Notes on: Bergson, H.  (1954) [1932] The Two Sources of Morality and Religion.  Trans R Ashley Audra and Cloudesley Bereton. NewYork: Doubleday Anchor Books

Dave Harris

Chaper One Moral Obligation

[We can see here a use of the intuitive method to justify Christianity. We also see the circularity. First religiosity is defined as something other than social obligation, different from it in kind not degree. It follows that we cannot study it by the usual scientific means but must take  a leap into direct intuition. There is also an essay on psychic research which makes the same sort of argument for parapsycholgical phenomena.  The other interesting discussion is of the role of social pressure in developing obligation and morality.  Bergson uses this successfully to see off philosophy, conceiving of society in functionalist terms of course, but then insists there is another dimension to religiosity—the mystical, the exceptional, the creative—which itself can be traced back to the evolution of Life.  Undiluted vitalism!].

For we can experience the pressures of social obligation.  It is tempting to compare society to an organism, but there is the issue of free will rather than inexorable laws.  Organized will can look like an organism.  Social life depends on habits of obedience and the sense of obligation we feel.  However, there are different orders of obligation, producing differences in degree rather than kind.  These tend to overlap and supplement each other.  Obligation can appear as second nature, and can thus work without our even noticing it.  We see it best when we look at our own being and discover our own weaknesses: thus we tend to judge others as better than ourselves.  We tend to see you all laws as commands, although philosophers might separate say of physical from a social one, and this makes laws seen even more natural. Religion has always had a social role, but it might not necessarily be 'social in essence for' (13).  Tends to validate existing social arrangements as well as holding out a perfect version.

Individual wills can sometimes seem to oppose social forces, which can appear as a form of necessity.  Conformity is necessary to relate to other people, while introspection reveals ourselves as original personalities.  So do periods of escape from social obligation as in dreaming.  However, social solidarity is required to stabilize the social self, and we can never be self sufficient.  Indeed, social corporation brings more rewards.  However societies have formed a thought and a specially a language as well, hence the difficulty of imagining an individual completely cut off from all social life: isolated individuals like Robinson Crusoe still draw upon their social selves and the support that the rest of society gives them.

However, the social self is not the only source of moral failings: indeed moral feeling itself varies according to circumstances and individuals.  It usually does involve a social element, as when we feel remorse and regret anything that cuts us off from society.  Normally we just conform to obligations without thinking about them, and social intermediaries of various kinds have helped to socialize us: thus we normally feel obligations first a primary groups and into wider ones.  When it works really well, we only wish to play a part and society that has already been assigned to us.  However, there is in principle choice whether or not to conform, even though we are barely conscious of this.  However there are rare occasions when social obedience goes against other notions of the self, we experience resistance and a necessary break with automatic action.  Conformity is not always easy, and there are degrees of conformity.  In general, we can state as 'a practical maxim that obedience to duty means resistance to self' (20).  However, philosophers disagree in their explanations of this tension [with a particular rebuke to Kantians, 21 f, who seem to want to divide a particular types of resistance to obligation, and to see obligation itself as comprised of certain rational elements].

So obligations are either seen  as some natural phenomena or as the result of calculation.  Commonsense tends to favor the former and obligation is seen as a force to overcome resistance, derived from 'innumerable specific habits of obedience' (23), which operate beyond mere rationality; although post hoc rationalization is possible, it is not the source of obligation.  It is true that rules often seem to be logically connected together, especially in modern economic life, replacing the mixture of rules found in earlier societies.  The need to preserve society is what underpins them even in modern societies, as 'the essential' element.  We can therefore criticize Kantian notions of the categorical imperative: normal social life does not require it and people obey just because they must, at an instinctive level: the more habitual, the more categorical the imperative.

Instinctive social bonds are probably best understood as more natural.  Intelligence can be seen as the natural mechanism for humans, and it would lead to 'the "totality of obligation"' (27).  This persists even in modern societies.  Further argument is found in Creative Evolution equating instinct and intelligence as means to the perform practical actions to survive.  Specialization makes effort more efficient and so 'social life is thus immanent'.  Human communities are clearly more variable and open to progress, and so natural constraint extends only to the need for some sort of rule.  However, particular obligations cannot be traced directly to instinct.  The totality of obligations operate as 'a virtual instinct' (28).  One obvious outcome is the habit of speech, which is natural only at the most general level, while specific contents are arbitrary.

Obligation is therefore a part of life itself, even though people may not feel they are a buying a social instinct explicitly.  There is a clear connection with the functional organization of living bodies which also reflect necessity, at the virtual level.  Full human beings, obligation is felt along with individual freedom.  But generally, obligation is seen as a form of necessity.  Civilized humans societies have much more knowledge and habits, and we are aware that more of these have been acquired.  However, they still feature 'obligation as a whole'(30), and are therefore still 'closed societies'.  In particular, they are designed to include some individuals and exclude others—a society of all humans is much more difficult to establish.  We need a moral philosophy to separate obligations to all humans from obligations to specific groups of them.  Specific obligations can very, for example in wartime, and human societies try to justify this specific obligations by claiming they are based on humanity as a whole.  It is immediate social cohesion which provides specific obligations with their force, an aim to develop a closed society.

Obligation referring to the whole of humanity is a long way from this finite form of obligation.  We are accustomed to thinking of socialization as offering more and more extended forms of obligation and a steady progression, but this is over into actualized, an illusion.  It is true that primary groups can lead to national obligations, but there is a substantial difference in kind between societies and humanity in general.  Basic instincts still inform the former, but 'love of mankind is indirect and acquired' (33).  We need God, or Reason, and we get to these by 'a single bound'.  This is 'pure obligation' (33), something that 'transfigures' social obligations.

Very often, 'exceptional men' incarnate this sort of morality, the saints and sages, and this a gain indicates that we're dealing with differences in kind.  Pure morality is irreducible to 'impersonal formulae'(34), and it involves imitation of a person rather than rational acceptance of the law.  Exceptional men appeal to others.  They might be a concrete individuals that we know all those that we only evoke.  A number of general maxims can merge into a single persons unity.  We've gone beyond the tension between individual and social obligation: the second kind of morality is just human.  Words like loyalty change their meaning.  A new life can emerge.  However, something as general as a love of humanity is not powerful enough to provide over egoism.  We have to distance ourselves from the mundane by a leap, just as we have to consider a motion as a complete act just as when we want to avoid Zeno's paradoxes ( see Matter and Memory).

Human beings are both individual and social, but utilitarian ethics turns out to be difficult in practice, since pursuing personal advantage quite often deviates from what the general interest requires.  However utilitarianism is right in one sense in seeing a 'substratum of instinctive activity'(38) where individual and social coincide.  We still see this in the behavior of say an ant.  However, there is more openness in the soul, which can go on to embrace all of humanity, or even all of life.  We never get to this just by expanding the self, although we often use the same turn, such as love, to describe obligations at very different levels.  However, there is really a difference of kind, with the former more limited forms of love often including exclusion and even strife, while 'the latter is all love' (39), not based on any particular object.  This form is not provided by nature, but requires an effort, very often against social pressure.  We respond to an impulse from feeling which is strong enough to appear as obligation.  There may be no practical implications, as when we encounter 'musical emotion' (40): early religious experience is like this in drawing us in. 

We must take care not to over intellectualize here, and conclude that this is just imaginative, somehow attached to earlier experiences.  These are new forms of feeling, general emotions, unique ones, not just extracted from life.  They are infinite, 'real inventions' (41), yet centered on a particular man.  Rousseau invented a new emotion to describe the effects of mountainous landscapes, for example: they certainly 'harmonize' with our elementary feelings, but harmonics contributes to a new sound.  The same goes for general love of nature.  Romantic love is another invention, absorbing mundane notions of love into a supernatural feeling, even a religious sentiment attached to Christianity.  However, the supernatural did not simply absorb the mundane, but rather the other way around, so the mundane borrows rapture or fervor [this to deny the derivative nature of mysticism, 42.  There's even a hint that for romantic love to attain ecstasy, it must attach religious sentiment to concrete people – otherwise disappointment must ensue].  So a new emotion is the source of creation in arts and in science.  It is a stimulus for the intelligence and for thought.

There are two kinds of emotion, feeling, and sensibility, with the first offering an entire upheaval, changing the whole [soul is term used here] and the second operating only at the surface.  The first cannot be reduced to physical stimuli, but arise from ideas, intellectual states.  Neither can be reduced to mere sensations and physical stimuli.  In the deep emotions, we require an original intellectual state, arising from a representation.  Surface emotions can cause intellectual states from a combination of half formed representations, a prelude to intellectual activity, but not producing it.  [Then an aside on psychology arguing for differences between men and women.  After role of reservation, Bergson decides that women are every bit as intelligent as men but 'less capable of emotion' (44), no doubt in this deep sense].

'Creation signifies, above all, emotion' (45).  Of course, things like scientific discovery then involve intellectual effort and attention, but the latter do not exhaust the former.  With attention and effort, we address objects, and they affect subsequent effort, so it looks like mere sensibility alone produces diversity.  However, some general faculty driving interest must be assumed—by a problem arising from a representation leading to an emotion, such as 'curiosity, desire, and the anticipated joy of solving the stated problem' (46).  These vitalize the intellect.  Emotions seem to have to express themselves.  They are connecting through intuition, identifying the author with the subject , and are not just technical elaborations or combinations but something new, a fusion.  Words have to be found to fit these new products, and this is almost a guarantee of genuine creativity.  Is not just a matter of combining readymade elements into a 'composite unity' or multiplicity, but the creation of something unique [singular]. [Apparently, readers or spectators often perceive the difference, with a great dramatic work producing unique emotions, and directly traceable to the soul of the author, something which has no choice but to express these emotions [definite similarities here with Barthes on the differences between jouissance and plaisir, or the work and the text]. 

