta" might be kept families. the "totality of obligation". An eye for an eye. as we called it. we should not run any greater risk by proceeding to extremities. though unable.

is none the less vices they render. fostered appearance of superiority. Now. it may go on doing so when position has virtually become the stronger. Justice here faithful to its mercantile origins. and by seek- ing for its it an explanation. this superiority only needs to persist in order to seem a matter of birth. responsibilities and privileges are looked upon as a common stock. pointed de jure. measuring and proportioning. or heavier punishmejnt. same offence In a word. But a suborby seeming natural. will call for greater compensation. There is indeed no doubt that force lies at the origin of the division of ancient societies into classes subordinate to dination that is habitual ends one another. equality may connote a ratio and become a proportion. the received. And this superiority be real. if the victim belong to a higher class. and in a more general way to those between different social categories. in a more civilized state. though it may not express itself in utilitarian terms. must be borne tion is mind as well as quantity. Plato shared it in his Ideal Republic. the same injury sustained. The law of retalia- applied only within a class. to be eventually distributed among the individuals of the according to their worth. since hereditary privilege is there. into a state of things which only exists de facto it will introduce considerations of equality or proportion which will make of that state something mathematically defined. who intended ordered societies. it extends to the relations between the rulers and the ruled. which.56 MORAL OBLIGATION in CH. Hence. Nature. whether real or apparent. it would seem. though justice may embrace a greater and greater variety of things. how shall we pass to the . if the inferior class has accepted for a considerable time. people say to one another. has predisposed man to this illusion. Nor will its formula alter when. However it may be. and. there must be. consequently according to the serstill holds her scales. thereby. because it will attribute itself will to the governing class a superior value. if the members of this class have taken advantage facilities they may have had for intellectual and moral but it may quite as well be a mere carefullyimprovement. some innate superiority. from this justice. If a class system is understood in this way. it is always defined in the same way.

and as if the old had been a part of it even then. It does not follow that. there has been creation. perhaps one particular man. a part of something yet uncreated. Something has supervened which might never have existed.i JUSTICE 57 justice which implies neither exchange made nor service rendered. new thing had always been there. example philosophers. not actually but virtually pre-existing. which only comes into being as a stopping-place when the moving object has chosen to stop there. which has vitiated a goodly it to-day. But instead of place some new thing has come and taken possession it into a whole that was up to then we prefer looking upon the process as if the unforeseeable. and on this showing realizing that of the old and absorbed the conceptions of justice which followed one another in ancient societies were no more than partial. the movement interval little consisted in a progression towards this end: an still it which has little. being the assertion pure and simple of the inviolability of right and of the incommensurability of the person with any values whatever? Before answering this question. Let us simply say that it is is no need to analyse of a very general illusion. by since is but one extremity cannot diminish not yet an interval: it will have the diminished little by little when moving object has created. certain men. incomplete visions of an integral justice which is nothing more or less than justice as we know in detail this particular barely noticed by of metaphysical doctrines and which sets the theory of knowledge insoluble problems. There number part of our habit of considering all forward movement as a progressive shortening of the distance between the starting-point (which indeed exists) and the goal. In whatever light we view the transition from relative to absolute justice. I mean the power which a word bestows on a newly created idea it when pre-existent object extends to that idea after having been applied to a of modifying that object and thus retro- actively influencing the past. whether it took by stages or all at once. let us pause to admire the magic property of speech. which would not have existed except for certain circumstances. . because it can always be interpreted in this sense when it has attained its end.

of the upper class. but because of their very tendency to assert their individuality. they are guilty of a slackening of that inner tension upon which they had called for a greater effort of intelligence and will. backwards. of merit and services rendered. Zeno's Dichotomy has provided the same illusion which we find typical example. under the guise of the pre-existence of the possible in the real. and when we consider it in retrospect or even simply trace the movement in its progress while. without there being any question of translating it into practice. once conceived (in a vague form). And even rospectively by then we should have to add that there had been. the spell is broken. the former might be regarded as so many halts us. And it is this in ethics when the continually expanding forms of relative justice are defined as growing approximations of absolute justice. Let us simply say. because. in anticipation. but at a certain epoch a sudden leap. in so far as the first point is concerned. that the long-standing inequalities of class. The most we are entitled to say is that once the latter is stated. by actual or virtual stopping. and which had consolidated their supremacy. become more and more ex- are. the ruling elements moreover. They could indeed maintain their position if they held together. reconstituting it in that way. we introduce into the things themselves. Thus do aristocracies class. posed to the criticism of the lower classes. there will one day arise ambitious men from among them who mean lower to get the upper hand and who will seek support in the the latter already has some share in and that day shatters the belief in a native superiority affairs. deteriorating. doubtless imposed in the and accepted afterwards as inequalities beginning by force. especially if . plotted out ret- would lead to absolute justice. a second extremity. this retrospective anticipation. along a road which. to determine the exact point at which this saltus interesting took place. being too sure of them- selves. This illusion lies at the root of many a philosophical problem. But this is just what we do not realize for the most part. And it would be no less instructive to find out how it was that.58 MORAL OBLIGATION its CH. not gradual It would be progress. absolute justice long remained no more than a respected ideal.

within the But it is for example. it tolerates slavery a far cry from such examples of equilibrium. arrived at mechanically and always transitory. if therefore it admits of exceptions. as. if it is only de facto. be futile to maintain that it takes place gradually and automatically. It is sight impracticable. and the experiment will not be tried unless society has allowed itself to be won over. disconcerting its A work by may create. of the incommensurable and the absolute. and you had a circle from which there would have been no escape.I JUSTICE 59 tend to merge into democracy. moreover. having expanded the social ego within themselves. It is a leap forward. but on its positive side it proceeds by successive creations. and that we have not to do here with an invention comparable with that of the artist. It would. Of this justice only form a complete idea if we were to out to infinity". each of them being a fuller realization than the last of personality and consequently of humanity. the justice of the "rights of man". but. by we could "draw it prohibitions. like that of the scales held by the justice of yore. They could only be carried out in a society whose state of mind was already such as their realization was bound to bring about. Now the first start has always been given by no use maintaining that this leap forward does not imply a creative effort behind it. on the contrary. little little. if one or several privileged beings. as in fact they were. of genius which is at first by the simple fact of presence. simply because political inequality is an unstable thing. That would be to forget that most great reforms appeared at someone. to a justice such as ours. as a consequence of the state of mind of society at a given period of its history. or at least stirred. city. a conception of art and an artistic atmosphere . indeed. which can only take place if society has decided to try the experiment. which no longer evokes ideas of relativity and proportion. once it is established. if. it is only formulated precisely and categorically at a stated time. had not broken the circle and drawn the society after them. Such realization is only possible through the medium of laws. will be. as the mathematicians say. political equality. Now this is exactly what occurs in the first miracle of artistic creation. it implies the assent of society.

save perhaps a relative. an innocent man.60 MORAL OBLIGATION it CH. there was somewhere a man. it is the success that causes the idea to have been a good one. the idea of justice. put to ourselves the famous question: "What should we do if we heard that for the common good. is due to a transformation of public taste brought about by the work it itself. otherwise it would have remained what it was at the beginning. To take the latter first. Public safety was not merely the supreme law. to think of it. forget if about but it. a social need. it was furthermore proclaimed as such. with this difference. or rather is the very impetus of the artist. it will then become work of genius. if the work which at first repelled us eventually wins through. that the success. They bear. upon the substance of justice. There was no justice for slaves. even if we accept any particular consequence of that principle. whereas society to-day we should not dare to lay down the principle that it justifies injustice. almost an optional justice. Let us dwell on this point. but that for a long time it was an obligation like other obligations. that we shall never we were bound to know hear anything more it. above all. as indeed it has remained. and more particularly of the creations which more one which and more enrich. no! a thousand times no! Better to accept realize that this . to it by the artist. merely disconcerting. one after the other. like the others. let us lay down that justice has always appeared as obligatory. has set up an impetus imparted the latter being then force as well as matter. which bring in retrospect a within our comprehension. and it was the pressure of on the individual which made justice obligatory. condemned to to suffer eternal torment?" Well. invisible and within the work. we should perhaps agree it on the understanding that some magic philtre is going to make us it. to man's hideous torture was the price of our that it was even the fundamental condition of existexistence. but they modify its form as well. ence in general. for the very existence of mankind. The same can be said of moral present invention. It met. In a financial speculation. This being so. Something much the same occurs in artistic creation. an injustice was neither more nor less shocking than any other breach of the rules.

it was because Israel. embracing all men.i JUSTICE all! 61 let that nothing should exist at to pieces. If any of them. for that republic which went no further than the gates of the city. But these extensions did not occur spontaneously either. consisted in the substitution of a universal republic. for. their indignation against injustice was the very wrath of Jehovah against His disobedient people. and indeed the door will ever stand open to fresh creations. Let us leave out Plato. There seems to be no doubt that this second advance. Better our planet be blown Now what has happened? How has justice emerged life. creations. the chosen of God among the other peoples. they imparted to justice the violently imperative character which it has kept. and yet missed it. as the first was due to the Prophets of Judaism. and. categorical and particular privilege. Each development was a creation. as the era of the prophets had been for its form. It is from this that if the door has remained open to and probably will for all time stand open. new Idea of man among the transcendent Ideas: did it not follow . is due to Christianity. None the less. was so high above the rest of mankind that sooner or later it was destined to be taken as a model. yet it must have been opened. True. may have thought of universal justice. who certainly includes the all the rest has followed. transcendent? Let us recall the tone and accents of the from social within which Prophets of injustice has Israel. justice has singularly expanded since their time. which it has since stamped on a substance grown infinitely more extensive. within the city. It is their voice we hear when a great been done and condoned. From the depths of the centuries they raise their protest. The justice they preached applied above all to Israel. bound to God by a covenant. it had always dwelt with no and soared above it. the passage from the closed to the open. touched it. or against the enemies of this chosen people. On each one of them a competent historian could put a proper name. Could it have been brought about by mere philosophy? There is nothing more instructive than to see how the philosophers have skirted round it. The progress which was decisive for the substance of justice. was limited to free men. like Isaiah.

There was rather a pointing of the way. there have arisen very noble doctrines. an ideal merely conceived. and was destined to go on indefinitely. Indeed there was no question here of clear-cut wisdom. demanding a constant renewal of effort. Such effort was bound to be. but they have not been concerned with laying down laws for humanity. which would only be temporary. Indeed. we find Stoicism and. to soon followed by the men of the French Revolution. implied in others. for example. Humanity had to wait till with its Christianity for the idea of universal brotherhood. being barbarians. Was it. in fact. not even the Stoic who was an emperor. The . this to the idea From that all men. could claim no rights. and very likely conceived as impracticable. were of equal worth and that the common essence conferred on them the same fundamental rights. considered the possibility of lowering the barrier between the free man and the slave. an effort of creation. It would have meant condemning slavery. giving up the Greek idea that foreigners. in certain individuals at least. In China. before Christianity. reducible. indeed eighteen centuries elapsed before the rights of man were proclaimed by the Puritans of America. nevertheless. they are in fact only interested in the Chinese community. wherever Christianity has not penetrated. though they do not expressly say so. Some may say that it has been rather a slow process. It began. But these dicta were the expression of an ideal. There is nothing to show that any of the great Stoics. invoking love in return. from beginning to end. the person. a suggestion of the means.62 that all MORAL OBLIGATION men were of the same essence? CH. But the step was not taken. into maxims. qua men. at most an indication of the goal. in modern as well as in ancient times. among the Stoics. with the teachings of the Gospels. philosophers who proclaim that all men are brothers. was but one step. and that the wise man is a citizen of the world. implication of equality of rights and the sanctity of become operative. between the Roman citizen and the barbarian. it is very different when the idea is broadcast to the ends of the earth in a message overflowing with love. an essentially Greek idea? We find it. it is one thing for an idea to be merely propounded by sages worthy of admiration.

all these are of Judaic-Christian origin. Let us go further. in retrospect. the that is true not only of the idea totality of eternal justice. in- We dividual and contingent. thus each advance is imagined to be so much gained over an entity conceived as pre-existing. bit by bit. will be generally grouped under the same heading. be drawn out to infinity. for example. can seldom guide our . The name will not apply only to the terms already existing of the series thus obtained. Now of justice but also of the ideas which are cognate with it are fond of defining the equality and liberty. nay. Classical antiquity had known nothing of propaganda. incorporating into itself. Spiritual expansion. we shall imagine the idea which it represents as having been also created just as long ago. But because men went on using the same word. would retrospectively complete its cause. but what are we to it derive from it? It applies to the past. though still open to additions and of undetermined content. reality is looked upon as eating its it will way into the ideal. as continuations of one another. they too readily thought they were dealing with the same thing. movement. classified under the same idea and labelled by the same name. as the designation was created long ago. We progress of justice as a forward equality. and which would then serve to consolidate them. The definition is movement towards liberty and unimpeachable. and indeed existing since the beginning of time. new feelings. if each one has given rise to the one that follows it and if they appear. in imagining what would be its possible society. and be placed at the end. The modern idea of justice has progressed in this way by a series of individual creations which have succeeded through multifarious efforts animated by one and the same impulse. and then inducing some such condition by propaganda and example: the effect. would call forth the new legislation effect method consisted on the soul of seemingly indispensable to their appearance.i JUSTICE 63 in supposing possible what is actually imin a given society. missionary zeal. cannot too often repeat that successive creations. impetus. its justice had the unruffled serenity of the gods upon Olympus. evanescent indeed. once psychic obtained. Encroaching on the future. it will denote the whole series.

choice for the future. which. closed justice. and above all. when some exceptional moral nature has created a new feeling. and passed on to mankind. the . an environment in which life would be more worth living. it can be defined. the other open. Thus only only in retrospect that it moral progress to be defined. Look at it how you will. they would refuse is to a society such that. you must always come back to the conception of moral creators who see in their mind's eye a new social atmosphere. partakes still of liberty. stamping his own vitality. the liberty which is left may be superior in quality if the reform. for instance. of "the sanctity of the individual". might produce the opposite effect in a society where feeling and custom had been modified by that very reform. but a radical differ- ence of nature between the two ideas of justice which we have distinguished. so that we should first ask ourselves which of the two is preferable to the other. But the question admits of no general answer. For relatively stable justice. equality can hardly be obtained. like a it new with kind of music.64 MORAL OBLIGATION Take liberty. Think in this way of "liberty". has led to a society where men breathe more freely. if it is fully agreed upon by the citizens as a whole. and the quality is no longer the same. as public opinion progressively accepts them. and customs to which the totality of obligation this totality of obligation ends by incorpor- ating. the one closed. and you will see that you have here no mere difference of degree. I mean men once but it is tried it. manifests is itself in attached. It is is CH. tending towards greater equality. change the quantity. But the granting of a new liberty. which expresses the automatic equilibrium of a society fresh from the hands of nature. if go back to the old state of things. save at the expense of liberty. for the sacrifice of this or that liberty. of "equality". might lead to an encroachment of all the different liberties on one another in present-day society. where greater joy is found in action. On the other hand. com- monly said that the individual entitled to any liberty that does not infringe the liberty of others. So that it is often impossible to state a priori the exact degree of liberty which can be allotted to the individual without injury to the liberty of his fellow-men.

they may well be indistinguishable. simply amount to doing needlessly over again something society. in a word that moral activity in a civilized society is essentially rational. To do so would. the justice which is open to successive creations. only in this way can we estimate their moral value. and the highest representatives of humanity on the other. Thus the two substances. that it is to the interest of humanity to attribute an intrinsic force. Because closed justice and open justice are incorporated in equally peremptory laws. the one supplied by society. Their work has resulted in certain rules being laid down and an ideal which being set up as a pattern: to live morally will mean to follow these rules. Between the development and the transformation there is here neither analogy nor common measure. the other of attraction. expressing themselves in the same way. an authority of their own to moral concepts. Only in this way can we compare various lines of conduct with one another. No example can bring out better than this the twofold origin of morality and the two elements of obligation. But the result was that our always statement remained a mere diagram and might well appear obvious that . have done for us. he is sure to misunderstand the nature of social evolution as well as the origin of duty. Social evolution is not the evolution of a society which has devel- oped according to a method destined to transform it later. Indeed. on the one hand. to conform to this ideal. How else could we tell what to do in each particular case? There are deep underlying forces here. in the present state of things. In this way alone can we be sure of remaining in complete accord with ourselves: the rational alone is self-consistent. reason must appear the sole imperative. we have nearly taken it for granted.i PRESSURE AND ASPIRATION 65 decrees of the other justice. the other a product of man's genius. and outwardly similar. But the philosopher must discriminate the one from the other. The thing is so we have barely hinted at it. one of impulsion. There can be no question that. in practice. it does not follow that they must be explained in the same fashion. come to be cast in the same mould. we cannot refer directly to them each time we have to make a decision. if not. in most cases.

However radical the difference may be between primitive man and civilized man. Above or below this plane. taken singly. correspond only to a part of what has been projected on the intellectual plane. . is more or less representative of all the others. A while relaxing it sufficiently to enable the individual to display. at his elbow. application. Indeed. the syntax and vocabulary first . since we perceive that we must use this method and since we out its feel that it cannot fail to raise objections throughthink it it dwell on more same important. it would be of moral philosophy that accepted without question the belief in the heredity of acquired characters. deposited in the knowledge imparted to him in the traditions. what we have already had occasion to say. to yet again. in the interests of society itself. Man might in that case be born to-day with very different tendencies from those of his remotest ancestors. went no further than this conten- We argument. and almost in the terms. which teaches that the hereditary transmission of a contracted habit. is an exceptional and not a regular or frequent occurrence. on the intellectual plane. intended that this solidarity should be very close. sufficient in the long run to bring about a far-reaching alteration in the nature of man. all the acquisitions of humanity during centuries of civilization are there. assuming that it ever happens. but the groupings of primitive humanity were certainly nearer the ants than ours are to-day. like Leibnitz's monad. and indeed inevitable.66 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. Nature. in the first part of our slight importance for any But we rely upon experience. like ants in an ant-hill. tion. it is due almost solely to what the child has amassed since the awakening of its consciousness. in making man a social animal. even if we are once obliged to repeat at certain points. what amounts almost to the same thing. define human society with its members linked together like the cells of an organism. or. has never existed. the intelligence with which she has provided him. it we once more. Since this drawback to the method we have adopted is undeniable. the institutions. inadequate. the customs. we find forces which. As such. all the precepts of morality interpenetrate one another in concepts of which each one. in conclusion.

even now. embracing all humanity and moving. creation of a of realization in the future than of human is no more possible existence in the past societies functioning automatically and similar to more complete humanity. binds us to the other members of society. just like . everything with which reason has hedged it round to justify it. It goes without saying that the matter wrought into this form becomes intellectual and self-consistent as civilization and new matter accrues incessantly. It is this thick humus which covers to-day the bed-rock of original nature. So much for pure obligation. It may indeed represent the slowly accumulated effects of an infinite variety of causes. In short. like the rest of morality. But every time we come back to the strictly imperative element in obligation. on the intellectual plane. at the direct bidding of this form. towards the continually renewed Now. and even in the gestures of the people about him. And we have seen also how a certain kind of matter which is intended to be run into a different mould. was the is lanimal societies. the obligation we find in the depths of our consciousness and which. I refer here of course to obligation taken in this simple form. devoid of matter: it is the irreducible. not inevitably progresses. and even supposing we found in it everything intelligence had put there to enrich it.i PRESSURE AND ASPIRATION 67 of the language he learns to speak. nevertheless. adopts this form by settling down. the ever-present element. a mystic society. to the need for social preservation. it would take this form in the eyes of an ant. were it to become as independent in its movements as an intelligent ant. even indirectly. in our nature. or of an organic cell. whose introduction is not due. we find ourselves once again confronted by this fundamental frame- work. but to an aspiration of individual consciousness. were she to become endowed with man's intelligence. but under the logical more and more pressure of the intellectual matter already introduced into it. had to follow the general configuration of the soil on which it is deposited. Pure aspiration an ideal limit. as the etymology of the word implies. animated by a common will. is a link of the same nature as that which unites the ants in the ant-hill or the cells of an organism. it has.

charity" assumes more and more the shape of justice. The represent the best there is obligation relating to the orders is. in its who original and fundamental elements. are projected on to working the intermediary plane. and a series of appeals made to the conscience two of each of us by persons in humanity. It is none the less true that it is the mystic souls who draw and will continue to draw civilized societies in their wake. we shall find them perfectly self-consistent. of what they h'ave done. and almost commensurable with one another. higher than that of animal society. . They will more than it is henceforth be represented by their projections. obligation unadorned. The result is a transposition of orders and appeals into terms of pure reason. a system of orders dictated by impersonal social requirements. we know that we can do so. If we do not evoke this or that sublime figure. which is that of intelligence. The two forces. ideas. sub-rational. especially if he brings it in touch with the image. These intermingle and interpenetrate. where everything would partake of the creative impetus. the elements of morality become homogeneous. Justice thus " finds itself continually broadened by pity. Each one of us can revive it. comparable. in different regions of the soul. where obligation would be but the force of instinct. of a particular person who shared in that mystic state and radiated around him some of its light. which abides ever living within him. is if only because it can indefinitely be resolved into idea. supra-rational. The potency of the appeal lies in the strength of the emotion it has aroused in times gone by. The remembrance been. Even if we ignore individuals. but not so high as an assembly of gods. capable therefore of being referred to first principles. which it arouses still. Considering then the manifestations of moral life thus organized. Moral life will be rational life. Humanity is asked to place itself at a certain level. moral problems are clearly enunciated and methodically solved. or can arouse: this emotion. is humanity.68 MORAL OBLIGATION CH. there remains the general formula of morality accepted to-day by civilized humanity: this formula includes things. he of what they have enshrined in the memory of thus exerts on us a virtual attraction.

Or else moral considerations are involved. Let us take these two forms in turn. unbeknown to him. Either by "deposit" he means the material fact of placing a sum of money in the hands (say) of a friend. he is obviously juggling with words. would have no other effect than that of 'impelling the holder to give back the sum if he has no need of it. the idea that there exists a "right Then indeed it would be self-contradictory . bound by a tacit "contract". both proceedings are equally consistent. according as it sees in moral obligation the necessity. But because we have established the rational character of moral conduct. how could it struggle against passion and self-interest? The philosopher who considers that reason this. The important question is to find out why we are "obliged" in cases where following our inclination by no means suffices That in that case to ensure that it is our duty I is done. with this intimation alone. When Kant tells us that a deposit of money must be handed back because. he is surreptitiously. that he has "given his word". if it spoke only in its own name. It takes two assumes reason to be void or grants it a content of matter. it would no longer be a deposit. there is the idea that the deposit has been "entrusted" and that a trust "must not" be betrayed. examine the demonstration. or an invitation logically to pursue a certain end. or simply to appropriate it if he is short of money. pure and simple. if it did anything more than rationally express the action of certain forces which dwell behind it.i INTELLECTUALISM 69 Everybody will agree on this point. is self-sufficient and claims to demonstrate only succeeds in his demonstration if he tacitly reintroduces these forces. so long as the word deposit evokes only a material image unaccompanied by moral conceptions. if the recipient appropriated it. equally logical. But this material fact alone. am admit. of remaining logically in agreement with itself. the idea that the holder has pledged himself. with an intimation that it will be called for later. the idea that. even if he has said nothing. but. according as it of property" etc. in fact they have crept back themselves. willing to reason speaking. Just forms. it does not follow that morality has its origin or even its foundation in pure reason.


and refuse
to give


to accept a deposit

back; the deposit

would no longer be a deposit; the philosopher might say that the breach of morality in this case pertains to the irrational. But it would be because the word "deposit" was
taken in the sense that
it has in a human group possessing developed moral ideas, conventions and obligations; the moral obligation would no longer amount to the bare and empty necessity of not contradicting oneself, since the contra-

diction in this case would simply consist in rejecting, after having accepted it, a moral obligation which for this very reason was already there. But enough of these quibbles. It is quite natural that we should meet with a pretension to found

morality on a respect for logic


are accustomed to

among philosophers and bow to logic in speculative

matters, and are thus inclined to believe that in all matters, and for the whole of humanity, logic must be accepted as the sovereign authority. But because science must respect

the logic of things and logic in general if it wants to succeed its researches, because such is the interest of the scientist
as a scientist, it is not to be concluded that we are obliged always to conform to logic in our conduct, as though such were the interest of man in general, or even the interest of the

man. Our admiration for the speculative function the mind may be great; but when philosophers maintain jof that it should be sufficient to silence selfishness and passion,
scientist as

they prove to us and this is a matter for congratulation that they have never heard the voice of the one or the other very loud within themselves. So much for a morality claiming
its basis reason in the guise of pure form, without matter. Before considering the morality which adds matter to this form, we must note that people often get no further than


first when they think they have reached the second. That the case with those philosophers who explain moral obligation by the fact that the idea of the Good forces itself



us. If they take this idea from organized society, where actions are already classified according as they are
less appropriate for

maintaining social cohesion and the progress of humanity, and, above all, where furthering

more or


this progress,


this cohesion and can doubtless say that an they activity is more moral, the more it conforms to the Good; and they might also add that the Good is conceived as claiming obedience. But this is because the Good would be merely

certain clearly defined forces

bring about

the heading under which men agree to classify the actions which present one or the other feature and to which they feel themselves prompted by the forces of impulse and attraction

which we have defined. The notion of a graduated scale of these various lines of conduct, and therefore of their respective values, and, on the other hand, the all but inevitable necessity which forces them upon us, must then have existed before the idea of Good, which appeared later simply to provide a label or name; this idea, left to itself, would have lent no assistance to their classification, and still less to their enforcement. But if, on the contrary, it is maintained that the idea of the Good is at the source of all obligation and all aspiration, and that it should also serve to evaluate human actions, we must be told by what sign we shall recognize that a given line of conduct is in conformity with it; we must therefore be furnished with a definition of the Good; and



to see



can be defined without assuming a

hierarchy of creatures, or at the very least, of actions, of varying elevation: but if the hierarchy exists by itself, there

no need

line of

to call upon the idea of the Good to establish it; we do not see why this hierarchy ought to be mainwhy we should be bound to respect it; you can only

invoke in


favour aesthetic reasons, allege that a certain is "finer" than another, that it sets us more

up in the ranks of living beings: but what could to the man who declared that he places his own you reply interest before all other considerations? Looking more closely,
or less high

one would see that this morality has never been self-sufficient. It has simply been added on, as an artistic make-weight, to obligations which existed before it, and rendered it possible. When Greek philosophers attributed a pre-eminent dignity
to the

pure idea of Good, and, more generally, to a life of contemplation, they were speaking for a chosen few, a small




group formed within


social life for granted. It silent about duty and

which would begin by taking has been said that this morality
of obligation as

knew nothing


it was silent about it; but that was assumed obligation to be self-evident. The philosopher was supposed to have begun by doing his duty like anybody else, as demanded of him by the city. Only then did a morality supervene, destined to make his life more beautiful by treating it as a work of art. In a word, and to sum up the discussion, there can be no question of founding morality on the cult of reason. It remains to be seen, as we have said, whether it could be founded on reason




precisely because

in so far as reason

might supply our


with a definite

object, in conformity with reason, but supplementary to it, an object towards which reason would teach us to strive

But it is easy to see that no objective not even the twofold one we have indicated, not even the dual preoccupation of maintaining social cohesion and of furthersystematically.

ing the progress of humanity
as a





rational proposition. If certain really active forces, actually influencing our will, are already in possession, reason could and should intervene to co-ordinate their effects, but
it could not contend with them, since one can always reason with reason, confront its arguments with others, or simply refuse all discussion and reply by a "sic volo, sic jubeo". In


truth, a

system of ethics which imagines

it is

founding obli-

gation on purely rational considerations, unwittingly reintroduces, as we have pointed out already and as we shall point out again, forces of a different order. That is exactly why it succeeds so easily. Real obligation is already there,

and whatever reason impresses upon it assumes naturally an obligatory character. Society, with all that holds it together and drives it forward, is already there, and that is why reason can adopt as a principle of morality one or the other of the
ends towards which social man is striving; by building up a thoroughly consistent system of means destined to attain this end, reason will more or less rediscover morality, such as common sense conceives it, such as humanity in general




practises, or claims to practise

For each of these

by reason from society, has been socialized and, by that very fact, impregnated with all the other aims to be found there. Thus, even if we set up personal interest as the
shall find no great difficulty in building a rational morality sufficiently resembling current morality, up as is proved by the relative success of utilitarian ethics.

moral principle, we

living among his fellow-men, the craving for praise, etc., with comprises legitimate pride, the result that purely personal interest has become impossible to define, so large is the element of public interest it contains, so hard is it to keep them separate. Think of the amount of

Selfishness, indeed, for the


deference for others included in what we call self-love, and even in jealousy and envy! Anyone wanting to practise absolute egoism would have to shut himself up within himself, and not care enough for his neighbour to be jealous or envious of him. There is a touch of sympathy in these forms

man living among his fellows are not without certain implications of virtue; all are saturated with vanity, and vanity means sociability. Still easier will it
of hate, and the very vices of a
be, then, to draw all moral maxims, or nearly all, from feelings such as honour, or sympathy, or pity. Each of these tendencies, in a man living in society, is laden with all that social
it first,

morality has deposited in it; and we should have to unload at the risk of reducing it to very little indeed, if we

wished to avoid begging the question in using it to explain morality. The ease with which theories of this kind are built up should make us suspicious: if the most varied aims can thus be transmuted by philosophers into moral aims, we may surmise, seeing that they have not yet found the philosopher's stone, that they had started by putting gold in the bottom of their crucible. Similarly it is obvious that none of these doctrines will account for obligation. For we may be obliged to adopt certain means in order to attain such and such ends; but if we choose to renounce the end, how can the means be forced upon us? And yet, by adopting any one of these ends as the principle of morality, philosophers have evolved from it whole systems of maxims, which, without




going so far as to assume an imperative form, come near enough to it to afford satisfaction. The reason is quite simple.

They have considered
in a society in

the pursuit of these ends,



which there are peremptory pressures, together with aspirations to match them and also to extend them. Pressure and attraction, specifying their objectives, would lead to any one of these systems of maxims, since each of them


at the attainment of an end both individual and social. Each of these systems then already exists in the social atmosphere when the philosopher arrives on the scene; it comprises maxims which are near enough in substance to those which the philosopher will formulate, the former being obligatory. Rediscovered by philosophy, but no longer in the form of a command since they are now mere suggestions for the intelligent pursuit of an end, such as intelligence might


easily repudiate, they are snapped up by the vaguer or perhaps merely virtual maxims which resemble them, but which

are laden with obligation. They thus become obligatory, but the obligation has not come down, as might be imagined, from above, that is to say, from a principle from which the

maxims have been rationally deduced; it has come up from below, I mean from that substratum of pressure, capable of
being extended into aspiration, which is the basis of society. In a word, the moral theorists take society for granted and consequently also the two forces to which society owes its

and its mobility. Taking advantage of the fact that ends interpenetrate one another, and that each of them, resting as it were on that stability and mobility, seems to be invested with these two forces, they have no difficulty in reconstituting the content of morals with one or other of the ends assumed as a principle, and then showing that such morality is obligatory. For, by taking society for granted,
all social

they have also taken for granted the matter of this morality and its form, all it contains and all the obligation with which
it is



we now


down beneath


to all theoretical moral systems, this is

should find. Obligation

which is what we a necessity with which one can
that illusion

it will not follow the direction of a force which. It will make straight for selfish decisions. is yet a consequence of this it tension. while itself prevents the tension of the spring from manifesting by a sudden unwinding. But we can answer that it does not suit us to see our interests in this light. if we wish intelligently to do good to ourselves. yet perceptible in its pressure: just as the swinging to and fro of the pendulum in a clock. the action destined to maintain the preservation and cohesion of the group would be accomplished inevitably. and which therefore companioned by and liberty. where the individual had no power to choose. it will build up a theory of which the interpenetration of personal and general be demonstrated. of thinking of others. And if the intelli- gence is ethics in that of a philosopher. being an effect which exerts an inhibitive or regulating action on its causes. realized and felt. if it considers the individual at all. It cannot avoid reckoning with the force of which it feels the invisible pressure. this is a new force which maintains the other in a state of virtuality. similar to that which accompanies the production of a physiological or even a physical effect. Yet we are obliged. or rather in a state of reality barely discernible in its action. on the contrary. What then will intelligence do? It is difficulties a faculty used naturally by the individual to meet the of life. But this will only be its first impulse. and which. is working for the species. This necessity is. in fact. and it is therefore not obvious why we should still feel obliged. since this is the very reason is why it attempted the demon- stration. does so in the interest of the species. the same that makes each ant toil for the ant-hill and each cell in the tissue work for the organism. and intelligence is well aware interests will of it. in a humanity which nature had made devoid of intelligence. But the truth it that successful because clears the demonstration only seems way for something it does not its . it would be accomplished under the influence of a definite force.i INTELLECTUALISM is 75 intelligence argue. It will there- fore persuade itself into thinking that an intelligent egoism must allow all other egoisms their share. and where obligation will be brought back to the necessity. But intelligence intervenes with its faculty of choice.

and which What is therefore. she has just added to it. and that obligation already existed in all its force. suddenly becoming She would reason about what she had done. would say it was very foolish not to take things easy and have a good time. An ant. And that have done. now is the time for a little behold the natural order completely self-indulgence. But the truth that such a basis would be very unsafe. the essential: a necessity that pertains to experience and feeling. be none the less disinclined to admit would he would doubtless persist in attributing a positive intelligence. let us revert to a comparison we have found useful. But nature is on the watch. is very likely in a somnambulistic state. a gleam of intelligence. or rather because obligation appeared to them as an indivisible entity. Our ant-hill philosopher this. intelligence has merely way is hindered its own hindrance. in the operation of inhibiting itself from inhibiting. and in this must incontinently done. She provided the ant with the social instinct.76 MORAL OBLIGATION is CH. perhaps in response to a transitory need of instinct. And we shall see in the next chapter what helpers it enlists. mention. obligatory in obligation does not come from intelligence. is yielding to an irresistible necessity. it is merely sustaining it its resistance to a resistance. on the contrary. strictly speaking. as if she only she lived for the ant-hill. it "I have had enough of And set things to rights and undo what it has act of reasoning will therefore prove that it is all to the interest of the ant to work for the ant-hill. if approximate to a compulsion which and not a negative activity to what most moral philosophers just because they were intellectuals and afraid is we see in it something may be thwarted by a . The latter only supplies the element of hesitation in obligation. either of not according enough importance to intelligence. sacrifice. For the present. wonder why she had done it. However slightly intelligence has thrown instinct out of gear. accomplishing her heavy task as if she never thought of herself." upset. defying analysis. An the obligation will apparently find a basis. Imagine her intelligent. one which some argument has thrust into the background and which an opposing argument reinstates. When it in appears to be the basis of obligation.

Composed of intelligent beings. any theorising on obligation becomes unnecessary as well as futile: unnecessary because obligation is a necessity of life. and that the compulsion. so exceptional species. life might have stopped and done nothing more than create closed societies. to whatever school of philosophy you belong. you are bound to recognize that man is a living creature. this society does not yet. no philosopher can avoid initially postulating this compulsion. and very incomplete justification at that.i THE VITAL IMPETUS we realize that the resistance 77 resistance. whose members were bound together by strict obligations. that association is the most general form of living activity. thus. that the evolution of life along its two main lines has been accomplished in the direction of social life. but very often he postulates it implicitly. this being admitted. In truth. But. society would not have become modified to the extent that a single society. at the utmost. these societies would have presented variations not to be found in animal societies. But. for at this point an obligation anterior to this intellectual reconstruction. than it was possible to grant all at once to the species. has come from ' intelligence. Now. since life is organization. but the variations would not have gone so far as to encourage the dream of a root and branch transformation. could seem possible. and not in words. In fact. with a principle that it is impossible not to admit. this being so. at certain intervals. which are governed by instinct. exist. in according to man the requisite moral conformation for living in groups. we pass by imperceptible transitions from the relation between cells in an organism to the relation between individuals in society. We therefore confine ourselves to noting what is uncontroverted and incontrovertible. We have postulated it and said so. embracing all mankind. We connect it. the resistance to the resistance likewise. ineffectual because the hypothesis presented can. For. and that. far more has been granted to individuals. which is the essential. and perhaps never will. nature probably did all she could for the have been men of genius to thrust back the bounds of intelligence. afford justification in the eyes of intelligence. has a different origin. and. just as there . moreover.

But neither does this second force. or something like it. For you cannot reject these two data: a compulsion. in an original form. therefore. who thus. this is no longer a more or less attenu- ated compulsion. they radiated enthusiasm which has never been completely quenched. the vital impulse culminating at long intervals in one particular man. it is no special duty of the moralist to trace. To-day. and. but in both cases you are confronted by forces which are not strictly and call for exclusively moral. Each of these souls marked then a certain point attained by the evolution of life. the group and going no further than the solidarity laid down by souls have appeared nature. when we listen to their words and see them at work. in the one case you have primal obligation. beside this. and draw us in their wake. we feel that they communicate to us something of their fervour. has spread far and wide about them. when in imagination we call to life these great moral leaders. and which was an overflowing of vitality. and which can be readily fanned into flame again. composed of one single individual. to what you call instinct in animals. and each of them was a manifestation. and whose origin. something which becomes an extension of it. which you call emotion. enthusiasts themselves. a result which could not have been obtained at one stroke by humanity as a whole. philosophers have misunderstood the nature of obligation in its present-day form: they compound have been led to attribute to this or that mental picture or insisted on doing operation the power of influencing the will: as if an idea could ever categorically demand its own realization as if the idea 1 were anything else. a certain stirring up of the soul.78 MORAL OBLIGATION who CH. sensed their kinship with the soul of instead of remaining within the limits of Everyman. in man. than an intellectual extract . were borne in general. it is a more or less irresistible attraction. The creative emotion which exalted these exceptional souls. Because they have nevertheless so. an explanation. in the other. any more than the first. exerted by habits which correspond. in this case. on a great surge of love towards humanity creation The appearance of each one of them was like the of a new species. of a love which seems to be the very essence of the creative effort.

But if instruction directed to the intelligence be indispensable to give confidence and delicacy to the moral sense. some above. but they perceive something of it as soon as they try to inculcate morality into their pupils instead of merely talking about it. some beneath pure intelligence! Reinstate the duality of origin. the training intended by nature. the projection on to the intellectual plane of a whole set of tendencies and aspirations. by the second we obtain the imitation of a person. or. the duality itself merges into a unity. consisted in adopting the habits of the group. How can tions. a more or less complete identification. thanks to individuals who each represent. defining duties and connecting them with a principle of which it follows out in detail the various applica- We and on that plane and there is no complete possible. if it make us fully capable of carrying out our intention where our intention is good. yet the intention must exist in the first place. By the first method is inculcated a morality made up of impersonal habits. The primeval training. alone. and the difficulties vanish. All teachers have not perhaps a full perception of this double origin of morality.i TRAINING AND MYSTICISM 79 common to all. normally intent on preserving generally the social form which was characteristic of the human species from the beginning. for "social pressure" and "impetus of love" are but two complementary manifestations of life. the other the mystic way. capable of transfiguring it. exceptionally. do not deny the the necessity even. and intention marks a direction of the will as much as and more than of intelligence. it took place spontaneously in those cases where the individual felt himself half merged in the collectivity. of a moral instruction which appeals utility. to reason alone. an effort of creative evolution. It is on the plane of is intelligence. morality without reflexion. but. that discussion we get a hold over the will? Two ways lie open to the teacher. Nay. the term being taken here. it was automatic. analysis and argument with others as well as with oneself. As society became different!- . in the highest meaning of the word. and even a spiritual union. as the appearance of a new species would have represented. in its most restricted sense. better still. The one is that of training. on the contrary.

8o MORAL OBLIGATION CH. People are fond of saying that religion is the helpmeet of morality in that induces a fear of punishment and a hope of reward. but not in its specifically religious aspect. This it would generally other obligations. fulfil ipso facto have made him works in the sphere of the impersonal. if need be. Thus the man confined strictly within the limits of his calling or profession. if it be complete. infinitely higher. that . far from perfect. religion does little more than promise an extension and rectito the rewards and whose application is so by society. it delegated to the groups thus formed within itself the task of training the individual. with his life organized so as to turn out the greatest possible quantity. in this direction. there is no doubt. but it was still nothing more than a system of habits formed for the sole benefit of society. On the other hand. That a morality of this type may suffice at a pinch. religion rise. but they should add that. so that it still clings to the first of our it has not yet sprung over to the second. taken as such. it is of religious dogmas and the metaphysical two methods. still it is on the same plane of the city of men that we fication of human justice by divine justice: punishments established thus remain. the acceptance of which is supposed to result in the doing of good. to be meted out to us in the City of God. however high the teaching may looks upon moral education as training. The other can supplement it. But it is quite clear that these conceptions. of putting him in harmony with the group and thereby with society itself. it may even take its place. and upon morality as discipline. We do not hesitate to call it religious. it still is brought in. when we shall have left the city of men. we picture to ourselves a group of conceptions relating to God and the world. influence our will and our conduct in the same way as theories may do. wholly absorbed in his daily task. Discipline would an honest man. doubtless. ated through a division of labour. but we must agree upon the meaning of the words. the best possible quality of work. it adds others. and even mystic. This is the first method: it many is perhaps true. theories they imply that we word religion is mentioned: so that when religion generally think as soon as the is said to be the foundation of morality.

the latter only working on our or put will to the extent which it pleases us to accept them metaphysical system from all others by saying that it compels our assent.i TRAINING AND MYSTICISM 81 is to say. or some one of his imitators. True mystics simply open their souls to the oncoming wave. A love which thus causes each of them to be loved for himself. as I hinted above. but then you are not thinking into practice. other will open their souls to the love of humanity. That which they have allowed to flow into them is a stream flowing down and seeking through them to reach their fellow-men. . If a word of a great mystic. and. they prove to be great men of action. which underpins the representation. and which is the specifically religious element: but then it is this element. apart from all interpretation. I mean mystic experience taken in its immediacy. which imparts to it some undeniable efficacy. A love which is in each of them an entirely new emotion. merely waiting for an occasion to awake? In the first case a person attaches himself to the impersonal and aims at finding room inside it. Let us go further. but then we are dealing with mystic experience. we are here on the intellectual plane. ideas. because they feel within them something better than themselves. if them Now you distinguish this of its content alone. and not the metaphysics with which you have associated it. you introduce something different. so that through him. neither obligation nor the force which extends it can possibly originate in bare ideas. and for him. which becomes the religious basis of morality. A love which each one of them stamps with his own personality. finds an echo in one or another of us. love which can be just as well passed on through the medium of a men A person who has attached himself to them or to their evergreen memory and formed his life on that pattern. the necessity to spread around them what they have received affects them like an onslaught of love. to the surprise of those for whom mysticism is nothing but visions. and raptures and ecstasies. Sure of themselves. of ideas pure and simple. may it not be that there is a mystic dormant within us. Here indeed we are concerned with the second method. capable of transposing human life into another tone. you may again be right.

which has had to set down the human species But if it is at a certain point of its evolution. get down to Life. we shall have had to pusluon as far as the very principle of life.' MORAL OBLIGATION life CH. True. but again how the individual manifestations. in both cases the foundations of human nature have been taken into account. But this is can set up as a judge and wrest from it a moral transforma- tion. are but not going far enough. and that this constraint is obligation. . i Here he responds revealer of moral to the call of a personality.82 . perhaps that of a or one of his imitators. and will perhaps have us say in conclusion that all morality. so that they can help society further along its way. on manifestations. or dynamically in its origin. it is the supreme authority. we must delve deeper still if we want to understand. as indeed the human species altogether. only one of the aspects of life. Everything is obscure if we confine ourselves to mere all called indiscriminately or whether one examines. so we must search below the social accretions. we can easily conceive that life. if we start by a quest beyond these manifestations for Life itself. imparts a new impetus to exceptional individuals who have immersed themselves anew in it. But in the first place. be it pressure or aspiration. Whichever of these two methods be adopted. whether they are the contrary. societies. in social man. and let it should have. for society to exist at all the individual must bring into it a whole group of inborn tendencies. not only how society "constrains" individuals. of which human society exists. If society is self-sufficient. more parsocial. whether considered statically in itself. We are fond of saying that and that hence it inevitably exerts a constraint on its members. All becomes clear. Let us then give to the word biology the very wide meaning one day. or even in certain circumstances of his own person. is in essence biological. ticularly the feature of intelligence. The mistake would be to think that moral pressure and moral aspiration find their final explanation in social life considered merely as a fact. society therefore is not self-explanatory.

to prescribe crime. philosophy. And that is indeed a matter for surprise. People talk. human societies with neither science nor art nor philosophy. is also the only creature to pin its existence to things unreasonable. The cruder is it is. indeed. and in days gone by that of humanity in general. demands and obtains at first for itself alone. bility for superstition should be 83 at laid. of apeppte. if animals were capable of a religious sense. of what certain human are to-day. We find in the past. and reasoning "that absurd". we could find to-day.CHAPTER II STATIC RELIGION THE for spectacle of what religions have been in the past. Homo sapiens. still Experience may indeed say "that is false". seeing that we began by defining man as an intelligent being. We know but little of what goes on in minds not our own. But there is nothing for it. as. What should be then our confusion. the only creature endowed with reason. Were we to compare ourselves with animals on this point! It is highly probable that animals are unacquainted with superstition. But! there has never been a society without religion. Our bewilderment increases when we see that the most crass superstition has so long been a universal fact. to-day that of the inferior races. If this whose door the responsimeans the mere . of a "primitive mentality". facts must be faced. Jjfe art. Humanity only clings all the more to that absurdity and that error. Indeed it still survives. is indeed humiliating religions What a farrago of error and folly! intelligence. the it more will What it actual space it occupies in the have to share later with science. And if this were all! But religion has been known to enjoin immorality. but. since religious feeling generally finds expression in attitudes or in acts. we should certainly be made aware by some sign. for example.

deposited in the social environment. Whether he will or no. the reader of M. that tion. accepted by reasonable beings. grouping of certain ways of thinking under one common heading. that is indeed useful and unexceptionable work. There structure. it is a rare occurrence. It is to this that M. and still are. LevyBruhl 's admirable books will draw from them the conclusion studies since it intelligence has gone through a process of evoluthat natural logic has not always been the same. is nothing more questionable. let us merely say that the observation of . since the structure of the mind remains the same. should suffice to explain why we do not think like uncivilized man. But this is an only admission that habits of mind acquired by individuals in the course of centuries can have become hereditary. due to accidental coincidence of a whole concourse of circumstances: it will give rise to no modification of the species. the experience acquired by successive generations. because the needs of society are scarcely likely to be the same in the one case as in the other. and the noting of ^certain connecting links between them. Levy-Bruhl has apparently confined himself in his remarkable works and particularly in the later ones. Our own investigations willlndeed lead us to this conclusion. why man of bygone days was different from man of to-day. But this leaves untouched the question as to how beliefs and practices which are anything but reasonable could have been. Without anticipating it. The mind works just the same in both cases. modifying nature and giving a new mentality to the species.84 STATIC RELIGION CH. But then. and given back to each of us by these surroundings. and which is found to-day among backward peoples. but it may not be working on the same material. Even supposing that a habit formed by parents is ever transmitted to the child. "primitive mentality" corresponds to a different fundamental that human which was supplanted by our own. We cannot refrain from seeking an answer to this question. unexceptionable does no more than establish the existence of certain beliefs and certain practices in a humanity less civilized than our own. useful in that it marks off # field of ethnological and psychological which are of the greatest interest.

language and customs. has given birth to a collective intelligence. and why one liable to "disconcert" the other. This simply because the representation of those things by religion is not the work of these minds. 1 1 and therefore its are concerned. there is no need to try and find out those things which such or such a religion ask us to believe "appear so disconcerting to individual minds. 29 sqq. similar to that of primary elements united in a its chemical combination. .ii OF ABSURDITY IN THE REASONING BEING 85 "primitive beings" inevitably raises the question of the psychological origin of superstition. certain representations of which will be puzzling to the individual mind. and the social body as the only reality. Society has its own mode of existence peculiar to it. but that of the collective mind." x So far as we shall readily admit the existence of collect- own mode why should be these two mentalities should clash. But we fail to see of thinking. we could push the argument to conclusion and maintain that this conjunction of individuals. ii. pp. But nowadays nobody attributes an to criticism. and sociology appears to us to afford no grounds for the supposition. According to Emile Durkheim. But in that case. If we held the view that nature stopped short at the individual. deposited in institutions. that society is the result of an accident or a convention. how could it be that the collective mentality is not prefigured in the individual mentality? 1 How Annie sociologique. civilized man We shall why is have much the same thing to say when we come to "collective" instead of "primitive" mentality. Together they constitute a social intelligence which is the complement of individual intelligences. Now it is natural that this mentality should see reality differently from our own mind. since it is of another nature. accidental or contractual origin to society. If sociology is open it would rather be that it leans too much the other way: certain of its exponents tend to regard the individual as an abstraction. vol. and that the general structure of human thought the observation therefore of of the present day will appear to us to supply sufficient data for the solution of the problem. Experience teaches nothing of the kind. we ive representations.

