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.-_4?_.4 _ CRITIQUE OF
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1 MODERNITY
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ALAIN TOURAINE

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‘This book — unlike others on its topic — is steeped in an understanding of
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history and intellectual history. In it Touraine situates his original and now
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classical sociological thought — on post-industrialism, on new social
movements, on nationhood and identity ~ in the context of a possible crisis and .1 “
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critique of modernity. ’ l >4

Scott Lash, author of Sociology of Postmodernism l fl

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‘an intellectual tour dc force linking philosophy, the history of ideas and the J _
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evolution of societies . . . a book which unites factual inquiry with profound it
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reflection. ' l
Le Figaro
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For over two hundred years, the notion of modernity has dominated \X/estern ,.
social thought. Yet as we approach the end of the millennium, we find the l .
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concept under siege: constantly being challenged, rejected or refined. In | ,.i
Critique of Modernity, Alain Touraine, one of the West's leading social
thinkers, offers an outstanding analysis and reinterpretation of the modern for
the twenty—first century. =1
Touraine begins by recalling the triumph of rationalist theories of modernity .;!
and then traces the destruction, in both thought and social practices, of that ti 1}
idea, through the critiques of consciousness and reason elaborated by ‘ 1
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Nietzsche and Freud, and in the rise of consumer society and mass
communications. From modernity triumphant to modernity in crisis, the author ‘i
charts a brilliant course through a complex history, setting the scene for his X is
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reformulation of the modern in the final section of the book. l Iii

Redefining modernity as a tense relationship between Reason and Subject, ii


rationalization and subjectivation, the spirit of the Renaissance and the spirit l 1
of Reformation, and science and freedom, Touraine establishes a position as
far removed from today’s declining modernism, as it is from the ubiquitous
phantom of ‘post-modernity‘. Qoia

Critique of Modernity is a major contribution to essential debates around l


modernity, post-modernity and the future of democracy.
Alain Touraine is ‘Director of the Centre d'Analyse et dilntervention
Sociologiques in Paris, France. He is the author of many books, including The Q-ants»;

Post—1ndustrial Society, T/1e Self-Production ofsociety and The Return ofthe


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Actor.
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Cover illustration: l\/lax Ernst, Two Sisters. i926, oil and frottage with black lead on canvas, U“
lO0 >1 73 cms, Private Collection©SPADEM/ADAGP, Paris and DACS. London, I994. . Q

Cover design by Richard Boxall Design Associates

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Copyright © Alain Touraine 1995 -
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English translation @ Basil Blackwell Limited 1995 r,
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First published in French by Fayard as Une Critique de la Modemiré in 1992 r

First published i.n English 1995 f/a

Blackwell Publishers, the publishing imprint of


Basil Blackwell lnc. a Contents
238 Main Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142 é
USA

Basil Blackwell Ltd.


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All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short
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part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
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means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording
av, Acknowlcdgements
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o th erwise,
' without the prior permission of the publisher.
m
s Introduction
Except in the United States of America, this book is
sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by Way W.
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of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or Part I Modernity Triumphant
otherwise circulated Without the publisher’s prior 1 The Light of Reasonl L
consent in any form of binding or cover other than that
in which it is published and Without a similar condition
2 The Soul and N=1t11_1'9~ aw
including this condition being imposed on the subsequent 3 The Meaning of History
Q16
purchaser. as
Library of Congress Catrdoging-in—Publicati0n Data
’~‘< p II Modernity in Crisis
‘/As
“it The Decay of Modernity
Touraine, Alain. $2
[Critique de ta modernité. English]
2 The Destruction of the Ego
Critique of modernity / Alain Touraine : translated by David Macey. Nation, Company, Consumer
p. cm. 79%}
1'2 Intellectuals against Modernity
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN I—55786—530—2 (alk. paper). - ISBN
~94
U1-PS-P-‘ Leaving Modernity
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I-55786—531—0 (pbk. : alk. paper)


1. History, Modern — Philosophy. 2. Civilization, Modern- Part III Birth of the Subj€Ct
Philosophy. I. Title. 1 The Subject _
D210.T68 1995
901 - dc2O 94—21504 115%
2 The Subject as Social Movement
I is not Eg0
British Library Cataloguing in P:¢blz'c¢ztz'0n Data CIP 5% Light and Shadow
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Lfl-P93 What is Democracy?
1/1?.
Typeset in 10.5 on 12 pt Gararnond Points of Arrival
by CentraCet Limited, Cambridge is
Printed in Great Britain by T.]. Press Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall
Bibliography
This book is printed on acid-free paper
Index
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..». Note to the Reader

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My view that modernity is a tense relationship between Reason and
the Subject is expounded in part III. Readers who Wish to take Part
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<4; III as their starting point may do so. Readers who are interested in
i'&I the ‘classical’ conception which identified modernity with rationali-
zation Will find the history of its triumph and fall in Parts I and II.
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Acknowledgements

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This book took shape in the course of my seminar at the Ecole des
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I-Iautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales between 1988 and 1992. Its central
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'¢.§< the Centre d’Analyse et d’Intervention Sociologiques (CADIS). My
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thanks are due to all those who assisted me with their comments and
questions during those working sessions.
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wt; The first draft of this text was revised during the month I spent at
3% the European University Institute of Florence at the invitation of
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Alessandro Pizzorno.
ea Simonetta Tabboni, Michel Wieviorka and Francois Dubet were
7“? kind enough to read the second draft. I am extremely grateful to them
for their comments and criticisms.
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Jacqueline Blayac and Jacqueline Longérinas produced both draft
texts with their usual competence and energy. My warmest thanks are
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due to them for the care they devoted to my text.

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Introduction
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What is the modernity whose presence has been so central to our
ideas and practices for more than three hundred years, and which is
now being challenged, rejected or redefined?
.%~ . In its most ambitious form, the idea of modernity was the assertion
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that men and women are what they do, and that there must therefore
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be an increasingly close connection between production, which is
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made more efficient by science, technology or administration, the
organization of a society governed by law, and a personal life
motivated by both self-interest and the will to be free of all con-
straints. What could provide a basis for this correspondence between
Q? a scientific culture, an ordered society and free individuals, if not the
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triumph of reason? Reason alone could establish a correspondence
on between human action and the order of the world. Religious thought
had indeed tried to do so, but was paralysed by the finalism
characteristic of monotheistic religions based upon a revelation.
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Reason inspires science and its applications; it also requires the
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adaptation of social life to individual or collective needs. Reason
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replaces the reign of arbitrary power and violence with the legal State
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and the market. By acting in accordance with the laws of reason,


humanity was advancing towards affluence, freedom and happiness.
It is this central assertion that is being challenged and rejected by
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5//A critiques of modernity.
Xi In what sense are freedom, personal happiness or the satisfaction of
up
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respect for local and guild customs were obstacles to the rationaliza-
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2 tion of production, which required the removal of barriers, the
5 cessation of violence and the establishment of a legal State. Yet this
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as the French are especially well aware, given that their legal State was
4 constituted in the form of an absolute monarchy. The fact that the
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2 Introduction , 3
Introdzactzorz
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combination of rational legal authority and a market economy
produced modern society is not enough to prove that the power of %. 4”“.
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Othar criticisms can, howevef, be ma -
de of this soft concelmon O
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It is fadmg in to insignifican ce. It g rants t e gffiatfis
reason provides a link between growth and democrac Far from ' i~rnodernltY- - ' d h f ethe least important,
there is a negative link between the two in that they Y' both involve1.“. a"* 5. tame to the m0S t 1II1]Il€Cl13I€> an I er‘: or
struggle against tradition and arbitrary power, but there is no positive - em
ilnpor ' an ds of the market. . It 1is - - blindly - exacerbates
it reducing Society and the to 3 21606
market and
both the inequa ities lerating
link. The same criticism applies, 4 fortiori, to the link that was 1 n()1'€S
' . . - ' le vironment.
gsstructlon of its natural and socia ri _ _ . man go je Content
presumed to exist between rationalization and happiness. Freedom _ .
__ an attempt to escap 6 both these criticisms, _ Y
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from restrictions and traditional forms of authority permits but does n odest conception of modern_iIY- I?
not ensure happiness; it calls for freedom but at the same time .-.:themselV€S W1'th an even more F11
subordinates freedom to the centralized organization of production tf und an IYPC O f society; It
ifheir
. View’ _ the appeal ‘ to reifsoll Camriffongpolies 1 guilds, classes, and
ti-s1_.a. griticalliprcg vi-ppilliii;1s0t1::5Nether1and5, the United States apld
and consumption. The assertion that progress leads to affluerice,j
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freedom and happiness, and that there is a close connection between; --'1d60l0g1€5 H 1 e . - Odgfnlfy through revolution and t 6
these three objectives, is no more than an ideology to which history‘ ?'§_Erance made their entrY In to m ' f h d
has constantly given the lie. __“_f_§jection o f absolutism _ ' Now that ‘E he' 'connotations 0 t to
d rather 6 speak
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What is more, add the most radical critics, the so—called rule of Y __<rev0lution are negative ratheé the n P ositive coloriized we ten nations’ d0Wntr0d_
reason increases the system’s dominance over actors. It is a process of ‘ ,0_ the ‘liberation’ Of OPPICS“ _ C asses’ . .
paén_ _ Women and persecuted II11I1O1'1EL1i:f _ to What someis ' andthe result
awelhtempered0 f libera-
normalization and standardization which, having destroyed the . . - 3

autonomy of the workers, is now being extended to the world of »fa < . . .1 flan? Equality. of opportunity '
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hers. et is no p
t Ohticaj freedom
consumption and communications. This domination may take either j .. _ multicultura ' lism according t0 Qt . -

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a liberal or an authoritarian form, but the goal of modernity is always, :¥
and especially when it calls for the freedom of the subject, the
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..__i;.fi_O_n, mere Y preven_ . .t (Berlin 1969)? Is not appiness
.. _~ a ainst the W]_ll of the majori y - 0r desires. ' > 111 short,
subordination of individual interests to the interests of a whole, be it I _pOW@1’ g dom to obey one ’5 own will
the firm, the nation, society, or reason itself. Is it not in the name of ~ -9‘- .. gmerely the free _
Society ten S T10 El O f h
cl b lish all an organizational - forms0 and ang6S
reason that the domination of adult and educated Western men was
Ciplesand to lJ€C01‘£€C;1r?tr;1;iJSI'€aIl§ll21therefore gf Personal, Orgamz- a multi le HOW C P1111" _
extended throughout the world, and that they came to dominate}
women, children and workers as well as colonized peoples? ' ;i .:1g9Vemed by kiwi’ an ' 5 éuch consistent liberalism I10 longer '5
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How could such criticisms fail to convince at the end of a century i':f':iiafiii0na1
;.¢Afljgfines . or Political ' ' Stmtfgle i ent management or education. It
dominated by a communist movement which forced totalitarian - any principles 0 S overnm Ondénce between System and actor
, km er uarantees the corresp
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regimes based upon reason, science and technology on one third of i~:;';"'il?9i_ g g f h ' alists of the Enlightenment’
was the suP1'eme gm1 0 t e ration ~ - 1 in the
the world? ' E? which . h ch is res ected on y
The West replies that that it has been suspicious of this voluntaristic ' "'*'i’r"3I3t'"‘means no more than a tolerancewe in
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rationalism and enlightened despotism ever since the French Revolu- ~ a sence 0 f an y serious social crisis' and d‘ which wor
1 I116 most abundant Y and
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tion turned in to The Terror. It has gradually replaced a rationalist ism: 3'11}§~i3€lYantage of those who have at their 1819053
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vision of the world and of human action with a more modest and :;;jj3:.;f'v'aried resourcesg _ of modernity self—destructive? This _is
purely instrumental conception of rationality. With the approach of a ' 1Af1A§y,,.lg;,.iIS_ ngt, this so t conception d n Critics Baudelaire (1863) saw in
mass consumer society, rationality is, moreover, made to serve"3' §i‘§‘i3:"=t'he-~startin. 8 Point - for ' POst'mO - ert the resence O f the eternal in ' the
demands and needs which increasingly escape the restrictive rules or-‘ _l,~31j§.." ._' 1.;;,;1mQq1¢m ,-.-_':-.=-_. at. life, its fashions and its ar ,
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a rationalism corresponding to a productive society based upon?‘ . in-st a nt. Yet was this anyt .1 £1?
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accumulation rather than upon consumption on the part of thegjj
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majority. A society dominated by consumption and, more recentl ,: " .;%i 'jEI_;_1=E._'1'-_' historical ;1 - . society in which . the- fami 1 _ l
t claimin g to be g he emonic? And. is
. ii =.1--.-1.-and the modern, coexist withou
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In both its hard and soft or modest forms, the idea of modernit
as defined by the triump h of eit
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as ost its iberating and creative power It is as powerless a ainst
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the p0S'E"mO§lern Cultural 1miL%ionsyl"iip between Reason and Subiect,


enemy, meaning the rise of separatism - and racism, as high—minded s fine modernity as a terisfi Te a_ the Spirit of the Renaissance and
appeals to human rights. i rationalization and sub]ectivation,SCienCe and freedom‘ My Position
Do we therefore have to go over to the other side and 'oin in th $11‘.
that Oi the Ref°§n§aU01iLii:;i;e<i:c1ining modernism as it is from thfi
1 is as far remove roni .
great return of nationalisms, particularisms, fundamentalisms ~ reli—e .. A
gious and otherwise — which seem to be gaining ground everywhere, ubi;;i{git°“S.Pl:;IltOIi1na(ii£ %ZiZi??§eLi“Eughii Asginij the P???
in ere 15 . ' 1; e ve 1 ea
' b oth the most highly modernized countries and in countries th dill
have been brutall y d isrupte d b y forced modernization?
i ' Understand~ ~<::'
at aw modernist ideology, or agalnsltl theivtieifipcgigg gnsweri vlgililst our
ing the formation of these movement modernity? Intenecmalslugua Y iii economists to be the centu1‘Y of
s clearly requires a critical century seems to techno_°_g1st1s1 an Harms it has been dominated by
investigation of the idea of modernity, as develo ed in th W
p e est, .- :.i:=:
modernity triumphant, in inte €((Ii[1l8. t it seems to mE that the real
but it in no sense implies that we must abandon the efficac of 12'-T
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instrumental reason, or the liberating power of critical thoughtYand a an antimodemist discourse. lcln Y9 , that of a complete dissociation
individualism. . r3
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threat lies elsewhere. The reakl) angeé file technical or economic World
This brings us to the starting point of this book If we re'ect the .,..JA. between system and actor_s,_ 6€\A€€ ur Society Comes increasingly to
return to tradition and community, we must look for- a new definition 1 % and the world of Sllbfictlvltyi S O ival in an international market,
resemble a firm fighting for its $_u1r1Van identity which can no longer
0 f modernity and a new interpretation of our ‘modern’ histor whi h .:.~./
is so often reduced to meaning the necessary and liberatingy, rise icof there is a widespread obsession wit mries it takes the form of a
_ 4:?-

reason and secularization. If modernity cannot be defined solely in be defined in social terms. _In poor cou that of narcissistic individw
terms of rationalization and if, conversely, visions of modernit new communitarianism; in rich countriés‘, and rivate life would lead
incessant flow of changes fail to make due allowance for the loy as ic an
of ‘ a1iSm' A complete divorce betwiien pul Kin terrfis of management and
power and the resistance of cultural identities, is it not becominggclear J“1'6 to the triumph oi P(-“Nets deiine P‘lf€1?;tI‘€8.tiIlg in to 3 Private 5Pa°°i
h d . . 3.5;:
t at mo ernity can be defined precisely by the increa ' d
sing ivorce ..<~< £6
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and that The
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ti ivoid where
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modern once the
between the objective world created by reason in accordance with the ,1»/J
laws of nature, and the world of subjectivity, which is primarily the W Public, social and P0litical Space that ggvfegggn towards the Societies
world of individualism or, to be more accurate, of the call for l (Lies. This Siiuauon hisu foan.
bii iii; gidpleglived in different worlds:
freedom? Modernity destroys the sacred world, which was persona at once A in which t e POW“ < 11 the other aa
-19; World of wnquering warriors on the one hind, argdolt is above an
natural and divine, transparent to reason and created. It did not ;: \/\ '
replace it with the world of reason and secularization or rele ate fi l world of ordinary Poop le confined
d. .dtod athan
locaever
socie Y
batwegn the North,
ends to a world that human beings could no longer attain' g nait 11,;
Obvious that the Wcliild 1S21IriiiOr1:OVi::I‘ ‘ieign supreme, and the South,
introduced a divorce between a Subject which came down from where instrumenta ism _ . - - _
h . which is p;,_rg_1y5ed_with anxiety about its lgzigjfggfiii to the whole of
eaven to earth and was humanized, and a world of ob'ects mani
lated by techniques. It replaced the unity of a world created 1 b P11- the This representation does not, h_owever,t_mOdem Situation, and the
reality We do not live entirelYd1n 21 PO; not Complete. We also live
divine will, Reason or Histo ry, wi'th th e d ual'ity of rationalization
' ' ' Y and if '5
s1al9]'ectz*uati0n . ' dissociation betW<‘_i@11 5Y$_tem anh actlfirl refer to speak of a ‘pro-
This book will trace the se developments. It will begin by recalling
:4 inramme
a Poilvindlistrlalddfifiifdy
’ S0B1<‘1tY iiiliieg
- centlial
' imP0rtance
' -w in of cuklltuifl
whic t 6
the triumph of rationalist con ceptions ' o f modernity,
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despite the
resistance of the Christian dualism that inspired the thou ht of i' ildustries M medical Care’ educauoni lntfiliisriilsfiiifciziiilturalProduction
Descartes, theories of natural law and the Declarations of the gRi hts central conflict is one between tlhe 11‘{PaEraThiS Posvindustrial society
of Man. It will then trace the destruction, in both thought and social g ' : i=-5 and the defence of the persona Sid lee ial action that is even more
practices, of that idea of modernity, and describe how the ima e of constitutes a field of cultural anl so¢_et which is new in deC1in@_
society as a flow of uncontrollable changes in which actors elaborate g Strongly wnstltutcd than-mdustiii Scicl bht-modernitY because the
The subject cannot be dissolve in O P
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6 Introduction
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subA ject asserts itself in a struggle against the powers that impose theiril,/%=,:t;<.
domination i n t h e name of reason. The unlimited ' ' '
extension xi as
of th 5-325-‘
interventions of powers frees the subject from any identification with e,
its Works and from over—optimistic philosophies of history. 4
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Part I
How are we to recre ate me d'iations
i between economics ' and culture?
How are We to reinvent social life, and especially political life, when
its almost universal state of decay is a rod t f h di ' i
p uc 0 t e issociation
instruments and meaning, means and ends? That will be the to ic
a political sequel to these reflecti h' -h P I Modernity Triumphant
OHS, W 1C represent 2.11 attempt IO "
save the idea of modernity from both the conquering and brutal form ' ‘iii-E-ta

it has been given by the West, and the crisis that has been affectin '
for more than a century. The critique of modernity presented hereg is it .
intended to extricate modernity from a historical tradition which has _
reduced it to rationalization, and to introduce the theme of the
personal subject and subjectivation. Modernity is not based upon one Z?-
single principle, and still less is it based simply upon the destruction I
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of ever y tbi ng th at stands in ' the way of the rule of reason. It 1S ' the 7
result of a dialogue between Reason and Subject. Without Reason,
the Subject is trapped in to an obsession with 'd '
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Subiect i entity; without the "
I , R eason b ecomes an instrument
' '
of might. ' century, We
In this I

have seen both the dictatorship of Reason and totalitarian perversions .%


of the Subject. Is it at last possible for both figures of modernity, "$1
which have either fought or ignored one another, to begin to s eak to .<
W‘
as
one another and to learn to live together? P .2
7?
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53%;-
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"Ti-The Western Ideology

How can we speak of modern society unless we can at least agree


Z upon a general principle that defines modernity? It is im ossible go
I;-
,..-.'__.
descr1b_e_as__n1o_d emitasociety
4- whic_h_tries_pgimariy
' ' _;_.. to__.orsan1ze.and
'
to act in a¢<>O1"d%l1Q.QlZiIl1»L€liXi.£l_§J_EY§l.%£i9ll.Q£.é.l1§Ei9.11%l.§.§§€l}§£- But
55} is modernity pure change or a mete sequence of events; it means
the diffusion of the products of rational activity: scientific, technolog-
icai and administrative activity. This is why it implies the increasing
differentiation of the various sectors of social life — politics, the
economy, family life, religion and, in particular, art. Instrumental
i
as
54$‘ rationality operates within specific types of activity and prevents any
4%
sector from being externally organized on the basis of its integration
‘>35. in to a general vision, or its contribution to the realization of what
Louis Dumont calls a holistic societal project. Modernity precludes
9
all finality. The secularization and disenchantment described by
- .;:%. Weber (1904—5), who defines modernity in terms of intellectualiza-
/L“ tion, marks the necessary break with the finalism of the religious
it spirit, which always invokes the end of history, meaning the final
.

"ca fulfilment of the divine project or the destruction of a perverted
a
W humanity which has betrayed its mission. The idea of modernity does
2?
/3 not preclude the idea of the end of history, as we can see from Comte,
Q
a<. Hegel and Marx, who are the great thinkers of historicism. But for
#
>1‘ them the end of history means, rather, the end of a prehistory and the
"Z
/4/» beginning of a developmental process resulting from technological
progress, liberated needs and the triumph of Spirit.
a
The ide_a___9f_ ,IlflQ£l$3lTI1.l1;}LI,1Tl2tl{£&.SCi(iIlKl§:_,_,1f§I;]§l_'}§£__§§lQ_§:lflflQ_§)d, centrahto
sgcienc and a3§¢,s_t_ §elega_tes_religioas _blillfii..Q‘Cl1§__..ii1Il§J£.1£j=1l1LPf
private life. The mere presence of technological applications of science
3 does not allow us to speak of a modern society. Intellectual activity

¢
"9
2
26
- 5/“
10 Modernity Triumphant . The Light
. 0fReas0n 11
". .
must also be protected from political propaganda or religious beliefs; .. , . d ot a o ular revo lution or _ the _ »
“_, _ .wFP-7, -

the impersonality of the law must offer protection against nepotism achievfmll
, . a ru ing ‘£5
of aihifiiligthiieifii acif1Si1tiveineI1il_,<§£Y¢i!§§ln i£%t=-1f»3n‘i~-1-P 15
political patronage and corrup tion-, pu bl" ic aned private
' ' i ' i3 iW
f "illo - - ’ - h . — — mentcre
of *’ science,'
t@§l1l19...
10 and edu-
..gY._..-..-.
administration ,
. therefore pf11'I'12.I' 11y the ac _a. ,_i_e\{§__,, \-<A4—'\"§“i-um‘
mu s t not b e t h e instruments
i of personal power; public ' and private
i ii.5;. ~- -1 ' . .._...-__ Ica»-H-"r ‘ - ol1c16S* for modernization - ' must be to
life must be kept separate, as must private wealth, and State and 3535' cation.
g, .. Ti, 6 59 3 g
oal of social
- P - t ' trules def ences
company budgets. -we >- '
‘tiéii - a Path for reason
' by dolng
b Yd creating “MY with
the competent corpora
Security and ls Predictability

The idea of modernity is therefore closely associated with that of ’ ,,. .drf C11StOI1"1S barriers» b training and conscientious
_rati_onializ_ationi. Abandoningone means rejecting the other is 35: .. required by l)1.lS1I'l€5E_I is Thlg idga may seem banal, but it 1S not, as
.__1

modernity“ reducible to rationalization? Is g_it_ the history__of_,_the , $2.‘. ihanagers and _0Per1g llufitgies in the world took very different roads
progress of__r_eas_Qn, and is that history also the historyiioffreedomgand Q12. gt-he vast n1?loritY (1 C st Countries the desire for national liberation,
I0 modernizationi n mo leg the Conivictions of new ruling elites or in
hePPiH§§l§>i Of the deetruetieli Of .‘tradi_ti_0nal?. beliefsi,i._lo;talti'es..and
_c‘ulfur_es?
1 The distinctive feature of Western thou ght , at th e point
'
religious Dd Sou? lstndifiéical and cultural actors, Played a much more
when it identified most strongly with modernity, was the attempt to is-1_ other Wot S S0613
.-_~ i P rationalization,
lg than " ' ' W hich was ParalYSed . by thef
move from a recognition of the essential role of rationalization to the ;mpO1‘t2L¥lt TO _ _ _ - terests The Western ldea O
f tradition 01' Pflvate 111 ' - - 1
broader idea of a 7fé?_Z3,1i<Z,?,Zé.l.Z,S_(lCiety..in.Wl1iCl1.}I‘j???l$Q!1J§IQL1l£l_.L6.l~Z§_Coi;i.trol feslstance
.
modern O'
society does Y1‘? t S even correSpO1'1
of Europe whered toreligious
the_ realmovements,
historica
of not ony_
1 scientific
' ' and technical
' activity,
' ' but also of the government _ . I , - '

of human beings as well as the government of things. Does this @XPerienc€ if file lgollgntilfe defence of the family and the 5P1m of
conception have a general value or is it no more than a particular thf! s<>YY O t 6 m’ - d '1 " la ed as import-
- socia crit1q1l65P Y
histor'ical experience,
' ' one of immense
albeit ' '
importance? We must conquest, financigl §Piculatig:s§41and tha diffusion of kn0W1edge_ It
begin by describing the conception that views modernity and modern- a ant a rolehas tel: ngza (progovide a mode} for modernization, for an
ization as the creation of a rational society. ..:§§
d065, on '3 e Ot er an ’ P- ' l effects have been
"
ideology W hose theoretical and practica
At times, society was imagined to be an order or an architecture
based upon computation; at other times, re_ason became an instrument ‘£13
31:3“
CO%idWbl:
6 '55 therefore
_ lived and conceived
- modernity ‘Q1as aand
Tewollilip
oitica
of iediv.id.uel.i%1ter.e§t$. end, 12.1 1%

takes nothing for granted; it $We@P5 aw?’-Y 5°61 P. -fi


as a weapon to.cr1r1c1zeal1.p9w.e.ts,
' i ' i
so as L0....l1l1erat§..a...ilfQ=l!13.%!.1l_Il§l§L1Fe’ Reason ' ' which are not based 1113011 Sclentl C
W beliefs and forms of organization
that had been crusljied__by,,4religiousauthgority.
proofs. As Allan Bloom remarks (1987: 164):
In'a'llicases, rationalization was seen as the sole principle behind the 5%
organization of personal and collective life, and it was associated with . . - ' from earlier pl1ilOSOPhY was Its
Ziifflfi
the theme of secularization, or in other words with a refusal to define What distinguished
intention to. exten Enlllghtenmviihiit
to a men had been the Preserve ofhm»onlyora
_ . -
Q1'd_111 to reason. It was not rd 1 eal _
‘ultimate ends’. f¢w_ the life hved ace d 1;‘; hiloso he,-5 but a new science, a
‘o P timism’
h d, that motivate
d allied t ese
with them P political
a new . science.
-
</
Tabula Rasa a

‘met o ,an ’
/
t . k d for a t natural mo del for the
I

The most powerful Western conception of modernity and the one For
' cfintunesi
' understhe inOdenfs
tggmegc loiietif
omodel
soc be based
it a mechanical model, an
which has had the most f Cl ff
pro oun e ects, asserted above all that ’ ¢
scientific
organicist or a cy _ - ,
0r=On€ upon a general
d 1 are always base on
thgory
rationalization required the destruction of so-called traditional social ta
bond s, fee l'ings, customs and beliefs, and that the agent of modern- of systems. And their attempts to find a mo 6 W_ ,
Quid be Posslbje
- - ' t were swe t away it W _
ization was neither a particular category or social class, but reason the conviction Lhat if ghe Paienherited ingqualitit-is, irrational fears and
itself and the historical necessity that was pavin the wa f ' to free human Blngs mm
g y or its ignorance" . ' 11' h an describe aS
triumph. Rationallation, which was an indispensable component of The Wfistern ldeglogy of modernity, w ic we c
/
modernity, thus also became a spontaneous and necessary moderniz- ' /
. - b‘ d the related ..idee-.<>f
ing mechanism. The Western idea of modernity merges with a purely <
modernism, re_}%%_?.¢El,ll1?. the dissection
mdo 8 . . . . . . God, just as me itations h b . According to the
g nous conception of modernization. Modernization is not the
of ggypses or the study of the synapses of t e rain

i .........__..
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12 Modernity Triumphant 1 The Light ofReason
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13
3 £‘1€"
modernists, neither society, history nor individual lives were deteririimi - ' the name 0 f reason »
se in
.- ' d a new man, and to lmpo ’
mined b y t h e will
i of a supreme being
' to whom one had to subm' . . ..w.sOC1e[y
, . 211
. ' l te monarchies.
who could be influenc e d th rough magic
' The individual
' ' ' was sub 2:” 5“ '
it,' ect'€
or; ; onstraints than those irnP°5ed by abso u
only to natural laws . jean-jac q ues Rousseau- is' part of this philosophyjf,
J tr’ muchigreiizer
_ .- . '
Com;-r1t1n1S C 'mes were
t regi . to construct
- a scientific
'b d b socialism which
Weber (19O4—5=
of Enlightenment because, remarks ]ean Starobinski (1957) the h l
dtmore
in corpmtzp witfh the £2131 cggleedglsfiiréhiennzent philosophers
of his work is dominated by a search for transparence , and Wb O azif ;*j " h ree om rom - _ _ b- ti-
1311-la than- Wit h centufy gave a very different answer. the . at itrfl f h
struggle against the obstacles that b kn Y ~O£.'the e1gl1_t@_ent - 1 d b an understanding 0 t fl
o scure owledge and communi~-:5%ll§"' 11193 n1L1St lI)€ 1'€P ace Y
cati on .Th e same spirit
H inspires
' i i work as a naturalist
his ' his ' mu ' ' fiess- Of religious et -
_-..aaws
-_ ;:._; of nature. Yet 1 if man is' not to renoim ce his ‘ _ humanity' as he lives
logical innovations, his critique of society and his > educational-"W" $1°°-J
- -
W1 th nature, an appea '
l to reason is not enough I firstly
programme. The spirit of the E li h
O 1 d . .
A J
.-_ in..ha1’1’I'1Dny
- - cile ar uments w hich result
_ in. a
n .ig tenment
. wanted to destroy ‘-'-'
-‘because l1If1S not eagldtpaégczgd Secogdly because it is impossible
n y espotism but also intermediary bodies, and the French Revo~
'. ‘ 3 J
lution did so. Society had to be as self-transparent as scientific .1? ' . d_1V€1”SlIY o opinion - he same way that belie ' f in a revealed
thought. That idea is still very present in the French idea of the to= . .~enforce the rule of reason 111 Y fore has to be demonstrate
Republic, and in the conviction that the Republic is rimaril h . be enforced. It thefe d that
truth - can
~ .
he natural order of things - a
1S d
repository of the universal ideals of liberty, equality and P fraterni
YI s ~.~5uhmission to t
i~ ~
source of pleasuffli an
~ had to be prOV@ d in both
he rules of taste. This
This paves the way for both liberalism and a potentially absolute ty... that it corresponds to t . - This‘ is
' what ]ean Ehrard
,; 1_ - d the ethical domain. _
form 0 f power which ' ' rational
is ' ' i
and communitarian. The Social ‘I116 afisthetlc realm an f h tu - humanity at peace
Contract (Rousseau 1762a) heralded that power, and the Jacobins '. (£970.
__‘ -_ 205) Ca lls ‘the
. great dream 0 t e C611in spontaneous
1d aI1dl1V1Hg 1'5’-
- - - harmony
tried to construct it. It is the goal of all revolutionaries who seek to . Wlth itself and with the wor I order of the
C . . .
onstruct a power which is absolute because it is scientific, and which with the universal order‘. Pleasure corresponds to the
is intended to protect the transparency of society against arbitraiy_ .. "Odd A5 the same author remarks (1970: 187)1
'

power, dependency and the spirit of reaction. ' ‘ . . harmony with


' the geflefa 1
What app Ii es to society also applies to the individual The d ' ‘ _ i just as the reason 0 f the mathematician
» nature,
laws of physical
111 spontan eouslY perceives
an of15taste
so this ngovidential
-
harmony ensures that the
of the individual must be a discipline which frees . him efrom
ucation
the
narrow and irrational vision forced upon him by his family and his the truth Offall-isO'1d1telP€auil/coingdides with the hedonistic laws of taste.
definition 0 t E 1 ea O0 ' ' ' ' f leasure
own passions. It must expose him to rational knowled e and @-
An absolute is-
thus revealed W1th1H the relativity O P -
him to be part of a society which organizes the action gof reason.
prepare
The _ . Once tion - of human beings
_ (Locke
school must be a place which allows him to reject his background and It is Locke who foémulates tclpgllgsm fnd thfmafore the Idea of sub-
é ' I 12.11 3 _ -
which exposes him to progress, in the form of both knowled d 1
ge an '
membership of a society based upon rational principles. The teacher 1690). an
stance HZ trlfilegs
6 11” t 9 siraiisconception
1 . . of innate ideas; moreofspecificalllyi
he idea God, Se -
-
he relects the central ro Le Cartesiariism . gave to t f h _ S and man , 5
is not an educator who intervenes in the private lives of children, and
~ - ' onsciousness 0 t mg >
children are not mere pupils; the teacher is a mediator between the consciousness is no different ti; the unity of body and soul. The
and the universal values of truth, good and beauty. The school must m experience of his identityimphin S a form. it is a mflection based
' 1
also replace privileged individuals, who are heirs to a discarded past,
undfirstandmg ' doesdnl-it iliva tressfis its passivity ' Locke . thus defines
w'th
i an el‘ite recruited
' '
through the impersonal ' '
ordeal of competitive "av upon sensations, an OC e s d as bang dfitached
examinations. - tal uarantee an _
thought as havmgpo tral1S(?eI~;t£l"i1T11€{1%B.l
from God: reason is pure y in _ - Naturle imprints
f itself on man
acce tame of
Q
- - ess that comes rom _P _
Nature, Pleasure and Taste
through his deslres alhd
' mis the flifiiiilihlis that befall those who disobey it.
W
the law of naturedor EOTHSE ta instrumental reason am Complementfljn
O
This revolutionary and liberating image of modernity is, however, §
Natura ism an re _ . h h ut the entire
not enough, and it must be completed by the positive ima e of ' ill endure t roug O _ V
world governed by reason. Should we be speaking of a scientificg or a ,7”
so much era
modern so thaqitll-ii:
unti reu Codlbmlilhloltioviborrow
, w , _ . Charles
5 dhi Taylor’s 1II12.g6:
Wa between
- - ' ' hoistr in to n S Y
rational society? This project was to lead revolutionaries to create a
descnbes
the the E?OhaS§
pressureso t e 6llfavligatgtiplgr-Ego
it G alhdgocial organization.
' /
74