Emotions play a large part in moral dispositions too and crystallize into representations and doctrines—but those do not create obligation.  Only the atmosphere of emotion does.  We can get to original emotions by deducing them from doctrines, including metaphysical argument, but intellectual endeavour alone will not lead us to grasp moral obligation as superior.  There are many competing metaphysical conceptions to which we can ascent intellectually, but there must also be an impetus from the original emotion to affect the will.  Thus while a lot of our morality depends on social pressure, there's also an emotional state that involves attraction.  It is difficult to get back to these original emotion [so we're going to end with mysticism?], and it is diffused in various moral formulae, but we cannot ignore it and we might try to work back to reacquire significance.  Pressure and attraction are found in a mixed state.  They contaminate each other in that even the higher morality feels the sense of social obligation and compulsion, while the lower forms enjoy something off the 'perfume' of the higher. 

We might proceed by studying the lives of the saints and mystics.  We will experience attraction as well as pressure, and see the differences as those between and habit and will.  We can work in either direction.  We will be guided as much by our sensation of 'joy' as by metaphysical argument [so he is another philosopher of joy as the basis of ethics?]. At one end there is impersonal obligation, the more powerful for being impersonal, and at the other inspired individuals: both may be aspects of the same deep-lying progressive force (as in Creative Evolution?).

The notion of a self-preserving society is 'immanent' (51) in social pressure.  It produces the pleasure of normal working life, but not joy.  Aspiration alludes to the feeling of progress and enthusiasm for a forward movement.  This joyful enthusiasm is contagious, and contains the pleasure, but not the other way around.  The representations here might be the life of religious people, urging us to leave behind normal life and go beyond the pause indicated by constant social reproduction.  Intelligence may or may not support such enthusiasm, but it is the will that counts: 'heroism may be the only way to love' (53), and this is a creative act.  Religious feeling offers a different expression involving currents flowing between individuals and god.  Material obstacles are irrelevant, and they are resolved by being denied [this is better than enumerating the steps that are required to be taken.  Again the parallel is with Zeno].  There is no end to human analysis, which will never deliver understanding of the principle of life.  Yet contact with this principle is essential to a general love for humanity.

Overall, nature made us sociable, intelligence was a mechanism to replace instinct, although instinct also produces habits which seem necessary, but this only works for simple societies.  There are certain tendencies in organic life which therefore produce social obligation—and intergroup conflict.  But nature did not produce deeper morality, which can even threaten organic social order.  Intelligence had unintended outcomes.  The original vital impulse was finite although capable of generating complexity.  Human beings are different and have freed themselves from these limitations, usually in form of gifted individuals who have made outstanding contributions to will.  Thus the relation to nature is not completely broken, but it has been transformed: nature should be understood as a creative process not as a fixed outcome [Spinoza's natura naturans not natura naturata,a phrase which occurs in Deleuze too. Roughly it means 'naturing nature' rather than 'natured nature', the process, not the product].

It is like the difference between stasis and movement.  We cannot produce the latter from the former, but we can vice versa.  We experience this as 'a difference of vital tone' (58), or the joy of the open soul, going beyond mere pleasure.  Our intelligence and language find it difficult to grasp this deeper morality because they are designed to deal with things.  This explains the apparent paradoxes in the gospels, which are not just logical but are designed to affect our soul: the frequent oppositions in the Sermon on the Mount between what is written and what Jesus tells us is another example of the difference between the closed and the open.  Ordinary morality is not negated but it is transcended into a more general approach [not quite as hegelian as that].  This is what is unique to Christian morality, that it breaks with the geometric formulae of the ancient Greeks.  The emotion eventually turns into ideas.  Socrates believed that even morality could be dealt with rationally, although even he also believes he was energized by a delphic prediction, and prefers suicide to conformity.  We might also suspect that the enthusiasm of his disciples was not entirely rational either, and it is his soul or stance which is frequently admired.

There are souls in the process of opening, a transition between the static and the dynamic, something between habits and intuition or emotion.  Intelligence is the intermediate.  It might've been designed to reinforce stasis, but it had a tendency to produce contemplation and detachment, operating on both action and the 'supra-intellectual'(65), reflecting upon itself [because of the dualist nature of the image again -- see Matter and Memory]. Philosophy initially restricted itself to examining positivist intellectuality, and by confusing images based on pressure with those of aspiration derived a falsely abstract notion of the concept.  Images only work if both pressure and aspiration can be separated.

It is hard to separate them in practice, and ordinary people often work with a split self when requested to.  It is common to take the 'social ego' (66) as a representative of some higher ego, and there may be supernatural powers behind the social.  However, the group to which individuals belong must also be seen as superior, as in Roman self-respect, or the morale in any active group.  However, there can also be self respect in the form of respect for an admired or venerated person, or a community of them, some ideal society or city.  The key element is the notion of justice, which implies both some equality and a sense of proportion as in compensation.  There are rational geometric elements in modern versions, but again there must've been some primary idea, shown in the early emergence of exchange and barter which extended to other social areas until it appears to be an activity of the community itself in developing law.  However, an element of qualitative evaluation is also always required, beyond mathematical calculation of injury and compensation.  The same goes for class divisions which may start as a result of force but which can become habitual and self maintaining: again this is misunderstood as something entirely natural.

There are conceptions of justice which take on another dimension, however, which are not based on exchange but which assert inviolable rights.  An evolutionary account arises from the characteristics of language where words are applied to ideas which are subsequently modified.  It looks as if there has been a difference in degree between the types of justice, but instead, 'some new thing has come' (72) which has transformed the whole system.  This is a common habit of thinking of progression, which is usually seen as a reduction of the distance between the starting point and the goal.  This usually follows some backwards interpretation, but there is also an element of 'retrospective anticipation' in change, a matter of realizing possibilities.  There is no smooth transition from simple to complex forms of justice, although we impose one by looking back.  This means we tend to ignore the 'sudden leap' (73) which conceives the goal, initially as an ideal. 

Applied to class division again, criticism from below tends to grow and ruling elements deteriorate: in these circumstances, the ruling class can divide and some individuals can form alliances with the lower ones, so the apparent naturalness of superiority is then shattered.  Again this can be understood as a new kind of equilibrium, but this move to political equality is not a smooth progression either: it proceeds instead by 'successive creations'(74) which have to be accepted.  There is a parallel with artistic creation, where new work might disconcert at first although it also transforms public taste.  Moral invention and creation, including notions of justice work in the same way: the initial injustice as reported by the Hebrew prophets should not be seen as a simple stage on the path to universal justice but rather as acts of creation, involving a 'universal Republic' (77).  Christianity has further emphasized the move from closed to open.  Greek philosophy could not have done this [with the example of Plato who believed in the essence of man, but not that all men equally possessed it], and other philosophies have expressed universal brotherhood but as an unattainable ideal which did not lead to any actual reforms.

Christianity had a universal appeal of love, [and a practical application as in Weber's Protestant work ethic] an indication of the goal which required constant effort, a clear attempt to create new possibilities and new feelings.  There is a tendency to miss this by classifications which generalize and by retrospective understanding.  In particular, a name can be given two elements in a particular series, and then an abstract notion of the whole series can be developed which will also predict future events: a series looks eternal, something which is gradually realized in a forward movement [surely this is admired in Leibniz and the calculus?].  In actual history, there have been qualitative leaps, say in the notion of liberty, accompanied with an effort to change 'feeling and custom'(79).  There has been uncertainty as contradictions have emerged, say between liberty and equality, although there is the pursuit of 'greater joy' (80) to guide us.  Progress has been produced by 'moral creators' who have a notion of a better life and the conviction that others will also enjoy it.  The result is a difference in kind, although this will be obscured in actual practice to all but suitably discriminating philosophers.  Social evolution is not just progression, as the example of the development of morality shows.

At the moment, it looks as if reason is the 'sole imperative' (81), but again there are different underlying forces.  Normally, it is enough just to follow the rules and this helps us deal with moral dilemmas in ordinary life [there also seems to be an assumption that current rules have emerged from past acts of genius which have been incorporated].  In intellectual terms, common concepts seem to inform each precept.  In analytic terms, single forces can explain only parts of intellectualized systems of morality.  [Then the argument is summarized again].  There is a quantitative gain in knowledge in human history and an increasing tendency for it to overlay 'the bedrock of original nature' (83).  But there is still a role for this original nature, just as in animal societies and instinct, and this provides one element of obligation.  However, intellectualisation proceeds under its own logical pressure, and human beings are capable of aspiration.  The fully mystic society could not be realized, since 'pure aspiration is an ideal limit' (84) at the other end from instinct, but we can form images of it, usually derived from an actual person.  Modern morality itself shows the division between impersonal requirements and personal conduct based on conscience.  Both instinct and intellect can lead to strong emotions which are supra-rational, and these also work on intelligence and influence its projections, finally appearing as pure reason.  Isolated elements are merged, justice with pity and charity, and morals are systematized.  The resulting morality is above that of animals but below that of gods, that is not too creative.

This does not mean that morality originates in reason.  There are other source of obligations.  They're often smuggled back into philosophers of reason [with an example of Kant, implying that returning a deposit is a simple moral issue, but using the implicit obligations of the term 'deposit' and assuming that trust must not be betrayed, and that contracts or rights to property are already in operation.  In those circumstances, of course it is irrational not to act reciprocally].  Scientism makes the same mistake.  Perhaps it is a personal flaw in that philosophers who admire the mind have never felt impulses from selfishness and passion.  Nor is there progress to be gained by considering content alone, where moral obligation represents some shared some notion of the good: again this smuggles in conceptions of society as cohesive and progressive, and does not look at how the good was defined in the first place, from ideas which preceded systematic morality.  Nor can we objectively find the good in specific actions, and we are usually forced to incorporate some hierarchy of events.  Such arguments serve as justification for existing obligations, or for an elite [in the Greeks], which took social life for granted and assumed obligation and duty, which had be done first so that a beautiful life could be added on.  Overall there's no rational goal that will be able to impose itself as a moral one, and reason normally camouflages different sorts of forces.  At best, reason rediscovers morality in the socialized obligations that preexist it.

Most systems of rational morality can be used to defend the existing order, including utilitarianism as a form of legitimate interest: there can be no absolute egotism, and the higher feelings such as honor or pity are already socially.  The more a moral system claims to simplify complex issues, the more suspect it is.  The question is what makes alleged moral goals a matter of obligation in the first place, what pressures and what attractions.  These are only rediscovered by moral philosophy, with a sense of obligation imposed as a result, top down, and social life is taken for granted.  This 'illusion' is common to 'all theoretical moral systems' (92).  Instead, obligation is a social necessity, originally provided by nature and then modified by intelligence which renders nature as 'in a state of virtuality, or rather in a state of reality barely discernible in its action', detectable in its effects. 