The future of a science depends on the way it first dissects its object. and yet n^J^ a first-rate mjtheimto . without enquiring whether the mechanisms that come into play are not different. We cannot help observing that. can made man it animal". as the cutting up into pieces will have prepared the way for the analysis into elements. we shall be finally in possession of a simplified representation of the whole. implying among the a community. interpretation. when isolation is prolonged. according as the faculties apply to persons or things. Our psychologists do not sufficiently realize this when they shrink from making subdivisions. psychology has made such meagre progress in certain directions. when closed it would show a handsome profit. characteristic mental troubles appear. man suffers from a similar malady very little away and in its studied up to now. isolated from society or sharing insufficiently activities.86 STATIC RELIGION we imagine that nature. the bee pines dies. certain comprehension. as far as self-analysis goes. And yet the mass of mankind has already sketched out this distinction. having CH. or according as the intelligence is immersed or not in the social environment. Because it has not sufficiently taken this into account. I am not speaking of the benefit to be derived from an intensive study feels a "political out of its members of invisible of certain abnormal or morbid states. an anastomosis: away from the hive. they postulate general faculties of perception. we believe that in the study of the individual one can never overestimate the fact that the individual was meant for society. the number of "cuts" is of little matter. called listlessness. For instance. so disposed human intelligence that element when it thinks "politically"? For our part. as among the bees in a hive. -a man or a subtle psychologist. which bears on our intercourse with people. If it has had the luck to cut along the lines of the natural joints. These phenomena would well deserve to have a separate account opened for them in the books of psychology. as in solitary confinement. and has even recorded it in language: alongside of the senses which inform us about things it puts common sense. But this is not putting it strongly enough. like Plato's v good cook.

the fact that the early symptoms are generally to be detected in the remotest past of the sufferer.-' . though we may saidtftait.-***.. It is indeed hard to admit that nature. normal like the faculty of speech. fftltiHffingsrEe.other jnen. social sense. is there to prove that .* -v*i i ThdTtfionomania of persecution. How then should there be a social mentality supervening. is innate in Common sense. r to be present in the second? The problem which and which consists in ascertaining how absurd superst We though we may persist in speaking of primitive the problem *none the less bears on the psychology mentality. Human societies doubtless differ from insect societies in that they leavey undetermined the actions of the individual. lines of evolution two great 4i> the hymenopterae ending respectively while regulating beforehand the detailed activity social life at the extremities of the of every ant in the ant-hill.common sense may become impaired while the reasoning faculties remain intact. and that in man it is the faculty alone. The gravity of this malady.*-f *. however general. >> . and one that might be then. We ^persist in speaking of collective representations. *' Mi>M>^ *** -*** lacking in common sense! . *.*.^-. which placed and in man. or more precisely of misinterpretation. But this is equivalent to saying that it is the actions which are preordained in the insect's nature. should have neglected to give man any guiding principles. called. being so organized in the individual that it may function in society.ii OF ABSURDITY IN*THE REASONING BEING own ' 87 completely misunderstand the actions of . everything would seem to indicate that we have here a profound congenital psychic insufficiency. iriUAy*\^ ' *-. of the man of to-day. its obstinate resistance to all treatment. and indeed those of the collectivity also. shall add that. or as it is clearly defined. man. as the first fail if it were an additional factor. the question . and liable to "disconcert" the individual mentality? How could we stated. for the co-ordination of his conduct with that of his fellow-men.. miscalculate Ris i his' ^ aflcf"^^ tf i < in a word. The faculty is none the less there.-<w<ltt. which also implies the existence of society and which is none the less prefigured in individual organisms.

the act which produces them. or "fiction". but first of all he must live. there is no doubt that our psychical structure originates in the necessity of preserving and developing social and individual life. does not take enough pains to find out the specific purpose of each of them. imagination. nor when it splits up the activities of the mind into operations. The advantage it derives from its structure is. We "for no particular reason. on the contrary. just must not say: its structure being such. it will inevitably distort its object. mind as being what it it We is must not therefore consider for the fun of the thing". nor logical operations of the mind. If psychology does not make this consideration its guiding principle. And this is precisely why the subdivision is all too often inadequate or artificial. What should we say of a scientist who dealt with the anatomy of organs and the histology of tissues without troubling about their use? He would risk making erroneous divisions and erroneous groupings. Doubtless jjj^n call dream and philosophize. If function is only comprehensible from structure. Let us then agree to group phantasmic representations " separately. Psychology relates them to a general faculty. none the less concerns the psychology of the individual man.88 STATIC RELIGION CH. But why should we group together such different things. the . has derived this or that^ advantage from it. Let us now remark that psychology. This will be a first step towards the solution of the problem. perception. give them the same name and thus suggest the idea of a mutual relationship? We do so merely for convenience of speech and for the will also place entirely negative reason that these various activities are neither memory. But does not the difficulty lie precisely in the fact that our psychology of its is not sufficiently concerned with the subdivision subject in accordance with the lines laid down by nature? The representations which produce superstitions possess the common characteristic of being phantasmic. and to call myth-making". the main lines of a structure are not to be discerned without the some idea of its function. It under the same heading the discoveries and inventions of science and the achievements of art.

It must be noted that fiction. confronting the intelligence. Very likely. failing real experience.ii THE MYTH-MAKING FUNCTION is 89 which must have determined the latter. We see the finest arguments in the world come to grief in the face of a single experiment: nothing can resist facts. if its image is vivid and insistent. experience had to be conjured up. . individual perhaps. social in any case. Now what would nature have done. by that an essentially intelligent being is naturally superstition. in the full efflorescence of scientific development. but religion is what accounts for the myth-making function: faculty standing to religion in the relationship of effect and not of cause. may indeed masquerade as perception and in 'that way prevent or modify action. It i$ in some such fashion that nature has proceeded. benefiting from the fact that the mind knew how to make myths. find that intelligence wajjpervaded. which are the strictly intellectual faculties. a counterfeit of. mythology together with all that preceded it. must have required from the mind this type of mental activity. it could only be by the statement of apparent facts. Let us take. after creating intelligent beings. So that if intelligence was to be kept at the outset from sliding the power to it a slope which was dangerous to the individual and society. if she had wanted to guard against certain dangers of intellectual activity without compromising the future of intelligence? Observation supplies us with the answer. then. we should not be surprised to as soon as formed. poetry and fantasy of all kinds appeared as extras. Some need. the natural "cut" which we have called myth-making and see to what use it is naturally put. the drama. A fiction. And that being so. To-day. A systematically false experience. in any case the clue for any research. therefore. To this faculty are due factor that the novel. But then. Let us ask what this need was. in the vaguely and doubtless artificially defined realm of imagination. resembles an incipient hallucination: can thwart our judgment and reason. there have not always been novelists and dramatists. whereas humanity has never subsisted without religion. down by the ghosts of facts. when it has move us. may indeed stop it pushing too far the conclusions it deduces from a true 'experience.

Who knows indeed if the errors into which this at the tendency led are not the distortions. as already evolved. Without exploring this point yet. and the documents upon which the history of religion works belong to a relatively recent past. we thus stressed the fact that the contrivance with which we were dealing served the interests either of the individual or the species. But the expression is vague. second question arises. STATIC RELIGION and that intelligent CH. They play a part which might have devolved on instinct. we must note that the human mind questions. A which must this in fact be answered first: what is the origin of tendency? Is it connected with other manifestations of life? We spoke of an intention of nature. and for the sake of clarity we should say that the tendency under consideration is an instinct. So the immense variety of beliefs with which we have to deal the result of a lengthy process of proliferation. are the only creatures superstitious beings. It is true that this raises myth-making quire more carefully what is function. it plunges deeper into error. it was a metaphor. as convenient in psychology as it is in biology. but that in either case. just as it may proceed further and are only acquainted with further along the path of truth. from one analysis to another. for the "primitives" we observe humanity We 1 to-day are as old as we are. and we may be able to grasp its utility. and which would . we shall be less surprised at the irrational elements in the tendency.9o superstitious. whatever direction it has taken. time beneficial to the species. it goes straight ahead: from one conclusion to another. but these characteristics are probably thus accentuated simply because the operation has gone so far: if we take into consideration the direction alone. the utility of the new We must en- may be in the right or in the wrong. and what danger nature had to contend with. From their absurdity or strangeness we may doubtless conclude that is there is in the a certain tendency towards the strange or the absurd working of a certain function of the mind. of a truth destined to be later revealed to certain individuals? But this is not all. were it not that it is precisely in the place of an instinct that these phantasmic images arise in the mind.

some remnant of an impuTse. we were keeping as close as we could to actual experience. to the behaviour which is suggested to man. meaning that at the we extremity of another line of evolution. there i^some demandjpr a forward movement."tp wit. is drawing nearer to our views. In speaking of a "vital impetus" and a creative evolution. on the other to virtual instincts. that it is a virtual instinct. by these well-nigh hallucinatory images. But in thus alluding to divergent and complementary developments. possible to relate to a vital need those fictions which confront and sometimes thwart our intelligence. which are supposed to have led. . They both bring us back to the considerations we have already submitted on the evolution of life. Why does it still live on. since positive science. in its utility. This is what many are* beginning to realize. in insect societies. instead of dying out. for the time being. Let us say. which denotes the preservation of the stability. species. simply became transformed? though science has come to fill the it gap. left between the form and the matter of intelligence? May it not be that underlying the need for which life reveals in that stop. are we life? not putting forward a specific view of the evolution of indeed the wider problem raised by our second It was implicitly contained in the first. In appropriating them. How. or rather that marking time on the same spot. if we have not ascertained the fundamental demands of life? We shall find later is Such this same problem again in a still more explicit form. merely by abandoning certain theoretical ideas or giving them out as mere hypotheses. on the one hand. dangerous indeed. a being both intelligent and free. find instinct automatically inducing a behaviour comparable. a vital impetus? But the two first' questions' will' suffice for the present. These considerations were by no means hypothetical. it would only be entering into its own again. when a question arises which we cannot avoid. as some apparently have thought. the question of how religion has survived the danger which brought it into being.ii MYTH-MAKING AND LIFE 91 actually do so in a being devoid of intelligence. How is it question. to real instincts.

method. life being given to picture its evolution? Some maintain that the passage from one species to another as a fact. are these directions it by the conditions in which evolves? This imposed would . he must proceed as though the search were never to have an end. So that in invoking a combination of chance with chance. that fact. which must take place in order that the organism shall benefit by them or even merely not be injured. Let us then keep to experiand more than one biologist acknowledges it that science is as far as ever from a physico-chemical explanation of life. how are we may was accomplished by a series of variations. He is thus only laying down the rules of a in the vital. This inadequacy of Darwinism is the second point we brought out when we spoke of the fact. in attributing to no special cause the direction taken by life which is evolving. that the business of physiology is to bring out whatever is physical and chemical - it is impossible to say when the search will end.92 STATIC RELIGION CH. but by no means establishes a fact. we pointed out on life vital impetus: to a theory we opposed a that the evolution of life occurred in certain definite directions. biology applies a priori the principle of economy. We asked whether the phenomena of life could be resolved into physical and chemical facts? When the physiologist affirms such a thing. can be preserved by selection and wait for others which are to complete it. which finds favour with positive science. and at once comes up against insurmountable difficulties. it may even hamper or paralyse the function. consciously or unconsciously. that this is the only way to go forward. reflect all of them accidental. he means. By itself. and that. we wonder how each one of them. he is not stating a ence: we shall say when speaking of a vital impetus. one of these variations is more often than not useless. taken separately. Let us then go back over a few of the outstanding features of life. therefore. Now. to begin with. But we on the enormous number of variations. That is what we stated. Now. and emphasize the distinctly empirical character of our conception of the "vital impetus". if being preserved by selection and fixed by heredity. co-ordinate with and complementary to one another.

as the mould does on the clay: thus alone. faculty of resolving problems is left unexplained. once again it is a priori. regularly. one says. Let us go further. is perceived from . life. one means. and in order to meet the needs of the argument. to be treated as finality. yet it does not demand. at least amount comsame function with plication of an organ accomplishing the ever greater precision. the innate: is a mechanical. individual are handed down to his descendants. that the complexity of conditions imposes its form on life. And By this intro- ducing at this point "impetus" we did not proffer an explan- ation either. from inside. But. instead of systematically rejecting it in general while resorting to it on the sly in each particular case. seen from outside. which we feel to be indivisible. and. if realized may perhaps appear. after affording oneself the satisfaction of interpreting adaptation in general in this way. more often than not. that carries life in a given direction. even supposing that it is observed. can be decomposed into an infinity of parts co-ordinated with one another. But did we do nothing to fathom the mystery? If the marvellous co-ordination of the parts with the whole cannot of be explained in terms of mechanics. towards an ever higher complexity. exceptional. one reasons in each particular case as if the adaptation were something quite different as indeed it is as if it were the original solution. The same thing which. that is a scientific. for instance. the gradual teristics is debatable. But the heredity of acquired characregularly enough to ensure. an undivided act: just as a movement of the hand. but. that it is taken to be operating Let us attribute this regular transmissibility to we shall conform to experience and we shall say that it is not the mechanical action of external causes. Such is the third idea to be evoked by the image of the vital impetus. When one speaks of the progress of an organism or an organ adapting itself to more complex conditions. we brought out this mysterious character of the operation life. found by of the problem set by external conditions.ii THE VITAL IMPETUS 93 to admitting that the modifications undergone by the. in our opinion. but an inward impulse that passes from germ to germ through individuals. explanation obtainable.

and all obeying one and the same law. but one in the beginning.94 STATIC RELIGION CH. seventh and eighth ideas which are to be evoked by the . and even something more: where our analysis. transferring itself to the inside. the sixth. In evoking the image of an impetus. we wished to suggest this fifth idea. and if along each of these lines an essential characteristic develops mdre and more. but with obstacles being circumvented. that is to say. matter in this case being both an It instrument and an obstacle. as a series of points infinite in number. We may conjecture that a division of this kind is responsible for the multiplicity of the great lines of vital evolution. But we thereby obtain a suggestion as to the means of preparing and verifying the intuition we would fain have of life. we may conjecture that the vital impulse began by possessing these characteristics in a state of reciprocal implication: instinct and intelligence. adjacent one to the other. instinct and intelligence being then mere views. Such are. since we have begun to number them. finds positive elements in ever increasing numbers elements which strike us for that very reason as more and more marvellously co-ordinate with one another ^intuition. added on to what matter. but the very simplicity of this act. outside as a curve definable by an equation. which remains outside. which reach their culminating point at the extremities of the two principal lines of animal evolution. of the Now is there nothing to be said confilings themselves. taken from two different points. divides what it defines. would appear as an alignment. seen from the point of view of the resistance. If we see two or three big lines of evolution running freely forward. before their separation: not combined into one. alongside other lines which end in a blind road. made in a deliberate order. it operates in the manner of call we ordinarily a special cause. would be confronted not that are with factors that are being combined. this act and the resistance it encounters? If life cerning cannot be resolved into physical and chemical facts. must therefore be taken one with the other. An invisible hand thrust filings through a heap of iron would merely brush aside the resistance encountered. of that simple reality.

ii THE VITAL IMPETUS 95 ideaof avital impetus. in either case mechanism or that of pure of life the creations supposed to be predetermined. is to find oneself confronted by an empty concept. evolution appears as a series of leaps. And even then we have not mentioned. It may well be that the appearance of the human species was due to several leaps in the same direction. made up and the variation constituting the new species of a multitude of differences completing one another. by the indivisibility of what is felt internally and the divisibility to infinity of what is externally perceived. each type would then correspond to a successful attempt. To use again the same comparison. obtained empirically. namely the impossibility of forecasting the forms which life creates in their entirety its evolution. Such were the ideas we condensed into the image of the "vital impetus". or designed within it as an idea. we have an idea full of matter. by discontinuous leaps. "Neither impulsion nor attraction" seems to be its motto. it may not be equally successful in all Now. time being thus unavailing. and by a barren theory of metaphysics. Pure experience suggests nothing of the sort. To neglect them. whilst it can also. give the idea of that real and effective duration which is the essential attribute of life. as has been too often done. it is like the sudden movement of the hand plunged among the iron filings and causing an instantaneous readjustment of them if all. and emerging all together in the organism formed from the germ. save perhaps by implication. are From sudden as this standpoint. capable of guiding our investigations. the future being deducible from the present by a calculation. all along the lines of Whether you embrace the doctrine of pure finality. which will broadly sum up what we know of the vital process and will also bring out what is still unknown. in the sense that the multiple . By taking them into account. cases. Now it is just something of this kind that an impetus can suggest. like that of the pure "will to live". the transformation takes place in various representatives of the same species. the essential one. taking place here and there in a previous species and thus resulting in somewhat different types of humanity.

constituted aggregates which. it is suggested. this is represented by a society of insects and a human society. formed from a single cell. but they might not be equal in quality. Some biologists have gone so far as to say that the individual is already a society: the protozoa. As a mere tendency. and thus the most widely differentiated organisms originated in the associations of elementary organisms barely differentiated from one another. sents life. we find it in its finished form at the two culminating points of evolution. intelligence and sociability. from our standpoint. and in man. the . coming together in their turn. and if we wish to deal with fully complete societies. might have same distance in every case. found in so many species. whilst refraining from fixing any anthropomorphic sense to the word. But. whether the human species sprang or not from one stock. "polyzoism" is an exceptional and abnormal occurrence. the leaps not having covered the They. This is obviously an exaggeration. in the hymenopterous insects. The bent towards the social form. We could say. clear-cut organizations of distinct individuals. first of all. these features take on a special meaning. that they correspond to one and the same intention of life. variations characterising each one are perfectly co-ordinate with one another. But.96 STATIC RELIGION CH. all taken place in the same direction. Now. once merely a tendency. for a biological interpretation. is therefore evident in the very structure of any of its members. But it is none the less a fact that things take place in a higher organism as if the cells had joined together to share the work between them. To take sociability first. such as the ants and bees. Intelligence and sociability must be given their proper place back in the general evolution of denominator. it is found everywhere in nature. produced aggregates of aggregates. we must take the two perfect types of association more. They are no longer a matter for the psychologist and the sociologist only. mankind always pretwo essential characteristics. whether we have to deal with a single type of humanity or with several. which cannot be reduced to a common it is of little consequence. none the less. They call.

sometimes exclusive of order. given their place again in the evolution of life. Let us merely recall the fact that life is a certain effort to obtain certain things from raw matter. "order" and "progress". These two finished types of social life are then the counterpart of each other and mutually complementary. it is an inorganic instrument which man has had to invent. The two activities. instinct there still survive gleams of intelligence. and that instinct and intelligence. are two distinct means of utilizing a tool for this object. we should insects. But the same could be said of instinct and intelligence. fact of fabrication. two divergent characterize When and complementary activities. which began by mutual in order to grow. inter- penetration. the fact of invention. most of all. still more the and then. Of the two conditions laid down by Comte. which them respectively. in the first case. had 1 to part company but some- It essential. the first similar to an organism whose elements only exist in the interest of the whole. goes without saying that the immutability is not absolute but but in fact admits of variations on the theme once posited. they appear. the insect chose order only. We shall not go over again what we have stated in a former work. taken in their finished state. whereas the aim of at least a section of humanity is progress. It exists in principle. the tool is part of the living creature. and always due to individual initiative. for its purpose explains its structure. if we went far enough back into the past. the one instinctive. and you will find one after the other all the elements of intelligence. the other intelligent. . as it were. We may conjecture that they were originally involved in one another and that. find instincts that are nearer to intelligence than those of our and an intelligence closer to instinct than that of our vertebrates. in the other. 1 the other subject to change. the second leaving so wide a margin to the individual that we cannot tell whether the organism was made for them or they for the organism. and that in the depths of learn to handle. make and Grant the fact of utilization. But we must not forget that there still hangs round the edge of intelligence a fringe of instinct.ii SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF MYTH-MAKING 97 one immutable.

thing of the one has remained attached to the other. If intelligence now threatens to break up social cohesion at certain points. in is divided. latent. if this result is obtained by instinct which but an extension of nature's work of organization. be a counterpoise. along with intelligence. If we study. If. this that nature is means the individual. arid there must assuming that society is to go on. independence and liberty. life. or virtual state. If that more concerned with society than with is no longer the case with man. for the very reason that its place has been taken by intelligence. that the social underlies those societies with which individual organ- isms are already identifiable. the constituent part must be ready to sacrifice itself for the whole. but it may suggest interpretations. and if the individual organism is constructed on a plan which foreshadows that on which societies are organized. the same effect must be produced by a virtuality of instinct. to intelli- gence. if this is still so in those societies of societies which form. at the end of one of the two great lines of evolution. frequently in a rudimentary. in fact. or. in which the individual blindly serves the interests of the community. the hive and the anthill. at the terminal point of one of the great efforts of nature. we must not lose sight of the other terminal point of evolution. If this counterpoise cannot be instinct itself. If societies are to be found at the two principal terminal points of the evolutionary movement. at these points. the essential characteristics of most of the 'other manifestations. Indeed the same thing could be said of all the important manifestations of In most cases each reveals. This comparison will never justify firm conclusions. these essentially intelligent and partially free groups of beings which constitute human societies. the faculty of initiative. this means that life is a co-ordination of disciplined elements among which the work the vital. is and lastly. then. if . this means that the inventive effort manifested throughout the domain of life by the creation of new species has found in humanity alone the means of continuing its activity through individuals. on whom there has devolved. the societies swayed by pure instinct.98 STATIC RELIGION CH.

in counteracting the work of intelliwould be the explanation of the myth-making Though indeed it plays a social role. but. Need we floor. which underlies the reasoning personality. though the lift wsts still down below. it had to act at once. she naturally thought the lift was there and rushed forward to take it. let us consider the first. But before form it coming brings added strength to the to the second point. through the agency of intelligence gence. we the following case. she upper walked out on to the landing. All of a sudden she felt herself flung backwards. As she wanted to go downstairs. the action consequent upon the correct reasoning being show her her already under way. She had been about to fling herself into the gaping void a miraculous hallucination had saved her . The mere to sight of the empty shaft would have been mistake. it will call up "imaginary" ones. but it would have been too enough late. years ago lady was on the floor of an hotel. This faculty. the man entrusted with the working of the lift had just appeared and was pushing her back on to the landing. As the gate was so contrived as to be open only if the lift were stopped at that floor. The mechanism being out of order.ii SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF MYTH-MAKING it. itself. 99 you prefer by the residue of instinct which survives on the it fringe of intelligence: cannot exercise direct action. by "psychical research". She was amazed to see that neither man nor lift were there. . it must also serve the individual. it was possible for the gate to be open at her floor. came into action. which will hold their own against the representation of reality and will succeed. It was then that the instinctive or somnambulistic self. It had seen the danger. for the gate was really open and therefore the lift should have been at that life. may therefore presume that in its We original and elementary individual. say that the miracle is easily explained? The lady had reasoned correctly on a real fact. At this point she emerged from her fit of abstraction. The gate provided for the lift Among the facts collected noticed some A happened to be open. since intelligence works on representations. whom as often as not it is to the interest of society to favour.

and social instinct. intelligence. Let us imagine then a primitive humanity and rudimentary societies. And with complete success: here the individual lives for the community alone. to wit. at the CH. he would remain intent on the purely external object to be attained. Invention means initiative. somnambulistically. all that remains fully illumin- it is a dim penumbra about the centre. on the constraint imposed on him by social life. It would be a simple matter for nature to ensure the requisite cohesion within the groups. Henceforth reflexion will enable the individual to invent. and society to progress. This she did for the bee-hive and the ant-hill. she would only have to endow man with the appropriate instincts.ioo Instantly it STATIC RELIGION had thrown her body backwards. of instinct is not abolished. When the end of the movement is attained in man. and focuses it on himself. same time inducing in a flash the fictitious. he will turn and think only of leading a pleasant life. roused to thought. like the ant and the bee. I mean from the task to be performed. on the sacrifice he makes to the community? If he were a slave of instinct. intelligence. it is towards an expansion of intelligence. as found in insects. is nothing more than the spirit of subordination and co-ordination animating the cells and tissues and organs of all living bodies. But if society is to progress. Indeed her task was an easy one. hallucinatory perception the best fitted to evoke and explain the apparently unjustified movement. it is eclipsed. But it is no longer towards a mere development of instinct. and an appeal to individual initiative straightaway involves of the risk of endangering social discipline. since she only had to follow her usual method. instinct is indeed coextensive with life. What if the individual diverts his reflexion from the object for which it was designed. he would have automatically. worked for the species. Formal reasoning would doubtless show him that he furthers his own Endowed with to himself interest by promoting the happiness of others. the improvement or renovation to be undertaken. that the vital impulse of the vertebrate tends. it must first all be able to maintain itself. but it takes . now ated or rather in itself luminous.




centuries of culture to produce a utilitarian such as John Stuart Mill, and Stuart Mill has not convinced all philos-

alone the mass of mankind. The truth is that would counsel egoism first. The intelligent being intelligence will rush in that direction if there is nothing to stop him. But nature is on the watch. Just now, before the open gate a guardian appeared, to bar the way and drive back the trespasser. So now some protective deity of the city will be there



to forbid, threaten, punish. Intelligence is guided in fact by present perceptions or by that more or less vivid residue of perception called recollection. Since instinct no longer exists


except as a mere vestige or virtuality, since it is not strong to incite to action or prevent it, it must arouse an

illusory perception, or at least a counterfeit of recollection so clear and striking that intelligence will come to a decision accordingly. Looked at from this first point of view, religion is

then a defensive reaction of nature against the dissolvent power

of intelligence.


this only gives us a figurative symbolization of


actually occurs. For the sake of greater clearness, we have supposed in society a sudden revolt of the individual, and in

the individual imagination the sudden apparition of a god to prevent or forbid. Things doubtless take this dramatic form
at given times and for a certain period in a humanity already well along the road to civilization. But reality only develops towards the precision of drama by intensification of the


and elimination of the superfluous.

Indeed in

human groups, just as they may have come from the hands

nature, the distinction between what does and what does not affect the cohesion of the group is not so clear, the con-

sequences of an act accomplished by the individual do not appear so strictly individual, the force of inhibition which
arises at the very instant

accomplished Let us dwell on these three points. In societies such as ours there are customs and laws. The laws are doubtless often stabilized customs: but a custom only becomes a law when it is of particular, recognizable and

when the act is on the point of being not so completely incarnated in a person.




definable value; then it stands out from among the others. The distinction is therefore clear between the essential and

we have, on the one hand, what is merely on the other, what is legal, or even moral, obligation. custom, This cannot be so in less advanced societies where we find only customs, some of them justified by a real need, most of them due to mere accident, or to an irrational extension of the former. Here all customary things are perforce obligatory, since social solidarity, not being condensed into laws, and still less into principles, is diluted into an acceptance by all and
the accidental:

sundry of these customs. Everything habitual to the members of the group, everything that society expects from individuals, isjbound to take on a religious character, jf it is true that the observance of custom, and that alone, attaches man to other men, and thus detaches him from himself. Let us note, by the way, that the question of the relation between morality and religion is thus greatly simplified when we consider rudimentary societies. Primitive religions can only be called nonmoral, or indifferent to morality, if we take religion as it was in the beginning and compare it with morality such as it became later on. Originally the whole of morality is custom; and as religion forbids any departure from custom, morality is coextensive with religion. It would therefore be vain to raise the objection that religious prohibitions have not always dealt with things that strike us to-day as immoral or antisocial. Primitive religion, taken from our first standpoint, is a precaution against the danger man runs, as soon as he thinks
at all, of thinking of himself alone. It is therefore, as we stated above, a defensive reaction of nature against intelligence. On the other hand, the idea of individual regpnn&;hility is

by no means so simple

as might be supposed. It implies a relativelY_absJtract representation of the activity of the,individual, which is taken to be independent because it has

been isolated from

social, activity*

But the



the membefsTof Hie group is such at first that all are bound to feel that they share to some degree in the lapse of any single
one, at least in such cases as they consider serious: moral evil, if we can use the term at this stage, is regarded much the


as a physical evil spreading



from one person to another, contaminates the whole society. So that, if an avenging power does arise, it will be to castigate society as a whole, without making its weight felt only at the spot from which

the evil sprang: the picture of Justice pursuing the criminal is relatively modern, and we have simplified matters too much
in showing the individual checked, on the verge of breaking the social bond, by the religious fear of a punishment which would fall on him alone, ft is none the less true that things

tend to assume this form, and that they assume it more and more distinctly as religion, determining its own features, becomes more frankly mythological. The myth will indeed always bear traces of its origin; it will never clearly distinguish

between the physical order and the moral or social order, between intentional orderliness due to the obedience of all to a law and the orderliness manifested in the course of nature. Themis, goddess of human justice, is the mother of the Seasons ('lpai) and of A/*??, who represents the physical law as well as the moral law. Even to-day we have hardly rid ourselves of this confusion; traces of it linger in our language. Morals and morality, regularity and regulation, uniformity de facto and uniformity dejure are in each case both expressed in much the same way. Does not the word "order" signify both system and command?

we spoke

punish* That which the resistance springs, and even, if need be, the vengeance, is incarnated in a person. That it thus tends naturally to assume, in the eyes of man, a human form, there is no doubt. But if mythology is a product of nature, it is a late product, like flower-bearing plants, and the beginnings of religion were more modest. A careful study of what occurs in our consciousness shows us that an intentional resistance, and

of a god, arising tp prohibit, to prevent, to means presumably that the moral force, from

even a vengeance, at first strike us as self-sufficient entities; for them to be clothed with a definite body, like that of a

and avenging

deity, is already a luxury; the


making function of the

mind doubtless only works with

pleasure on conceptions thus arrayed, but

does not


all at


form them



We shall have to emphasize this point,
hits back, looks

begins by taking them in their which has

not sufficiently engaged the attention of psychologists. There is no proof that the. child who knocks his head against the


on the

table as a person.


this interpretation is far from being accepted by all psychologists to-day. But in this case, after attributing too much to

when they suppose
impulse to

mythological explanation, they now do not go far enough that the child simply gives way to an

caused by anger.

The truth is that between the

identification of the table with a person and the perception of the table as an inanimate object, there lies an intermediate

representation which is neither that of a thing nor of a person; it is the image of the act accomplished by the table
in striking, or, better

bringing with



the image of the act of striking, luggage borne on its back the table

striking is an element of but not yet a complete personality. The fencer personality, who sees the button of his adversary's foil coming at him

which stands behind. The act of



it is


it is

forward, that



of the point which has drawn that has drawn the arm for-

ward, that it is the arm that stretched out the body by stretching out itself: he can only lunge properly, and give a direct thrust instantaneously, from the time he feels things in this


reverse their order
it is


to reconstruct,

and so


bringing to light the implicit, philosophize: in any case instead of being content with what action pure and simple
is directly perceived and really primitive. signboard "Trespassers will be prosecuted", we begin by perceiving the prohibition; it stands out clearly; it is only behind it, in the shadow, that we have a vision of the

requires, with


When we read a

constable lying in wait to report us. In the same way, thethe social order first stand out, just e they are already more than mere words;

they resist* and press, and push;, hut the divinity wJxo forbids, and whojyas screened by them, will only appear later, as the work of the myth-making function becomes complete. We must not be surprised, therefore, if we meet with prohibitions




in uncivilized communities, which are semi-physical, semimoral restraints on certain individual acts; tl^object

^occupya ^ res * st ? n ?? w ke caN e ^ Boffi ing J;l^jGfi&&^ JkjjJL "sacred" and "4aagesau&"r once these two definite ideas are


constituted, and when the distinction is clearly made between a physical force of repulsion and a moral inhibition; up till then, it possesses the two properties fused into one; it istaboo^ to use the Polynesian term made familiar to us by tKe science

of religions. Did primitive humanity conceive the taboo in the same way as the "primitive races'* of to-day? Let us first agree on the meaning of the words. There would be no such
if the species had been formed by imperceptible transitions; at no given moment would man have emerged from the animal state; but this is an arbitrary hypothesis, which comes up against so many improbabilities and rests on such ambiguities that we believe it to be unten1 able; by following the clue of facts and analogies, we are far

thing as primitive humanity,

more likely to arrive at a discontinuous evolution, proceeding by
bounds, obtaining

each stopping-place a combination, per-

fect of its kind, like the shifting figures that follow one another in a kaleidoscope; there is then a type of primitive humanity,

even though the human species may have been formed by various leaps converging from various points and not all coming equally near to a realization of the type. On the other hand, the primitive soul would escape us entirely to-day if there had been hereditary transmission of acquired habits. Our moral nature, taken in its raw state, would then differ radically from that of our remotest ancestors. But again it is under the influence of preconceived ideas, and to satisfy the demands of a theory, that one speaks of hereditary habit and, above all, that one believes in a transmission regular enough to bring about a transformation. The truth is that, if civilization has profoundly modified man, it is by accumulating in

knowledge which society pours into the individual

his social surroundings, as in a reservoir, the habits and at each

new owe

generation. Scratch the, surface, aboiish-^verything
to an education




we and unceasing, and

See Creative Evolution, chaps,


because the object was even to thwart it. But precisely because no appeal had been made to individual intelligence. Hence. takes place over fairly considerable periods in vertically.Qriginal intention of nature. Even supposing that it some- Hence. for example. resulting therefore in deep transformations. probably. But has it kept its original form? The intelUgenc^ol/'prinutiys" peoples is not essentially different so .106 STATIC RELIGION CH. easy to see how far we may regard as absolutely the notion of taboo which we find among the primitive "primitive" peoples of to-day. one and the same direction. must have extended it arbitrarily in all directions. since it suddenly checked intelligent activity without resorting to intelligence. nor lead to such absurd consequences. you find in the depth of our nature primitive humanity.. by a layer iof habits which the social surroundings have preserved in order to deposit them in each individual. Each taboo must have been a prohibition in which society had a well-defined interest. admitting that taboo has always been what it is to-day. by chance association of ideas. of knowledge. was satisfactorily regulated by taboos. without troubling about what we might calljthe. or on account of some other accidental cause. it is how appeared it in a humanity fresh from the hands of nature. But there is reason to believe that thisJtayerJ_s not so thick as in civilized man. whereas the progress of technical skill. since nature is. it probably did not apply to so many things. did not apply to the same things as now. sexual intercourse. and not merely in surface complications. Are the "primitive" peoples we of that humanity? It is hardly probpfcserve to-day the image Jable. and that it allows nature to show more clearly through multiplication of habits throughout the ages must in their case have occurred in a different way. or something very near it. in their case as well. it. The by passing from one of them to another simply because they looked alike. seizing upon the idea of taboo. to many things. in a word of civilization. overlaid. along the surface. it was rational inasmuch as it was in the interests of the society and the species. by superimposed or anastomotic variations. intelligence. nor. Irrational from the point of view of the individual. Thus.

and we shall be obliged to catalogue the forms it come Once more we shall see it for the takes. to convert the dynamic into the static. call an accomplished fact. that along a certain line of evolution instinct has to some extent made room life. In stagnant societies this it solidification is complete. must always remember We that the sphere of life is essentially that of instinct. We shall indeed find its work more complex. it must have a tendency. by stimulating and guiding individual activities. where intelligence was bound in the end have been dealing with the to the other.ii ASSURANCE AGAINST DISORGANIZATION 107 from our own. first to perceive behind the prohibition a person. the prohibitions have taken up their abode inside the things to which they applied: they were nothing but resistances opposed to tendencies. but. as a tendency has for the most part an object. and solidify actions into things. or any general idea whatsoever. society. and as if dwelling within it. this does not imply that they have a general idea of death. has no other resource than to set up intelligence against intelligence. Doubtless some them make the distinction between the living and the dead. the same movements. for intelligence. But there for we have is no danger of losing our way in this search. it was from the object. The intellectual representation which thus restores the balance to nature's advantage is of a religious order. We that function of religion. of . We may presume then that. in what one might mobile societies. that the resistance appeared to come. having become in this way an attribute of its substance. under its influence. like ours. in such circumstances. any more than they have of life. we mean by this that the sight of a dead creature and of a living one does not produce in them the same reactions. the clue in our hands. Animals do not know that they must die. jwhich directly_concernsjocial pregfirv^tmn Now let us good of working but indirectly. Let us take the simplest case first. An animal will "sham dead" to escape from an enemy. at least in the sense of a mental picture and not simply a movement of the body. It was perhaps less was in any case temporary. that this may lead to a disturbance of that nature. the same attitudes.

is one thing. and consequently the faculty of observing with no view to immediate utility. But it is at first a depressing thought. is the translation of such contemplation into feeling. in short. All other living creatures. being a perpetual encroachment of the present on the future. and would be more depressing still. must die a natural death if he does not die a violent one. there is a vast difference between doing what must result in death and knowing that the result is going to be death. it is true: even admitting this as an actual fact. But even suppose that an animal has the notion of certainly does not realize that he is bound to die. This would require a series of observations of other death. in endowing him with intelligence. while certain that he later find its appropriate setting in a . But man knows he will die. Nature. must inevitably lead him to this conis clusion. of comparing with one another observations that are temporarily disinterested. now nothing could be more useless to him than to know that he must die. so the thought of death must slow down in man the movement of life. It may in raising ment of philosophy which ends above its own level and increasing its humanity powers of action. he Seeing that every living thing about him ends by dying. If the impetus of life turns all other living creatures away from the image of death. if man. we who define his attitude thus. even one that is well-contrived but is and appropriate. of deducing and generalizing. to perform an action. He that he which already savours of animals. so far as he is conhe does not stir because he feels that by moving cerned. Although they do not contemplate themselves sub specie aeterniy their confidence. Even supposing that the animal could contrive to make any such effort. lastly. it would be for something worth while. he would excite or again attract attention and invite attack.io8 STATIC RELIGION it is CH. convinced that he will die too. are simply carried along by its impetus. to forecast the outcome of it another. because movement evokes movement. Cases of animal suicide have been reported. clinging to life. It is more to his interest not to know it. But with man reflexion appears. a process of generalization science. But this conviction cuts athwart the forward move- nature. then a synthesis.

are simply defy "built up of human beings": what would become of their by laws. is a defensive reaction of nature the representation . but also and above stability because society itself needs and duration. second standpoint. It it . runs counter to nature's intention. straightens every1 thing out again. p. arising at the same time as reflexion in a world of living creatures constructed to think only of living. pp. looks as if it is going to stumble over the obstacle which she has placed on her own path. but punitive societies. To the idea of inevitable death she opposes the image of a continuation of life after death. saving herself from slipping. the continued repetition of the negative experience condenses into a barely conscious doubt. See Chapter III. flung by her into the field of intelligence. Ancestor- shape goes without saying that the image is hallucinatory only in the assumes in the eyes of primitive man. 273-274. which diminishes the effect of the reasoned certainty.ii ASSURANCE AGAINST DEPRESSION 109 must is die. But she recovers herself at once. and Chapter IV. We are therefore again confronted here with that particular interplay of images and ideas characteristic of religion in its beginnings. this image. A society already civilized is supported institutions. Nature. by intelligence. this which we found Looked at from . religion individual. by authority if people did not believe in the enduring character of the individualities of which they are composed? It is therefore essential that the 1 dead should remain present. It is none the less true that the certainty of death. This neutralizing of the idea by the image simply expresses the equilibrium of nature. of the inevitability against of death. 225 sqq. we have stated our ideas in former works. but as we are constantly becoming aware that it does not come. In this reaction society is as much concerned as the Not only because it profits from the individual and because this effort has a more far-reaching effect effort. Death indeed bound to come. As regards the general question of survival. where the idea of death has just become installed. were not ignorant of the date of his death. we shall recur to them in the present book. then. even by buildings constructed to the ravages of time. when the idea of an ending does not intervene to thwart all its impetus.

the primitive representation of the soul. The dead will then be closer to gods. We have got into the habit of considering the first as inseparable from the second. which presents itself to the immediate consciousness. To these themes doubtless may be traced back the fundamental beliefs met with almost everywhere by the science of religions. some simple. or it may even have been seized upon. by of introspection. of the same origin. at least in embryo. for the constituent elements of primi- we tive religion. some complex. The progress of knowledge the body is all in that direction. prior to the myths and the theories. For contemporary science it is essentially what it is to the touch. But has it any definite shape outside this combination? If the question arises. worship will come later. Yet this image does exist. on the other hand. and. supplied by nature. In its beginning. Thus there are in existence certain themes. either alone or with others. to be used as raw material for the never- ending work of the myth-making function. they are the myths and even the theoretical conceptions. has a definite .no STATIC RELIGION CH. As to the variations on the themes. It may be that no single has ever manifested itself externally in one of these elements an unadulterated state. with their endless diversifications according to time and place. with which it will have amalgamated. as a shadow or effect of the latter. intelligence simply sees the dead as mingling with the living in a society to which they can still do good or ill. we have the countless variations played upon them by human fancy. There is no question but that the simple theme we have just indicated combines immediately with others to produce. it is because our present-day idea of a soul living on after the body overlays the image. It is nothing more than the visual image of the body detached from the tactile image. the mind must have deliberately turned towards mythology. of the body able to live on after its death. there must be a definite form of worship. that it would have immediately come up against simple elements. and it takes but a slight effort to recall it. In what form does forget that it conceive their survival? We must not means are searching in the depths of the soul. But for this to happen there must be gods.

a . detached from the tactile body. the visual image of it would in that case be a phenomenon whose we must constantly rectify by recourse to the image. We is shall not yet define this other elementary tendency. and will to be relatively independent of one another. which has moved in a trice to the place where he sees it. for the body we can touch is still present. since it is the yearning after continued action that has led to the belief in an after-life. must new element supervenes. which conbody. independent of ourselves. whereas the visible envelope may have slipped away somewhere or other and remained alive. It is likewise It as natural as the two preceeding ones. But if we begin by laying down the principle that there must be something that does live on. There is doubtless nothing about that body to incline us to believe that it lives on after death. can become dual and that one of the two semblances stays with the tactile body. the other would merely indicate its presence. But the immediate variations tactile will impression is nothing of the kind. by of exerting a pressure on human events. and yet it exert one. A mind not on its guard put the visual image and the tactile image on the same assume ^them plane. But the fact stitutes the seen remains that there is a body which is detachable from the one he can touch. The idea that men live on as shades or phantoms is therefore quite natural. it lies motionless and speedily decays. a mere shell of a body. It is true that the ghostly envelope of the body seems incapable. devoid of weight. It must have preceded. we believe. it occupies a given position in space and cannot change it without taking time to occupy successively the intervening positions. course the body he can touch is also a body he can see. But here a itself. this 'breath itself has gradually become spiritualized into the soul. the latter would be the thing itself. it will obviously be that body and not the other. "primitive" it man proves that the outer envelope of the body. will attribute to them the same reality.ii THEMES OF PRACTICAL MYTH-MAKING in form and dimension. The Of body just as this has only to stoop over a pool to see his really appears. the more elaborate idea of a principle breathing life into the body.