' 41

=_;,€
‘ l
/

14 Modernity Triumphant The Light 0fReas0n 15 l


> §¥%1é%¥ . _ . - - ‘ ’ that time does not
Similarly, the ethical thought of the Enlightenment is i ,p , l’ Nature_ _at
Oppose the ‘ ma[anal to the . spiritua . .
y the idea of man s natural goodness . Virtue moves him , and m a k es but to the origin and foun dation _ of
him shed tears of joy and tears of pity. It is a source of rapture And 3-.‘I'i"r.e{er
_ t0Tthe eX1St'l)n(lZY1(;f B I itiielgiictive of their content, all_ truths Whlch .
.=_m.ut}~,5_ o nature _ _ . -
if man fails to follow the path of virtue, it is because he, like Desi .
are capalplle of a ]§{"?:)lY glxcnlfilfirtla-Ln t ustification
and gvicffint andinWthemselves.
hich requireSuch no
Grieux in Manon Lescaut (Prevost 1731) is a victim of fate -. a 1 ii
, O1" ai transcen ent reve
,,l_._' " I

__ ht not only m ' the physm ' al but also in the


corrupt society. The language of the heart must make itself heard- $5.. ."t'rutl1S are n°“’moral mug world,- for it. ta kes these two worlds together to
- " -. 1
vfi-ki‘II'_ _
1 and
despite
_ the lies of words,
_ _ and Marivaux’s _ plays dramatize
_ love’s‘i - intellecti-13
.= --constitute . a real World > 3 cosmos complete in itself-
triumph over the PI‘€]1.1Cl1C€S of education . Yet the trium p h of goo dé
were not a source of pleasure ‘ So as: ._- ___._:The__n13L1nd£LLIfl~G1;1Q¥1
- .. W £-th»is»coJ1cept_o£na.tui<eia
- nd.oi.teaso.1li..i_S -- ~_39.31225?
'2; \;;§:
would not be possi'bl e i'f virtue ' - o i-
to make the creature’s happiness complete,’ said Diderot, ‘the favour- -4-..,. -- -. mm; .<--r" and D793 ' had alreaClY been done by the Idea O f
able opinion of the mind is accompanied b y the delicious an d almost "3 _ _ gfeatlon, .J»~.'-——-~r""""'"**— ...-»~ - Tl'11S -
sociated with - than cont1‘aS'E¢ d with
*- E’ which wasbmorfi ofte; iincept made it possible for human
divine stirrings of the heart.’ - f nature ut t e ne
the _ _ ldea and o - = t re ab Zevelation
understanding
Without being as p essimistic ab out h uman nature as Pascal or La?' thoughlt agziontfio aptrgppgignjpzn or 'the anteachings _
cl respect- of
ii
Rochefoucauld, one wonders if it is in ' fact th e case that only the good- ,< -mg its - aws in W1 ou
can be a source of pleasure. Sade is more convincing when he describes ’ '._@hurches.
the pleasure of coercing, subjugating and humiliating the object of. 5
one’s desire, and causing him or her to suffer. This conception of 1 .~éi-e-
‘Social Utility
reason as a rational organization of pleasures will become more and 1

re f‘*“°‘l°?~?l§i‘f.i§5£‘§Jl‘§iv@ at mdm;.s,wt;,@h
V_ . . tufg 15 ~ rimarily
' ' critica ' ' I or _ antireli- _
more difficult to accept. Why should we now describe as ‘rational’ i
forms of mass consumption which have more to do with a search for 1‘ I
g101.1S in t a i _ _ h 1 -Cal, but Purely social. e i ea
social status, a desire to seduce, or aesthetic pleasure? The spirit of are neither religious nor psyfizups 03;“ the good is what is useful to
th e E nl'ig h tenment was that of an educated elite ' of nobles, bour eois ' that society 18 =1 5°‘1r°e.° V - ’- ' ' ‘ e ration and
and intellectuals wvant la lettre, and they enjoyed their pleasures g
b . . . . soc1e1'Y ' an d that .1 . anything essential which interferes
element in the withclassical
1tS.mt ideology Q f
ecause these pleasures were liberating and, especially in Catholic
countries, gave them the satisfaction of scandalizing the Church. Yet
as Edmund Leites has recently demonstrated (Leites 1986) even lfl
modernlw me“ er
efficacY'1S Tl} ls ane no longer to submit to the law of the father, it
' lb others an t 6111
C1 11 " dividual muSt
puritanism, the idea of constancy made it possible, especially in the pa§é;i</<;=.=-_=§r must
be subor be Efplacild bylih? 1'i1treers(i;ti>l)thercollectivity. . Theversi
Protestant
-on of and
U . d . . .
nite States, to reconcile self-control with a rational search for . inate tot - ein e h ost reli. ious this
Catholic reiormations propulpeds tirptul"; with tie temporal took the
sexual pleasure. The link between reason and pleasure was supplied 112$
W, .
by discourse and, if we understand the word in its secondary sense, thamei the ldenuficauon O ttg ap community of saints. When the
form of an attempt to crea _ _ 1 in 1525 _ a date
rationalization. Thp primarypgoal. of.Ihi,s ethics._a11£l.ithis.-a.esthetic is - bl“ hed their Twelve Artic e_S
t h Swzlblan Plrasahtsbieuiniasing of the Peasants’ War in Germany — they
no , owever, to construct an image ofiman; it is to eliminate all 1 %~
images of“ ‘nan so ass” 'era211‘¢atél' a1'Ilt""a§£¢1»ea¢"es“‘ C_h1:is.tia1'i,ity’s Fl-‘ichdmafi
enetemsev S t lg es gas a community _ or Church.
- their
-
own
As
'h.h
rig t
a resulththtifi
'1 eY
sou
teachings aB¢>ti't"l'thé""d'i§ri'£1'é‘ law and the ,e;_<istenc,e_,olii_I:l_fl_(j1,iaS.O.L1l,___()I‘ in refused to allow priests to oyrvfigapeitinwhich has been zven analysed
other words the presence "ol God within every individual. The main be paid by thp iii/pmiglaunlsty. O 6985)» is close to the later spirit of
thing is to break free of allrluialist thought and to establish a naturalist . 5; g bl’ Emmanue en es- ‘ Mg ‘ ' i the olic ' of t h elesul'ts who,
. .
vision of man. This is to be understood in more than a purely Calvinist Geneva, bfillillt is 2.l:}Tai11'?§le'8;' tilGU15 ml: ad majoyem Del
materialist sense because in the Enlightenment era, the idea of nature .;@ tried to convlnw nnces ‘ ' ' b me secularized, and
Q -
had a much wider meaning than it does today. As"Cassirer explains glomzm. .
Be fore long, however, . . this
1 edvisionthe a ppea eca1w Communal fait . h-
(1932: 242) so well: pg the Interest
Machiavelli - " of the ' conecuvlty
s admiration ' rep struggle
for the ac of th 6 cmzen ' ' s of Florence
f 1 . tics, . then. -
For the term ‘nature’ does not redicate mere] the s here of h sical . ~ ew concept 0 P0 1 _'
P Y P P Y -. aé
against the Pope led him to lormullliége 5-high’ fears for the salvation of
being from which the mind and soul is to be distinguished; it does not
-1“ love of their native city Olliwelg
"3

51
3

w
,1

X
’.-\..

1 =.\%
Q
16 Modernity Triumphant The Light of Reason

their souls. This is why the Renaissance and subsequent centuries 11 cial ex ression of the sacred The French revolution
readily turned to examples borrowed from Ancient Greece and t :l€iTC:3lOPI"I1€lliiI to extremes by identifying the nation with
Antiquity made a virtue of civic morality and recognized and pub]1¢_5P|r11;eclness with virtue All subsequeaitdpevglltr
within a free polis as the supreme good. increasingly onerous duties on citizgns,han ht Sf the
The formation of a new way of thinking about politics and was the cult of personality Writing at I 6 ei 3 h
is an essential corollary to the classical idea of modernity, which movement, Diderot contrasts individual PQSSIOIIF WIL
associated with the idea of secularization. Society replaces God as the of the general will Analysing the idea of natura rig t
principle behind moral judgement and becomes, rather than an Encyclopedze, he writes
of study, a principle that can explain and evaluate behaviour
science was born as a political "science. It originally developed in the
course of struggles against the Popes and Emperors whose interests
were defended by Occam and Marsilius of Padua, but the major
Sh“
°‘ifZ’f;’§f1"Zi.i-i}‘.'§i.i”é,. ‘l.i‘, as
act t‘phat
llgellqZnllan
h d

nderstanding
may demand
d l

which
of l'|_1Sdecides in the
fellow and silence
what
it
ll s an enemy of the human

of the
his fellow is
factor was Machiavelli’s insistence on judging political institutions
to demand of him
and actions without falling back upon moral, or in other words,
religious criteria. Then came the idea, which was common to Hobbes very different terms i Rousseau atte1T1PT5
‘ to defend 3 Prmclple of
(1651) and Rousseau (1762a} — and very different to Locke’s analysis which breaks with the inequality that (ll1OII111'112l.lI€S Wglfltlglgi
(Locke 1689) — that the social order is created by a decision on the of his age were beginning to ca civi socie y.
part of individuals who submit to the power of Leviathan or to the W1-mng in the seventeenth century, and for Rousseau,
general will, as expressed in the social contract. Hobbes’s analysis - order is_11€1tl1<?1‘
in the eighteenth, the social ' ' lwurge o's 1_ nor
_
predates the others, and represents the first great study of society to and must be based upon a free decision. That free decision
have been made since Machiavelli. According to Hobbes (1651: 91) is however an expression of the general will.
the original condition of man is one of ‘war of every one against F O1’ Rousseau > ithe widely-used _ expression. ‘the general will’ has a
every one’, as ‘every man has a right to every thing’ (jus in omnia). me;,_nmg_ I-18 firmly reiects the viewh_tlEatEthe genpigal S
The fear of death that results from this universal hostility leads to the defends the interests of the 1'1'1a.]Of1tY ‘or the T ir fstate, 1 _ PPM
establishment of peace, as all men surrender their individual rights to to the general problems of society, and there ore to itsfv Y
an absolute power. This does not abolish the individual’s right to . ‘ ' b ed u on 1 not
existence, and what can that universalisni ‘be as p ,
rebel against the sovereign, should the latter fail to guarantee the reason? There exists a natural order in to which mat; Ifiusgbll able ta
social peace. It would be more accurate to speak in this context of . - ~ ' esires an
insert himself. When, wins under the Influence O ls -
political philosophy rather than sociology as, unlike Locke, Hobbes ambitions he leaves that order, ll‘? abandons that natural fixlswncg
and Rousseau do not take economic activity as the starting point for an d ino ves in to the domain of evil where individuals are divided and
their analyses. Nor, unlike Tocqueville’s (1835-40), do their analyses . - - ' rance of the
in Confllch Th‘? social cqmract bmtlgs Ilbolft tlheichppliiivided that it
begin with cultural or social characteristics. They deal directly with
5°V@1'¢1gn- The SOV-erelgnds both Soclelllyltde i Wd rezisldn Like all the
power and its foundations. The idea of a social actor does not play is on a small scale, C0n$t}Iu'l@$ 3 50°19 0 Y’ an £1 Ses t'0 See divine
any great role in this political philosophy — and still less does that of
Phil°5°Pher5 of the Ellllghtenrllelltl Rolhsieczlu re'u and re laces it
social relations. The only thing that matters is that the political order revelation as the organizing principle l_I>6_ 111 SOCIHY _ , P _
can be founded without recourse to religious] principles. This is with reason. Rousseau’s Sovereign anticipates Durkheim s collective
particularly important for Hobbes, who is criticizing the attempts consciousness 3 just as his though!» like that of Hobbfis - - before hlm’
'
made by various religious groups in England to justify their attempts . - - - - al functions
lies at the origin of all sociologies that define _tl1¢ P111131? , ,
to take power with arguments drawn from scripture and from their of a Society and gvalugtc modes of behaviour in terms of the lppsitivg
religious faith. From Loiseau and the jurists to Richelieu and Louis or negative contribution they make to integration and thifi .1 HY 9
XIV, the formation of the absolutist State in France was similarly - - - ‘ ' .Dr eiinisin
institutions to control personal passions and interests u d
based upon the transition from unruersitas to societas. Bossuet’s that sense an heir to the p0lifi<39-1 Ph1l°5°Pl‘Y of $116 Segentgpngh 95118
thought was discredited as the political and not the divine came to be . - ' .1 se
eighteenth centuries, which was for a long time eC P Y

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18 Modernity Triumphant 92 The Light ofRei:t50n 19
1

triumph of historicism and the representation of society as a field for


4% =-,.
' 6 1116 5 neither a culture nor a society; it inspires struggles against
l
social conflicts between future and past, interest and tradition, and an -:=:;::1di{ional society rather than shedding any light on the workings of
public life and privat-e life. One of the great representational models
A
wt-ra
:%".I-;- , Society We find the same lack of balance in sociology; ever 5.
of social life is beginning to take shape, and it centres on a correspon-; 51st; '-gfiirieliihe end of the nineteenth century, the language of sociology has
dence between system and actors, institutions and socialization. ’§ r filficiiied upon the contrast between traditional and modern, com-
7Y>1i<§=s1.?i ';il?Ti I;-I-,-15:;-;,-.:; ; ; " cen .
Human beings are no longer created in God’s image; they are social , 54.. i_¥fi,’_',nity and society (Tonnies), mechanical and organic solidarity
actors defined by roles, or in other words by modes of behaviour ._::;_"(I'Durkh¢im) and ascription and achievement (Linton), the contrasting
related to their status, and their behaviour must contribute to the? I:-ms of the axes that define Parsons’ ‘pattern—variables’ or, more
,1 ~:
!‘
--ter
smooth workings of the social system. Because human beings are “ma rav,e->1* _-recently, Louis ' Dumonts ’ ‘ holism
' ’ and "indivi
' 'du alism’. In eve 1'Y case ,
ethe. term defining modern society remains vague, rather as though
what they do, they must no longer look beyond society, or to God, .i:~=< "*I%1ii:1$."
:
Y"- - - --
their own individuality or origins, for definitions of good and evil' only traditional society were organized around a positively defined
- "='"i-Ifiilqgiple and were therefore capable of managing institutional sys-
their criteria must be what is useful or harmful to the survival and
workings of the social body. '§ ‘£3:
jg
_=. .<., :»__.
terns 5 and as though modern society were defined negatively in terms
In this classical social thought, the notion of society —- which we i 713%.. § '2
-
its ability to dissolve the old order and not its ability to construct
will go on using in this book to refer to a concrete aggregate defined .-{new order. _ _ h,
by frontiers, recognized sources of authority, organs for the applica- T113 explanation for the weakness of modernist thoug t s prop-
tion of laws and a sense of belonging e takes on a different meaning. iositions and the strength of its criticisms 1S that the call for modernity
It is explanatory and not descriptive, as society and positions occuP ied ~4\‘1i,.

3 ' '.‘_is¢ defined not so much by its opposition to traditional society as


within society are elements which explain modes of behaviour and -
.-by its struggle against the absolute monarchy. This was especially
aria
their evaluation. This sociologism is a central element in the modernist true of France, where Rousseau was as active as Diderot and Voltaire
4,’ _
vision. in {he Struggle against the monarchy, its religious legitimation and the
This vision is reinforced by the optimism of an essay by Shaftesbury '2 privileges it guaranteed. In France, the idea of modernity remained a
which was translated by Diderot’s. Man, it is argued, is upright or 1/ E revolutionary idea for a long time because there was no poss1bility> as .;[
virtuous when, without any ignoble or servile motives, he forces all there had been in England after 1688 and the abolition of the ahS0111I@
\.

\
his passions to conspire for the general good of his species; this monarchy, of constructing a new social ‘and political order. That was
requires a heroic effort and yet it never goes against his individual the task that occupied Locke on the ship which brought William of
vs’
interests. It has to be admitted that this idea is as weak as theories Orange to England. That is why the idea of modernity appealedto
about man’s natural goodness or the correspondence between virtue nature against society, and to a new absolute power against inequality

and pleasure. And Mandeville’s critique of the social order (Mande- and privilege. The modernist ideology was not boundgup with the
ville 1714) is as devastating as Sade’s critique of the moral order. How -37 2 democratic idea; it was truly revolutionary, and criticized, first in
can anyone deny the strength of his eulogy of private vices or of his theory and then in practice, the power of the king and the C&th0l1¢
-i
t peremptory statement that we must choose between virtue and -V) church in the name of universal principles and reason 1tS6lf- %
wealth, salvation and happiness? / The identification of modernity with reason is French rather than
The weakness of this ethics, this aesthetic and this politics stems English; the English Revolution and the Bill of Rights of 1689 Called
from the fact that the modernist ideology is not very convincing when for the restoration of the traditional rights of Parliament, whereas the
2‘
353
it attempts to give modernity a positive content, even though it is :5; 1; French Revolution, as it became more radical, called in the name of
3“. . powerful when it remains critical. The socialf contract can create a reason for the unity of the nation and for the punishment Of thfi
5.:
community which is as oppressive as the Leviathan who puts an end agents of the king and foreign powers.
g. to the ‘war of every one against every one’ by making all submit to
an absolute central power, but it was taken to be a call to overthrow Rousseau: A Modernist Critique of Modernity
% powers which were based on nothing but tradition and a divine
decision. The conception of modernity elaborated by the philosophers The name of jean-]acques Rousseau has now been mentioned several
féii-at
N
of the Enlightenment is revolutionary, but it is no more than that. It times, and it has been associated with that of Hobbes. Yet although

. ié
1.34

§
.
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.-.

20 Modernity Triumphant The Light of Reason 21


.,_.1.,
ad to establish an alliance between man and nature. Rousseau is,
Rousseau was a disciple of the philosophes and of Diderot in particular] AM/YIEII .. .Dr er
., _ g . - - - his
— it was while he was on his way to visit Diderot in prison in 1749 .. i-lowever, aware that the general will cannot go . on. . existing in t -
that, on the road to Vincennes, he had the flash of inspiration that“ ,r-é form’ and cannot Override the interests of individuals and social
produced the first Discourse he submitted to the Académie de Dijon i ‘es in any absolute sense. He has no illusions about what an
in 1750 — his thought is in fact the first great internal critique off ‘iiltzgon eoisé Geneva would be like. Whereas Montesquieu and
modernity, and contrasts the harmony of nature with the social" gy . -em ourg
_ :‘Q {Elf ' e attempt to make the contradiction between - economic mod- - -
confusion and inequalities of society. It is, however, not the first '\/\ my '--"n-it}, and citizenship acceptable by placing restrictions on political
.3 r‘
Discourse (Rousseau 1750) but the second (Rousseau 1754) that gives Ni? 1 Rousseau experiences it as something 1I1S111’II'lOUl'llZ3-l3le and
Rousseau’s work its exceptional importance because it paves the way #5:§ ‘P.-Qwierlgecause as he writes at the very beginning of Book I of Emile
_-;-(Rousseau
'tl"2'g1C 176213),
» it is based upon the contradiction between the
for The Social Contract (Rousseau 1762a). The idea that progress in I=§~.-/< E.‘ E-
a
the sciences and the arts leads to a fall in moral standards ~ an idea xi5: rg. -
$.22.’-151‘ 5‘
1 rder and the social order. ]ean Starobinski (1957) stresses thfi
which was popular in Antiquity and which Hesiod, in particular, held -.'£a!==~‘ ll3i:tu(1)fl1:ita(1?1C€ of the dichotomy between being and seeming, which is
/
dear - produces a brilliant dissertation but does not transform social I3
imp
*1’-

d ' ‘rs most elaborate form in the ‘Profession of Faith of A


thought. On the other hand, Rousseau does break with the optimistic -.;§¢;i‘*
ifi E=1.
:5
':f0"un In 1 ' ’ E '1 Book IV) Here natural religion is contrasted
V
/
rationalism of the Enlightenment when he denounces inequality in 13 -- '- :§:$_;a.v°Y$[d V‘°a;.1g,ei,mvi from one society to another and which can
é
his second Discourse. At this point, he is very far removed from iggilefoiiinhhsdenouncedrhs relative and artificial. How is this contra-
Hobbes. It is no longer the fear of war and death that leads human -flietgon to be overcome? Not by going back to_ primitive society,
xi
*<<
beings to create a social order and to transfer their rights to an ‘é ‘W ievhieh was amoral rather than moral in any positive sense, but _l3‘Y
I
<2 absolute sovereign. It is the development of inequality within modern ./ >"
COming Soda] contradictions and constructing a communicative
*0
g,,.. society that leads to the foundation of a political order, as opposed to
gdiiirety based upon an intuitive knowlege of the truth. _ _ h
civil society. For Rousseau, the appeal to the general will becomes a Zr»-L Rousseau criticizes society, its artifices and its inequalities, hut 6
ft: =
weapon in the struggle against inequality. In practice, the State, which does so in the name of Enlightenment, even though ll? dolis 1“-°reas'
fl? is a community of citizens, is an essential counterweight to the social ' 1 turn a ainst the philosophies who were once his friends. He
I,‘
differentiation that results from modernization itself. Rousseau’s anti- mg Yl t nagture He
glppreegfireoreason. because
Wantsit to
is the realm
replace manof within
order and
that harmony,
order, andand to
Qt modernism is both revolutionary and communitarian. Communities,
at ?i
A. which are of necessity small, as was Athens and as are Geneva, allow him to eseape the confusion and chaos created by socgal
fl Corsica and perhaps Poland, are contrasted with large societies whose organization. That is the goal of education, as expoundled in Emfi.
unity is threatened by the division of labour and the search for profit. the production of a natural, good and reasonable being W 0 ls “Pa C
This return to the political is still — or was until recently — one of the of sociabili . _ _ _ .
central principles of the French Left, which readily identifies civil ,.. -' This natgalism is a critique of modernity, but it is a modernist
society with capitalism and the triumph of private interests with Critique which goes beyond the philosophy of the Enlightenment,
egotism, and sees itself as the champion of the republican State and and it is an enlightened critique. From Rousseau, who in this sense ifi
'.
:5’ national integration. It is suspicious of the notion of society, and -a forerunner of Kant, to the mid twentieth cent‘-11'Yi lmellecmals
prefers the idea of popular sovereignty, as embodied in the Nation- combine their critiques of social 1I1]‘l1S’E1C€ with the dream of a gel —
State. This mystique of the political will reach its apotheosis with transparent P0113, of a philosophical return to being and reason. acp
Hegel’s analysis of the State as society (Sttmtsgesellschuft). According dream will often take the political form of a new society construgzte
to the Rousseau of The Social Qontruct, it is only by being citizens under their leadership once they — the servarits of reason - have eeq
that we begin to become human. That idea was to inspire the most brought to power by the people’s rebellion against a society lg
ambitious attempts to create a new society, or in other words a new appearances and privileges._]ean—]acques Rousseau inaugurates the
political power which could give birth to a new man. Modernism internal critique of modernism. Rather than opposing powe(1]:_ 111 3 6
makes a virtue of the collective will to struggle against inequality and _. =/ . name of personal freedom or collective traditions, it opposes isor es
the negative effects of the increase in wealth. The struggle is waged iii - . -I_ id. in the name of order, private interests 111 the name of nature an
the name of nature, which is transformed in to popular sovereignty in community.
2 2%
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22 I Modernity Triumphant A / The Light 0fReas0n 23
4,
!r,<<
,/
<. Yet is not Rousseau also the author of the Confessions (1778), in 1‘ . - that can be identified with the good, by elevating him
l .- 551;,-e aV1011r - _ . . . son which ~
Réz/cries (1782) and the Dialogues (1772—6), and the archetype for'i?l§ ' "
I-ijfiiards the universal that exists within him, namely Yea *
individual resistance to society? Rousseau does not in fact oppose‘;-; _. an to ggmmune with the universe? This is the underlying
social power in the name of a moral subject; he feels that he has been “/Q\¢;r
\
z ,.
;e5<_.i.v-- edocommandments
"lll:l‘O'W'S in f Kant’s eminentlywithmodern
a reform of thewhich
ethics, will. The union
replaces of the
external
rejected by society and is therefore obliged to bear witness to the anwe .; _
/ truth and even to denounce his own weaknesses as the products of i '"::l1C‘l(iiil
Ywli Sanlg reas on renders the latter practical. The Good . is an =10t1011
-
depraved society. If defined in positive terms, his individualism is § - f t son, and it ‘ is
' therefore subyect to the ethical
_
» ='3 II
Y5; primarily a naturalism and his psychology and conception of the iii-' . aw E?1r(;,iE1gn1_i1i1lX?€Il-:2.2lS in particulars, both by opting for p0t611'E13»llY
understanding are similar to Locke’s, especially in that he gives -2%?
lT‘n'n'iversalmodes . of behaviour
1 Subjectandnot byWtikinglman
en e seeiss in1S efid and note?
appiness
primacy to sense perception. 3 means. Man is a mora s
Z
£1’:
2.“
The idea that modernity will in itself lead to a rational social order " ‘la t h e h a s been taught to see as virtuous, but. when he submits - 110
€ is acceptable to Voltaire ~ an admirer of the success of the English as 5 ~2- W‘ 3 or in other words to the ascendancy of universals. And his dutY
bourgeoisie and a P ast master at reconcilin g his conscience and his ilutylkfi @W- As Kant puts it-'.‘Dare to know‘
// .is't0 _ ' Have the courage t‘) use '
A own interests — but not to Rousseau. Society is not rational andiima r " -
youl‘
- »
OWI1 l-In derstanding (cltfidi Casslrer 1932' 1
- 63). The categories
5Q'
modernity is divisive rather than unifying. The mechanisms of self-'
“'25-"er the understanding and the categories of the will can be unified only
interest must be opposed by the general will, and especially by the .-.1,
:=.i- as the result of the striving that leads man to posit the irnmortali‘5Y of
return to nature, or in other words to reason. The alliance between - e thesoul and the existence of God, Which Provide the basis folhthe
.E man and the universe must be re—established. Rousseau is the source "R ~never—ending attempt to attain a potentially universal mode of action.
-.=;$§
of both the idea of popular sovereignty, which will inspire democratic / Th transcendence of all hypothetical imperatives leads to the cat8g°_T'
oz!‘
and authoritarian regimes alike, and the idea that the individual:
icaf imperative to submit to the law which Pmclaims that the W111
represents nature against the State. For Rousseau, the radical critique must conform to- the ' l law of nature.
. l of society leads to the idea of a political sovereignty which serves the . - universa ’ _ d Rousseau , s
There is a striking parallel between Kant s pthics in ‘ _On of the
‘iiiif cause of reason. Bernard Grocthuysen (1949) analyses the transition
W
‘|.‘I
| politics. Rousseau argues the case for the abso ute su missi _ h
,3,‘ ‘i. from The Social Contmcfs call for republican despotism to the
in
or
' d'1V1'd u al to the general will - He constructs
_
or in <>ts.i:1ii*:;’.2t.‘;s.i$i:.i?:.
a society .which is bot 9-t ~T..-—._n_
ii character depicted in the Confessions: /
§
(I5.