Intelligence preserves this underlying social obligation, initially developing only decisions that reconcile individual and species interest, before developing into an understanding that other egos also require consideration.  The philosophical theory of ethics can develop relating personal and general interests, although no philosophy can include a sense of obligation or necessity: this comes originally not from intelligence which can only introduce a 'hesitation in obligation'(93).  Ultimately nature is always 'on the watch', and it is not surprising that reasoning tends to support natural pressure.  Intelligence can obstruct its natural role, however, and 'that is just what most moral philosophers have done' (94), carrying out their own interest as intellectuals or failing to grasp the social nature of obligation.  The pressure limiting the intellectual project is felt implicitly added needs to be postulated explicitly.

Bergson's own view can be validated by considering evolution itself which has lead to social life.  However human life is not just what has evolved from nature, since intelligence intervenes and can produce variations in social life.  Even so, something else is required to conceive of humans as a member of one society, some exceptional souls who have broken from social and actual constraint, driven by a love of humanity.  They play the same role as the creation of a new species, a continuation of the vital impulse: so their development can also be understood as an evolution of life.  We see in their activities creativity itself, and this explains the vitality which engenders widespread enthusiasm and universal appeal: they attract us rather than compelling us.  Again the forces they marshall are not just rational or strictly moral ones: is not just ideas that influence the will.  Underneath the two sorts of impulse lies a unity, 'two complementary manifestations of life, normally intent on preserving generally the social form which was characteristic of the human species [but also] capable of transfiguring it' (96-7)

As soon as we tried to teach each morality we perceive its double origin.  We usually appeal to reason alone: this is the only way in which morality can be discussed.  Yet intention, will, is also present.  This can be affected by a training or by opting for mysticism, by developing suitable habits worn by attempting to achieve a 'spiritual union' with and inspiring individual.  The first is more like a natural way to inculcate habits, with teachers adopting this particularly functional role.  Habit may suffice as a practical ethic.  Religion or mysticism does something else, not just adding to rewards and punishments, but offering access to the City of God after life.  Yet religion is usually thought of in terms of religious dogmas or metaphysical theories, still on the intellectual plane.  Yet it only compels assent if it offers something more.  The way through that is through mystic experience, opening one's soul, 'taken in its immediacy, apart from all interpretation' (99).  Mysticism does not imply inaction, but a necessity to spread the word, to develop love as 'an entirely new emotion' capable of transforming human life.  The contagion of such spiritualism shows that 'there is a mystic dormant within us' (100).

Neither approach denies human nature.  There is no social determinism even though societies exert obligation and constraint, but societies are  'not self explanatory': Life lies beneath them.  Life provides exceptional individuals with their energy, thus biology, in its 'very wide meaning' is crucial: 'or morality, be a pressure or aspiration, is in essence biological' (101).

Chapter two Static Religion

[Rather long and repetitive again, but quite an interesting discussion about the social sources of religion, taking in Durkheim, Mauss and Levy-Bruhl on 'primitive religion'.  I put the term primitive in inverted commas at first, but got tired of doing so: obviously I do not myself regard nonindustrial societies as primitive, and I don't think Bergson does either.  More than a hint of later Levi-Strauss here.  The commentary is informed by his own conceptions of the relation between intelligence and instinct in creative evolution, and we also hear a bit more about the method and about duration. The first bit is quite clever in arguing that intelligence and rationality alone applied to human affairs will end in destruction: this sounds a bit like the Marx/Weber anxieties about rationality as unreason and as an iron cage etc. To prevent this, the 'vital impulse' imposes a definite irrationality in the form of myth-making (which will eventually produce religions) as a 'virtual instinct', a residue of instinct which once combined freely with intelligence. So there is a natural, vitalist limit to rationalisation and disenchantment!

It looks as if the religions of past societies or current 'primitive' ones are inexplicably absurd and unbelievable, and this is somehow combined with human reason.  It is no good just assuming that they indicate some primitive mentality, because modern societies show the same sorts of combination.  Nor can we see modern conceptions of religion as indicating progress from some earlier primitive state: among other problems, it is not easy to show how the mentality or cultural habits have evolved given that the structure of the mind as remained the same.  It is the material that is different.

Durkheim's attempt to establish the role of a collective mentality argues that collective representations might will seem irrational to individual ones, but represent societies own way of thinking.  There are collective representations found in institutions and language, but they are more connected to the individual intelligence than he would allow.  There is an opposing sociological tendency to see the individual as an abstraction, but if so, individuals would faithfully represent the collective mentality.  It is true indeed that individuals were originally meant to have a social life, and too much psychology ignores this: however some psychological disorders such as 'listlessness' indicates the important role of the social. 

Overall, sciences need to consider how they 'cut' or subdivide their subject matter [the references to Plato who defined a good cook as one who 'cut along the lines of the natural joints'(105)].  At the moment, psychologists fail to make sufficient subdivisions, for example in seeing that perception or comprehension are not just general faculties but displayed different mechanisms, for example according to whether or not there is a strong social environment.  This sort a social influences represented by the notion of 'common sense'(106).  Some great isolated specialists evidently lack it, as do those suffering from psychological pathologies such as paranoia, whose reason remains intact.  Common, or social sense is innate, just like the faculty of speech which is both social and individual, and can be seen as a provision by nature of basic guiding principles for coordinated conduct.  By contrast, it is difficult to see what has provided a separate social mentality [as in Durkheim].  Modern psychology needs to address different sorts of representations. Some produce superstitions and others discoveries and inventions of science and art.  But it would be wrong to see them both as part of the general faculty of imagination: this is done mostly to distinguish them from other general faculties like perception or memory.  Instead, 'phantasmic representations' should be considered separately, and extend into myth-making or fiction: this is 'the natural "cut"'(108).  The issue then is to find the specific purpose of these specific representations.

In doing so, we have to remember that dreams and fictions are secondary activities, and that first we must live.  The function of survival is what produces the psychical structure in the first place.  It is a mistake to operate with mental structures first which then produce particular activities.  Perhaps the original activity of myth-making was to develop religion, based on some individual and social need.  Beat and glimpse these needs by looking at modern fiction which moves us in a way which does not depend on the intellect.  From this we can argue that there's a need to guard against certain developments of intellectual activity: it can slide into endless uncertainty, constant revision due to new facts in a way which threatens individuals and social life.  What is needed is a fiction that will a 'masquerade as perception' and inhibit this constantly restless activity.  It may even be 'a systematically false experience' (109) which currently distant doubt conclusions based on true experience.  This is why  intelligence was a 'pervaded as soon as formed, by superstition', why the two go together.

Human intelligence tends to pursue conclusions even if they plunge us into error.  In so-called primitive societies, a limited number of initial beliefs have been proliferated, producing definite absurdity or strangeness as a process developed.  These errors might even be beneficial, perhaps in laying the foundations for later beliefs.  Nature here is providing human society with the equivalent of an instinct, 'a virtual instinct' (110) compared to the actual ['real'] instincts of, say, insect societies.  Virtual instincts produce complementary automatic behaviour.  It is possible to see life as producing both virtual and real instincts.
We still have to explain how religion has persisted and even developed, and here we might suggest that it provides a forward movement for social life, 'a vital impetus' (111).  This provides a potentially scientific explanation.

We can find empirical examples of this vital impetus.  There may be physiological elements, but life is more than just physiology, as experience shows [!].  We might consider life as preceding through a series of accidental variations which then get preserved by selection and fixed in heredity, but there are problems given the enormous number of variations and their need to relate together to be useful [the classic problem of the development of the eye].  Seeing this as a matter of chance simply imports 'the principle of [logical? ] economy which finds favor with positive science' (112), and this inadequacy extends to Darwinism.  It is particularly difficult if we see that evolution occurs in 'certain definite directions': we might be led to [Lamarck] here which suggests that functional variations are somehow inheritable, but this is inevitably an a priori argument.  An alternative is to see an impulse as the thing that is transmitted, aiming at increased complexity, perhaps against a background of needing to adapt to more complex conditions.  But there are still problems in that there is an underlying assumption that adaptations arise as particular solutions, and it is not explained how problems are being resolved.  Nor is there some final end for life.

Instead, we might see the increasing evolution towards complexity as 'an undivided act'(114) rather than something that must be decomposed into smaller parts, perceived from the outside.  It is this sense of impetus which we can gain from intuition, from the inside.  This would lead us to see life as meeting and number of obstacles and having to overcome them.    We are misleading ourselves if we study things from the outside only, which would be like looking at external effects [on a heap of iron filings when an invisible hand disturbs them].
Matter is both 'an instrument and an obstacle 'for this impetus, and this diversity of matter explains the multiplicity of the lines of evolution.

If the different lines of evolution take  quite different directions and can sometimes come to a dead end, 'we may conjecture' that the vital impulse at the beginning of life possessed all the necessary characteristics 'in a state of reciprocal implication' (115) [what is currently called transcendental deduction, say in Bhaskar], in particular a combination of instinct and intelligence which develops separately in two different lines.  Their current separation should not lead us to think that they were not combined in the beginning.  More implications follow for the notion of the vital impetus, but before we get there, we should see that it is impossible to forecast specific forms which evolve 'by discontinuous leaps': there's no pre determination, 'pure experience suggests'.  Thinking of an impetus as indivisible internally and infinitely divisible externally gives the idea of duration as the 'essential attribute of life'.  Without this dynamic, we are left only with empty concepts or abstract theories: now we have ideas 'obtained empirically' which can be further explored.