It is not our business to decide between these different interpretations. or indeed anything else. It becomes in the end the representation of a force diffused throughout the whole of nature and distributed among individual objects and beings. there that a in . Will this soul survive the body? There is no reason to suppose so if we consider the soul alone. We shall have to be enquiring whence it comes. But if we have started by assuming body the principle that the ghostly form of the body persists. etc. We once primitive has not ceased to be so. the mana is a universal principle of life. might well assimilate. the arenda of the Iroquois. According to others. such as the soul. constituting in particular. whose counterpart is found elsewhere under different names: the wakanda of the Sioux. is one of the first ideas the mind encounters when following a certain tendency. even though an effort of self-scrutiny may be necessary to re-discover it. the pantang of the Malays. which we shall define a little further on. can draw. artd even a considerable number of inanimate objects. defensive reaction of nature. For the present we shall only consider what comes of it. Speaking generally. meaning natural. it is rather a new force supervening. Let us then take this for granted. There is no reason to believe power such as the mana should last longer than the which it dwells. to use our own language. we hesitate to consider as primitive. According to some. a notion which we should not are of the opinion that what was to-day form naturally. we shall have no objection to admitting that the idea of a source of power upon which animate beings. In the science of religions this emanation is generally reported to be primitive. holds that the which the members is supplies the totemic principle by of the clan commune together. the substance of souls. Man is now provided with what he will call later a soul. But in whatever shape we take this mental image which we are now considering. who apparently reasons along the first hypo- thesis. a natural and primary one.ii2 STATIC RELIGION CH. We hear of the Polynesian mana. but which does not belong essentially to the soul. Durkheim. the soul mana thus regarded as being a direct individualization of the "totem" and to share in the mana through this agency.

They will spare no pains to secure their confidence. if They can do harm. They may do good. if it were not that the soul-idea unites with the spirit-idea. Once started on this road. indeed. have had plenty of time to exaggerate . even of outwitting them. shall also This too comes from another natural tendency which we have to define. there is hardly any absurdity mto wluch intelligence may not stumble. They will go so far as the cutting off of heads. be great. They will think of countless ways of winning them 6ver. figurative sense they cause the what People will a eschew *"*. there the list of similar practices indulged in at by human stupidity is interminable. The dead are then going to become persons to be reckoned with. of buying their favour. Childish and monstrous indeed. They have at their disposal.might v~ """"~~"** n WHr*i'f**"'* ''-' . the souls detached from the body would be without influence on natural pheno- mena more or they were not of the same order as the spirits and less capable of taking their place among them. In both a literal rain and a and the fine weather. The spirits supposed to be present everywhere in nature would not so closely resemble the human form if souls were not already depicted in this shape. The myth-making function irritate \v6rks well it is enough by itself alone: what will it not do when spurred on by fear and necessity! To avert a danger or to secure a favour the living are ready to offer anything they fancy the dead man may want. On their side. Missionary stories are full of detailed accounts of such things. The influence thus exerted would not. if that may be pleasing in his sight. The result will be an active and effective shade capable of influencing human events. up to a certain point. Such seems indeed to be the primitive conception of survival. we should be tempted Looking to abominate humanity. what we call the forces of nature. and at them only. them. Let us take it also for granted and note that exchanges will occur between the two ideas. But we must not forget that the primitives of to-day or of yesterday have lived as many centuries as we have.n is PRIMITIVE THEMES nothing to prevent our also leaving in it 113 the principle which endowed the body with the strength to act. - them.

and to aggravate. which might become serious them. the direction remains relatively unchanged. which accentuates one or another of its superficial characteristics. It is . as we have said above. word. as it were. they do change. marking time. self-satisfied families. We have all come across one of those very united. who keep themselves to themselves. Through the double effect of repetition and exaggeration the irrational passes into the realm of the absurd. on the other hand. The change is here an increase of intensity. the progress is towards an ever higher efficiency. These successive extensions must also have been due to individuals. there takes place within them not that intensification which would be a qualitative progress.ii4 STATIC RELIGION CH. and the strange into the realm of the monstrous. but which no longer serves any purpose. natural enough though they be. if they kept to the tendency and its immediate effects. societies that keep to their original level. no longer requires an effort. There are societies which progress probably those on whom unfavourable conlife have forced a certain effort to live. Everything changes. which is inevitably somewhat low. The true primitives were probably more reasonable. a man of genius. Thenceforth. and which have then consented. to increase their effort in order to follow a pioneer. or to accept the in- The logic of absurdity was enough. intellectual superiority to invent. the change will take place in breadth if not in depth. and. they cease- if we can still use the From a belief answering to some new belief which up additions and amplifications. the possible irrationalities contained in elementary tendencies. As. There are. an inventor. when it starts out from a strange idea without relating it to sources which could explain its strangeness and check its proliferation. because they are shy or supernot unusual to notice certain quaint habits among aversions or superstitions. that logic which leads the mind ever further and further astray towards wilder and wilder consequences. but here there was no longer any lessly pile need for vention. but a multiplication or an exaggeration of the ditions of primitive state of things: invention. nevertheless. to a certain need they have passed resembles the former outwardly. cilious. at rare intervals.

For example. we have met with primary tendencies which appear to provide an explanation of the general forms assumed by religion. they are primary religious ideas. to follow blindly. postulate a certain We instinctive activity. if it does. we try to discover whether it leads to a dangerous disturbance. Our method will still remain the same. instead of opening windows on to the outside world. an opposing representation will will emerge the primitive beliefs con- cerning death. spring to life under pressure from this comes the idea of the inevitability of death: to restore to life its and from it impetus. and start up. calling into play intelligence. Each one of these singularities has its particular origin. if such representations exist. and of making a constant broaden their horizon. to imitate. it is criticism that demands an effort.ii ASSURANCE AGAINST THE UNFORESEEABLE 115 they were to go on fermenting in a closed vessel. the But let intelligence impulse. goodness knows what would happen. in the course of our analysis. of dispersing the foul vapours as they gathered about them. these primary tendencies. up vital impulse knows nothing of death. magnify enormously all the little foibles of a family living in isolation: you will have no difficulty in imagining what must have occurred in primitive societies which have remained self-centred and self-satisfied. and which if the others have taken on trust. the balance will probably be restored through representations evoked by instinct within the disturbing intelligence. In order to repeat. have just defined above two essential functions of religion and. yet to how many other accidents is not life exposed! Does to the unforeseen not the very application of intelligence to life open the door and let in the feeling of risk? An animal is itself. sure of In its case nothing intervenes between aim . we have only to relax. and which then became a settled thing every Sunday of the year: if they should have the misfortune to miss it once. then. We now pass to effort to We the study of these general forms. Now take a few hundred centuries instead of a few years. But. though death be the greatest accident of all. It was some idea which occurred to one or another of the family. It may be a walk they took one Sunday and took again the next Sunday.

If its it is STATIC RELIGION CH. and. it advances by leaps and bounds. may indeed be fully conscious of this of the unexpected. it only sees the immediate object. it is an objective of which the animal is unaware. at the very instant it is launched. it is But it is an ideal that never fulfilled. continuity between gesture and result. It begins. brooking no delay. It ignores the accidental. prey is there. the animal pounces upon it. between. Between what it does and the result it wants to attain there is more often than not. as we say. And yet it is A the place of the natural causes and continuing into actions or- . But the vital impulse is there. part of the very essence of such and that it can at the utmost human work of the intelligence. admitting no obstacle. when shooting his margin arrow. a gap appears. it thus postulates a universal mechan- ism and conceives virtually a complete science which would make is it possible to foresee. Intelligence is constituted to act mechanically on matter. does not know if it will strike the object at which he aimed: we have not here. an interval which leaves ample room it for accident. Doubtless this should not be so in theory. If the ultimate objective is remote. cognizance representation will accordthat of favourable powers overriding or occupying ingly arise. seeing only the end in view. everything its likely to when the action come up against before reaching goal. as in the case of the animal with its prey. circumstances. must confine itself to very limited action on a material about which it knows very little.both in space and in time. with the accomplishment of it. exposed to accident. in a word the indeterminate which lies along its path. In fact. The savage.^. as in the case of the bee building the hive. to enable must lend their aid. and to undertake what it does not feel absolutely sure of carrying out. attracting the unexpected.n6 and act. its waiting is a forestalling of the act and will form. the unforeseen. devouring the space serve as a stimulus to the intelligence necessary that intelligence should have of this anticipation. It to finish. If a matter of lying in wait. But it is the very essence of intelligence to co-ordinate means with a view to a remote end. and the leap it takes is exactly co-extensive with the act it has to accomplish. an undivided whole.

this is the beginning. thus eliminating chance. if we thus imagine friendly powers interested in our success. we shall find a mechanism again is in the realization of the desired effect. your will shrinks back into but. just as it is perhaps coming. but it is bound to proliferate. of a depressing margin of the unexpected between the initiative taken and the effect desired. All the religious representations which here arise directly from it might then be defined in primitive. The representation of a hindering force is scarcely a later development than that of a former is its immediate consequence. it gaming rooms. emanating from it: and delegated by this is luck. a transfiguration of the will it to win. But this is derivation. the where beliefs multiply indefinitely by means of without any regard for their origin. an entity slips in. if the latter is natural. in accordance with our wishes. that the end: between the two there must have been inserted a supra-mechanical guarantee of success. Stake a sum of money on a number at roulette and till the ball is near the end of its gyrations. I might almost say decadence. after all. unfriendly powers. which is to fill up the gap between the decision it has taken and the result it expects. projected outside of yourself. requires more . True. Luck is not a complete personality.ii ASSURANCE AGAINST THE UNFORESEEABLE 117 started dained by them. it will indirectly stimulate our activity by inducing us to be circumspect. the enterprise on natural lines. the logic of intelligence will require that we postulate antagonistic causes. in spite of all its hesitations. your gives up its movement. here it is your own will. The vital analogies impulse is optimistic. This last belief will. by the intelligence. to the number you have chosen. he will see superstitions start up before his very eyes from the will to win. and then to wait it. Now go stop regularly to the hand soon its place. as it retires. above all in stagnant societies such as those which we now call helping force. Any one of us can try the experiment if he pleases. have its practical utility. your hand goes out to push it. let habit take the lead. We have set a mechanism going. to explain our failure. the same way: they are defensive reactions of nature against the representation.

just enough to make you rely on it. than this to make a divinity. since we believed it present. because we find in it at least an encouragement and an incentive. It is to some such power as this that the savage appeals in order that his arrow may reach its mark. failing the weapon which would make him sure of hitting the mark. he would abide by that mechanical causality (supposing. since he draws his bow and takes his aim. that he could instantly do away with inveterate habits of thought). But note that in all cases it is by rational means. Were science to supply the uncivilized man with a contrivance ensuring to him the mathematical certainty of hitting the mark. Skip over the stages city. because. we act and live the belief that we have in it. But of the second causality it is worth while to think. and. But what might well mislead the psychologist here is the fact that the second causality is the only one we mention. his faith in this causality will give him the selfconfidence which enables him to take better aim. what would be the use of translating it into words and making the idea explicit? This would only have value if we already had a science capable of using it to advantage. his action gets all there is to be got out of mechanical causality. But has certain elements of divinity.of course. In the absence of that science.ii8 STATIC RELIGION it CH. Human activity operates among events on which it has a certain influence. because it is taken for granted. it is by complying with mechanical sequences of cause and effect that things are set going. but on which it is also dependent. even if at the outset. We say nothing about the first. we invoked its assistance: we in no wise imagine we are fKefeBy excused from taking action. It governs the acts we accomplish with matter as our instrument. These events are to some extent foreseeable. it isjonly when we feel that it no longer lies with us to help ourselves that we have recourse to extra-mechanical power. Wejjegin by^ doing what depends on Qjirselyes. but his which thought inclines rather towards the extra-mechanical cause is to direct the arrow where it should go. of a long evolution: you will come to the tutelary gods of the whose function is to bring victory to its warriors. to a greater .

do exactly what is necessary to set things going mechanically. he will also think himself exposed to malignant influences. If he does so. not see him. the same mechanical concatenation of cause and effect with which he comes in contact when dealing with things must extend to the whole universe. in any case he will not be dealing with a world completely alien to him. the system he applies in social life when he attributes namely to good or bad. Levy-Bruhl emphasizes the indif- . M. Rather than lose heart. if good and evil genii are to preside over the successive phases of the operation he performs on matter. it is unwittingly. believe in a mechanical sequence. True. when he ventures further. Since our science thought of a civilized man (we shall see that the case does not apply to his spontaneous representations). we should we But if he did not. cannot project into the realm of the unforeseeable an expectant science capable of embracing it completely and at once opening up wide vistas to his ambition. This is why. who has at his disposal nothing but an inelastic science exactly proportionate to the action he exerts on matter. for an entirely different system. even for that part of the operation which is his own doing. we conceive it as ending in a ing perfect science in which the unforeseeable would cease to extent. if we want really to know what is in a man's mind. He does not admit exist. they will thereby appear to have exerted an influence over that action from the very beginning. he will expect to meet there with friendly forces. whether are dealing with savages or with civilized people. we must refer to what he does and not to what he says. in this case. to the reflective that the system of explanation which is appropriate to physical events over which he has some control ought to make room. Now. upon the mechanical sequence of cause and effect. But the uncivilized man. friendly or hostile intentions the behaviour of other men towards him. So our individual will speak as though he in no way relied. unforeseeable. In his extremely interesting and instructive books on "primitive mentality". he would not own to it.ii ON CHANCE 119 is constantly extendthe field of our prevision. as soon as he acts. he extends to this realm the system of explanation he uses in his intercourse with other men.

man's interests). we might almost say identical. The attitude of mind in primitive man is very different. now more forces the element which remains recognizable. 1922). or even the dust raised by his foot. and an invisible power. All things all creatures therein are involved in a network of mystic 1 participations and exclusions". 17. . cannot fail to impress him: it satisfies him in this case. now the spirit or less definite or individualized . To him the nature amid which he lives and presents itself under an entirely different aspect. perfect confidence in the invariability of natural 4aws. p. But one point strikes us at once: namely.. And a little further on: "The variable element in collective representations is the occult force to which the illness or the death which has occurred is is attributed: now a witch-doctor of a dead man. and. 24. which is attributed by primitive man to an occult cause. 2 The author brings various confirmatory reports by missionaries and travellers to support this idea. both of which he perceives. on the other". he does not here superimpose. The constant relation between the antecedent and the consequent.120 STATIC RELIGION CH. are not told that the primitive man who still a man's death or action We sees a tree bending in the wind or the shingle rolled up by a wave. is the pre-established link between ill. more particularly an accident to a man. and quotes the most curious examples. . more specifically illness. so to speak. leaving aside those physical facts of which primitive man is an impassive spectator: can we not say of him also. is an event concerning man. so far as we know. "Our daily activity". the it immediately turns to "mystic causes". the culprit. There is never any question of the inanimate on the inanimate (save in cases of a by phenomenon. 18. the effect reported. on the one hand. that his "daily activity 1 La Mentality primitive (Paris. fact that ference of this mentality to proximate or physical causes. Let us go further. affecting. 2 Ibid. that in all the cases instanced. much less substitute. imagines the inter- vention of anything more than what we call mechanical causality. "implies unruffled. . ness and death. a "mystic" causality. meteorological or other. pp. he says.

so momentous to us. he would not rely on the current of the river to carry his canoe. Why then does he " bring in a mystic cause". as the old philosophers used to put it. He notes. it is its to a particular importance to man. When the primitive man turns to a mystic cause for the explanation of death. the one who was crushed by the stone. nor on the bending of his bow to Without teeth to bite. for instance. and manifests itself every time the opposing force does not intervene. that a the process that he goes through? man has been killed by a frag- ment of rock dislodged during a gale.ii ON CHANCE 121 implies perfect confidence in the invariability of natural laws"? this confidence. that the wind loosened the stone. the death of a man. that. the cause must have at least an equal it is in any case of the same order: it is an That the scientific habit of the mind breaks it of this manner of reasoning is beyond doubt. There is nothing illogical. The effect is contained pre-eminently in the cause. Let us go further still. in the belief that a cause should be proportionate to its effect. being neither a physicist nor a philosopher. to set it up as the principal cause? Let us look closer: shall see that what the primitive man explains here by a "supernatural" cause is not the physical effect. what exactly is He sees. but he has faith in it and bases his activity upon it. consequently nothing "prelogical" or even anything which evinces an "imperviousness to experience". intention. and if the effect has a considerable human significance. on his hatchet to cut into the trunk. and more especially man. Does he deny that the rock was already split. he has no interest in doing so. it lingers on in civilized man. It is possible that he does not explicitly picture this natural causality to himself. such as the will of a spirit or witchdoctor. once having admitted the crack in the rock. purely physical things there remains to be the direction and force of the wind which take no account of humanity explained this fact. We drew attention to the fact that the gambler. that the blow cracked the skull? Obviously not. illness or any other accident. placing his stakes on a significance. shoot his arrow. the operation of these proximate causes. I . as we do. But it is a natural one. on his on his legs to walk. it is its human we significance.

had been hit by a splinter from a shell. serious accident. of death or a wound. he would have demonstrated more clearly still the kinship of this spontaneous intelligence with the primitive mentality. like the idea of a witch-doctor or a spirit. The reason is that with bullets we feel we are aimed at.122 STATIC RELIGION CH. which would mean so much to me. An officer who took part in the Great War told us he always noticed that the men dreaded the bullets more than when we the shells. projected by a purely mechanical cause. should nevertheless have come and struck him. although artillery-fire was far more deadly. must doubtless relinquish the greater part of its content to become the notion of "bad luck". in order to feel the presence of a hostile or friendly power. or nobody. and which serious might just as well have struck anybody. And we grasp the practical origin of this very see the gambler make a movement with his hand as though to stop the ball: he is epitomizing his will to win. will attribute his success or failure to good or bad luck. and the resistance to this will. but to the mechanical causality he will superadd. By introducing the idea of "bad luck". yet it subsists. number at roulette. and thus give its full interest to the game. representation A rich in matter. which was also a choice. reasons as follows: "To produce the effect. there must be a cause of equal importance. told us that his first impulse had been to exclaim: "How silly!" That this fragment of shell. A soldier who. that is to say to a favourable or unfavourable intention. But more striking still is the resemblance between the mentality of the logical reasoning civilized and of the primitive man when dealing with facts such as those we have just had in view: death. illness. him and not some- body else. This will not hinder him from explaining by natural causes everything that occurs between the moment of putting on his money and the moment when the ball stops. it is not . in spite of himself. appeared to his natural intelligence illogical. at the end of the process. there must be intent". and each of us.voluntary choice that may serve as a counterpart to his own: thus the final effect will be of the same importance and the same order as the first cause. as it happened. in the form of good or bad luck. a semi.

A huge tile. which at all events you are at great pains to distinguish radically from your own? I don't mean. or because. Let us ask ourselves what it really represents. Levy-Bruhl's writings that it may be considered as summing up one of the main characteristics of primitive mentality. wrenched off by the wind. that primitive man obstinately refuses to admit the existence of chance. If a man is dragged out of his canoe by an alligator. If a stone falls and crushes a passer-by. so that the tile 1 See in particular La MentaliU primitive. for some reason or other. But. according to the author. les etc. it is because he was not in a state to parry the blow. you would not mention it. 28. falls and kills a passer-by. a spell has been cast upon him: there is no chance about it. The extremely varied examples of "primitive mentality" which M. The most numerous are those which show. and it stands for something to you. and in admitting it are you quite sure that you are not relapsing into that primitive mentality you criticize. that particular spot on the pavement was of special interest to us. p. 1 The formula recurs so often in M. Les Fonctions mentales dans sorit6s inffrieures. But if it were for you a mere nothing.ii ON CHANCE 123 completely emptied. as well as the thing itself. when you reproach primitive man with not believing in chance. that you make of chance an active force. Should we say the same if the tile had merely crashed on to the ground? Perhaps. But the word exists. or at least when you state it to be a characteristic trait of his mentality that he does not believe in it. consequently the two mentalities are not so widely different from each other. 45. pp. of course. Levy-Bruhl has accumulated in his works can be grouped under a certain number of headings. You would consider the word as non-existent. cf. to that eminent philosopher we shall say. it was an evil spirit that dislodged it: there is no chance about it. 36. 73. If a warrior is killed or wounded by lance-thrust. . and you use it. We say it was by chance. but it would then be because we were vaguely thinking of a man who might have been there. as indeed it does to all of us. it is because he was bewitched: there is no chance about it. are you not admitting the existence of chance.

but to explain why its falling should coincide with the passing beneath it of a man. and because things happened as though man had been taken into account. In both cases chance intervenes only because some human interest is at stake. but if it taneously by humanity in obedience to a natural tendency? Not quite. on the contrary. in connection with the Ilcpl at the College of Alexander of Aphrodisia. we are recognizing. we do not suppose that there has been real intention. the idea of chance only reaches our consciousness after having first passed through the layer of accumulated experiences which society 1 We developed this conception of chance in a course of lectures delivered de France in 1898. . but the shape is there even if the matter is not. not indeed to account for the falling of the tile. to have specially selected it to fall upon. And this would be very true if we were dealing with when it nothing but reflective. nay. It may perhaps be said that precisely because we use the word things occur as if there has been intention. or more likely with the intention of doing him an injury.124 STATIC KJfcJLrlLrlUJN CH. there would be no question of chance. 1 Think seemed only of the wind wrenching off the tile. of the tile falling on the pavement. it is elusive. with humanity. It is nothing more than a mere shadow. Have we here one of those representations which we call "truly primitive". For indispensable that. why it should have chosen just that very moment to fall. evanescent. which super- imposes on the mechanical sequence of cause and effect something totally different. the effect having a human significance. of the crash of the tile on the ground: you see nothing but mechanism. Chance is therefore an intention emptied of its content. However spontaneous it may be. fully conscious thought. so to speak. it recedes as reflexion tries to grasp were non-existent we should speak only of mechanism. Chance is it to intervene it is then mechanism behaving as though possessing an intention. this significance should react upon the cause and colour it. semi-conscious thought. either with a view of doing him a service. But underlying is a spontaneous. that everything is capable of mechanical explanation. The element of choice or intention is as restricted as possible. formed sponit. the element of chance vanishes.

has been diverted from the object to which it owed its existence to new objects where it is no longer of A might even become dangerous. It imply a magnifying. 1 La Mentalite primitive. Levy-Bruhl. since an increasingly mechanistic science drives out of it should therefore have what purposefulness it contained. where it by that belief Cameroons lay their tribe is in all not taking action. we have more often than not to do two things. It is none the less true that to pass mind which might from the "primitive mentality" to states of well be our own. First we have to make a clean sweep of all our science. 1 may rest assured that where crocodiles are habitually who dangerous the native avoids going into the water just as we do: here the animal is feared. We to fill it again. On the other hand. 38. of will. it will now have the effect of encouraging laziness. detached from its end. We reports the fact. a thickening. that crocodiles hardly ever attack man in that country. from the evidence of a traveller. a spur to the will. give it a body. adds. we should now have to give this living intention far too much content. but M. but the two. Yet we must not go too far. . above all. In many cases one of these processes is enough. Then we must abandon ourselves to a certain to be from an explanation which we surmise which would call for a greater effort of intelligence and. witchcraft or no. turn aside more reasonable.ii ON CHANCE 125 deposits within us from the day it first teaches us to speak. that the means has become belief which begins by being useful. p. Having multiplied lazily through a superficial imitation of itself. in others we must combine laziness. to obtain the malignant or bene- ficent entities present in the minds of non-civilized cannot be said too often: these superstitions usually men. It is seldom that primitive man feels justified any use. They denote. more often than not. in fine an element of caricature. The phantom of an intention would then become a living intention. if we wanted to reconstitute the original representation. It is in the course of this passage that it becomes emptied. over-ballast it with matter. The natives of the the blame on the witch-doctor if one of devoured by a crocodile.

Let us take for instance one of the most interesting chapters M. in a word everything we have to give him. Primitive where ignorance is coupled Those would be the ones grouped cases title by M. Levy-BruhPs books. and finally considering that he certainly gives his time and his trouble. Let us simply say that they are ignorant of what we have in learnt. more. L^vy-Bruhl under the of "ingratitude of the sick".126 STATIC RELIGION CH. seeing moreover that the doctor from always curing his patient. greater even than exceptional intelligence. We should indeed be tempted to attribute it to a mentality different from our own. and who are told that the book gives information. acquired. But the more we banish from our minds the science we have gradually. the more natural the "primitive" explanation appears. or more generally phonetic. they expect payment from the doctor. instead of striving to shake off their ignorance. our writing. unknown to them. we added. They conclude that the book speaks. our books. should they not adopt quite naturally . how can they far help thinking that the doctor has some interest. Let us not then talk of minds different from our own. and that by putting it to their ear they will hear a sound. For if he could imagine the possibility of depicting words on a sheet of paper he would possess the principle of alphabetic. in what he does? And why. the one dealing with the first impressions produced on primitive man by our fire-arms. But having no notion of our medical science. he would straightaway have reached a point which civilized man has only reached by a long accumulation of the efforts of a great number of exceptional men. nay. men who have been treated by European doctors are not in any way grateful. with an aversion to effort. almost unconsciously. But to look for anything else in a man unacquainted with our civilization would be to expect from him an intelligence far greater than that of most of us. There are also. writing. Here we have people before whom a traveller opens a book. no idea that it is a science coupled with an is art. as if it were they who had done him a service. greater even than genius: it would mean wanting him to re-invent the art of writing. We find this impression disconcerting at first.

Belief then . it hardly hurt at all. So I simply went on not thinking. he pulled it out relentlessly. a very profit? I ancient one. and that they conspired together for my particular good. for the principle of the thing. who at once showed no mercy to the offending tooth. and I shall evoke a recollection. for the teeth in question would have come out of their own accord.ii PERSISTENCE OF THE PRIMITIVE MIND first 127 the interpretation which occurs to their minds. but I was no sooner seated in the dentist's chair than I set up it but to take a blood-curdling yell. and was no stupider than most boys. family at last found out a way to make me keep quiet. the purchasing-power of this sticks of barley sugar. and he was even ready to pay for this the sum of half a franc. Between you and me. perhaps from laziness. and the idea I was bound to form of the dentist then stood out automatically in my mind in letters of fire. Clearly he was a man who loved drawing teeth. Entities then appear which are not necessarily complete personalities: it suffices that they possess intentions or even that they coincide with them. But said. I being at that time ten must have been six or seven. though scarcely older than our old friendship. I was a little boy and I had bad teeth. perhaps so as not to change my attitude towards a man against whom my tooth was indeed bared. I was certainly capable of guessing that this was a put-up job between the dentist and my family to bribe me into silence. The dentist. There was nothing for me now and again to the dentist. would drop a My fifty-centimes piece into the glass from which I was to rinse out my mouth (asepticism was unknown in those sum far-off days). and from which they can put this question to the author of La Mentalite primitive. This reaction arouses within intelligence itself images and ideas which hold in check the depressing representation or prevent it from materializing. But it would have needed a slight effort to think. and I preferred not to make it. let At the us close this parenthesis and sum up what we have origin of the beliefs we have been studying we have found a defensive reaction of nature against a discouragement whose source is to be found in intelligence. taking care to make a noise about it.

observation of one's own self is a very difficult matter owing to the suddenness with which grave events occur. But certain bygone impressions of which we have only preserved a dim recollection. But such are also the two points we note in cases where we are dealing not with the future but with the present.i 28 STATIC RELIGION essentially confidence. a flood. means not fear. and will own The original simplicity. but will enable us to get a more precise notion of those entities of which we have said that they contain an element of personality without being persons. which will not only confirm our preceding analysis. and indeed the occasions are rare when it can be done thoroughly. were he to confine himself to the representation of it supplied by intelligence alone. a belief in deities. and at which he would take fright because of the unforeseeable elements he finds in it. Primus in orbe deos fecit A very old emotion timor. Science has felt gone too by a man far in rejecting that entirely. we are told. And. divested of the acquired. But. precisely because he is intelligent. but an assurance against fear. in such a case. and where man is the plaything of forces immeasurably greater than his own strength. and which besides were already superficial and vague at the time. as easily yield that impersonal force which primitive man. the belief does not necessarily begin by taking a person as its object. religion is less a fear than a reaction against fear. the original source is CH. and it is not. sees underlying all things. by a process of impoverishment. in its beginnings. theory attributed the origin of religion to the fear inspired by nature in such cases. These are the two points which strike us when we consider the natural attitude of man towards a future about which he thinks. a tornado. we repeat. Let us ask our of it Out them may grow the gods of mythology. It will not be out of place to put this statement to a double test. be through a process of enrichment. Such are the great catastrophes: an earthquake. restored to its how it reacts to an aggression of nature. But these entities could. Let us then follow our usual method. it is content with a partial anthropomorphism. consciousness. the in the presence of nature certainly counts for something in the origin of religions. on the other hand. will perhaps .

inevitable and irresistible. sible reality and verified concretely. and assume a clearer shape. were possible in the short time consumed by the that phenomenon. way in which the frail little wooden almost cried aloud. "As soon my in the phenomenon. as .' I said to myself. . In my case sensation and emotion were so strong that little thought. . so to speak. I discerned retrospectively certain peculiar ways in which consciousness had taken it'. almost the last good-bye I got was that of my old Californian friend B.ii PERSISTENCE OF THE PRIMITIVE MIND 129 become more distinct. " 'Go I . . To me it felt as if about that length of time. as I understand the Lick Observatory to have declared. Here is what he wrote on the subject: I departed from Harvard for Stanford University December.' "Accordingly. my first consciousness was one of gleeful recognition of the nature of the movement. I felt the bed begin to waggle.'s old earth- quake. too!' I said. 'and go it stronger? as I could think. after all'! And then. "The emotion glee* at consisted wholly of glee and admiration. I felt no trace whatever of fear. the vividness which such an abstract idea or verbal term as 'earthquake' could put on when translated into senand admiration at the house could hold itself together in spite of such a shaking. lying awake at about half-past five on the morning of April 18 in my little 'flat' on the campus of Stanford. "The thing was over. 'I hope they'll give you a touch of earthquake while you're there. 'By Jove. when. although I have heard others say it seemed to them longer. and no reflexion or volition. in forty-eight seconds. it was pure delight and welcome. . it . and. William James happened to be in California during the terrible earthquake of April 1906. These ways were quite spontaneous. if we complete them by the observations made on himself by a master of psychological science. 'here's B. which destroyed part of San Francisco. so that you may also become "When last acquainted with that Californian institution. went crescendo 'And a y jolly good one it is.

"One informant interpreted it as the end of the world and the beginning of the final judgment. to invade my room and energize the intensely and triumphantly. B. in being. "All whom I consulted on the point agreed as to this feature in their experience. and the perception of it as a living agent was irresistible. It was the earthquake of my friend B. 'It was vicious'. earthquake is simply the collective name of all the cracks and shakings and disturbances that happen. moreover. or what not.i3 o STATIC RELIGION CH. who did not think of its being an earthquake till after she had got into the street and someone had exShe told me that the theological interpretafear from her mind.'s earthquake. "First. directly to me. But what was this 'It'? To some. 'It was bent on destruction'. nor did any human activity ever more definitely point back to a living agent as its source and origin. a vague demoniac power. It came. To me it wanted simply to manifest the full meaning of its name. namely. This was a lady in San Francisco Hotel. tion had kept ness. It was simply impossible for untutored men to take earthquakes . which had been lying low and holding itself back during all the intervening months in order. and made her take the shaking calmly. and could manifest itself more Animus and intent were never more present any human action. It had an overpowering dramatic convincingplained it to her. apparently. For 'science'. It stole in behind my back. But for me the earthquake was the cause of the disturbances. 'It wanted to show its power'. to me an individualized convincingly. I personified the earthquake as a permanent individual entity. They are the earthquake.'s augury. and once inside the room had me all to itself. and how and against the grain of our spontaneous perceiving better than ever now are the later habits into which science educates us. "I realize artificial earlier mythological versions of how inevitable were men's such catastrophes. 'It expressed intention'. when the tensions in the earth's crusts reach the breaking-point and strata fall into an altered equilibrium. on that lustrous April morning.

On phenomenon conveys its itself. but that soul is simply the intention earthquake. the entity in question is the regarded as permanent. 8 "Animus and intent were never more present in any human action. capable of a variety of of which the earthquake was one particular mani- festation. But to William James. 2 pervading the act. Kallen in Why Religion? (New York). Quoted by H. so to speak. M. demon actions. he notes that he personified the earthquake "as a permanent individual entity". Francisco earthquake was a terrible catastrophe. which is indistinguishable from a given act and whose intention is immanent in that act itself. here's the old Earth- quake!" And The earthquake was "wicked". 209-214. But that the living agent is in this case the earthquake itself. that it possesses no other activity. The San now another point which cannot fail to strike us." . "it 1 William James. An entity of this kind. other people present had the same impression. its unique function is to be an there is a soul. which invites familiarity. But he does not say that there was be it god or an integral personality. 1927. appears rather as something mischievous "By Jove.n PERSISTENCE OF THE PRIMITIVE MIND minds 1 131 into their as anything but supernatural warnings or retributions. pp. it had a mind of its own. no other property." The first thing we notice is that William James speaks of " the earthquake as an individual being". being but the design and the conscious meaning of it. is precisely what we have been calling an element of per'sonality. finding himself suddenly face to face There is it with the danger. is borne out by the whole account. its manifestation whole essence. whose way being and appearance are one. the contrary. Memories and Studies. If the author tells us that "never did activity more definitely point back to a living agent source and origin" he means by this that the intent and the animus seemed to belong to the earthquake in the same human its as as the acts performed by a living agent seem to belong to the agent while he remains. behind them. that consequently what it is coincides with what it does.

possibly a "bad lot" but none the less one of us. That just the way we speak of a young scapegrace with But the whom we may not have broken entirely. so long as science. An animal to whom fear is unknown might have no idea of flying or resisting. turns us aside or pushes us bacC:Tt is essentially inhibitive. The disturbances with which we have to deal. Generally speaking. I shall at any rate take the liberty of recalling one or two recollections of my own. This feelings. intelligence. it would soon succumb in the struggle for life. Thus does the material world appear to intelligence pure and simple. A certain comradeship is possible between or rather to prevent it has its uses. has not supplied us with means of escaping it. us. there comes a defensive re- forces are about to crush us to action in the presence of a grave and sudden peril. is intelligible too that fear it is should be in proportion But a feeling which pulls us up. It evokes the reassuring image. maybe a malignant being. which gives us a clear perception of the peril. alluded to by William James in the last lines. is fear that paralyses the fear born of the thought that blind and overwhelming pulp unconsciously. which resembles a human being. This explains the existence of a feeling such as fear. To counteract this scientific conception. like all other arising. The first goes back to the far-off I ask the reader to search his . memory. when the fear is nearing its paroxysm and almost the emotion. but still one of ourselves. The scientific conception of the earthquake. but by instinct. was bent on destruction". which was also natural. It to danger. Unless I am much he will find a confirmation of William James's mistaken.i32 STATIC RELIGION is CH. a defensive reaction of nature occurs to counteract Our faculty of feeling it could certainly not be changed. lends to the Event a unity and an individuality which make of it a mischievous. and more generally the mental picture which it has endowed with greater precision. When the peril is great. fright suffices to dispel fright. analysis. transforming the situation. each of them entirely mechanical 'combine into an Event. paralysing. is likely to be the most dangerous of all. with something sociable and human about it. He is not an outsider. impelled remains what it was.

That the accident should actually occur. having just sports. Later on that war appeared as at once probable and impossible: a complex and contradictory idea. particularly riding. perhaps. I have often thought of this little incident. one idea was to show it what I could do. then had chosen me? It was not the horse. which perhaps brings out more distinctly still its unity. my horse took fright and bolted. and said to myself that nature could not have conceived any better psychical mechanism than this. encountered on the road that most fantastic of apparitions. good or evil genius. That this might happen. It was else. me in my wild gallop. its individuality. hardly distinguishable from the intention apparently manifested by circumstances. the clearness with which it carves itself out a place in the continuity of the real. was nothing but a combination of circumstances. and also. But I had never thought of the possibility otherwise than in an abstract form. While still a boy. which lasted right . since I Now me as implying a preference for me personally. it was precisely because my whole mind was centred on this one idea. that in such cases there were certain things I should do. that it should happen to me rather than to someone days. It was no complete being. a very elementary one. whatever it was.ii PERSISTENCE OF THE PRIMITIVE MIND was very young at the 133 time and went in for one fine day. considered another war to be imminent during the twelve or fifteen years that followed. to preserve us from it in cases where we had best not give It followed see how I way I to it. on the morrow of the Franco-Prussian War. because the malice of my strange companion did not preclude ^"certain good fellowship. in 1871. or at least try to do. And my. while endowing us with fear as a salutary emotion. mischievously watching to should manage. If I felt no fear. like all people of my generation. I had. but it had a soul. a cyclist perched on a tall velocipede. an individual with no body of its own. at a given point in time and space. if she intended. struck Who the occurrence for it itself. have just cited a case where the "good fellowship" nature of the Accident is the most striking thing about it. Here is another case. I knew as well as any pupil in the riding school.

and disposes us quite simply to do our duty. It had bided its time. the paper the staging of this scene. upon the table. We must search . I was not dealing with a complete personality. if nature intended to oppose a defensive reaction against fear. just this very familiarity at which puts us our ease. as a shadow may precede the body that casts it. to our down Indeed it called up no image verbal expression. I experienced what standing in front of William James expresses. and though I felt a war. But when. she would create between us and the event simplified. It was to intervene just at this moment. to be a catastrophe. which are blotted out by reflexion. myself the event pervading every nook and cranny. great headlines: "Germany Declares I hoping against hope. True. To it. its CH. we were still August 4. even a victorious war. one realizes that. on opened the Matin newspaper and read in War on France". On reflexion. and prevent a paralysis of the will brought about by an over-intelligent representation of a cataclysm entailing endless consequences. trans- muted into a rudimentary personality. relieves the strain. 1914. the room with its furniture. It was as though some creature of legend. I sud- denly felt an invisible presence which all the past had prepared and foretold. for these fleeting impressions. had quietly taken possession of the room. beyond character right down to those terrible hours when the conflict became obviously while inevitable. Horror-struck as I was. a feeling of admiration for the smoothness of the transition from the abstract to the concrete: who would have thought that so terrible an eventuality could make its entrance into reality with so little disturbance? The impression of this facility was predominant above all else.i34 STATIC RELIGION to the fatal day. There was only enough of it to produce a certain effect. forty-three years of vague foreboding had all been leading up. It kept its abstract minds. that it had been vaguely interlinked with my life-history. having escaped from the book in which its story was told. down to the very last minute. in this place. if we want to find some immediately vestige of what may have been felt by our remotest ancestors. and now unceremoniously it took its seat like one of the family.

to say the least. and that every instinct has its function. accidentally and exceptionally. it would have a very slight one. For all that. to be born superior to what he used to be. We want man pride. as though a species in which each individual has to rise above himself by a laborious assimilation of all the past were not. But the will help each other: the one serving rather for research. like the changeless star in the night. on a par with a species in which each generation would be raised in its entirety to a higher level than the preceding ones by the automatic play of heredity! But there is yet another pride. an organ. which admit its original subordination to biological one would study a cell. It is our pride. without caring about its function. No . things happen as if it had been transformed. no one would consider he had fully accounted for an will not necessities. since society moulds individuals by means of an education that goes on without a break from the hour of their birth. In that case we should be born totally different from what our ancestors were. in the field of psychology itself. as if true merit did not lie in effort. a twofold which generally makes us shy at them. The psychologist who wants to go back to what is primitive must seek after these out-of-the-way experiences. incorporated in the substance of individual organisms. he will not let go his guiding thread. those instincts which we might call intellectual are defensive reactions against the exaggeratedly and above all two methods the prematurely intelligent element in intelligence.ii PERSISTENCE OF THE PRIMITIVE MIND do so. It cannot make natural tendencies out of habits contracted from generation to generation. if 135 We should not hesitate to we were not imbued with the preconceived idea that the moral and intellectual acquisitions of humanity. But let a sudden shock paralyse these superficial activities. True. The natural is. since all that society has acquired overlays it. But heredity does not possess this virtue. then. a tissue. that of intelligence. let the light in which they work be extinguished for a moment: at once the natural reappears. to-day what it has always been. have come down to us through heredity. he will not forget that nature is utilitarian. it has probably none at all. If it had any hold on habit. the other for verification.

Such are then the tendencies. would defeat its own object by injuring Intelligence is then inevitably kept under observation by instinct. by way of safeguarding through certain beliefs. But whether it be a matter of trans- formation or one of distortion. he had connected it with some need of the but once you come to intelligence. The study of the uncivilized will be none the less valuable. As if it also did not primarily correspond to vital needs! Its original business is to resolve problems similar to those resolved by instinct. theirs has perforce been a process of exaggeration. farewell nature! species. which ensures progress and which cannot be applied unless pletely independent of nature. we are then dealing with representations formed naturally by intelligence. if it wants to get back to the itself. These beliefs are not necessarily primitive. farewell life! Intelligence is assumed to be what it is "for no instinct unless particular reason. the common origin of instinct and intelligence. caricature. such are the experiences psychology must bear in mind. They may would enable us to discover then put us in the way of this . merely covered over by the acquired. But limited in fact: it it be. the psychologist in search of origins will have the same kind of effort to make. comthis independence is ceases at the exact moment when intelligence some vital interest. distortion. in a word. against certain dangers of knowledge. though indeed by a very different method. rather than radical transformation. said. in both cases. therefore. or rather by life. So they have had to apply the same knowledge We have far in countless different ways. and we cannot repeat it too often: they are as from the beginning of things as we are. but they have very likely come straight from one of those fundamental tendencies case than in the first. This is just what we mean when we speak of intellectual instincts. This is what will we come to find similar beliefs which an effort of introspection within ourselves. but the road may be shorter in the second occur especially when among peoples between whom there can have been no possible communication.I3 6 STATIC RELIGION CH. for the fun of the thing". in theory. fountain-head. but they have invented less. the original form subsists.