Rousseau might be compared to a modern revolutionary who, being % individual


follflds theand Ciillecuvlty
Soclal bond ascanbot
conlimune “iiyainst
llecessl and reason
freedoinor Neither
reason
aware that society is not what it should be, contemplates both the
socialist and the anarchist solution. He finds that the two forms of
> Rousseau not Kant chooses hailiplnesi agd ction of liaPPiness to
> i
i;*‘=i '
political regime are incompatible but, being above all a revolutionary,
he espouses both ideals because both are opposed to existing society.
“/ against nature; ‘h"=.Y “'°°”ab°d~1 t ellstolclre ulies in the quest for
Y virtue and the epicurean illusion t at virtue A kl“ n )
1,»
happiness
' _ .' Writing at - the height
- of the E!‘1l1gl'1t6I1]f1'1€1'11’E1
i tonfd enfrn
( en dg a>
It would be a mistake to transform Rousseau in to a romantic, as in their main purpose is to unify reason and the‘ W ’. 1 d a
3.-<2
the interval separating The Social Contract and Emile he introduces freedom which is not so much a revolt against the socia Or BI H8
the theme of the construction of a social ‘We’ that transcends the submission to the natural order. _ - _ _ 3 ,
individual and raises him to a higher level. We must, on the other - - - ' ' ‘ t conce tion of
This is the central principle behind the illuminis b P _
hand, agree with Groethuysen that the break with society is all- ._ 2% _ what had yet to be called modernity, but Whlch must e YetT°5P;‘3
important and is the key to understanding both the creation of a . ' ' of ro ress ut
r “W317 known by that name. It is ‘lam alliahlkfsopclirli which iomhines
political utopia and the loneliness of an individual who, in the name at
of truth, challenges a society obsessed with pride and appearances. alm°“ its anmh‘-381?’ namely a Phi Osiip Y O Oi break with tradition
Kant too will say that the sovereign Good is defined in terms of Classical and chnsnan thought. It lilnh dseen as the sacred world but
-h:1- OF as a Secular mode of thought W lc estroysd owerful attemlgt to
the unity of virtue and happiness, and therefore of law and individual,
system and actor. And how can that unity be attained, if not by
- ase at a deeper level, it must be seen as a new an P _ d la .t
2 preserve ’ within a culture that has indeed been secularize , t e unzpi
l
@111 2'
raising man above his inclinations, and above any object or form of h
it-
g.
- - '
of innn and the universe. The philosophy Of ‘E116 Enllghtenmen
t wi
Q
ts
$
iii,
gllll; ...1 1:
;fi*2§; “t
§
r
Eli . atff.
-

24 Modernity Triumphant The Light of Reason 25

be followed by a final attempt at unification with the historicism his salvation as the Catholic Church believed, but it play
) < ' 1

idealist philosophies of progress, but after Rousseau and Kant, S,- 511$ that ' one 0 f the elect — cemtmio salatis Or at ea
he is
he detachment from the world demanded by his faith.
‘iii
will never again be at one with the universe. The universe will b
history in action, and man will no longer submit completely to about tman turns his back on the world ‘ Milton’s Paradise Lost
universalist call of reason. Man will no longer see reason as a We b er remm' C1 S us (1904 "5-- 87-8) ’ with a call for action in the
of order, but as the ability to transform and control, and In 1;
I 3 5 OBS against the. spirit of the Divine Comedy-
a
- t - on for two reasons. The
experience, both individual and collective, will rebel against it celeberated
. thesis 1S open to ques 1' ' ‘ ' ' llyddevfi
d l gage
d
The modernist ideology is the final form of the belief that man hiStOnCa1_ Everyone knows that capitalism initifit
nature form a unity. Modernity, identified with the triumph _ countries . . like Italy- and - Flanders. We mlg an f a noticeable
Fa
reason, is the final form taken by the traditional search for the strictly Calvinist countr1es_did not experience Y . d
for Being. After the Enlightenment, this metaphysical will develo
. P ment ’ that Calvinist Scotland for' a longume
hgfn countries remaine un cl lagge
der-
ax
A Anglican England, that nort
X either nostalgia or revolt, and the inner man will become b ht t
a divorced from an external nature. d for a very long time, and that Amsterdam was rtglg (1
2
aQ1 - ' th Armtnians or em0Il
h f yefrOI1t of the capitalist world by @ _ _
at
I4
Capitalism ' O wh o we re much less strict than the Calvinists of Geneva, - - - a
W h 1°h eXP erienced neither '
any
- - conspicuous
- the sixteenth
' economic E1Ct1V1T;y
century (1't was
The modernist ideol0gY, Which corresponds to the anY noteworthy . academic activity in _ d l
specific form of Western modernization, triumphed with the Wnh the arrival of the French Cartesians a hundre yeafis atfili
centre for inte ectua
%éi‘ ophy of the Enlightenment, but its triumph was not 1 the Un1vers1ty of Geneva. became a th_Cenm England and
domain of ideas. The same ideology was also dominant in ). On the other hand, in seventeen _ TY
ta
“'2 - kl was the emblematic
% economic domain, where it took the form of capitalism, which is the emergent United States, where Fran 111 d d t _t
reducible to either the market economy or rationalization. The the P resence of. C3.lVlnlSII1 had ~ been
-' attenuate
' _I an aus h en f rey
economy corresponds to a negative definition of modernity; it given way to a highly seculanzed 1.lt1l11I8'.1'1alf11S1'I‘1. t IS t erg oh
t lism in terms 0 t 6
the disappearance of all holistic controls over economic activity, and to ex lam the development of caP19' _ -
~ - nism . What Weber 1S
the independence of economic activity from both the characteristic of the most puritanical forms o_ E1 V1'
P f C l
- or extreme t p6 Of
goals of political or religious power, and the effects of traditions and to understand is, rather, 3 Pamcular , . - Q7 h
t ; not the modern tra der or industrialist,
. . . Ht ‘E 6
v, privileges. Rationalization, for its part, is, as we said at the
ac WHY 11 The ca 1tal1st 1S fully
of this chapter, an indispensable element in modernity. The capitalist in the strict sense . . of t e- term. - - ' P ds u on
model of modernization, on the other hand, is defined by a type ~ ' d his ab1l1 to invest depen P
E,
lmmersed 111 economic . activity
- - an ' W _ h er s ecu laden nor
li leading actor: the capitalist. Whereas Werner Sombart thought that his ersonal savings‘ He is interested In melt . P -
nli 1 P an d regards the things of this world with the indifference
economic modernization had resulted in the breakdown of social and =uxury,
“C
1, political controls, in the opening up of markets and continued recommended by St Paul. b J n central line of inquiry.
-" ' s ow
li

rationalization, and therefore in the triumph of profit and the market, ' - The second , reason
. IS closer to We er f ' l r form of
Weber argues against this purely economic definition and defines the Does a g1ven_fa1th encourage the appearance o a particu a th t the
tsucha ara ox given a _
capitalist as a specific social and cultural type in both his The economic aC_t1_V1tY? Howfciigqzij Zhiiiiiirevived bl; the Reformation, 15
Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Weber 1904-5) and his ' ‘ rit as trans o
Economy and Society (Weber 1922). Weber’s general intention is to ieilgudus
11'1 €C 21 wSpdrldlY asceticism resulting in . a detachment
. - h from worldy
devoted to
demonstrate how the great religions either facilitated or hindered '_ oods and that ' 1S
it ' difficu
' lt to reconcile this wit a 1 B
5 - t more 1'mute ' cl 1Y1
' ter P retation
modern secularization and rationalization. In the case of Christianity, .-‘tgi work, trade and profit? We thus arrive a a _ _ _
- - tial factor 1S not it wo uld
he concentrates mainly on the Reformation and the Calvinist idea of the realities _ analysed by Weber. - -The 685611 ’
h b kdown of
- - | q 1 I

of predestination, which replaces ‘otherworldly’ 8.SC6t1C£SI1‘1 with appear, faith, and ‘therefore a religious culture, but t e tea
‘worldly’ asceticism. The capitalist sacrifices everything, not to d b the fear of being judged bY 3 hidden
Z, money, but to his calling ~ Bemf — and to work. Work does not %i1f)(i;0(Ti£a1iSblI)li1diSb1{:;tTL(C)liIl3VVH hf the familY= of fdations based upon
l %
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26 Modernity Triumphant av The Light 0fReasrm 27



friendship, and a rejection of religious institutions which, followin§ii’-f"'-*‘?5?-- 1-Zed by the repeal of the Poor Laws in 1834 and by the break
3 S’ I11 O 1
the example of the Popes and Cardinals of the Renaissance, made ssh Sodal and political interventions such as the sixteenth—centui'y
distinction between the sacred and the profane, faith and wealth, ‘§>>;>§
Poor L 1ws i the Statute of Artificers ’ and the later Speenhamlend
»
<<
religion and politics. This brings us back to Weber’s theme - - The game divorce between economy and society led Schum-
disenchantment, of the break with all forms of interpenetration of - ' ' i
gem,"-_ to predict the collapse of a capitalism which no longer @11}°Yed
i
$1
sacred and the profane, or of being and phenomena, to borrow Kanfls”aiiéi aanemia =5-'uPP0rr of public opinion in the capitalist countries.
¢.
terminology. It is in chapter 4 that Weber goes furthest in thisg
direction. If we interpret his thought in this restricted wa Y , it is q uiteéi
this divorce a permanent and necessary element in m°d@Y“iZa‘
Certainly not Very few countries, even in the modern world,
Ti=--non ---_ perienced a purely ' capitalist form of development. France did
consonant with the whole of the classical Western idea of modernity
‘ave. 6X - - -
ca which Weber sees as‘ intellectualization, as a break with the ‘meaningsg as industrialization there was the result of State dirigisrgeiéréltlaif
"5
of the world’ and action in the world, with the elimination of the?-5*;
. . . . . . .- .-._gi3.:__Germany, where Bismarck eliminated the bourgeoisie l ' Oeconomic
/ finalism of religions, revelation and the idea of a Subject. The???" "'f{1'i"t",'- or ]apaI1,
Opmem Where the Smte has Plal/Pd 3 Central
ever Since the Meiji revolution, to say to e Innothing of
iii;
importance of protestantism does not stem from the content of its==§
iii faith, but from its rejection of the enchantrnent of the Christiarijg :"i':"-;5’(;"Qi1ntries where the capitalist bouggeoisie v\;asheitl]"£er 111.j.t111Cl1]$’\F<"ifl§i1\?1%l§5
world, which was previously defined by both the role of the sacra—;§§, 3- ' he distinguishing eature o t e ng1$ > u C
.=__n011-EX1St61‘1t. T
ments and the temporal power of Popes.
_ - - ' ' i fas ace for
.r
' ' '
especially tllfi American capitalist model is the creation o p
Ous action on the Part of private agents of aconomic (level-
Weber’s thought therefore does not coincide with a general xiiitz
-Iautonom
-=2; tion of modernity, but with capitalism, with the economic form _z_=g-gnéilehe It should also be added that industrial capitalism was largely
fr the Western ideology of modernity, seen as a break and a tabula rasafiti Iigailsed upon the exploitation of a workforce, whereas Weber’s analysis
r
z The Reformation itself and the subsequent transformation of catholic1“%i’;5§“* ‘ " ten‘ s to apply to a pre ‘ industrial or ‘household’ . econ0I11Y
- 1“ Whlch -
r
I piety, thanks to Francois de Sales m particular, gave rise to a differentqéji the success of productive or commercial undertakings depends pn-
I
I
ethics inspired by a faith which was quite different to the fear and?- 'l on the capitalist’s ability to limit his consumption in Order F0
W l trembling of those who awaited a decision from a God the could lmnzl The interest of Weber’s analysis of capitalism is therefore that
Y lavas 'cCnn.ates upon on a historical case in which religious beliefs
not influence. Whilst capitalism did therefore help to create an ethos it con _ - ~
! favourable to capitalism, it also made a major contribution to the made a direct contribution to the divorce between an econorn_1C_l°g1_C
-.4 development of an ethics of conscience, piety and intimac Y which led .,‘_,Q and the rest of social and political life. What Weber is desiglblng is
in a different direction, towards, that is, a bourgeois individualism /'
/,1;
- ' d it c aracter-
not modernity as 511611, b11taP“f'”°”l‘”' mode of mo em Y . .
which can be contrasted with the spirit of capitalism, just as Pascal ' ' <1 b both a high concentration of resources for economic ration-
contrasted the order of charity with that of reason . CaP italism, which-I-.3:
1-“av ie {Zn and the harsh repression brought to bear on traditional
iza i
Weber analyses in such depth, is therefore not the economic form of - ' sume and on
cultural and social loyalties, on the Pfifisonal need ho ggnworkgrs and
modernity in general, but the form of a particular conception of'='i”@;§ A §3:ll*i.i$0C13"l forces _ .WOm.en and Chi lffin as ljvli 'n to the realm
modernity based upon a break between reason 8.1’1Cl/lI)€l1€£. Reason -"*§%?i I-._colonized peoples — identified by capitaists as 6 01151 g
breaks with all social and cultural loyalties. Phenomena amenable '-':'o'f='immediate needs, indolence and irrationality.
;:-'_i‘.".-“Because Western modernization occurred much earlier than any
analysis and computation become divorced from both Being
liI History Hence the violence — inspired by the princi le of a tabula if =--=-.-'.-other - - - ' ' ant role in
is
form of modernization and because it had a domiri
rasa — that accomPanied capitalist modernization. Violence ensured."-zzidiliii.-,1"";._:. .'=__the_European States and then in the United States for thrge huncltfii
the dominance of capitalism, but it also resulted in tragic CliViSi0ns- 4,;:4 -"
:.__years, thinkers in those countries often identify their mo. irnkilza 10
that cannot possibly be seen as a necessary precondition ,;'wi_th modernity in general, rather as though the break Wit t 6 pasi
ill I
modernization. ' ’ the formation of a truly capitalist elite were necessary anid Ceniifa
Weber’s definition of capitalism — a particular social form of .-"preconditions for the formation of a modern society. The omlnant
11-" ‘ l I i i . f 3
economic rationalization — is also central to the thou ht of Karl /
g -. ,,__.j=j_I_z.=',I_i‘i‘iodel of Western modernization minimizes the &¢t1O11 0
Polanyi (1944) and Joseph Schumpeter (1912). Polanyi gives -iiiiqflueneed by cultural values or political objectives, and therefore
importance to the divorce between market and society, which is Z11;-_.;_._==_=§.._:.__dbes away with the idea of development, which is based, in contrast,
la. . CT
5
{'4' ¢
3
§
5?

.3?
,.a;;,._,T_.Ig,,,,,,,,,,,,___\.,,,...,J5mm,.M=_a,_i ~__ W»------M~»~ ~-- --» ica Ti

Ell
‘-51 ,,A..4:~';':\,.
¢
. r.- \_'/\/*/('/r~1"“ V l

:~
28 Modernity Triumphant The Light 0fRezison 29
" ~*

1 on the interdependency of economic enterprises, social -;;;;;;;;Tlh.é§iglagsical conception of modernity is ‘therefore primarily the
and state political intervention and which has, increasingly, become‘-5"5‘%°“*‘**’:’55"' of a rationalist image of the world which integrates man
T <
1
more important than the purely capitalist model. This brings out theliiir nature, the microcosm in to the macrocosm, and which rejects
< complexity of Weber’s analysis, which is based upon the general idea: ""'i;.;§j1I-:¥§;fb'rms of dualism of soul and body, the human world and
that social behaviour is culturally
. determined = but also attem P ts t °I;ii. . ;;;;;;_‘;...::_i d Ce.

show the shaping of an action which is divorced from all world-views-,E=‘"' " ' I-ii Giddens (1990) provides a highly integrated image of
governed by instrumental rationality alone, and acknowledges only-I -::.=;.;;tt5'd-sanity as a world-wide project of production and control with
the law of the market. As a result, Weber himself had a tragic-; "';;;;If§§r..main dimensions: industrialism, capitalism, the industrialization
awareness of the impasse facing a modern society trapped in to‘ "..;;-':g§:.-war and the surveillance of every aspect of social life. He adds that
< instrumental rationality, devoid of meaning and constantly set nail 'ii3-5g3=i;%,=';j;¢;ntral tendency within the modern world is towards an increasing
motion by charismatic action and therefore by an ethics of convictioni E1";-g1@'b-alization which takes the form of the international division of
¢
i (Gesinnimg) that modernity seeks to eliminate in favour of r‘ational,;' 93’,2%..-s
“Ia-... -:,1-:1-ab-our and the formation of world-economies. It also results, how-
I‘: s
..

legal authority and an ethics of responsibility (Vemntwortungfi fl; in an international military order and the strengthening of
_- =1 .
>
X Capitalism, the appeal to a natural ethics and the idea of the talaula‘ =vi.,~-. .- _ ‘.-'1-“Nation-States with centralized systems of control. This vision com-
:’
mm combine to define particular aspects of the modernist ideolo gy of‘ elements of faith in and doubts about accelerated moderniza-
the West. It should not be identified with modernity in general and -"15."-:'_‘ti-6-fig and gives Particular emphasis to the idea of SYS1;-Q1-[1 by extending
would be dangerous to recommend it to the entire world or to enforce Ef- i=5“: j.-:_{-1-fkheim’5 notion Of Organic solidarity, According to Giddens,
it as the ‘one best way’, to borrow an expression from F. W. Taylor. f‘Iéfi ll} -3"'n*iodern society is usually thought of as a system which is capable of
’I>‘<év£¢».s
f. .
».l
iii
‘reflexivity’, or in other words capable of acting upon itself. This
g;
(l
The Modernist Ideology 1 ' means that it is the antithesis of the natural societies in which
ii '1'.
‘l individuals can commune directly with the sacred by means of
I This classical conception, which is at once philosophical and econ- traditions, or even in the absence of traditions. Modern societies, in
'1
‘ omic, defines modernity in terms of the triumph of reason, liberation contrast, reject both the individual and the sacred in favour of a self- El
and revolution, and modernization as modernity in action, as a purely generating, self-controlled and self—regulating social system. There
4
‘..
endogenous process. History books rightly describe the modern ;“' thus emerges a conception of modernity which actively eliminates the
period as lasting from the Renaissance to the French Revolution and idea of a Subject.
J
the beginnings of large~scale industrialization in Great Britain. The This classical conception of modernity, which dominated Europe
societies in which the spirit and practices of modernity developed and then the whole of the Westernized world before retreating in the
rt, were attempting to put things in order rather than to set them in face of critiques and transformations of social practices, has as its
a
motion. Trade and exchange became organized. A public adminis-:3 central theme the identification of social actors with what they can
tration and a legal State were created. Books were circulated, along‘ produce thanks to either the triumph of scientific and technical reason
with critiques of traditions, taboos and p rivile g es . At this tim e, th e g -"or society’s rational responses to the needs and desires of individuals.
principal role was played by reason rather than by capital and labour. - . xi. _ This is why the modernist ideology is primarily an assertion of the
These centuries were dominated by jurists, philosophers and writers A - ‘:¢ ideath of the Subject. The dominant current in Western thought from
e all men of the book — and the sciences observed, classified and -' the sixteenth century to the present day is materialist. Reliance upon
categorized phenomena in order to discover the order of things. _ .~,. 4
God and references to the soul are constantly regarded as the heritage
29/ .
Throughout this period, the idea of modernity — which was present, ' of a traditional thought that has to be destroyed. The struggle against
even if the word was not — gave social conflicts the form of a struggle i religion, which was so intense in France, Italy and Spain and which
.., r.
ill between reason and nature, and the established powers. This was not = was so central to the thought of Machiavelli, Hobbes and the French
simply a conflict between the Ancients and the Moderns; nature or " - 1.3% Encyclopédistes, was not simply a rejection of the divine—right mon-
l even the word of God were being set free from forms of domination
- -.-£3:
archy, of an absolutism that had been strengthened by the Counter-
5
which were based upon tradition rather than history and which I Reformation or of the subordination of civil society to the alliance of
-ti
spread the darkness that would be dispelled by the Enlightenment. ' ‘Zn throne and altar. It was also a rejection of transcendence and, in more
ti

RIF‘
iirww,§_,;.a5.,i@==~%,,;=.w==-=;====me_»»<¢w-sea..s,_.._—,_.<-—'-;=...._....Z..,_.~_..Nm.Y,_ ,,,,.,W .___ ,_ _ _ _ as,-.<.~ s.<~~
:i¢":1'
I
4&1: '--_*'~;,j\ . .
-» ~\ 4}
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u l

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an1: .~ .a:~>.~*
r.. ///‘Z: .

The Light ofReason 31


30 Modernity Triumphant ;~¢.-Z‘.

13%
concrete terms, of the divorce between body and soul. It was a call .....,.i..:i,;§:i:iIof{reasonto every aspect of human existence. History is no more
'§§;;§"Iff1§;,ii1 the rise of the sun of reason in the firmarnent. There cannot be
for the unification of the world and for thought to be dominated by;
divorce between man and society. Ideally, man is a citizen, and
reason or the quest for interest and pleasure. ' “/4

% 2
We therefore have to recognize the vigour, even the violence, oft’? .@.;a;;.;-z=2_;;-2;__j;:;;;_:‘_fifjyate virtues contribute to the good of all. The world of the
'5-_-Jarlightenment is transparent but, like a crystal, it is also self-
the classical conception of modernity. It was revolutionary, like any
.:-::: "=12-" -="_:"'_:¢_ontained. The modernists live in a self-contained world, protected
call for liberation, like any refusal to compromise with traditional? %&
.=';5>.a§ .?il‘55I-:11: everything that disturbs reason and the natural order of things.
forms of social organization and cultural belief. A new man and a '~@*< ajéa ll
lili-
::g.=:'.__;'"'I_'he attempt to construct a rationalized society ended in failure,
new world had to be constructed by turning away from the past and: , .-: .--.: I:I: =i'I=
-». ¢w;~=yi "";p'1-imarily because the idea that a rational administration of things can
the Middle Ages, by rediscovering the Ancient World’s faith in" -- 1 itaE:_
-.;.:-.j=§e,_place the government of men is tragically mistaken and because
reason, and by according a central importance to labour, the organize-
ation of production, freedom of trade and the impersonality ,of laws; ‘K
Disenchantment, secularization, rationalization, rational legal ‘author'-
ri -_:;,.§IfI§-_.‘_§;;'p;ial life, far from being transparent and governed by rational
1T31‘ , :; ;.=§=- .;. -: -_ -;- .-';':I'éhoices, proved to be full of powers and conflicts, whilst moderniza-
'I§‘.‘=‘ f. itself proved less and less endogenous and increasingly stimulated
ity, and an ethics of responsibility: the now classic concepts developed-
';:.3_by-E-a national will or social revolutions. Civil society was divorced
by Max Weber provide a perfect definition of this modernity, but an‘ Q
from the State, but whilst the birth of industrial society signalled the
has to be added that it was also bent on conquest, that it established w;‘gg,4‘¢V .>\.<-
_.;,w\a-:- - -

lftriumph of civil society, it was the State that championed national


the dominance of rationalizing and modernizing elites over the rest of»
-'-__"'fiio'dernization in the nineteenth century. The increasing divorce
the world by organizing trade and factories, and through coloniza-
.:',f_f;-_between modernity and modernization, and between capitalism and
tion. The triumph of modernity meant the suppression of eternal
fnationalism, destroyed the dream of a modern society defined by the
principles, the elimination of all essences and of artificial entities such
triumph of reason. It paved the way for the invasion of the classical
as the Ego and cultures in favour of a scientific understanding of bio-
order of modernity by the violence of power and the diversity of
psychological mechanisms and of the unwritten and impersonal rules‘
1:; needs. .
that govern the exchange of commodities, words and women. Struc-
What remains of the modernist ideology? Criticism, destruction
turalist thought was to radicalize this functionalism, and to take to
.2‘ and disenchantment. Not so much the construction of a new world
extremes the elimination of the subject. Modernism is an antihuman- iii
'1?’ as the will to destroy and the joyful destruction of everything that
ism, because it is well aware that the idea of man is bound up with
stands in the way of reason. The idea of modernity does not derive
the idea of the soul, which necessarily implies the idea of God. The
its strength from its positive utopia — the construction of a rational
rejection of all revelation and of all moral principles creates a vacuum
world — but from its critical function. And it retains its strength only
which is filled by the idea of society, or in other words of social so long as the past continues to resist.
r
utility. Human beings are no more than citizens. Charity becomes. .~£\ That resistance was so strong and lasted so long, especially in
solidarity, and conscience comes to mean respect for the law. juristsii" ' France where the absolute monarchy claimed to be founded upon
and administrators replace prophets. I :*'iEl‘EZ'3 . :1 '
idivine right, that the main concern of the philosophy of the Enlight-
The world of reason, pleasure and taste that the philosophers of the-1
eiinient was, from Bayle onwards, the struggle waged against religion,
Enlightenment opened up for the moderns is either oblivious to rather against the Churches, in the name of natural religion, or
internal social conflicts, or interprets them as the irrational’s resistance 2..
;..-/,-_. . sometimes scepticism or even militant atheism. Cassirer (1932) rightly
to the progress of reason. The modernists have a clear conscience:_- points out that this was primarily a French position and that both the
they are bringing light in to the darkness, and place their trust in the} __C_'»erman ‘Aufkldrung and the English Enlightenment were on better
mi:
natural goodness of human beings, in their ability to create rationalfi __.,,/gt.r .- . ..

"terms with religion. Yet throughout Europe, the new philosophy


institutions and above all in their self—interest, which prevents them" rejected the authority of tradition and placed its trust in reason alone.
.;-.=_§s, ,
from destroying themselves and leads them to tolerate and respect the: This critical thought and trust in science were to remain the principal
freedom of others. This world advances under its own impetus, and- . , strength of a conception of modernity which associated the idea of
thanks to the conquests of reason. Society is no more than the sum of "'1-progress with that of tolerance, particularly in the thought of Con-
the effects of the progress ofknowledge. Affluence, freedom and
tlorcet (1795). Its destructive work was, however, more convincing
happiness progress as one, as they are all products of the application §‘*--M-.;;Q$2‘_1<5;.-:
_,3¢wi
},'\-,,,§t\

5
IA E.-.
»7,JI'7"'.'. - .-
rt </

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32 Modernity Triumphant

than its constructive work, and its social practices did not
to the ideas of the philosophers, whose critique of superstition
Q‘ more formidable than their analysis of social transformations.
Before we turn away from modernism, it should not be
that it was associated with the jubilatory liberation of in~
were no longer content to escape political and cultural controls The Soul and Natural Law
taking refuge in private life, and who proclaimed their right to s '
é
their needs, to criticize princes and priests and to defend their
ideas and preferences. Whilst the exclusive trust they placed
.z¢a"=1
aa
instrumental reason and social integration was fraught with
W
5‘
the joyous destruction of the sacred and its taboos and rites iwas
ti
Q.
indispensable part of the entry in to modernism. Rabelais is
exemplary representative of this lust for life, food and learning,
desire for pleasure and this wish to construct a new world shaped Augustinian Resistance
the imagination, desires and reason rather than sacred texts, c
thought asserts that human beings belong to a world
.. or established hierarchies. Today’s advanced industrial societies
A
far removed from this initial liberation, and feel trapped by by natural laws. Reason can discover those laws, and is
subject to them. Modernist thought also identifies the people,
P roducts rather than by traditional privations, but they are also
danger of being drawn to the dream of a closed nation and human beings in general with a social body. It too
l in accordance with natural laws, and must rid itself of
society which is protected from change. The best defence against
return to a closed community is a combination of Rabelais’s forms of organization and domination that fraudulently
2 and Montaigne’s doubts. If we are to defend ourselves against to gain legitimacy by appealing to a revelation or a supra-
forms of repression that are brought to bear in the name of the decision. For modernist thought, human beings exist in the
=
money or reason itself, we must constantly go back to the and are therefore social beings. The degree of violence with
ance of the Renaissance and to the beginnings of modernity, to it challenges religious thought varies as the links between
solitary triumphal march of Guidoriccio da Fogliano, as power and religious authority change.
the Siennese painter Simone Martini, and to the laughter of is not surprising that this thought should have encountered great
servants. A critique of the modernist ideology must not lead to It was resisted in the name of respect for the customs, and
return of what it destroyed. the particular history and culture, of particular social
Yet the resistance offered by local and national life or
i beliefs never succeeded in‘ blocking the use of new
tics or emigration from the countryside to the cities for any
length of time. In more general terms, the only critiques that
any weight were those which accepted the central role of reason
defining human beings and evaluating behaviour. Just as it would
an error to waste time on criticizing scientific medicine in the name
methods whose results have not been scientifically
a critique of modernity must not stray in to irrationalism
and traditionalism.
The naturalist and materialist image of modernity was, on the other
g
::j_'_l1a11.d, constantly and vigorously challenged by the religious thought
=___Wl11Ch, in the West, also made an active contribution to the develop-
ment of 1‘8.1;lOl'13.l_1St thought. Let us go back to Weber’s famous

-s
_Z‘

ti
V?
“:5: 7, ,- ~
. ill} *

1 /
|_—
“s
The Soul and Natural Law 35
34 Modernity Triumphant . ,1 ___‘: .