The sudden leaps may not always produce successful transformations.  The success of human beings depended partly unsuccessful leaps in earlier species.  These leaps might not have been equal in quality, or covered the same distance, but they took place in the same direction, 'the same intention of life' (116).  Intelligence and sociability were always present.  Both have a biological basis, before we split into psychology and sociology.  Sociability is at the end point of evolution both for insects and for humans, and is found everywhere [even within the individual where there is a community of cells].  Nevertheless, the tendency was shaped in different ways: immutable, instinctive and organic for insects, subject to change, intelligent, and more like an interaction between individuals and society for us.  Our societies incorporate both order and progress [a phrase of Comte's apparently].  Instinct and intelligence are similarly complementary, both aimed at gaining necessary benefits from raw matter [with a reference back to Creative Evolution]: intelligence in humans has led to tool-making making for this purpose. 

Both intelligence and instinct still can be found combined with the other, despite specialization, so the instinct to blindly serve the social is still found even in human societies.  Human societies nevertheless are not dominated by nature, and the social is sustained through the activities of individuals so it can include 'initiative, independence and liberty' (119)..  However, intelligence might also threaten social cohesion, so a 'counterpoise' is provided by nature.  It cannot be instinct itself, which has been replaced by intelligence, but it can draw upon our residue of instinct, virtual instincts [see below], which work not directly but through representations of reality, including imaginary ones.  This explains myth-making, which strengthens both individuals and the social.

[Then some weird case studies from 'psychical research' -- eg apparitions save people from danger. The instinctive self is at work really, producing action and a fictional presence] .Excessive intellectual activity leads to excessive individualism, while obeying instinct would lead only to stasis.  Utilitarians like JS Mill will eventually tried to argue that selfish interest meant social interest, but that would take centuries of culture.  Egoism is to be restrained by 'an illusory perception' or 'a counterfeit of recollection' (122).  We can see religion in this way, 'a defensive reaction of nature against the dissolvant power of intelligence'.  This may take place in a dramatic episode, but usually there is a slow focus on the essential at the expense of the superfluous, with some confusion about what amount of individualism is appropriate.  We see this in the way in which customs turn into laws, as a stratification of obligation.  In earlier societies, morality was custom, and 'primitive religion' warned against departing from it.  Any individual lapse was seen as a group responsibility: individual responsibility is a modern notion.  However, conformity is achieved at the expense of some confusion about exactly what the law implies, whether it is physical or natural as well as moral, for example. However, for morality to become personified as a god is a later development.  It is a natural tendency, and it offers a shortcut to fully causal reasoning.  However, before personified religion occurs, prohibitions can centre upon particular sacred objects, as in the concept of taboo. 

At first, human society has to emerge from the animal state.  This was a 'discontinuous evolution'(127) leaping between hybrids and converging.  However, morality only developed once a reservoir of habits and knowledge had accumulated in social life.  So-called primitive people today have also developed such accumulations, but possibly not such a thick layer as we have.  Habits have developed into other habits partly as a result of an increase in technical skill or knowledge, producing 'deep transformations, and not merely...surface complications' (128).  Even taboo shows such developments, extending from an original object, perhaps sexual reproduction, into other areas.  'The intelligence of "primitive" peoples is not essentially different from our own' in performing such extensions, turning dynamic impulses and actions into static objects.  [Close to Sartre on universal reification here?]. The taboo is such a [reification]. However, such solidification gets challenged by intelligence which grasps that ' behind the prohibition [there is]  a person' (129).

The second function of religion refers to stimulating individual activities rather than social preservation.  Unlike animals, humans realize that their death is a certainty: this is a function of intelligence being able to reflect and generalize.  However, there's a clear danger that this might adversely affect life and progress, which would be 'counter to nature's intention' (131).  So nature provides an alternative image of life after death, a combination of images and ideas, so religion is 'a defensive reaction of nature against the representation, by intelligence, of the inevitability of death'[a note tells us that this is an hallucination for primitive men but not for us.]  In primitive societies, stability and duration is preserved by having the dead live on in the present, in some already-constructed mythological way.

This theme and others are found in different forms as variations, and they allude to 'a primitive representation of the soul'(133).  The soul is associated with the body living on after death, and a dualism soon emerges between real bodies and images of them, say reflected in a pool of water.  It follows that this imaged body is the one that lives on as some kind of phantom.  Another defensive reaction amplifies it: nature seems to be diffused by some general force of life.  Durkheim talked of the notion of mana in Polynesia providing the principle for totemic classification and as permitting communication between the clans.  The idea of the source of power persists in the present too, in the form of belief in luck or superstition.  The force is suppose to be able to influence human events, through some 'natural tendency' to equate the soul with this general spirit: the two ideas interchange, as when the soul helps to personify the spirit.

This provides us with the idea of a force causing events, and there's no limit to the list of events that can be caused by spirit, a testament to 'human stupidity' (136), and an example of cultural elaboration based on limited tendencies, an 'increase of intensity' [compare with Durkheim on moral density] which can produce change in some circumstances, but which mostly leads to endless 'additions and amplifications' (137).  Individuals may play a role but a natural 'logic of absurdity' usually suffices the [with a bit that looks for all the world like Berger and Luckmann, where an initially irrational habit is repeated and developed until it looks natural to the next generation]. 

We need to get to general forms produced by these primary tendencies or essential functions.  We pursue a definite method [another one,not the intuitive method discussed by Deleuze] : first we 'postulate a certain instinctive activity'(138), then work out if it is likely to lead to social disturbance; if so, we look at a balancing representation 'evoked by instinct', which will be 'primary religious ideas'[functionalist throughout then].  Here, much will be unforeseen in the course of life, and human intelligence uniquely tries to coordinate means to achieve long-term ends.  There is however always room for accident, a certain 'margin of the unexpected'(139).  Intelligence thinks of some universal mechanism joining acts to eventual goals, but is aware that this is never simply achieved: instead, intelligence leaps from one stage to the next.  The forces that remain will be represented as favorable powers replacing immediate notions of cause and effect, something supra-mechanical.  There may be a conflict between friendly and unfriendly powers, and unfriendly ones emerge as elaborations as above.  Thus religion is another defensive reaction of nature against 'a depressing margin of the unexpected between the initiative taken and the affect desired' (140).  This persists in notions of luck and superstition.

In practice, divine intervention is always combined with normal action, although the latter is often taken for granted, not made the subject of explicit belief.  Human beings can influence some events, but are also dependent on others.  Modern thinkers imagine an era of perfect science where there is nothing unforeseeable, so we have. at least at the level of formal thinking, the notion of perfect causality, extending even to events which we do not control.  But before such a science develops, a system of explanation emerges which is based on human interaction, which is occasionally friendly or hostile, and this can be seen as overriding any effects of individual action.  This explains the apparent indifference of '"primitive mentality"' (143) to 'proximate to physical causes' compared to mystical ones [as in Levy-Bruhl].  Mystical forces seem more variable, requiring a complex theology.

However, these forces are only invoked in cases which are important to human beings, things like accidents, death or illness: they are never used to explain the reaction of inanimate matter on inanimate matter, like a tree bending in the wind, which can be explained in mundane terms.  In practice, conventional laws of nature are routinely incorporated in physical activity, even if they are not entirely specified.  Explaining particular events usually involves both, so that we can see that a tree might be on the verge of falling, but the supernatural cause of an actual fall is required as well, to lend the act human significance.  This does not mean that primitive thought is illogical [indeed, it seems to conform to 17th century notions of necessary reason].  This notion has been abandoned by science, but it lives on as luck or superstition, each of which is engaged in perfectly logical reasoning in, say, gambling [with dodgy everyday observations of gamblers here as 'evidence', 146].  It is always that which has a personal consequence which is thought about in this way, something that tips the balance to make a particular event occur.

We can in fact classify apparent examples of primitive mentality.  Some turn on the denial of chance.  But chance itself is a doubtful notion, not unlike belief in luck.  Again, we invoke chance to explain events that have affected human beings, not events that occur beyond our interest, which we examine in terms of pure mechanism [the difference between a tree falling in a forest, and a tree falling on a human being].  The term often invokes some force outside that of cause and effect.  It may be restricted to a particular moment, but it always implies intention.  However, it also shows the affect of accumulated experience, which is generally secular and empirical, so chance cannot play too large a role, not be understood as the action of the god, for example.  It is still connected to notions of cause and effect, not detached in order to be developed culturally.  It is also true that primitive societies largely take normal proportions to avoid accident rather than adopting religious ones.  So modern thinking is too dominated by science, and less inclined to develop the implications of inexplicable events: if we abandon these two characteristics, we can understand so-called primitive societies [the example here looks a bit like the cargo cult].  To ask primitive people for scientific explanation is to ask for an impossible intelligence that would be able to grasp aspects of modern life such as science or writing which have a long history for us. Other examples involve both ignorance and lack of effort, as in treatments of the sick.  Levy-Bruhl has some examples where sick people expect payment from the doctor, not the other way about.  Bergson was able to question L-B on this, and trace it to his own childhood experience of visiting the dentist, who calmed him with a reward, so it looked as if the dentist and his parents had some ulterior motive which he was prepared to pay for to discharge his weird practices.

Back to the main theme that religion is a compensation from nature to check human intelligence, and the things it brings such as fear.  Early forms involved anthropomorphism, and involve a certain comfort in the face of forces beyond control.  These functions precede actual belief in deities [so we can't define religion as always involving gods].  Some beliefs are developed and evolve into systems of gods, but others remain with notions of impersonal force.  Here, the method turns on examining our own consciousness 'restored to its original simplicity' (153).  This is not easy to do, because threats from nature are often sudden and require immediate response rather than something thought out, but reflection on past incidents can be helpful [and the example here is the impressions recorded by William James during the earthquake in California 1906.  James records that he saw the earthquake as a personified force, applying particularly to him, expressing intention, and maybe having religious significance.  Scientific explanations of earthquakes in general were not sufficient for this particular case: James saw how own nature might look to primitive people].

Bergson notes that James personified but did not see the earthquake as a god or a demon, but rather used the term to point to the unique characteristics of that earthquake, as if it were performed by living agent, as if it had an intention immanent in the act.  James was rather comforted in this way, because the earthquake seemed mischievous and familiar rather than terrifying: this as a way of coping with any fear born of intelligence.  Rational thought gives no means to escape!  The several elements of the earthquake, mechanical and religious 'combined into an Event'(156), just as they do in human beings, and this produces a certain familiarity which dispels fright.  Fear and fright do have their functions, but they also tended to inhibit action.  Intelligence often evokes a reassuring image.  Bergson thinks similar accounts are common, and gives some of his own, including one when the actual announcement of World War One seemed as if something that had been acting behind the scenes finally emerged into the light, and there was an 'admiration for the smoothness of the transition from the abstract to the concrete' (160).