To the strictly has control. instinct adds. At the turning- We point which we have reached we stand particularly in need of them. Turning then to uncivilized man.ii PERSISTENCE OF THE PRIMITIVE MIND 137 discovery. multiplied: instead of receding. But. But instinct is on the watch. What about the implied in take knowledge which goes with technical progress. in the face of the progress of science. intelligence realize its ignorance. a vigorous etfort of introspection to rediscover the original beliefs which our science covers over with all it knows and hopes see how to know. The universe takes. as does with civilized man. to master events. man would feel himself lost in immensity. That intelligence made to utilize matter. we they are to be explained by the joint working of in- telligence and instinct. for all those things which are belief in powers that are supposed to is thus peopled with intentions which are. it is true. fleeting and variable. have always to go back to these questions of method if we do not wish to go astray in our search. and it beyond our scope. there is no doubt. the man into account. We have reached this stage. exaggerated. to-day. . or is it. we verify tfhat we have observed in ourselves: but in his case the belief s swollen. to dominate things. But this science is in the beginning very mechanism it limited. of the universe in general. This area expands with the advance of civilization: the whole universe ends by appearing as a mechanism to an intelligence which conceives the ideal vision of a complete science. the only purely mechanical area is supposed to be that within which we act mechanically. of the space and time over which would simply scientific rest? Left to itself. it overflows into the area reserved to mechanical t and overlays activities which ought to preclude it. and guide that introspection which will later serve to explain them. For we are dealing with nothing less than the reactions of man to his perception of things. how they must have corresponded :o a vital interest. It has been asserted that iction. very small indeed is the portion of the universal that it embraces. This brings us to an essential point. is of events. as soon as we get at them. That its power is in direct proportion to its knowledge is no less certain.

that which can be foreseen and relied on: this part of the universe is conceived physically. but in order to know what intelligence thinks implicitly. we find that. conviction. if we reconstitute. by an effort of intronatural reaction of man to his perception of spection. it appears as a concatenation of causes and effects. but morally. Magic has also been considered as a forerunner of science. no matter if this conception be indistinct. It is not enough for us to have nothing to fear. That will be indeed our natural and original we shall not stop there. nothing in common between magic and science. Thus nature becomes in such a case impregnated with humanity. function. If the event is not utterly devoid of feeling. it may never be expressed. There is. within intelligence. the things. If we confine ourselves to psychology. But can we not manage to influence it? Will it not allow itself to be convinced or constrained? This will be difficult if it remains what it is. a rudimentary soul. But she will acquire this human quality only as far as is us to necessary. on the other hand. Since we can exert no power over it. in any case it is treated as such. or barely conscious. to that form of imagination which is the myth-making prayers. This part is treated no longer physically. But our mind can easily impel it in one direction or the other. that which obeys the action of the hand or the tool. on the one is side. we must have confidence. In default of power. Then.138 STATIC RELIGION CH. For the pressure of instinct has given rise. it would not have personality enough to hearken to our it would have too much to be at our beck and call. For feel comfortable. there is that part of experience upon which homo faber feels he has entirely lost his grip. we need only look at what it does. we would fain have something to hope for as well. We have indeed just seen that primitive intelligence divides its experience into two separate parts. religion began as magic. there as we have done. until such time as it is conceived mathematically. the event which singles itself out before our eyes from the mass of reality must appear animated with a purpose. Myth-making has but to follow its own course in . while magic and religion are akin. a transient intention. we hope it will exert some power in our behoof.

it implied in a whole group of operations which are useful or considered as such. and of complying with our wishes. There has been a great deal of discussion about the notion of mana which was brought out some years ago by Codrington in his famous book on the Melanesians. Scholars and philosophers are too much inclined to believe that the mind works in all men as with them. it only exuncivilized presses itself in words and they are inevitably very vague for the convenience of action. From in the this to the hypothesis of a primitive philosophy taking form human mind at the very dawn of thought there is but a step. out of the elementary personalities looming up at the outset. in MM. supposed to exist other primitives: such as the orenda of the Iroquois. that of not being purely mechanical. orenda. or even forces which retain only one property their psychological origin. and that. Some authorities have indeed supposed that the minds of the non-civilized were obsessed by a vague kind of pantheism. gods that assume more and more exalted form like mere from those of mythology. The truth is that its aim is action. it only emerges from them. for the sheer love of thinking. such as spirits. etc. the third that of magic. Hubert and Mauss. it is certainly action rather than thought. a force of which some not all things are said to partake in different degrees.. Is it not just the other that way round? It does not strike us as probable representation corresponding to such terms as mana. or deities ever more degraded. All these words seem to con- among if note a force present throughout nature. The first and second directions are those of Let us begin with the latter. or rather something analogous to it. etc. the wahanda of the Sioux. According to them it would appear that this belief derives from that conception.ii ON MAGIC IN GENERAL 139 order to fashion. of bending to our will. Before any man can philosophize he must live. if there really is any philosophy to be found in the is man. and about its equivreligion. their very interesting Theorie generate de la magie> have made out a strong case for the belief in magic being inseparable from the conception of the mana. was formed first and that magic the . alent. But it is very unlikely that humanity starts from such general and abstract notions.

since the movement could not by so if itself secure the desired It result. of this if we consider the magical recipes. it would very soon have capitulated We before the evidence of experience. could only be it turned of its own impregnated with humanity. The operations have often been described. and the conceptions of matter which made it possible to imagine confusedly that magic could succeed. Matter remained none the less amenable. however. for the sake of the mechanical hold upon it. so to speak. or rather express. impossible to get at him. Now. To put it a logic of the body. if accord towards man. But here again it merely translates into a conception what was suggested by an is instinct. But it was. matter were. a "primiclearly. to physical laws. because he practised it. Take. I mean charged with a force capable of entering into human designs. far away. Man could turn this tendency to advantage so as to extend his action further than can easily convince ourselves physical laws permitted. this had to be so. there more tive" is man who wants it is to kill his enemy: that enemy.i 4o STATIC RELIGION CH. But it in no wise follows that magical operations are derived from them. and he could not resign himself to going no further. its begun at once to practise realized at once that the magic is easy to understand. That these formulae can serve to classify magical processes there is no doubt. If primitive intelligence had begun by conceiving principles. and. that he should have soon reached. to undertake his errands and carry out his orders. originated thence. as we should say to-day. "the part stands for the whole". for instance. and he did but explain. he limits of his normal influence over the outside world were success. etc. besides. Quite the contrary. nature must needs take the task in hand. which would have proved them erroneous. magnetized. that he must have represented things to himself in this way: his magic apparently worked. No matter! Our . but as the applications of certain theoretical principles such as "like acts on like". So he carried on the movement. an extension of desire. which comes into play long before intelligence has found a conceptual form for it. it is because man believed in magic.

or wants to have hold of. wakonda. There will be nothing impossible in this if nature already tends of her own accord to take man into account. He has done everything that he himself could do: he demands that things should do the rest. he goes through the motions of pouncing on Once started he goes on to the bitter end. being but the outward proof a desire which fills the heart. moved his arms or legs. is then innate in man. and of which man Words such as mana. The latter will then be more or less charged with submissiveness and potency: they will hold at our disposal a power which may avail himself. as when our man stamped on the earth. If it has appeared jection artificial. obtained from matter reactions corresponding to his actions.. if it has been reduced to superficial associations of Magic it is because it has been studied in processes which were especially devised to relieve the magician from putting his heart and soul into them. They go through to lend themselves to the operations of magic. They will not do it mechanically. An actor studying his part really and truly lives the emotion he has to express. They express that which causes things As to these we have just determined their nature. Therefore he wants matter. They begin the act which man cannot finish. the motions which alone could not produce the desired effect. if you are looking for precise meanings. . but they all correspond to the same vague idea. operations themselves. not only to be obliged to give back mechanically what it receives. You same precise meaning for all of them.ii ON MAGIC IN GENERAL 141 man is the absent man. he squeezes his fingers round the neck of the victim he thinks he has hold of. will not find the and at the same time the prestige surrounding it. he ideas. and throttles him. But he knows very well that the result is not complete. yields to the desires of man. express this force. It will suffice that the same compliance shown by certain events should also be found in things. in a rage. in a word. etc. but which will achieve it. and to enable him to obtain the same result without the same effort. but also to possess the faculty of fulfilling desires and obeying orders. if the man concerned knows how to prevail upon the goodwill of things. They will not yield to a physical necessity.

when facing the public. The "laws" which have been found for it tell They are us nothing of the natural impulse from which it sprang. But it is understandable that after having gone instinctively through the motions of flinging himself on his absent enemy. reminiscent of its origin. The puppet he uses need not even resemble his enemy. Merely implied in an almost instinctive process. practices are referred to yet other laws: "it is pos- sible to influence a being or a thing by acting on something . There is no apparent reason why humanity should begin by positing so abstract and arbitrary a law. from the fact that "like begets like". It arises first of all. described in his wrath. projected into space and conveyed forward by some obliging matter. in more precise terms. In this ultimate form. since its only function is to ensure that the act is repeated exactly as before. It is the same with magic. he will reproduce by means of a ready-made model. which he performed when he thought he was locking his fingers about his enemy's throat. we are told. he will only produce the inflection and the gesture. better still. it enables this natural magic to Magic proliferate indefinitely. the principle would not lend itself to indefinite extension. But in the first form it permits of the belief that it is possible to affect a distant object through the intermediary of a near object bearing the merest superficial resemblance to it. It is thus that he will practise hoodoo. later. That very action. he can afford to dispense with the emotion. a man should want to obtain the same effect without having to work himself up into the same state. It need not even be explicitly stated or formulated. He will therefore go through the process again in cold blood. only a formula for the expedients which laziness has suggested to the original magic by way of self-imitation.i 42 STATIC RELIGION CH. notes the gestures and inflections to which it gives rise. after having convinced himself that his anger. a dummy whose outlines he will merely have to go over. will proceed to accomplish the act begun. "the can replace the dynamic when it traces the pattern of the latter". Such seems to be the psychological origin of a principle to be expressed in some such formula as "like is static equivalent to like" or.

and scattering it in rain-drops. if the effort which would have had to be launched from earth to heaven finds something to take its place. But he will find it simpler to suppose he has nearly come back to earth again. and the idea that things are charged. this minute fraction of the event will produce it in its entirety. In time of drought. he would. We must revert to the first point to draw the comparison between magic and science. or perhaps the mere translation into words. because the formula always goes beyond the fact which Magic expresses. since it has always same direction. That there have been cases where magic has accidentally been of service to science is not impossible: matter cannot be manipulated without some benefit accruing from it. It is worked in the indeed easy to define science. The essential is always to repeat in tranquillity. the act which has given a quasi-hallucinatory impression of its efficacy when performed in a moment of excitement. But the psychological origin remains the same. to utilize an observation or simply to note it. "the part is valid for the whole". then seems to us to resolve itself into it two elements: the desire to act on a thing. there must be some propensity for scientific research. or can be charged. the sorcerer is asked to pro- duce the rain. which has made it possible for them to multiply in every direction and to absorb all superstitions as well. with the conviction that it is efficacious. If he were actually to put his whole soul into the task. with what we should call human fluid. Now the moment such is the case you are turning your back on magic. It measures and calculates with . and if the intermediary matter is more or less charged as it were with positive or negative elecwith a semi-physical or semi-moral readiness to serve tricity or to thwart man. But even then. it and then to pour out a little water. It is reflexion upon these practices. by an effort of imagination. This amounts to saying that there exists a very simple natural magic. raise himself up to the cloud. etc. even on that which is out of reach. reducible to a small number of practices. he would believe that he felt himself cleaving asunder.ii ON MAGIC IN GENERAL 143 it has touched". and to the second to show the connexion of magic with religion.

in this case. and a richer progress in science consists in a wider knowledge utilization of the universal mechanism. In all a word. . as nature could only obtain the requisite degree of vision with an apparatus whose see the stars. in the realm of knowledge as in that of action. All effective progress. in the same way she necessarily had to give us. His instinctive resistance a proof. The second :ondition is indeed more difficult of fulfilment than the first. then verithat the universe is governed by mathematical laws. and though such was the primitive intention of the function of intelligence. Man's physical and moral structure seemed indeed to destine creation. it is a far cry. yet. since the mechanism of the universe is present in each of its parts. while effect goes byond we have no its object (since we can control over them). This is accomplished by an effort of our intelwhich is designed to guide our action upon things. but just progress. It first supposes.144 STATIC RELIGION CH. a virtual knowledge of the rest. innovations demands a two-fold effort. The inertia of humanity has never save under the impulsion of genius. There was. True. has demanded the persistent effort of one or ing several superior men. fies. Although we are called upon to act only on the things about us. In a word. a view to anticipation and action. it was absolutely necessary that man should be born with an intelligence virtually capable of embracing the whole material world. and the no less virtual power of utilizit. so to speak. nature had doubtless made with an intelligence whose which went. which in that she endowed us possible form outstrips its matter. that of a few men to find some new thing and that of all the others to adopt it and adapt themselves to it. and whose structure must therefore be modelled on the mathematical framework of the universe. each time. A society may be called civilized when you find n it such a power to lead and willingness to be led. moreover. ligence. along with the faculty of understanding the matter we have to deal with. but* one him to for a more humble is existence. from the virtual to the actual. It is the same with the working of the mind as with the faculty of sight: the eye too was only meant to reveal to us objects on which we can act. beyond what nature had intended. science fielded.

It temporarily calms the uneasiness of an intelligence whose form exceeds its substance.n MAGIC AND SCIENCE 145 What was lacking among the uncivilized was probably not the exceptional man (there seems to be no reason why nature should not have had always and everywhere such fits of abstraction) but the chance for such a man to show his and the readiness of other men to follow him. even if it wanted to. as some have maintained. requires a great deal more: perhaps the menace of extermination. it has its superiority. But to get it on to this road. outside the very small circle in which action is sure of its effect. it was too late. as magic is of a magical process can . such as that created by the discovery of a new weapon by an enemy tribe. They were not called upon to make the initial effort. Magic then steps in. As man through effort. from which it is separated by the whole distance between wishing and willing. to start it into motion the first time. some counter-magic) it produces the same moral effect as science. which divines. a vast And area of the unpredictable such as may well discourage action. is already on the road to civilization. Those societies which have remained more or less "primitive" are probably those that have had no neighbours. the prospect of a mere increase of well-being will doubtless suffice to overcome its ingrained habits. yet act it must. because it was contaminated by the products of its own laziness. as an immediate effect of the vital impulse. These products are precisely the practices of magic. where the immediate future is predictable and within which therefore science already prevails. Subsequently. more generally still those for whom life has been too easy. it has been the great obstacle against which methodical knowledge apparently successful (for the failure always be attributed to the success of widens his knowledge Meanwhile. it will gradually recede. which is vaguely aware of its ignorance and realizes the danger of it. Far from paving the way for science. the society could not advance. at least inasmuch as they are excessive and all-encroaching. For magic is the reverse of science. But this is its only feature in common with science. Once a society function to perform. So long as the inertia of the environment does not cause it to proliferate.

then. takes advantage of the lightest sleep to find satisfaction in a dream. that they have always that our science is very much more extensive than co-existed. Let us say tive mentality it devoid of and magic are both natural. Civilized a being in whom in- cipient science. and conceal it. and pro- . Let there be no talk. has allowed magic to invade the realm of incipient science. and bides its time. but that the latter must have been much less given to magic than the non-civilized man of that science to-day. Moreover. has been able to encroach. of an era of magic followed by an era of science. even to the point of making us believe in a primiall real science. lending itself to independent study. Everything depends. and magic will at civilized society. We have remained. Man may only have got a glimpse of it and that glimpse may have been deceptive. from which it must be isolated. an entity. Herein lies the great inferiority of philosophy compared to mathematics and even to natural sciences. implicit in the daily round. at bottom. and so not effectively constitute. once in thousands of variations upon its own plays possession. being more prolific than science. Let our attention to science relax for one instant. has had to contend. Non-civilized man is. to overlay it. just as a desire. themes.146 STATIC RELIGION man is CH. thanks to an ever-active will. Driven back by science. what they were. on that magic which was occupying the rest of the field. The philosopher studies for the most part a thing to which common sense has already given a name. it may have been jumbled up with other things. repressed in once come rushing back into our our waking hours. disdaining effort. Its starting-point must be the cutting up of reality by speech a division and distribution which is perhaps entirely relative to the needs of the city: philosophy too often ignores this origin. one who. obviously. since its inventions are pure fantasy and cost no effort. that of our remote ancestors. the inclination towards magic still survives. on the contrary. It may even have been segregated from reality as a whole merely for convenience of speech. on the meaning of this last term. There remains then the problem of the relationship between magic and religion.

and extract therefrom an average meaning: in this way we shall have solved a dictionary question rather than a philosophical problem. it is somewhat overstep. it is possible to follow another line. to a certain mind which can be directly observed. in order to discriminate between the different regions of the globe and indicate the physical connections between them. a great relate to a physiological function. But magic. In the study we have undertaken. the one with which we have been dealing up to now. and do not imagine (a constant illusion of philosophers) that we have obtained the essence of a thing when we have agreed upon the conventional meaning of the word. If we look at the matter from this angle. generally speaking. without the distribution of the real into concepts correconsidering sponding to words. In our analysis of the operations of this function of the function successively rediscovered several of the to the word religion. such number of facts observed in different parts of the organism.ii MAGIC AND RELIGION 147 ceeds like a geographer who. Continuing our study. the limits of the usual significance of the word. like the colours of the spectrum or the notes in a scale: we shall find. magic is evidently part of religion. as often happens when we as digestion. will upwards and downwards. but no matter. of course. somewhere about the middle. and even discover thereby new facts. at an equal distance from the two . to start from the various ordinary interpretations of the word religion. in common represents a precaution of nature to with this religion. should take it into his head to go by the frontiers established by treaties. meanings given we shall find other shades of meaning. the lower type of religion. Now. true. in its structure and in its principle. Let us then set out all the acceptations of the word. But we shall then grasp it in itself. meet certain dangers encountered by the intelligent being. compare them. and we may add one we have or two this new ones. we have guarded against this danger by passing directly from the word "religion "and everything it embraces in virtue of a possibly artificial disgregation of things. I mean. so long as we realize what we are about. It will then be plainly demonstrated that time the word embraces a reality: a reality which.




extremities, the adoration of gods to

whom men

pray. It

goes without saying that religion thus conceived is opposed to magic. The latter is essentially selfish, the former admits
of and even demands disinterestedness. The one claims to compel the compliance of nature, the other implores the favour of the god. Above all, magic works in an environment which is semi-physical and semi-moral; the magician, at all events, is not dealing with a person; whereas on the contrary it is from the personality of the god that religion draws its greatest efficacy. Granted that primitive intelligence thinks it perceives around it, in phenomena and in events, elements

we have

of personality rather than complete personalities, religion, as just understood it, will ultimately reinforce these

elements to the extent of completely personifying them, whereas magic looks upon them as debased, dissolved, as it were, in a material world in which their efficacy can be tapped.

Magic and religion, then, go their separate ways, having from a common origin, and there can be no question of deriving religion from magic: they are contemporaneous. It is

understandable, however, that there should be something of the one hovering round the other, that some magic lingers
in religion, and still more, some religion in magic. that the magician sometimes works through the


know medium

of spirits, that is to say of being relatively individualized, but which do not possess the complete personality nor the eminent dignity of gods. On the other hand, incantation may

command and prayer. history of religions has long regarded the belief in spirits as primitive and explanatory of all the rest. As each one of us has his soul, a subtler essence than that of the body,
partake of both


was said to have been animated, to be by a vaguely spiritual entity. Spirits once having accompanied been admitted, humanity passed, so it is said, from belief to adoration: hence a natural philosophy, animism, from which religion sprang. To this hypothesis another theory
so, in nature, everything
is apparently preferred to-day. In a "pre-animist" or "animatist" phase, humanity is supposed to have imagined an impersonal force, such as the Polynesian mana, present in the




whole, unequally distributed between the parts; the spirits come in later. If our analyses are correct, what was first conindividualized:

ceived was neither an impersonal force nor spirits already man simply attributed purpose to things and

if nature had eyes everywhere which she focused on man. That this is an original tendency, we can all verify when a sudden shock arouses the primitive man dormant

events, as

within us


What we

feel in these cases is the sensation of


efficient presence; the nature of this presence is of little consequence, the essential point is its efficiency: the moment


any regard for us, even if the intention is not good, begin to count for something in the universe. That is what experience tells us. But, even before we consult experience, it would seem highly unlikely that humanity should have begun by theoretical views of any sort or kind. We shall say it over and over again: before man can philosophize man must live; it is from a vital necessity that the primeval tendencies and convictions must have originated. To connect

religion with a system of ideas, with a logic or a "pre-logic", is to turn our remote ancestors into intellectuals, and

such as we ought to be in greater numbers for we often see the finest theories succumbing to ourselves, passion and interest and only holding good in our hours of

whole of

speculative thought, whereas ancient religions pervaded the life. The truth is that religion, being co-extensive

with our specie,'must"be an

effect of

our structure.

We have

just now connected it with a fundamental experience; but that experience was such that we had an inkling of it before encountering it; in any case it is quite easily explained when it

has been encountered;


we have


living things as a whole,

to do is to put man back and psychology into biology.

For, look at any other animal.
finds useful.

It avails itself

of everything


actually believe itself to be the centre of the world? Probably not, for it has no conception of the world as such, and, besides, it has not the slightest inclination to


speculate. But since it only sees, or at least only takes note of what can satisfy its needs, since things exist for it only in so far as it makes use of them, it obviously behaves as though

i So



everything in nature were combined solely with a view to its well-being and in the interest of its species. Such is its conviction, not intellectualized,

but lived, a conviction which sus-

indistinguishable from its effort to live. You bring reflexion into play, however, and this conviction will vanish; man will perceive himself, will think of himtains the animal



self as a

feel lost, if the effort to live

speck in the immensity of the universe. He would did not at once project into

his intelligence, into the very place that this perception and this reflexion were about to occupy, the opposing image of

things and events turning towards man; whether well or ill disposed, a certain intention of his environment follows him

then everywhere, just as the moon seems to run with him when he runs. If it be good, he will rely on it. If it bodes harm, he will try to avert its effects. In any case, it means that he has

been taken into account. Here is ho theory, no room for the arbitrary. This conviction is forced upon him, there being no philosophy about it, but a vital impulsion. In like manner, if indeed it splits and evolves into two divergent directions, on the one hand towards belief in spirits already individualized, and on the other towards the idea of an impersonal essence, that is not on account of any theory: such reasoning leads to controversy, permits of doubt, gives rise to doctrines, which may exert an influence on conduct, but which do not impinge upon all the incidents of existence, and could not possibly become the guiding forces of life as a whole. The truth is that once the conviction is firmly
implanted in the

the latter impels


in these directions

which are open already, or which open out before
points of least resistance utilize in every possible

at the

along the path of its effort. It will way the intention which it feels to

be present, either by taking the physical effectiveness which the intention possesses, exaggerating its materiality and then trying to master it by force, or by approaching it from the


side, by impelling it, on the contrary, ih the direction of a personality to be won over by prayer. It is, then, from the demands of an efficient magic that there arose a conception

such as mana, an impoverishment or a materialization of the


it is


original belief:

the desire to obtain favours that drew

the opposite direction, spirits and gods. Neither has the impersonal evolved towards the personal, nor have pure personalities been posited at the out-

from the same

belief, in

set: but,

out of some intermediate thing, intended rather to sustain the will than to inform the intelligence, there have

dissociation, downwards and upwards, the beneath the weight of magic, and the gods towards whom the voice of human prayer is raised. On the first point we have made our opinion clear. We should have a heavy task if we had to deal at length with the second. The gradual evolution of religion towards gods of

emerged through

forces that

increasingly marked personality, who are more and more definitely interrelated or who tend to become merged into a

two great advances of humanity towards civilization. It went on until the day when the religious spirit turned from the outward to the insingle deity, corresponds to the first of the

ward, from the

static to the

dynamic, by a change of front

similar to that performed by pure intelligence when it passed over from the study of finite magnitudes to the differential



change was doubtless the decisive one:

transformations of the individual became possible, like those that have produced the successive species in the organized world; progress could thenceforth consist in the creation of

and not as previously in a mere increase in of merely taking what life had to give, just where it was, at the point reached, the vital movement was now going to be carried forward. shall deal with this religion, an
size; instead



shall see that entirely inward one, in the next chapter. it sustains man by the very movement it imparts to him, placing him, as it does, back in the creative impetus, and not


as hitherto

reconcile in

through imaginative representations intended to him the activity of the parts with the immobility

of the whole. But



static religion for its expression

shall also see that religious dynamism and diffusion. It is

therefore comprehensible that the latter should hold first place in the history of religions. It is not our business, we repeat, to follow static religion through the immense variety






manifestations. It will suffice to indicate the principal

ones and bring out the connexion between them. Let us start then from the idea that there are intentions inherent in things: this brings us at once to the representation
of spirits.


in springs, rivers

are the vague entities dwelling, for instance, and fountains. Each spirit is bound to the

spot where


This feature already


a divinity proper, which will be able, while tinguishes indivisible, to apportion itself between various remaining


places, and to hold sway over everything belonging to one and the same genus. This divinity will bear a name; it will have its own particular shape, its clearly defined personality, whereas the countless spirits of the woods and fountains are copies of one model and could, at most, say with Horace:

nos nurnerus sumus. Later on, when religion has attained to the height of those exalted personages, the gods, it may
[well conjure

up spirits in their image, such spirits will be 'minor deities; and they will then appear to have always been feo. But this is merely a retroactive effect. It probably took a
long time, in Greece, for the spirit of a spring to become a graceful nymph, and the spirit of the wood a hamadryad. In
the beginning, the spirit of the spring must have been the spring itself, as possessing a beneficent virtue for man. To




clearly, that beneficent action, in its ever-present

was the spirit. It would be an error in such a case to regard as an abstract idea I mean an idea extracted from things by an intellectual effort the representation of the act and of its continuation. It is a datum provided directly by the senses. Our philosophy and our language first posit the substance and surround it with attributes, and then make such and such acts arise therefrom like emanations. But we cannot too often repeat that the action may be forthcoming first and be self-sufficient, especially in cases where man is particularly concerned. Such is the act of supplying us with drink: it can be localized in a thing, and then in a person; but it has its own independent existence; and if the process goes on indefinitely,

very persistence will set



as the


spirit of the

spring at

which we drink, whilst the spring, detached from

But in the elemental form which they first possess. are to the cult of animals. full of life and tenacity. and China and Japan: everywhere we shall find this belief in spirits. who was the spirit of the house. by the hues with which they tinge them. With the Romans as with the Greeks. though renounced their personality. it was easy it is to belifcve that it was original. In mingling with the spirits they inevitably colour them and. find it. pave the pletely into the state of a thing pure that the souls of the dead naturally performs. so widespread among past alluding humanity that some people have considered it as still more might well stop We natural than the adoration of the gods in human shape. It is true way for them to become persons. It man already represents the gods in his own survived thus right up to the end in ancient Egypt. I mean in its beneficent intention. It mind this belief before attaining to at an intermediate stage. considered in function. will relapse the more comand simple. we are its told that even to-day it which is very closely akin to religion. was always to retain its importance. the essential element of it) it Chinese very far Because is universal. We spoke of the part it played among the Greeks: after being their primitive religion. so far as we can judge by the Mycenean civilization. It was the basis of the Roman religion even after the most generous provision had been made for the greater divinities imported from Greece or elsewhere: the larfamiliaris. they fulfil so natural a need that we must not be surprised to find the belief in spirits underlying all ancient religions. they have not yet spirits. by different but converging paths. L . Let us removed from the original note that not and that the human naturally passes through the adoration of the gods. Suppose we leave classical antiquity and turn to India. at least state. holding its own even in We countries where image. Thus.ii DEFERENCE PAID TO ANIMALS it 153 the function which enough join with the detached from their bodies. it remained the popular religion. the goddess called Hestia or Vesta must have begun as nothing more than the flame on the hearth. the spirits will be advancing towards a complete personality. constitutes (with ancestor-worship.

whereas the reaction of an animal. but on emerging from that phase. Such things appear to-day very surprising. It was not so in the days before intelligence had proved its worth. as though it had something better to do than to converse with us. motherhood. Now be incomprehensible that animals should become the object of a cult if man had begun by believing in spirits. invariably consistent and apparently set in one direction. All this explains why humanity should have it felt come about? We no aversion to animal worship. is instantaneous and unfailing. the primitive phase of religion. so careful of her young. and we know that there is no superiority which intelligence cannot confer on us. But how has must note that it is for some specific quality that the animal is adored. the weapons and tools with which it supplied man herited from nature. unalloyed. could hardly stand comparison with those the animal inEven reflexion itself. so it would seem that its individuality . Its silence. but to beneficent or malevolent actions regarded as permanent. then. Just as the nature of an animal seems to be concentrated in one single quality. Even the fact that it lacks the it rounding power of speech has served the animal by surwith a halo of mystery. the lioness. destruction. We regard intelligence as his main characteristic. it is natural that after having gained control of actions. for it is the source of indecision. whose activity is simple. man had the choice between the cult of spirits and that of animals. the secret of man's strength.iS 4 STATIC RELIGION CH. The adoration of animals was not. In ancient Egypt the bull represented strength in battle. might look like weakness. in animals. his human body is crowned by an animal's head. moreover. can pass for contempt. Sometimes the god that has emerged from the animal form refuses to cast it off entirely. no inferiority for which it cannot compensate. the it would vulture. when it is truly instinctive. Its actual inventions were too few for its boundless potentialities of invention to be apparent. This is mainly because man has become endowed in our eyes with an outstanding dignity. he should have wanted to get hold of qualities. But if man did not first have recourse to beings. these qualities seemed to be present.

. To conclude straightaway that there is a specific logic. for if totemism is not animal worship. for that strange is not the place to study the question: cannot. for all it is something concrete and individual. le plus faible de la nature. that is to say a patron. if he knew that the greatest of our moralists has said "man is a reed that thinks". 1 And besides. An animal. The second would account to a certain extent. of our common sense. largely explains the cult of animals. as we have just seen. nevertheless stands forth as essentially a quality. we believe. does he converse is 1 "L'homme n'est qu'un roseau. peculiar to "primitive man" and exempt from the principle of contradiction. would be somewhat over-hasty. that of an animal. they are rats. True. on his side. Of these two striking features the first. for a whole clan.ii TOTEMISM 155 merges into a type. for " example. refrain from saying a word about the subject. Let us take the commonest case. they are kangaroos. To recognize a man is to distinguish him from other men. whereas in the latter it nearly always ignores them. mais c'est un roseau pensant" (PASCAL). would have of us and our powers of observation and reasoning. it nevertheless implies that man treats an animal. This we sometimes a mere inanimate object. however. with a deference which not without some resemblance to religion. The most striking thing is that the members of the clan assert they are one with it. Think of the opinion he. but to recognize an animal is usually to identify the species to which it belongs: that is the particular character of our interest in each case. which serves as a totem". thing. and even then we should have to know all the fine shades of his language to understand them. Our verb "to be" carries meanings that we have difficulty in defining for all our civilization: how can we reconstitute the meaning given by a primitive man in such and such a case to a similar word. essentially also a species. even when he supplies us with explanations? These explanations would only possess an element of precision if he were a philosopher. a rat or a kangaroo. or even a vegetable species. it remains to be seen in what sense they use the word. totemism. consequently in the first case our perception seizes on the individual characteristics.

as Durkheim would have it. it must correspond to a common need of these communities. but that two clans within the same tribe must necessarily be two different animals is far more enlightening. simply as a hypothesis. that it is desired to indicate these two clans as constituting two species. Let us suppose that this was so at the beginning. that of another to the other. To express the fact that two clans constitute two different species. does he simply take it as an emblem? This would be going too far the other way: even if totemism is not at the basis of the political organization of non-civilized people. offers no ground for deduction. marriages members of different clans. Each of these designations. or even of a civilized man. in various parts of the globe among communities which can have held no possible communication with one another. as we are assured it is. The truth must lie somewhere half-way between these two extreme explanations. That a clan is said to be such or such an animal. in the biological sense of the word: how is this to be managed in cases where the language is not yet instinct with science and philosophy? The individual characteristics of an animal do not catch our attention. if the primitive man does not identify himself with his totem.iS6 STATIC RELIGION CH. Let us suppose. taken singly. Let us offer. They indicate in fact that the two clans are of different blood. a vital necessity. as a species. Why is this? If totemism is to be found. indeed. the animal is perceived. is no more than a label: taken together they are equivalent to an affirmation. the name of one animal will be given to one. Now. with his totem? Does he treat it as a man? Note that we are always being brought back to the same point: to know what is going on in the mind of a primitive man. the interpretation to which we might be led by our principles. In fact we know that the clans into which the tribe is are contracted between divided are often exogamous: in other words. . and within one clan. but not It was even believed for a long time that this was a general law. we must study -what he does at least as closely as what he says. it occupies too large a place in their existence for us to see in it merely a means of designating the clan. we said. and that totemism always implied exogamy.

ii TOTEMISM many cases 157 is that in exogamy it is fell out of use later on. sort. pp. 1920) may quite well be grafted on to the representation we have indicated. 2 But 1 let us close this parenthesis. we it If this search for the corresponding need in the living creature. will attain its object by at once causing a feeling of relationship between members of the same clan. 290 2 sqq. need does not actually create a real and active instinct. that same species. and express the fact. . History of its Human Marriage an (London. and between clan and clan a feeling of being as foreign as possible to each other. instinct. Van Gennep emphasizes in his interesting work on L'Etat actuel du prdblkme totemique (Paris. 1901). the final result in a closed society such as this being unions between near relations: the race would very soon degenerate. is to diminish the sexual attraction between men and women who live together or who know they are related. An as a matter of fact. conjures up. not to say with the purely possible. which we can see working in our societies as well. opened for an object. to they are not of the same blood? of saying that they are not of the They will get into the habit At a very controversial problem. 1 How then will the members of two different clans convince themselves. So then. This instinct. The idea that the class takes descent from the totem animal idea which M. for its modus operandi. the method which appears to us as the surest generally. We only want to apply. it is not they on the animality. At the basis of totemism there may well be a representation of this instinct. We must indeed admit that we are dealing here merely with the probable. Starting from a biological necessity. It easy to understand that in the interests of nature to prevent the members of a tribe from habitually inter-marrying. on subject. within which marriage will be forbidden. of this See. will predispose the tribe to split up into clans. Westermarck. by means of what we call a virtual or latent an imaginative representation which determines conduct in the same way as instinct would have done. overlaid by quite different habits as soon as it ceases to be useful. but on the duality that they lay the stress. least it must have been so in the beginning. when declare that they constitute two animal species.

which it may be said that it deserved better treatment. if they induced the belief that man passed from one extremity religion has to tion: doubtless a natural error. Here was dynamic religion. magic and elementary animism. Let us add that it was natural. such as nature intended them. the one and the other limited in their ambitions. nothing but variations on the twofold theme of elementary animism and magic: . it all appeared as an unbroken whole. for the human species marks a certain stage in the vital evolution: it was here that at a given moment the forward movement stopped. second. The first was designed to ward off the dangers to which intelligence might expose man. at the same time carrying it forward. with the dangers this intelligence might involve. one must needs pass at once from the static and outer religion. man wrenched himself free on his own axis. For our part we see in them nothing absolutely new. By contrasting them from the outset. inner religion which we shall discuss in the next chapter. it was infra-intellectual. For these two extreme religions are alone and pure. coupled doubtless with higher intellectuality. Later. which developed in antique civilizations. The intermediate forms.i 58 STATIC RELIGION CH. was supra-intellectual. his intelligence. with. explained by the road of gradual perfecby the fact that static some extent lingered on into dynamic religion. The we it. for reasons which we shall indicate. and by an effort which might easily never have been from this motion of his made. it all corresponded exactly to the needs of the individual and of society. to that dynamic. He plunged anew into the current of evolution. We believe that. but distinct from of religion had been infra-intellectual. man was then posited as a whole. therefore. with which we have been dealing up to now. to get at the very essence of religion and understand the history of mankind. to the other in the But these intermediate forms have occupied so large a place known history of humanity that we cannot but dwell on them. we shall best essential The first form know why. understand them. could only lead the philosophy of religion astray. nothing comparable to dynamic religion. with the myth-making function designed to cope with them. We were dealing with spirits.

above all. local deity spring up. useless to seek for a rhythm or a law in this advance. It is indeed rare for the evolution to end in anything like finality. an a word. but do not replace them. to the level of a personality. fulfils has his qualities. pure and simple. that mythology without ever losing sight of that which was its starting-point. they are the principal gods of antique religions that have undergone the greatest changes. his defects. are Latin words only found in the plural. in civilization. These gods are superadded to the spirits. From among the countless spirits we see some city. through a later development. with the and finally modest at first. It is essentially capricious. in certain cases. of the spirits rises. his character. then. when the substantiality. However exalted the god may be. a mythology round which there grew up a literature. the essential elements of antique Let us discuss. has always remained the basis of popular religion. If the true original religious representation is that of an "effective presence". his divinity by no means implies immutability. and towards polytheism It is it may be said that progress an advance towards civilization. and. and which is still visible through it. as religion. growing adopted by the whole nation. The god is a person. But other evolutions are also possible. enriching . On the contrary. He important functions. The cult of spirits remains. and this name may. there issued. On the contrary. The more we Kave said. there are thousands of different spirits. But from the myth-making faculty. the gods only appear later. belief in spirits lies very close indeed to those origins. institutions. The transition from spirits to gods may be gradual.ii BELIEF IN GODS 159 a belief in spirits. after all. to take only these examples. they are described by a common name. all doing the same work. of an act rather than of a person or a thing. he is alone in fulfilling them. art. the difference is none the less striking. not even possess a singular form: manes and penates. in one or the other of them. He name. which had elaborated it. scattered far and wide over the country. the basis of popular enlightened part of the nation will none is the less prefer the gods. He bears a He stands in definite relationship to other gods.

the god of Babylon. and which co-ordinated and Srouped them under Zeus. monotheism accepted We know. Without going into the details of such interventions. the sun god Re. let us merely recall the most radical of them all. but in which they were given the forms and the attributes under which we know them.i6o STATIC RELIGION new attributes CH. etc. and the rain. the process this time being rather one of simplification than of complication. a prince's make and unmake gods. and the thunder. assimilates them or couples himself to them. he has added to what we might call his meteorological functions certain social attributes which become more and more complex. when he was invoked for a marriage. that of the Pharaoh who took the decree sufficed to name of one of Iknaton: he abolished the gods of Egypt in favour among them. appropriates the attributes of Bel. But there was no need to call in the genius of the poets. forming in this case Ammon Re. Genethlios. the sovereign god of Greece. at first an object of supreme adoration. amalgamates with the great Theban god. and he ends by being the tutelary god of all social groups. The divinities of Olympus date from the Homeric poems. and be effected artificially under the very eyes of the worshippers. the high god of Nippur. and succeeded in getting this sort of until the time of his death. divinities. when he pre- sided over the swearing of oaths. which did not perhaps create them. and thus increasing their own substance. Thus Marduk. Ammon. though the latter knew the circumstances and almost the date of their birth. . Thus several Assyrian gods are merged into the mighty goddess Ishtar. The evolution is generally slow and natural. Hikesios. absorbs other. when he watched over the observances of hospitality. In Egypt. themselves with by the absorption of other gods. but it can be rapid also. from the family to the state. But no evolution is richer than that of Zeus. for example. It became necessary to place after his name the most varied epithets to dis- tinguish all the lines of his activity: Xenios. Horkios. They were none the less accepted by the Greeks. when he protected the supplicants. After having begun probably as the god worshipped on the mountaintops. holding sway over the clouds.

for example. and that in many cases the idea of a particular function should have predominated. in China. and that faith was limitless in its compliance. This means that the gods of antiquity could be born. in Japan. seriously between the divinity of a Roman Emperor and that of a Pharaoh. no single one has been by any means regularly followed. whereas the divinity conferred on Caesar was a case of mere toadyism. in a prerogative of cultivated minds. For the sowing there was Saturn. The guardianspecialization of gods . There is chief in primitive societies. being as utilized later by Augustus an instrumentum regni. Titus. where the Senate deified Julius Caesar. it certainly did not spread to the provinces. and even so. From the most remote antiquity they styled themselves "sons of Re". Nerva. or a magic power. for the flowering of fruit trees. and it has made it possible to say that the was characteristic of Roman religion. The most we can do is to bring out a few main trends of mythological fantasy. it did not extend to the people. supposed to reside in the sovereign. where the Emperor receives divine honours during his lifetime and becomes a god after his death. for the ripening of fruit. formed pagan at the whim of man or by circumstances. and finally all the Emperors rose to the rank of gods. Vespasian. be trans- Rome. And yet the half-sceptical attitude mingled with the adoration of the Emperors remained. Flora. die. it is natural that functions should be generally attributed to them. It was not confined to Egypt. it is perhaps connected with the idea of a special fluid. Claudius. Pomona. The latter is closely related to the divinity of the Doubtless the adoration of the sovereign everywhere. Precisely because men's fancy and fortuitous circumstances have played so large a part in their genesis. is not taken equally a great distance. And the Egyptian tradition of treating the sovereign as a god was continued under the Ptolemies. meet with it in Syria under the We Seleucides. This is what occurred in Rome. As gods were for the most part set up to serve a useful purpose. that the Pharaohs themselves shared in the divinity. and lastly in Rome. the gods cannot be fitted into a hard and fast classification. before Augustus.ii BELIEF IN GODS 161 moreover.

there have been gods to watch over the harvest. There was Venus Victrix. she too is a goddess of the soil and harvests. This was the primitive function vested in the Adonis of the Greeks. content to give them the same name with varying epithets. who presides over find in the Shinto religion. the earth-goddess. and here again the diversity of functions goes with a difference of character. from Jupiter. distinct. as the evolution of the god made him a complex personality. Stator. and the protection of the domestic hearth. ship of the door was attributed to Janus. Feretrius. By endowing them with functions. to Jupiter. Venus Genetrix. to Agni. Venus Felix. Agni by his wisdom. up to a certain point. that of the hearth to Vesta. it preferred to set up distinct gods. seems to have been at first the god of vegetation. protector of the state in peace and war. in Baby- held sway over the corn crops before she became lonia. to dispense heat. fire. they were milestones along the road. and these were. the trees. Indra being distinguished by his strength. even though they have been lost sight of. The most exalted function is indeed that of Varuna. it attributes . however. the goddess of harvests. under the name of Thesmo- phoros. It was also that of Nisaba. But the same tendency is exhibited everywhere in varying degrees. dispenser of rain or sunshine. etc. Optimus Maximus. the richest figure in the Egyptian Pantheon. Rather than attribute to the same god a multiplicity of interrelated functions. Thus Osiris. in Japan. These agricultural functions must have been characteristic of some of the most ancient deities. over family and social life. To Indra man owed the rain and the storms beneficent for the soil. Jupiter himself was Fulgur. overlaid with a long history. the goddess of Science. to whom she gives a place of abode. besides presiding. but she also cares for the dead. But no divinity who We of this type has so marked and complete a personality as the Demeter of the Greeks. In the first rank of the divinities of India figure Indra and Agni.162 STATIC RELIGION CH. to ensure the regularity of the seasons. Victor. There you have the most conspicuous development of the god-making fantasy. Ever since man began to cultivate the soil. the universal order of things. the gods that watch over the mountains.

earth and the middle air. in the depths of the sea dwells Ea. even though they be not equally powerful. lastly. he receives the title Here we of . According to the Vedic poems their various torial The gods spheres of influence are heaven. one of them is the dispenser of life here below. In the Babylonian cosmology the sky is the realm of Anu. the Greeks and Romans and Rome is he king of Mongols in China. Now the sun. in the primitive Egyptian religion. It is everywhere: in the Shinto religion of Japan. where the sun is a personal god. the earth that of Bel. 163 to naturally assumes a terriare supposed to share the universe between them. in the ancient Chinese religion. These realms are marked out by nature herself. and the others. where Helios is one of the most ancient gods. such a god is common to the Teutons. must none the less be of the same nature. who is their lord. under her. Among the Indo-Germanic peoples. as they grow older. But the heavenly worship of the sun and also of the sky is to be found more or gods. in general. with moral attributes. Poseidon. with.ii MYTHOLOGICAL FANTASY them a sovereignty which quite form. note the tendencies of the very ancient especially entrusted in the beginning with entirely material tasks. though only in Greece and the gods. and Hades. among the Greeks themselves. gods. has become the guardian of right and justice. god of heaven and earth. In Southern Babylonia the sun. where the goddess of the sun is set up as sovereign. The Greeks divided the world between Zeus. to whom belonged the infernal regions. Under the name of Dyaus. they are individualized movements. Ziu. a less moon-god and where the a star-god. Jupiter. like the celestial deity of the Vedic India. in the Vedic religion. where Mitra (identical with the Iranian Mithra. who is a sun-deity) has attributes which would be appropriate to a god of sun or light. which appear to in Assyria that the belief in the divinity of the bodies assumed the most systematic form. to enrich themselves. moon and the sky are considered as gods alongside the sun. so in them also we find the stuff of their outline. Zeus. moon and stars are no less distinct in by their shape as well as by depend on themselves. who is all-seeing. the sky has been the object of a special cult. god of the seas.

