Mysticism and the Foundation of the Open Society: Bergsonian Politics

Paola Marrati

in Political Theologies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226443
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237043 | DOI:
Mysticism and the Foundation of the Open Society: Bergsonian               Politics

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This chapter raises the question of what light the evolutionary perspective set out by Henri Bergson in his The Two Sources of Morality and Religion might shed on the subject of the theologico-political. It brings out Bergson's conception of philosophy's necessary conversion—to a different understanding of the power of time, together with its implications for “invention” in religion, ethics, art, and politics. It examines Bergson's “ontological pragmatism”, recalling that, for this thinker, “if time does nothing, it is nothing”. The morality and religion that Bergson describes in their function of providing social cohesion belong to closed societies: they would have no role to play in an open society. The chapter claims that Bergson's work should be interpreted as an endeavor to understand the age-old mystical impulse, at least in the definition he gives of mysticism.

Keywords: Henri Bergson; morality; religion; politics; mysticism; open society; theologico-political; philosophy; time; social cohesion

Chapter.  6141 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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