chapter  Ten
28 Pages

Ethics, religion and politics

WithMark Sinclair

In 1932 Henri Bergson named the book on ethics that had been expected of him for 25 years The Two Sources of Morality and Religion. Bergson had his own political and personal motivations for his interventions in the war, but the voluntarism in his philosophy of creation is what made possible its own mobilisation. Fabulation, however, is merely static religion, and another source of attachment entirely, Bergson argues, is to be found in mysticism. Bergson’s reflection on the “open” and the “closed” in morality and religion is grounded on the accounts of genius and habit in duration that he had presented in Creative Evolution. The Two Sources of Morality and Religion advances an anti-intellectualist ethics. Immanuel Kant rationalist ethics, Bergson holds, has both social and religious origins that are non-rational. Consequently, we might infer that if social habits really are different in nature to other habits, then they do not operate in the same way as mechanical motor habits.