The latter might indeed come to terms. in this case humanity . And the Egyptian Osiris. merciful and just. for Amon-Re.164 STATIC RELIGION CH. been the god of vegetation. Nevertheless. In Egypt. and its tutelary gods on the other. it is for our own convenience that we thus define and classify the gods of fable. he gives victory to the righteous cause. deities Nekkeb". No law governed their birth. Are we god the personal genius or daemon of a particular individual? The Roman genius was numen> not deus\ it had neither shape nor name. the city of Uruk the same in Greece. Often protectors and protected stood or fell together. formed an undefined partnership. god of Thebes. for example. any more than their development. has ended by being the great judge. and whom the latter had adopted. Athene on the Acropolis. But the bigger the group. to call them "He of Edfu". But there often the same ones seen from a different angle that are defined by their connexion with persons or groups. where the city clear enough. are others All these gods are closely connected with things. This was the case. And these gods were distin- more marked. "He of But in most cases they were before the group. Artemis in Arcadia. was scarcely mere y its right to a real god. It was the goddess the moon. where Demeter was particularly at home in Eleusis. The personality of the lar familiaris who watched over the family. who has become one with the sun-god after having "judge". it was very near to that to consider as a "effective presence" which we have seen to be the primitive and essential element of divinity. was who existed of Ur has as its planet Venus. which must have varied indefinitely in character. and the gods of the conquered people then entered the pantheon of the victor. War thus became a struggle between rival deities. in Egypt itself. It was the same in Babylonia. the stronger guished one from the other precisely by their connexion with this or that community. who reigns over the land of the dead. the gods of a city gained by the aggrandisement of that city. But the truth is that the city or the empire on the one hand. The Vedic Mitra is the champion of truth and right. each of the primitive cities had its divine guardian.

ii MYTH-MAKING AND LITERATURE 165 this instinct has given free play to its instinct for myth-making. On the contrary each god of ancient Greece has his his character. Doubtless does not go very far when left to itself. immobilized in them. They are barely gods. at least in certain cases. that of the Greeks superabundant. into Rome. But it need be. In a word. Since such representations depict neither a present object nor a past thing. in the second remains the same function. scribed. does outside the mere performance of his functions. more accurately. they are all considered in the same by common sense and given the same name in ordinary speech. his history. it has continued its It will resume. poet. Let us then leave aside imagination. The gods of ancient Rome coincide with the functions with which they are clothed and are thus. the interrupted work. the myth-making function of the mind has in the first case stopped short. But the psychologist must not for that reason group them in the same category. but it if progresses unceasingly one is pleased to exercise it. know how the Romans identified some of their We gods with those of Hellas. which is but light . Classical antiquity shows us an example of this opposition: Roman mythology is poor. This is what happened with the introduction of Greek literature. his intervention in our affairs de- physiognomy. if the privilege. We call imaginative any concrete representation which is neither perception nor memory. This last word has a somewhat negative meaning. They barely possess a body. or connect them with the same function. if work. I mean an imaginable shape. of interfering were not that he had a power greater than that of mortal man and with the regular working of the laws of nature. a character in a novel. between the mythologies of different peoples. things quite His adventures are told. it He lends himself to every fancy of the artist and the He would be. He moves about. and more generally of Greek ideas. thus endowing them with a more marked personality. and changing them from immobility to movement. so to speak. on this point. We have said of this myth-making function that it would be wrong to define it as a variant of imagination. The differences are very great.

they enable us to put our finger on the existence.166 STATIC RELIGION CH. they even have difficulty in getting rid of him when they have finished their play or their novel. not they who control him. at least in some of us. In truth. It is very vivid in children. it is found. whose give. for indispens- . Now novelists and dramatists are certainly not necessities. but completely "gripped" by the novel sympathize just as keenly with the people whose story is being told us. It is singularly vivid in novelists and dramatists. when utilized for a given object. of a special faculty of volun- their hero. a word. while we can easily understand which it is designed for this work. are as interested in fictions as in real things. and by the mysterious element will in such a faculty as this? The answer inasmuch struction. this function be indispensable to the existence have shown of individuals as well as of societies: that. when we we And how and why it is necessary to life. be that this is all our faculties are mysterious. the myth-making faculty in general does not correspond to a vital need. as we are ignorant them. These writers are not necessarily those whose work is of the highest quality. better than others. but. True. to some degree. But the same faculty comes into play in those who. What sight is there more amazing than that of a theatre audience in tears? We shall be told that the play is being performed by blood are on the actors and that human beings of flesh and stage. and consider a very clearly defined faculty of the mind. How is it that psychologists have not been struck we can be almost as we are reading. tion. that of creating personalities whose stories we relate to ourselves. in find a child keeping everyone. But let us suppose that on one particular point. whose impressions about every incident of the day he can repeat to you. without creating fictitious beings for themselves. tary hallucination. We up name he can a daily intercourse with some imaginary person. but of the inner mechanism of no question of mechanical recon- are entitled to ask for a psychological explanathe explanation is the same in psychology as in biology: the existence of a function is accounted for. There are some among them who become really obsessed by it is he who controls them. Agreed.

the undivided act of vision. merely develops the personalities of the gods into a story. to folklore. that of the "semi-personal " powers or "efficient presences" which are. that is to say the sudden leap by which life in its evolution . they are all to be explained by one single operation. The act might quite well not have been performed.ii MYTH-MAKING AND LITERATURE it 167 able. got across all the obstacles. mythology. of all these obstacles that our analysis has to then it has. we pass quite easily from the novel of to-day to more or less ancient tales. the endless series of mechanisms which are at work in the comes at a stroke this act of process of seeing. in and explain each of these processes of elimination by the preceding one would be going the wrong way to work. endless multiplicity. Without going back over what we have already stated at great length. assisted by deal. we believe. constitute an obstacles. but which was developed in the same way. Posit in the same way the human species. by the mere fact of succeeding. circumvention is what is apparent to our perception and to our science in the multiplicity of cells constituting the eye. should be further employed. but. thinks it detects in the immobility of the points making up the line of flight. and this last creation is but the extension of another and simpler one. and from folklore to mythology. the intricateness of our visual apparatus. over- thousands and thousands of obstacles. to legends. let us recall that. one stride. As a matter of fact. if it is performed. one after the other. in its turn. at the origin of religion. in the realm of life. for mere amusement. These each one of which raised up another. in short. too. what appears under analysis to be an infinitely complex presents itself to intuition as an undivided act. and it is precisely with the removal. since it is still there. the myth-making function is thus to be deduced from the conditions of existence of the human species. Thus. Here we get at what we have shown to be a fundamental demand of life: this demand has called into being the myth-making faculty. which is not the same thing. which is the act itself in its simplicity. Thus the undivided movement of the arrow triumphs at one sweep over the innumerable obstacles which our perception. To try Zeno's reasoning.

we add it to all the other psychical which life leapt onwards to man. from being . naturally. truth will as a rule be this may note. if he is portrayed by art? So long as experimental science is not firmly established. We may find two reasons for this. confirmed by a whole people. and yet it sprang up indeed. and the danger arising from such a continuation. both individual and social. and it this creates a danger. Even in the theatre. we must ask why. it no longer commands the same credence. If. then. beyond the mere tool-makiug operation for which it was intended. is because the very act which posited man with his tool- contriving intelligence. The latter purposed by nature. But let us look more closely into the reason why the mythmaking function imposes its inventions with exceptional force when working in the realm of religion. Nay. without any doubt. by the way. the spectator's ready acceptance of the tist's drama- suggestions is singularly increased by the attention and the interest of the society in which he finds himself. with the necessary continuation of his intellectual effort. We causes of intolerance. but since it continues its myth-making work elsewhere. There. of its own momentum. that this is one of the very assent. The man who it. functions. the god both on the past and on the present? What if sung by poets. the adherence the adherence of all. and enduring only just as long as the play lasts: what if the individual belief is supported. we find that the form the indivisible act by sum total expresses in a multiple The first is that. if he dwells in temples. myth-making function. where is religion is of each individual reinforced by concerned. though operating in the same way. there will be no surer guarantee of the and if it rests is truth than universal assent. came effort man.i68 STATIC RELIGION to CH. common belief prevents does not accept the while he dissents. If the human species does exist. begot the was not. from that rung of the ladder at which it had stopped. you will then be positing a tool-contriving intelligence and consequently an which is bound to go on. But in this case we have a society just the size of the hall. it is at home. it is made for the creation of spirits and gods.

indeed. but we know that it is also intended to support the individual himself. which popular abandoned. has as its first object the consolidation of society. and that. circle-wise. but he only believed so firmly in his genius because every other Roman had his own genius. But we shall revert to this point. As a matter of fact. in the matter of religion. elves. moreover. The latter were the almost M . personal on this point. belief never actually gnomes. had a genius attached to his person. if we supposed that the existence of their gods was of the same nature to thefii as the objects they saw and touched: It was real. the birth of this or that god. not mean to say that religious belief can never have even in polytheism. it is true. an individual belief. society shapes an entire side of by being prefigured in each one of them. but how with a will. he retracts or disappears. We the ancients witness. the individual and society are implied in each other: individuals make up society We do by the individual their grouping together. was broken by man the day he became able to get back into the creative impetus. Each Roman been. intended by nature. would suffice in itself to put these inventions of the myth-making function in a unique position. spirits. was guaranteed to him by a universal faith. one that has become thereby. seen that the myth-making function. such is the interest of society. reality that yet hinged in some degree on the human The gods from older of pagan civilization are indeed distinguishable entities. have seen Biit we must bear yet another thing in mind. The individual and society thus condition each other. Let us only say that the guarantee brought by society to individual belief. Thenceforth they would believe in him as they did in all the others. and because his faith. From that day there dates an essentially individual religion.ii ON THE EXISTENCE OF GODS Truth will only regain its entirety if 169 utterly true. more profoundly social. This would be incredible. We do not mean to say either that religion has ever been social in essence rather than individual: we have. innate in the individual. The circle. and impel human nature forward instead of letting it revolve on one spot. unconcerned.

The pantheon exists. is accepted with the reservation that another would have been possible.i 7o STATIC RELIGION CH. whereas the gods as a whole. Such an attitude of mind does indeed surprise us to-day. But the truth is that there is no possible comparison between them. as representatives of the divine. or rather the godhead in general. but on man depends the placing of a god in it. extends beyond this need in all directions. If we were to delve into this point. and that polytheism. . and it obtains for its inventions. in which the multiple deities exist only secondarily. in so far as an intellectual representation is needed to ward off the dangers of a certain intellectuality. The interval it leaves between this need and itself is filled with a matter in the choice of which human fancy has a large share. In that case a mythological tale could be treated like a historical narrative. They conformed exactly to the need from which they sprang. In just the same way it could be said that each distinct god is contingent. taken separately. History is knowledge. and the bestowal of existence on that deity. as we have repeated over and over again. we should find that there has never been any absolute pluralism other than the belief in spirits. at a certain moment. along with its mythology. is necessary. independent of man. and they were naturally adopted. as a whole. where we can introduce. But mythology. because they are not of the same order. unessential. But each invention. implies a latent monotheism. by pushing logic further than did the ancients. It is always the same faculty intervening. and this affects the assent accorded to it. direct product of that myth-making faculty which is natural to us. the same credence. which is an amplification of primitive activity. the incident we desire: thus a part comes into being through us. such as But the ancients would have held such considerations to be would only be important if religion belonged to the realm of knowledge or contemplation. religion is mainly action: it only concerns knowledge. whilst the whole has its own existence independent of us. and in the one case as in the other the question of authenticity might arise. strictly speaking. Yet we lapse into it ourselves in certain dreams. just as they had been naturally produced.

absurdities. on the other hanc it was not unlike the incantations of magic. up to a ceron man. must be taken all together as an undivided whole. it then aimed. . sacrifice and prayer. Prayer. the resistance of the liquid. In its lowest form.' For that reason' regularly repeated exercises are necessary. that this water sustains the swimmer. at least at capturing their goodwill.way betwee: these two extremities. then there must be gods. having no common measure with speculative truth. One might dilate on them at length.ii ON THE EXISTENCE OF GODS consider this representation apart. but they once react on it and strengthen it: if gods exist. they must have their worship. like those whose automatism ends by instilling into the body of the soldier the confidence he will need in the hour of danger. The religious representation is above all an occasion for these religious acts. the current of the river. nay. an elevation of the soul that car dispense with speech. verbal expres sion is immaterial to prayer. We commit just such an error when we ask ourselves how it is that great minds can have accepted the tissue of childish imaginings. and depending. to criticize it 171 as a To representation. would be to forget that it forms an amalgam with the accompanying action. No doubt antiquity hit upon admirabl i \ forms of prayer. generally finds its place half. as undei tain point. but since there is \vorship. The movements of a swimmer would appear just as silly and ridiculous to anyone forgetting that the water is there. not at compelling the will of the gods and above all of th e spirits. which made up their religion. We shall merely touch on the two principal ones. in which there was manifested an aspiratioi of the soul to improvement. ' stood in polytheism. and that the man's movements. at They doubtless emanate from belief. This means that there is no religion without rites and ceremonies. But these were exceptions and. ^"Tn'tlie religion which we shall call dynamic. . It is precisely towards the tightening up of this solidarity that rites and ceremonies tend. Religion supplies strength and discipline. This solidarity of the god with the homage paid him makes of religious truth a thing apart.

and which complete this perception by the automatic beginnings of an action. There is no limit to the extent of error. Next. to which logic may begin with. is. a custom of human far custom all. If so. just the same towards the representation that produced them. perhaps in could we be found in most trace them back enough. Movements of this kind may develop owing to some other cause: but their actuality will flow back a figment of the imagination. the more particular it becomes on this point. above all. the agency of a priest becomes more and more indispensable to ensure the school- ing of the believer. We may even say that the more polytheism evolves. As the principle of life. doubtless. and perhaps also (but this was a barely conscious idea) it ensured animal. when it is applied to matters not pertaining to pure intelligence. Polytheism more generally imposes on prayer a stereotyped form. the more acceptable it was likely This is probably the explanation. with the latent idea that it is not only the significance of the all phrasing. How can we fail to see that this habit of prolonging the idea of the god.172 as it STATIC RELIGION CH. and an offering a view to buying the favour of the god. But there is something else in sacrifice: otherwise there would be no explaining why the offering had to be animal or vegetable. and enabled him the better to help man. to ancient religions. As to sacrifice. or of lead. of the sacrifice. once evoked. from above all. nearly always horror. or turning aside his wrath. it gave the god strength. higher objectivity? We endows his image with a have shown elsewhere that what conwhat distinguishes it stitutes the reality of a perception. which impart to it its efficacy. valuable the thing sacrificed. To was a . together with the accompanying gestures. there special virtue in blood. to begin with. it is generally agreed that sacrifice in a repast of which the god and his worshippers originated were supposed to partake in common. the greater the cost and the more will practically convert it into a thing. it was. were. at least in part. but also the sequence of the words. made with to be. through prescribed words and set attitudes. anticipations of a purer religious belief. the whole group of incipient movements which it communicates to the body.

and of putting man in ever closer contact with them. and called forth by nature for a clearly defined pur- pose. Was it still religion? We may what meaning we like to words. feeling. We have shown how this name attribute their is ordinarily applied to representations directed towards action. but it would be a mistake to do so when we happen to be dealing with a word which corresponds to a natural cutting-up of continuous reality: the most we can do then is to exclude from the extension of the term such or such a thing which had become accidentally included in it. the meaning of the word has been extended so as to include some other object. so long as we define meaning first. More often than not. it may be that exceptionally. above all. the second. religion must none the less be defined . among the people. varying from people to people. was. in antiquity. more cultivated minds. in the way we have described. This means that religious of was made up many have all We have concentrated on this nucleus. a link Thus polytheism with its mythology had the twofold effect of exalting more and more the invisible powers with which man is surrounded.ii GENERAL FUNCTION OF STATIC RELIGION him a It 173 to more substantial existence. and renounced what it had come into the world to accomplish. Being co-extensive with the ancient civilizations. but the first will none the less remain essentially action. To some of them. religion lives on. like prayer. In those cases where religion really became philosophy among the ancients. because we wished to bring out the specifically religious element in antique religions. Even in those cases where the two are mingled. and for obvious reasons. indeed. philosophy will not shun all idea of action. it rather discouraged action. those of India and Persia. But philosophy and religion always remain distinct. a philosophy has been superadded. thought. whence it received still more than it gave. but which grouped themselves round an original nucleus. the elements keep their individuality: religion will have moments when it is inclined to speculate. philosophy only comes into existence to satisfy elements. Such is the case with religion. it literature battened on everything they produced. having inspired and art. between man and the deity.

alone in knowing that he must die. lus. Of all the creatures that live in society. gropes about and lays plans in the hope of success which Man is failure. It is impossible that she should not have taken the precaution to see that a condition of order. But. But quillity. supercase We by intention. taken all together. called the intention of have explained more than once what is meant in this We have also dwelt at length in this chapter on the function that nature has assigned to religion. without saying to himself that he might often find it more profitable to ignore others and to think of himself alone. not saying enough. which rouses his fears and his hopes. man alone can swerve from the social line by giving way to selfish preoccupations when the common good is at this is stake. The subject rest of nature goes on its expanding course in absolute tran- and the fear of Although plants and animals are the sport of chance. in all other societies the interests of the individual are inexorably co-ordinate with and subordinate to the general interest. worship of gods. He is alone in realizing that he is to illness. in conformity with nature. faculty of thought without imagining an uncertain future. natural order of yet it was nature who ordained intelligence. We drink in something of this unshakable confidence during a country walk.i 74 STATIC RELIGION what we have CH. stitions of all kinds. who it at the end of one of the two great lines of evolution placed as a counterpart to the highest form of instinct. from which we return quieted and soothed. who hesitates. mythology. And terminal point of the other. they rely on the passing hour as they would on eternity. In both would be a break of the normal. Magic. seem very complex. having been disturbed ever so slightly by intelligence. they is if we take them make up a whole extremely simple. As a matter of fact. which is the cases there things. . animal or spirit worship. the only animal whose actions are uncertain. one at a time. Mao^cannot exert. This twofold shortcoming in man is the price paid for intelligence. He cannot think about what nature demands of him. in so far as she has made a social being of him. should tend to re-establish itself automatically.

it may even be that the coincidence we pointed out between original morality and primeval religion. they have emerged through purification and simplification. as it was^ordained by nature. but the deity has by no means always been offended by immorality or even crime. and of which we should say that it was natural religion. It is none the less true that morality has taken definite shape along its own lines. through abstraction and generalization. we do not mean by this that there should be solidarity between such a religion and morality. and that men have always accepted their gods from tradition without asking them for a certificate of good conduct." ifThe term were not used in another sense. that which we call static. History is witness to the contrary. nor expecting them to guarantee the moral order. To sin has always been to offend the deity. humanity seems in general to have wished its gods to be good. without which no life in common would be possible. Let us conclude with two remarks. It is a defensive reaction of nature against what might be depressing for the individual. But what binds together the members of a given society is tradi- . Its role is to elaborate that religion we have been dealing with up to now. both alike rudimentary. it has often placed the different virtues under their patronage. has left in the depths of the human soul the vague ideal of a more developed morality and an organized religion dependent the one on the other. and which yet is not pure intelligence. True.ii GENERAL FUNCTION OF STATIC RELIGION 175 the myth-making function. and dissolventfor society. maintain social life. has precisely this object. there have been cases where he has prescribed them. which belongs to intelligence. But a distinction must be drawn between social obligations of a very general character. in the exercise of intelligence. to forestall two misunderstandings. is to. We have then only to sum up what we have said to define this religion in clear terms. that religions have evolved along theirs. The first have little by little emerged from the confused background of customs which we have found at the outset. to form a social morality. and the particular concrete social tie which causes the members of a particular social community to be intent on its preservation. When we say that one of the functions of religion.

for these two functions were inevitably undifferentiated in rudimentary societies where custom existed alone. has simultaneously fulfilled. plays in human societies a part exactly corresponding to that of instinct in these animal societies. as indeed instinct is too. concerns the meaning we give to the "intention of nature".176 'tion. Our second remark. the conclusion might have been reached immediately considering that the human societies. appears to us unquestionable. should have carried religion with them in the second direction. and that the myth-making function. As a matter of fact. placed at the extremity of the other great line. it disfhiguishes the group from other groups. at the end of one of the great lines of biological evolution. it guarantees the success of the common enterprise and is an assurance against the common danger. we were dealing less with this religion itself than with the effect it produced. as they developed. But that societies. ligence. which we might well refrain from making after all we have so often repeated. At the extremity of the two main lines of evolution thus established lie intelligence and instinct. The fact that religion. an undivided . for that very reason dispersing itself on its way. though not an instinct. the two functions moral and national. will be easily understood by reference to what we have just explained. an expression we have used in speaking of "natural religion". it is common to the members of a group. There is an impetus of life which rushes through matter and wrests from it what it can. such as it issued from the hands of nature. To pre- serve. In fact. to tighten this bond is incontestably one aim of the we have found to be natural. STATIC RELIGION CH. form the counterpart to the most perfectly developed animal societies. it associates them intimately with each religion other in rites and ceremonies. Precisely because intelligence is a success. as with all to eliminate any obstacle to the This tendency forms with intelpresupposed by intelligence. the need and the determination to defend the group against other groups and to set it above everything. it cannot be posited without the ac- companiment of a tendency production of its full effect. to use the language of the day.

looking down from above. number which resist these resistances. which nature has effectively obtained. Elements and actions express analytically and so itself to speak negatively. Regarded from this serenity point of view. the whole would appear indivisible. and we have an infinity of elements. Indefinite forms of superstition. which becomes divisible when coming within the scope of our faculty which is entirely relative to the intelligence of perception and analysis. we find everywhere else. and of reciprocal actions of these elements on each other. with all the peace brought by religions. being resistances opposed to resistances. . by means of which the anatomist and the physiologist reconstitute that simple act.n GENERAL FUNCTION OF STATIC RELIGION 177 whole. or rather of But the comvanishes if we place man back in nature as a whole. like the perfect confidence of flowers unfolding to the spring. which is simple. Let us revert to what has been said about the eye and sight. the indivisible act. the balance restored. In the eyes of a god. all the elements of disquiet and weakness entailed in the application of intelligence to life. which is that of a genesis and no longer that of an analysis. In the same way the anxieties of man. if plexity we consider that intelligence is apt to be an obstacle to the also are the static religion. We have the act of seeing. and that the obstacle must be surmounted. cast upon this earth. Unrest and myth-making counteract and nullify each other. alone positive. become a perfectly simple thing. and the temptations the individual may have to anxieties intelligent being put his interests before those of the community and temptations which are peculiar to an in could lend themselves to endless enumeration.

Along one of these lines. but the effect of it is sheer automatism. whose consciousness lapsed into the somnambulism of instinct instead of bracing itself and revital- izing itself into reflective thought.CHAPTER III DYNAMIC RELIGION LET us cast a glance backward at Life. being essentially analytical and synthetic. distinguishes a multitude of elements combining to fulfil a multitude of functions. to wrest from it what it can. all living creatures had drunk greedily of the cup of 178 . Up to that point. consciousness assumed in that case. the one along which it succeeded in going furthest. was at liberty to develop. but it swerved inward. as it were from a mould. the shape of tool-making intelligence. whose organs were ready-made instruments and left no room for the ceaselessly renewed invention of tools. In its passage through matter.. would go straight on. vital we might have thought that this energy. At most points. And invention. that is to say. in our eyes. But intelligence was not without its dangers. yet the work of organization was but the step itself. remember. a simple act. and the whole circle reformed: certain creatures emerged whose activity ran indefinitely in the same circle. it carne to a stop. to the phenomena of many living species. like the making of a footprint. this life great current of creative energy is precipitated into matter. Such is the condition of the individual in those insect societies where organization is highly perfected. of organisms in which our perception. which carries reflexion with it. which instantly causes a myriad grains of sand to cohere and form a pattern. carrying the best of itself with it. it. previously followed in its development religion was destined to emerge from up to the point which we had where A so these stops are equivalent. The line of evolution creative effort progressed successfully only along that which ended in man.

they were prepared to gulp down the smeared rest blindly. such as we find it when it stands alone. all brings the elements that impart life to it. and consequently the individual to society. out a momentary slackening of the attachment to life. TWO MEANINGS OF THE WORD RELIGION 179 relish the honey which nature had on the rim. in its automatism. they counterfeit reality as actually perceived. That then is the office. by telling him tales on a par with those with which we lull children to sleep. It is true that make good any deficiency of attach- the possibility of another solution at once occurs to the mind. which peered into the bottom of the cup.CH. Not so intelligence. pliance. we repeat. Reflexion cannot be relied upon to keep up this selflessness. The very check of the creative impetus which has expressed itself in the creation of our species has provided. Religion is that element which.III life. for nature. what is multiple in its manifestation may well be new species coming on to the scene simple in its genesis. Or rather it was already provided with one. Above there is no humanity without society. and society demands of the individual an abnegation which the insect. within A human intelligence. the myth-making function that contrives the pattern of religions. they can whereas the former are . Intelligence. there can be no reflexion without foreknowledge. For the intelligent being was not living in the present alone. from two directions called for a counterpoise. carries to the point of an utter obliviousness of self. but they do not demand our comremain just ideas. in the indivisibility of the act creating it. along with intelligence. except it be that of a suble utilitarian philosopher. Static religion. that is the significance of the religion we have called static or natural. with it. would more it likely counsel egoism. attaches man to life. does not make her creatures piecemeal. in beings endowed with . to the point of have making us act accordingly: other creations of the imagination this same tendency. reason. Thus. no apprehension with- They lapped up with all. Being produced by the myth-making func- tion in response to an actual need and not for mere pleasure. is called upori to ment to life. no foreknowledge without apprehension. Of course they are not like other stories.

proceed in the opposite direction. does not attain any But we know that all around intelligence there lingers still a fringe of intuition. by the creative energy. even more desirable. in matter. and. and this is probably what happens in worlds where the current rushes through matter less refractory than ours: just as the current might never have found a free outlet even to this inadequate extent in which case the quality and quantity of creative energy represented by the human species would never have been released at all on our planet. They are none the less myths. it is the depositing. at the most. The active. or some other being of we do not say of like form which is the like significance of the entire process of evolution. intensify it. This being so. should. ideo-motory. however precarious and incomplete why should this success may be. it was provided for a definite object. vague and evanescent. doubtless requires of all created species that they cling to principle produces species in their entirety. since the latter receive at as the effect. if this of a freely creative energy. stance? . man not recover the confidence he lacks. by turning back for fresh impetus. and above consummate it in action. Can we not fasten upon it. all But. whose mere stopping at an extreme point expresses itself in mankind. it is man. often accept in fact. at least not through intelligence could he do so: intelligence would be more likely to alone. as we have previously shown. reject. to man than to the other species. it and when it attempts speculation on a higher enables us. in the direction whence that impetus came? intelligence. But whichever way we look at it. if we may put it so.i8o DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. The whole explanation might have been vastly superior to what it is. by an abstraction practised on its own suball. as we have seen. life is that successful effort itself. produced whereas in man in passing. which critical minds. but which they by rights. it reality. life. to conceive possibilities. life is a thing at least as desirable. moving principle. for it has become pure contemplation only through a weakening in its principle. as a tree thrusts out on every side branches which end in buds. Not through plane. or which has perhaps been undermined by reflexion.

In addition it would give itself to ably mightier than society. love of that which is all love. to be regarded as practically inseparable from it. Looking at it from this angle. no more anxious heart-searching. Let us go back briefly over each of these points. loved in the love of the principle underlying it. that it is generally found in a diluted form. . and morally would take on too high a significance. the security and the serenity which it is the function of static religion to provide. noble enough to make this effort to ask whether the principle with which it is is now in touch its the transcendant cause of all things or merely earthly delegate. whereas really there is a radical difference of nature. lift the soul to another plane: ensures for the soul. It its though retaining fire would be content to feel itself pervaded. The confidence which static man would thus be transfigured: no more morrow. Its attachment to life would henceforth be its inseparability from this principle. if it is to be observed in its active state since it was in this state that it finally imposed its sway upon the world. still speak of religion? Or were we right to have used the word before for all the preceding argument? Are not the two things so different as to exclude each other. materially the object would no longer be worth while. joy in joy. In the first place mysticism for that is what we religion brought to thought for the have in mind it may. Now detachment from each particular thing would become attachment to life in general.in WHY WE USE ONE WORD A 181 would not stop soul strong enough. differences of degree. to a pre-eminent degree. But should we. own personality. as it were. and to make it impossible to call them by the same name? Yet there are many reasons for using the word religion in both cases. just as an iron is pervaded by the which makes it glow. but to a society comprising all humanity. it is true. In defining mysticism by its relation to the vital impetus. But we must above all bear in mind that less is a rare essence. by a being immeasur- itself. we should perceive a series of transitions. that even then it still gives to the substance with which it mingles its colour and fragrance. and that it none the pure mysticism must be taken together with the substance. in such a case. and.

probably desired to reach _biit could not. value. man's confidence in life will remain much the same as it was ordained by nature. which it is in need. But when it does call. when truly great mysticism comes on the scene. the spirit of which we cannot grasp. The same can be said of other forms of genius: they are one and all rare. Incapable of rising to these heights. though it may still Jbe there. But he will sincerely feign to have sought and indeed to some extent to have found that contact with the very principle of nature which expresses attachment to life. we have We shall deal presently with its significance and its us confine ourselves for the moment to noting that it lies. if we actually willed it. for the support of its mainly at any it rate. CH. there is in the innermost being of most men the whisper of an echo. and in most cases we could not. setting aside any bypaths it has been compelled to follow. in the same way^tatic religion. if we view it as seeking for something beyond attains. something to which the great if any large number of men. For it makes light of obstacles with which nature has hacLta. or rather would reveal to us. to go on with work. but which makes us feel how commonplace were the things we used to admire. Mysticism reveals. in a word. at a point which the spiritual current.182 DYNAMIC RELIGION implicitly admitted that true mysticism is rare.. is no longer what it was. It is not by chance. Yet the spell has worked.tQ. above all it no longer dares tp assert itself. could is by reason of its very essence that true mysticism is exceptional. will it. and just as when an artist of genius has produced a work which is beyond us. a marvellous prospect: we do not. as making function. according to the above. he will go through the motions. we can only understand the evolution of life.texna& and. reach. for such a one is in fact more than a man. we should collapse under the strain. it men. nature would not have stopped at the human species. then. Let in its passage through matter. To static religion. assume the appropriate attitudes and itself in quite a different . on the other hand. jcome^. If all its mystic have soared as high as this privileged man. remoulding humanity^mll still turn it will leave the mythbest it can. in a transfigured confidence.

as for instance when nations at war each declare that they have God on their side. ostensibly of degree. whereas the God they imagine they are evoking is a God common to all man- kind.in WHY WE USE ONE WORD 183 in his speech reserve the foremost place for certain formulae which he can never see filled with their whole meaning. empty formulae. we can hardly believe deserve the same name. and change him unconsciously into an emulator of those great men. mechanicteaching a science created by men of genius. Thi^jrnay mixed religion. emanating from the myth-making funcarise a tion. implying a new direction given to the old. Himself. ally An indifferent schoolmaster. between two things which are as a matter of fact radically different in nature and which. Thus do we find interposed. the veriest magical incantations. who are invisible and present in the message he is handing on. are standing empty. the deity in question thus becoming the national god of paganism. could all men but attain it. The contrast is striking in many cases. be merged into the God Who effectively reveals Who illuminates and warms privileged souls with His presence. on which we have just insisted in order to bring out the characteristics of the two religions. transitions and differences. The great majority of men may very well know practically nothing . at first sight. It sometimes happens that wellnigh not. and if we into account. the mere vision of Whom. reserved for high dignitaries. in the matter of religion. And yet we should on the strength of this contrast. disparage religions born ojjj^ticjsm. contrive to summon up here and there the spirit capable of imparting substance to them. the more or less marked aspiration of the ancient god. as we were sugto gesting. may awaken in one of his pupils the vocation he himself has never possessed. Yet there take it is a difference between the two cases. would mean the immediate abolition of war. which have generalized the use of its formulae and yet have been unable to pervade all humanity with the full measure of its spirit. we shall notice. the whole operation being reminiscent of some ceremony where certain chairs. a gradual disappearance of the opposition between the static and the dynamic.

to analyse into indivisible act its virtual elements the by which dynamic religion is posited. He will prove thereby that there exists a static religion. they will persuade which them- selves that they are effecting a transformation of them. He will indeed be still dealing with a religion. but with a new one. it is we who convert them into attempts by an act of retrospection. They will none the less serve us to mark the intervening stages. which now prove to have been unsuccessful. he have overlooked something.184 DYNAMIC RELIGION who have. unwittingly perhaps. if we take into consideration the attempts yet of the second to lodge within the first. A religious historian will have difficulty in discovering in the material form of a vaguely mystic belief. preparatory to sup- another angle how planting it. which has spread far and wide among mankind. we shall see from . but they will be magnetized and by this very magnetizing process be diverted into another direction. as indeed they are: the same elements will subsist. and at the same time to show. Among the tentative efforts leading to the mysticism which . by virtue of the mysterious power which the present exerts over the past. As a matter of fact. will not remain indifferent to its mes. complete and self-sufficient actions. because they heard a faint echo of within themselves. will At any We shall be still more convinced of this. these two religions are antagonistic and come together. when they occurred. from they will not or cannot break away. and justified the use gulf of the same word in such widely different instances. and that human nature is unchanging. natural to man. But those bowed their it heads to the mystic word. But. about mathematics and yet admire the genius of a Descartes or a Newton. by the manifest unity of direction of all those efforts. and perhaps the essential. They were. that the sudden leap which marked final achievement was in no way fortuitous. CH. have bridged the between the static and the dynamic. no so many mythical and even magic elements. sage. rate he will. if he stops at that. from afar off. If they already have their different faiths. and they have only assumed the guise of initial preparatory efforts since' the day when ultimate success transformed them into partial failures.

At first sight. if The members of these closed societies felt as they were nearer to the god upon whom they called. if only because the performance of mythological scenes played a greater part here than in the public ceremonies. or at least what we know of it. But these were. and we must remember the evidence of Herodotus. according to which the Demeter of the Eleusian mysteries and the Dionysos of Orphism were transformations of Isis and Osiris. ther6 would seem to be no more mysticism about this religion than the other. among the initiate by adding which men have always had in forming little societies within the larger one. We note the importance most of the authors give to scenes of religious enthusiasm. the initiate shared to some extent in his divinity. They could therefore hope for more and better things in another life than the national religion held out to them. we must not confine ourselves to that which was probably the only one to interest most of the We must ask ourselves if some at least of these mysteries did not bear the stamp of this or that great personmust also ality whose spirit they claimed to recall to life. those which ended by attracting were those . nothing but readyideas imported from foreign lands: we know how deeply the ancient Egyptians had always been preoccupied made with the fate of man after death. and setting themselves up as privileged beings on the strength of an initiation kept strengthened the religious spirit it to that satisfaction jealously secret. certain aspects of the pagan mysteries occupy a foremost position. which considered it perfectly natural that they should exist along with it. But aspect. or gods originating from the same myth-making function. discloses no striking divergence from the public cult. In fact the most coninto their orbit the mysteries of Eleusis themselves.in GREEK MYSTICISM 185 was to come. so that the celebration of the mysteries. where the soul was thought to become really possessed by the god it invoked. In a certain sense the god was present. initiate. then. They glorified the same gods. They merely mysteries. most probably. spicuously alive of them. We must not allow ourselves to be led astray by the term: there was nothing mystic about most of the They were connected with the established religion.

The second is that the doctrine in which the movement . by the removing of an obstacle. along a signal to express itself in action. of Dionysos and his continuator. but he easily became so. potentially. It is possible that no more important role attached to wine. was the wholly negative one produced by the drug. if the philosopher had made of the "interior revelation" a psychical equivalent of the protoxide. or at least having regarded as such for purposes of study. It might have been evoked spiritually by an effort made on its own spiritual level. As a foreign god from Thrace. which enabled him to obtain his result whenever he wished. was hibition of and this effect what inhibited it. as heralding certain mystic states. which would then have been. This evolution was purely rational. And they would have been right. It carried human thought to its highest level of abstraction and generalization. the condition induced by inhaling protoxide of nitrogen. the efficient and sufficient cause of the effect produced. It gave such strength and flexibility to the dialectic function of the mind that even to-day for such training we go to school with the Greeks. People took this to be a profanation. the psychologist preferred making use of the latter. in retrospect. Dionysos was by his violence a sharp contrast to the serenity of the Gods upon Olympus. But that is not the main point. when its effect was compared to the Dionysiac frenzy. But in his eyes the intoxication was presumably The psychic disposition with the others.186 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. The first is that at the origin of this great movement there was an impulsion or a shock which was not of a philosophic nature. we need but glance at the evolution of Greek philosophy. because the intoxication of the soul he produced was not unlike that of wine. What we want to find out is whether this frenzy can be considered. only awaiting there. as the metaphysicians say. and once mysticism has come on the scene. In order to answer this question. Yet two points must be noted. He was not originally the god of wine. Orpheus. But it could just as well be brought about materially. We know how William James was treated for having described as mystical. by an inthe occasion rather than the cause.

to foreign Thus. in search of a vision. who thought he was merely condensing it all Greek philosophy. but each time. but the philosophy of by Plotinus. just as it was nearly spent. This effort may never have attained its object. which alone are visible to us. We the development of Greek thought was that. so very much alive in the Alexandrine world. it handed on to dialectics tirely. are the outcome of invisible seismic forces which. a covert sense of affinity. and at the end a metamorphosis of dialectics into mysticism. the revelation of a transcend- ant reality. steady phenomena of sedimentation. start the sedimentary is activity in a given direction. If it has undergone the influence of Eastern thought. that the primary inspiration of Platonism goes back. alongside and independent there occurred at rare intervals in certain predisposed work of reason. We know in what an atmosphere of mystery. by heaving up that it was an extra-rational force at certain times the earth's crust. with the same expenditure of energy. and how the theory of ideas itself was inclined. From this the conclusion might be drawn this rational which had caused and carried it to its culmination at development a point beyond reason. in the Orphic sense of the word. There is no doubt that the Dionysiac frenzy was continued into Orphism. a fresh . this occurred without the knowledge of Plotinus himself. and souls an effort to strike out. no influence of this kind is noticeable in Aristotle and his immediate successors. True. claimed to transcend pure reason. perhaps even to the former. towards the Pythagorean theory of numbers. beyond the limits of intelligence. rather than disappear enand thus. and which brought Greek thought to a climax. it is to this latter. what remained of itself. with the whole object of opposing doctrines.in GREEK MYSTICISM 187 culminated. the platonic myths were wrapped. But another interpretation to think it possible. to sum up. more probable. a contact. in which the development culminates. In the same way the slow. and which owes as much to Aristotle as it does to Plato. and that Orphism went on into Pythagoreanism: well. is unquestion- ably mystic. solely the and we are inclined that may suppose of it. there was in the beginning a leaven of Orphism.

as contemplation is engulfed in action. and regard as an impulsion which originated in the mysteries. that is to say. As regards Plotinus. only by placing ourselves at the terminal point that we the latter supra-intellectual or mystic. we ask ourselves whether it ever finds applica- and then whether such and such a particular case. a state in which the soul feels itself. see a first wave. or thinks it feels itself. to a distinct Orphic. in its turn Pythagoreanism transmitted something of its spirit to Platonism. of God. This effort The great mystic is capable of transcending the limitations imposed on the species by its material nature. he did not get beyond this last stage. attempt could not fail to reach a more distant goal. purely intellectual character. if not God himself. in the presence of God. merging into Orphism. intelligence being caught up again at a more advanced point of philosophic development. to go further would have meant to . but not to set foot upon its soil. consequently of a mysticism partial coincidence. the latter having in the interval acquired greater elasticity and revealing a greater degree of mysticism. the one intellectual. to be conceived as an individual being. the human will be- comes one with the divine will. there is no doubt about the answer. final stage of the movement was complete mysticism. We do. a Dionysiac. which was of a higher second wave. thus continuing and extending the divine action. with the creative effort of which life is by defining is the manifestation. the ultimate end of the establishment of a contact. the other extra-intellectual. mystic it is can call It remains to be seen. having adopted it. whether the likes. philosophy. as a matter of fact. which we might call led to Pythagoreanism. and the latter. One may give words whatever connotation one provided one begins that meaning. In our eyes. being irradiated with His light. He went as far as ecstasy. it fits We are free to posit its it. But in whatever form we imagine the relation between the two currents. he did not reach the point where. He thought he had reached the summit: in his eyes. provided tion.jfi&- DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. in time expanded naturally into Alexandrine mysticism. It was granted to him to look upon the promised land. in this case. is Such is our definition.

it has varied with time and place. "Action". Elsewhere. we must inevitably content our- selves with piling up and trying to blend together views which have been held by experts. Being both a philosophy and a religion. for our purpose. they have been con- stantly intermingled. mysticism. It is expressed some of whose many shades of meaning probeven those who know it best. he even sums it up in a striking formula. Moreover. yet which is not the language of thoroughgoing mysticism. III. or to have ever been so. in the absolute sense in which we have agreed to take the word. Its development extends over a considerable period of time. in this case. the words ably escape of this language have by no means always retained the same sense." 1 Therein he remains faithful to Greek intellectualism. in appearance helping each other. The door opened wider and wider. "is a weakening of contemplation. shall not engage in any profound study We in of it nor sum it up its essentials. Gods and spirits played the same parts as they did elsewhere. it knocked more than once at the door. to in a language obtain this bird's-eye view. Let us first remark that India has always practised a religion similar to that of ancient Greece. In short. viii. was never attained by Greek thought. mystical and the they only come together at long intervals. Sacrifice was an extremely important els \6yov rriv 7i7>aij> Troioiwrcu (Enn. But. This is what appears to have happened in Hindu thought. perhaps in actual fact mutually preventing each other from attaining full maturity. a glance at the doctrine as a whole will suffice. between the dialectical. he said. by picking out these lines which coincide we shall stand a fair chance of not going far wrong. and at any rate he did contrive to impregnate it with mysticism. This is what he expressed in language of rare beauty. but never wide enough for mysticism wholly to enter. No doubt it would like to have come into being. on the contrary. as a mere virtuality. even supposing that sense to have been always a precise one. . Rites and ceremonies were similar. 4). There is a radical distinction. And since.in ORIENTAL MYSTICISM 189 go downhill.

It therefore treated men and gods as creatures of the same $pecies. Should this be called mysticism in our sense of the word? There is nothing mystical in hypnotic states as such. on a higher plane. just how tion? Hindu thought progress in this ancient India only. but they . who live a life akin to his own. previous. Now. and. in a word to induce states similar to hypnosis. untouched by the influences which have since been brought to bear on her by Western civilization. This is easily conceivable in a hypothesis such as ours: man lives naturally in societies. For. How were they compatible with a teaching must note that Buddhism.i 9o DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. but bound up with his own. subject to the same laws of fate. them. such is the religion we regard as natural. he surrounds himself with phantasmic beings of his own creation. The Hindu soul seems to have striven towards this impetus in two different ways. beyond the city gates. such as that of the Buddha? We which came to deliver man. Jainism. these became systematized into the yoga. resist impulse to religion at its origins. element. These cults persisted through Brahmanism. as the result of a natural function. Its remotest origin is to be found in a practice common to Hindus and Iranians. shadowed in nature. Did the thinkers of India ever see things in this light? It is hardly likely. to dull mental activity. we take We have found that the first was forewe see now that the second is a leap beyond nature. But any mind that sets out on the mystic way. far did And this very fact makes him see direc- them intermingled. Later came a set of practices designed to inhibit all feeling. and Buddhism. believed that the gods too needed to be delivered. feels more or less distinctly that he is leaving men and gods behind him. or by the We are considering. somewhat like that which the devotees of Dionysos sought in wine. be it static or dynamic. to their separation: the recourse to an intoxicating drink which they both call soma. alone with herself. which we have called myth-making. therefore. of course. and we study the leap in those cases where the impetus was insufficient or thwarted. One of them is at the same time of a physiological 'and psychological character. It produced a divine rapture.

like the effort of the Greek philosophers. And suicide would not have provided this escape. into something much more elaborate. above all. in one aspect at least. From the most remote times. ecstasies. Till then human experience had shown indeed that life meant suffering. or at least herald true mysticism and pave way for it. The problem for him was to escape from life. Here mysticism was no more than outlined. In fact. if they already entail visions. must ascertain then what this contemplation was. And they will become so very easily. Thus the road to deliverance could be more accurately traced. the Hindu speculated on being in general. It made it. of unlimited development. he drifted into the belief that deliverance could be won by renunciation. for the soul has to pass into another body after death. and this would have meant a perpetual round of living and suffering. But from also We the very beginnings of Brahmanism. thus suspending the critical functions of intelligence. in the tion craving for life. This renuncia- was absorption in the whole as well as in self. could utilize the its material elements. the significance of the practices which culminated in yoga. a more popular form of mystic contemplation. through the suggestions which creep into them. on nature. Brahmanism. the Buddha worked back to the cause of this suffering. did not modify it in essentials. as was Greek science. But his effort. which he felt to be unremitting cruelty. which gave a new turn to Brahmanism. therefore preached with increasing vehemence the extinction . a purely spiritual concentration. even Jainism. Such must have been. as what connexion there can have been between -it and mysticism as we understand it. to a knowledge susceptible. the yoga seems to have been. Buddhism. he found it in desire of every kind. on life. and by that very operation spiritualize it. The reason lies in the fact that to him knowledge was always rather a means than an end. and in different places. at different times. their form will be predisposed to fill out with this matter. Buddhism. but a more marked yoga in mysticism. has not led. or else a complete system which included this contemplation.in ORIENTAL MYSTICISM 19! the may become so. sustained through many centuries.

passed on by him who had seen. It had no faith in such action. Already in antique Brahmanism it was neither by reasoning nor by study that the ultimate conviction was obtained. Let us add and it comes perhaps to the same thing that it did not believe in the efficacy of human action. But we shall understand why it is not complete mysticism. it consisted in a vision. first as and this preaching strikes us at a on intelligence. Not that Buddhism ignored charity. that the goal is reached: man's sufferings. dangling all dizzy in the void between two activities. If we we are here dealing. that in an effort at oneness with the creative impetus a soul might indeed take the path thus described and only fail because it stopped half-way. and consequently the only living thing in life. Buddhism. and by pain. the three doctrines differing only in a greater or lesser degree of intellectuality. it Knew nothing "of the complete and mysterious gift of self". gradually neared and suddenly attained. and of Karma after must not forget that the origin of the Buddha's death. between the human life it has left behind and the divine life it has not reached. It is the conviction. the only certainty. but with an experience closely resembling ecstasy. it guides the soul is beyond joy and consciousness. But on looking closer. . On the contrary it recommended it in the most exalted terms. consider that love. not with a theoretical view. The state towards which to the abolition of desire during life. CH. is still more mystical in the other. transcending both reason and speech. beyond a whole system of mystical discipline that it leads to Nirvana. We mission lies in the illumination that youth. creation.igz of the will to call DYNAMIC RELIGION live. As a religious historian very justly puts it. but the essential the final revelation. Everything in is came to him in his early Buddhism which can be put into words can doubtless be considered as a philosophy. we perceive that the conviction they aimed at implant- ing was far from being a purely intellectual state. It is by a series of stages. But it lacked warmth and glow. then we shall not hesitate to see mysticism in the Buddhist faith. more philosophical in one aspect. are over. This would be action. And it joined example to precept.