33;”

_i_flij’é’jpworld, in Weber’s sense. All revealed religions, and especially


-
analysis Modernity does not mean the elimination of the sacred - which is the earliest of them, in fact introduce the principle
means that otherworldly asceticism is replaced by a worldy asceticism=j;fi§‘lii§ii§§§;I.‘__*=_.:-(-f,{-;'t_1'1e snhjectwtztion of the divine, and this is the beginning of the
which would be meaningless if it appealed to one or another form of E“ .5;
>3 .-i_;{;";e_}¢;'¢hnntment of the world. Christianity takes that tendency still
the divine or the sacred. At the same time, the world of phenomena
"-§'-§fi_irther by breaking the link between religion and a people and by
becomes divorced from the world of revelation or being—in-itself.‘§j;g% #8‘
%
‘the people of God’ a non—social meaning. It divorces temporal
Secularization is only one half of the disenchanted world, the otherfii
-_.--_;fl;d"__:"spiritual power rather than merging the two. Modern thought
being an appeal to a Subject which is now out of reach, but which is
5%“,2_______.._.,_,_,.was-‘_the creation of those who supported the Emperor in his struggle
still one of its constant references. Weber did not accept the simplistid “
iflgginst the Pope, and one of its branches was to lead to Luther.
answers of positivism and scientism. On the contrary, he argued
.;.__:@-hristianity breaks with classical Greek thought, whereas the mod-
strongly against the positivism and scientism of German historians
z 'i¢'r,_1‘1,ist ideology remains faithful to it by identifying the good with
and jurists during the famous conflict over method (Methodenstreit). 4-»
utility and, therefore, the man with the citizen. Greek culture
3
2 He bequeaths to us a contradictory image of society. Society“'is l:§=§I-352253135.-. fi- fisibfoth an enchanted thought ~ as is Christian thought — and a religion
I characterized by the contradiction between rationalization and thet- /A =§:: :=::-;;-._._ -j
2 em _ Z;-I-wi'thout transcendence, a cosmology in which the idea of Creation
ti war between the gods, and that between rational legal authority and- 9%
only a limited role. What is more important, neither the idea of
charisma. And, we might add, between capitalism and the nation. It
g .:rL‘i ifpersonality nor that of personal relations between a human individual
n seems to me impossible to go beyond this fragmentation and -M;
2-.‘Q;l , Era
ti a god figures in it. ]ean—Pierre Vernant (1989) analyses the
h dualist thought. They may well take on different forms or a different. , ,_‘.|
,, ..__§_'E'gb5‘¢nce of subjectivity in Greek culture in these terms:
content, but they still provide the basis for our critique of modernist ., . ii-.jj... _ .

rationalism. ~ gg _.QThe psyche is an impersonal or supra~personal entity that exists in each


Modern history is not the linear development of a supposedly??? iofilus. It is a soul within me, rather than my soul. Firstly, because this
0
autopoietic rationalization. This chapter is a reminder that a dualismfl - ,/// soul is defined by its radical opposition to the body and to everything
originating in Christianity played an important role in the formation; 13*
wt relating to the body, and therefore has nothing to do with our
[ » individual characteristics . . . and secondly because this psyche is an
mi‘ ' of modernity. It was so thoroughly destroyed by the modernist .7,-5
internal daimon, a divine being or a supernatural power whose place
1I I
ideology that the eighteenth century marked the beginning of a long ~,-M
l W, and function within the universe transcend our individuality.
.
I‘
rationalist period which many have identified with modernity itself. ,4Q5; 1-;.
ti
Yet, as we shall see in part ll below, when that ideology began to be Michel Foucault (198421, 1984b) describes how this conception col-
5*? l
affected by an intellectual, social and political crisis in the second half . :,. lapsed in the third and fourth centuries, when an image of the Ego
of the nineteenth century, new questions came to be asked about / began to take shape.
modernity. The outcome was the revival of a dualism which had, itlf :.This reference to Christianity is, however, still too general. Chris-
was believed, been destroyed for ever by the power of industry and; as such is too disparate a historical set, and we have to isolate
war. This chapter 1S.Il1€I'6fOf€ devoted both to a cultural tradition-= ‘air __anfintellectual tradition which gives particular importance to personal
.5 .;!i=, .
which seemed to have been defeated by the philosophy of thef it----=__._.--1,-.:;.__-_tj_!-:l_ations between human beings and God, namely Augustinianism.
:L Enlightenment, and to the origins of the more personal considerations, gl-ts-;_modern expressions are to be found in the thought of Descartes,
£1 to which part HI will be devoted. ;:1n__ theories of natural law and even in the thought of Kant, which
A The philosophers of the Enlightenment saw Christianity as a I __?qlte_ady anticipates the sociology of Max Weber.
=:/' ..=.
which tended to sanctify the established order, and the historicalj :7/I=iniEi*' . -- famous text provides an immediate introduction to this intellec-
realities of the Europe of the Counter-Reformation more than-. tradition. It is taken from the opening pages of Book X — the
at1. justified their revolt against the alliance of throne and altar. Yet it is-‘j lmportant book — of St Augustine’s Confessions (Augustine 400:
ii
ill ~ precisely the reality of divine—right monarchy that raises doubts about _" ea
the accuracy of the criticisms directed against Christianity. Marcel I I i
Gauchet
_ is right to contrast _ Christianity
_ with religion (Gauchet
_ 1983)?
_ asked the sea and the chasms of the deep and the living things that
if we understand
_ that term in the _specific sense of the organization of " ;j' _§,'=_‘._:_"'_¢"reep
._:Ej5."_-"__-above
' us.them,
in but they
I spoke answered,
to the ‘Weblow,
winds that are not
andyour
the God.
wholeSeek
air what is
and all
the social around the sacred, or in other words the enchantrnent of-=~ ’

iileiif "1 ~
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that lives in it. It replied, ‘Anaximenes is wrong. I am not God.’ I asked - ..~.?§9“*~t“ §;g‘:,[§:i¢fween men and God. Luther wanted above all to break with all
the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars, but they told me, ‘Neither d r
4;‘ 4/ j"1"'jfi§¢¢’rmed1aries and even with the sacraments in order to make men
are we the God whom you seek.’ I spoke to all the things that are ,-I X",1.-1:;-.» once more to the word of God. He denounced piety, good
about me, all that can be admitted by the door of the senses, and I said, .5./1”’ jifiiorks and all the means Christians used to try to ensure their
‘Since you are not my God, tell me about him. Tell me something of . :§f:.§§_;:,!I%'gation. Even Christians wallowed in sin and concupiscence, which
my God.’ Clear and loud they answered, ‘God is he who made us.’ I -I =:;f5__.~‘~.‘v could never succeed in conquering, and Luther abandoned them
zamliflz.
4 asked these questions simply by gazing at these things, and their beauty =
was all the answer they gave. Then I turned to myself and asked, ‘Wlio '- - -:3I_f(j_-:§tl1€ will of God, whose justice — and it is love and not repression —
P
t
a
are you?’ ‘A man,’ I replied. But it is clear that I have both body and - .2- .@, _-'3_i5=-j=1;he only path to salvation. The true Christian is not the pious man,
soul, the one the outer, the other the inner part of me. Which of those - _,._,_,____:_,_._:__j.'Iil,gt-the man who is transported by his faith in God, even though he
Ffi

two ought I to have asked to help me find my God? With my bodily . ..‘l1‘1‘ W live his life in the certainty of being saved. This direct conflict
a powers I had already tried to find. him in earth and sky, as far as the 1.1_=.:§. 11),’§§i '§
' ' Zfil §§;§l-ietween the human world and the divine world results in a denial of
/ .
ta sight of my eyes could reach, like an envoy sent on a search. But _rn-y’ flfitee will, and the aging Luther broke with Erasmus and his De Lihero
inner self is the better of the two, for it was to the inner part of me that -- -j':__-Aiiihitrio (1523) by writing a De Servo Arhitrio (Luther 1525). Luther’s
2 $
my bodily senses brought their messages. They delivered to their _:,-austerity does not lead to pietism, which was a later development, but
arbiter and judge the replies which they carried back from the sky and
the earth and all that they contain, those replies which stated, ‘We are _ "3liF'.'§does make it impossible to give a liberal interpretation of his
If-thjought. Luther’s thought, and especially the great writings of 1520,
not God’ and ‘God is he who made us.’ i " - " A.
.-is-.=diametrically opposed to the idea that the merits of a pious and
i
It is because he turns towards ‘the inner part’ that Augustine departs f:3viilftuOuS life might reinforce the effects of divine grace, which is
from the Platonic thought to which he remains so close in other féeintral to Catholic ethics, though it also reappears in many different
=.s §$_‘s:’§6<“ls‘i3x*1s:ea-“>"s: a§r<tes respects. Whilst he thinks that everything that exists is beautiful guises in protestant ethics from Melanchthon onwards. The central
1§l' V
‘$"1 .\ yll because everything belongs within the rational order of Creation, he principle behind Luther’s thought is the subordination of the human
does not discover God through the beauty of his works, but by . -.-..-,74»: person to a principle of action: God. To cite only one of so many
|'i,
| turning towards the inner man. The light he discovers there is the ,/
, famous texts, the following quotation is from the ‘Disputation
r I l
| '\ light of reason, but in more general terms it is the light of the soul, Concerning Man’ (Luther 1536: 139): iii
which God created in his own image. This brings us very close to the W =5.
Those who say that natural things have remained untainted after the
Cartesian cogito. Augustine wrote his Confessions because recollection fall philosophize irnpiously in opposition to theology. The same is true ii
ll

is an intellectual activity. It is therefore a rational activity, and it sic of those that say that a i-nan ‘in doing what is in him’ is also able to
allows him to make a transition from the outer part to the inner part; A ‘ merit the grace of God and Life. Also, those who say that the light of
.§i This dualism is constantly present in Luther, who divorces philos—“ ‘ A t God’s countenance is in man, as an imprint on us, that is, free will
ophy from religion, and the realm of reason from that of faith. The - I‘ 3* jfwhich forms the precept right and the will good . . . In like manner,
break with the vision that integrated man in to nature is in itself an Wales- that it rests with man to choose good and evil, or life and death.
appeal to experience and affectivity, and a challenge to reason. It thus” ~’»fi/~‘:
:1//2': Ii.

makes it possible to think about existence in non-rationalist termsjlip, l


~i the ‘Heidelberg Disputation’ (1518: 41), Luther writes more
and fosters a conception of man which, whilst it is theocentric and-iii /;~>iif, :=.
li :-
succinctly: ‘The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is
not anthropocentric, still plays an essential role in the history of-ji I_.pleasing to it. The love of man comes in to being through that which
Western humanism. Both the Reformation and ]ansenism, which did‘-'11 is pleasing to it.’ Luther’s thought inaugurates an intellectual tradition
not break with the Catholic faith or the Catholic church, enriched 5 ?
i-which challenges both Enlightenment rationalism and Christian- it
.
freedom of conscience, in spite of the fact that the very expression is-
-I --/az
5. iipspired humanism. It subordinates man to a meaning, to a Being
it
g= %mnxwnrwae-,W;g . _<¢,,§j'
incompatible with the Lutheran idea of a servo arhitrio (Luther 1525). itE ii
2.

a
who dominates him, and love and faith are his only means of ‘Esi
Luther’s work is usually defined in terms of his struggle against the -Surrender. =5
Church, and rightly so, as that is what makes it part of the general t - All this seems to trap Luther in to an otherworldly asceticism, but
trend towards secularization. He fought the Church and the increas- -- :4-= his ethical anti—individualism also leads to a secularized and commu-
ingly dense network of mediations and magical practices it had created " nitarian image of the people of God. It took both the form of the i
i -i_;_._: ._ i
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_, 33 Modernity Triumphant » The Soul and Natural Law 39


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revolutionary messianism of the Swabian peasants and that of mysteries: a world of science and instrumental action. The
alism: Luther was and is a central reference for the German national-{=5§ji;;,=;;§;@i§.§;;;,.§§§¢§dérnisrn whose effigy presides over the beginning of this Cpploilg
ism which found its initial expression in what Lucien Febvre 1928 3 ‘I§I-ég;§,¢_d to triumph for a long other ahoi it W35 oh-iY in the Sewn 3
calls ‘spiritual territorialism’. It is as though the dangerous aspects nineteenth century, with Freud and Nietzsche, that it came
opposition to critical rationalism were already apparent at the criticism and began to disintegrate. Yet from the Otlteeti and
rs
beginning of modern times. Yet, at the same time, how can we fail to_. 'i':____;,;;:;gIg:g'ticularly during the Reformation and the seventeefith century, it
%
recognize that this theology of faith, and the jansenism that followed-.5*-‘i..1;_.i..
..
complemented or challenged by a force whic was just as
it, is one of the main sources of ethical individualism? It appeals as rationalization: suihjeaipation. The d1Sl11II€gI'E1.t1l(ZlI'1 of tbs
the responsibilities of human bein s who have been freed froing"itiii;§i§§§§§?5§§z3==;§.3'§ei*e'd world, and the accelerating divorce between the wor create
z W 4 1
mediations between heaven and earth, and whose solitude and """=5=‘===-,;§:j5§;'._"man and the world of the divine creation triggered two contradic-
~ impotence allows them to see the self as a personal Subject. related tendencies, and both were far removed from modern-
In terms of the history of ideas, the most important ""'"'iii'i:§§.1;jfiiaturalism. On the one hand, the extra—human or divine iubject
learned from Luther’s thought is that it condemned to failure ".§§;§f-aegis"replaced by man-as-subject. AS a result, the View that the “man
; attempts of the small group of humanists and followers of Erasmus5%§§%gg-__.._IIf_f:-fig-f§'On was a network of social roles and individual P8.1'1IlZ1ll8.1‘ltl€CS1
who tried to reconcile the Spirit of the Renaissance with that of the5%iitiiiiiiizii-'55?‘-"' Way to an ‘~moa5Y soihconsclousness and a W111 to free Om an
Reformation, and faith with knowledge. The history Oi modernism On the other hand, we also see a return to a God who
marked from the outset by a split, not between progressives and ~..,i.a i ???i*‘54.‘i3‘-"---i§_j--§i1"j.-=. i='=}§:§1io. longer identified withaworld which is sanctified or made divine
traditionalists, but between those who created the twin componentsfo redemptiOI1, but W110 is defined in terms oi his tilstflfleei his
gY that will henceforth constitute modernity. On the one hand, we have ii???§§3}~Il.ii_“_iiiéfibisence and the arbitrary nature of his grace. The teachings of the
,, those who defend reason, and often reduce it to being an instrument Rieformers, Beftiiiei and the Ftehoh School of SP1m‘-mllty C6111“ on
| j, promoting a happiness which will once more make human beings the‘ personality of Christ. This is Augustine’s twofold heritage.
,1; .l ... part of nature; on the other, we have those who embark upon thei~i'iiii5§ Modernity did not replace a world which was divided between the
li 1? Li '
, difficuit adventure of transforming the divine subject in to a human if
human and the divine with a rationalized world. It did quite the
:2. ’ \ subject. They can only do so by taking the most indirect and most reverse. It destroyed the enchanted world of magic and sacraments,
r paradoxical path: they must use faith or even predestination to and replaced it with two forceszreason and the Subject, rationalization
destroy social man. and subjectivation. The tragic history of modernity is the story of the
Ix , The divorce between the two faces of modernity is irrevocable. On ~,~;; --
stormy relationship between the two. The religious Reformations
:3 .5
the one hand, we find a regression to millenariaiiism; on the other, 1>_
went far beyond the rationalism of the Renaissance: humanists
H p p'
£1, p modernity is reduced to meaning the quest for a utility defined by 1 appealed to conscience and piety, whilst their opponents stressed the
j I. merchants. Ignoring both these extremes, the history of modernity
-.' 311%, - arbitrary nature of the will of God.
wail
:‘ 1-:| . » . willbeaconstant dialogue between rationalization and subjectivation. ' ‘ within the Catholic world, religious thought was torn
Z N0 compromise is possible. The moving grandeur of the sixteenth contradictory tendencies and riven by violent polemics,
century is that it did not surrender to any great unitary myth. It hetweefi What Henri Bfelhoflti C3115 devout humanism, ltlti
ii: _
surrendered to neither absolute monarchy, Enlightenment nor Pro-' ';.:*:‘==,-iii; .-"II the ]ansenists and other extreme Augustinians, who were close to the
. . /... g ; .. _-
1, gress. In the midst of the ruins of the enchanted World, it rejected the. 7//'! "---='=§-'Reformers and convinced of the need for absolute submission to
, p illusions of the humanists and lived the necessary and creative efficacious grace. One tendency within the latter school believed that
lacerations of an emergent modernity. As we reach the end of the '- reason W35 deoePiiVe because it was dominated hY natural instlncm
millennium, are we noticloser to the tragic beginnings of modernity . ..,,,. 2- "2-1.-=-This
-- was the view taken by La Rochefoucauld and Pascal. Pascal
than to the apparent triumph of the centuries of Enlightenment and _".'__attempts to humble the pride of the intellect and to focus on the
j Evolutions? -3:_§:.'i-=1.-‘tiirect conflict between the order of the body and the order of charity,
ii § '
W, Many thought that the break with the sacred and magical world ."=a:: he still has to rely upon reason to discover the human condition.
would make way for a worid governed b reason and self-interest ,':"§'__i_-f';"f=_'The central figure in Catholic thought is Francis of Sales. Whilst the
Above all, it would be one world in which there could be no darkness author of the Introduction to the Devon: Life (1608; the definitive
‘ills. I‘; '

i§.1¥#5 : _ -.
1
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4-O Modermty Triumphant . ii
The Soul and Natural Law 41
~"»
g{'s.‘I_ --

version dates from 1619) was a devout humanist, he was also thei., ,1-.3; unity between the rule of the good and respect for the good
;. 3 ‘ _f;;.;:I;f:::;-.;1
1:3 .' 5 =3; ii,--j.IjI' -j j;;?ij;iIgl_._réPlaced by the battle between God and Evil. The twofold and
bishop of a diocese near Geneva and was influenced bY P rotestantism .‘2:.§._% -:1-' -;;-
His Tmité de llzmom" de dieu (1616) is influenced both by Augusti-5°‘ ~~
/ .
- _;/*1 ------;§§;‘-jayfitradictory nature of man is revealed: God’s creature bears the
nianism and by the mystical experience of jeanne de Chantal. This ii §,f,‘4/>.=¢<§:._§§;;i of original sin, which explains both why redemption is for all
quasi~pietism, which prefigures Fénelon, does not, however, preclude
d ,.6;.=__,,,;=¢.=;_.=;._.__..:,§;I:::j-=-=.
1. --=---::::- ---
why many are called but few are chosen. The Ego is fragmented,
23

a certain trust in human nature, and above all a desire to define a§§i§ -/Q 2 ;f:I§B{;fi'rhere is still the possibility that an ‘I’ can be partially reconstructed
piety designed not for members of religious orders but for lay people.-ll . /J, -13'"5- lt of the struggle between the Id and something higher than
This was a P1etY for everyday life and for family life. For Francis de --“as a rfisu What appears, at every moment in history, to be an
3-‘i-‘gh"¢="'=Ego.
Sales, the entry in to modernity did not eradicate the reference to az i,4Z ""iaii'tihumanism is, on the contrary, the starting point for the discovery
distant and omnipotent God, but this did not signal a return to__t_he* ' I in/' :.§':-g_f_="i';he Subject in Western culture.
religious order of things. It implied that the church must be neither ,% 43 '“‘*¢'=‘f?Y*”?">T’?: brief return to the religious origins of individualism takes us
worldly nor, above all, monarchical. Francis de Sales thus appeals g%;§:I::::-,-; .' ji
35.3};-_"'g'very different direction to that taken by Louis Dumont. Dumont
..|iiIlZ
both the consciousness and the freedom of the human subject. %%» contrasts individualism or the ideology of modern society,
To conclude, let us go back to Augustine. Can we say that
‘p _. ..
';7wi'th the holism that characterizes other societies, and which is as iiliii
Augustine, or the Lutherans, Calvinists and jansenists who are his W.
=_§fypical of the Greek city—states as it is of the Indian caste system. Yet
distant descendants, resisted modernity and promoted a mysticism _ ...,i=; at
.::;,~jis;;._. -=;_'
studies on Christianity, Louis Dumont himself speaks of the
rather than an ethics, whereas his contemporary Pelagius or the . 1?“? .9»-5.
a
“transition from ‘an otherworldly individual’ to the ‘individual in the it
]esuits of the seventeenth century were more worldly and therefore Q -
_i;ii_orld’. By using these expressions, he reveals that in traditional 15| i‘ ‘ '
more ‘humanist’? The moralizing appeal to man is, however, always ‘;;i3iZ*?*i?“i§§5§‘:5:::iE512‘ 5"' '5 * 55 i,,'i' l l
it /’
isocieties the ascetic who lives in God coexists alongside the individual i=£l" ». vll
transformed in to respect for rules that conform to the interests of ijiwho is identified with a social role legitimized by a natural or divine
society. At best, as in Pelagius’s case, it is ennobled by a reference to ‘order. Similarly, in the modern world, individual freedom coexists
the virtues of the citizens of Antiquity. And the ethics that makes alongside an individuality defined in terms of identification with
such a powerful appeal to conscience soon socializes man to such anfjhI-1' ../a social roles. In Calvin’s Geneva, the social order was originally
extent that he is totally integrated in to the social world and begins to .. contained within the Church and was imposed upon all with a rigidity 1 :: .3. ._~
serve the collective consciousness, the common good or established if?
consistent with the idea of predestination. That conception later .»:. llr-‘ll .1

powers, Whatever name they go by. Conversely, the appeal to God, ‘Q1 .
.;/w,
became secularized and the individual became a citizen or a worker, ll 3%
.;,.:;;: 2 1.

which appears to deny rnan’s humanity, can have the opposite effect. Y2 but he was still subordinated to the social system and the holistic 1;;
i ;§
§\

It subordinates man to God, but it also implies that the meaning of .,., _ demands of a collective consciousness. The modern world which
living in God is to be found within the soul itself, as we can see from =:~./. - freed the individual therefore also made the individual submit to new ‘it
7/‘/»,.1'.= -' [I _
Augustine’s account of his own conversion (Confessions VIII). This laws, whereas the religious world 4 Buddhist or Christian — asserted
.. WK , -_ 5.
dualism is self—destructive when it becomes manichaean, or when the .'{T$\:iwI - "both the freedom of the individual in God and the subordination of

principle of good becomes completely divorced from that of evil, but fthe individual to tradition. Individualism is not specifically associated
it is also the starting point for any construction of a Subject which M with the modern world. Forms which subordinate the individual to i i: 1?
%
does not coincide with the social roles of the Ego. This Subject does pg,‘
ZM ..- .-
. the collectivity are to be found in all societies, ancient and modern
not identify the man with the citizen and therefore recognizes the the individual is never defenceless against the collectivity. This is
,
role of subjectivity, which is so alien to the Graeco—Roman tradition. ivvhy the contemporary return of religions or a religi0us—inspired
The Augustinians, like their master, are painfully aware of the “'>FP>‘ ethics should be seen both as the community’s revenge on modern
.,,e.$ . _ ..
"’Z"ié.
presence within them of what they call original sin, or, more / individualism, and as the individual’s revenge on the social and e
accurately, concupiscence. The Ego’s moral control over the individ- political mobilizations associated with modernization, which take on .|,'==,i Il
ual is disrupted by sexuality, by the desire for women that enflamed an extreme form in totalitarian regimes.
Augustine, and which can be dominated only by a force ‘deeper than r ,5
.. ,2
' Our society is not individualistic because it is rationalist, secular-
my inmost understanding and higher than the topmost height that I ized and production—oriented; it is individualistic despite the con-
- hug.
2:
could reach’ (‘interior intimo meo, superior sumo meo’; Augustine 400: ‘e
straints and the normalization forced upon individuals by centralized =a.,
4 ==‘
,r Y
qiiaggn
Modermty Triumphant The Soul and Natural Law

production and management To a large extent, it 1S the influence human experience to instrumental thought and action. And
ethical and social conceptions which are religious in origin that it appeal to tolerance or even to Montaigne’s scepticism in
it individualistic When he recalls the religious origins of 11 to reconcile reason and religion. Nascent modernity 1S
Louis Dumont himself argues along similar lines, especially when by the thought of Descartes, not because he is the herald
writes (Dumont 1983 64) There is within the very internal co but because he puts modernity on a sound footing and
tution of what we call the modern individual in the world his dualistic thought, which would soon be attacked by the
unnoticed but essential element of otherworldliness It is not, how but extended by Kant, beckons to us across two centuries
ever, enough, to argue that the otherworldly individual marks philosophy and progressive ideology and teaches
intermediary stage between the hohsm of old and modern redefine modernity.
ism, as the modern world poses as great a threat to individualism frees himself from the world of sensations and opinions
the ancient world. We thus find the constant and parallel presence
world is so deceptive that it does not allow him to work
the moulding of the individual by society and the liberation of ds from facts to ideas and to the discovery of the world order
individual. Without that liberation, it would be impossible for
by God, as Aquinas did. His distrust of all experiential data
viduals to transform society.
only allows him to discover the rules of the Method that can
These assertions may occasion some surprise. Should we not be
him from illusions; it also allows him to discover the cogzto
contrasting Augustine’s pessimism and the idea that human nature is
a surprising way. Whilst engaged on scientific work and l1'1
corrupt and incapable of rising unaided to the level of the divine, with
l the principles of the scientific thought that will Suppos-
the optimism of the hurnanists, beginning with the Christian human-
make men the masters and P ossessors of nature, he Suddenl Y
ism which, from Marsilio Ficino to Erasmus, was open to the sciences
in to the cogito and writes in part IV of the Discourse
and trusted in reason? And do we not have to agree with Cassirer
(1932: 137-8) that there is a great continuity between this
1637:127)
which seemed at first to have been marginalized by the Reformation, )m this I knew I was a substance whose whole essence or nature is
the natural religion of the eighteenth century, and the thought of simply to think, and which does not require any place, or depend on
Rousseau and Kant? This is a paradox only if we reduce ancient any material thing, in order to exist. Accordingly this ‘I’ — that is, the
culture to the idea of human impotence, and modern culture to the soul by which I am what I am — is entirely distinct from the body, and
opposite view. In traditional culture, there is in fact a conflict between indeed it is easier to know than the body, and would not fail to be
the cosmological world—view in which everything is a manifestation of whatever it is, even if the body did not exist.
the omnipotence and goodness of God, and a meditation on evil, the
us ignore the objections raised against this argument by Hobbes
fall and original sin that results in submission to divine grace. The
same dualism can be seen in modern thought. Whereas the philos~ by Arnaud, who is the author of the third and fourth ‘Objections
ophers of the Enlightenment reconstruct a rationalist view of the the Meditations, and trace the implications of this radical dualism
world and man, Augustine’s descendants discover a human subject The existence of God cannot be demonstrated on the basis of
who is dominated, exploited or alienated by society, but who has observations of the world. Such observations confuse two substances
become able to give his freedom a positive content through labour realm of souls and the realm of bodies. On the other hand, my
and protest. It was in the seventeenth century that Augustinianism of God is inexplicable if God does not exist. It is the idea of God
was ‘modernized’, mainly by Descartes and Pascal. Their similarities that demonstrates the existence of God. According to part IV of The
are greater than their differences, and Pascal had to resort to reason Discourse (Descartes 1637: 128):
in order to condemn reason.
I decided to inquire in to the source of my ability to think of something
more perfect than I was; and I recognized very clearly that this had to
Descartes: A Modernist in Two Senses come from some nature that was in fact more perfect . . . the idea had
been put in to me by a nature truly more perfect than I was and even
The Subject and reason must coexist within the human being. The possessing in itself all the perfections of which I could not have any
thinking that dominates modernity in its nascent phase does not idea, that is -- to explain myself in one word W by God.
»~/":»i“:'Ti
yr:-5 ..a»..>~.»s
'3' pix:

;> §?f/~<'
.</. 4.. The Soul and Natural Law 45
44 Modernity Triumphant
and carry out whatever he judges to be best. To do that is to pursue
This argument is much closer to our concerns than St Anselm’s proof, . . J '2‘? 3?.
"'=I<-- ;';:
.
’_..E virtue in a perfect manner. l_.
which Kant will describe as the ontological argument, and which M ii:-
Descartes expounds in the fifth Meditation. The detachment from. 1:11;“?/“ta
Viz?
iii".-j:ean—Paul Sartre saw this ethics of freedom as prefiguring his own "'|
immediate experience and opinion permitted by reason therefore both ‘ . . ,~”¢%s ideas. As a result of the importance he accords to free will, Descartes
0K, émphasizes the role of friendship, or the recognition of the other as
leads the human mind to discover the divinely created laws of nature,
Qubject. He is therefore in the tradition of Montaigne and breaks with
and allows man to define his own existence as that of a creature made - _ -Z:"‘#r.- v"' 5

in God’s image. Man is a creature whose thought is the mark left by


% the social ethics that evaluates virtue in terms of the individual’s
the divine workman when his work was done. As Descartes._concen— A -- -I-{devotion to the collective good.
is no conflict between the two faces of man W rational
trates increasingly on the problems of ethics, especially in his ‘corre- :-;a_;»:;¢It- <
97 ilinowlege of divinely-created laws — and will and freedom. They
spondence with Princess Elisabeth, the greater his insistence on the ' ‘- 4,-=-..\
5*-4.'.-*=“. ‘.3¢;0mplement one another to the extent that will and generosity are
divorce between, on the one hand, the world of reason and wisdom - ...,.,»c .~/5%
\»<
gflpported by reason and, in more concrete terms, because, if man is a
E-',/QM“?
and, on the other, the world of the will and free will. With Descartes,
:. jthing that thinks, this implies, according to the third Meditation, that
whose name is so often associated with reason, what Horkheimer will
-he is also ‘a thing that doubts, affirms, denies . . . which imagines and
call objective reason begins to break down and to be replaced by
{has sensory perceptions’. Descartes adds that he is also ‘a thing that
subjective reason - Charles Taylor (1989: 156) calls them substantive
zunderstands a few things, is ignorant of many things, loves, hates, is
and procedural reason — whilst the freedom of the human Subject is _. . . I . fwilling, is unwilling’ (Descartes 1641: 24). He does not say ‘It thinks
asserted and experienced in the consciousness of thought. The Subject
is defined in terms of reason’s control over the passions, but is .: .:£1 3 '§'='within me’ (cogitatio mm); he says ‘I am thinking.’ His philosophy is
Is3;>~"~>.
Wm fnot a philosophy of Mind or of Being; it is a philosophy of the
primarily a creative will, an inner principle of conduct, and not in 'e|= =l
Subject and of Existence. The result is a trust in man which cannot be v »l
terms of harmony with the world. Hence the image of the hero I. ,1. fl
reduced to the power of scientific thought. Ferdinand Alquié com- i,Hs_;;1‘r.
created by Corneille, who is seen by Cassirer (1932) as a good disciple I I
‘n

ments (1950: 198): ‘Whilst God created truth and nature, it is man
of Descartes, though Charles Taylor (1989: 154) is more alert to the
who, in the technical era, will, thanks to his understanding of truths, 13,5-i "?
differences between aristocratic honour and the Cartesian appeal to l‘

self—consciousness. The Corneillean hero is motivated by a love which


rule over a nature which has no end or form of its own, and which §"'l|-.
transcends the self, by ademand and not by shared sentiments. As
will therefore yield to man’s ends, receive his form and take on his :l '1
face.’ Man is not nature, but nor can he identify with God or Spirit.
Descartes himself puts it in the fourth Meditation (Descartes 1641:
He exists between two orders; he dominates nature by deciphering it,
40) : E
and his soul bears the mark of God and recognizes that God, who is
1 = 12%
It is only the will, or freedom of choice, which I experience within me aa
present in his thoughts, is greater than him. This is consistent with
at ..
‘up... . -_
to be so great that the idea of any greater faculty is beyond my grasp; :;;.-" '. the general trend towards secularization and the rejection of all |!.i
so much so that it is in virtue of the will that I understand myself to .t rimmanence. The world of nature and the world of God are separate,
bear in some way the image and likeness of God. and communicate only through man. Man’s action subordinates the
‘tr-. |
f._w_orld of things to his needs; his will does not merge with God, but ii]
He therefore gives paramount importance to generosity. Article 153 ,3; I
,=,~--' ; '..'=':- discovers within itself an I which 1S distinct from his opinions,
of The Passions of the Soul (Descartes 1649: 384) provides the . . »,-751;/1‘ €._ .- -
"W sensations or needs. This I is therefore the Subject. It is this aspect of
3'

explanation:
"Descartes that meant so much to Paul Valéry (1925: 839). He saw the
Thus I believe that true generosity, which causes a person’s self—esteem l -. philosopher’s use of the ‘I’ as his most obvious break with ‘the
¢.-
to be as great as it may legitimately be, has only two components. The :<
architecture of scholasticism’.
first consists in his knowing that nothing truly belongs to him but this ,5 Descartes frees himself from the idea of the Cosmos. The world no
freedom to dispose his volitions, and that he ought to be praised or ,. _-.-longer has any unity; it is no more than a set of objects available for
§
blamed for no other reason than his using this freedom well or badly. _' t scientific research. The principle of unity now applies to a creator
The second consists in his feeling within himself a firm and constant M,1“ . 1'.‘ who can be perceived only through the thought of God, and therefore
resolution to use it well — that is, never to lack the will to undertake
'3/=
.4r
,./§'s-

..~ I.