It is hard to grasp these fleeting impressions which often do not survive reflection.  But it is informative to realize that the beliefs of our ancestors persist, and not through heredity: rather, nature is the same today as it always has been, despite all that overlays it in modern society.  A sudden shock reveals the importance of something natural.  Anthropologists [he says psychologists] should study events in current culture as well.  We like to think we are superior and thus our intelligence has completely transcended its origins in 'biological necessities' (161).  However the point is to look at the function of the development of intelligence and its natural origins, the way it began as solving problems in a way similar to instinct, and the way in which it needs to be kept in check.  We can find the original form in so-called uncivilized societies too, perhaps in a clearer form, since they have had less cultural material to work on.  We have to remember that 'they are as far from the beginning of things as we are, but they have invented less' (162).  We can be encouraged by finding similar beliefs among separated people.  These are methodological techniques that can guide us [comparative study leading to functionalism].

Intelligence alone runs the risk of eternally discovering ignorance.  Instinct can take over by making us think there is some higher purpose provided by hidden powers.  We are advancing the notion of mechanism, but the older beliefs will not disappear.

What about magic?  For some it can be seen as a forerunner of science, but this is misleading.  Primitive intelligence operated with cause and effect in routine action, and with things beyond immediate control which tend to be treated religiously and morally [if we behave properly to these forces, they will behave well to us].  We must detect some purpose in the wider reality.  We can also hope to influence religious forces, as in myth making.  This particular attempt to make religious forces work for us is what produces magic.  We need to remember that humanity needs to live before it can philosophize, so that abstract ideas, such as pantheism did not arise from thought alone but are linked to action.  Hubert and Mauss want to connect general religious forces to magic, with the second as a deduction from the first, but Bergson argues that magic can develop autonomously, as an immediate attempt to extend human powers, engaging nature as an agent.  Matter must be open to the actions of nature and human beings. 

We see this in the famous recipes such as like acting on like, or parts standing for the whole, but these are secondary principles derived from practice: they would soon have been found wanting had they been conceived first.  Instead they are seen as belonging to 'a logic of the body, an extension of desire' (167) which preceded the formulations of intelligence.  This desire provokes interventions, attacking dolls rather than human beings, say, but human beings know that this is not the same as action.  They request, as it were, that nature completes the action, and bends to their desire.  This makes sense if we see nature as already engaged in human affairs, or if we see events as the same as things affected by nature.  If these forces can be tapped, things can be used in magic, assuming goodwill towards humans.  This is innate, found wherever a desire is projected outwards, but it tends to be misunderstood, sometimes seen as something that will substitute for human effort, something that can be codified in the recipes above.  Thus like acts on like is really a codification of a process that involves the utmost effort to project a desire on to the world, with full intent and a range of emotions: representing this is a process will enable the repeated effect even if the original intensity cannot be summoned—hence the puppets in 'hoodoo' (169).  The static is being used to to stand for the dynamic [as in positivism], as long as it follows the same pattern of events: the magical object needs only 'the merest superficial resemblance' to the object of intent [same principle applies to modern laboratory experiments says Adorno]. 

There is also an implied belief in forces that affect distant objects, once we can manipulate vaguely similar near objects, and this is what lies beneath the rule that the part affects the whole.  Again the idea is to repeat that leisure and act that was originally delivered in high excitement.  This is an example of reflection upon an initially simple practice.  There have been cases where magic has helped the development of science, the development of observation for example.  But there is a definite turn away from magic in science, which is based entirely on some notion of universal mechanism which must be modeled, eventually through mathematics.  This is a typical development of human intelligence, rather like the way in which simple acts of sight were originally intended just to help us act on objects in immediate reach, but which were subsequently developed into star-gazing. 

In this way, we have acquired 'a virtual knowledge of the rest [of the universe], and the no less virtual power of utilizing it' (171), although it is not easy to reach the actual from the virtual.  Only a few exceptional people wanted to explore like this, to overcome the human 'instinctive resistance to innovations'.  Progress and civilization depend on having exceptional individuals, although their findings also have to be spread: again the latter is much easier in modern societies, and some external menace might help.  Magic encourages inertia and laziness by offering an immediate calming function on restless intelligence: it retreats in the face of broader knowledge.  It does have a way of claiming success, by insisting that counter-magic must be responsible for any failures.  It is capable of developing a number of variations and inventions, partly because these 'cost no effort'.  It has been an obstacle to science, not a forerunner.  The spread of scientific stances even to the 'daily round' (172) drives it back, although it can still persist as an inclination, and is encouraged by any setbacks for science.

If we do not take care of the defining terms, magic can be mixed up with religion, perhaps by being contrasted to some other view of reality.  Philosophy generally tends to work with everyday cuttings of reality by speech, exacerbated by urbanism [probably trade really].  It is like taking political frontiers as geographical ones.  The first step towards clarity is to look at functions of the mind 'which can be directly observed' (174) without developing precise concepts.  As a result, several meanings have been detected for the term religion.  Combining these, we can see that religions embrace a reality, rather in the way that physiological functions like digestion can be seen to underpin many empirical facts observed in organisms.  For 'the lower type of religion', there is a clear link with magic, since both can be seen as checks to intelligence from nature.

However if we try a different method, comparing ordinary interpretations and thereby trying to 'extract therefrom an average meaning';  we will get a dictionary definition not yet a philosophical one, and we cannot stop with the conventional meaning of a word, as many philosophers do.  In the middle of the range of religious practices, we find the adoration of gods, and this is the opposite of magic, which is selfish.  The notion of the god is more personified, and may arise from collecting together elements of personification seen as distributed and dissolved in the natural world in magic—religion springs from animism.  The terms still interlink, and practices may reflect both.  Our own experience shows that we still think in terms of 'an efficient presence' (176), whether defined as a god or not.  Gods only emerge after some theoretical effort, while survival imposes more urgent needs. 

Our ancestors should not be seen as intellectuals like us!  Religion grows from 'primeval' and 'fundamental' experiences, our original animal origins which place their own activities at the centre of the world.  Reflection in humans has an alarming consequence at first, that we are mere specks in the universe, and this is countered by the notion that nevertheless everything turns towards man.  This force must be taken into account positively or negatively, as a conviction not a theory.  Subsequent developments of this notion of force, towards animism or theocracy follow from this conviction that energizes the will, and intellect can then elaborate the possibilities—but still in the service of living in the presence of a force.

The details of an evolution of religion towards personal gods requires that we deal with a change from outer to inner, from static to dynamic, akin to that moment when pure intelligence moved away from 'finite magnitudes to the differential calculus' (179) [a big theme in Deleuze].  This unleashed further changes in the individual, qualitative change, putting men back into the 'creative impetus'.  But that can develop only after the spread of static religion.

The main variations in static religion can be sketched.  First there is an notion of intentions included in things, local spirits which can be represented by natural phenomena.  Then a notion of a divinity which is indivisible and found in several places, which can be personified, perhaps duplicated in various spirits of the woods.  Then minor deities develop—nymphs for example.  Generalizations like this are not the result of intellectual efforts to abstract, but are 'provided directly by the senses' (180), a process of the gradual emergence and independence of some higher agency, inevitably an anthropomorphic one.  Natural needs provide the impetus for such developments, which is why we find religion everywhere [with a quick comparative analysis 181].  Development might well be delayed, for example in the 'cult of animals', which is widespread and still persists, perhaps even lingering in hybrid form in Egyptian deities.  It was easy before human intelligence had developed to see animals as equally likely to be possessed by natural impulses, and even the ability to reflect can look like something inferior, leading to hesitation compared to animals' instinctive reaction.  Human beings were interested in the particular qualities of animals.  [Again the argument is that there is no immediate progression towards personal deities, but rather that worship of animals and the 'cult of spirits' both develop after primitive religion].

We usually classify animals in terms of the species to which they belong, but we individualize with humans.  This can lead to totemism.  This involves the belief that members of a clan thinks they are literally at one with their totemic animal.  This seems contradictory, and some anthropologists have assumed that there must be some special primitive logic at work.  Rather, it seems that there are ambiguities about what it means to be, and primitive people do not operate with the same desire for precision that modern philosophers do.  We would not assume that moderns who say things like '"man is a reed that thinks" [Pascal]' are incapable of logic.  As usual, we must look at what primitive men do.  Perhaps instead it is that differences between animals are being used to think out differences between clans [which is exactly Levi-Strauss's take, as I recall], some assumption of different blood.  The widespread development of totemism shows that there is a basic need for such classifications, say in organizing exogamous marriages and strengthening clan solidarity [at first].  Again, we're starting from a biological necessity which creates either active instinct, or a latent or virtual instinct, 'an imaginative representation which determines conduct in the same way as instinct would have done' (186).

So the origins of religion are 'infra-intellectual', but as human intelligence evolved, early activities in myth making appeared, which initially reconciled humans to social life.  However intelligence developed and that permitted new kinds of creativity, a new contact with the vital impulse.  This produced 'supra-intellectual' religious forms.  Both can be considered as pure types, but there are intermediate forms.  However, dealing with the extremes prevents us thinking in terms of some 'gradual perfection'(187).  The intermediate forms can be seen as elaborations of basic animism and magic.  Myth-making originally added elements derived from the literature and art of ancient civilizations.

The transition to the notion of a god is significant, permitting full personification and relationships to other gods.  This was a clear development of the notion of an effective presence, away from initial animism, and gods were initially added to the world of spirits, which remained in popular religions.  It requires an enlightened social stratum to prefer gods.  But there is no law to explain this advance.  Other evolutions are possible, even when the supposedly divine gods are immutable.  We see this with the changes from ancient civilizations, even how monotheism arose  briefly in Egypt [Akhen-Atun, rendered here as Iknaton father of Tut-ankh-amun], and how hierarchies of gods developed [Zeus].  Greek poets might have been partially responsible, or the decree of a ruler [especially where the state merges with the divinities].  Sometimes this can be greeted with 'half skeptical attitude' (190) as with the elevation of Roman caesars to gods.  Sometimes particular activities such as agriculture led to the dominance of particular gods [lots of examples mostly from ancient civilizations, 192].  Sometimes connections with particular persons or groups are important, and their power increases the power of their god [the example is Greek gods and their association with particular cities].