But Christianity. if operating anywhere with sufficient power. to gone over. Since it has impregnated the whole of Western civilization. This burning.in ORIENTAL MYSTICISM 193 And faith alone can grow to power and move mountains. take only the is we find in a mysticism comparable to the mysticism of Ramakrishna or a Vivekananda. instead of turning inwards and closing. and above all moved the products from place to place. And it was industrialism. deliverance became new sense. the soul could open wide its fering. but to the soul that is predisposed a mere hint. A complete mysticism would have reached this point. Now these inventions and organiza- . to a life of grinding labour and bitter poverty. that Christianity. has been practically nil in India. not doomed. What could be done when inevitable famine doomed just the point. from tion millions of wretches to die of starvation? of Hindu pessimism The principal origin in this helplessness. as it happens. is enough. but much later. with the advent of machines which increased the yield of the land. had Its influence on India most recent examples. That enthusi- astic charity. But let us suppose even that the direct action of Christianity. springs indirectly it. was no longer going to be brought up against the impossibility of interpossible in an entirely it was no longer to be driven back into doctrines of renunciation or the systematic practice of ecstasy. as a dogma. active mystieisincould never have been kindled in the days when the Hindurtelt he was crushed by nature and when no human intervention was of any avail. like a perfume. the mystical impulse. in everything which this civilization brings in its ^jfee. to Islamism was superficial enough. the slightest token. It is perhaps to be met with in India. one breathes it. And it was lay pessimism which prevented India from carrying her mysticism But then. Industrialism itself. it was our Western civilizawhich liberated the mysticism of a Ramakrishna or a Vivekananda. with the advent also of political and social organizations which proved experimentally that the mass of the people was to its full conclusion. since complete mysticism is action. as though by some inexorable necessity. gates to a universal love. as we shall try to prove. and this come into the world in the interval.

for the moment. in the other case because it was thwarted by material conditions or by too narrow an intellectual frame. There is no doubt that most of them passed through states resembling the various culminating phases of the mysticism of the But they merely passed through them: bracing themselves up for an entirely new effort. on this point. 1911. 1908). their Christianity. in particular. it is they who. It is its appearance at a given moment that enables us to follow in retrospect its preits goal. just as the volcano. For complete mysticism is that of the great Christian mystics. Paris. The Mystic Way. 2 what was accomplished St. in this case. 2 London. has called attention to the essentially active element in the great mystics. they burst a dam. See. in the field of action by a St. Let us leave aside. in the present chapter. a Catherine of Sienna. in the one case because the impetus was not strong enough. Yet there are exceptions. Paul. 1 explains a long series of earthquakes in the past. a St. The latter author connects certain of her views with those we expressed in UEvolution Creatrice. daring. from their increased vitality there radiated an extraordinary energy. London 1913). Henri Delacroix. have enabled mysticism to develop to its fullest extent and reach We may therefore conclude that neither in Greece nor in ancient India was there complete mysticism. and study in them the form apart from the matter. When we We M. to carry them further. we need only take those that advanced furthest. grasp that such is the culminating point of the inner evolution of the great mystics. power of conception and realization. a Joan of Arc. and The Mystic Way. Just think of ancients. in a book which deserves to become a classic (Etudes d'histoire et de psychologic du mysticisme. a St. they were then swept back into a vast current of life. for the object we have in view. and how many others besides! Nearly all this superabundant activity was devoted to spreading the Christian faith. paratory phases. and the case of Joan of Arc will suffice to show that the form can be separated from the matter. But. Francis. tion are essentially Western. we can but wonder how 1 are perfectly aware of the fact that there existed other mysticisms in antiquity besides Neo-PIatonism and Buddhism. and which we have taken up again. . Teresa. Similar ideas will be found in the remarkable works of Evelyn Underbill (Mysticism. bursting into activity.194 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH.

they had had to go beyond them. But there exist morbid states which are imitations of healthy states. it is because of the states which are. normal health of mind. which readily recognizable. And such indeed has been the opinion of the great mystics themselves. the faculty of adapting and re-adapting oneself to circum- in firmness combined with suppleness. in a word. indeed. 1 Pierre Janet. . True. their raptures. which was identification of the human will with the divine will. leaving raptures and ecstasies far behind. Is not this exactly what we find in stances. Yet there is is an exceptional. as. ecstasies. and the former morbid. to reach the goal. supreme good sense. it is same way raptures are abnormal states. as wayside incidents. De Vangoisse d Vextase. The truth is that these abnormal states. It is expressed in a bent for action. They talk of their visions. as of secondary importance. and therein lies his madness: does it in any way reflect upon Napoleon? In just the possible to parody mysticism. is not easily defined. and that it is difficult to distinguish between the abnormal and the morbid. visions. when they had any. in the prophetic discernment of what is possible and what is not. They have been the first to warn their disciples against visions which were quite likely to be pure hallucinations. the prelude to the ultimate transformation. An important work has lately appeared on ecstasy regarded as a 1 psycho-asthenic manifestation. and the result will be mystic insanity: does it follow that mysticism is insanity? Yet there is no denying that ecstasies. he will systematically introduce a Napoleonic touch into his gestures. their These are phenomena which also occur in sick people and which are part of their malady. deep-rooted mental healthiness. with them. his words. And they generally regarded their own visions.in CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM 195 they could ever have been classed with the mentally diseased. in a spirit of simplicity which triumphs over complications. the above-named mystics? And might they not provide us with the very definition of intellectual vigour? If they abnormal have been judged otherwise. the latter are none the less healthy. A lunatic may think he is an emperor. of body. his acts. we live in a condition of unstable equilibrium.

we find the same disturbances in other forms of genius. if it be intense enough. This anxiety alone would suffice. but it may abnormal may be accomonly morbid. what panied by what is distinctly relation of the conscious to the unconscious without regular mysticism. even without the phases which are to come. 1 it to its depths by the current which is about to sweep forward. takes what rises to the surface and attains consciousness on there. But for how long? An imperceptible anxiety. resembling morbid states. and sometimes doubtless very much akin to them. But they both is may express the fact that the disturbance a systematic re- adjustment with a view to equilibrium on a higher level: the image then becomes symbolic of what is about to happen. frojn the closed to the open. Problems vanish. fand the soul is in God. The former have no more to do with mystical inspiration than the latter with musical. from everyday life to mystic life. darkness is dispelled. and the emotion formation. an ^-absorbing ecstasy or an enthralling rapture: God is there. is a concentration of the soul awaiting transis The latter is the case of partake of the other. are easily comprehensible. to distinguish true and complete mysticism from what as straight . we cannot upset the running a risk. Mystery is no more. notably in musicians. as the The image is often pure hallucination. though to listen to a voice calling. or divines it through a symbolic vision. the soul ceases to revolve round itself and escapes Shaken for a moment from the law which demands that the species and the individual should condition one another. onward. They have to be regarded as merely accidental. just emotion may be meaningless agitation. descends and clings to it like its shadow. It does not directly perceive the force that moves it. everything is flooded with light. Then it lets itself go. Then comes a boundless joy. When the darkest depths of the soul are stirred. but it feels an indefinable presence. the form of an image or an emotion. if we only stop to think what a shock to the soul is the passing from the static to the dynamic. hovering above the ecstasy. So we must not be surprised if nervous disturbances and mysticism sometimes go together.196 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. It stops.

and which is perhaps the most significant thing. characteristic of great mysticism. yet divine. but that there is. For it shows that the soul of the great mystic does not stop at ecstasy. Gone. and joy is boundless. all. is not The soul is aware of this. acted. in thought and feeling. Let us confine ourselves to suggesting that a To machine of wonderfully tempered steel. which itself has to find its way back to God. the will. Gone the radical separabetween him who loves and him who is beloved: God is there. built for some extraordinary feat. until it is time to race forward again. soul stands alone again. it is now left blindly groping in the gloom. if it| would quite naturally proceed. that ecstasy affects indeed the faculty of seeing and feeling. had a glimpse of its mechanism. The ecstasy is indeed rest. it could only be final if it were total. since the problems which measured and indeed congap have disappeared. then. as at the end of a journey. feature of what we call complete mysticism: it means that the impetus had acquired the momentum to go further. It feels that Accustomed it has lost much. might be in a somewhat similar state if it . is im- minent. absorbed in God. something of it remains stituted the tion outside. Bjjtt thougkibe soul becomes. for the mystics themselves have barely analyse this ultimate preparation is impossible. The final phase. is the will. Its life. where the engine is still under steam. the onward movement becoming a vibration on one spot. in Christian mysticism. hence its vague dishence the agitation in repose which is the striking quietude. for a time to a dazzling light. Let us put it more clearly: however close the union with God may be. that something. the sometimes desolate enough. if you like. whence its action. but as though at a station. in any case the most instructive. besides.HI CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM 197 was in bygone days its anticipated imitation or preparation. it to gain Such is does not yet know that this was in order the "darkest night" of which the great mystics have spoken. is the distance between the thought and the object of the thought. It does not realize the profound metamorphosis which is going on obscurely within it. When this feeling displacing everything else. and has grown to the extent of the ecstasy has died out. doubtless.

and this simplicity. There is an irresistible impulse which hurls it into vast enterprises. its own words the unanswerable word. A calm exaltation of all its faculties makes it see things on a vast scale only. Already it had sensed the presence this instrument. There is a boundless impetus. It it had thought it beheld God in a symbolic vision. They will teach us nothing of the final Let us say that henceforth for the soul there is a superabundance of life. or rather an acquired ignorance. but this energy is supplied as it is required. therefore final. But they come of themselves. the decisive act. it sees things simply. They could be used to give us an idea of the of God. whose liberty coincides with the divine activity. which is equally striking in the it uses and the conduct it follows. endurance and perseverance likewise. produce only what can be mightily wrought. because it was mere contemplation. Yet effort remains indispensable.. some of them rejected and replaced by others. it had even been united to Him in its ecstasy.198 DYNAMIC RELIGION itself as it CH. suggest to it straightaway the step to be taken. The mystic soul yearns to become is became conscious of throws off anything in its substance that not pure enough. in the soul. action threw the soul back upon itself and thus divorced it from God. and. in a soul acting and acted upon. but none of this rapture was lasting. They represent a vast expenditure of energy. and of pain all over. Above all. was being put together. Now it is God. And now the visions are left far behind: . result. At this point words such as mechanism and instrument evoke images which are better left alone. But this entirely superficial distress would only have to be intensified in order to pass into the hope and expectation of a marvellous instrument. preliminary work. An innate knowledge. not flexible and strong enough. guides it through complications which it apparently does not even perceive. they develop of their own accord.who is acting through the soul. the union is total. for the superabundance of vitality which it demands flows from a spring which is the very source of life. it would have a feeling of something lacking here and there. Its parts being one by one subjected to the severest tests... in spite of weakness. to be turned to some use by God.

but that there else. They had to tell all men that what the world perceived by the eyes of the body is doubtless real. is something who has touched. there has been made manifest to him. but they felt it incumbent on them to teach mankind. men philosophers in the name of reason. a certain line of action was foreshadowed.-. How could he be aught but humble. He alone realizes the change which has raised him to the rank of " adjutores Dei.Through in the strength of God. alone with Him who is Alone. On the contrary. it is not by mere words that he will spread it.. For the love which consumes him is no longer simply the love of man for God. in mute colloquy. it is the love of God for all men. Hardly had these mystics come back from Heaven to earth. one who knows. how could the inexpressible be expressed? But these questions do not even present themselves to the great mystic. patients" in respect to God. that is to say contemplation. through an emotion in which whole soul seemed to melt away. The enterprise was indeed discouraging: how could the conviction derived from an experience be handed down by speech? And. And yet these were but the tentative beginnings of an apostolate. agents in respect to man. 199 the divinity could not manifest itself from without to a soul henceforth replete with its essence. Nothing remains to distinguish such a man outwardly from the men about him. like the conclusion of an argument. He has felt truth flowing into his soul from its fountain-head like an active force. This is not the fraternity enjoined on us by the God. on the principle that all share by birth in one rational essence: so noble an ideal cannot but command our respect. we may strive to the best of our ability to put it into practice. he loves all mankind with a divine love. above all. but bility the certainty of a thing experienced: here is one who has seen. and that this something is no mere possior probability. He can no more help spreading it abroad than the sun can help diffusing its light.in CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM * >. if it be not too irksome for . Only. In this elevation he feels no pride. great is when his his humility. what we may call the divine humility? Even in the mysticism which only went as far as ecstasy.

with God's help. it does not originate in an idea. to anyone who knew how to question it. it For such a love would yield up. if there the intoxicating fragrance left there indivisible love? had not been mystics to embrace all humanity in one simple This is not. of an equal participation of all men in a higher essence. Or to use words which mean. It is still more metaphysical than moral in wants to do. the very root of feeling and reason. the only ones corresponding to instincts.200 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. Or. it will never go very far. What it plete the creation of the . Would the philosophers themselves have laid down so confidently the principle. it will be because we have breathed in some nook or corner of our civilization by mysticism. Indeed we may ask ourselves whether such an instinct ever where existed elsewhere than in the imagination of philosophers. we shall never attach ourselves to it passionately. Coinciding with God's love for His handiwork. if we do. and the social instinct would be far more likely to prompt societies to struggle against one another than to unite to make up humanity. that fraternity which started as an idea. humanity appearing as wider and wider circles. had it been able to assume its final shape without the assistance of man himself. is to comhuman species and make of humanity what it would have straightaway become. so little in keeping with everyday experience. The utmost we can say is that family and social feeling may chance to overflow and to operate beyond its his country natural frontiers. a love which has been the source of everything. It is not the extension of an instinct. then. they thought that man must naturally love humanity as he loves and his family. whence an ideal has been erected. It is implicitly lies at both and effectively much more. as we shall see. it was devised for reasons of symmetry. country. the secret of creation. Neither is it the intensification of an innate sympathy of man for man. With family. the individual and the community. It belongs neither to the sensitive nor to the rational. whereas in reality the family and the social group are the only ones ordained by group nature. with a kind of luxury value. The mystic love of humanity is a very different thing. the same thing its essence. as of all other things.

subject to the law which governs the animal world and condemns the living to batten upon the living. from one man to another. it can only be by using simultaneously or successively two very different methods. slowly. stabilized by a political and social organization which would ensure the application of the mechanics to their true object. it. humanity is an animal species. this liberation being. even at the cost of having to defend itself against necessary. he necessarily expends his energies his intelligence is designed for the very object procuring it. a stop. moreover. which to be operative requires one of a lower order. a part of itself. with a view to that and with struggle and that toil. The first would consist presumably in intensifying the intellectual work to such an extent. for mechanization. and. and by a living contradiction change into creative effort that created thing which is a species. Can it succeed? If mysticism is to transform humanity. The mystics are well aware of this. But there are certain risks which must be taken: an activity of a superior kind. The great obstacle in their way is the same which prevented it the creation of a divine humanity. in other words. is exactly that of the vital impetus. as such. and turn into communicated in its entirety their turn would fain impart it movement what was. in carrying intelligence so far beyond what nature intended.in CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM its 201 in different terms: direction itself. Since he has to contend for his food both with nature his own kind. could humanity turn heavenwards its attention. it is by an apparent reaction against the latter that mechanics would reach their highest pitch of development. dangerous method. Manjias to earn his bread with the sweat of his brow. can only do so by passing on. in the case of two contrary but call forth this activity. in these conditions. it is this impetus to exceptional men. which is essentially concentrated on earth? If possible at all. by definition. of supplying him with weapons and tools. How then. as it developed. A must if or at least permit it to function. who in to all humanity. might turn against mysticism: nay more. that the simple tool would give place to a vast system of machinery such as might set human activity at liberty. experience shows that if. .

in spiritual matters. The impetus of love which drove them to lift humanity up to God and complete formation. we find one to have grown until it monopolize all the room. be We clearer. its turn will come again. have. in their eyes. and because they could do no more. of a radical transSuch is the method followed by the great mystics. with the help of God whose instruments they were. the divine creation could only reach its end. parting it. would give birth to one or several others. the bearer of an inner revelation. in the form of images. moreover. but in immystic impetus. Therefore all their efforts difficult. until such time as a profound change in the material conditions imposed on humanity by nature should permit. which has even been energetically developed tries to in specific opposition to it. indeed others had already been. thus the impetus would be preserved and continued. must be concentrated on a very great. a very but a limited task. However that may be. to a tiny handful different method had to contemplating a general of privileged souls which together would form a spiritual society. the other will profit by this. they would convergent. and it will then benefit by everything which has been done without its aid. since God imparted to them their unity. that they were particularly prone to spend their superabundant energy in founding convents or religious orders. Other efforts would be forthall coming. had made his appearance in a humanity utterly ignorant of such a thing. provided it has been able to survive. simplified a great deal. we have reasoned as though the Christian mystic. in the meantime an entirely be followed. indeed. this means could only be utilized much later. and. It was of necessity. If he has visions. what his religion had impressed . the men to whom he speaks already have their religion. This consisted. As a matter of fact. not in and immediate spreading of the which was obviously impossible. to take the difficulties one by one. To make things above all. as his own. these visions show him. through such of its members as might be exceptionally gifted. the same. already weakened though it was.202 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. each one. societies of this kind might multiply. For the time being they had no need to look further. complementary tendencies.

brought about by a scientific process of cooling. Therefore everyone will appreciate that mysterious. lias a poor chance indeed of giving birth to the glowing enthusiasm. or even become that doctrine as it solidifies. when they occurred. Whether or no subscribe to religion. But grant this fierce glow. a doctrine. in its vital order to restore heat. and the molten matter will easily run into the mould of a doctrine. is a mere extract of it an extract capable of being formulated by the intellect and therefore grasped by all. but who abstract descriptions with did nevertheless correspond to the which religion had supplied him. which they were fired. it. like all teaching. into the soul of man. of intelligence. For the teaching of religion. however slight. It is not for us to decide which of these interpretations conforms to religious orthodoxy. original and ineffable. to the man who has no experience of absolutely nothing. Now. is meant for the intelligence. On the may assert itself. Through religion all men get a little of what a few privileged souls possessed . in order to in characters of flame. then. as the crystallization. united him to a God probably greater than anything he had ever conceived. and these abstract teachings if the latter has ever done more than go over the retrace it letter of the dogma. the faith that moves mountains. if only by conceiving its mysteries to be we contrary. mysticism means nothing. the something of the ardour with man who professes such an opinion will certainly have no difficulty in getting it accepted. logist's first.in CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM 203 on him in the form of ideas. it is always possible to assimilate it intellectually. and anything of a purely intellectual order can be brought within the reach of all men. His ecstasies. the illumination. The business of the mystics would in this case be nothing but bringing to religion. A Let us only say that from the psychopoint of view the second is much more likely than the doctrine JkdiiehJs but. while hot. of what mysticism had poured. whereas it is difficult to obtain acceptance mysticism and which for the idea of a religion which only exists through mysticism. We represent religion. now and in a pre-existing religion which is formulated in terms then. The question may even be asked if are not at the root of mysticism.

invisible and present in the religion which is actually taught. Humanity really understands it inherits much of the old. on the one had to accept a great deal hand. the essence of the new religion was to be site direction. It is permeated with Greek philosophy. Now the old was. and its borrowings from ancient religions were bound to help this new religion with its marked tendency in the oppohaving hardly anything in common with past but the name to become popular. His intelligence and his imagination will use. Indeed his mysticism itself is imbued with this religion. allows them to penetrate significance. since theology has tapped that very current whose source the mystical. It was in its interest to do so. what had been imagined by ancient religions. In this its is deeply into through sense. in order to get itself the new only when accepted. to express in words what he experiences. until the time comes when a greater effort reveals them in detail. There is such a thing as high-level popularization. to mysticism what popularization is to What the mystic finds waiting for him. and in material images what he sees spiritually. on the other hand. what had been built up by the Greek philosophers. is a humanity which has been prepared to listen to his message by other mystics. many ceremonies. it CH. which respects the broad outlines of scientific truth. His theology will generally conform to that of the theologians. and. and. DYNAMIC RELIGION True. and has preserved many rites. religion science.204 in full. But none of all religions that was essential. And this he can do easily. Thus his mysticism is served by religion. That Christianity received or derived a great deal from both there is no doubt. The propagation of the mystical religion seems to us something of the kind. the teachings of the theologians. above all. from the religion we called static or natural. then. the diffusion of mysticism. for such was its starting-point. This explains the primary mission which he feels to be is . to grasp of it and enables ordinary cultivated minds to get a general it. for its partial adoption of the Aristotelian neo-Platonism enabled it to win over philosophic thought. many beliefs even. against the day when religion becomes enriched by his mysticism.

In reality. It does not even matter that he be called Christ. contributed so And yet no current of thought or feeling has much as the thought and feeling of Jewish that of the Christian mystics. The raising of such problems does not concern us here. they are the imitators. Bestow what name you like on their author. prophets to arouse the mysticism which we call complete. it matters little whether or no Christ be called a man. Let us merely say that. there is no denying that there was one. above all. He takes the most crying needs first. There is no doubt but that Christianity was a profound transformation of Judaism. Israel and its God were not close enough together for Judaism to be the mysticism which we are defining. if other . to His own subjects. Those who have gone so far as to deny the existence of Jesus cannot prevent the Sermon on the Mount from being in the Gospels. but whose power was used for His people. a divine humanity. and whose justice was applied. From our standpoint. And indeed at the origin of Christianity there is Christ. He Himself may be considered as the continuator of the prophets of Israel. there existed in the end by The what object could only be attained if should theoretically have existed in the beginning. which shows us the divinity of all men. This is precisely why we hesitate to classify the Jewish prophets among the mystics of antiquity: Jehovah was too stern a judge. and original but incomplete continuators. that of an intensifier of religious faith. a God who loved all mankind. if the great mystics are indeed such as we have described them.in THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL 205 entrusted to him. with other divine sayings. So then mysticism and religion are mutually cause and effect. Yet there must have been a beginning. and continue to interact on one another indefinitely. The reason is that. A God who was doubtless a contrast to all other gods by His justice as well as by His power. the task of the great mystic is to effect a radical transformation of humanity setting an example. of what the Christ of the Gospels was in all His glory. It has been said over and over again: a religion which was still essentially national was replaced by a religion that could be made universal. was succeeded by a God of love.

provided one defines them first. although an assertion of this kind. it must means of approaching. To cover the interval between thought and action an impetus was needed find this impetus in the and it was not forthcoming. with its attendant arguments. owed largely to the Jewish prophets the activity and efficiency of its mysticism. You may argue that He is so by definition. No doubt you may or of a being. prophets: they longed passionately for justice. and yet is as real as they are. demanded it in the name of the God of Israel. is indeed God. pure contemplation they remained. If mysticism is really furnish us with the Indeed we in fail to see how philosophy could approach the any other way. this is Now. . This is precisely what occurs in most cases when the philosopher speaks of God. Such an object is therefore presented in actual or virtual construct the idea of an object experience. and Christianity. but experience alone will decide whether it actually exists outside the idea thus constructed. for this once. we look upon problem an object as existing if it is perceived. currents carried certain souls towards a contemplative mysti- cism and thereby deserved to be regarded as mystic. beings in that He appears to me to imply a fundamental illusion. or might be perceived. any meaning one likes to Granted again. as the geometrician does for a geometrical figure.206 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. but if attribute to a word a radically different meaning from you that which it usually bears. Generally speaking. Granted. which We succeeded Judaism. the problem of the existence and the nature of God. and nothing more. and that the problem precisely is to whether a certain Being is not distinctive from all other stands beyond the reach of our experience. But then you rnust prove that the Being thus defined. So remote is this conception from the and that one is at liberty to confer words. it will apply to a new object. thus demonstrated. capable of marching on to the conquest of the world. your reasoning no longer refers to the former one. it is therefore understood that you are speaking to us of something else. what we have just said it is. you may assert that know just the question. as it were experimentally.

a Thought thinking itself. in this way obtain ideas which we can control. regards Him.in THE NATURE OF GOD have in mind that if. which seems to set the standard for all things. changing and shifting as they are. whereas the actual them may elude our grasp. none would recognize us: Him. and the relation of the first principle of Aristotle to the world is the very same as that which Plato establishes between the Idea and the thing. running. is incapable of doing. after themselves. as a Being who can hold communication with now this is just what the God of Aristotle. for we contrive to find resemblances between things in spite of their diversity. self-enclosed. having posited this principle. be it static or dynamic. did he call it God? But in the one case as in the other the answer is easy: the Platonic theory of Ideas ruled over the thought of Greece and Rome ere ever it penetrated into modern philosophy. merely imitate? May they not be true reality. above all. Without going deeply here into an examination of the Aristotelian notion of the divinity. as it were. and to take a stable view of we in spite of their instability. to coincide with the immutability of the Ideas? It is therefore understandable that. Are they not. and contrary to the opinion of philosophers. in their immutability. may be struck with admiration for this system of ideas itself. For anyone who sees in ideas nothing but the product of social and individual intelligence. and finds the results stored up in language. and do not change and motion express the unceasing and unsuccessful attempts of well-nigh nonthings existent things. adopted with a few modifications by most of his successors. operative only by the appeal of its perfection? (2) Why. we shall simply say that it strikes us as raising a double question: did Aristotle (i) Why Mover. But he who starts philosophizing when society is already well advanced with its work. having placed above the world of the . God as thus defined should step down into the field of experience. models which things. All this is the work of man. it is in no way surprising that a limited number of immutable ideas should correspond to the infinitely varied and changing posit as first principle a motionless incidents of our experience. 207 God most men by some miracle. For religion.

a mythical dialogue. and still more so the Good. and that to set up their quintessence as a divinity is merely to deify the social. that society supplied them for this purpose to the individual. which seems indeed akin to the Idea of Ideas. even at the price of investing him with attributes incompatible with his essence. and the nature of the work done by the individual with the help of society? It would have seen that if. acted through the attractive power of their perfection. Religion. so more in common with the God of the Bible. Plato did not identify this idea with God. Why not. but to have any action on the real. Why not have gone back^ to his origin? It would have seen him develop from the concentration of all ideas into one. in order to simplify the first work and also to facilitate the co-operation. confronts the philosopher with a God who raises totally different problems. Why not have gone on to consider each of these ideas? It would have realized that they were intended to pave the way for the action of society and the individual on things. surmises as coincident with the it would seem. have analysed the social conditions of this individual action. the real . and Aris- who abandons myths. each of these ideas stands for a stationary property or in the process of becommobile. nor has he much Divinity a Thought which. Demiurge has therefore only a semi-existence. or ideas. and we perceive only continuities of change. Now this is exactly the sort of action that Aristotle ascribes to the Thought of Thought. Thought. translatable into words. which was the Idea of Good. lastly. and especially to perform the constructive task state culled from some stage or other is ing. Plato should have judged that the Ideas in general. Yet it is to the former god that metaphysical thought has generally attached itself. whether static or dynamic. But the Timaeus is totle. things are reduced to a few categories. senses a hierarchy of Ideas with at its apex the Idea of Ideas. is distinct from the Idea of Good. of the Gospels. True. is barely a and which we should call rather Idea than thinking Being. or rather movement itself. The Demiurge of the TimaeuSy the who organizes the world.208 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. Thus the God of Aristotle has nothing in common with the gods worshipped by the Greeks.

just as we wait for a momentary slowing down or standing still before firing at a moving target. endowed with superior common sense: it matters little that some of them had imitators who well deserved to .in THE NATURE OF GOD 209 which is the natural object of human intelligence. duration becomes a debasement of being. This whole system of metadeficiency. as it seems to be. we must contrive to have halts here and there. Rest then becomes for us something anterior and superior to movement. have disposed of those which consist in asserting that no is mystic sound in the head and that all mysticism is a pathological state. time a deprivation of eternity. the Idea of Ideas or Thought of Thoughts is therefore Divinity itself. a suppression of movement. which implies a unchanging form. It is is mystical experience able to solve these problems? We easy to see the objections that such a notion will arouse. have generally been men or women of action. Now. But these halts. that movement and change will be defined and even measured. the only ones that we are dealing with. each of which is really the simultaneousness of two or more movements and not. With the origin and meaning of Aristotle's God thus traced back we can but wonder how modern thinkers. The great mystics. and if they are pleased to call by that name a being whom mankind has never dreamed of invoking. hamper themselves with insoluble problems which only arise if God is studied from the Aristotelian point of view. where it aspires to be. On this showing. these qualities which are but snapshots of change. a lack. Nay more. both the social work which paves the for language and the individual constructive work requiris ing patterns and models: the eZ&o? (Idea or Form) is what corresponds to this twofold work. become in our eyes the real and essential. a quest of the this is physics It consists in deifying way involved in the Aristotelian conception of Deity. motion being regarded only as agitation with a view to a standing still. when treating of the existence and the nature of God. Thus immutability is rated higher than mutability. precisely because they are what concerns our action on things. it between the point where a thing is and the gap by point where it should be.

I grant this: but the mystic too has gone on a journey that others can potentially. There is a great deal to be said on this point. it is by no means certain that a scientific experiment. either by an effort of will or from a natural disposition! William James used to say he had never experienced mystic states. feasible. that other travellers could go and see if they liked. be called "crazy". and those who are actually capable of doing so are at least as many as those who possess the daring and energy of a Stanley setting out to find Livingstone. In the first place. which it is impossible to overlook.210 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. that they cannot be verified by the ordinary man. or that there are cases when they themselves felt the effect of extreme and prolonged strain of mind and will. that is an understatement. waiting for subsequent exploramake it definitive. not actually. But we also meet with people to whom music is nothing . Along with the souls capable of following the mystic way to the end there are many who go at least part of the way: how numerous are those who take a few steps. and that the map based on the indications of one tion to traveller was a provisional one. But there is another series of objections. You may object that verification was potentially. can always be repeated or verified. Most of us are probably in the same case. but he added that if he heard them spoken of by a man who had experienced them "something within him echoed the call". if his honesty and competence seemed to be above suspicion. The route of Livingstone's journeys appeared for a long time on the maps . and if atlases. many a man of genius has been in the same condition. or more generally an observation recorded by science. In the days when Central Africa was a terra incognita geography trusted to the account of one single explorer. that they cannot therefore be compared to a scientific experiment and cannot possibly solve problems. It is no use invoking as evidence to the contrary the indignant protests of those who see nothing in mysticism but quackery and folly. incapable of feeling or imagining anything of it. if not actually. For it is alleged that the experiences of the great mystics are individual and exceptional. Some people are doubtless utterly impervious to mystic experience. undertake. Indeed.

but the fact must be noted that the great mystics give little thought to this tradition. states. This is striking in the mystics. the path followed is the same. Let us leave. these merely negative arguments and see whether the most superficial examination of mystic experience will not incline us favourably towards it. and treated as if they this But would be is the visions had been merely symbolical. these visions occupy but a small place in the lives of the great mystics. the same comparisons. that furthermore there is a mystic tradition. must first note the fact that mystics generally agree We among themselves.in PHILOSOPHICAL VALUE OF MYSTICISM 211 but noise. as has been shrewdly remarked. even admitting that the stopping-places by the way are at different intervals. that all Christian mystics have lived on the Gospels. they go through a serie&^of. which he has not sought. but. the same images. unmerited though is it the object of an exbe. the same tone of personal spite. they are soon left behind. and a sure instinct leads them straight to the very man who can be relied upon to guide them in the way they want to go. It will be replied that in some cases they had known one another. "they obey themselves alone. Now it may be objected that a community of religion suffices to explain the resemblance. In any case. In the de- we find the same expressions. although the authors scriptions of the final state were generally unknown to each other. They have in any case the same terminal point. to forget that. but which we feel is of fundamental importance to him. case of the Christian To reach the jjltimate identification with Gpd. and in particular to obey their confessors. each one has his own originality. No one would think of accepting this as an argument against music. which is not intentional. that they all received the same theological teaching. but there is a strong resemblance between them. if the resemblance between indeed explainable by a common religion. We grant this. then. and some of them will express their opinions of musicians with the same anger. and that all mystics may have felt its influence. . As to theological teaching in general. it means that he ceptional favour. These may vary from mystic to mystic. it is true that they seem to accept it with utter docility.




he should happen to depart from

our mystics would not

on the strength of their direct contact with the Deity, place their own liberty above 1 all else". It would indeed be interesting at this point to study closely the relations between the spiritual adviser and the soul seeking counsel. It would be found that, of the two, he
hesitate to shake off his authority, and,

that has meekly acquiesced in yielding to guidance has more than once, no less meekly, become the guide. But this is not for us the important point. All we want to make clear is that, if external resemblances between Christian mystics may be


to a


seated agreement



common training, their deepa sign of an identity of intuition which simplest explanation in the actual existence of
tradition or a

the Being with whom they believe themselves to hold intercourse. So much the more so, then, if we consider that the other mysticisms, ancient or modern, go more or less far,

stopping at this or that stage, but


point in the same
left to itself,

Yet we may admit that mystical experience,

cannot provide the philosopher with complete certainty. It could only be absolutely convincing if he had come by another way, such as a sensuous experience coupled with rational inference, to the conclusion of the probable existence of a privileged experience through which man could get into touch with a transcendent principle. The occurrence in mystics of just such an experience would then make it possible

add something

these established results

to the results already established, whilst would reflect back on to the mystical

experience something of their own objectivity. Experience i^the only source of knowledge. But, since the intellectual

record of the Fact inevitably goes further than the raw fact, all experiences are far from being equally conclusive and

from justifying the same certainty. Many lead us to merely probable conclusions. Yet probabilities may accumulate, and the sum-total be practically equivalent to certainty. We
have alluded elsewhere to those "lines of fact" each one but


de Montmorand, Psychologic des mystiques catholiques orthodoxes

(Paris, 1920), p. 17.





indicating the direction of truth, because it does not go enough: truth itself, however, will be reached if two of

them can be prolonged to the point where they intersect. A surveyor measures the distance to an unattainable point by taking a line on it, now from one, now from the other of two
points which he can reach. In our opinion this method of intersection is the only one that can bring about a decisive

advance in metaphysics. By this means collaboration between philosophers can be established; metaphysics, like science, will progress by the gradual accumulation of results obtained,
instead of being a complete take-it-or-leave-it system, always in dispute and always doomed to start afresh. Now it so

happens that a thorough study of a certain order of problems, entirely different from religious problems, has led us to a conclusion which makes probable the existence of a singular privileged experience, such as a mystic experience. And, on
the other hand, the mystical experience, studied for its own sake, supplies us with pointers that can be added and fitted to

the knowledge obtained in an entirely different field, by an entirely different method. It is a case, then, of one supporting

and completing the other. Let us begin by the first point. It was by following as closely as possible the evidence of biology that we reached the conception of a vital impetus and
of a creative evolution.
last chapter, this

As we set it out at the beginning of the conception was by no means a hypothesis,

such as can be found at the basis of any metaphysical system: it was a condensation of fact, a summing up of summings up.

Now, whence came



what meaning

the impetus, and what was the principle sufficed unto itself, what was it in itself, and were we to ascribe to its manifestations as a

To such questions the facts under consideration supno direct answer; but we saw clearly from what direction plied the answer might come. For the energy precipitated through matter appeared to us, as it were, below or above consciousness, in any case of the same order as consciousness. It had had to get round many obstacles, squeeze itself through others; above all, divide itself between diverging lines of evolution: at the extremity of the two main lines we ulti-




mately found two modes of knowledge into which it had resolved itself in order to materialize: the instinct of insects,
the intelligence of manl Instinct was intuitive; intelligence reflected and reasoned. It is true that intuition had had to

debase itself to become instinct; it had become intent, as though hypnotized, on the interest of the species, and what had survived of its consciousness had assumed a somnambulistic form. But just as there subsisted around animal
instinct a fringe of intelligence, so human intelligence preserved a halo of intuition. The latter, in man, had remained

and conscious, but it was only a faint glow and did not radiate very far. Yet it is from this that the light must come, if ever the inner working of the vital impetus were to be made clear in its significance and in its object. For this intuition was turned inward; and if, in a first intensification, it made us realize the continuity of our inner life, if most of us went no further, a deeper intensification might carry it to the roots of our being, and thus to the very principle
fully disinterested


life in


Now is not this precisely the

privilege of the

mystic soul?|

This brings us



what we have just stated as our second question was to find out whether or no the

mystics were merely "queer", if the accounts of their experiences were purely fanciful or not. But the question was soon
settled, at least as far as the great

mystics were concerned. next thing was to find out whether mysticism was no more than a more fervent faith, an imaginative form such as


traditional religion

is capable of assuming in passionate souls, or whether, while assimilating as much as it can from this religion, while turning tolf'Iof"confirmation, while borrowing

itS~JUngiugelt-did,nQt possess an original content, drawn

es to tradition, to theology, to the Churches.
case, it must necessarily stand aloof from philofor the latter ignores revelation which has a definite sophy, date, the institutions which have transmitted it, the faith that

In the


accepts it: it must confine itself to experience and inference. But, in the second case, it would suffice to take mysticism




unalloyed, apart from the visions, the allegories, the theological language which express it, to make it a powerful helpmeet to philosophical research. Of these two conceptions of

the relation that it maintains to religion, the second seems to us indubitably the right one. We must then find out in what measure mystic experience is a continuation of the experience

which led us to the doctrine of the vital impetus. All the it would furnish philosophy, philowould repay in the shape of confirmation. sophy Let us first note that the mystics ignore what we have
information with which
It may perhaps be objected that whether real or false, and this is true they ignore problems, enough. It is none the less certain that they supply us with an implicit answer to questions which force themselves upon the attention of philosophers, and that difficulties which should never Have perplexed philosophy are implicitly regarded by the mystic as non-existent. We have shown elsewhere that

called "false problems".

part of metaphysics moves, consciously or unconsciously, around the question why anything exists why matter, or spirit, or God, rather than nothing at all? But the question presupposes that reality fills a void, that underneath Being lies nothingness, that there should be nothing, that we dejure

why there is de facto something. And pure illusion, for the idea of absolute nothingness has not one jot more meaning than a square circle. The absence of one thing being always the presence of another which we prefer to leave aside because it is not the thing that interests us or the thing we were expecting suppression is never anything more than substitution, a two-sided operation which we agree to look at from one side
musT""ffiierefore explain

this presupposition is

only: so that the idea of the abolition of everything is selfdestructive, inconceivable; it is a pseudo-idea, a mirage con-

jured up by our imagination. But, for reasons we have stated elsewhere, the illusion is natural: its source lies in the

depths of the understanding. It raises questions which are the main origin of metaphysical anguish. Now, for a mystic these questions simply do not exist, they are optical illusions
arising, in the inner world,

from the structure of human




intelligence, they recede and disappear as the mystic rises superior to the human point of view. And, for similar reasons,

more worry about the difficulties accumuby philosophy around the "metaphysical" attributes of Deity: he has nothing to do with properties which are mere negations and can only be expressed negatively; he believes that he sees what God is, for him there is no seeing what God is not. It is therefore on the nature of God, immediately apprehended on the positive side, I mean on the side which
the mystic will no

perceptible to the eyes of the soul, that the philosopher

must question him.

The philosopher could soon define this nature, did he wish to find a formula for mysticism. _GTod is love aruLthe gbjfcct-o lave: herein lies the whole contribution of mysticism. About this twofold love the mystic will never have done enthusing. His description is interminable, because what he wants to describe is ineffable. But what he does state clearly


that divine love


not a thing of God:

it is


Himself. It

upon this point that the philosopher must fasten who holds God to be a person, and yet wishes to avoid anything like a
man. He

gross assimilation with

the enthusiasms which can

it, and henceforth fill then becomes one with the emotion; and yet he was never so thoroughly himself; he is simplified, unified, intensified. Nor


will think, for example, of a soul, consume all that is the whole space. The individual

has he ever been so charged with thought, if it be true, as we have said, that there are two kinds of emotion, the one below intellect, which is mere restlessness following upon a representation, the other above intellect, preceding the idea, more than idea, but which would burst into ideas if, pure soul that it is, it chose to give itself a body. What is there more systematically architectonic, more reflectively elaborate, than a Beethoven symphony? But all through the labour of arranging, rearranging, selecting, carried out on the intellectual plane, the composer was turning back to a point situated outside that plane, in search of acceptance or refusal, of a lead, an inspiration; at that point there lurked an indivisible emotion which intelligence doubtless helped to unfold into music,

and in a limited space of time. less certain. An emotion of this kind doubtless resembles. Society supplies ideas ready to hand. which cannot tell when it will succeed or even if it will succeed at all. And the work produced may be original and be enriched by an increase of that year's income. a unique emotion. worked out by his predecessors and stored up in the language. but this would no longer be communicating something. an impulse. Yet this will be but will human thought creation. in many cases it. He may not write music. To obey it completely new words would have to be coined. the sublime love which is for the mystic the very essence of God. such as the eye makes to rediscover a star which. the philosopher must bear this in mind when he compresses mystic intuition more and more in order to express it in terms of intelligence. within the sphere of concepts and words. an impetus always received from the very depths of things. after himself re- shaping them to a certain extent so as to make them fit into his combination. Now there is another method of composition. new ideas would have to be created. vanishes into the dark sky. more ambitious. The soul within which this demand dwells may only once in its lifetime. as soon as it is found. social intelligence will continue to live on the same capital. To refer back to this emotion the artist had to make a constantly repeated effort. but it is there. He generally keeps. when writing. the same stock. though very remotely. it remained dependent on the will. and the analysis of his own state of mind when he writes will help him to understand how the love in which the mystics see the very essence of divinity can be both a person and a creative power. ideas which he combines in a new way. Yet the writer p indeed have felt it fully . It consists in working back from the intellectual and social plane to a point in the soul from which there springs an imperative demand for vigorous. but he generally writes books. Just the opposite of infra-intellectual emotion. but still a result. This method will always produce some more or less satisfactory result. In any case.in CREATION AND LOVE 217 but which was in itself something more than music and more than intelligence. it would not be writing.