" ’ ii -‘
Z i‘»"
~:x4,".4
A.7

1? -.‘:'» ./ M.-an ..
;
IrisJ
1- ~t§j
at '-. é§:~15>>l/4/33':
46 Modernity Triumphant
~/
,2;,“,5, 1 .'<,-,,/<».~>.;1.
L ;,f:',‘,i5.,/.;,;;r.,..
. .. ,/.
I _g The Soul and Natural Law 47
- / at: --22

i
.9 .4; ‘r-),,,,;._,=>j_-._._,.j§ .- .=.
through the Cogito. This approach is the complete antithesis of an 51‘ ‘-- l§~»>~»;.~r.-.1.>;~.;;;: jgi;iE§;;i§=;":‘§’The rationalism of the Enlightenment believed that human freedom
idealism. Consciousness is grasped in its finitude, its 1£61TlP01'2lllty.J11St_‘j‘-Ii‘!
ct. 5/ , .,
a¢.~.~~.. _. the triumph of reason and the destruction of beliefs. It therefore
as man cannot identify completely with God, God must not be ’ a
.4.
/
a .~- ~ -
e,;,=.'~__'\-.514 man within nature and necessarily destroyed any principle
transformed in to a temporal and historical being made in man’s --"".§§j . -5-£.._--the unity of man. And it not unreasonably reduced the Ego to
image. Man is midway between God and nature. A ";';1-being no more than an illusion or a false consciousness. Descartes
The idea that man, being both body and soul, has a twofold nature =; § j : _ -; 3 ; § 1‘ ; " ' , ¢ ; 5 - a very different line, as his trust in reason leads him to reflect
is also central to the thought of Pascal: ‘Man is to himself the greatest human subject, which is not merely God’s creature, but a
prodigy in nature, for he cannot conceive what body is, ‘and-.-still less - -1,", -4--
15:.-.:.;I3§
:
-..;-:;§ &f p ": ( ~; _ ' 1 ¢_’ ¢ _=, ' ; . 1 t u re made in the image of its Creator. If our image of modernity
;‘,§;_;1j_urelynegative or critical, we inevitably see Descartes as one of the
what mind is, and least of all how a body can be joined to a mind.
This is his supreme difficulty, and yet it is his very being’ (Pascal -
;:":I.,""i_r1_i,t1ators of modern rationalism, and the defenders of the ‘Cartesian’
1669: 94). The text is followed by a quotation from St Augustine, as ,;..=.$2 - - 1
,,, ‘ti ;.==.;;:-
"I" are often reduced to that status. On the contrary, it is legitimate
handed down by Montaigne. The famous fragments about the think- :9
;_;_-.'_fQsee
L.
him as the principal agent of the transformation of Christian
ing reed (Pascal 1669: 95) take up the same idea: .. is§$i;.-::.-':,--.:::-II- .- "
fffdualism in to a modern idea of the Subject.
=2? K
51ii5'*§.-‘.=.3=3i-' - "
Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed.
<.2.~‘é= it 1 ... ' __‘gi--_'I;o'cke’s Individualism
There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: ..

a vapour, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe
Q-;.Whilst faith in reason has always been the starting point for the idea
§
were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because
he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him.
modernity, there is, in law, political thought and philosophy, a
- '-..1/J? ‘."-"1i.r:1:1::"'1"
The universe knows none of this. Thus all our dignity consists in ‘§jI§ji§'33?*=“‘* ’ divide between naturalism, and the related idea that society is a social
thought. body, and an individualism that is central to the formation of the
><»:-r.
$1 1
notion
//2? » of the Subject. Descartes’s grandeur stems from the fact the
For both Pascal and Descartes, thought and personal experience are :1?
rationalist author of the Discourse on the Method also defends an
c.
unitary and not contradictory, and together they are a source of extreme dualism which transforms the Christian idea of a creature
l‘.~7<< '1

‘~ .
religious inspiration. We therefore have to question the identification mg‘ taxi:
..
made in the image of its Creator, in to a philosophy of the personal
of rationalism with an antireligious mode of thought which all too r\;(//$1: "’I:::. .-
1;
Subject. Political and social thought is also marked by the divergence
easily moves from being a social critique of the Church and religious _~ ;j::.»~ between two currents deriving from the same source. Once the Good
practices to being a materialism which fails to see that the religious ceases to be defined in terms of a divine imperative or the Ten
Subject has been transformed in to a human Subject. .,i. l Commandments handed down by Moses, one current of thought
5

Man is part of Creation and he must at the same time surrender to asserts that ethics and politics must be governed by the idea of the
the truth. His twofold nature means that he cannot, as Pascal tries to .co_mmon good or of the interest of society. The prime exponent of
‘:2:-1:1: -' ' -' =' ,__tjhis conception is the Cicero of De re puhlica. For this current, the
do, completely contrast the divine world with the human world, the
l ;;-- - .- '- --
-, _. -, -pentral ideas are those of contract and obligation, and right is defined
order of charity with the order of reason. Man must take responsi—° 1. 3;-I
...,, .i§
bility for his passions, which are — as a result of the hypophysis — W; -.: -' ‘-'-.: 5;;-in terms of obedience to the law, which can take either an authoritar-
21'.
,4
signs of the concrete unity of body and soul. In 1640, Descartes told? -"tan or a democratic form. The modern expression of this conception
-/as.
.-.,_.;-/as - -. - _:_1s' the view that the law must conform to a common utility which is
Newcastle that ‘I attribute all the sweetness and happiness in this life
to the use of the passions.’ He said the same thing to Princess ../,.. ;_j;'.j.'._. - ‘I fldefined in terms of peace and the preservation of individual and
Elisabeth in 1645 when he replied to the objections of Regius, who ‘collective life. This appeal to natural law and reason does not,
.._-__%,W :.__. ,;_ however, always lead to the idea that society is based upon a contract,
wanted completely to divorce body and soul. Descartes’s dualism is "" xi-; -
complemented by the primacy he accords to existence. His world is :I_;@;.>> . = '. ; .- as it does tor Hobbes and Rousseau. That idea was inspired by the
"-.Q'/1:1,-. . -- ii‘

neither that of nature nor that of the universal Spirit. It is the world revolutionary spirit of the eighteenth century. What is known as the
of a man who doubts and who is therefore divorced from God. Yet Common good can easily be transformed in to State power, which
1"; '1. v1ews its positive right as being based solely upon its own interests.
that man finds a solid support only within himself thanks to an .
§§.';§‘-I.‘_ Descartes’s contemporary Hugo Grotius in 1625 argued against the
inversion which allows the Subject or the I to appear within the Ego. -5

,._- .

i. ;;g;;.-.;--.;;.: ; .
x__—7_7;__,=,,,,, ~~__._ . 1 -l)_'J>'-'/-/!'/\<//‘Dw_|/‘*y4§"““/ ...
~_, .,,;,,
5., ._._7-1.7 ft
..,:rr—-:2-'~’-"
jg... ;y~..:-.1-$5 »/Ag:
./.4 -.@.;=»~<
51-. <.
»/- -1”’ V-Y»-/»~
.~;*I.'1' .~V¢~¢r-/'3
->9
i The Soul and Natiiml Law 49
48 Modernity Triumphant ,.,<. 1
~\
,_
,'~<a,~4>,-zv;//:1 ‘

is the law of the common ownership of the land and all its
modern theory of the absolute State associated with Machiavelli
lean Bodin by advancing the idea of natural Law, which he defines -ta,.1; »“W:/U/<:::i:\' a,;~,~‘/,t'- =1,-
Yet whilst certain men live, like the American Indians, in
\.,:..
Platonist terms as a body of juridical ideas or principles existing prior -,,, , . .,,,;//,~a-.,-..,- with the law of nature, others transform and increase
to any particular situation or even the existence of God. Even if there’: W natural resources through their labour, and that gives them a right of
were no such thing as a circle, argues Grotius, the radii of a Paragraph 27 of the second Treatise (Locke 1690b: 287—8)
would still be equal. Right is a creation of the mind, and it is the starting point for the argument that will justify the
W .. , N ._._ ~ .
~;;»,-r\=;.~_
rigorous as mathematics. Pufendorf will make the same ,comparisoii.=-new<> ‘W8 existence of property, money and inequality:
in even more forceful terms in 1672. /I ;,;_="'I"1qough the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet
This defence of right, which is distinct from and independent -» r _.3=f.:.-'-ievery man has a property in his own person; this nobody has any right
politics and based purely upon reason, represents, together witli==-Mg -'-1-;-;--to but himself. The labour of his body and the work of his hands we
Cartesian thought, the principal moment in the transformation of the? ( ., . may say are properly his. Whatsover, then, he removes out of the state
old Christian dualism in to a philosophy of the Subject and of}- :;_.-_..;that nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with
2*-‘F1-¥-:1-'-11:11-:I=: =
freedom. Grotius was not satisfied with the relative autonomy the? a/5'5’ :~. _.;_--and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his
theologians granted lex nammlis, as opposed to [ex divine. Above all',?-iig it jproperty. It being by him removed from the common state nature
he did not accept the extremist position of Calvin, who completely"; ‘-/eff 1.51;; .' _;.=-;_-placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it that excludes
denied the autonomy of human law in the name of the omnipotence t-:-xi:-=;I-I:-:1: 5:: - ; - the common right of other men. For this labour being the unquestion-
l %:.I=:;:-.--- '- - -1 - able property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what
of elective grace, and his trust in reason led him to support the -"<¢rjgi t :,;=:-:;:5:;';-''
Arminians or Remonstrants and, after their defeat, to lose @1151 :1 that is once joined to, at least where there is enough and as good left in
'
'1COII1I'l'10!1 for others.
positions he held in Amsterdam. I _.,_,,,.,
--55,4» 1
. ,1/,§

This view that natural law is an object of scientific study can alsoil The transition from common ownership to individual property
be found in Montesquieu (1750), who studies social experiences in an! therefore transforms the role of the law: far from being based on the
attempt to identify the spirit of the laws, or in other words the?
common good, it must protect the freedom to act, to trade and to
‘necessary relations deriving from the nature of things’ that govern own property. Locke departs from Hobbes in that he does not
the coherence and spirit of legislation. There is an enormous differ- »\~:\/ 1- confine himself to the purely political argument that the social
ence between this and the hesitant positions of Voltaire, and especially ~;>:~ contract which founds political society is based upon fear of violence
Diderot’s surrender to pragmatism. When Diderot speaks of efficacy a.' .
and war. He gives natural law a political expression which brings it in
and when D’Alembert speaks of our duties towards our fellows, the to conflict with the hereditary monarchy defended by Sir Robert
law reverts to being social, whereas Grotius and Montesquieu are? Filmer, who is the target of the first Treatise (Locke 1690a). He thus
primarily concerned with restricting power and divorcing the theory‘. - _ ;.. establishes a complete discontinuity between the state of nature and
of law from theology. Y‘: social organization. He underlines this by recalling that the political
It may seem surprising to relate the rationalism of the theorists of] -;_:'_‘___§jystem was established not as a response to the state of nature, but to
natural law to the position of Locke, whose theory of human .._-,-_-._.-.-I._t_l1e state of war which destroyed it. Louis Dumont rightly sees Locke
understanding plays such a central role in the philosophy of the-1
a3 _j __ ,as inaugurating the transition from holism to individualism. The
Enlightenment. One is tempted, rather, to contrast Rousseau’s social;-“ ’¢
f"-3I=-I"-if':-analysis of a community and the needs of its members is replaced by
revolt and Locke’s ‘bour g eois’ theorY . Yet it is the Rousseau of the-Z-._,s3£1“‘E‘
analysis of labour and property, which must be protected by laws.
Second Discourse (1750), the Emile (1762b) and the Social Contract-3-= _-That Locke is still concerned with community can, however, be seen
(1762a) who is central to the philosophy of the Enlightenment, whilst :-
Lock’? $11PPlies new foundations for the divorce between individual-:i';";%;%i=%t2=-:.
_;- -from the398—405).
.,._,.-_1690b: ‘WY in which he lustifies
He does rebellion
not defend against
rebellion, but°PP1'es5i011 (I-Ofikfi
he does condemn
and society. As we shall see, the difference between their theories can?“-I
_ -I magistrates who are guilty of ‘breach of trust’ for having broken the
be clearly seen in the French and Virginian Declarations of Rights. _'
covenant that made them agents of the common good. They are
Locke’s starting point is that because God has granted him
governors who destroy public order. Both political theory
understanding which guides his actions, man enjoys free will and is- and economic theory argue that there cannot be a complete divorce
free to act. The primary meaning of action is labour. The law of. Ff
I~:?I;r-' :. -
tr
F
, /
.7 ~‘<f;;~‘ <1 » z»
C

,.-...':
are ,..
»;, .:-/". . ,..
1,». .. W/¥=*w.~~‘
.,/~.,..1~
aw §‘“"~';.,§;~

Moderniry Triumphant
’: 131;;
i ~52?!r
. ruf2E;‘;~*/
:>>.»;1
The Soul and Natural Law 51
'1-ii » .l
ii i‘
at-t=-=2 | =
between the rights of the individual and the preconditions for (entia momlia). The latter do not originate in nature. Nature l
"és;j.51-ise
to judgements of utility or pleasure, but moral iudgement
This conception gives Locke a central position in the history Ka directive norm that we term a law’, he writes in his
ideas, as he combines the individualist idea that property and wealth???iEig=,,,>,‘gni:ajarispmdentiae Universalis (1658). Being the law of reason,
are based upon labour, with a reference to a human order law may» it is true» relate to the Criterion of 505131 ‘1tfl1tY
nature is parenthetically defined by Louis Dumont: ‘(or what ,1;r
that extent there is no disagreement between Grotius and
/a/“E
of the cosmic order)’. As Raymond Polin argues (Polin 1953), though the latter does place more emphasis on the
and morality thus converge thanks to the existence of,/God. Locké“‘5§’i* between ‘what must be’ and ‘what is’. Rather than Judging
7
defends both the individualism that is present in all du/alist thoughtii terms of their consequences, hequdges them in terms Of
and the naturalistic deism of the philosophy of the Enlightenmentj,==:; iiiiiihentions and their relationship with a divine law.‘ He thus departs
That unity will be gradually replaced by the growing oppositio'i4ijj_ so-called modern conception of law, and his theories pertain
between the empiricism that leads to positivism, or even a Rousseauistiii §.~>,‘°:=Z- ~_~.f ~éI§::‘-I-.::= world of religious thought — Buddhist as well as Christian —
sociologism, and the idea of natural law, which Will inspire all th'¢-:-eff. seeks to Provide an ethics of in*@1"i°n and Whld‘ 15 mm
social movements that resist the established order. tantra -1 eoincernedwith purity than law. _ ='a I

Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau are equally revolutionary or, if '=i§;§2I;,;§; ’_;: -1-;5¢k¢’5 arguments seem far removed from any ethical absolutism, !, it.
-
prefer to put it that way, are the first to define the democratic thought,;;§§f;%,;§%l‘$3"5:=tii;i§iz::-z;=:;:_: even from any religious content, and his main purpose 1S to
that relects the legitimation of Political power in terms of inheritanceer1‘*"‘7P"i""""""‘"ii'i""":Ehirnbat
.,./X absolute rnonarchY- And Yet, he ensures the U9-nsltlon from 3
.t
of the will of God, but they found political society on quite differentiiiiiiiiiiiii definition to a secularized definition of a human actor who
bases. The goal of all these thinkers and all theorists of natural law = *5-
completely identifies with the political society to which he
:__ belongs. The right to own property, the right to freedom and the
of course to found political society on a free decision taken bf,1}; E
individuals, on a covenant or an act of trust. The words they use right to resist oppression are the principles that found civil society.
however, mask very different conceptions, as Pufendorf is awai-e‘i‘ii1i1;=>/. And civil society cannot become either a monarchic or a democratic
when he advances the idea of a double covenant: first, a covenant of‘? at 7’
5 Prince. Spanish theologians like Suarez and Las Casas protested . 1”
:1} §=._ r. +.,-
association and then a covenant of submission. This creates contradic- an . against the massacres perpetrated by the conquistadores and pointed -;.
_! Pi iii:
-as 1 l
tions but does not resolve them. Locke emphasizes consent under ' out that the Indians were as much the creatures of God as the i ‘i
ff
constraint, the rule of the majority, and not the general will; in his Spaniards. Political power and its armed might must respect the
view, the law means the protection of individual rights and not, as 3, "i- equality of God’s creatures, and should not treat some of them as
% 4.;
Hobbes thought, the constitution of a pacified social order. Locke‘? -,»/" . though they were animals or objects to be sold on the market. The
also elaborates a theory of citizenship, yet he still sees civil society as’3:5;lla=- at fact that the argument is couched in terms of the law of nature or
a means of P rovidin g the natural ri hts of man with real g uarantees..='-A-31??:'§“??§=%?¥-1..I‘
1-W/xii .';. i reason, rather than of the mark left by the creator on his creatures,
His thought, like the Bill of Rights of 1689, which is quite in keepiiigi: does not indicate a break in ethical thinking, but when these argu~
- -;;- ..': -.
with the political positions of this Orangeman — even though the 5-1 W». '.'-’§iifients give way to arguments that give a central role to social utility —
Treatise was conceived before the revolution of 1688-— stresses thei3"i’""‘1?%?i,_W.,z.¢ 1?*@i¥-‘-“-'_.;-'=-'. "defined in either Christian or secularized terms M the conception of
/<l

independence of citizens rather than the construction of a community. "ethical or political life does change considerably. We should not leap
which benefits from the transfer of individual rights IO 3 Sover "~‘~<'Hi§-.'-. ._ =_-
Ito the conclusion that modernity is to be equated with utilitarianism
ti:-' - .'
authority. He is reluctant to talk about the Sovereign; on the other“? that modern thought is concerned only with contracts, the law and
hand, he stresses the importance of trust and the participation of all —' 3 ‘ '1 the equilbrium or integration of society. The principle of norrnativity
the word ‘ P eo P le’ had ne g ative connotations in Locke’s daY — in the?" =:=" ‘and the ‘consequentialism’ introduced by religion is replaced by the
I

workings of institutions. Being a Whig, he believed in citizenship, but appearance of a human actor defined in terms of action, will and
-.== -: .'
put more emphasis on the rights of citizens than on national unity. freedom, and, in more concrete terms, labour. The idea of the social
Pufendorf, who was Locke’s exact contemporary, also departs from Y at contract, which inspired both absolutism and revolution — which IS
Grotius and Cumberland. His dualism is similar to that of Descartes, Twhy they are so similar W dissolves the Subject in to the political
and completely divorces physical beings (entia physim) from ethical community, the sovereign people or the nation, as the French
at

I :3,-fl! 1; - - -

ii; _ _ _'
~v 7 . .
x0 7 —:.=;r-5%
21-===;i'=.~:»‘ iris“
sis‘;-' *-:~»~ '
r
. ->44 — -"“
.~/',"‘-17.
r§'»~/Y//‘>
~>’?4“"
'1'”
":1~'§,l.i1
is “E?/:2
v_ .» -~., 4
: <c,“,.f>““,1;.,'?j .~
,___‘ r.~»<; /..~.\.»~~ The Soul and Natural Law 53
52 Modernity Triumphant ‘
~.;
"~"-Mat
2%
1 §
Revolution put it. In contrast, the idea of natural law, as conceivedf intellectual level, by the secularization of Christian thought and
by Locke and Pufendorf, founds the duality of civil society and State,-j '1;;1 ”‘j;I§-§_b_'jrifthe transformation of the divine Subject in to a human subject. As
2:1-W 2
the rights of man and political power, and those rights give rise tof =¥=3"3‘=_~itI1?"re'sult of Cartesian du1li$111, the idea of natural law, and then the
.~. ~
both bourgeois thought and the workers’ movement, or in other}. :f§5fib'ought of Kant, the human subject becomes less and less absorbed
, - .;;;:§§,.jE.;i-i -_:the contemplation of an increasingly hidden being, and becomes an
words to modes of thought and action which are assumed to representlii
social actors. I-A { :f;_;;._;g¢go'r, a worker and a moral conscience.
We have, then, two conflicting currents of though‘t,\but they cani . 1 - ./ /» Havrnv i-<-- .~~.._. .\ i ; §5i
I‘ ‘W ~23 6-.~~~
I--.fj-55'-5"The period ends with a great text: the Declaration of the Rights of
converge. For one, which stems from Machiavelli, the important thiri'gj..._.,, and the Citizen, which was adopted by the Assemblée Nationale
.. .3)"

is to free the State from the dominance of the Church, and to breathéii s jjj;1",_ijia'26 August 1789. Its influence was much greater than that of the
new life in to the model of Republican Rome bequeathed by Livyif 2.5- ii. ..' ’-' i " . § l ” : ; : ’ i _ _[ _ , - \ : l _ 1’ 1 _"l _ €' i I '1CE‘.I1 declarations, and its meaning is very different to the English
t
This triumph of Reason of State has both positive and negative effects",-_§ §§§.._' ] 3i11.¥of Rights of 1689. This is a great text, not simply becausg it
It leads, on the one hand, from the theocracy of Geneva to the idea, as
/“‘
$§.€3.‘§$-,>
<~xr3_Q§,
-Z.-iiproclaims principles which contradict those of the absolute monarchy
.j.Z_f»§5"-~‘= 15>
of popular sovereignty, to the modern conviction, which has very" are, in that sense, revolutionary, but because it marks rho
,j
deep roots in France, where anticlericalism has played a major role,’. 'I;;E;eulmmation of two hundred years of debate and because it gives
. 9 ’ i1-r I.i;wI.~I<5~<.=j,
jfexpression to the idea of the rights of man, which contradicts the
that the rationalism of the State is the precondition for the freedoriif. =::Z._
of citizens, and that individuals will flourish only if they take part in Iiiiitlifif‘ i3 '§E;:§-ifeyolutionary idea. The French Declaration of Rights was promul-
public life. On the other hand, it can — and always does — lead to the. . '3
.-kg ,6:
...-_,..1_ga;ted just as a period dominated by English thought was giving way
absolute authority of a State, be it authoritarian or popular, based: -'>5~\ :,,.j=;;?o"-v‘;pa"period of revolutions which was to be dominated by the Frengh
upon a contract, a general will or the revolutionary uprising of aj. -. rx. ~»;‘...:.:, ‘- ‘"1131’:-piohtical model and by German thought. It is the last text publicly to
people. I _ 2 i proclaim vthe twofold nature of modernity and to define it as a
The political philosophy of the public contract can be contrasted combination of rationalization and subjectivation. The long century
with that of the private contract or trust, to use the term Locke" _3-.:."“\’ ‘ :9’ that followed was dominated by the triumph of llistoricisrn and its
5.3,‘ 5
borrows from private law. Whereas the first current of thought,~_l rnonism.
which derives from nominalism, believes only in positive law, the we »:
>14 I
The text has been so closely identified with the principles of
second gives natural law the meaning conferred upon it by the
1
:31 Ii democracy and the overthrow of the Ancien Regime in France and
Declarations of Rights, a meaning which was already present in the .,,-
_...
many other countries, that we assume, when we read it with the
writings of the English Levellers of the seventeenth century. The first respect it deserves, that it has a unity which makes it difficult to
current is remembered mainly for the revolutions it inspired, whilst understand. Similarly, Cletnenceau’s insistence in 1889 on defending
the second might be termed ‘bourgeois’, but it has to be said that F 1,B h -
p crggge - as a whole made it. difficult,
of the Revolution . . not
if
whereas the former has given rise to terror and totalitarian regimes, IIQBQSSI Q, ‘E0 analyse the ten-year period that began with the
every social movement has been inspired by the second. This dualityli
Mi -- .= propclamation of national sovereignty and ended with a military coup
zzzidiiéfiélt. It is, on the other hand, clear that two conflicting themes 11111
means that it is impossible to establish too close a connection between. ,1Ij"‘i5§* 1;;
the foundation of the State and modern individualism. Whilst that. '1".//> through the Declaration: individual rights and the general will, which
. . i,
association does correspond to the thinking of those Régis Debray. :1--1‘?/..‘,il $15114} ly associated with Locke and Rousseau respectively. The two
calls ‘republicans’ (Debray 1989), it is rejected by democrats, whom]2' '- es ".&i¢e}'s
pp“: 0 intertwined that the central issue ' - that of the unity
is - and
Debray himself defines in terms that signal his own fidelity to the . tgi
-so‘. -coherence of the Declaration. This historic text is evoked here because
republican idea. It should be obvious that the author is a ‘democrat’"._f_;
A
____ _ __s more to do with individualistic than holistic thought, to adopt
D 7 ' . . _

. . .-,,,,,
E5111"-goat s il1ic€otomy,_and because it is marked by the influence
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen _ ii‘-:f:'1§’ll _E_;Thé:ba1a1g is fan t e Angericans rather than that of French patriots,
= - Ce 0 power an influence was soon to be inverted and to
Despite the increasing strength of naturalism and empiricism, which - ~-~<ai e triumph of a revolution that was increasingly alien and
prefigure the scientism and positivism of the nineteenth century,
liostile t 0 the individualism
' ' ' ' '
of the rights - in
of man It is - that goose
- :=i.~ss
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are still strongly influenced, at H _,:I-fjth-at-eh‘
_._,_ _ IS 1‘) eclaration
i marks the end of the pre—revolutionary
‘ . _
period,

ii .
..<$
’ ' —' 1711111

r X’ Va.
aft‘ '<:a<.- »
gs :s%~(.\¢,:1
, at,» ,2». /<,»(
., .4.
Li.. xi. .
The Soul and Natural Law 55
54 Modernity Triumphant 7 F.

' .
whereas the Declaration of 1793 is fully implicated in a revolutionaryiijggit.,,..;.~-~~~ vf 1fec0I1Cll€S individual interest with the common good. The
logic. That the theme of individual rights is preeminent is -;’lf_<5_i1.-£n}ula was almost a truism at the end of a century in which social
demonstrated by the preamble, which elevates ‘the inalienable gvfw 13.3 . ;"1=~:'
-/ ,
""";}{0i;1ght merged with or was dominated by the philosophy of right.
sacred rights of man’ above a political system whose ‘acts’ can at any; tug; . law is seen as the expression of the general will and the instrument
- >j=‘=* . , _ __ §5£,I='equality, but it also has the task of indirectly defending individual
moment be compared with the goals of all political institutions, and
which can therefore be evaluated with reference to social integration,’ by defining ‘limits’ which make the freedom of all compat-
the common good or what we would now call the national interesitii . §§{b_le-=with respect for the rights of others. This is an outline theory of
Article II lists the principal rights: freedomg’ property, safety and%51%;i,E,
,.\ =-\g;,r
;;:;;;:;_§-;d"¢§i _ r' _ ' 1 "c>' c racy (the word itself is never used). This regime combines the
resistance to oppression. The right to own property is specified byiii %l
of interests with the unity of society, freedom and citizen-
article XVII, with which the Assemblée Nationale ended its work-_‘Iii ._.i__*-I§hip,}- by appealing to a law whose only principles are those of
W I‘ _. . ’.§§I_ii;_:1h¢'diation and reconciliation. The law is, in general terms, limited and
Article IV is part of the same individualistic logic. Man, however,
""1:Ij"§5-§f;";,='gile, but it is still indispensable. This conception of law is less
contrasted with the figure of the citizen constructed by the very first’
--;z5:¥=-3_§;jnbitious and above all less authoritarian than that of the legists who
article, which asserts that ‘Social distinctions can only be based Q
/.. . i:51“;i:§’01is'tructed the legal State, usually within the framework of an
social utility’, and especially by articles II and VI, which expound thi-§"?§5i@1i11:?:l
ideas of the nation and the general will. As Hegel observes in his:-;= i.i:;_'§ab_'solute monarchy, and who turned the law in to an instrument
£1“ 5 =_. ..;;;jj'§iivhich subordinated the individual to a common good redefined in
Philosophy of Right (Hegel 1821: 156), these conceptions arel
5;5; 1,21;i;.I§.§,; j’_§I3§t§;this of collective utility. Here, in contrast, the law is elevated above
contradictory: r,~< ,
~.~;as=._:i‘§:_“=;=."-ii’"_th’e’=:' natural rights of man; it is therefore responsible for reconciling
If the state is confused with civil society, and if its specific end is laid . ==- -. -1,- itlieirvvinterests of the individual with those of society. This is no
down as the security and protection or property and personal freedom, ‘-14*‘
G-,> it Rousseauistutopia, as the individual may be egotistical or dishonest,
then the interest of the individuals as such becomes the ultimate end of :7,“7= and as the word ‘society’ may mask the individual interest of
their association, and it follows that membership of the state is
governments, technocracy or bureaucrats.
something optional. But the state’s relation to the individual is quite -
different from this. Since the state is mind objectified, it is only as one I ’ Most of the Declaration’s articles, from articles V and VI onwards,
L specify the conditions for the application of the law, and in particular
of its members that the individual himself has objectivity, genuine
individuality, and an ethical life. Unification pure and simple is the true awfa‘ ;:~. 1 the workings of justice. The primacy of the rights of man is therefore
content and aim of the individual, and the individual’s destiny is the restated, particularly in article XI, which introduces the principle of
living of a universal life. haheas corpus, and in article X, with its strange formulation ‘No one
shall be persecuted because of his opinions, even his religious opin-
The opposition between the two conceptions is not one between, Va". ,.
ions’, which gives secularism a form which is far removed from the
traditional holism and modern individualism; it is one between theil
3<~. antireligious spirit of the rationalists of the nineteenth century. Here,
two faces of modernity. On the one hand, the absolutism of _
3 secularism takes the form of respect for basic freedoms, and therefore
divine law is replaced by the principle of social utility: man must VA,
2*‘ . the cultural and political diversity in which the rights of man are
regarded as a citizen,’ and he is all the more virtuous if he sacrifices?‘1% 'i .¢--- -
=t--: §._‘.'_'e'mbodied. The Declaration in fact concludes, not with article XVII
his selfish interests to the salvation and victory of the nation. On the?‘ ’a" 2 .;_ __.’ deals with property and which has already been cited, but with
W;--, ..
other hand, individuals and social categories defend their interests and}
_';article XVI. It is dedicated to Montesquieu and the very terms in
,3”
values against a government whose call for unity hinders their.---f““*f'"'
it is formulated M ‘Any society in which rights are not
individual initiatives, and therefore limits its own representativity. - ./I-;:.\;.
igilaranteed and in which the separation of powers is not determined,
This contradiction cannot be overcome by a better understanding,-5;
-has no constitution’ — makes it absolutely clear that individual rights
of the nation — which means not the State, but the people ands’'-eat‘ rT;:.I.
_._a_nd freedom take precedence over political integration and order.
therefore the general will — as that reference is part of one of the two‘ ::§:'-jj
=:';'__’:'__The revolutions that did away with the absolute monarchy in
conceptions the Declaration is trying to reconcile, and the experience'_,"E§.gfi,__,I
glingland, in the former English colonies that became the United States
of history makes it quite impossible to identify the common
America,_ and in France were therefore defined by an overlap
and the rights of man with the unanimism of a crowd. The Declaration"'T'%$??f?"':5 ._=-
EI =_between Enlightenment thought and Cartesian and Christian dualism.
of 1789 provides a different and more elaborate answer. It is the lawi-"
Are‘ 5- I
I
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I:-,4§; .
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56 Modernity Triumphant
-ta ..
p
,t The Soul and Natural Law 57
x
7.7
I
I _r§v§’»54/
Bourgeois individualism, which long outlived this period, Y5 -.
modernity with rationalization with a vision which has a
., . .
the consciousness of the personal Subject with the triumph different meaning and very different implications. Modernity,
,, 4-4,/..,_\~. -Vii!‘ = 1
instrumental reason, ethical thinking with scientific empiricism, 1- =\3s.l§:‘i*§a\\‘>.§"T’$>‘5§‘ is the ever-increasing divorce between the world of nature,
~ ~.<~;@:a.-,2a=
the creation of economic science, notably by Adam Smith. e
2%“ 4
A/.. .,,<.\,:-;;,. t»..- is governed by the laws discovered and used by rational
The history of the next two centuries was to be that of tl1;éi5?zY*t .=~ /” ,4-.»¢.<:»t--s~. and the‘ world of the Subject. In the latter, there are no
increasing divorce between two principle"s that are very closel'j:i§_ ?».:/<;\’:~\.,~:51' principles to define the good, which is replaced by the
associated in Locl<e’s thought: the defence of the rights of man every human being to freedom and responsibility. The
instrumental rationality. As the latter constructs a world of bequeathed to the world by the French Revolution —
and powers, the appeal to human rights will become increasingljjg_,_ equality and fraternity — stem neither from the idea of
:
dissociated, firstly in the workers’ movement and then in other I;-;3§;£1l'arization nor from an empiricism which is naturally more
.:
ITIOVBHWIIKS, {F0111 IFUSI in infitfumental reason‘ Swept dong to inequalities of all kinds, but from the founding theme of
progress, humanity begins to wonder if it might not be losing its §i§E§§,’§,,tural law.
or might not have sold it to the devil in exchange for its dominatio1,i_f"§’;§€T:” attempting to replace the image of the Enlightenment dispel-
over nature. This was not yet the case in the eighteenth the fog of the past, first in the heights of society and then over a
because the struggle against the traditions and privileges of the Ancieniifi’ :_'_l_j-irftgacler area, with that of two conflicting trends in thought and social
Regime was still the dominant concern until the upheavals of ---pig-anization. We can call one capitalism, and the other the hourgeois
French Revolution, the Napoleonic Empire and the industrial Il
%.jg a.,/<-.a<s
._..g_piri_t. On the one hand, man is freed from all social bonds and,
lution that began in Great Britain resulted in the romantic A .;= _-_:l’§ec'ause he may be one of the elect, adopts a strict self-discipline, but
which made it impossible to assert that inner experience and imposes a repressive order on those who do not live in justice or
mental reason were one and the same. That is why the Declaration V:
‘iben‘eath the gaze of God. He therefore constructs a society which is
Rights is both bourgeois and influenced by the theory of natural fair," elitist, strict and efficient, and which transforms faith in to
its individualism is both an assertion of a triumphal capitalism and practical activities. On the other, we have the discovery of self-
an ethical consciousness’s resistance to the power of the Prince. Thegl; consciousness which is concerned with what Montaigne called ‘that
Declaration of Rights is the supreme creation of modern politicaléi mistress form’, or in other words the individual personality, and
philosophy and it already displays the contradictions that will tear?“ therefore a love which escapes the domain of the philosophy of law.
apart industrial society. é. It is quite possible to combine the two images. There is so little
ma ,-
.,~;7 . distance between them that they often merge, especially in the
The End of Pre-revolutionary Modernity , seventeenth century, but also on the eve of industrialization. And yet
they look in opposite directions. One constructs a society based upon
-' -‘ ~Z‘;»,{,, -E
'4'.‘
at -=:1
The triumph of freedom in France and, a few years earlier, in ,4 production, labour, savings and sacrifices; the other seeks happiness
United States of America when they freed themselves from _a{1.d.stresses the importance of private life. Public and private life
dependence, put an ,end to the three-hundred—year period to be divorced, and will move further and further away from
historians call the ‘modern period’. I have attempted to remind ~ ----"one" another. The same duality can, as I have shown, be seen in ]ean-
reader that this is not simply a period of secularization, rationalizationiffli. »n fljacques Rousseau, who founds a society in which the general will is
1%
and capitalism. In contrasting this critical and rationalist almost necessarily transformed in to an integrative and intolerant
of modernity, which is identified with the disenchantment ;(i‘r’§lll€CIIV€ consciousness, but who also displays a sensitivity which is
world that had for so long been populated by gods and "-._<:.l__o'ser to that of Montaigne than that of the Genevans of Calvin’s
with the complementary but contrasting image of the birth of _ _ "day.
Subject, of the progress of Subjectivation, I am attempting to ii -’._'I’he above comments also apply to Catholic countries. On the one
away from an evolutionism which is popular precisely because it is soil:-313%'11:‘A E j__::_£:...__.__;-hand, they resist secularization by giving very enormous power to a
simplistic. I am attempting to show that modernity is not armed with the sacraments and by recognizing the divine
~.-ire"-1:1" ' 3.. .
transition from the sacred to the profane’ ‘or from religion
_ to science',.1:’_ p;,::_____:--:;§;,;;_:§;:-fiiigof ht absolute monarchs. On the other, they preserve the separation
and above all to replace the modernist ideology which completelyi;--';??@§i3@i. ....,,‘
"-' " §.of='the spiritual and the temporal in the form of ultramontanism and
' l -.'.=I§'I:_";.j
,8: .
. ,“ ti?
J;
-.II_:,)'i*-.
' .
-_ i i‘:-15;:-' -
,»-
., -r
,. /<<az:::;. "
. _~:;::s. 12:»_ N .
,1 =
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_ go.
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< /;~.= 4>.'~$f i »i7»t ‘
-
.@:’%2“#*?‘
58 Modernity Triumphant ,_if The Soul and Natural Law 59