All this shows the flexibility of myth making.  Greek myths developed much more detailed description of gods than roman ones, but romans borrowed some of the characteristics.  Myths are evidence of imagination, but not in a negative sense.  Again the current connotation is that imaginative objects are found neither in perception nor memory.  But there are different functions, and the one that is most important is the ability to create personalities with stories that we can relate to, as in novelists and dramatists.  They offer us 'voluntary hallucination'(195).  Children have imaginary friends.  Theater audiences can be moved to tears.  These mysterious qualities reveal an inner mechanism, some function is being discharged.  This function is indispensable for individuals and societies, even though particular forms of hallucination may not be.

This is another example of the problems encountered if we attempt to perform detailed analysis of these effects: they will be infinitely complex.  However, they appear to intuition as 'an undivided act' (196) which, once performed, overcome all the perceived obstacles.  The obstacles 'constitute an endless multiplicity' for analysis.  [We are back with Zeno and the attempt to analyze a movement into an infinite number of immobile points, or the evolution of the eye].  This kind of endless analysis is what nature occasionally has to oppose with myth [implying some link with the intuitive faculty? If we believe intuitive grasps of the whole, we believe religion too?] .  We should consider it with all the psychological functions as making a total in multiple form.

Religion has lost credence, however.  The faith of an individual needs to be reinforced by the faith of everyone.  This can produce intolerance, of course.  Religious belief was an individual matter, but that was supported by the collective.  Religion is not entirely social however, although that is one of its original functions, but it also needs to support the individual, since both are interconnected.  However, once intelligence has developed its creative capacities, religion has become 'essentially individual' (199), although even that is also social [ie better suited to modernism?]. Original spirits grew directly from natural need, but mythology develops its own momentum.  This makes it less obligatory, with more room for individual choice.  We now know that alternatives would have been possible: even the ancient civilizations were aware that a human sponsor was required to elevate the god to the pantheon.  Distinct beliefs might be contingent, but belief in general is a necessity, so 'there has never been any absolute pluralism' either (200).

Mythology is not the same as history or science.  It is mostly about action, with only the sort of knowledge that is required for representations to check the excesses of intellectuality.  It is mistaken to criticize representations as if they were totally independent of a context of action, as philosophers do when they analyze the beliefs of earlier thinkers and their evidently absurd religious beliefs.  The context of action is essential.

Religions also require ritual and ceremony, to strengthen and discipline believers [even a hint of Durkheim on the need for ritual to generate religious feeling].  Thus prayer originally possessed a magical quality to compel the will of the gods, while modern prayer is an activity of the soul itself, actually requiring no speech.  This explains the stereotyped nature of early prayer, and the crucial role of the priest in polytheism.  The god becomes more objective, capable of transmitting a 'whole group of incipient movements'(202) to believers and their bodies, and there's a circular process confirming the thing-like nature of the god.  Sacrifice, similarly, began with an attempt to buy the favour of the god: this was extended into all sorts of wrong and horrific directions.  The objects to be sacrificed might well have begun as components of a divine repast or communion to link humans to gods.

Polytheism went on to colonize literature and art, providing particularly strong religious belief.  Sometimes a philosophy has been added, not always harmoniously [usually it appeals only to 'more cultivated minds'(203).  Another difference seems to be that religion is much more attached to action].  Sometimes philosophy replaces religion, but we have to remember that words normally indicate a cut in continuous reality, so that accidental inclusions can be incorporated.  Religion properly always relates to an intention of nature: human uncertainty has to be regulated, excessive individuality restrained.  Since nature initiated intelligence, 'it is impossible' (205) to argue that she has not developed ways to regulate it.  Myth-making is that development.

One of the functions of religion is to maintain social life, but there is not always 'solidarity' between religion and civic morality, as we see in occasional social support for immorality.  Morality has followed its own lines and has acquired tradition and abstractions of its own, clearly linked to the need to defend a group.  Religion can assist and thus support moral and national goals.  This basic social function emerges as an equivalent to animal instinct.  The impetus of life appears in diverse forms, and triumphs in both intelligence and instinct, but intelligence can subsequently develop in dangerous directions and thus requires a continual check.  Intelligence is striving to maximize itself, however: the disquiet and striving of intelligence must be seen as necessarily combined with 'the peace brought by religions', to produce a balanced and indivisible whole.

[Clear parallels with Durkheim here with mechanical solidarity threatened by diversity,and the need for a new individualistic religion to cement organic solidarity etc. Both ignore the specific impetus of Christianity though, or rather puritan forms of it -- to spread the morality as a work ethic etc. No marxist critiques of functionalism either, of course].

Chapter three.  Dynamic Religion

[Lots of comparative analysis of mysticism in different traditions here.  It is rather reminiscent of Weber, although the main classificatory principles are different, and turn on relations with religion in this case.  I have left out a lot of the details of the comparisons. At the end,we see the same arguments used in MandM and CE to argue for the existence of God, the soul, and an afterlife. I think notions like vital impulse or intutition always had this potential religiosity. All Bergson says is that we are moving here from the 'facts' of the earlier arguments to more probabilistic and optimistic possibilities, but the method {transcendental deduction at it strongest -- mere induction as well} will serve].

As the creative force encounters matter, human consciousness adopts 'the shape of tool making intelligence' (210), which in turn leads to invention and reflection.  However intelligence proceeds beyond the natural, and overemphasized the individual, requiring a counterpoise—religion which compensates for 'lack of attachment to life'.  The myths that ensue are initially childlike: they incorporate reality but demand compliance, unlike other fictions, even to absurd notions.  Had matter been less resistant, the creative impulse might have led directly to 'freely creative energy' (211).  Nevertheless, human beings are aware that their lives represent the successful effort of nature.  We need to return to that impulse, rather than operating through intelligence alone, building on the vague intuitions we might have which accompany intelligence.  We need to both intensify these intuitions and put them into action rather than remain as pure contemplation of the abstract.

We would then feel pervaded 'by a being immeasurably mightier than [ourselves]' (212).  This attaches us to the world, experiencing 'joy in joy, love of that which is all love', extended to all humanity.  It can be experienced only by a privileged few. but it speaks in some way to all human beings. This would also render mundane worries and anxieties as irrelevant in favour of an attachment of life itself.  This is mysticism, and the issue is its relation to religion.  Both provide security and serenity.  Both are often combined, even if only lending color to the other.  That has taken different forms, but static religion tends to dominate, especially for those who are incapable of pursuing mysticism to its ends.  It is not uncommon for believers to puzzle about the relationship between the mystical god and the one who appears in organized religion.  The two really indicate a difference of degree, however, with static gods appealing to particular societies, and mystical ones to all of mankind. Mystical revelation can emerge from incantations and rituals.  Sometimes mystics devote themselves to transforming their static religions, following some vague echo or belief.  These combinations mean that historians often use the term religion to refer to a mixture of the states.

There does seem to be some notion of progress nonetheless, although not all combinations of religion and mysticism have been successful.  This leads to notions of pagan mysticism, say in the ancient Greeks, which was limited because it is often based on closed societies or imported ideas.  We might find mysticism also in 'scenes of religious enthusiasm'(217), as in the cult of Dionysus.  Secular activities can also produce such ecstasy, for example William James who experimented with inhaling 'protoxide of nitrogen.  Ecstatic activity like this has played a part in the development of Greek philosophy, leading to a belief that an extra-rational force was responsible for the development of reason among the Greeks themselves, just as present landscapes are the result of invisible seismic forces.  Or it might've been that Greek reason was punctuated by periods of spiritual searching for some 'transcendent reality' (220), informing the dialectic. 

The test of mysticism and for Bergson is whether it leads to contact with 'the creative effort which life itself manifests.  This effort is of God if it is not God himself'.  This would transcend human and social limits.  Using this notion, Greek mysticism did not progressed to the final stage, but stayed at the stage of noting the role of ecstasy: the final possibilities remained 'as a mere virtuality' (221) for the Greeks.  Hindus tried to combine dialectic and mysticism, but again there was no maturity [further discussion ensues for a couple of pages].  Routes to mystical insight involved both an intoxicating drink, soma, and a set of practices designed to 'inhibit all sensation, to dull mental activity'—yoga.  The social elements involved dealing with suffering through renunciation, which included 'absorption in the Whole' (224), a classic denial of the will to live through intellectuality, although again with a mystical element, Nirvana.  This process still remains incomplete for Bergson because it does not lead to subsequent 'action, creation, love' (225).  This arose from pessimism, developed perhaps in the face of persistent natural catastrophes.  In the west, a number of inventions and organization drove back pessimism, and enabled the development of full mysticism [lovely irony, comparable to Weber].

Christian mysticism is the most complete form, passing through all the other stages but ending with vigorous political action [including spreading Christianity or founding various monastic orders].  Some people have tried to be quite such mysticism with mental disease, but although both are abnormal states, often including ecstasy or visions, Christian mystics have not relied on them but have gone beyond to identify the ultimate end 'identification of the human will with the divine will' (229).  Of course experiencing the transition to such dynamism can produce a shock to the soul and subsequent images or emotions, but in Christian mysticism these are functional readjustments, although not without risk: the same goes for the risks and disturbances experienced by other geniuses [again a big theme in Deleuze]. 

Describing the effects, mystics increasingly attend only to the inner voice, and then experience joy, ecstasy and rapture, oneness with god, but also an anxiety about how long that this is going to last: there can never beat total unity with god.  The will also remains.  These limits can produce a subsequent desolation, the darkest night, which all mystics talk about.  The last phase is impossible to analyze because its mechanism is so obscure, but there emerges a notion of perfection, which can be used to reject anything that delays union with god, a replacement for mere contemplation, a consciousness that god itself is acting.  After woods, there is 'a super abundance of life'(232), and energy, aimed at large scale action, guided by intuition as much as conscious effort, contact with the very source of life.  Visions cannot grasp this.  There are no external signs, only internal conviction and subsequent humility.