218 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. . Has this love an object? Let us bear in is of a superior order self-sufficient. These are the two methods of literary composition. besides himself. at work. that he may have. is in what the philosopher must have as creative energy the love mind in order to conceive wherein the mystic sees the very essence of God. and not just with a sum down to be spent at once. he thanks his luck for every partial success. the mystics unanibear witness that God needs us. Creation will appear to him as God undertaking to create creators. Nevertheless. But if he does succeed. success can never be sure. to this very conclusion that the philosopher who holds to the mystical experience must come. mously Why should He need us unless it be to love us? And it is applies to nothing. and in both cases the quality of love will depend upon its essence and not upon its object. It is Another piece of music will express another love. will go with it to meet ideas already made. indeed. just as we need God. I and mean in fragments of its own its materialization. each unique of kind. just as a punster might thank the words he comes across for lending themselves to his fun. so to speak. briefly social segments of reality. utterly exclude each other. beings worthy of his love. As a matter of fact. and yet mind that an emotion Imagine a piece of music not love for any particular person. He will revert to the simple emotion. They may not. with a capital yielding ever-renewed dividends. to do violence to speech. be made to coincide with words already expressing things? He will be driven to strain the words. he will have enriched humanity with a thought that can take on a fresh aspect for each generation. as providing the image of the creation of matter by form. even so. Here we have two distinct emotional atmospheres. will attempt to realize the unrealizable. The second one. two different fragrances. And. which expresses love. words that already exist. yet they are radically different. How can these elements. All along the way he will feel it manifesting itself in signs born of itself. the writer wonders at every step if it will be granted to him to go on to the end. it is hard to conceive a love which is. to the form which yearns to create its matter.

of an without which they could not have of the unfathomable depths of material lastly substance without which life would not have been possible.in CREATION AND LOVE 219 We should hesitate to admit this if it were merely a ques- tion of humdrum dwellers on this corner of the universe called Earth. on the contrary. But we have shown that this appearance. Finally. was not accidental either. capable of loving and making himself loved. by reason of the diversity of conditions in which it exists. we can that it is say. appeared. We might still hesitate to admit this. as we have said before. we might well go on hesitating if we believed that the universe is essentially raw matter. We wanted then to keep as close as possible to facts. together with all the consequences entailed by this creative emotion: I mean creatures in which this emotion finds infinity of other beings the appearance of living its complement. it is probable that life animates all the planets revolving round all the stars. as we define them. while not predetermined. if we regarded as accidental the appearance amid the plants and animals that people the earth of a living creature such as man. while keeping in close touch with experience. Though there were other lines of evolution running beside the line which led to man. Pending that confirmation. justified us in holding to be true. and that life has been super-added to matter. We stated nothing that could not in time be confirmed by the tests of biology. as we had obtained results which the philosophic we understand it. This being the case. man who accounts for the presence of life on our planet. But. and of the need of love. some very remote from what we imagine them to be. and life. the most varied forms. We have shown. It doubtless takes. but its essence is every- where the same. are coexistent and interdependent. there is nothing to prevent the philosopher from following to its logical conclusion that matter the idea which mysticism suggests to him of a universe which is the mere visible and tangible aspect of love. and No doubt we are here going beyond the conclusions we reached in Creative Evolution. a slow accumulation of potential energy to be spent suddenly in free action. method. and in spite of all that is incomplete in man himself. .

revolves. mystic. everything conduces to the idea that whatever matter could be secured here for the embodiment of life was ill-adapted to favour its impetus. those of our former work. In fact.220 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. Even progress. or rather the movement which started as straight ended as circular. Here we it and that if backed up by science. This interpenetration has not been possible on our planet. the terminal point. . strung like pearls. are in the field of probabilities alone. which they sprang. But we cannot reiterate too often that philosophic certainty admits of degrees. which stands at the extremity of the main line. Granted the existence of a creative energy which is love. intuition. we did not ask whether it had any other purpose but itself. Beings have been called into existence who were destined to love and be loved. and which simply took for granted. is to be extended. Now. Such was our tonelusion. Distinct from God. we should simply have its to follow the lead of the That current of life which existence. . The original split into divergent lines of evolutionary instead of remaining undivided to the end. since creative energy is to be defined as love. this twofold question is contained in the very answer given to it by mystical intuition. though not necessarily. the conclusions we have just set out complete naturally. accounts for we traverses matter. life. interpenetrating as much as the spatiality of the matter which displays them permits. owing to the matter it traverses. In each of these worlds vital impetus and raw matter might thus be complementary aspects of creation. its subdivision into distinct beings. and which desires to produce from itself beings worthy to be loved. as the opposite of divine spirituality would simply express the distinction between being created and creating. In order to carry it further otherwise than by mere it guess-work. of a symphony and the indivisible emotion from that calls for intuition as well as for reason. it might indeed sow space with worlds whose materiality. between the multifarious notes. and the potentialities it bears within it. In that circle humanity. such extension can only be mystical intuition. As for humanity. along the line on which the essential of the impulsion travelled impulsion therefore ended by exhausting its effect.

since action is what matters. systems there are only individuals radically differentiated assuming them to be multifarious and mortal and may be these creatures too were shaped at a single stroke. shifting of one part of which is at its centre and occupies a small fraction of space. in breaking through the resistance put up by the instrument. On Earth. and with which Pascal himself was content when he condemned the "thinking reed" to be. For if our body is matter for our consciousness. a reed and nothing more. They have blazed a trail by this very act. it through this body. in triumphing over materiality in a word in getting back to God. This inner and central body. at the slightest. Yet. if certain representatives of it had not succeeded. or else formed a residue. in any case. sometimes radically. In that portion of the universe which is our planet probably in our whole planetary system such beings. man is far from merely occupying the tiny space allotted to him. materially.in MAN AND THE UNIVERSE is this 221 Who energy itself. and through it is operative: it is alone. It may be that in other in a universe. that we can move other parts of the large body. or sustained it. which led up to it. It is not merely present. have had to be wrought into a species. so as to be complete from the first. they could only spring into being and therefore the universe sprang into being. it comprises everything we perceive. and this species involved a multitude of other species. relatively invariable. is itself ever present. in order to appear. it is co-extensive with our con- sciousness. But this vast body is changing continually. And. the earth a speck in the universe. even physically. shown to the philosopher the whence and whither of People are never tired of saying that man is but a minute speck on the face of the earth. since it is an understood thing that we are present where we act. life. These men are the mystics. the habit has grown of limiting consciousness . They have. the species which accounts for the existence of all the others is only partially itself. by an individual effort added to the general work of life. It would never for an instant have thought of becoming completely itself. along which other men may pass. it reaches as far as the stars.

and we^are really present in everything we perceive. that it is lost in the immensity of the universe. our the seat of our potential or theoretically possible actions: the perceptive centres of the brain being the pioneers that prepare the way for subsequent actions and huge inorganic body plan them from within. to be justified by science. For. although through ever varying parts of ourselves which are the abode of no more than potential actions. when people speak of the littleness of man and the immensity of the universe. . when we find ourselves confronted with which we can go on counting without ever coming to an end. It is true that. body and ignoring the vast one. even of our body. the material world is of a complexity that defies imagination: even the tiniest visible particle of matter is a world in itself. with my attention centred on the line followed. and that we are looking at it from the wrong point of view. How then can we believe that the latter exists only for the sake of the former? Yet we can and must. they are thinking of the complexity of the latter quite as much as of its size. Let us take matters from this angle and we shall cease to say. left. See the whole of chap.222 to the small DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. moreover. Move your hand from one point to another: to you who perceive it from the inside this is an indivisible movement. i. 1 If the surface of our organized small body (organized precisely with a view to imthe smaller one. and so on: I could go on for et Mati&re M&moire (Paris 1896). everything happens as though our external perceptions were built up by our brain and launched by it into space. But the truth is quite different. But I who perceive it from the outside. which holds outward perception to be the "epiphenomenon" of corresponding intra-cerebral processes: so that all body is regarded as being a mere we phantom perceive of the larger externalized by We have previously exposed the illusion contained in this metaphysical theory. it may be that the whole is simple. then the half of the second half. The habit appears. / say to myself that your hand has had to cover parts the first then the half of what was 1 part of the interval. mediate action) is the seat of is all our actual movements. A person appears as something simple.

is not physical distress often due to imprudence or carelessness. and the parts of these parts. they possess a sponeven attain to free activity.in SUFFERING 223 millions of centuries._. and the significance we do to life. and that an existence that is simple may postulate a chain of conditions which never ends. in my eyes. Hence we are not affirming that the relation between the complex and the simple is the same in both cases. who do not protract their past into their present. neither their pleasure nor their pain produce same deep and enduring reverberations as ours: do we count as real the pain we feel in a dream? Even in man. and so on. from the lowest stage of consciousness that up to man. it may well We appear optimistic.-. and in any^caseTT would not t>e so acute if we had not exasperated bur sensibility * * *. without going so far as the Cartesian theory of animal-machine. the objects of love for the Creator. It would be no use for us to contend among animals this suffering is by no means as great as people think. the movement you feel to be the gesture which calls into being more general terms. the cannot implication of implications continuing to infinity. necessarily determined in their virtualness by the reality of the gesture. Thus the human species. endlessly. Attributing the place we do to man. or. It is true that the infinite numbers into which we decompose a gesture of the are purely virtual. or artificial needs? As^for moral dist^ess. might quite well require conditions which require other conditions. We only wanted to show by the comparison that complexity.pur own fault. it is as often_a$ not . is no proof of importance. and who are not complete personalities. even when unlimited. The vision at once rises before us of all the suffering with which life is fraught. whereas the comhand ponent parts of the universe. are realities: when they taneity which may are living beings. their consciousness is of a somnambulistic nature. . yet it is but the reverse side of something indivisible. indivisible is split up. we may presume that pain is much diminished for beings possessing no active memory. to use We think of this multiplicity without bewilderment. and never finish the enumeration of the acts into which. come then to this conclusion. or the to over-refined tastes.

if a principle really exists. looked at from one side. It will be said. in fine that analysis. In this twofold sense. which is the final state of the mystic soul. appears as an infinite multiplicity of things. but also to the totality of the possible? I can. that if life is good on the whole. could have been better. without any necessity for the philosopher to plead the cause of God. but what is he going to think about it in the presence of a mother who has just watched the is The passing of her child? No. and from both points of view. it is not omnipotent and it is therefore not God. philosopher may indulge in speculations of this kind in the solitude of his study. and it mere unwarrantable optimism to define evil a priori. it would be easy to add a few paragraphs to the Theodicee of we have not the slightest inclination to do so. and if that principle is love. even if it is good. But facts: first that it clings to it. of which suffering is indeed one. and such that pain had no place in it. which consists simply in noting two humanity finds life. May not the same apply to the idea of to the idea of a square circle. In a word. But there is an empirical optimism. suffering is a terrible reality. that is mean? mount just the question. We have pointed out that what. good. yet it would have been better without suffering. that there is an unmixed joy. and that suffering cannot have been willed by a God of love. lying beyond pleasure and pain. therefore that life. so that the elimination of one part would mean doing away with the whole. as a lesser good. since and then. But there is nothing to prove that suffering was willed. But pain indefinitely protracted and multiplied by brooding over it. may look from another side like an indivisible act. What exactly does "omnipotence" have shown that the idea of "nothing" is tanta- We it vanished under an empty word behind it.224 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. optimism must be admitted. Now it will be suggested that the whole might have been different. of course. only leaving it is a pseudo-idea. at a stretch. represent something in my mind when I hear of the . And the conclusion will be drawn that. if this name is given not only to the sum-total of the real. that "everything". even reduced to what it actually is. is ^ Leibniz. on the whole.

applies to problems of the after-life. when the whole thing has been . from thence are deduced the characteristics that the world ought to show. A up a priori. its real origin. Now. God all conclude what the world is like or what such as might enable us to it should be like. we are told that God does series of certain representation is built granted that this is the idea of not exist. This leads. if philosophy it is the work of experience and reasoning. to the idea of souls falling into Time. to lay down a priori is a definition of it is the soul as a thing incapable of decomposition because simple. We find such expressions used by these very The whom we turn for experience of the divine.in SURVIVAL total of existing things. and if the world does not actually show them. with Plato. But what is to be the answer to those who deny the existence of the soul thus defined? And how could the problems touching a real soul. be resolved in accordance with reality. a verbal entity. and it is taken for God. But we can go further still: the objection arises from a whole existent arguments implying a radical defect of method. The same method It is possible. indivisible. incorruptible because it virtue of its essence. must follow just the reverse method. and thence to that of a return into Eternity. They certainly do not evoke a closed cona definition of cept. immortal by by a process of deduction. and there will be no objection to talking about divine omnipotence. They mean by this an energy to which no limit can be obviously mystics to assigned. I 225 sum but in the sum-total of the noncan see nothing but a string of words. who can fail to see that. or even posited in terms of reality. and so appreciate the nature of God by reasoning on the facts supplied by experience? nature of God will thus appear in the very reasons we have for believing in His existence: we shall no longer try to deduce His existence or non-existence from an arbitrary conception of his nature. So that here again the objection is based on a pseudo-idea. question experience as to what it has to teach us of a Being Who transcends tangible reality as He transcends human consciousness. its real fate. and a all still less power of creating and loving which surpasses imagination. Let agreement be reached on this point.

as soon as we leave the apex. It is only at its topmost point that the cone fits into matter. we enter into a new realm.226 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. but in that case bear in mind that we are remoulding language and getting the word to encompass a series of experiences instead of an arbitrary definition. indeed we shall This will be only one aspect of that remain imperfectly informed of the conditions of the after-life. for all that it has been meditated upon years. and in terms of and always partially. and especially regarding its duration: is it for a time. by our senses and our consciousness. the impossibility of attributing the preservation of recollections to the brain. independence. mere speculation upon a possibly baseless conception of the soul. or for all eternity? But we shall at least have almost felt it. that. from the point it contracts to allow the passage only of what is strictly necessary to the present action. the possibility of following up. The soul for Platonic conception has not helped our knowledge of the by a single step. and. up to the farthest plane where it spreads out a panorama of the whole indestructible We said metaphorically that we were proceeding thus from the summit to the base of the cone. the successive expansions of memory. however. upon a conventional definition of the meaning of the word which society has inscribed on a slice of reality set apart for the convenience of conversation? The affirmation remains as sterile as the definition was arbitrary. if you will. on the other hand. It two thousand was as complete and final as that of the triangle. since even here below we shall have observed something of its independence of the body. which we have dealt with elsewhere. at best. if there really is a problem of the soul. we still . let us refer to the soul. or again. or. Let us merely recall that the observation. How can we help seeing. What is it? Let us call it past. step by logical where step. experience solved? We shall not revert to this subject. of normal facts and morbid states reveals to us the inadequacy of the physioin terms of experience it it must be posited. progressively. and for the same reasons. the spirit. must be explanation of the memory. This experimental searching will suggest the possibility and even probability of the survival of the soul.

the problem must remain open. have obtained. they will see in them nothing more than their own thesis. but it has made up this word. possibility of endless progress. their thesis It will take them some time to understand that had been extracted just as it stands from current language. a great part of this activity is independent of the body. and for the capable rest. And this is presumably a participation in the divine essence. be identical Can the after-life. Society doubtless follows certain suggestions of inner experience when it talks of the soul. It is privileged souls insert themselves? more profound investigation of these into which. impaired and impoverished. because they refuse to set up as a reality what is perhaps a baseless construction of the mind. for the knowledge of the soul and of its destiny. for its own convenience. which with that of the life us. the better the those of matter. So much for what we might call the experience on the lower plane. will stick to their negation in the very teeth of the experience put before them. like all the others. certain Only a persistent and true that at first this way out of the difficulty will satisfy neither of the two schools which do battle over the a priori definition of the soul. categorically asserting or denying.in SURVIVAL 227 have found something upon which experience can get a grip. Those who deny. The more word answers its purnow it cannot be more radical than when the qualities pose: of the soul are taken to be purely and simply the negations of applied it to radical the distinction. It has something distinct from the body. Now. Let us now betake ourselves to the higher plane: we shall find an experience of another type. on essential points. Those who affirm will have nothing but contempt for ideas which are admittedly provisional and calling for improvement. Such is the idea that the philosopher has . even here below. do these two is experi- ences meet? apparently assured to our soul by the simple fact that. as well as a future advance of our knowledge. believing that they are still dealing with the same thing. the two experiences will tell Still it is something to a probability which is of being transformed into a certainty. even here below. mystic intuition. and one indisputable affirmation will be made possible.

incapable of extension. in received only too often. and knowledge of such a soul is. between the bark and the the To apply it is tree. ready made. to delve into them and follow them up till we reach a clear intuition! will Such is the method we recommend. it to risk getting caught matter! The bark will split. nay. if wood of the old tree swells with a new flow of sap. It appears to represent the acme of spirituality. But no again. But this some- thing is only negation. it rings hollow at the first blow of an opposing philosophy. There is nothing to be extracted from nothingness. just because it goes to the very end of something. . Once not please either side.228 DYNAMIC RELIGION CH. How much better to turn back to the vague suggestions of consciousness from which we started. from society through language. of course.

that the hymenopterous communities are at the end of one of the two principal lines of animal evolution. the first are stereotyped. But if nature. Man was made for this society. in fact. to a perpetual Such is human society fresh from the hands of nature. however. between the closed and the open. bound. \This religion. ensures the readiness for battle. which we have called static. We must not overdo the analogy. and for the very reason that she has made us intelligent. and that they are in this sense counterparts of one another. just as human societies are at the end of the other. has left us to some extent with freedom of choice in our type of social organization. and this 229 . same end. as the ant was made for the ant-heap. we should note. preserve and communicate to each of its members that confidence which is in- dispensable. on the alert for attack or defence. the latter intelligence. through a religion born of the myth-making function. caring nothing for the rest of humanity. in the sphere of society./A force of unvarying direction. whereas the others vary. resist this or that dissolving action of intelligence. which is to the soul what force of gravity is to the body.\That it cohesion of the group by bending all individual wills to the force is moral obligation. And we have shown also how a closed society can only live. but that it was made for the closed society. The closed society is that whose members hold together. True. ^he has at all events ordained that we should live in society. the former obey instinct. We have shown that may extend its scope in societies that are becoming open.CHAPTER IV FINAL REMARKS MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM ONE of the results of our analysis has been to draw a sharp distinction.

and tJie-gK>up. forged itself. Part of the new has flowed into the mould social pressure. and it there were really a pre-existent direction along which man had simply to advance. the progressive realization of an ideal. something in common. But things only assume this form in retrospect. strictly speaking. The two things are not of the momentarily opened closes again. individual aspiration has become and obligation covers the whole. the changes were qualitative and not quantitative. A dream dreamt. through a more or less far-reaching transformation of man. Do these advances always take place in the same direction? We can take for granted that the direction is the same. each of which. moral renovation would be foreseeable. in themselves. beforehand. it embodies on every occasion something of itself in creations. however. All aimed at opening what was closed. MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM which is CH. Let us go further: these successive efforts were not. But this can be no more than a metaphor. which after the last opening had closed on was brought back every time to humanity.! The open is the society which is deemed in principle to embrace society all humanity. conquers difficulties hitherto unconquerable. from the city to humanity. created its own idea.23o obligation. The truth is that it is always possible to take the latest phase of renovation. and yet the diversity of these efforts could be summed up into one and the same thing: an impetus. which had ended in closed . But after each occasion the circle that has society. In one respect. since no idea. that therefore they all led up to that renovation. could possibly represent a series of accretions. the moment we agree that they are advances. for a creative if effort. For each one is thus defined as a step forward. of the old. to define it and to say that the others contained a greater or lesser quantity of what the definition defines. on each occasion. out. by chosen souls. they defied all anticipation. are the very substance of closed society!'* Never shall we pass from the closed society to the open by any mere broadening same essence. and not merely through the medium of a conceptual interpretation. each of which. they had. now and again. tantamount to a pressure. there would be no need. creating itself.

by a mere process of enlargement or improvement. The mistake is to believe that it is possible to pass. it We discuss the definitions lays and it has. which in society. We find it. so only propagated through images and dynamic religion the myth-making function. We only have to concentrate on this distinction. as a fact. from demonstration or fabulation. Whether we champion or impeach a religion. in default of the species. to intuition. If the individual is fully the fringe of intuition surrounding his is capabfe~of expanding sufficiently to envelop its object. that is the mystic life.XFhe dynamic religion which thus Springs into being is the Very opposite of the static religion born of the myth-making function. which is obligation. do we always take into account what is specifically religious in religion? We cherish or we dismiss a story which may have been found necessary for inducing and propagating a certain feeling. it moment has become . to give itseli bodily substance. but it might. The thing itself is thus mistaken for its expression or its symbol. have assumed a different corporeal form. when we pass is a static morality. at a stretch. This is tbj&-Hua^errorj)f^a cVi^r intdl^ctualism. but religion it is essentially that very feeling.iv CLOSED SOCIETY AND OPEN SOCIETY it 231 because but which later on societies is is could carry matter no further along. by some privileged individual. down and the theories made use of a metaphysic sets forth. and we shall see some of the big problems vanish. at a given There just the same. in the same way as the open society is the opposite of the closed society. indeed. But just as the new moral aspiration only takes shape by borrowing from the closed society its is natural form. even though it bear the stamp of truth. others assume a new shape. This thus carried forward through the medium of certain men. exists. I wanted simply to emphasize the distinction I have made between the open and the closed society. from religion to morality. \ if a suigle individual. destined to be sought out and captured. from the static to the dynamic. There is no symbols supplied by need to go back over these different points. each of whom thereby constitutes a species impetus composed of conscious of intelligence this. or even none at all.

on the other hand. As a matter of fact. ingrained in the customs. in so far as it is is a pressure.232 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. personal interest. It is true that the easiness of the operation. the institutions. The philosopher went in search of his quarry in the social environment. since intelligence is systematic. that generally accepted. it can choose any one of them that it pleases. probably because no one of the principles was reduced specific characteristics. creative of nature which created the social demand. and. sympathy. self-love. the ideas. If almost identical rules of conduct are indifferently deducible from such divers principles. and that there the real is exists a general ideal by reference to which to be estimated. which we are perfectly free to combat with other reasons. it is in no way surprising. where egoism and vanity are impregnated with sociability. in so far as second. and the purely approximate character of the result. The obligation. the latter can only proffer advice. pity. But morality itself he leaves unexplained.. in so far as it is a discipline demanded by nature. etc. that he should find again in each principle the morality that he has put or left there. it imagines problem consists in reducing all moral motives to one. But intelligence intervenes. is should put us on our guard. rational. a dynamic impetus. its obligatory character is to be traced to nature's demand for morality which is. a life in common. that there is a difference of value between motives. It thus provides itself with a refuge . Now. and which is related to life in general. logical consistency. There is The first suprarational. that is to say the intellectual content. and then again to delve into nature herself itaken as the creation of life in general. is is infra- it that the scriptions. adduce reasons. then. there is no principle of action from which it is not possible to deduce more or less the morality General interest. such philosophy always implies that the " motive it has taken up as a principle is preferable" to the others. of each of these preaspiration. which eludes the search of a purely intellectualist philosophy. where everything interpenetrates everything. since he would have first had to delve into social this is its to life. He would thus have reached the very root of morality. if so. It seeks out the motive.

it would be the essential. The truth is that an ideal cannot become obligatory it is unless it is already active. that is to say. Because an evolutionary process has been observed starting from a certain point. whereas the evolution may have been quite different. a very general one. is already sweeping us forward. especially the strictest obligation of all. consists movement as a gradual diminution in the snapshots of the indivisible movement: hence the impossibility of re-establishing the true mobility. whereas positions are but mental conception of The first. and the Idea of equally hard to explain Good would become unnecessary. felt to be continuous.iv CLOSED SOCIETY AND OPEN SOCIETY 233 in the Platonic theory. ^Yet 1 we must posit this original morality Q . which is immobility also. the aspirations and pressures directly or indirectly constituting obligation. with the Idea of Good dominating all others: the reasons for action can then apparently claim to be ranged in order of merit beneath the Idea of Good. of the space between the position of the moving object. The second illusion concerns more specially the evolution of life. contemporary with the appearance of man. the hypothetical terminal point of the movement which At the root of all theories. we find the two illusions we have time and again denounced. and its terminal point considered as reached. in this case. But then the great difficulty is to say by what token we are to recognize that this or that line of conduct is nearer or further from the ideal Good. which makes j it obligatory. the best being those that come nearest to it. not the idea contained in but its action.J then. and the attraction of Good being the principle of obligation. which is immobility. Or rather it is only the name we give to the supposedly ultimate effect of that action. It would be how the ideal in question creates an imperative obligation. if this were known. in which case it. the obligation which attaches to custom in primitive and essentially closed societies. we are apt to think that there is no such thing as a primitive irreducible morality. Because we note a gradual enrichment of morality. it is believed that this point must have been reached by the same evolutionary process. whereas even there may have been previously no evolution at all.

is quite different.234 at the MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM same time is CH. But nature is indestructible. the distinction between the closed and the open. But everything conspires to encourage the wrong explanation: misdirected pride. We transmitted by unceasing education. that moral acquisitions are deposited. if the Now. into the past. It is in customs. But. A knowledge of this plan would doubtless be to-day of mere historical interest. a mistaken idea of the real nature of progress. . if the several characteristics had been ousted by others. as they become superaflded to nature. if this does occur. she comes back at the double". as the human species. she is there all the have dwelt on the question of the transmissibility of acquired characteristics. The French poet was wrong when he said: "Expel nature. There is no expelling her. necessary to resolve or remove theoretical problems. In that case. even in language. There is such a thing as fundamental nature. imitate it without becoming merged into iti Working back step by step we should get back to an original closed society. It is highly improbable that a habit is ever transmitted. they are then time. it is owing to a combination of many favourable conditions so accidental that it will certainly not recur often enough to implant the habit in the species. able to help us practically ?\It would be of little utility. however untiringly we might delve back we should never reach the primitive. and assume that there was at the beginning a closed society. as we have just said. but with this difference that in the second case it is the actual the truth detail of the social organization which is given in advance. the natural would be a mere consolidation of the acquired. it is in this way that habits which pass on from generation to generation end by being considered as hereditary. the general plan of which fitted the pattern of our species as the ant-heap fits the ant. a few directions. superficial optimism. whereas in the other there exists only the main outline. just enough natural prefiguration to provide immediately for the individual a suitable social environment. institutions. and there are acquisitions which. which is closed society had always 'been so constituted as to shut itself up again after each momentary opening.

And. as we have already remarked. in spite of the small number and the questionable character of the facts called upon to support it. the sudden leap forward which ended in the human species may have been attempted at more than . if you eliminated from the man of to-day what has been deposited in him by unceasing education. and the acquired habit that has frequently become lastly grafted on to the natural tendency. There is no doubt but that this belief has influenced positive science itself. istics. So let us keep to ascertained facts and to the probabilities suggested by them: in our opinion. it. but it remains mere philosophy. as it were. in Spencer. in the days of its impregnated the evolution doctrines of scienNow. presented in his first works. would found upon see Creative Evolution (chap. to modify On the thesis of the transmissibility of acquired characterbiologists and on the evolutionism which certain i. which thinks it is tary transmission of the acquired borrowing from biology the idea of herediis only taking back what it lent. being accidental. But these variations. which is indeed transmissible from parent to child. Let us add that. 1 What conclusion are we to deduce from this? Since the say "nearly" because we must take into account the variations living creature plays. it was only later that he came to deal with the phenomena of life. cannot be added together. on generalization social progress: his interest had at first been exclusively centred on the study of societies. So that a sociology popularity. which accepted it from common sense.iv PERSISTENCE OF THE NATURAL and above all. and is further than ever from being proved. It is based almost entirely on the idea of the hereditary transmission of acquired characteristics. on the theme supplied by his progenitors. This unproven philosophical theory has assumed a borrowed air of scientific assurance on its way through science. nothing more than the of a thesis. this idea was. or nearly so. he would be found to be identical. with his remotest ancestors. in the lapse of time. There is nothing more instructive on this point than the biological and psychological work of Herbert Spencer.). it tists. 235 a very widespread confusion between the inborn tendency. and then handed it back to common sense after having reinforced it with its own undisputed authority. and taking place in 1 We which the any direction. the species.

then beneath nature. it has only been given. Humanity as a whole cannot bend nature to its will. But it can get round it. with the acquired overlaying the We should be at a loss to give the answer if we had to truth supply an automatically applicable method of research. immutable. as if before a blank wall. the clear-cut design of the ant-hill all or the hive at the other terminal point of evolution.236 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. nor consequently at the closed society. but who are not necessarily our ancestors. But we are dealing here with only one particular point. It is none the less true that these privileged ones would fain draw humanity after them. corre- is. if we like. thus giving rise to "men" to whom we may. human nature in so far as it is predisposed to a certain social form. and so get back into the very impetus of life. Now they can only succeed in the measure in which they have taken nature into consideration. in the realm of reasonable and free activity. by a system of cross-checking. sponds. So that we have to do is to get back to the simple original sketch. it is impossible that the moralist and the sociologist should not be required to take them into account. while human leaving our intelligence and our will entirely free to work in that direction. vague and incomplete. But how natural? is it to be found.to a chosen few to dig down. The task would be a difficult one. they seek a translation of the dynamic into the static such as society may accept and stabilize by education. all dispositions of the species subsist. The is that we have to grope our way tentatively. to what in the case of instinct. If such an effort could be generalized. suggest that there is a natural We society. . that nature has taken care to supply us with a diagram of it beforehand. give that name. since they cannot communicate to the world at large the deepest elements of their spiritual condition. the impetus would not have stopped short at the human species. True. The diagram. vaguely prefigured in us. they transpose it superficially. And this is possible only if its general configuration is known. if it obliged us to undertake the study of psychology in general. following simultaneously several one point in space and time and only partially succeeded. first beneath the strata of the acquired. deep within of us.

If it does not go so far as to determine acts. problems which the The extreme . Of these strata Let us begin by saying that societies. especially when we come to the highest posts. the best. in this sense only. though it may be thinner than in our own case.iv CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL SOCIETY 237 methods. above all. it yet lives on in the depths of consciousness. without which indeed there would be no civilization. which would be perceptible to our consciousness. We must recapture that intervals. save at rare and then in a flash. and in detail. We rock of sociability. but where is the government that the governed go so far as to call a good one? They think they have praised it quite enough when they say it is not so bad as the others and. Driven inwards. We shall observe children. In fact. yet it manifests itself in words. scarcity of political leaders of calibre is owing to the fact that they are called upon to any decide at any moment. and also of unsociability. each of which will lead only to possibilities or probby their mutual interplay the results will neutralize or reinforce one another. hidden away beneath the habits. the art of governing a great people training. Here the disapproval is congenital. But the main and essential source of information must search for the bedis bound to be introspection. and that provision is not necessarily human nature. But we must add that the original state of mind survives. stered to the general satisfaction. And it is designed for very small admitted that primitive comgenerally man was munities were small. is the only one for which there exists no technical no effective education. Thus. In a great nation certain districts may be admini- powerless. moment of vision and abide by it. and what appears to us as spontaneous is often the effect of an education we have unwittingly been child nature giving him. we shall take "primitive peoples" into account. nature has made but not forget that for differences of age. it. if established society had not imbued us with habits and dispositions which adjust us to we are no longer aware. without forgetting that here also a layer of acquisitions covers nature. leading to reciprocal verification and abilities: correction. the child is imitative.

great specialists in every line great soldiers. increased size of societies may well have rendered insoluble. which ordained small societies. the grouping lasts longer: witness the Roman Empire. a cohesive force working from without and from above on the whole complex. It was thus that the feudal system came into being in different countries. and the political construction crumbles. For she also ordained war. Study the history of the great modern nations: you will find artists. Even if the war at the outset was not one of conquest. that is what it becomes ultimately. the menace of war can determine several small societies to unite against a common danger. These are born of conquest. If great nations have been able to build themup firmly in modern times. When the victor grants to the conquered populations a semblance of independence. But that the primitive instinct persists. Leave it to operate. has little by little given way to a principle of unity arising from the very heart of each of the elementary societies grouped together. left them an opening for expansion. that it exercises a disintegrating effect. It is true that these unions are rarely lasting. that is to say. under different conditions. the break-up then took place factor selves spontaneously. or at least she made the conditions of man's life such that war was inevitable. and thus profit by their labour. the only one that can . but in reality because they were too unwieldy to live. and even their populations. great but how many great statesmen? Yet nature.238 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. plenty of great scientists. as the result of differ- ent events. They fell into decay under various influences. this is because constraint. because the victor will have found it so convenient to appropriate the lands of the vanquished. In any case they lead to an assemblage of societies which is of the same order of magnitude as each single unit. In this way the great Eastern empires of bygone days were formed. Now. there is no doubt. It is rather in another sense that war is the origin of empires. from the very seat of the disruptive forces to which an uninterrupted resistance has to be opposed. the only common was the suppression of the force which was preventing the breaking-up of society. This principle.

however small. will its natural government be? If it were complete.iv CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL SOCIETY 239 possibly neutralize the tendency to disruption. But these were mere and the philosopher should no more seek tendencies of social life them the than the naturalist should study the habits of a species by confining his attention to the embryo. essential embryonic in societies. is patriotism. which mingles no calculations with its religion. What then. organized for war. and consequently. which draws to itself the best in all souls. The ancients were well acquainted with it. capable of defending itself. in this precise sense. they adored their country. social life was part of the . These two systems are indistinguishable in the rudimentary state: there must be a chief. and there is no community without privileged individuals. that is savagery. probably both. which may be tinged with mysticism. city. Now what of nature? It scattered is is the regime of a society fresh from the hands possible that humanity did in fact begin as and isolated family groups. which overspreads a great country and rouses a nation. We have said time and again that human societies and hymenit. like the honey distilled from flowers. draw as opterous societies stand at the extremities of the two principal lines of biological evolution. who borrow from or give to the chief something of his prestige. must take society when it is We to say. It took as noble a sentiment as this. out of poetry and love. Heaven forbid that we should assimilate them to each other! Man But we must always remember that is intelligent and free. and it is one of their poets who said that it is sweet to die for her. to overcome so deep-seated a sentiment as the selfishness of the tribe. or rather who he does. obedience absolute on the other. Authority is absolute on one side. from some supernatural power. with a faint perfume of every moral beauty under heaven. which is slowly and reverently evolved out of memories and hopes. a But it is a far cry is from that attachment to the group still devoted to a god to the patriotism which as who stands by it in battle. imitating the mystic state. not desecrating the Greek words to apply them to a state of we should say that it is monarchic or oligarchic. much a pacific as a warlike virtue.

The kaleidoscope which had been held steady has now shifted one notch and lo! great a complete metamorphosis! The result is sometimes good: men of action have been revealed who were themselves unaware of their real capacity. It is comparable to that of insects in that it implies two organizations. that it was a necessary part. no longer both physical and psychical as in the insect. wake up one fine day with pretensions to be leaders of men. But it is certain . Within honest and gentle men there rushes up from the failure. that nature could not rely exclusively on our free will. that accordingly she had to see to it that one or a few individuals should command and the rest obey. The truth is that dimorphism generally makes of each of us both a leader with the instinct to command and a subject ready to obey. as to say that We one of the attributes of the leader dormant within us is ferocity. depths a ferocious personality. structural plan of the human species just as in that of the bee. two indivisible systems of qualities (certain of which would be defects in the moralist's eyes): we plump for the one system or the other. not in detail.240 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. In the insect world. although the second tendency predominates to the extent of being the only one apparent in most men. as would be the case if it were a matter of contracting habits. We have a clear vision of this in times of revolution. up to that moment humble and obedient. but at a single stroke. kaleidoscope-fashion. Unassuming citizens. exactly comparable to that of the embryo with the choice between two sexes. man. But it is generally unfortunate. though it must be understood that this dimorphism does not separate men into two hard and fast categories. Nietzsche's mistake was to believe in a separation of this kind: on the one hand "slaves". those that are born leaders and those that are born subjects. you have poly- morphism". Shall we then say that in human societies we have "dimorphism". as is bound to happen in a natural dimorphism. the diversity of social function is " bound up with a difference of organization. on the other "masters". but psychical only? We think so. shall not go so far. that of the leader who is a And here we have a characteristic trait of that "political animal". indeed.

most horrible! Civilized men all. graven be argued that such things happened in very remote times. Shortly after we learned from a daily paper that. once back in their country and affiliated to opposite parties. moving about. speaking French as we did. coming from far-off lands. affable and amiable. It may happened that we met certain distinguished foreigners. Men who would think themselves bound to make the punishhad to deal with a guilty man. or at least obtained that they be not made a thing to boast of. before the gaping crowd. half- The tale was illustrated with a photograph The accomplished man of the world was naked. if not prima. Horrible. of the gallows.iv CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL SOCIETY 241 that nature. of politics. but which has grown without radically modifying the "natural society". murder has all too often remained the ratio ultima. but the original political instinct had blown civilization to the winds and laid bare the nature underneath. Similarly do the worker bees stab the drones to death when they consider that the hive needs them no longer. We may be allowed perhaps to recall themselves handed in stone. The whole of history bears witness to this. among us. simply to get rid of an awkward opponent. An abomination no doubt. These sentiments will be clearer where the line of demarcation is more distinct. with all the paraa memory. in which we include the king if there is offence. For nature has at her disposal neither imprisonment nor exile. go an innocent person at the call of political expediency. in a society already considerable. but dressed as we were. if Christianity has put an end to certain crimes. It so phernalia of justice. But if the form has changed. but imputable to nature as much as to man. must have willed the ruthless leader if she provided all. But let us leave aside the temperament of the "leader" and consider the respective sentiments of ruler and ruled. at once destructive of individuals and productive of species. has been ordered in absolute cold blood by men who have for leaders at down the record of these things. one of them had had the other hanged. dangling. preceded by ghastly tortures. she knows only sentence of death. if they killing meht fit the to the extreme of . The governing class. Incredible wholesale slaughter.

or by such crying abuses that it undermines the faith placed in it. What might surprise us more. who played the leading part in the Revolutions of 1830 and 1848.242 a king. if we were not familar with the dimorphism of social man. But instinct resists. but recruited in the course of history by always believes itself to belong to a superior race. often from personal ambition. Yet. Thus it was the upper middle class. it will have faith and compel others to have faith in its own congenital military virtues. It was in this way that some of the nobles collaborated in the French Revolution of 1789. then. The truth an aristocracy believes naturally. It to only begins to waver when the upper class itself invites it do so. they dispel is the illusion fostered by distance. If it owes its origin to war. religiously. from those off. certain members of the class turning against it. aimed (the second in particular) against the privilege of wealth. and to the measures it it indeed takes to prevent the inferior class from organizing itself in its turn. experience should show the ruled that their rulers are men like themselves. in its it native superiority. and not the working classes. if educated classes who demanded education for all. the initiative of assaults against inequality justified or unhas come rather from the upper classes. through obvious incapacity. if it justified and not from the lower. Sometimes the upper class does this unwittingly. Doubtless the oligarchy is careful to foster this sentiment. It is easy. sometimes from a sentiment of justice: by stooping down towards the lower classes. And maintains a real superiority of strength. handed down from father to son. which abolished the privilege of birth. thanks to the discipline it imposes on itself. is that the people themselves should be con- vinced of this innate superiority. to understand that humanity should have arrived at democracy as a later development (for they were . as might have were a case of a mere clash between dass interests. Generally speaking. in such a case. no less natural. MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM may have been it CH. Later it was men of the that were better been expected is that. There is nothing surprising in this. At other times the invitation intentional. the respect inspires is no less religious. different methods.

demand of all men an incorruptible fidelity to duty. It proclaims liberty. Of all political systems. that is the people. demands equality. These rights. "We hold these truths to their Creator with unalienable rights. Such is democracy in theory. the republican motto shows that the third term dispels the oft-noted contradiction between the two others. " at least in intention. and Rousseau to an interplay of Protestantism and Catholicism. It confers on man inviolable rights. its philosophic principles in the works of Kant. has indeed a Puritan ring: that all men are be self-evident . How endowed by possible to ask for a precise definition of liberty and of equality when the future must lie open to all sorts of progress. and that two hostile sisters the essential thing is fraternity: a fact which would make it possible to say that democracy is evangelical in essence and that its motive power is love. The American Declaration of Independence (1776). coinciding so closely with this absolute that it is no longer possible to say whether it is the duty. the duty that confers the rights or the right which imposes The citizen thus defined is both "law-maker and subject". and especially to the creation of new conditions under is it which it will be possible to have forms of liberty and equality . . the only one to transcend. and reconciles these by reminding them that they are sisters. etc. which served as a model for the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1791. inserting himself into obliga- tions which he holds to be absolute. it is indeed the furthest removed from nature. . based on slavery.iv NATURAL SOCIETY AND DEMOCRACY 243 false democracies. its religious basis in both Kant and Rousseau: we know how much Kant owed to his pietism. by above everything fraternity. are therefore sovereign." Objections occasioned by the vagueness of the democratic formula arise from the fact that the original religious character has been misunderstood. Its sentimental origins could be found in the soul of Rousseau. those cities of antiquity. the conditions of the closed society ". Looked at from this exalting angle. as Kant has it. respecting others as he does himself. relieved by this fundamental iniquity of the biggest and most excruciating problems). in order to remain inviolate. The citizens as a whole. It therefore takes for its matter an ideal man.

they are only applicable if transposed. the object was to do away with things as they were. to overthrow. The main thing was to put an end to intolerable suffering. to-day? One can do no more than trace the general outlines. enunciated with a definite idea of protest. The democratic precepts. with that of demo- the considered only as an ideal. which are impossible of realization. less true that. There you have then democracy in its essence. we must explain why it was is time that people refused to go on "starving". provide evidence of their origin. cracy. their content will improve as and when fraternity provides. which an idea like first is started remains the direction to the arrow. Of course it must be wishing of non-democratic society. but simply because "people were starving". we have pointed to certain features of natural society. into terms of purely relative morality or rather of general utility. it was more than anything else as a protest that it was introduced into the world. and the transposition always risks turning into an incurvation in the direction of private interest. immobility". Summing up the grievances set forth in the memoirs presented to the Stats GenerauXy Emile Faguet has written somewhere that the French Revolution was not made for the sake of liberty and equality. Now.244 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. or rather a signpost indicating way in which humanity should progress. Supposing this to be true. hierarchy. Every sentence of the Declaration of the Rights of Man is a challenge to some abuse. merely wanted We to show. word would be "authority. etfac quod vis l The formula its motto to tally. if the French Revolution formulated things as they should be. mighty effort in a direction Now. to reject. in the democratic mood. In the first place. perhaps of conception. for word. Ama. a contrary to that of nature. They are found convenient to prevent. absolute and semi-evangelical as they primitively were. . But it is not necessary to catalogue the objections raised against democracy nor indeed the replies to those objections. it sometimes happens at a given It none the that the intention with invisibly attached to it. it is not easy to gather from them the positive indication of what is to be done. Above all.

slaves to be carried off. She endowed man with a tool-making intelligence. But no matter the thing taken. war is natural.iv NATURAL SOCIETY AND WAR 245 Taken together. she preferred that he should make them at himself. hierarchy. We have taken as well the case of a hunting forest. that it is the first to appear when we scratch below the surface of civilization in search of seized. with a view to the task laid on grown men. Did nature will war? Let us repeat at all. to be used for hunting or fishing. In the boys love fighting. or a lake for fishing. they compose a countenance whose expression can be easily interpreted. Above all. if once again that nature willed nothing we mean by will a faculty of making particular decisions. They get satisfaction of having the other fellow's head. the war-spirit. the motive adduced: the origin of war is ownership. There is now nothing for it but to fight the matter out. But they have the . a lake. they are meant for action in some specific avocation. Self-centredness. all this means discipline. It has been justly said that punched childhood's games were the preparatory training to which nature prompts them. Now man he is any rate while necessarily the owner of his tools. It is in this sense that she willed war. using them. for example. it may just be a matter of fields to be cultivated. as she did for a considerable number of the animal species. But we can go further. indeed. it is easier to acquire them ready-made than to make them. arise But she can- not posit an animal species without implicitly outlining the attitudes and movement which from its structure and extend that structure. cohesion. a river. But since they are things is apart from him. and since humanity is predestined to ownership by its structure. and look on most of the wars recorded in history as preparatory training or sport. When nature. they can be taken away from him. all little We know how their heads punched. women to be same way reasons will be brought forward to justify such dealings. So strong. Instead of supplying him with tools. absolute authority of the chief. is the war instinct. another group may find it more convenient to settle in that very same place than to look further afield. the group of which he is a member may have fixed its choice on a forest. individual or collective.

for the suffering is considerable. which we might call natural. simply to prevent the sword from rusting. It is asserted that woman is provided with a special psychical mechanism which causes her to forget the pains of a too complete recollection might prevent her childbirth: from having another child. where the horror was beyond anything we believed possible. That we should know nothing about a country to which we have never been is not surprising. in?" On the other hand. we should criticize it. for the fun of the thing". to a certain extent. is a fact which calls for explanation. especially among young nations. we a goodly consider the futility of the motives which brought about number of them. But there is also the feeling that we were made for a life of risk and adventure. who could not see two men exchanging fisticuffs in or may anyone join the street without asking. preconceptions and prejudices. The enthusiasm quickly dies down. a number of incidental wars have occurred. Nature has taken yet further precautions in this direction. and because it existed to meet the contingency of those savage wars. "Is this a private affair. and has later tried to initiate his countrymen into what we call a foreign "mentality". Anyone who has lived outside his own country. Some mechanism of the same order really seems to be operative in favour of the horrors of war. we realize that the second account for the first: a war-instinct was inevitable. has felt in them an instinctive resistance. She has interposed between foreigners and ourselves a cunningly woven veil of ignorance. But that. it is strange to see how soon the sufferings of war are forgotten in time of peace. Think now of the enthusiasm of a people at the outbreak of a war! This is doubtless. being ignorant of it. a spontaneous stimulation of courage.246 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. If we leave out the last war. we are reminded of the duellists in Marion Delorme running each other through the body "for no reason. as though peace were but a pause between two wars. The resistance is not any stronger the more . or else the Irishman cited by Lord Bryce. if we put side by to the annihilation of a side with these casual scraps those decisive wars such as led whole people. a defensive reaction against fear. and nearly always unfavourably. however.

are easily reconcilable. Among is The object these are the great conflicts of our own times. All must fight against all.iv NATURAL SOCIETY AND WAR much 247 remote the country. Very in inverse ratio to the distance. yet it was not the same thing. Homo homini deus and Homo homini lupus. prestige or glory. the latent prejudice. apparently. less and less conquest for conquest's sake. the fighting is done with arms forged by our civilization. and the slaughter surpasses in horror any- thing the ancients could have even dreamed of. One corner was set apart. for if perfect mutual knowledge does not necessarily conduce to a fellow-feeling. But this is not the place to enumerate all the visible outward effects of civilization. for which the war-instinct. that day is not far off when one . It the contrary. was We made. They fight to avoid starvation. as did the hordes of the early days. The mastery of a foreign tongue. We had examples of this during the war. Gone anything resem- bling a duel. it varies rather is those whom we have the greatest chance of meeting whom we least want to know. This should be borne in mind when we ask education to pave the way for international understanding. The other applies to foreigners. A professor of German was just as patriotic as any other Frenchman. Let us only say that the two opposing maxims. Gone is the idea of the delegating of the fighting to a limited number of soldiers chosen to represent the nation. Anyone who is thoroughly familiar with the language and literature of a people cannot be wholly its enemy. we are thinking of some fellow-countryman. have just said that besides incidental wars there are essential wars. just as ready to lay down his life. At the pace at which science is moving. Only. When we formulate the first. it at least precludes hate. Pe6ples no longer go to war for the sake of wounded pride. below which they believe that life would not be worth while. just as "worked up" even against Germany. by making possible the impregnation of the mind by the corresponding literature and may at one stroke do away with the prejudice ordained by nature against foreigners in general. Nature could have found no surer way of making every foreigner a virtual enemy. so they say in reality to maintain a certain standard of living.

they yet agree with the optimists in considering the case of two peoples on the verge of war as similar to that of two individuals with a quarrel. Is it vain. it would come up against the deep-rooted war-instinct underopinion like the it will lying civilization. to try and overcome it? think not. but they come back to this position. even so the unexpectedness of a scientific discovery would render increasingly unforeseeable the nature of the resistance the League of Nations would have to organize). latter. earth. in their be materially impossible to compel the former. through some secret process which he was holding in reserve. The object of the present We work was to in- vestigate the origins of morality and religion. Even accept if the League of Nations had at its disposal a seemingly adequate armed force (and even so the recalcitrant nation would still have over the League the advantage of the initial impetus. of the two adversaries. whereas individuals who leave to the judge the business of settling a dispute are in some obscure way encouraged to do so by the instinct of discipline immanent in the closed society: a quarrel has momentarily upset their normal position which was a complete insertion into society. So that the difficulty is far greater. For the difficulty of abolishing war is greater even than is generally realized by most people who have no faith in its abolition. the results already obtained are more than we dared to hope. might leave it at that. They founded the League of Nations. Pessimists though they are. will have the means of annihilating his opponent. Yet there is a radical distinction. as the pendulum swings back to the vertical. We have been led to certain conclusions. The vanquished may vanish off the face of the Are things bound to follow their natural course? Men whom we ists unhesitatingly rank among the benefactors of humanity have fortunately interposed. Now.248 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. to bring this difference before the court and its decision. only. But We since at the basis of our conclusions was a radical distinction between the closed and the open society. since the tendencies . however. Like all great optimthey began by assuming as solved the problem to be solved.

it them or perhaps they prefer to stay where they are. where will it find its food? Industry is called upon to rectify the situation. in our opinion. The surplus population will become factory. we shall have to begin by picturing nations as purely agricultural open one. though the war-instinct does exist independently. The material for its them from factory-workers will thus become "internal emigrants". since They live on the produce of their soil. ineradicable. Suppose have just enough to feed themselves. and receive the food it cannot obtain through home production. is bound up with the industrial character of our civilization. by sending back manufactured products to other countries. For. carrying the whole R . doors. If we want to get an outline. or cease to supply them with starve just as if prefers to the material for manufacture. They become increasingly few as war becomes more terrible. It will pay its debts. If the country does not possess the motive power for its machines. it will try to borrow foreign countries. in the society that is on the way to becoming an all these instincts of discipline originally contowards the war-instinct. of modern conflicts. together with those future ones which we can dimly foresee. The last war. but on foreign countries they are dependent. History tells us that these motives have been extremely varied. we are bound to ask to what verged extent the primitive instinct can be repressed or circumvented. But if there be a surplus of population. They will increase they in proportion as they obtain a higher yield from their soil. or cannot do so because foreign countries close their populations. the raw manufactured goods.iv WAR AND THE INDUSTRIAL AGE 249 of the closed society have. simplified and stylized. foreign leave The country provides them with employment. So far. and if this surplus population refuses to overflow into the world outside. If these countries cease to accept their products. the iron to make them. they had actually settled within its frontiers. it none the less hinges on rational motives. they are just condemned to to death unless they decide. so good. persisted. if we are indeed doomed to have more wars. and answer by a few supplementary considerations a question which occurs to us quite naturally.workers.

take measures which under other circumstances would be inquisitorial. it is merely to point out that the problem does not strike us as insoluble: more competent judges will find something better. luxuries. such is the essential task of an international organism with the abolition of To war as its aim. The gravest of all is over-population. to would it not be possible. like France. etc. and she will bring you Mars. in short. closing of markets. It goes without saying that things never happen so simply as that. But one fact is certain: Europe is overpopulated. conversely. You will not escape regimentation (an unpleasant . If we give 'the outline of a solution. That means war. the world will soon be in the same condition. tion. in over-populated counimpose more or less heavy taxes on every supernumerary child? The State would have the right to interfere. cutting off of fuel eliminate these causes or mitigate their effect. even if the figure be elastic. colonies. to establish the paternity. Let Venus have her way.250 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. as his labour is beginning to be. if this incomplete does not provide affluence. But then. All may lead to war. and if the self-reproduction of man is not "rationalized". In no other matter is it so dangerous to rely upon instinct. tries. pleasures. In a country with too low a birth-rate. Without being exactly in danger of starving to death. used to demand that a bonus be granted to families for every child after the third. We recognize the difficulty of fixing an official limit to the population. country with them. the national is considered insufficient if it provides for a bare it existence. since the State is expected to guarantee the food supply of the country hence that of the child that has been brought into the and world. a country considers if it has not good ports. Antique mythotacitly logy realized this when it coupled the goddess of love with the god of war. the State should doubtless encourage the increase of population: a certain French economist. to go and seize what is refused to them. though the most thorough-going opponent of State intervention. people consider that life is not worth living if industry itself they cannot have comforts. But the outline sufficiently we have just traced emphasizes the main causes: increase in populaand raw material. we shall have war.

whatever happens. would it not be possible to shorten the road before us. Must we live in fear. the general problem of dealing justly with opposing demands represented by both sides as vital? It is a dangerous mistake to think that an international institution can obtain permanent peace without having the authority to intervene in the legislation of the various countries. But who knows? In the course of our last chapter we fancied we had caught sight of a possible link between the mysticism of the West and its industrial civilization. Now.iv WAR AND THE INDUSTRIAL AGE 25! word. set out to enjoy ourselves. and even perhaps in their government. or may we live in hope? For a long time it was taken for granted that industrialism and mechanization would bring happiness to mankind. Everybody feels that the immediate future is going to depend largely on the organization of industry and the conditions it will impose or accept. instead of set aside the main question. that of population. but an unavoidable thing). the more or less unrestricted movement of products. And doubtedly mankind seems to be as far away as ever from it. no single one of these difficulties is insurmountable. which will have to be resolved for its own sake. What will happen when problems almost equally grave arise. if an adequate portion of We humanity is determined to surmount them. such as the distribution of raw materials. amenities and luxuries. Maintain the principle of the sovereignty of the State. Today one is ready to lay to their door all the ills from which we it . But we must face up to them. repeat. That of peace at home depends on if our life at the origin of great just as much. if you will: it is bound to be whittled down in its application to individual cases. What We We were to become more ascetic? Mysticism is unmoral transformations. or even to smooth away all negotiating them one by one? Let us the difficulties at once. and realize what has to be given up if war is to be abolished. The others arise principally from the direction taken by our existence since the demand material comfort. We have just seen that the problem of peace between nations is contingent on this problem. The matter needs to be gone into thoroughly. great expansion of industry.

since it is then the by all the intermediate experience. athirst is said.252 suffer. will form the conclusion of the present work. The uninterrupted enjoyment of an eagerlysought advantage engenders weariness or indifference. In that case. Whereas the parents themselves on the present state of things as an congratulate acquisition for which they remember paying dearly. True. a slight deviation beginning may have been enough to produce a wider and wider divergence between the point aimed at and the object reached. brings about a reaction in the opposite direction. Perhaps it is nearer the goal than it thinks. The desire will be found principally in the rising generations. on to extricate themselves . and is not the same when it swings back as on the outward swing. and have not such had from them. MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM Never. which has sometimes been used. luxury and wealth. things never get done of themselves. it would seem. was humanity more for pleasure. As a matter of fact. All prolonged action. Since we have brought a charge against industrial effort. This The alternations of ebb and flow in history have often been discussed. let us examine it more closely. but let us go back to the imirresistible force An seems to pulsion at the origin. drive it more and more violently towards the satisfaction of its basest desires. and pendulum swings on indefinitely. it brings with it unforeseen drawbacks. This is why the of a spiral movement. But perhaps it has already prepared the means of doing so. it ends by making conspicuous the good side of what has been given up and arousing a desire to get it back. If at the it was a strong one. True. it seldom fulfils completely its promise. the children give it no more thought than the air they breathe. we should not concern ourselves so much with the divergence as with the impulsion. in this case the pendulum is endowed with memory. Then it starts anew. who have not experienced the ills of the past. it CH. Humanity will only change if it is intent upon changing. there are psychological and which we might a priori predict as productive of effects. image is perhaps more correct than that of the oscillations of a richer social causes pendulum. That may be.

and the human societies. until their accumulated weight causes the government to fall. they are alive to disadvantages which are nothing but the reverse side of the advantages so painfully won for them. in spite of the swing of the pendulum. If the evolution of the organized world takes place according to certain laws. they are there to all do it. but because parliamentary government was conceived in part with the Such actions State. and mistakes are stored up. But. the between the two opposite extremes is the result of certain very simple contrivances set up by society. it is impossible that the psychological evolution of individual and social man should entirely renounce these habits of life. it -will have more or less modified the content of its ideas and hence the significance of its principles. if it is intelligent.iv EVOLUTION OF TENDENCIES 253 the other hand. I mean by virtue of certain forces. There is thus no unescapable historic law. Each team will come back into power. It is not the effect of a paramount necessity towering above the particular causes of alternation and dominating human events in general. and reactions are characteristic of the modern by reason of any historical fatality. but their slightest mistake is scored. in such cases. But there are biological laws. In reality the Opposition will have profited. There is no obstacle which cannot be broken down by wills sufficiently keyed up. or certain oscillation very obvious tendencies of the individual. Does such a necessity exist? We do not believe in the fatality of history. if only men care about it. pertain to biology on this particular point. or rather because of it. Thus may arise a wish to put the clock back. not very object of providing a channel for discontent. the game will go on with perfect regularity. by the experience it has left the party in power to work out. if they deal with it in time. Now we have shown . If there are two opposing and two only. in so far as they are partly willed by nature. The powers that be receive but moderate praise for the good they do. Thus progress becomes possible. bringing with it the prestige of principles which have apparently remained intact during the period in which it had no responparties sibility to bear: principles sit with the Opposition.