the new piety born of the catholic Reformation. Rather than century to the almost complete eclipse of the idea Of I116
ing Catholics who are attached to the past with Protestants who A3 confidence in a conquering and liberating reason fades,
to the future, it would therefore be more accurate to contrast of the Subject then undergoes a renaissance.
creation of a personal Subject with the use of religious values renaissance was obvious in the strange way the French
reinforce social order, as both tendencies are visible within grated the bicentenary of the Revolution. The longstanding and
camps within a divided Christianity. Right down to the present /
'§¥-@"‘ff€_;}§i}ing idea that the Revolution represented the victory of science,
the reference to religion has been used to reinforce the established}?"’*""""“**‘ rgggbn and of individuals who understood the laws of I—Iisto1'Y was
order just as often as it has been used to encourage rebellions . ""'-4-é¢t¢d And as the idea of a united Europe precluded too boisterous
that order. W .
ii'3Ei;1ebration
a; '. . _ of
. a nation struggling .against princes and an antirevolu-
The history of religious life, especially in what we call the :;2z:2:I:§:i-o.fi;ry coalition of European armies, the French remembered only
Christian world, is primarily the history of the increasing iE=-I"=={1¥,=';§-.-Declaration of the Rights of Man, and thus celebrated the least
between a rationalism which stems from Plato and Aristotl an ma. \,a,,’\ '"::jj:.f=é§}@1utionary act. They celebrated the one act that has least to do
which is then transformed by the theologians, and the mysticism historicist thought, and which most closely relates the transfor-
the Subject, of a personal Self which finds itself by becoming lost ‘---.i""Ifi1-ation of French society to that of English society and to the birth
the love of God. The divorce is now complete. Hence the ‘F - American society. This choice is symbolized by Francois Furet’s
between societies — from the United States to some Islamic SOCietieS:.§_l§éf§ i~es:=---::-":.z=-:;--;f§,j;;tQry (Furet 1978) over the descendants of Albert Mathiez (1925—7).
which claim to be based on religious principles, and social , _.;.f_',.3_§=_'We are, then, witnessing a resurrection of the pre—revolut1onary
which appeal to personal and collective freedom, or which __-._;j;,_éiiiod and pre-revolutionary thought at the very time when the
struggling against power in the name of faith. We now feel that wel.I§§ V../
T .3-word democracy tends to replace the word ‘revolutionary’ 11'1 our
have very little in common with the thought of the seventeenth discourse because we now have mixed feelings about all philosophies
eighteenth centuries, which was still attempting to reconcile the of progress. We rarely reject them, but we often find the Enlighten-
of reason and divine revelation. As we have seen, the two Wereiiii ment as dazzling as it is illuminating. Above all, we are afraid of
reconciled thanks to the idea of society, which was understood becoming purely social human beings who are completely dependent
mean a trade in commodities and ideas and therefore an or g anic on a political power, as we know that power never coincides with the
1/
division of labour. Hence the central role played in classical intellec— general will, which is more mythical than real. The return of the
tual life by social thought and, more specifically, political philosophy. religious is, of course, often an antimodernist development; it is a
Its centrality implies that the increasing divorce between these two reaction against secularization and an attempt to reconstruct a1corn-
currents of thought, between the religious life and social organization, /~2;‘: 4.
munity by combining spiritual and temporal power, but it is a_so an
means that we will have to relinquish all images of the ideal society. attempt to reintroduce a non—social force in to social life, to reintro-
In his great book Sources of the Self Charles Taylor (1989) duce an ethics of conviction in to a world dominated by theethics of
identifies modernity with the formation of the Self, with the affirma-Is’ . responsibility, to adopt Weber’s terminology. As at the beginning of
tion of the inner man, and his vision almost marginalizes what ii-the modern era, we are now witnessing a convergence between three
calls (Taylor 1989: 321~54) the ‘radical enlightenment’, 2 great forces: rationalization, an appeal to human rights, and religious
primarily the work of those the French describe as the p/ailosophes xscornmunitarianism. And who would be as bold as to claim to be
the eighteenth century: Diderot, Helvétius, d’I-Iolbach and =.-'_'C€I‘1Z8.lI1 that only the first defends modernity, that the second means
Condorcet. In Taylor’s view, extreme materialism had less influence--"t F.r . “Yno more than respect for the consumer and that the third is completely
\? .

than the transformation of moral feelings and the image of man. I""."5‘ i “reactionary?
leg
li I
.

agree with him as to the central importance of the theme of the'Ij'§"i,I-a, j" The inescapable conclusion is that the two poles of modernity —
Subject, but it declines in the eighteenth century to the extent that : rationalization and subjectivation — are becoming divorced, whereas
is still bound up with a Christian vision that loses ground whilst _our former world, which was dominated by a combination of
secularization Spreads, Whilst bourgeois individualism is and will be" i philosophy and Christian theology, habitually thought in terms that
increasingly subordinate to capitalist rigour. This paves the way for"; : were at once magical and rationalist, Christian and Aristotelian. This
the triumph of historicism and even scientism, which will lead in the "3 ...: E - divorce will eventually affect every domain. The idea that human
iii,1. . .
,%

iK I
-.
.X
ii
73 »:- :::ii>"*'
/5 " -5§"‘:Z*‘/‘“"
1, _A.c<¢/.\
, ;~
.;;:?§’;'~*‘ |

60 Modernity Triumphant 2 "

-.. ..~:y//4»,. ‘. V
behaviour can and must be completely confined by rationality and its
universalism is being challenged both by those who explore the:-Q
personality, by nationalisms and, more recently, by analysts of masspg,IlI§§f=ei’<i ii. a 3
(1;
consumption and mass communications.‘
The greatest thinkers of the seventeenth century tried to p1‘eV€nt=;:§
this fragmentation by transforming religiously—inspired thought and-1 The Meaning of History
the idea of the soul in to the idea of a free subject, but this does not
mean that they were content with an individualist empiricism, or withf‘->- ‘
- |i
a utilitarianism which would make social organization intelligible; 5I5%
Descartes, Grotius and Locke tried to overcome the great brealgi-ii=::,, \°?§’7,‘§T; i
.1
between Luther and Erasmus, between the Reformation and t1it'-;-
Renaissance, that occurred at the beginning of the sixteenth century-.
The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries did not, however, have to]1 ..e<>’>£~‘ ,,_,=g. - -
choose between two orientations that were in open conflict, because - 5; His toricism
their common hostility to both the trends they had inherited e/e _
weighed the battle they were fighting within modernity itself. ‘if 'I'.I3:7I'he primary effect of accelerated economic modernization was to
Wll “

This is why the long modern period ends with the French Revolujégwg. >-;~@.:-.=-.~.-._...;.".'
._ _,_; § , 1;., . E_lI§1"lSfO1'm the principles of rational thought in to general social and
-.;,..
tion and with the industrialization of Great Britain. The new indus.¢§_ apolitical objectives. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
trial societies acquired such a capacity for transforming themselves‘ political leaders and social thinkers discussed order peace and
I ,
1; I

that they whole-heartedly adopted the haughtiest and most masterful *§fr‘eedom in social terms; throughout the long nineteenth century 5 .|-
i

conception of their modernity. There was no longer such a thing ~_ which lasted well in to the twentieth, they transformed a natural law
human nature, and man no longer had natural rights: he was no more H1 to _a collective will. The idea of progress is the clearest expression
iléii‘
than what he did, and his rights were social rights’:,_WRe_a§Qii__1&{asiio;
': "--ff}; '5}.,~
.=.;:_;<, t \
of this politicization of the philosophy of the Enlightenment. The ,,.\
‘vil

logger thought or the discovery of an.order;...it.,,..bcQ?!»l}1§..?..l9§§§ that advance of reason no longer merely requires the removal of the ‘Ii 1 §'\
V4: I
v I
I
gmouldmtransform history, and the idea of soci_e_ty,__,1i\gl_1,i_c;li_ii,had been ’
obstacles in its path; modernity is something to be loved and willed i.

now became'“'organic.‘As"ajresulti, the divorce between The goal is to organize a self~motivating society which can create ||

subject and society disappeared. Man became a truly social and ,_ ,1 , . modernity. The social thought of the period is, however, still domi~
historical being. The triumph of the modernist ideology was sof - ....=~/at hated by the identification of social actors with natural forces. This
complete and so violent that it was a century before it was challenged 1S true of both capitalist thought, which adopts as its hero the
and before the gap between rationalization and the personal .--- : *?'E‘E::::-3'
;_;,/W; ...:j:j:1_‘‘--.I.“ .;.,
" -. clilitrepreneur who is motivated by the quest for profit, and socialist
could reappear. t A . - ._ 3,5§;...;;.;;;;;.._ ._ . -. ought, for which the workers’ movement is an expression of
’;E.:pro.ductive forces that are trying to escape the contradictions in
- '- -we-;;:~:‘-;;. '
f_§5_i'l11_Cl1 they areimprisoned by capitalist relations of production.
" ~<,~2<'"'1:'i-:1 -= BeciaSo l andd politicag liberation
' ' represents a return to nature or to
E . m . . _ _
_ gr an scienti c reason Wlll reunite man with the universe.
:-. 3?" .- '
_- : 32-aI;II..__ __ -_=.; ; 'I.§i.Onflc?1’91% (1795)_ was confident that the progress of the human spirit
-' .-"555:-31-.1 -' Zniure universal happiness; in_ the nineteenth century, it was
' I" =.i‘:;}f:\ :_ ' --:'I
.,=;;-2:1 -:;. :- -
lflvfi t at political and social mobilization, and the will to happi-
KW
=:n'I _fi_$S
- Were the motors behind- ~
industrial
.
. _
progress. Labour, organiz-
Iatio - -
-- ~~-ti; 1,'§=II-:Ij_-;. :_- ._ n and investment would create a techiiologically—based society
_
.,;. - .-
-_ -=.I
Q-g11at_would generate affluence and freedom. Modernity had been an
' 1 3'3: 3-' 155- __:b_;E&, it VKLRS now primarily a will, but that did not destroy the link
' 211%“ -..__;=:I'
: __. ween uman action and the laws of nature and history. There is,
. ,.__ ..
.- ."§’%

:\?mm§?§Q*E~'l\t
. . ;ja::;;.:;;'_:; ;: Q

"
|I'T: .
4,

/
,,.;
:_ I4‘ / .
.¢ 7" ,.':./:.

62 Modernity Triumphant i The Meaning of History (,3


;. -. /4“.
5 - F1.»-.--i -I 2.

then, a basic continuity between the century of the 31*=1;_.f=5finstitution, which had been so central for the previous period. This
and the era of progress. the idea of progress insistently identifies economic growth
For less subtle thinkers, this meant quite, simply the victory . M, , '._.,:'-garb national development. As we can see from both the predomi-
positive thought, and therefore the dissolution of subjectivity in try}; German concept of a national economy and the French idea of
the rationality of scientific objectivity. Until the beginning of I.33§:t'_1_li'¢a-__nation, which is associated in republican and secular thinking
twentieth century, scientism enjoyed great success in intellectual M reason’s triumph over tradition, progress implies that social and
The break with the scientistic belief that once the facts had beeifilf ¥=5533§-'ji§e-n'nomic modernity takes the concrete fonri of the formation of the
clearly established, the laws of historical evolution would be revealediii ';;:,:,","§;¢_;5qn. This same theme was taken up by the educational ideology of
came with the development of the social sciences and especially --; =-1'__~';_1_*;'»;é-_._='lThird Republic, and it was only in the second half of the twentieth
work of Weber in Germany and Durkheim in France. These ..-.::;§§I§§§§3i ';~'_¢;':ritury that it began to fade. Modernity is therefore not divorced
.,/~
debates, which were continued by Simiand and then by Marc Bloelifi .._.._..:;;§-fiitilil modernization, as was the case with the earlier philosophy of
and Lucien Febvre, had more far—reaching effects in Germany than i;i't1§e':§_Enlightenment, but it does tal-re on greater importance in a
France. ' "';;j‘:¢-entury when progress no longer means intellectual progress alone. It
Historicist thought is of much greater interest. Whether or .;"_i,1'.j'(_53V.-mea.iis. the development of forms of production and labour at a
t
takes an idealist form, it identifies modernization with the =.-nine when industrialization, urbanization and the extension of public
ment of the human spirit, and the triumph of reason with that --:..§€{i¢_lministration are having a drastic effect on the lives of most people.
freedom, the formation of the nation or the final triumph of sociaii ..."..-==::IHis't0ric1sm asserts that the internal workings of a society can be
justice. For some, the correspondence between economic activity in terms of the developments that are taking it in the
/'9
social organization provides an infrastructure which determines Sdvivrection of modernity. In the last analysis, any social problem is a
manifestation of political and cultural life.i Whilst this idea ‘iisttuggle between the past and the future. The sense [sens] of history
introduce an economic determinism, greater importance should refers to both the direction in which it is moving and its signification,
l:;"‘
| I accorded to the assertion that all forms of collective life are History wiil lead to the triumph of modernity, and modernity means
tations of a society’s ability and will to produce and transform complexity, efficacy, differentiation and therefore rationalization.
Social thought has distanced itself from historicisin with History is also the emergence of a consciousness that is synonymous J

violence, especially in recent decades, that we have almost forgottenlf§§15;;f‘ij'¥ with reason and will, and that consciousness will replace submission
what it once represented, but it would be foolish to consign it to to the established order and to the heritage of the past.
‘dustbin of history’ without further ado. Earlier modes of 355/ .;
The historicist vision has often been criticized for being inhuman.
had investigated the nature of politics, religion, the family It has been accused of justifying the increasingly absolute power of
especially law, and therefore the causal relations that existed the leadersof economy and society over individuals, particular groups
these different orders of reality. Did ideas determine politics, or andminorities. It would, however, be a mistake to reduce it to the
politics determined by the economy? What are the causes that 2t1bordmationIof individual life and thought to impersonal economic
about the victory of‘a nation, or the decline and fall of the 3-_:-orces. Historicism, and all that it implied for better and for worse,
Empire? Historicism replaced these questions with an analysis T-§_\?»{'a's:_a voluntarism rather than a naturalism. In that sense, the idea of
defined phenomena in terms of their position on a traditionwmoderiiféfiij "":I§é3§-iiiirlhffifl, Which is identified with the idea that history has a meaning
ity axis. Marxist thought itself is not so much an economic --,. 1 .=
---1--;§§iid-:'direction, is ubiquitous in the nineteenth century — the century
ism as an expression of the view that society is a product of epic and lyrical narratives. It had been marginalized by the
practice of labour and of the contradictions between the rationafl: '.=-I-I_}}i1:_1lfiJ'sophies of the eighteenth century, which were suspicious of its
a 1_'9l_1g10us origins. The nineteenth century in fact sees the convergence
development of the productive forces and profit, and between
direction or meaning [sens] of historical evolution and the irrationalitj{j;%%:~ -vs "two intellectual currents — idealism and materialism — and the
of private interests. And the image of communism it proposes is usappearance of the old dichotomies between reason and religion,
that of a rationalized society, but that of a society in which each =;.;;§,== 1,, _ _§il?.'.€_Yh1Cs
?.~ .. .
of responsibility and the ethics of conviction, and the world
receive in accordance with their needs. Historicist thought in all ....._.;$.§::3§1lBenomena
0,. _ _ . and
. the
, world . of noumena. . The most important thing .
forms is dominated by the concept of totality. It replaces the concept 12$, 3;;-:;._..,.-,;_;.. is that society s practices of production and culture are unified
$19

34
E .-. ‘ ‘
.-.=.:,;- :.=--‘
" I -“ \E‘i$i£5§i

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iirr >_/<, .~ .
:1» -.’ ‘
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64 Modernity Triumphant T/ae Meaning ofHistory 65


x
/.
within a nature which is fully committed to its own modernizationig;. 3 .. ‘.- ii"i,"'Nietzsche’s most famous expressions, we might even speak of an
The idea of modernity is triumphant and will not tolerate the existencd ,]¢;%,m0r fart or love of destiny.
of anything else. The moment when we began to think of ourselve's§:¥ ‘Z'£/1% -'I=}3,'-T,-".'_'.According to this view, social conflicts are primarily conflicts
.. --
in purely historical terms is a central moment einxour history. jg“? /vs: "Q-Between the future and the past, but the victory of the future is
How did this fusion come about? How did the heritage of Vii ‘?’
{£3
-.ijénsured not only by the progress of reason, but also, and especially,
come to be combined with that of Rousseau, the liberalism of tliejj economic success and successful collective action. This idea lies at
defender of the rights of man with the idea of the general will? How ,-; -n.
§§§::f: ,'g1,.§; heart of all versions of the belief in modernization. The influential
‘_'~1I=I‘::-
was the eightecnth- and nineteenth-century divorce between these-if l 4'
Z-sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset has attempted to demonstrate that
currents replaced by a single intellectual system, by a belief in progresigéii .5
fifijonomic growth, political freedom and personal happiness increase
that had both the mobilizing power of a religion and the obviousnessj
i'.ii:iIiifi"'the same rate, and that this synchrony has to be termed progress.
of a scientific truth? The primary reason for the transformation wasirjij / Xv ‘:“3.:'§[-§I"<>w is progress to be brought about? Initially through the rational-
:==//ace
=.:.¢;“<r‘
the French Revolution, and not the industrial revolution. Whilst the-=== .g:{j.,:<.:-"* ':';iIi'z_ation of labour, which was to be the great slogan of industry from
it mg
latter did reinforce evolutionary and even positivist thought, it _:3-§'_.‘_Ij§;;,ylor and Ford to their enthusiastic disciple Lenin. Secondly, and
% . .

-1.:-5; ~=-a-. --
the French Revolution that introduced the idea of a historical actor .., .. .2 %.. ._
"‘-;3infoEst importantly, through the action of a political power which can
to both thought and history. It was the Revolution that introducecl=§-=-=-=~‘,%>2I*‘ 5. W...
~.~
52-:==-... 3-iflrobilize energy — a term borrowed from physics - so as to accelerate
the idea that individuals or social categories had a rendezvous witlfii , in./.A,..:~__:‘I.I='g,;.;".--I‘:-; - _ 553::-j-inodernization. Which means that local traditions and loyalties have
.<::/-2 -;

destiny or a historical necessity. And it did so outside the religiouisi taw . .- --I;IIj";(if_'be subordinated to a high degree of national integration. The
..,,.:;_ . .. .
context of the judaic idea of a chosen people. The Revolution that ea‘ iii1."i_i'orrespondence between reason and will, the subordination of the
turned France upside down was not simply French, whereas the ’ "$2? = =.==- . ‘E..3
5'-;.--individual to society, and the subordination of society to the modern-
3.2; , pvsis-§i.==I§ . I.
Glorious Revolution of 1688 was and remains a specifically Englishé; 7iz'ation of production and the might of the State, make possible a
phenomenon. Those who took part in the French Revolution, 11%
collective mobilization. And the call for rationalization, which is
.=
who had heads cut off and those whose heads were cut off, those always elitist, is powerless to resist it.
experienced the revolutionary jonrnées as the soldiers of Year II, ndi ‘~47’: . Ll
1.
to mention the Bonaparte who was transformed in to Napoleon, were??? :1 Revolution "| I
all epic figures whose historic significance goes far beyond their r<

individual personalities. In a very short and compressed space of time, This is why historicist thought is closely associated with the revol- '|
they all lived through the clash between a millenary past and a future ' /.zsJ.,:* ° utionary idea. The idea is present from the very beginnings of
,3”
which could be measured in centuries. In such a situation, how could;,.;;,;ra .4“
_ ....,,4/ modernist thought, but after the French Revolution it acquires a
the divorce between natural objectivity and human subjectivity be *» central role which it will lose only with the departure of many Central
sustained? t. andiEastern European countries from the Communist system in 1989.
The idea of progress has a central or intermediary place between / revolutionary idea combines three elements: the will to liberate
idea of rationalizatiomand that of development. The latter accordsgfg .._......__...:'t-lieforces of modernity, the struggle against an rincien régime that is
primacy to politics, the former to knowledge. The idea of progress? fa‘ A r ---;.;I'a'i_i;3_'i:obstacle to modernization and the triumph of reason, and the
asserts that development policies and the triumph of reason are ,%,;,;;ig;_1--;=;;;;;-zfaisertion of a national will identified with modernization. All revolu-
and the same It foreshadows the application of science to I .~
are modernizing, liberating national. Historicist thought is
and therefore identifies a political will with a historic necessity. To} § ?§i.<§$1l‘ fife-aker when, as in the very centre of the capitalist system, the
f§§?§_>_° .
-A
. .-wig I?’
alli‘.-.i=--‘-Ir...-e_e'o'nomy
believe iii progress means loving the future, which is both unavoidable ’-%;,:§: rs"_ cc.-.
&~‘I=‘-=1‘-‘:.i' . seems to govern history and when it is possible to dream of
and radiant. The Second International, whose ideas spread to .ihe'_'3withering away of the State. Conversely, it grows stronger when
countries in Western Europe, expressed the same view when'.i"t" gs-'_1_1'e_i't1on identifies its renaissance or independence with moderniza-
asserted that socialism would emerge from capitalism once capitalisli"-l as Was the case in Germany and Italy, and then in a great
. 53.1;
had exhausted its ablity to create new productive forces and wheniti I>.‘.~ of countries in Europe and other continents. The universalism
Called for Collective action on the part of the workers and intervention‘ Enlightenment concerned only an elite, and sometimes only
on the part of their elected representatives. To borrow r» a ~-it-'-=::::': immediate entourage of enlightened despots; the idea of revolu-
.,,
_. igiq

' . 'i':,>,-§:-:l:'§;i::-
it/:4/5 ‘---s
an II = "-T//\'~.Z--N, .
“*
Iii

66 Modemiry Triumphant The Meaning ofHist0ry 67

tion rouses nations, or at least a vast middle class. France bec liation of the elements of a Whole which is not merely the
beacon for these international revolutionary movements, even ti its parts, but the goal towards which each individual element
it Was Germany which saw the broadest development of a revol ng.
ary political movement, and even though the revolution which" 1 when it takes an attenuated form, the revolutionary idea is a
exert the greatest influence on the twentieth century occur; nore powerful mobilizing force than that of natural selection,
Russia. The explanation is that in France the ‘Great Revolutic reduces history to a struggle won by the fittest, or in other
to an exceptionally close association between the destruction the strongest. How could the majority be inspired by an
Ancien Regime and the victorious nation’s triumph over a co; y which celebrates the victory of minorities? Historicism and
of Princes and internal enemies. This political vision was so poi ztical expression, namely revolutionary action, mobilize the
that its effects are still felt today, even though the political, soci in the name of the nation and history, and against the
intellectual situation has changed completely. Intellectuals and zies who are blocking modernization in order to protect their
cians continue to celebrate a revolutionary nationalism. Withr ;s and privileges. Francois Furet has dernontrated (Furet 1988)
the strange alliance between communists and socialists Wl1iCl1 . 2 idea of the French Revolution and especially the thought of
with one interruption, from 1972 to 1984 would have been i iierre, who was its greatest actor, centred upon the assertion
ceivable. 2 revolutionary process was natural but must also be a matter
All these ideas, which are in fact sentiments rather than ideas, that the Revolution was as much the creation of virtue as of
together with a passion in the work of Michelet. From the Int: ty. That is why the body politic had to be as pure as a crystal
tion ti Phistoire unirverselle {Michelet 1831) to Le Peuple (Mi :ansed of all dross, of all the traitors who were plotting on
/..
1846) and the Histoire de la Revolution. fmngaise (Michelet 18 of tyrants. The Revolution is defined by the dominance of
1 ii:;" I
no theme is more central to Michelet than the history of F .l categories over all other categories and therefore by the
i 4 viewed as that of a person and nation willingly sacrificed for the of the political universe as it strives for purity, mobilizes its
L . . . .
1 -.~j, l-.
of justice. His passion for the Revolution stems from the fact nd unleashes its armies against internal enemies, and especially
' H |
was the creation of a people who saved freedom at Valm revolutionaries who have betrayed the spirit of the Revolution
1 .i.
1 t‘ V ]eirimapes and, more generally, from the fact that it created a the importance of the public meetings of the Clubs and of the
between reason and faith and thus ensured the victory of fr: is, of the jacobiri leaders. Their speeches do not supply a
over fatality, and the victory of justice over grace, as Michelet h
. . . .c
nrne,
1 but
. rather a defence
. of revolutionary
. purity,
. . of the
puts it. From 1843 onwards, Michelet became not simply anti dynamic of the Revolution, and a tireless denunciation of the
— this was the moment when he published his attack on the arm, who inevitably
' ' become traitors
' . Furet
_ (1988 : 397) _ sums
_
. . . . i . ‘
(Michelet 1843) e but antireligious He abandoned his work idea of Revolution thus The French idea of revolution 1S
Middle Ages, developed a passion for the Renaissance, and the ii erized by an extraordinary emphasis on the political and on
himself in to the study of the Revolution. Yet when he speaks V State’s ability to change society.’ A few pages earlier, he

modern world, he constantly speaks of faith and love, and I ut what this implies: ‘The Republic presupposes that people

rediscovery of a unity that lies beyond the the class struggl e .te are by their very nature inseparable.’
unity is the unity of France, of the patrie, and in Michelet’s vie as therefore extremely difficult to separate out social problems
best symbolized by the Fete de la Fédération of 14 _]uly 1790. | olitical problems . In that sense, the best and most critical
at . i . . . . ,
adds that the people could create justice and freedOm only by n . is Marx, who denounces the political illusion that was so
sacrifices and shedding its own blood, all the major then u l in France, especially during the Paris Commune. The
historicist thought are present in his work, which is as m :y aped the Commune of 1793, got drunk on revolutionary
philosophy of history as an exercise in historiography: belief c and dared to expel from their ranks a minority which included
evolution towards freedom, the identification of justice with a r ntatives of the International. In France, the dominance of
namely France, a quest for the unity of la patrie which tran: il forces over social forces did not disappear after 1848 and
social divisions, and the dream of a new religion which will at Q : could be found intact in the Common Programme of the Left
able to unite society. Modernity is the reign of love and justii . The nineteenth century was an epic century, even though we
iV if4/ ‘ 12:.-:e=:-»;.~ -
__ — ~;>+" Q“-T T
\~ 1
3/ ”
Va
; ; ,:e<
»,if(;<§

, 11,. -9, ~ »\z‘|/nl/‘V,


v was We
/O 2:
68 Modernity Triumphant jg, ;' The Meaning of History 69
i/j/<»*<.Q,
~ ,--».’+A=-;~.~*

have long been taught to see it mainly as the century which saw social actors and their conflicts do resist the evolution of the
birth of large—scale industrialization. Those who spoke of an age totality, it is immediately obvious that there is no solid basis
revolutions were right to see this political definition as carrying I :"3'~ jdgntification of economic growth, qr in other words induS_
weight than the idea of industrial society. That idea often with national, social and collective action, or of history
an economic determinism which obscures the mechanisms that the Subject.
. 5 755:‘//vi ‘:~.-
Historicist thought triumphed in the margins of
- :"iTee»'/»',~:i».=i‘=:-»_-4 i "
such a society, whereas the theme of revolution, even when applied't‘§:,§§f=. .¢»44a., .\_-,-. . .
.- ’ ..@Q'dernity. It had more difficulty in gaining acceptance in the
countries which did not experience the destruction of their politicial-iii
- 1»,//.:\= ..
igieartlands of a triumphant industrial capitalism or in countries where
institutions, does underline the great strength of a mobilization whiclii - national question was more important than the economic and
serves the cause of progress, accumulation and might. 1;. question, or even came in to conflict with it. That is why
The long nineteenth century was therefore no longer dominated .- <~/%'\a:==::=: . lfistoricism was primarily a German mode of thought which sub-
,,.\\,,.,,..,: _
the divorce between the world of techniques and the world E ,§é_qu'ently spread throughout continental Europe during the turmoil
consciousness, of objectivity and subjectivity; on the brought about by the beginnings of capitalism and the formation of
strove, with an effort without historical precedent, to make tliefi
-=1-' /I
movements. It had immense influence across a huge
-=.== . ..