Action follows.  Teaching about some underlying reality, despite the obvious difficulties.  Action is directed to all humanity, not just social groups.  It can be supported by contact with residual mysticism or by seeing early attempts to develop community as a kind of implicit stage.  This is not natural, since only the family and the social group are natural, and they often involve struggles against other groups.  This can overflow but never get very far: the mystic love of humanity does not originate in sense nor in mind, although it can be detected at the base of reason and feeling itself.  It goes in the same direction of the vital impulse to develop human society.  It can only spread by passing from one person to another.  It has to battle with the struggle for life among most human beings, and the applied intelligence that follows.  It's possible to develop intellectual work to conceive of a broader community, and to develop political and social organizations accordingly, but this might dilute mysticism.  A better way is to precede by spreading mystic insight to a small group of privileged people first, a spiritual society which might then produce others.  Of course, there already was a religious tradition, providing suitable images and descriptions, and these were always interwoven with mysticism.  Some early mystics were able to argue they were simply reviving an existing religion, partly for political and didactic reasons, although it is likely that one reason for the persistence of religion is the extent to which it has tapped mystic insight.  However, our religion has also borrowed something from existing traditions such as Greek thought [with an implication below].  Historical arguments are largely irrelevant, say about the historical Jesus: even if he did not exist, the Sermons still do.  The relation with Judaism is also of interest: one difference is that Christianity always concerned itself with love of and for every one, although Christianity inherited the energy of Jewish mysticism.

[[I am really going to summarize the rest of this quite extensively, because I'm getting bored]. The arguments for the existence of god should not be confined to the activity of reason alone, because god stands beyond normal experience.  The argument often incorporates an explicit aristotelian notion of god anyway, who was powerful but did not communicate with us.  This in turn depended on platonic ideas, which had their origin in the natural tendency of human beings to classify things, but which gained philosophical support as immutable models of true reality.  It is a short step to assume that this reality takes on a divine form, Thought itself.  This conception has been at the centre of much metaphysical discussion, with the level of analysis of the development of the notion of divine thought.  There is a parallel with the general criticism of motion in Greek thought discussed elsewhere, since a number of fixed ideas are being applied to the infinite variety of our experience, as the realization of perfect forms.  The notion of the real as mobile, as movement has been lost in favor of a number of fixed qualities: rest then becomes something superior to movement, immutability to mutability, motion as a matter of moving between privileged 'halts'(244).  It is not far to the argument that duration is secondary to being, and time to eternity, in a whole metaphysics.  In Aristotle, the social processes of classification and language, and the construction of models has become divine, with god as 'the Idea of Ideas, or Thought of Thoughts'.

Mysticism can precede in ways which have been already sketched.  It is not a state of mental disturbance, nor is mysticism unique and unprovable, at least, no more than is science.  At least there's been some verification in the similar accounts of mystics even where they have not communicated with each other: it is not that mystics have first submerged themselves in a religious tradition, nor that they value it much.  Nor do visions themselves play a particularly large role, nor theological teaching.  Instead, such agreement shows 'an identity of intuition', the simplest explanation of which would be to posit the actual existence of a Being.

Yet certainty also requires confirmation from some other experiences which have led to discovery of 'a transcendent principle' (248), especially as 'experience is the only source of knowledge', although intellectual activity can extend it. There are a number of '"lines of fact"'pointing in the direction of truth, and these merely have to be prolonged: this is the 'method of intersection', involving the collaboration of philosophers, and the accumulation of different sorts of results rather than a competition between different perspectives.  Religious mysticism can assist the use of intuition in other areas, and the results of intuition in those areas can supplement religious experience.  The obvious example is working back from biology to reach the notion of a creative evolution.  That ended with the notion of the vital impulse above consciousness.  Analysis of that impulse also showed the interpenetration of intelligence and intuition in human beings.  Developing intuition to reveal the inner life was a first step to get to 'the very principle of life in general' (250).  Mysticism can follow the same procedure.

Mysticism, it has been argued, is more than ecstasy, more than an imaginative development of traditional religion, even if it borrows that language. Traditional religion, with aspects such as the notion of revelation with a definite date, or the requirement for faith and the support of institutions might lead to clashes with philosophy, but mysticism is, on the contrary, 'a powerful helpmeet to philosophical research'.  Mystic experience can be continued just as ordinary experience was just above.  Mystics do not address routine problems in philosophy, such as why anything exists at all, but we have already argued that these are false problems, depending always on something existing which has been negated.  Such problems disappear with mysticism, as do all the debates about the supposed attributes of God, which again are commonly defined negatively.  Mysticism and philosophy might agree that the important issue is the positive side of god, that god is love.

This position also implies that god is not just like a person, with the characteristics of persons, simply assimilated to man.  Instead, it leads to a merger with the higher emotions that we talked about earlier, those above intellect which stimulate ideas once embodied.  We see this in the construction of a Beethoven symphony, which constantly drew upon an original indivisible emotion.  Such emotion resembles at least initially the sublime love which is god.  Some great books show the same relation between some ineffable initial emotion and the actual product, seemingly produced from some 'imperative demand for creation' (253).  Existing words and ideas are often seen as insufficient to communicate this emotion, and the results will be a series of signs that manifest it, 'fragments of its own materialization'(254).  This is what mystics are trying to do with god.

The higher emotions give different notions of love, not necessarily centered on an object, and not just one-way: 'god needs us just as we need god'(255), and god is interested in human creativity because that will lead to the development of 'beings worthy of his love'.  The same may apply to other life throughout the universe, which may have expressed the potential energy of the life force in quite different ways, but it is no mistake that humans have developed alongside other lines of evolution.  It is not surprising that human higher emotions cover other beings and also matter itself.  [The spiritual roots of post humanism!]. 

We have gone beyond the conclusions in Creative Evolution and thus beyond the facts that supported them.  We are now dealing with probabilities, but these are important, and philosophy depends on intuition as well as reason.  Scientific research might even support mystical intuition here as it did in CE.  We can see creative energy as love, which wants to create beings worthy of being loved, and in the material world as well as a spiritual realm.  This would produce things like material aspects considered as being created, implying creation, and also implying an 'indivisible emotion' from which everything sprang.  Spatiality and potential will be mixed.  Divergent lines of evolutionary progress will emerge.  Human beings can be seen as the endpoints, but the vital impulse wants to progress still further, to follow some higher purpose, to love and be loved.  The realization of god's love had to be in the form of material bodies and species, but as a species that is not satisfied with itself but which aims to get back to god, through mysticism.

Man's body is not just the immediate body in which we live, but matter itself, anything to which we apply our consciousness—everything.  Our normal body is only the centre of our activity, and it would be wrong to see consciousness as just limited to that.  Nor is the wider reality just an epiphenomenon of human consciousness [apparently criticized in Matter and Memory, certainly in the form of physicalism].  Thus we do not impose our thoughts on the universe, but are 'really present in everything we perceive', by varying parts of ourselves to create potential actions (259).  We must not be misled by the apparent complexity of the universe compared to the simplicity of human beings, because simplicity and complexity are difficult to define, and, we can simplify wholes by adopting particular points of view [the example of the movement of the hand perceived from outside as a whole as opposed to the era of subjecting it to an infinite analysis].  We should grasp the creation of human beings similarly, instead of endlessly analyzing the conditions which they require to emerge.  Multiplicities like this are 'but the reverse of something indivisible'(259) [interesting implications for Deleuze similarly here, whether multiplicity is just the analytic variability of Being as in Badiou].  Overall, complexities can be simplified and vice versa.

There may be an optimistic future for man beyond suffering, especially as suffering is often combined with mental states including refined tastes or guilt.  But this is 'an empirical optimism'(261), based on to facts: humanity finds life good; and there is 'unmixed joy, lying beyond pleasure and pain' for the mystic soul.  [We also have to square the god of love with suffering—Bergson does this by arguing that suffering and love are also part of the whole providing infinite multiplicity of things: he also wants to quibble with the notion of omnipotence which cannot be defined on its own any more than can 'nothing'.  We also have to take care not to personify god and attribute characteristics to him: instead of confronting this conception with our experience, it would be better to 'follow just the reverse methods, question experience as to what it has to teach us of a {transcendental} Being' (262).  The issue is does experience lead to the notion of the god or not, some 'energy to which no limit can be assigned, and the power of creating and loving which surpasses all imagination']. 

We can use the same sort of method to argue for the existence of a soul and an afterlife.  We should not attempt to define these a priori, as with Plato, and deduce events from them.  Instead we have clues from the study of things like the memory which defy physicalist explanations.  As we traced the expansions of memory from a point [of a cone] resting in reality to a plane offering a 'a panorama of the whole indestructible past'(263) we encounter some realm that is not material reality.  We could call it spirit, although this would be knowingly stretching ordinary language.  However, 'experimental searching' will lead to the possibility or 'even probability' of the soul, in dependent of the body.  We will still need to flesh out more of its characteristics, such as whether it was eternal, but it would be something which appears in experience.  If we turn to mystic intuition upon a higher plane of experience, we might consider whether or not this meets the mundane experience of something nonmaterial that we have just discussed, an afterlife.  We clearly need more investigation, but we have at least a probability, one that offers substantial advances of knowledge and progress.  There will still be those who want to argue either way, but they must realize that common arguments take their form from current language to describe inner experience, for example: that features a substantial split between the body and inner experience at the moment, for society's own purpose.  Sometimes the two are linked through negation [which we have already dismissed]: we'll get nowhere with negation.  Better to work with experience of consciousness which might be pursued until 'we reach a clear intuition': this offers risks and will not please everybody, but it might lead to new ideas.

Chapter four.  Final Remarks: Mechanics and Mysticism.