Here the tendencies. born of the process of . more- and multiplicity. and the material form they have assumed prevents them from reuniting to bring back again. each independently. reflex. over. All we need is to look at life Some ment without any idea of artificial recomposition supervening. by the mere fact of its growth. divergent directions. the Not so in the evolution of the psychical tendency.wise growth. only if we consider it in retrowhen the multitudinous views taken of its past undivided spect.254 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. from that hour the original orange colour can be looked at from the twofold point of view of red and yellow. creating. But there is no real necessity for fancy and comparisons. but which becomes retroactively. and if we supposed. we should have a very simple example of what we call fan. that yellow and red appeared through an intensification of orange. it was. others are inclined to see in tary actions The truth is that the reflex and the volunembody two views. by a trick of fancy. each of impetus. which was neither the one nor the other. We which will receive a certain portion of the added that there was nothing mysterious about this law. Let us imagine that it in the world. Only. We could say the same of instinct and intelligence. more fully evolved. of many other pairs of divergent and complementary tendencies. of a primordial. both at once. the tendencies thus created by a process of dichotomy are to be found in species different from one another. stronger than original and social more complex. elsewhere that the essence of a vital tendency is to develop fan-wise. But it will have been composed of yellow and red when these two colours are born in their turn. life. they have set forth. of animal life and vegetable life. in the general evolution of life. to seek their fortunes in the world. the only colour that has as yet made its appearance Would it be already a composite of yellow and red? Obviously not. character allow us to reconstruct were actually created by orange is its with elements which development. indivisible activity. indistinct. through them. It simply expresses the fact that a tendency is the forward thrust of an indistinct multiplicity. now rendered possible. psychologists hold the act of volition to be a composite the reflex activity a curtailof volition. which is.

As a rule. one of them will less be clung to first. with what we have acquired in the course of this evolution. its opposite. develop in the same individual. we can take up the first one again and push it further forward still. during the operation. That one will then be developed in its turn. as is generally the case. since action this will on the move creates own route. and our new effort will be continued until. we are entirely given up to one of the two tendencies. This is especially the case with the very general tendencies which determine the trend of a society. and whose development necessarily extends over a new more or less considerable number of generations. the situation moreover not being the same two and ground having been gained by the time the pendulum has swung back to its original position. reinforced by new acquisitions. they can only be developed in succession.iv " DICHOTOMY " AND " TWO-FOLD FRENZY " 255 splitting. generally as far as possible. which hence becomes advantageous also. If there are two of them. the first intervening when circumstances require. we shall come back to take up the one we left behind. we are apt to say that it alone is positive and that the other was only other its negation. would be a co-operation of the two tendencies. cannot say where lead to. the other restraining it when it threatens to go too far. even a superhuman one. It will then be said and this will be more or less true. advantageous in itself. its An intelli- gence. But it does sometimes happen that this is quite the correct way of putting it. at the same time emphasizing the advantage. Since. Unfortunately. It would seem as though the wise course. if we like to put things in this way. This is when a tendency. creates a situation which removes the danger. then. or in the same society. the former being neglected. then. and that there was really oscillation between two opposites. Sometimes the mere say where exaggeration and danger fact of going further than appeared reasonable leads to new surroundings. cannot be moderated otherwise than by the action of a counter-tendency. with this one we shall move more or forward. it is difficult to begin. creates . the is. since it alone counts. as a matter of fact. as the case may be that the progress was due to an oscillation between the opposites.

no risk of stumbling into absurdity. there would have been an insurance against disaster. of tendencies which began by being two photographic views. but not actually. Now we must not make something exaggerated use of the word "law" in a field which is that it bolts ahead as the barriers collapse is of liberty. It is necessary to keep on to the bitter end in one direction. The counter-tendency then steps into the place that has been vacated. with all we have acquired. these comings and goings appear only as the opposing principles of . In such a case. As the two tendencies. then. which would then have been virtually. looked at from the outside. And we law of twofold frenzy the imperative from each of the two tendencies as soon demand. Doubtless. a distinct and contrary force of impulsion. to be pursued to the very end as if there was an end! Once more. one pushes further and further afield. There would have been. thus being kept within bounds by the very coincidence of its propulsive power with the power of stopping. as their interpenetration in an undivided primitive tendency is as far as this will the very definition of moderation. would have moderated each other. so to speak. If the other was called action. by a mere splitting up. to a very great extent the conditions under which it is to be fulfilled. if they had journeyed together. but regularity. often only stopping on the very brink of disaster. it is difficult not to wonder whether the simple tendency would not have done better to grow without dividing in two. of one and the same tendency. forthcoming as it is materialized by the splitting. and thus baffles all calculation. but this would not have given the maximum of propose to designate creation. it will go it can go. to find out what it will yield: when we can go no further. to set off in the direction from which we had turned aside. the mere fact of taking up all the room imparts to each of them such an impetus that one by one. in its turn. we may use this convenient term when we sufficient are confronted with important facts which show So we will call law of dichotomy that law which apparently brings about a materialization. Yes. then be reaction.256 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. there frenzied about it. in quantity and in quality. alone. we turn back.

the struggles which she stages for us do not betoken pugnacity so much as curiosity. new needs arise. thus will the content of the original tendency develop. do the satiswith which new inventions meet old needs induce humanity to leave things at that. he is strongly inclined to pick out from a whole more or less extended period of history those characteristics which make of it a struggle between two two principles. could tell what the effort. we progress in the should be tempted to believe in indefinite factions same direction. dealing with the concern for comfort and luxury which has apparently become the main preoccupation of We were humanity. indeed. that the progress of humanity assumes a certain regularity and conforms though very imto such laws as those we have stated. be it said time has come to close this all too long parenthesis. when it yields to the original impulsion. that so many inventions are the application of science. if it materializes these two possibilities into moving realities. Of such are the workings of nature. And it is precisely when it imitates nature. To-day it is a . each one of which leaps forward and monopolizes the available space. and that science is destined to extend its scope indefinitely. perfectly. the futile attempt of the one to thwart the other. if indeed we can speak of a content when no one. on a track along which are surging ever denser crowds. Only parties. two societies or coming off victorious. When we consider how it has developed the spirit of invention. not even the tendency will issue itself if it from it. It supplies achieved consciousness. in quantity or quality. each of them in turn But the struggle is here only the superficial aspect of an advance. and the result is a surprise. We have seen the race for comfort proceeding faster and faster. Never. just as imperious and increasingly numerous. The truth is that a tendency on which two different views are possible can only put forth its maximum.iv LAW OF " TWO-FOLD FRENZY " 257 the two tendencies. while the other is on the watch unceasingly for its own turn to come. the ultimate failure of the second and the revenge of the first: man loves the dramatic. But the Let us merely show how our two laws would apply in the case which led us to open it.

ahead of us. that they correspond to the focusing after the ever-increasing plicity.258 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. Rich we consider as necessities. we may presume from two opposite positions of one primordial tendency. stampede. There is no need to recall the exaggerations to which it led. proceeding along each of the two roads. the privilege of a few. progress by oscillation. even more than it had to give. and which developed in the opposite direction an activity of which the present frenzy is the complement? In point of fact. which we shall examine presently. and this is true. a return to sim- This return is obviously not a certainty. 193)- La Ranfon du machinisme . was popularized by religion. here already you had frenzy. It may be alleged that asceticism was confined to a very small minority. There was for one and all an absence of comfort which to us and poor did without superfluities which It has been pointed out that if the lord lived better than the peasant. we must understand by this that he had more abundant food. both of them. one after the other. getting back into one direction with everything that had been picked up by the way in the other. complexity of life. But if. Here we are. frantically. which was doubtless exceptional. lie only possibilities or probabilities. have behaved. became diluted for the rank and file of mankind into a general indifference to the conditions of daily existence. Throughout the Middle Ages. in the presence of two divergent tendencies which have succeeded each other and is astonishing. And we should expect. the difference was slight. That signifies oscillation and progress. so concentrated asceticism. 1 Otherwise. everything that was in its capacity. But just as mysticism. in quantity and quality. then. it is from the fifteenth or sixteenth century onward that men seemed to aspire to easier material conditions. But ought not this very frenzy open our eyes? Was there not some other frenzy to which it has succeeded. precisely because it is on humanity that it depends. an ascetic ideal had predominated. See Gina Lombroso's interesting work. which in this way contrived to evolve from itself. So. the future of humanity remains indeterminate. we cannot say the same for the past: the two opposite develop1 (Paris.

are indeed apt to develop into "double frenzy". there is no happiness without security out the prospect of being able to rely on the permanence of a state into which one has settled oneself. But the simplification and complication do indeed follow from a "dichotomy". so that each individual might interpret it after his own fashion. Here is a word which is commonly used to designate something intricate and ambiguous. the other to vanity. there improbable in the return to a simpler life. along with popular Epicureanism which was at times the unbridled pursuit of pleasure. it is conceivable that physiology and medical science may reveal . it would suffice to note that. If there were the least doubt about the common essence of the two mental attitudes to which these principles correspond.iv RETURN TO A SIMPLER LIFE 259 ments which we have just indicated are indeed those of a single original tendency. as we have said above. They developed into Epicureanism and Stoicism with their two opposing tendencies. one of those ideas which humanity has intentionally left vague. the other that we should learn to do without them. is nothing Science itself might show us the way. in fact have all that is required to alternate periodically. there was the Epicureanism of Epicurus. But in whatever sense it is underI mean withstood. pursued in two different directions which And were complementary. Whereas physics and chemistry help us to satisfy and encourage us to multiply our needs. The truth is that the two principles are at the heart in Socrates of the traditional conception of happiness. indeed the history of ideas bears witness to it. This assurance is to be found either in the mastering of things. according to which the supreme pleasure was to need no pleasures. came the Cyrenaic and the Cynic doctrines: the one insisted that we should demand from life the greatest possible number of satisfactions. laxity and tension. or in the mastering of self which makes one independent of things. in the Epicurean school itself. This being so. whether inwardly perceived or outwardly manifested: the one may lead to pride. In both cases thefe is delight in one's strength. Out of Socratic thought.

if taken as meaning that we have let certain natural tendencies lie dormant from our infancy. and that it would be difficult to reawaken them in middle age. It may be alleged that we are both right. I do believe it tried one. to a vegetarian. the mere sight of meat is sickening. 1 We We . as it is also. I enjoy a well-prepared dish of meat. if decisive experiments came to not impossible they will. more and more tion. tion on it. I was taught in my school days that the composition of foodstuffs was known.260 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. Perhaps: but I cannot help noting that vegetarian is thoroughly convinced he will never revert to his old inclina- my tions. and that there is no more arguing about taste than about colour. altogether. He I am not nearly so sure that I shall always stick has been through both experiments. the would fade away prove. takes its remote origin from "deficiencies" of which we have no inkling. for which medical science has no cure. perhaps even (who knows) not cooked at all. It is commonly said that the human stomach has lost the habit. that we could not feed ourselves nowadays like primitive man. that it was possible to deduce and sufficient ration to maintain life. The master would have been very much surprised to hear requirements of our organs from this the necessary that chemical analysis did not take into account "vitamins" whose presence in food is indispensable to health. whereas to mine. I have only His repulsion grows stronger as he fixes his attenwhereas my satisfaction is largely a matter of inattention and tends to pale in a strong light. It will probably be found that more than one malady. all the clearly to us all the dangers of this multiplica- disappointments which accompany the majority of our satisfactions. subject. This is true. The only sure means of absorbing all we need would be to have our food subjected to no preparation. But that we are born modified is hardly probable: even if our stomach is different from that hasten to state that we have no particular knowledge of this have chosen the example of meat as we might have that of any other usual food. that I am directly and 1 slowly poisoning myself by eating meat. who used to like it as much as I do. Here again the belief in the heredity of acquired habits has done great harm.

we are supposed to move up the scale from we want comfort to luxury: when we have made sure of our comfort to cap it with pleasures. at the of luxuries in order to please to please herself. Let the transformation take place: our life will be both more purposeful and more simple. and pleasure more than comfort. woman demands and. But this is a purely intellectualist psychology. humanity has performed an endlessly increasing number of variations: so many. The is that around a violent but paltry sensation. What trouble .iv RETURN TO A SIMPLER LIFE 261 of our prehistoric ancestors. What about our other needs? The demands of the procreative senses are imperious. all of which it would considerably simplify. taken as an original theme. Because luxuries cost more than mere conveniences. Sex. Thus the senses are constantly being roused by the imagination.appeal is the keynote of our whole civilization. but they would be quickly settled. in fact. Let us suppose that it does so in the sense we foresee: the mere reform of our food supply would have immeasurable reactions on our industry. There will be less waste. our agriculture. great extent unnecessary. pleasure and comfort are indeed closely in the way akin. then comes love of luxury on top of all. which imagines that our feelings are the exact counterpart of their objects. the difference is not due to mere habit contracted down the ages. The truth is that it is generally for the sake . and less enviousness. Woman will hasten the coming of this time according as she real ly and sincerely strives to become man 's equal instead of remaining the instrument she still is. waiting to vibrate under the musician's bow. It will not be long before science enlightens us on all these points. Luxury. Here again science has something to say. our trade. rebound. It is our way to arrange them in a certain gradation. though the connexion between them is not what it is generally supposed to be. that almost any object struck on some particular point now gives out a sound which rings like that haunting music. they are supposed to be keeping pace with goodness knows what corresponding desire. if we hearkened to nature alone. will become to a man. and it will say it one day so clearly that all must listen: there will no longer be pleasure in so much love of pleasure.

spent a great part of their efforts abroad in procuring spices. as services cinnamon are to-day. let us recognize the incomparable . of which the discovery of America was a mere incident. all this as a balloon which man has madly inflated. though the chances are that they may not be quite so neglected. they contain cause for for hope as well. and we hope not. the energy and the spirit of adventure. Many are of the opinion that it is mechanical invention in general which has developed the cloves and . hope that they will multiply and spread wherever they are needed. all these things which pleasure. fill us with so much anxiety for the future of humanity. the pursuit of craving the unbridled love of luxury. Since to-day the supreme ambition for so many men is to have a car. But reflect a moment. so perilous in those days. that for this thousands of men risked their lives. and appear which will deflate just as suddenly. now that they Who can be had for a few pence from the grocer round the corner? Such facts as these are sad reading for the moralist. pepper and cinnamon. How many delicacies are sought after solely because they are expensive! For years civilized people we lack look to us like luxuries.frenzy. the com- parison of present-day facts with those of the past is a warning to us to regard as transient tastes which appear to be permanent. because the CH. admire the mechanical marvel they are. but let us say to ourselves that a short time hence they may not be so greatly in demand just as an amenity or "for swank*'. We have just cited an example of the craving for luxuries arising from a mechanical invention. Here we come to the essential point of our discussion. were mainly employed in the search for troubles about ginger.262 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM we want our comforts. More particularly. cloves. becontinual creature in them solid satisfactions. The comforts. rendered by motor-cars. of our luxuries that forts com- and because we want to and equal those people who can afford them. It is amazing to think that this was the supreme object of navigation. these flavourings which so long tasted delicious. In the imitate beginning was vanity. know that one frenzy cause it seems to find will We brings on the counter. that the courage.

1 The fact has been recalled that man has always invented machines. or whether it is not the artificial need which has guided the spirit of invention. in many cases from theory but a step. But that was the steam-engine was invented. which runs between narrow banks so 1 We Mantoux. and indeed for mere comfort. by a simple process of releasing. this because there seems to be no reason why humanity should abandon the path of mechanical invention. the more its is inventions are suggested by science advances. it really does look indeed as though there could be no end to the satisfying of our old needs and the creation of new ones. deposited the day in coal. that many a clever mechanical device was thought of long before the development of modern science. assumed giant proportions as soon as science took a hand. It is confirmed by recent research on the origin of mechanization. and as it were visible. and we know that this invention was not the outcome of theoretical con- when siderations. slow enough at first. Nay. the potential energies stored up for millions of years. Let us add that. bor- rowed from the sun. without scientific culture. La Revolution again refer the reader to Gina Lombroso's fine work. and. It is none the less true that the spirit of mechanical invention. . oil. will hit on improvements which have never occurred to skilled engineers. Mechanical invention is a natural gift. that antiquity has remarkable ones to show. once it has started definitely is on it. also industrielle an dix-huitieme siccle. etc. at a later stage. the more discoveries. Let us hasten to add that the progress made. Cf. forces: muscular effort. But we must first ascertain whether the spirit to application in this case of invention necessarily creates artificial needs.iv TRUE VOCATION OF MACHINERY 263 taste for luxuries. and since science cannot stop. The second hypothesis is by far the more probable. Doubtless its effects were limited so long as it was confined to utilizing actual. The machine only developed its full efficiency from the day when it became possible to place at its service. if it is admitted that our material needs will go on ingenerally growing more numerous and more imperious. independently of it: even to-day a mere workman. wind or water power.

If the land produced much more. a demand on the part of science. there much food for the consimply that. If mechanization is in any way to blame. It may be said that these two terms are hard to define. but showing. as some people are inclined to believe. To put it clearly: though not neglecting the necessary. and that what are luxuries to some people are necessities to others. It will be said that agricultural implements exist and are now widely used. and could. and has not in this case taken the initiative. but independence. when it leaves it again. 1 or of starving to death. it is for not having sufficiently devoted itself to helping man in his agricultural labour. The being properly organized. production in general not no market for exchange. I grant it. if need be. But there are cases where subtlety should be cast aside and a broad view taken.264 long as MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM it is left CH. But the truth is that science has given what was asked of it. Similarly we have the Rhone entering the Lake 'of Geneva. expands indefinitely after its conjunction with science. it has not taken the trouble to ensure for the majority of men. that it has preserved its to itself. by the mere fact of its development. all that science has done on its side to increase if that more 1 agricultural products and which may even start obviously not due to the fact that there is too There are doubtless periods of "over-production" extending to from these. it is the spirit of invention which has not always operated in the best interests of humanity. True. do without it. imposing on men. but all that mechanization has done here to lighten man's burden. increasingly artificial needs. it has thought too much about the superfluous. and it would be easy enough here to lose one's way amid subtle and fine distinctions. for all were possible. Overproduction here is but a deceptio visus. If that were so. yet remains distinct from it. It has created a mass of new needs. There are some who starve to death. humanity would be doomed to a growing materiality. There has not been then. for the progress of science will never cease. But they are fact is is sumption of mankind. Millions of men never get enough to eat. . apparently mingling with its waters. there would be far fewer chances of not getting enough to eat. the satisfaction of old needs.

iv TRUE VOCATION OF MACHINERY soil. and if the workman uses this increase of leisure for something else than the so-called pleasures which an ill-directed industry has put within the reach of all. But the head should come before the hat. 265 the yield of the feel strongly that agriculture. is serve humanity. writing about the Americans. he will develop his intelligence as he chooses. and I shall put up with a hat like everybody else's. itself. with having fostered luxury. no other thought than that of selling. the main grievance is often left out. if the economy of time and labour thus realized by the mass of the nation permitted the furtherance of intellectual culture and the development of true originality. in any case be the first concern of industry Generally speaking. which would co-ordinate industry and agriculture and allot to the machine its proper place. We which nourishes man. and then that leads to a uniformity of production which shocks the aesthetic sense. I mean the place where it can best It simply complied with public taste. lastly with having widened the gap and revolutionized the relations between employer and employed. between capital and labour. As regards uniformity of products. with having favoured the towns to the detriment of the countryside. Such is not our grievance against mechanization. we should like to see a central. when the case against mechanization stated. dominate and manufactured with Here as elsewhere. Without disputing the services it has rendered to man by greatly developing the means of satisfying real needs. we of my head as reproach it with having too strongly encouraged artificial ones. Allow me to furnish the interior criticizes I please. organizing intelligence. instead of remaining content with the development which would have been imposed upon him. by a return (impossible in fact) to tools. and necessarily maintained within very narrow limits. were machines abolished. them for all wearing the same hat. the disadvantage would be negligible. But if the machine procures for the work- man more free time. should all else. amounts to comparatively little. These . The charge is that it it first converts the workman into a mere machine. An author. industry has not troubled enough about the greater or lesser importance of needs to be satisfied. Thus.

We. cannot help transferring back the image of it to the beginning: the present. Was do not believe in the unconscious We in history: the great undercurrents of thought of which so much has been written are due to the fact that masses of men have been carried along by one or several individuals. but insufficiently active so long as it was not given the necessary scope? There was surely no thought then of luxuries for all. still less a fatality inherent to the machine. sixteenth and eighteenth centuries (and still less the seventeenth. for it is humanity and not the alleged force of circumstances. then. indeed.266 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. The initiative can come from humanity alone. and then the machine would be nothing but a great benefactor. there is no doubt that the earliest features of what was destined later to become mechanization were sketched out at the same time as the first yearnings after democracy. suppose that it was a breath of democracy which urged the spirit of inven- tion onward. Now. The We not to attribute to the fifteenth. The connexion between the two tendencies becomes plainly visible in the eighteenth century. who know what followed. that spirit as old as humanity. can all be corrected. which is so different and has been considered as a sublime parenthesis) a concern . then. which has started the spirit of invention along a certain track. if the road has been straight and the journey long. effects. is then what we call the unconscious individuals of the past. but did not foresee all the consequences. These knew what they were doing. But then. of many retroactivity of the present is at the origin shall be careful. humanity must set about simplifying its existence with as much frenzy as it devoted to complicating it. of dignity in security for all. reflected back into the past and perceived inside it as though in a mirror. Should we not. or even of comforts for all. But did humanity wholly intend this? Was the impulsion it gave at the beginning exactly in the same direction that industrialism has actually taken? What is at the outset only an imperceptible deviation becomes in the end a considerable divergence. It is a striking feature of the "Encyclopaedists". But there might have been the desire of an this a conscious wish? assured material existence. philosophical delusions.

though they did not always realize that it was the same body. in endowing us with an essentially tool-making intelligence. In other words. active mysticism aspires to radiate. the tool- equipment of humanity is therefore a continuation of its body. in a humanity obsessed by the fear of hunger? How Man will only rise above earthly things if a powerful equipment supplies him with the requisite fulcrum. so out of proportion to the size and strength of that organism. have endowed it with a power so mighty. even essence. should be. This has not been sufficiently realized. our instruments must then be artificial organs. by virtue of the charity which is its could it spread. against the form taken until then by same period. and which convert into motion a potential energy stored up for millions of years. the Renaissance and the first symptoms or pre- cursory signs of the great inventive impetus date from the It is not impossible that there were here three reactions. have actually imparted to our organism an extension so vast. Let us go further it still. It is none the less true that the Reformation. prepared for us in this way a certain expansion. as what it is in If our organs are natural The workman's instruments. complete. but it showed like a heavenly body that had up to then always turned the same face towards man: people now began to catch a glimpse of the other side. He must use matter as a support if he wants to get away from matter. Neither shall we attribute to them the vision of the power which lay hidden in the spirit of invention. diluted and enfeebled as it must necessarily be. because machinery. is none the less certain. through a mistake at the points. tool is the continuation of his arm.iv TRUE VOCATION OF MACHINERY 267 for democratic ideas comparable to our own. . Both the one and the other will ever be peculiar to the few. Nature. We are struck by the accidental result. rather than all. This ideal subsisted just the same. we do not see mechanization as essence. But machines which run on oil or coal or "white coal". has been switched off on to a track at the end of which lies liberation for exaggerated comfort and luxury for the few. But that true. interrelated. the Christian ideal. the mystical summons up the mechanical. That mysticism evokes asceticism there is no doubt.

the author makes an invaluable contribution to the philosophy of history. So fill it. by noting it. is but a counterfeit of true 1 are speaking figuratively. it was. and which his many books have made abundantly clear. of course. through and looking heavenwards. distended out of all proportion. We now larger. Hence the tremendous social. which for depth and forcefulness are beyond praise. it. 2 meaning only part of which we deal with here. We A . But he himself this sense. would probably be of the opinion that mysticism taken in and indeed understood in this way by "imperialism" such as he exhibits it. Ernest Seilliere 2 attributes to it. as also in the case of the word "imperialism". political and international problems which are just so many definitions of this gap. calls for a bigger soul. the soul remains what in this body. let and which provoke so many What we need are new moral energy this time. only if mankind. as we did above. that the mystical must add that the body. perhaps. the greatest on the planet. helped as it were by a chance blow of the pick-axe which struck against a miraculous treasure under- ground. in standing In a long series of writings. Coal was known long before the steam-engine turned it into a treasure. too small to fill it. the fact is 'undeniable. and that mechanism should mean mysticism. Machinery will find its true vocation again. can succeed. The origins of the process of mechanization are indeed more mystical than we might imagine.268 that surely MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM none of all this CH. If we give to this latter word the sense M. Hence the gap between the two. at the beginning: the extension took place automatically. Ernest Seilliere shows how national ambitions claim for themselves divine missions: "imperial- ism" naturally becomes "mysticism". by linking it up with its causes and following it in its effects. too weak to guide it. summons up the mechanical. it will render services in proportion to its power. was foreseen in this structural plan of our species: here was material success of man a unique stroke of luck. spiritual impulsion A had been given. 1 Now. which it has bowed still erect lower to the earth. M. chaotic and ineffectual efforts to reserves of potential energy us not merely say.

permitted. I ftiean with the feeling which certain souls have that they are the instruments of God who loves all men with an equal love. This will be a sovereignty. alike docile and recalcitrant. stripped of its old tags and left in its static form with the new label supplied by dynamic religion. Nature let . He will yearn to make of it a new species. The gods of the city fought with and for the city. or rather deliver it from the necessity of being a species. the mysticism of "dynamic religion" which we studied in the last chapter. It was a borrowing from the "static religion" of the ancients. precisely in order that man shall no longer have so much sovereignty over man. one of a link between the of the essential characteristics of ancient religions was the idea human groups and the deities attached to them. not over men. for every species means a collective halt. but over things. that mysticism cannot be disseminated without encouraging a very special "Will to power". and whose soul he cism. he will draw after him a humanity already vastly grown in body. it endows the God of the modern mystic with the is nationalism of the ancient gods. it instinctively decks itself out in this garb. as we have just put it. it was almost unintentional. Let a mystic genius but appear.iv THE SUMMONS OF THE HERO 269 mysticism. and who bids them to love each other. and complete existence is mobility in individuality. For we must remember that "static religion" is natural to man. Now. It ialism becomes mysticism. At the be admitted. The innate beliefs of our ancestors sub- the depths of our inner selves. they reappear as soon as they are no longer inhibited by opposing forces. There was indeed nothing fraudulent in this imitation. rising from the darkest depths of the soul to the surface of consciousness. This belief is incompatible with true mysticism. The great breath of life which swept our planet had carried organization as far along as nature. and meeting there with the image of true mysticism as the modern mystics have revealed it to the world. So that shall if in this sense that imperwe keep to true mysti- judge it incompatible with imperialism. But. We believe the counterfeiting to have taken place in the following way. and that nature does not sist in alter. we most it will has transfigured.

shall see the path before us. Such was the human body. What assisted influence? We have seen how the talent of invention. as us repeat is the name we body compact though intentions could be attributed to it. was the most complete thing nature had found it possible to produce. has endowed us with powers beside which those of our body barely count: they will be altogether limitless when science is able to liberate the force which is enclosed. a fringe of intuition. and. we ought to. There the evolution of life stopped. but we shall all feel that we which will At the same time. But what about things spiritual? Has spirit been scientifically inves- .270 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM it CH. raising the construction of instruments to a degree of complexity and perfection which nature (so incapable of mechanical construction) had not even foreseen. But perhaps it will be just as well not to count too much on the coming of a great privileged soul. and the vain shadows for which we fight. We were alluding here to physico-chemical energies. of creative intelligence. pouring into these machines reserves of energy which nature (so heedless of economy) had never even thought of. or rather condensed. To-morrow the way will be clear. Let once the summons of the hero shall not all follow it. by setting out once more we are merely willing again what we had willed at the start. But now intelligence. and to a science that was concerned with matter. had put unsuspected energies at by science. in the very direction of the breath which had carried life to the point where come. Failing that. man's disposal. The material barrier then has well nigh vanished. in the slightest A particle of ponderable matter. for become a highway pass along each and every philosophy the mystery of supreme obligation will be a mystery no longer: a journey had been begun. some other influences might divert our attention from the baubles that amuse us. round about that intelligence. it had had to be interrupted. give to the totality of comwhich life encounters in raw matter pliances and resistances a totality which we treat. if and we we it. it had to stop. and not the movement. It is always the stop which requires explanation. just as the biologist does.

of explaining everything in terms of matter. when we leave the word unqualified. until such time as they might rebound on to the science of the spirit. Suppose. it has diverted science from the observation of certain facts. and thus invest with unquestionable authority. nothing more is to be found in the mind. again. The most pressing needs had to be taken first. that it now turns its attention to the soul? It will picture the life of the soul too as if it were spread out in space. have We given the reasons for this on another occasion. indeed. even to-day. Suppose. to chemistry. we take the relation of the body it to the soul. which have spread from geometry to physics. And yet. For human intelligence has thus been left time to get scientifically supported. for three whole centuries it had no other object. the thing was to extract from mathematics all it could give in explanation of the world in which we live. Geometry existed already. its habit of looking at things as if they all occupied so much space. it will extend to this new object the image it kept of the old: hence the errors of an atomistic psychology. For it was agreed that the material accompaniment of mental activity was its equivalent: every reality being supposed to have its basis in space. the precision.iv PSYCHICAL RESEARCH 271 tigated as thoroughly as it might have been? Do we know to what results such investigation might lead? Science attended first to matter. so they said. Nor was it desirable. it is understood that we mean the science of matter. the rigour. hence the futile efforts a philosophy that claims to attain to the spirit without seeking it in real enduring time. Not only has started metaphysics on a false scent. then. causing them to be excommunicated beforehand in the name of I know not what dogma. the demand for proof. it had been considerably advanced by the ancients. it would not have attained. it has certainly suffered to some extent from coming so late. on the other hand. which does not take into account the mutual overlapping of psychic of* states. than what a super- . We have indicated why the scientific study of matter preceded that of the spirit. The confusion is graver still. unaided. or rather it has prevented certain sciences from being born. to biology. to begin by the science of the spirit.

we have attempted to prove. from man's perception objects which by their nature are beyond the 1 We have shown above how a sense such as that of sight carries further. an obstacle to perception. It helps us to see what we have to on the other hand. It plucks for us a straight in front of us in the interests of real psychical life out of the immense field of dreams. a filter or a but it is also screen. The activity of the spirit has indeed a material concomitant. The second theory is indeed influenced by the first. Its rcMe is to perform the appropriate gesture on any and every occasion. The body is indeed for us a means of action. for this very reason it must keep consciousness clear both of such memories as would not throw any light on the present situation. right and left for the mere sake of looking.272 MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. that this thesis is a pure metaphysical hypothesis. and. But no less arbitrary is the metaphysics opposed to it. It maintains in a virtual state anything likely to hamper the action by becoming actual. by adhereing as close as possible to the configuration of facts that the function of the body is something quite different. the rest lies buried in the unconscious. mental activity is coextensive with cerebral activity and corresponds to it at every point in our present life. It is the organ of attention to life. t (see p. for this metaphysics. it prevents us from looking to do. by removing the preconceived ideas accepted on both sides. an arbitrary interpretation of facts. as you like to take it. Now. but one which only corresponds to part of it. our brain is intended neither to create our mental images nor to treasure them up. it merely limits them.). 1 It is. Cf. its because Matter e et instrument makes this extension inevitable memoire the whole of chap. 222. state is supposed to make use of a cerebral state which merely serves as its instrument. together with the perception of objects over which we have no control. having always lain under its spell. so as to But make them effective. and according to which each mental too. ln v a word. human Note physiologist could read in the corresponding brain. . either limited to screen in the body or in the consciousness some contrivance expressly designed by the body. this means that there must have been provided. i.

the door which they kept shut opens a little way: there enters in something of a "without" which may be a "beyond". his attitude of fully confidence towards matter. It with these abnormal perceptions that "psychical research" is is concerned. typical and human evidence can always be disputed. become so likely that we should rather be surprised at the time they have shall not here go had to wait before they were studied. If these mechanisms get out of order. their trust more so: we know how soon one is apt to relax one's guard. between body and spirit. above all. And they are convinced of it because they believe be undeniable. if they did not know that there exists no conceivable means of establishing the impossibility of a fact. Consequently. the phenomena recorded by "psychical research". were it not that. has become for us characteristic of all science. The scientist is in our eyes the physicist. We are reluctant to go on treating as scientific a form still of investigation which requires of the investigators that they be ever on the look out for trickery. in the main. or at least some of them. "impossible" they would say. as we said just now. are readily explained. the reality of "telepathic phenomena" is called in doubt after the mutual corroboration of thousands of statements which have been collected on the over again a matter we have . Their distrust makes us uneasy. and if this is admitted. To is intelligible. definitely established. to take what seems to us the most strongly established fact. they are none the less convinced. It is a certain extent the opposition it encounters a science that rests on human evidence. that it is so perilously easy to glide from curiosity to credulity. We discussed elsewhere. The facts suggest a very different hypothesis. Let us merely say. Now we have just seen that this relation is purely hypothetical. which is obviously not justified out to deceive him. But the flat denial which some true scientists oppose to "psychical research" would never be understood. certain reluctances. a certain relation between the organism and consciousness. that if. of that impossibility. but postulated to by a certain metaphysics. that it is not proved by science.iv PSYCHICAL RESEARCH 273 reach of man's action. they regard the facts reported as "improbable". for example.

is to become of history? The truth is that one must make a selection among us. Pleasure would be eclipsed by joy. that science itself the results which "psychical research" puts before by no means considers them all of equal value. In truth. intended to provide a means of circumventing each successive obstacle that our nature sets up against our civilization. ineffectual. But. the lowest degree of spirituality. it is human evidence in general that must. but drab and jejune. Suppose unknown world reaches us. too. but which abstract. What a transformation for humapity. To know to what extent it does count. acting reality a belief in the life beyond. even if one retains only a portion of what it would fain look upon as certain. we plunge into pleasure: we should not so desperately. Our pleasures would still remain. because their intensity was merely the attention that we centred upon them. MECHANICS AND MYSTICISM CH. then. enough remains it for us to divine the immensity of the terra incognita that that a gleam from this has just begun to explore. we could not think of anything else. whatever it may say. Failing so thoroughgoing a spiritual reform. Joy indeed would be that simplicity of life diffused throughout the world by an ever-spreading mystic intuition. be declared to be null and void: what.274 subject. generally accustomed. in the eyes of science. absolutely sure. possible. we must be content with shifts and submit to more and more numerous and vexatious regulations. did we not see in it so much ground gained over nothingness. whether we go bail for small . a means whereby we can snap our fingers at death. visible to our bodily eyes. if we were sure. But. joy. But this would be sufficient to turn into a live. at most. to accept as existing only what it can see and touch! The information which would then reach us would perhaps concern only the inferior portion of the souls. They would pale like our electric lamps before the mornihg sun. that which would automatically follow a vision of the life beyond attained through the furtherance of scientific experiment. which for the most men. of cling to it survival. it distinguishes between what seems to it as certain and what is simply probable or. it suffices to see how is apparently met with in most part remains verbal.

a decision is imperative. the essential function of the universe. Men do not sufficiently realize that their future is in their own hands. which is a machine for the making of gods. even on their refractory planet. Theirs the responsibility. Mankind lies groaning. Theirs is the task of determining first of all whether they want to go on living or not. for deciding if they want merely to live. half-crushed beneath the weight of its own progress. or intend just the extra effort required for fulfilling.iv JOY 275 measures or great. . to make then.


199. 44. 189. 44. 34. 58. 78. 96. 61 creator of religious emotion. 59. Language. 205 Justice. 17. 92. 29. 29. 216. 95. 45 Collective (mind). 21. 5i. 14. 108. 42. 96 Chance. 206. 174. Greek philosophy. 119 bridge fT. 44. 82. 47. 180. equivalent to dynamic morality. 55. 77. 240. 274 Judaism. 15. 57 Leadership. 101. society. 200 Foreigners. 178. 65 KANT. 75. 87. Ideas (theory of). 100. 224 (the). 76. 246 Frenzy. 213. 22. 9. Humanity. 94. 24 Automatism. 231. 137. 243 Family. 42 Impulse. 27. 7. 135. 97. 243 Intuition. 80 limit of obligations of social 24. 54. 5. 50. 137. 182 93. 85. 66. 71. 190 ff. 200. law of. 78. 115. 48. 220. 274 277 . 17. closed to 5. Christianity: 23 from open 207 Impetus: of of the life (vital). 42. 23. 116 insufficient. 63. 128 Equality. Buddhism. Good 208 17 Habits. 35. Biology. 259 Dimorphism. 64. 242 Ego. 183. 33. 63. 253 2. 37. 115. 94. 24. 232 50 of love. 54. 25. 197. 33. 242. 198. 261 Democracy. 79. morality of. 188. 91. 30 message of universal brother- hood. 71. 239 of God. Instinct. 241 League of Nations. 70. 44. 214. 62 morality of. 256. 18. 256. 22. 204 City (the): attachment to. ioo. vital. 116. 22. 77. 208. 230 97. 17. 86. life. 181. 138 Intelligence. 39 Life. 91. 46 relation to 236 60 connexion with mysticism. 56. artist. 25 Ant. 201.INDEX Altruism. 21. 49. 87 Custom. 176. 229 Appeal. 19. 138. 6. 13. 52 Emotion. 248 Liberation. 82. 69. 179 God. 31. 202 obligation deriving from. 266 Dichotomy. 16. 178. 244. 102. 230 Hymenopterae. 28. 233 44. 219. 86 Common sense. 213. u. 259 18. 43. 82. 214 Intellectualism. 34. 180. 97. 18.

14. 119 ff. 25. 250. 232 relation to instinct. 12 organic tendencies. 29. 202. 51. 83 dual functions of. 103. 80 social role of. 210. 171. 274 Reason. 257. 101. 42. dynamic. 175 147. 15. Superstition. 30. 218 Magic. 262. 13. 269 Myth-making. 142. 49. 88. 235 Sociability. 74 45. Liberty. 139. Resistance. no. 202. 4. 22. 145 Mana. 19. 194. 27. 74. 211. 265. 10. 89. 80. 183 relation to intellect. 99. 53 Sensibility. 21. 251. 270 Necessity. of. 33 Mythology. 30. 47. 47. 68. 142. i. 9. 107 relation to magic. 70. 188. 268 Morality: of the open society. 188 Population.. 231 ROUSSEAU. 179. 201. 26. 143. 251 Pressure. 15. 229. 5. 72 146 Psychology. 168. 182. 519 Stoics. 243 Science. 20. 49. 65 definition of. 25. 93. 6 9 Religion: connexion with superstition. 259 Soul. 33. 247. 18 relation to higher morality. 66. social. 22. 158. 66. 263. 43. 20. 19. 56. 268.98 Patriotism. 10 Obligation: binding character 67 SPENCER. 113. 203. 43 relation to aspiration. 270 pressure of. 165. 102 115 two kinds of. 246. 31. 18 relation to philosophy. 270 Self-respect. 166. 148 126. 144. 21. 24. 5. 24. 259. 42. 6. 233 twofold origin of. 168 static. 245. 233 Mysteries. 138. Mechanics. 37. 185 Mysticism. 38. 232 Society: closed. 114. 45 of the closed society. 158. 27. 187. 23. 22 relation to reason. 81. 248 Yoga. 62 214 Organism. 44. 28. 147 relation to morality. 65. 112. 84. 77 228. 96. 51. faculty. 191 . 86. 231 ^ pressure deriving from habits. 239 War. 43. 40. 46. 103 Nature. 267. u. 47. relation to religion. 6. 113. 99. 151. 271 Spirit. 64. 19 Obedience. 145. 232 sense of necessity. 1 1 237 of thinking. 30. 151. 238. 32. 232 relation to reason. 85 open. 44. 81. 4. 3. composite. 5 mixed. 42. 243 Love. function of. 30. 18. 83 Survival (after death). 181. 139. 234. 45.278 SOURCES OF MORALITY AND RELIGION PLOTINUS. 273. 72 SOCRATES. 54. 88 Psychical Research. 14 mode deriving from habits. 36. 175 instrument of nature. 167. 32. i relation to individual. 214. no. 227. 102 link with open society. 112 3. 75 Primitive: (man) (society). 48. 26. 106. 141. Movement.

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