individual a public being, not in the Athenian or Roman sense of thanks to Herder, Marx and then Lenin. Yet it had no effect on
word or by subordinating the individual to the polis, but by OV61’CO[l'_I%fi5§;j ; ;- _-;g Great Britain or the United States, and permeated French
ing the dichotomy between the spiritual and the temporal in the zzpfol-itical culture to only a limited degree. In nations that were part of
of the meaning of history, and therefore in the name of the historic" -'Austro—I"Iungarian, Turkish or Russian Empires, the struggle for
mission of every social actor. izijfllependence often took precedence over the desire for modernity.
This is a military rather than an industrial vision, and it mobilizesggi on the eve of the First World War, the Czech workers were
rather than organizes. Thanks to an apparent paradox, we have to decide if they were primarily workers or primarily Czechs,
|ll | look to economic life to see the presence of subjectivation. It they decided they were first of all Czechs, and national movements
.-li,
! i. 1 dominated rather than being truly suppressed. As we have alreadyjg were often dominated by the old ruling classes or by intermediary
seen, subjectivation was of such importance in the pre-revolutionary 1 categories whose relationship with modernity was ambiguous. At the
l


lvll

|
period that the rationalism of the Enlightenment never succeeded in opposite extreme, in ‘central’ countries, the appeal to the market, the
\
masking it. For it is not so much self—interest that resists the general concentration of capital and the rationalization of production meth-
mobilization of society, as labour. According to W/eber’s ods suppressed the idea of modern, or even industrial, society and led
labour was a calling. Many entrepreneurs acted in its name, and to a brutal divorce between public and private life, between moderni-
also became the central justification for the workers’ movement. zation and consciousness. Men’s dominance over women therefore
industrial society, such an appeal to the Subject is inseparable R5; took an extreme form. Men were identified with public life, whereas
conflicts over labour. In his own view, the entrepreneur women were confined to private life but made up for their lack of
labour and reason, as opposed to the routine and traditionalism ¥;iji:g7hits and power by exercising great authority over their families and
wage-earners, whereas militant workers denounce the irrationality / ihieieducation of their children. Squeezed between a ‘savage’ capitalism
outbreaks of nationalism, historicist thought and historicist
profit and the crises that destroy human labour, which is /\
productive and progressive force pm" excellence. ; :mo.vements always remained fragile. This was especially true in
“°‘Tl~. -.“¥?}“=§<5~.’;-5“.
The Subject could be shaped by the long-standing ""ijj1i:iiai*ice, which was subject to the rule of both the financial bourgeoisie
tradition only because the Ego was torn between sin and the grace control of a nationalist State. Society enjoyed only a limited
God; in industrial society it was strengthened by being transformedas .,»wd j€l.1jt_t_onomy, and social
3‘I::i":'-'. thought was more often a history of the nation
in to a social movement. At the same time, it risked destruction wh€'1i_,.{'% sociology of modernity, at least until the success of the
that movement became a new emblem of the State, progress ';12:1¥l_'l‘_il1€11Il1an school, which coincided with the limited emergence of
historical necessity, just as the individual risked absorption by pg if p-;1 §1_.';Solidarist politics.
grace. Once again, the Subject could assert its presence only by historicist integration of public and private life thus had an
it j’E<- ..
the risk that it might vanish by becoming either an almost ~- ..,...:._§H-_ect on cultural production too. It meant that this was the period of
force or a power whose legitimacy is based upon natural laws. 1- j"'E'__.§-_-novel — a genre defined by the correspondence between a

. _I , ,- : I-.-:=I
J,

l‘~’\'?-§3,f=‘.‘.‘
. / ; , ‘\(:v)’\
—.a ,
I /
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:1 '5’»,:§.. />.:a\ .
.,~.--=
av
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;~ M,~=~ Wépif.
wen,

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7O Modernity Triumphant The Meaning ofHistory 71


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an at

biography and a historical situation. Novels lose their power if the;-if . Although it was very influential in Great Britain and the United
,4 ,. t6.gt , ._
central character is no more than a symbol of a collecativehistory off:;:;:,;;,_'»,/- gig. . States, Tocqueville’s work was for a long time marginal to social
if, conversely, that character lives in a purely private space. ..~/‘:/ 1;Ti:.7 r
,1-€£_§::::_::1-;]_i]_()'l_1g:l'l I in France, presumably because it contradicted the integrated
\

tr»:
1-ghd monoiithic vision of modernity, and the martial image of wealth,
--.-:’;‘5¢¥
Modernity without Revolution: Tocqueville '".;fi-eedom and happiness advancing side by side which had been
tzgi ‘ilisseminated and popularized by the ideologies and politics of
To conclude this general description of the idea of progress, we ° modernity. Tocqueville completely rejected the revolutionary idea
at least sketch a portrait of someone who rebelled against this -it‘/%~1“=-‘.4.-...4 - . l liV:'.~‘§.Z:~
dominated French thought and asserted that a unitary and
progressive philosophy of history. I cannot think of a more interesting iroluntarist movement was leading modern society towards freedom
example than Tocqueville. He seems at first to share the idea that and equality. He fully supported the overthrow of the Ancien Régime,
history has a meaning or direction, that an unavoidable but he rejected the Revolution, and to that extent he had a great deal in
54$; ,-
necessity governs the transition from aristocracy to democracy, from3_="' ,::z?ti1 ti. Ticommon with many other thinkers of his day and, as we shall see, with
inequality and barriers between castes and classes to an equality 0f;';§§,' Auguste Comte. He accepted the decline of the notables and the
condition which means not so much the absence of differences as th-e'§.'=f‘ wea. .. . _
"intermediary bodies, and the gradual victory of equality, or in other
removal of obstacles to mobility. Tocqueville does not believe that words the lowering of social and cultural barriers. He supported the
America is different to Europe; he does believe that America providesii_~..>.¢a separation of Church and State, because he had seen its beneficial
a clear picture of the future towards which France and Europe are"‘_ effects in the United States, but his thought is steeped in the tradition
heading in an indirect and very contradictory way. Yet no sooner hasf, " "of natural law and Christian spiritualism. Tocqueville dreams retro-
.
he expressed this idea than, in the second volume of Democracy in 3&2-2&5.4-*1‘-;:=3i;‘i~'§-4. spectively of an English-style historical continuity which both mod-
av» ;, .
America (Tocqueville 1835»~40), he gives this evolution a different? ernizes and restricts the central power. He adopts Montesquieu’s
meaning. Increasing equality leads to the concentration of power} theories and transports them to a new world. He reduces the United
Tocqueville’s subsequent argument appealed mainly to aristocrats and; i States to a seventeenth- and eighteenth—century society which was far
all those who remained attached to social and cultural traditions, but removed from what it had become since Iackson, and even further
it was relevant to all: given that it had rooted out all particularisms, - Ye 4» removed from what it was at a time when the industrial North was I
traditions and customs, was not modern society becoming an atom- .. , . poised to destroy the plantation economy of the South. Current kI
1I
\. ‘:9 .,

ized crowd that gave free reign to absolute power and its excesses? French interest in Tocqueville is part of a broader trend. The political
~. V» 1
Tocqueville asks himself why America did not succumb to the 14¢“ -2. philosophy of the eighteenth century has great attractions for all those
tyranny of the majority or of a dictator. His initial answer was that ity; who want to escape from the ruins of historicism. Whilst Tocqueville i
has a federal government, that its provinces and districts are autono». is a post—revolutionary and a convinced believer in the triumph of j
.. 1
mous, and that the judiciary is independent, but these explanations?‘ equality, he is still looking for a force that can resist mass society and l

were not enough: these were manifestations of democracy rather than:-Q its most dangerous product: the concentration of power. He finds that
its cause. Tocquevillethen comes to the main issue: religion. In . -wa.j 573;: ti;
force in ‘manners’, and therefore in the influence that an ethical and
chapter IX of the second part of volume one, he asserts that religionif ';r~’:’f ~ - - -religious conception can have on economic and social organization, as
introduces the principle of equality between men and then, adopting a’ we can see from the titles of the four parts of volume 2, which deal
more complex argument, claims that by leaving Heaven to deal with- - W\ax;.s6‘=\*’p z.?:<>;s>;: ad“.“
5 "“r-W3‘ respectively with the influence of democracy, or in other words the
,5, -- . _-
i:t.:~.3;‘
the problem of ultimate ends, it limits conflict and, so to speak=,'I . 115‘ spirit of equality, on science and the arts, on opinions and sentiments,
..,-.;...;;; nee; -
secularizes politics. Tocqueville is not indulging in tautology when he‘?- _ L3,. on manners and on political society in the United States. The
states that manners and ideas determine equality, which then defines; intellectual quality of Tocqueville’s analyses does not mean that they
/ .
democracy. Not only is democracy a social phenomenon before i_'t_".'; are not part of the political culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth
=;::j.':::fa
becomes a political phenomenon; it is cultural rather than social.-= -i::_4=1 .- centuries, to which Americans remain more attached than the French.
Convictions and manners thus become divorced from social andifi '"".;The Subject in whose name Tocqueville challenges economic and
political organization; they act upon them and can also come in to-" fpolitical modernization is still the Christian subject whose origins lie,
conflict with certain tendencies within modernity. Y3: <~==§?_:\ according to Tocqueville, in the irrepressible human need for hope.

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What possible influence could such ideas have/at a time whe;g}£;,{_ga,;;.g.;;;;;;;f§ij;1jj-{FpanCe, but with Schifler Hélderlin and then Schelling it saw the '
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philanthropists and socialists were drawing attention to the 1I1CI‘68.Sef
‘=fj-{thought and which was often to take the form of an antimodernist
in poverty, when the European and American world was being swePt'§'.;qf*1‘;i
along by an industrial revolution which may not, according 1. .33. particularly with the Frankfurt School of philosophers in the
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historians, have deserved its name, but which certainly brought about‘*,'1§___/gm _
such an upheaval in material and mental life that it was no longerfi”
Reconstruction of Order
possible to speak of man in general or to investigate the moral oii;
religious foundations of the social order? Our encounter with Tocfii. most elementary form of historicism is obsessed with the idea of
.. I"
queville is therefore a final farewell to the theory of natural law
,,,,__ \ Tflestroying the old order and with the search for a new order. This
=4
- .-.~===-4
Christian and Cartesian dualism. The combined effects of the French';§§§;§§§%;;» if glligqght ghe complete antithesis of thatof great liberals
Revolution and the transformations of the economy that began _‘;-I‘.-33:‘, :,:_.i__1._. q d ._ 1_ oes not invent any new relationship between |

Great Britain were sweeping the European world and, before long,-f,_
. ‘Z4'E:?' Q ‘

-.~.~*'~= 961;‘ .-.:-< .__,pr§‘grt;ss gin socii integration; on the contrary, it distrusts triumphal
the greater part of the planet in to a modernity that was not confined? ~»: /J-I»/,4 -
--=.\~’ lat 1V1 ua lsm an , in an attempt to ward off its dangers, invents 3
to the world of ideas. It created a society and social actors who art-§Iz;,§§;§;~ §;§,;.;,;, :I.
5‘;-,§§.li'éW Order, a new principle of social integration Auguste Comte is
defined by their actions rather than by their nature. Political philos_§ji' -i..-4"“:'$~ i v<4:.-:=.-a.-..,-:=';a.-=
‘ all -= I I=I-=--:."_I'-{the best representative of this tendency. A reference to modernity is
ophy was giving way to political economy. _~ iii; .- ,
_.j_.however, both central and constant throughout his work even thou h
F1?) %;¢-,\'~;:.-_'.:.=,---.- 1-"i_'t;i_iS usually remembered by posterity for the law of the lthree state?’ ,

Nostalgia for Being .


holds that the decline of the theological state and the upheavals '1
“of the metaphysical state will be followed by the advent of the ,:
The entry in to historicism and the technological world signalled
the unpheavals of the French Revolution and industrialization inii
England provoked more extreme resistance than that put up Iiw:
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a “‘.~;:.-. that the natural sciences contain any specific truth' it is possible he
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ory 0 t e scientific spirit. He 1S not even convinced
Tocqueville, who rejected the Revolution and looked for modernity" :.;'<s/, : ,,.,,, says, that there are several specific . _ _ ’
theories which explain various 2"-{
132'; 1‘ °~
in the realization of the ideas of the seventeenth and eighteenth ‘Kai1.»i't- 7,, ;,>,/1: . orders of phenomena without merging in to a gene;-3,1 theor of
centuries.
. The entY7 in to Histor 7 , the
. . transition from ideas to nature. Above all, and like his master Saint-Simon he is not so nil-uch
practices and the untranscendable divide that had been created convinced that progress will lead from one state td the next as awa
between P henomena and Bein s , s enerated a nostal sia for Bein s , for of the transition from an organic era to a critical era from cdmmunife
the principle behind the unity of the natural world and the ' ._j iélomapgket individlualisrn. Sociology, which owes its name to Auguisti-i:
world and therefore behind a rationalist vision. That nostalgia would bfzjthe In , wa
Osts t 0 at arge extent born of the anxieties' ' of the intellectuals
-
4“ :/.;:;.=;-.=:.;‘-=.--
grow so powerful as to become the principal force behind
. P 1"CV0 Htlonary period. Their main concern was to recon-
intellectual reaction against modernity. In his triumph, Promethe-iisjj ma» , . ;-. _
__ ,. __. . O1’d¢I> and this could not mean the order of the Ancien Régim e
mourned the lost beauty of Olympus. The disenchantment of the This
_ _ p reoc cupation ' ' constant throughout the whole century. It'
1S
world described by Weber inevitably led to attempts to lend it a neii -j%,..,;,,,,,,,&g
111 G@1"m_any when it too was thrown in to turmoil by
enchantment. Attempts to recreate the pre—revolutionary world modernit -~ T" - with ~ the emerging- .
particularisms and privileges were of no great importance. Tocqueville, -
the ho Ye f foingies contrasts community society
was as well aware as Guizot or Thiers of the futility of these - P 0 11 lng a way back to commununity (Vergemeinsc/waft-
1

reactionar Y lon in gs in both the intellectual and the P olitical realriii>>~ g W and W6
.'liolisrn—ind' ' Can‘ now ‘ in
‘ find it ' the work of Louis - Dumont
. . . whose.
lvlduallsm dlchotomy expresses a fear that individualism
Attempts to lend the world a new enchantment that took a pref. , Y_Yi_ triumph. According to Comte, the jurists of the R€VOlut1Qn
romantic or romantic aesthetic form were much more important."--A
nostalgia for Being challenged the triumph of modernizing etthe the tim
same concrete with the abstract
‘ ‘ ' and {med thg individual but
_ e condemned the individual to dreams, madness’ and
in a very different way to the Cartesian I or the individual rights fol: ..-=1: ;§ We Isolitude,
theorists of natural law. Germany had not been affected by the; ?=-§:This v'ision
' ' could not be further removed from the
of modernity
political modernization that had transformed Great Britain and
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74 Modernity Triumphant .
..-‘L’?-19*‘ ~" The Meaning of History 75
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idea of a personal Subject. Comte wanted to dispel the illusions Personal happiness be, if not an equivalent to ‘species’
/-4/~§<\ . . . . h
individualism and to make the transition from I to We. That is why}. 'Ӥaa /*6
5t other animals?‘ Historicist thought paves the way for t '
=m<>flg
'61

the views of Littré and john Stuart Mill notwithstanding, we . ;7%§;.


. , have" jigentlfication of personal freedom with participation in a collectiv ,
agree with Henri Gouhier (1988) and conclude that there 1S no realiiiiig’ V,» %i!§%”i'}~'j;>i:gig-i=.-1=;%-gghe»ann~Christian and anti-liberal position which subordinates
break between the two major stages in Comte’s intellectual life. The'1€§‘=j£§=:~= dggidnals to representatives of society or, to_put it in more concrete
is no real break between the Cows tie philosophic positive and
. . . . . , a,__e:_, those who hold power. ‘In Comte, it also has authoritarian
appeal to the religion of humanity which dominates the Systeme which can be explained in terms of the experience of
politiqae positive (Comte 1851-4). The two stages are of and the subsequent fear that the breakdown of society
divided by the decisive encounter with Clotilde de Vaux in 1845, but //1 l ‘%.»»'i.-‘za _~ . "-lead to the reign of interest and violence. I-Iis attacks on
that lasted for only a few months, as she died in 1846. The positivistsa -- V4W33”
'--‘"71-.-/.:i "
‘men of letters’, parliamentary debates and social
abandoned the attempt to create a new religion and rejected the claim" <~,<§;.=,'.@;=__§_\@.;=\.;,‘.i‘-1.‘ were to have a long and active posterity, largely because
that ‘the living are always, and increasingly, governed by the deadii W g ” =1?-=‘ ~ .- - idea that true freedom is the product of social integration
but Gouluer is quite right to stress that Comte’s central idea and solidarity allows everyone to take part in the life of the
goal of his action is the discovery that the inevitable ~ but possib '2 i
1;? 'i-I. .

tem ora
. . .. . . -2Z;\ 1
social body. Whilst it is true that historicism centres on a call
. P. W — trium . P h of individualism
. . . . would give waY to a newj . /~.. mF3'<»4e:2a~: social and national mobilization in the service of
principle of social integration. Positivism and the search for social1"¥¥i‘~= . -" if/, _'f-fibidernization, the positivists reduce that call to a minimum. Their
integration converge. Categories which relate to things more directly -* ‘ modernizing leaders is conditional upon their ability to
,..(
- the proletariat, women (and especially ‘uneducated’ women) ~ hav :5;-. .
i--ifijificourage the religion of humanity, which can be regarded as a
the greatest awareness of the unity of humanity, whereas intellectuals. -._W._...,_.__;;j'j5§i4‘eliminary
-I=:' We
~ — and still utopian — definition of socialism to the extent
tend to take a metaphysical view of things. More generally, "thIg,f1it implies a purely social or functional conception of man. This
ll]-; j
Hi must be a community or an order, and the supreme virtue of the’ positivism is closer to the sociologism of the political philosophy of
t;1if i'~
I. scientific spirit is that it provides a defence against subjectivity and Hobbes and Rousseau than to the analysis of the social conflicts of
lw~'-». l'| personal interest. Comte’s thought is hostile to social and political ./we /"4 industrial society made by Proudhon and especially Marx. The
,1 :.M,
\
1 ll
struggles because it accords absolute primacy to the creation of an 4' difference is that political philosophies of modernity legitimized
u
order which allows the human race to become part of the universal . -.5. \ absolute power in order to free society from religious power. After
CV“
tendency to ‘preserve and perfect the Great Being’. The positive spirit the French Revolution, the goal was to recreate a communitarian
gre
is therefore, according to Auguste Comte (1844: 56), diametrically .4?“;:,;~,<h_;-..\ . power and a religion of progress and society. Like the Saint-
opposed to the concern for man displayed by the philosophers of ”3\.—; 1.
. 7% Simonianism which provided it with its starting point and which had
natural law: a ' a more direct influence on the new leaders of industry, positivism
Because of its characteristic reality, the positive spirit, in contrast, is
; .' _.
- .._...,,
soon disintegrated in to an appeal to science and growth on the one
directly and effortlessly social, insofar as that is possible. In its view,
. - /'/,.-/Q/til
I l hand, and the dream of establishing a new Church on the other. The
man does not exist iifany real sense; Humanity is the only thing that -5 desire to reconcile reason and faith, which is so similar to that of
.i11:f;‘4/it
can exist because we owe our whole development to society, no matter I.. §I_._l\_/Iichelet, persisted throughout the century, and influences Durk~
how we look at it. If the idea of society still seems to be an intellectual 1 __- 'I',heim’s attempts to recreate order within movement, and to ensure
abstraction, that is mainly because of the philosophical imcieri régime. a _ forganic solidarity within a utilitarian society subject to permanent
Truth to tell, it is the idea of the individual that is abstract, at least e change.
..:_.-
insofar as it appiies to our species. The whole of the new philosophy ""'i‘~‘=i= .3 -' .' : ' 5 _.
will constantly strive to reveal, in both the active and the speculative . -3
;=The ‘Beautiful Totality’
life, the connection that binds us all together in so many different lir 5
ways, and to make us unthinkingly familiar with the innrier feeling of
social solidarity, suitably extended to all times and all places. -" ., 1 -The weakness of positivism stems from the fact that it is alien to the
cultural traditions it attempts to challenge. It devotes all its energies
What can this Humanity that exists outside individuals be, if not it
*1H.I t ,_
. .
to the resolution of the contemporary problem of recreating order
,.
society itself? What can the solidarity that must become the main . . ./~11:
‘ ‘;‘;'z_-_=':_'-"within movement. And the solution it offers applies only to a society

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76 Modernity Triumphant .~¢ 559%‘ ~ , T19 e Meaning of History 77


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which can be seen as an organism requiring both a diversity of organggis 5.I1; V,<1” al1fii18.li1OI1 and the birth of subjectivation that results from it
. Rags, however, to mediations and thus to the integration of will
r?
and a unitary life and energy. But what answer does it have to
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most important debate in seventeenth— and] eighteenth—centurjg and::Ij'_‘I
necessity ' . Th' l
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reconciiation comes about when
‘»'"@2e--renters‘
thought: the difficult reconciliation of natural,’ law and individual; .2 M,»-w ,-. exists both as reality, as necessity and as subjective will.
interest, universals and particulars, reason and sensation? The religioili .1;,_Ag.-‘ ' £4’: .
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being can achieve this concrete freedom? The citizen, as created
of humanity exists between these two worlds, yet it is difficult to see- / ' aw W,‘/ M,lu x:
egg‘
eé French Revolution. This citizen is, however, also a citizen of a
m'f""r;'/
how it can become established in either of them. Positivist politiicsi ~~:»r~i»“i historical nation or Vol/e. In this sense, Hegel is a successor
therefore had no impact on social practices. - 5-P" ’ E ‘t’c""‘;/»*/'I";..¢i:*..-.- 1- - Herder and Luther and the ancestor of the culturalists who
In his formative years, Hegel, in contrast, identified himself the abstract universalism of reason. They do not resist it in the
the French Revolution, and personal freedom with the transformatio-nil of an unrestricted theory of difference which quickly becomes
of society. He adopted the revolutionary cry of ‘Freedom or death-’:-ill.~\-€/.\&’ paw,-.,->/.y rs” 4*
>:6*
r§~*.'{€‘{5;:. .5 .
absurd and destructive, but in the name of the idea, which is of
And his philosophy is an attempt to synthesize subjectivity andii importance to Herder, that every nation and every culture r
=
totality by making a twofold critique of an abstract ethics and ntég-.-;§i§g=;<‘.< historical reality can participate in the progress or reason,
civil society based upon individual interests. The young Hegel _ , : "'-4;'",'s1-:1‘: the right to do so.
defines his position by criticizing Kant and abstract morality (M is at this point that Hegel departs furthest from eighteenth-
itrit). He constructs an ethics or an ethical domain (Sittlichkeit), French thought and its individualism, and is most consciously
cannot be separated from institutions, or from active participation -...___:_gIi§n"¢'_'to the German notion of Development. The Subject is not an
freedom. Citizenship is the highest form of freedom. "5153 r¢@,;:.,;-:'
_"=:M :'»7*:~5z-
.=..-‘
"'"._;1;;;bstract being. It is present in collective achievements and collective
" 51 ‘ .....:.life‘,"and especially in the great religions which have marked the
therefore critical of natural law. His central theme is close .<
_s;”>."- * -' 5 <\
ti. 1' Rousseau: the universal can be realized only in the particular, ‘SidTll‘éll,¢l°P1T1enY of humaniW- H“manltY moves from one historical
li':~"' :‘
mil thus becomes sin g ularitY . The histo ry of the world is not a linear?‘ figure to the next, and not from one level of rationalization to the
:iv 5 §z ,4 fr
evolution3 but a se q.uence of emblematic fi.gures next. Hegel thus rejects the dualism that dominated philosophical
. and cultures,. eacli-11
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‘ representing the action of the universal within history. Christ is a ~ ,»'- /<==-‘~:_,». thought from Descartes to Kant and, therefore, moralistic judgements
I . on history. He comes close to the preoccupations of his own day
‘1 | prime representative of the subjectivity that is inscribed in history,
and the French Revolution will be another. Christ destroys Jewish :5 Wllfifl he 566$ in Civil 50¢i@FY the 5ulT>01‘di1'1ati0I1 0f H1311 to the laws of
legalism and the correspondence between the spiritual and the tem- production and labour, and looks to citizenship, and therefore to a
poral that was common to both the ]ews and the Greeks. Yet the relationship with the State, to remedy that dependency. That idea still
individuality of Christ also lies in the fulfilment of his messianic? :l:.i~‘ . .. prevails today as sections of both the Left and the Right identify the
destiny, and his sacrifice is an nmorfati. ' State with history and reduce social life to the defence of immediate
History is thus the product of two complementary processes.li §:..;;i§i i%‘:§§.;§?1%i§§¥:¢.... interests, and thus reintroduce a new dualism which is as dangerous
estrangement and integration Hegel comes close to the Christian"?:i§1.;é"§:;§i22525;;--'===-1539‘Kchdsddn dualism was liberating The individual is dd longer an
tradition when he writes in the Phenomenology (Hegel 1807: 758): M,/i;g;g...,.:.:__giembodiment of universal values; the State realizes them in history.
.. .,,_fl,.fl j, ..
4., .
jaw -. - Civil society must be transcended or, to put it in concrete terms,
Spirit is knowledge of self in a state of alienation of self: spirit is the 1 .I;;C_ontrolled by the State. This vision has a tragic grandeur; it is the
being which is the process of retaining identity with itself in its -..;...--_-.§,'§story of a hero for whom death is the realization of a destiny, just as
otherness. This, however, is Substance, so far as in its accidents "3 .-QM “,1. ., -.
, ..-...-§' . _i__i:' , "was for Christ. Christ is the exemplary representative of the
_ W .
substance at the same time is turned back in to itself; and is so, not as '-5*::?%»“/ ::i-I::I--I --: - :- '-
___--_.=ti_nhappy consciousness: he internalizes the fall of the world, but
being indifferent towards something unessential and, consequently, as - the will of his Father in doing so. Hegel does not go back
finding itself in some alien element, but as being there within itself, i.e. i5i"'i'-i
jrtrgej :,-::-- - _' ; beyond Christianity to the Greek polis, or to the identification of
so far as it is subject or self. - -..:"/f“ Z-id"-"--3' .. "-
E

. -than with citizen. He concentrates on Christianity, on the moment of


The same point is made in still more general terms in the ‘Preface? ..._.,;-3;; 5.: _.
'-the divorce between the temporal and the spiritual, of the substitution
-- - '-
(Hegel 1807: 80): everything depends upon ‘grasping and expressingii.._,,,;;,, .155 . i_Of morality for faith. The creation of a private religion is seen as the
the ultimate truth not as Substance but as Subject as well’. tbirth of the subjectivity without which Spirit cannot exist for itself.

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The Meaning of History 79
78 Modernity Triumphant
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Spirit can only encounter itself by becoming divided, by breakir'1'g.§:,:i_,,ggVVA


i5;};,?%'. historicist thought of Marx, Hegel and Comte introduces the
with nature and by becoming freedom. that men make their own history only to destroy it, for history
....-ya,“
/m_.. ‘ -is-the history of reason or, and this 1S merely a different version of
And yet, asks Marx, does not Hegel reconcilgtotality and alienatiorf; .-1 */_”',a;;'{.7 .=i“'
same general belief, of a progression towards the transparence of
only in the form of ideas? Does not the theme of estrangement and}? “'1 1&1-;~/~,»_.. gfl /
subjectivity lead to that of struggles between masters and slaves? At}. - ,,é;*‘ 3j""1;ature. The thought of the seventeenth and eighteenth century was
aw
the same time, the reference to totality is transformed in to either thgfzi. by the encounter between reason and the Subject, between
creation of an absolute power (a successor to Rousseau’s general willjjf /, ya./,~,-, /,.--~ *¥i;iit"ilitarianism and natural law; the historicism of the nineteenth
E-
> my-,;,. __§f§:::§:I,_3¢ehtury absorbs the Subject in to reason, freedom in to historical
or the absorption of all historical actors in to Absolute Spirit. Hegel*'g;=§=1__g? Q Q
..

own work thus ceases to be a philosophy of history and .. ___ 5; 1


“==5z%1§,Iij1fe_cessity, and society in to the State.
.- are‘-_-=-. -.if;_;j: : It is in the thought of Marx that the philosophy of history achieves
philosophy of Mind which elevates art, religion and philosophy above? j.f:5(

social life. ‘fl-ii. ..=4 -. l‘i --~< ~/::<»


=i-@=§.=;5";§3§fits;-"most tragic vision of the contradiction between its liberating force
":j':"g3,f1%1d the subordination of the subject to History. No other tendency
Hegel’s philosophy may not have to choose between a rightist}
interpretation that sees the State as the realization of Spirit, and‘a-f: f 5=iwi'thin social thought asserts with such force that men make their
leftist interpretation that transforms the estrangement of Spirit in history. Marx’s first impulse is to look for the practices that lie
/v ..

real contradictions between nature and society, reason and profit, andl at \ the abstract categories of religion, law and politics. This is
challenges the cultural and religious ideologies that conceal this truly?
r. at ==I".z§_{1'
Kn" V
= j r hy, as we have already seen, he denounces the priority given to
social struggle. It is, however, difficult to apply such philosophicaljl; .l.~- ii -I"-"political categories in France. He regards Robespierre’s doctrinarian-
ideas to historical practices without introducing a contradiction} lie Q -._/, N1. » 1-' ?i : \ and Napoleon’s autocracy as masking the triumph of bourgeois
v ., W;-_-I:-idealism just as he sees the leftist rhetoric of the leaders of the
Q5. '31:’ ii it
between the assertion of subjectivity and the movement towardsij. .-v , t
totality, and thus destroying historicism’s dream of uniting Subject: 1:33? ~1 u i':"7Qommune as masking the weakness of the French working class, and
"
and history. The same agonizing struggle can be found in Marxism,1__1:1§§?.a> _ g ' ¢
:-' .1
'»/1 the juridical category of property as concealing labour and social
.Y | j
_»-/
relations of production. No matter whether he is speaking as an
l | l| which is both an economic determinism and a call for liberating;
Illl ll. i‘ action on the part of the proletariat. _ economist, a philosopher or a leader of the International, Marx
l Y

No one pursued the intellectual ambitions of historicism further »2


<~ ; constantly refers to the ‘positive humanism’ which will result in ‘the
‘M ii<.:"'
than Hegel, and no one did more to integrate the two intellectual w;>.\- ."1\>*I '~
destruction of the estranged character of the objective world’, as he
traditions of the pre-revolutionary period, namely a vision of the .”»“ .1 /:19. ~:' ~‘
puts it in the third of the 1844 Manuscripts (Marx 1844: 395).
Subject and a belief in progress and reason. His philosophy of history .155;/‘ ,
Marx is the sociologist of industrialization. He is discussing a
has a tragic power and it is closer to the Christian history of society which is dominated by the factory and not the market. He is
. z:»::~1~.
not preaching the respect for the rule of law, and therefore of ethics,
redemption than to the intellectual optimism of a Condorcet. After
which would ensure the peace and justice that are essential to trade;
Hegel, it is no longer possible, as it was in the eighteenth century, to; 3-Z?I,?t>‘
. :>%‘ e .-III
ihe is observing an industrial world in which men are reduced to the
speak of social actors in ahistorical terms. Both reason and the Subject
status of commodities, in which wages tend to fall to a level which
have become history. “ i '3-_-mgr"9?j a., L".3, .- :'1:v'/gillmerely ensure biological reproduction of the labour force, and in
. Mi;
jwhich man’s ‘species-being’ is destroyed by the domination of money,
Praxis -I . . - .:.:=i=-
i;"::;o'bjects_ and individualist ideologies. The highest expression of this
"'-.V1S101’1 is to be found in the ‘Theses on Feuerbach’, and especially in
The most dangerous aspect of historicist thought is the subordination? - ‘:..-r.g_.
‘.\. .~_<¥::: ?(:5'=1‘\

their opening sentence: ‘The chief defect of all previous materialism —


of social actors to the State, which is seen as the agent of historical": '.3j_II§;“_/’_§?'\4l
that of Feuerbach included — 1S that things [Gegenstnnd], reality,
transformation. Subjectivity is seen merely as a necessary moment 11'1"
..'.‘sensuousness are conceived only in the form of the object, or of
the emergence of ‘mind objective’ and then Absolute Spirit. There is -::.=-.->'<;'a 1521., .t~ ' -
contemplation, but not as human sensuous activity, practice, not
an underlying tendency in historicism to speak in the name of it-_
subjectively (Marx ‘I845: 421). ‘Practice’ means primarily the social
' Q < I v _

Subject identified with history, and to eliminate subjects, or in other-:§'-'.;=;;;§.5-gig


aw g. .
relations of production. The social science of action was born of texts
words the actors who are trying to transform their situation in order . 1 ' -
to gain greater freedom.
: . - .-"'~§::: this. Even though the collapse of historicism, especially in the
_ ..