[A lot of summary here, one or two new terms—Bergson obviously never attended those classes that said you must never introduce new ideas in a conclusion—and a lot of general remarks about the state of society, typical of French public intellectuals, including the evils of consumerism.  I have just summarized these very briefly]

We can identify two sorts of society, closed and open, internally focused or externally.  The first is more like a natural society, bound together by strong moral obligations, guarded by a religious obstruction to the growth of intelligence.  The first does not develop into the second, without the leap taken by gifted individuals: it follows there is no agreed direction, no progress, but rather a genuinely creative effort, qualitative changes.  Such moments drew on the fringe of intuition that still exists with intelligence, and this is what defines myth making and eventually mysticism.  Mysticism often still uses the same images and symbols.  This helps us reject notions of progress and intellectualist accounts of change.

Dynamic morality puts us back in touch with the life force, itself produced by nature, something supra-rational.  Intelligence often tries to rationalize or select some organizing principle, but there is no single one.  We make a mistake if we start with the state of affairs in existing societies, because there 'everything interpenetrates everything', where there already is the notion of sociability.  What we have to look for is what is demanded by nature: it is nature that makes obligation and pursuit of an ideal active.  We must avoid simple ideas of motion [in history as well as generally] as governed by some path towards an immobile goal, with points on the way.  We must involve those ideas of evolution as social progress from the primitive, although there always was morality among human beings. 

There are some practical implications and we can comment on social events according to whether they represent a closed or an open society, and whether we can detect the progress of nature.  It is unlikely that social habits are simply inherited: rather, customs institutions and languages play a major part, 'unceasing education' (272).  We must not be excessively optimistic about progress as inherent, as in the work of Spencer, who wrongly drew from biology to support his particular sociology.  At the same time, we must remember the impact of the basic 'dispositions of the species' which can be revealed by an effort, and thus avoid idealism.  There is a 'natural human society'(274) which acts as a diagram, leaving intelligence and will to round it out.  We only get to this by pursuing several methods enabling 'a system of cross checking', which will lead to possibilities or probabilities, and eventually 'reciprocal verification'.  We can use studies of primitive people, observation of children, although 'child nature is not necessarily human nature', but above all introspection, looking for some bedrock of sociability in our consciousness.  We can grasp this in a flash of vision.

It is not easy to govern complex societies.  Original small societies guaranteed a state of war, including alliances and empires, because of the shortages of resources.  Such conglomerations are threatened by a natural disintegrating force as well, which has to be constrained by some overarching principle of unity—patriotism in modern times, often tinged with mysticism and supported by religion.  Is there a natural form of government?  The Greeks thought that there would be either monarchy or oligarchy, based around some chief(s).  This reveals a human version of the natural division of labour in insect societies—'"dimorphism"'(278), a tendency to split into leaders and subjects, but within individuals as much as between groups, as revealed in revolutionary periods.  However, a more 'ferocious'[enthusiastic] form of leader worship is normal.

This ferocity itself might be natural.  It is certainly widespread.  Murder might indeed be the ultimate underpinning of authority and politics, disagreeable to humans, but not so much to nature.  It lurks even within apparently civilized societies [an anecdote about apparently civilized colonials returning home to murder each other].  Leadership like this is based on some belief in the innate superiority of the ruling personal group, sometimes in a military setting.  For change to occur, this confidence must be weakened, and cease to be held religiously.

It is no surprise that democracy is late in arrival, since it threatens most of all the closed society.  There are conflicts between liberty and equality, to be regulated by stressing fraternity above everything.  This gets close to the notion of love for humanity, and has informed the number of specific philosophers, including Kant and Rousseau.  The terms can never be defined precisely, especially given technical and social change, and they emerged initially as challenges to known abuses.  When considered more positively, there is always a danger that they will support private interest.  Nevertheless, democratic thinking is 'a mighty effort in a direction contrary to that of nature' (283) [I think this is said approvingly].

Is war natural?  There is a natural element in that human beings make tools for non-specific use, and human societies inevitably quarrel over resources: 'we all know how little boys love fighting' (284) [!] And there is an element of sport in war.  People are very enthusiastic, not just to manage their fear.  However, the last War was beyond anything imagined.  We can see nature at work in helping us to forget the horrors, managing relations with foreigners through 'a cunningly woven veil of ignorance, preconceptions and prejudices' (285).  This explained the ferocity among the French, despite the tendencies of education encouraging great toleration.  The emergence of national war, total war, is also new, and military science now threatens annihilation for enemies.  However, there are political responses such as the League of Nations, which us to combat the 'deep rooted war instinct underlying civilization'(287), a residue of the old closed societies.  However there are also rational motives which can be addressed, including the effects of industrialization in producing a surplus population and dependence on other nations.

We have come to expect that 'life is not worth living if [we] cannot have comforts, pleasures, luxuries' (289) and if we are deprived of them, this is another impulse for war.  However, a greater danger is overpopulation, and the State needs to intervene, to regulate self reproduction.  This will go against instinct.  Sovereign states will have to conform.  We should also do something about consumerism.  There might be a possible link between mysticism and industrial civilization, but this needs more research, now that we see that economic growth does not always bring happiness.  There's been a divergence from the initial impulse.

History reveals 'alterations of ebb and flow' (292), although memory means that this is never a matter of simple reversals.  We can now identify events such as weariness and indifference following initial enjoyment, but also a desire to recapture the good life.  [There's also a hint of legitimation crisis if governments do not continue to provide increased standards of living—a consequence of democracy responding to the people's concerns, for Bergson]. The regular alternation of political parties enables progress as long as parties learn from their experiences.  Generally, there is no fatal direction to history, no historical law.  But there are biological laws [which will kick in to help us survive].  Nature pushes forward, but not in a single direction, rather 'fan wise'.  It's only afterwards that we can see these different tendencies are produced by 'an indistinct multiplicity'(294), and that development has an emergent effect [applied to reflex and voluntary actions, as well as the old favorites of instinct and intelligence]. 

Both societies and individuals often experience a split in tendency, and it is usual to develop one to exhaustion, and then revert back to the other.  It is common to see different tendencies as involved in negating each other, but really, there is an oscillation, and it is wise to think of combining the two, especially when one gets out of hand, and becomes unreasonable.  Action generally is unpredictable, however, since it tends to create its own route.  Exhaustion and then reversion is common, action and reaction.  These developments can display 'something frenzied' about them, as each gains a monopoly.  Overall, there is a a 'law of dichotomy' whereby a tendency splits into two apparently different ones, and the 'law of twofold frenzy'(296), whereby one is 'pursued to the very end'.  Such frenzy is functional in maximizing creativity [so is compromise and settlement, he notes].  We tend to dramatize anyway, seeing history as struggle between two opposed tendencies, but nature works in this way too, persuading us to pursue curiosity as much as pugnacity.  We can see this in the alternation between the different schools in Greek philosophy, the unbridled pursuit of pleasure on the one hand, and stoicism on the other.

We can see the two laws at work when discussing material progress, including  'the race for comfort' (298).  It is a frenzy, but this indicates that there must be some suppressed alternative.  We saw this initially with asceticism in the past, which turned into general indifference and stoicism.  We must see this as a manifestation of the underlying 'primordial tendency' which also produces demands for affluence.  We might therefore expect to return to simplicity as the pendulum swings back.  Both are required for [real] happiness—we either master material things or ourselves.  Science and medicine might help us return to a simpler life [he has in mind demonstrations that eating meat is harmful, and thinks that it might lead to a much simpler diet].  We might reverse the trend that puts the 'violent but paltry sensation' (302) of sexuality at the heart of our conceptions of humanity and culture: 'sex appeal is the keynote of our whole civilization'.  If we can master it, we can even liberate women, and  minimise the use of luxuries to persuade them to please men [!].  We are wrong to see luxury as at the top of a hierarchy, topping pleasure and comfort—it is not at all clear which desires are being met here [in his example, it is almost inconceivable that people would have gone to such trouble to acquire rare spices in previous times].  Again frenzy is involved, but history should show us that ambitions to acquire things like cars may also be obviated by technical progression.

Material needs will grow and keep pace with mechanical invention, even though this might be the result of the development of 'artificial needs' (304).  The pace increased with the development of science, but science could liberate itself from consumerism, and turn to real needs again.  [He seems to be advocating an agricultural revolution in particular].  Technological inventions might even have a good side in providing for more leisure, as long as this is not devoted to following 'so-called pleasures' (306), but devoted to intellectual culture.  We must set about simplifying our lives with as much frenzy as we devote to consumerism.  We have deviated, and things have got out of hand, partly because mechanization coincided with the development of democracy [although this does not show us smooth progress, of course].  Cultural factors included reactions against the existing Christian ideal, which took the form of the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the growth of technology, which showed us 'the other side' of Christian belief [which included individualism?]—another triumph for mysticism.

Mysticism has provided a positive impulse from mechanization [as we saw above], but it no longer guides it—technological progress was not foreseen but develops as 'a unique stroke of luck'(309).  This expansion of the body [in the broadest sense] leaves the soul uninvestigated, and now we need to draw upon it.  Mysticism is already partly invested in developments such as imperialism, but this is 'a counterfeit'(310), infected by the social purposes of religion which are really incompatible with true mysticism.  A new mystic genius might appear with 'a special "will to power"' (311), and this will revive our onward progress by tapping the vital impulse.  Intelligence can now help, moving beyond religion.

Until the new savior arrives, we might investigate the spiritual scientifically.  The most pressing needs to manage matter have been achieved, and science need no longer remain with them.  Science should now investigate the soul. The old atomistic psychology, and the metaphysics that is based on, will be rejected.  We will see that the body is an obstacle to perception, too dominated by action, leaving psychic life only in a virtual state, devoting its efforts to attending to life.  Mental life blocks anything that might go beyond these goals, except for 'abnormal perceptions' (315), and they should now be investigated as a psychical research [as in his lecture on becoming chair of the French Society].  Scientists must abandon the existing notion of the relation between soul and body, which is not based on fact but on a particular metaphysics [presumably mechanism].  There are indeed facts to suggest alternatives, including telepathy, which apparently has been corroborated by 'thousands of statements' (316).  Science needs to evaluate such evidence, and Bergson thinks that enough remains for a serious research programme.  The benefits will be substantial, a gain over nothingness and death, joy and the simple life, free at last from increasing regulation.  Our future is in our own hands.  We can decide to live, to realize 'the essential function of the universe, which is a machine for the making of gods' (317).

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