/ "\

"‘¢\
-.-.1: >'- /\E1-..
"< ”
-'1 ,..:_:<::$§,?,}?.“"' ;~,,‘_‘: I ‘
ll
...=. -.-,,. 2»;
~
9 I1. J»: .»e'~
,..:.'..~;_-3,3 A,”

80 Modernity Triumphant _‘” The Meflmng of H1307?’ 81


5:5:, V-u;»=»:~'<
~‘
Mu4,/ES2:\ .
last Cluarter of the twentieth centu YY , makes Marx’s thou ht seem? ..
%*:3 .4,“ T I
.0if the International Workin s Men’s Association and the most
remote indeed, we still have to recognize its greatness. , adversary of the subordination of the labour movement to
What is this Subject, this species~being or—»social being which “isf action. These are valid objections, but they are no argument
.the interpretation
. - -
given -
here. Marx believes that nature, rather
alienated or exploited? Being an economist and ‘at political militant;§,W,,.
Marx gives central importance to absolute proletarianization, and-tio:§§i5f5~ 5:51; action, is the f0f¢@ that Win 0‘/@1’¢°m<“3 the Contradictions
the contradiction between the situation of the proletariat and society. He has much more in common with the great I

creativity. This is an objective contradiction rather than an actual; of the idea of modernity — Nietzsche and Freud, whom
conflict, as there was as yet little conflict in a society where the :1,§:§pi'11."meetin part II — than with the revolutionary syndicalists.
workers’ movement was still far from being an important is the concrete meaning of the historical materialism
autonomous actor. Marx’s thought is not an analysis of in T/oe German Ideology (Marx and Engels 1845-6). Its
conflicts, but an analysis of the contradiction between the productivjeif can be found in the preface to the Contribution to
forces and the totality on the one hand, and between class domination? ofioolztzcul Economy (Marx 1859: 20-1):
and individualist ideology on the other. Marx looks to nature at 1._ .
social production of their existence, men inevitably enter in to
defeat capitalism, and not to a social movement. The action-(if, relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations
proletarians and their International cannot be a set of demands ptitj
--"./ ri m ,... "production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their
forward by an interest group in the name of its rights: it is quite the I:"EIfii'§te'rial forces of production. The totality of these relations of
opposite, namely the transformation of alienated workers in to a force; constitutes the economic structure of society, the real
that can shatter these contradictions, and the sole basis for its capacity '1:
___,/W _ -¢2:"...'=;: ,,,,,~.,.,. .. ':-:::' 1'.‘ -foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and
for action is its support for productive forces which have been cf» A
correspond definite forms of social consciousness . . . It is not
imprisoned by capitalism. There will be no movement unless it se1'\Ye_s§§l’~‘i;'3ltlieiconsciousness
is-Z‘; 1‘ ? . of men that determines their existence, but their
the cause of progress, and progress itself means progress towards tsioiciial existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage
totality, or in other words towards the liberation of nature, of thef__ £1/3 .5Y ofdeveloprnent, the material productive forces of society come in to
‘Q {L Xc,'{i',;,

1 4: 1» conflict with the existing relations of production or - this merely


.<.~:»:,. .
productive forces and, at a still deeper level, human needs. expresses the same thing in legal terms - with the property relations
W» .' . <1/,y,;f/,;,;1?:::£
At no 9 oint does Marx found. a sociolo 5?’ of social
. . movements,
3;; ‘J: ;/41%,; .,’_@.
. ‘ '. ~=<= E. tlj/‘s‘;~.r~"‘IT within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From
even though he makes such a sociology possible with his destructive _,M7 a- ' .~.4\_.1._\~.., i .~:71"- forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn in
' :1
critique of ‘institutional’ illusions and his constant reminders that 1.», \I4“ I
1? 5; »;,;;;;<,~. Ir
4 -If -.‘H1:/;»;;s~-'.
K1/t §_\,
V .\ .
to their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.
._:;“
practice is primary. Their complete alienation prevents the workers . Y2, it 7 .:
.1
‘~
from becomin 8 the actors of their own histo FY . The destruction of -W» .. _. These last words of the Critique state (1859: 21): ‘Mankind thus
~;2 /l. @1145‘W
11*».~;1/‘~ 3 irievitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve’ — a formula
capitalist domination will not bring about the triumph of a dominated
actor who, according to the Proudhonist vision, takes control overj .:1:Z’<“~
*2/41»
~ 34,1-*.a_I 1
,1 ¢».;»".:£» '-; .
which will justify the economism of the Second International and of
~
production. It will bring about the abolition of classes and the ‘»1~> ¢
reformers who, whilst they are opposed to violent revol-
triumph of nature. Marx’s thought by no means anticipates thei action, share its view, which is common to every manifesta-
reformist or social—democratic vision of working—class, trade—unioi_i'_
its/MW
of historicist thought, that the meaning of action lies in historical
and political action as promoting the rights of the workers and;.3~ "fr‘i§§"{t>_lution. That evolution will lead to the liberation of nature or a
strengthening their influence over economic and social decisions. Its ..| ....ji§eturn to nature, and not to the construction of an institutional and
radicalism is so extreme that it sees all institutions and all ideologies: world based upon absolute principles.
as concealing interest and domination. It believes that capitalist -=1--.:;§§§§:",3;:l_l _’_l'arx is eminently modern in that he defines society as a historical
I.-5;, of human activity, and not as a system organized around
exploitation can be fought only by the irrepressible power of nature’-_,:
as,
progress and nature, and by the pressure of human needs. values or even a social hierarchy. He does not, however,
Marx’s thought eliminates the social actor. It contains no referencei ' " .a~*. =r.:-.~-.. '1‘ .--=--equate the modernist vision with individualism; on the contrary, the

to either the eighteenth—century vision of man as ethical being, or=aE he describes is primarily a social man who is defined by his
social movement guided by the values of freedom and justice. Some= .._=::' : §§5-IP-OS1tl On in a mode of production, in a technical world and in property
/‘,3? _5 -. I_ - . -

may find these words disturbing. Marx was, after all, the most active: .ngé,15%.__,;jj;;;j-;___.--tela-tions. He is defined by social relations rather than by the rational
..I'§2%;§‘ I I: 2IiI'I:--:-'--=--‘- -
,\.._a », ,

é
-3 .11;‘
5 ._

“-5? ,_'-,1 .,
‘,»~
» '~ . :_.-1:? .~ ~ ‘ l

$.17 an/:,_ _~ 1
37, 1't=4e-:='>- A;.1.

82 Modernity Triumphant The Meaming of History 83

pursuit of his interests. Social man cannot be described in terms more than the negation of the negation — in to positive
. . . . . . .
the holism—individualism dichotomy, Louis Dumont’s efforts Wm which could reconcile man and nature, will and reason.
:_ '3
withstanding. Social man escapes both categorie_s_, as neither /, -.-= rarely leads to a sociology of collective action. It is in fact
human beings in truly social terms. J
1
because Marxism has produced so few analyses of collective
Marx does not in fact defend the ‘rights of man’ or the __. and social movements that we have to recognize the lasting
Subject. The alienating constructs of the social order are
f”
of Georg Lukacs’s History and Class Consciousness
with human need, and it may already be possible to equate this 1923). Written shortly after the First World War, his book,
with what Nietzsche and then Freud will call the Id. Historicisifiii is at once central and marginal, marks the end of the history of
eliminates Chr1stian1ty’s ethical God. It initially replaces God isa-,/- i -is =1-s~<==
Marxism and foreshadows the triumph of totalitarianism.
i$°=’=§?.//' .<~==\:=-
mere will to reconcile progress with order. At a less superficial r;,s.=4,,-.<;-Z;
~.<4¢-,-Y ;= to Lukacs, the bourgeoisie is aware of its interests and
Hegel then replaces God with the dialectic that will lead to .=:;ad§§:§'s:j-"have a subjective class consciousness, but does not, and refuses
triumph of Absolute Spirit. By giving more importance to social >t"\:’\'L‘< any consciousness of the totality of the historical process. It
.,,, ..
economic practices, Marx transforms the dialectic in to a rational andff "“}',=;1_‘_<=;1._such a consciousness when it was struggling against feudalism; it
natural drive which will demolish the defences erected by the : ""‘ /’
it When it is attacked by the proletariat, and therefore cannot
class and its agents. An obsession with totality is central to all gig-a :j ' social relations because it divorces the objective from the
-we 3;;
intellectual endeavours, and totality is the meaningful principle "'"i3j_i'lj]_€Ct1V€. The proletariat, in contrast, does achieve a class conscious-
replaces both divine revelation and natural law. None of them but in Lukacs’s view this is by no means a class subjectivity. On
allowance for the appearance within civil society of the social -. »,<t
=
Ycontrary, it means the identification of the interests of the
‘E ,, .
initially in the form of the bourgeois and then in that of the egg with historical necessity. ‘The proletariat is, then, at one
movement. Historicism does indeed subordinate History to a ~ “
aridgthe same time the product of the permanent crisis in capitalism
ophy of History, and the social to the non—social, which it variouslygs and the instrument of those tendencies which drive capitalism towards
.
defines as reason, spirit or nature. 1 crisis’ (Lukacs 1923: 40). The same point is later made (1923: 177) -i
. ..,<¢{‘,:.<.~ ‘i

This vision of society is perfectly in keeping with the experience_*o‘f§, 1111;.with even greater clarity: ‘This consciousness is nothing but the V

the first industrial societies, which were dominated by an almostaif : ¢7*/,~§<:~:4 expression of historical necessity. The proletariat “has no ideals to R

unfettered capitalism, but it also makes an essential contribution ),'?»f$.5Pl .


realize”.’ Lukacs then adds (1923: 178) that the proletariat ‘can never
/f4<1~~‘.1.. ‘
the theory of the personal Subject. Even though working-class actionjj'1 “in practice” ignore the course of history, forcing upon it what are
‘i'4@1=~‘il ~ . no more than its own desires or knowledge. For it is itself nothing
cannot, according to Marx, be successful unless it moves in the samelffi 1 §»'2I " Ir/Ze

direction as History, it does make it impossible to represent SOC1BE¥f§§ but the contradictions of history that have become conscious.’
as either a machine or an organism. The elimination of God and »~ Praxis is neither the mere defence of interests nor the pursuit of an
rejection of social utilitarianism opens up two avenues for idealrlt identifies the interests of a class with its destiny or with a
assertion of freedom: either a return to Being through art, sexualitiyf? hisjptorical necessity. Being exploited, alienated and repressed, the
or philosophy, or an -assertion of the Subject and the freedom of can no more spontaneously arrive at this consciousness of
Subject — which may prove to be derisory if that freedom is 4~', . . '"§:l.;'1'_'§;_§i§totality than can any other social category. It is the revolutionary
;, .=*=::::--

embodied in a struggle against the dominant forces. Marx, >- that embodies consciousness—in—itself. Only the Party can bring
K:/5:‘: ..
Nietzsche, rejects any appeal to the Subject, but the workers’ the extraordinary inversion that transforms a totally alienated
ment, from which his work is inseparable,. was, once the- bourgeois:=§§§i in to a revolutionary actor capable of completely rejecting class
. . . <.:=r=:-..-.- ' . .
revolutions had run
.
their.
course, the principal expression
.
of -; and liberating humanity. At the time when he wrote these
appeal to the Subject. As in so many other cases, practice was ahea"d;,g§ Q Lukacs was a member of the Communist Party and had been a
:':

j1i[:lllfllSt€I‘ in Béla K.un’s government, but he had also defended the


Practice was, however, usually crushed by theory and the politiC;i,ljj§@i. / 5‘::5:I-IE§=- workers’ councils. His Leninism therefore must not be caricatured,
'

action it inspired. Political leaders increasingly claimed to does say that: ‘The revolutionary victory of the proletariat
ai. iL’~»i¥i-I-:-‘-..
NV . -
monopoly on transforming of the action of the proletariat _.~.---_._;-"-_,,§l9es not imply, as with former classes, the immediate realization of
‘ha ‘ s : :--
oppressed nations — which in itself, they claimed, could never -. tli_e‘s0ciaZly given existence of the class, but, as the young Marx clearly

-_ :,,.
'
- -: .-:jj=='.g;a;-;
-- .;;-
.. ;.-__.._
-
-- Q’/‘CF:

M"
-
>

1!
l

The Meaning ofHlst0ry 35 i


84 Modernity Triumphant

saw and defined, its selfannihllation’ (Lukacs 1923: 71) : sought to give a social actor the ability to act auton—
to Lukacs himself, it is not the masses, but a Party which u , and that presupposed a reliance upon ethical principles of l
the meaning of history and which is guided by revolutioiiary and justice which could create a democratic politics, Marxist
tuals, that brings about the transition to the consciousness of in contrast, is hostile to class subjectivity and alien to
which turns the proletariat in to a Subject—object whose , and is concerned less with justice than with the fulfilment
transforms reality. ‘The proletariat only perfects itself hy destiny. Even though Marx, like Hegel before him was -?
he was constructing a philosophy of the Subjecf he
and transcending itself, hy creating the classless society through
successful conclusion of its own class struggle.’ All these it to mean something very different to our modem
of subjectivity or subjectivation, or even freedom and
which are central to not only Lukacs’s thought but to i....,
Luckas was cjuiteright to say that ‘it is not the primacy
Marxist thought as such, despite the debates between ct
motives in historical explanation that constitutes the
tendencies, justify the absolute power of the revolutionary Party.
Party is the agent of a historic mutation, of the transition from a difference between Marxism and bourgeois thought, but the
society to a classless society. .. VIEW Of fotallty’ (Lukacs 1923: 27). No individual actor can [
point of view; it is inevitably that of a truly political agent S
Some were still more radical, like Régis Debray in his
necessity who seizes absolute power in Order to realize
in the Revolution? (Debray 1967), and the theorists of the
reivolucionario. In their view, the dependency of Latin America —
other regions — on imperialism was so complete that not only appears to be bourgeois, visions which appeal
totality, be they revolutionary or petty-bourgeois, as
action but even the existence of a revolutionary party was '
liked to say of Michelet, identify a class or a nation with the .|illl
H Only the armed action of a mobile guerrilla force could
ment of history, and therefore with an idea 7 that real '":.~
' _ imperialism’s weakest link: the corrupt and repressive national
are no longer anything more than references At the level ~
‘T Its mobility meant that it had no roots in the population. The
they are the masses. ,_and they need a party of intellectuals ;:-'
( j I

ll." i. between the working class or the peasantry, and the in their name. The vision of a humanity which ereates its
1§;f!',..,"l.| has never been more complete. Guevara launched his
and overthrows the deceptive illusions of essences and pi.
iilijjll"ll“|Il struggle in Bolivia without reaching any agreement with of law and ethics in order to understand and transform
‘W if miners, who were the main trade—union power in the country, or
its practices, leads to the subordination ~ violent or ill‘:
Communist Party. He based his guerrillas in a rural area
the farmers spoke Guarani rather than Spanish; they had also totalitarian or bureaucratic — of social actors and particu
I -

to the absolute power of a political elite which proclaims


the benefits of agricultural reform. As a result, he was soon
in the name of its supposed understanding of the laws
and killed. Intellectuals and other political militants joined
campaigns in many countries where they had no social roots,
victory that was achieved in Cuba inevitably led to a
without the proletariat. This is the example that proves the rule,
to Revolution
l I
it does bring out the logic of revolutionary Marxist action. It is
liljigtwfufipm experiencg that progress, the People and Fhe
that its triumph did bring about the transition from a class so
h_ h iii tr; a revo utionary enthusiasm orla higtoncal
a classless society, but the abolition of classes worked to the
w ic t_ e arriers erected by money, religion and law
of absolute power and its apparatus. They exercised a
terror which eventually became more technocratic and -es. The historic synthesis dreamed of the age of revolu_
but Cuba remained a police-state opposed to the autonomy of 113:1‘: iP°11t=1I1Eou;ly realized, Michel-et’s dreams notwith-
actors and their freedom of expression. Who idigfigjgre Ato theabsolute power of revolutionary
Marxist thought cannot lead to the formation of a social of the his: “fl I t e purity and unity of the Revolution.
Socialism, in the form given it by Marxism — and this 1S its if 1 opca process was realized only through the
influential form — was not the political wing of the workers 0 it puraity of social actors and the complexity of
with the One of the nation, of the people or of a
ment; that role was played by social democracy. The v
86 Modemity Triumphant The Meaning ofHistory 87

besieged community under martial law, and where traitors had mean the triumph of the One. Modernity means that the
punished. and is replaced by the management of the difficult
Revolutions have always turned their back on democracy relationship between rationalization, and individual and
imposed unity — and it is inevitably the unity of a dictatorship freedom. _
the diversity of a class—divided society. Indeed, it was thought and natural law were defeated by the philosophy
because social actors failed to take an active role in public — Enlightenment. We therefore have to ask ourselves what form
in France where universal suffrage was introduced in 1848 — that . to subjectivity will take now that historicism has been
political elite was able to establish its domination over the people The formula has at least two advantages. The first is that it
over social classes. The process began with the Terror and was us from both the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries
permanent by the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. obliges us to accept both the appeal to reason and the
If we accept for a moment the idea, which I defend throughout of the personal Subject. The second is that we have to
book, that modernity is defined by an increasing divorce our arguments in historical terms. This obviously does not
rationalization and subjectivation, it is clear that the situating them in terms of a sequence of forms of modernization
the basic unity of the natural laws of history and collective of economic growth. It means that we must look for forms
implies a rejection of modernity. If that affirmation is not -production of society which will provide a new definition of
a small circle of ideologues, it inevitably leads to the between efficacity and freedom. As we have seen, modern-
an absolute and repressive power. That power then imposes prioritized the destruction of the past, liberation and
artificial and authoritarian unity on both the world of the Philosophies of history and progress then gave modernity
which thus loses its internal rationality, and the world of social content. They called it ‘totality’, and the word 1S close
who are denied their identity in the name of their universal to ‘totalitarianism’ for its ambiguities and dangers to be
The era of Revolutions led by tortuous paths to the Terror, to Is it possible to conceive of a new historical situation, of a
repression of the people in the name of the people, and to type of society in which modernity is defined, not in terms of a
ll, execution of revolutionaries in the name of the revolution. and totalizing principle, but in terms of new tensions between
iilfi Q, asserts the unity of modernity and social mobilization, it and subjectivation?
economic failure and to the disappearance of society,
devoured by a Saturn—like State.
The triumph of progress necessarily leads to this
society. Anyone who opposes modernity and its revolution is
fore regarded as an obstacle, as an anti-social element who must
eliminated by skilled gardeners with a talent for weeding.
completely self-destructs at the very moment when ideology is
equating a will with a» necessity, when it is turning history in to
a progression towards freedom and the liberation of nature,
thinks it can bring about the triumph of the social by dissolving it
the cosmos. This extreme idea of modernity has never
completely dominant in the most active centres of Western
zation, where political power has not gained control over the
omy and culture, but as modernization spreads to the regions
it encounters the greatest obstacles, it becomes increasingly
ist and is increasingly identified with the revolutionary idea.
The first duty of today’s intellectuals is therefore to proclaim
the great historicist synthesis was a dangerous dream and
revolution has always been the antithesis of democracy.
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’;>‘ I-I U5 pi.U) IP10 D Three Stages
. - .,. V
ing force of modernity is exhausted as modernity triumphs.
For enlightenment is overwhelming when the world is
to darkness and ignorance, in to isolation and slavery. Is it
ing in a great city which is lit up night and day, where the
ghts solicit consumers or indoctrinate them with State r
‘i
a? Rationalization is a noble word when it introduces the T
ill!" _.|' 3_
'
ind critical spirit in to domains hitherto dominated by
,4 ti
.¢~|l 51
. authorities and the arbitrary decisions of the mighty; it
Eli
l fearful word when it designates Taylorism and other
‘JIWIQ, "». '
iéftfi E1211‘?! it
1;: "-ii -I /1'!"
. methods which destroy the craft autonomy of workers i
sis‘ V‘ "-:-
:hem to submit to rates of production and orders that claim
tific. They are of course no more than ways of maximizing
1 . . .
they pay no heed to the physiological, psychological and
ties of human labour.
re lived in silence; we now live with noise. Once, we were
n . ‘ .
d now we are lost in the crowd Once, we received too
g es, and we are now bombarded with them. Modernity has
.1 s from the narrow limits of the local cultures in which we
; it has cast us in to a mass society and a mass culture as
ting us individual freedom. For a long time, we fought the
es and their heritage; in the twentieth century, the most
:alls for liberation are directed against the new regimes, the
ty and the new man that so many authoritarian regimes ,
to create. Revolutions are directed against revolutions and
=s that were born of them. Modernity’s great strength was
to open up a world which was once closed and fragmented.
s exhausted as trade intensifies, as the population rises and
nsity of capital, consumer goods, instruments of social
.d arms increases.

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92 Modermty m CTZSZS The Decay of Modermty 93
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We wanted to leave our communities and to begin to build a .-3;./réfr it it j f ers ective. Modernity was suddenly rebaptized ‘the
society; we are now trying to escape the crowds, the pollution
0 P P
reason’ by Horkheimer (1947), Adorno and all those they
the propaganda. Some flee from modernity. The majority do far beyond the Frankfurt School itself. Their arguments are
the centres of modernity have accumulated the disposable » "3:--¢Xfe,11S101'1
of the doubts voiced by Weber, who is the greatest
on such a scale and dominate the whole world so completely modernity. Secularization and the disenchantment of the
there are no more pre—modern places and no more noble st,ti§rsax‘§*i§.% i. divorce between the world of phenomena, or the realm of
merely reserves of raw materials and labour power, army 3_(;t1V1'CY, and the world of Being, which comes in to our lives
areas and rubbish dumps littered with tin cans and television moral duty and aesthetic experience, trap us in an iron
grammes. Most people are no longer satisfied with the oft—proclai1ifii=;i§; 5' i use the famous phrase which ends Weber’s essay on The
opposition between a shadowy past and a brilliant future, or ;\.,,- Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Weber l904—5). The
l$
radiant future, to borrow the grating title of Zinoviev’s attack later reappears in the early work ‘of ]iirgen Habermas.
hypocrisy of the Soviet bureaucracy. The point is not so defines modernity in terms of the rationality of means, as
Yfileft IT10dB1"l1iEY as to di$¢1-18$ it, I0 replace the image of a to the rational goal of values. In more concrete terms, he
that is implacably opposed to tradition with an analysis of both - theethic of responsibility which characterizes modern man
*1sa¥“ir~<
positive and negative aspects of its cultural objectives and the ethic of conviction which, like charismatic authority, can
of dominance or dependency, integration or exclusion that in a rationalized world only in exceptional circumstances.
cultural theme of modernity a truly social content. Whereas odes to Weber’s Image of the modern world, the rationalization
modernit have often called u on all moderns to form a united \4
‘ 5
,. ’‘$31' ¢ . \ : life coexists alongside an occasional war between the gods.
~§E<§.?§=‘
Q”>}_,_A~x§é
and in more concrete terms for the subordination of all to the have beenmany‘ moderate expressions of this Kantianism in
. Y, .,,.,vl l
who are in charge of modernization, the critique of modernity countries. It inspired, for instance, the founders of secular
not usually lead to its rejection. As the original meaning of the "E? in France at the end of the nineteenth century. A number
iliil suggests, it means separating out its elements. It means analysing
- “'~*”"

.9
I, them were protestants, and their secularism was in no sense hostile
‘J l, evaluating all of them, rather than becoming trapped in to an fwiiiiitowards religious convictions. They wanted to draw clear boundaries
llllliil ~.,
‘.l‘| nothing attitude which makes us accept anything because we~are_§§ private convictions and public life. The educational system t
1,‘\
afraid of losing everything. ~ . part of the latter, and it recognized only rational and critical
v

That the idea of modernity should have become exhausted 2 ~ 3,‘:‘.<{/71¢.‘ The separation of Church and State suited the purposes of a
Q,/1%
inevitable;
.
it W15 defined,
.
110$ as 1 HEW Order, but as 1
. .
m0V@1'I1@11'¢i
. _
middle class.
. .
It allowed it to. defend itself against
,
both
a creative destruction, to borrow Schumpeter’s definition of capitalamr_,a '- the Catholic bourgeoisie, and a revolutionary workers movement
" __ r 4
ism (Schumpeter 1912). Mobility was attractive to people who ..
was challenging that moderate tolerance in the name Of 80CiE'€f=1l
. ,j{4‘~,»,/_»\.~.
long been trapped in immobility; it becomes tiring and leads.j,tdt,; I ;-..~., ~ ;cou,nter—project. According to Weber, modernity destroys the alliance
/Ty‘ 2

vertigo when it is incessant and results only in its own 3


lhetween j heaven and earth. It robs the world of its enchantment and
is because modernity- is a critical rather than a constructive notiong; “iii%**“f”5iilioes,.away with magic, but it also destroys rationalist cosmologies
.=;,., r-.3-;-;.
that a critique of modernity must be hypermodern. Such a puts an end to the reign of instrumental rationality.
provides a defence against nostalgia, which, as we know, can -. .. .,,.._,,...,,.., suppressed by modernity was both the God who created an
M .. =.-, -.~~=-,0‘ /X3’ :1-“..:.V __
take a dangerous turn. J»? =;iiitel"ligible world and the God of priests and sacraments. Whether or
The exhaustion of modernity is quickly transformed in tolj z§§iiiit_i"we accept Kant’s dualism or Weber’s reinterpretation thereof, it
disturbing feeling that action is meaningless when its only criteria ;§§iis§5§§iio- longer possible to believe in a world order or in the total unity
those of instrumental rationality. Horkheimer denounces the Ihfifiiiiatural phenomena and to view human actions as no more than a
4

ment of ‘objective reason’ II1 to ‘subjective reason’, of a rational_1st;;:::t~% 1 jiarticular instance of that unity.
/\
worldview in to a purely technical activity which makes rationality ,/
§§§§§5'§I_i'iThe great rationalist intellectuals reject this image of a total
serve needs, be they the needs of a dictator or the needs of consumersfi‘, w §i§§’:§lll$icnchantment. They are still enchanted, not by the memory of
which are no longer subject to reason and the principles it uses lifir-thurian legends, but by the idea of the Logos bequeathed them by
regulate both the social and the natural order. This anxiety results ;;§’f$§'_t'>_'§;3_'many centuries of Graeco—Christian thought. I-Iorkheimer pro-
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94 Modernity in Crisis i W447 ,<, “ no The Decay of Modernity 95
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vides the most powerful expression of this nostalgia for objecting " :;““"'f/iipégnquerors, the spirit of modernity appealed to those who distrusted
reason. Exile, Hitler’s destruction of German culture, and—the =f:l:ff5i5’§€stems and wanted not so much to build a new world as to discover
mination of the ]ews of Europe, most of whomidentified ~ more,;i'§£§5¥ horizons, to live in a world that was in search of
than any other social group — with the universality of reason, P rovitlé rather than a world of certainties. They wanted, that is, to
~ f"~,~,~/
i'\,':';-sf;
a ready explanation for his tragic feeling that the eclipse of objectivérif .~.5§?:i. in a World of freedom and tolerance rather than one of order and
reason would inevitably lead to a crisis in a disoriented bourgeoié % an And yet modernity suddenly begins to look like an
society, and thence to Nazi barbarisrn. Marxism often gave a é for control, integration and repression; Foucault, like
lease of life to a positivism which saw itself as the heir to the greiii=5 '~ : others, denounces modern societies’ tendency to extend the
thinkers of Antiquity and provided worried intellectuals with A of moralization. We are no longer simply required to obey the
reassuringly integrated and stable image of a rational world / ,f,,¢ti;.,§fjfij‘o'liceman‘s
at orders. We are now being asked to believe in them, to
- - - -
The Frankfurt School was the locus classic:/is for this combination'.-5fE§ifi our feelings and desires to the rules of social success and to a
nostalgia for a world order and a social critique that §:_§'5‘6cial hygienics which is often couched in the language of science. If
/
‘&7:'),=<1=‘£i-
political progressivism with cultural traditionalism. -" ;§E':§f5ciety’s increased reflexivity is an expression of modernity, surely
These two stages in the crisis of modernity — the exhaustion of gs%€:_==§§§§E§‘f,},0dernity
Q
l implies power rather than rationalization, constraints
initial liberation movement and the loss of meaning in a culture . /4. than liberation. Social thought HOW {@915 that it is l1'aPPed by 3
' w
felt itself to be trapped by technology and instrumental action — led... , ,» ,. i- /“:1.-:__.§-=§_1i;i_odernity i it distrusts. Some intellectual currents are attempting to
to a third stage which was still more radical in that it challenged the way modernity is defined, but others re]ect it entirely or
modernity’s deficiencies, but its positive objectives. It has beieiii tat. attempting to halt history or at least to prioritize equilibrium
obvious since the first chapter of this book that the disappearance ‘ » .
than
.
PrOgr@5S_.
Still. Others
.
fling themselves
. . _
in to an extreme.
the metasocial foundations of ethics resulted in the triumph of sociialii because, in their view, it 1S accelerating so fast as to abolish
ethics, utilitarianism and functionalisrn. Social utility is the ,. -v-‘(;'i:: itself. These responses remain, however, relatively marginal and the
:w¢> #r;\~:' Ff,/_,A‘.,,
for the good. We have to be good citizens, good workers, “ critique of modernity is more likely to lead to the fragmentation of
'sZ»/ <L<=.;'._
fathers or good daughters. The idea of right is now inseparable froiifl.-9.? the idea than to its being replaced by something else. J

that of duty, even though the Constituent Assembly resolved that the 141% --I Z/»:"I:=
We now have to describe the decay of modernity because, if this
Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen should make no ;N . , 4 hypothesis is correct, our field of social and cultural action has to be .a

mention of duties. Yet is the society everyone is being asked to serve =I 1; understood as encompassing all the shattered fragments of modernity.
simply the general will, as described by Rousseau, and to which 4>,_z’.~“= <>\l~,.
What might be termed post-modem culture, were it not that the term
1
magistrates, or in other words the State, must remain subordinate? . my now applies to a more restricted domain of ideas, has no discernible Iv
l
How can we escape the conclusion that the Whole is something central principle; it brings together conflicting tendencies and seems
than the sum of its parts and that it tends to dominate them? Does, to be torn in different directions. What is the common factor in all
anyone still believe that the interests of the State and those tiff"<.=~¢l = ' itlfie disparate aspects of the culture and society that developed from
.=s;~=:>>@ 1.

individuals are identical, or that the individual and the citizen are oinei: mid nineteenth century onwards? Is there any common theme to
and the same? The separation of Church and State is a mete}; , p _ ftlie work and contributions of modernity’s greatest adversaries whose
preliminary to something more important and more radical; Fr-_t_ fwritings have, together with those of Marx, dominated intellectual
separation of society and State. This means that We have to aband011’§5i§§i?§ ‘:7/tt ¢-,.= , _, for more than a hundred years, namely Nietzsche and Freud?
.\¢‘/75
the idea that society is a whole, a social system or a social body, or-'4; ti.-; '
‘And yet it is possible to find the unity of a process behind this
emphasize the contradiction between the idea of society and the? _:_I§;_I:<'J:t1ltural kaleidoscope: the decay of modernity. Let us begin, then, by
reality of social life, which is open, changeable and pluralistic. .,,,,_,:,:__.::_:_::.__._"..describing its fragmentation.
These three critiques of modernity take social thought further and}
further away from its starting point. The liberating impulse behind? ;g,;;;;;zz::z;;5;,-?.,FourFragments
.. ‘ N
modernity has always consisted in resisting a will transmitted by rule$:ij,";
and laws, and the impersonal obviousness of scientific truth, economicgf 3* The most powerful reaction against modernity is a stubborn resistance
success and technical efficiency. Because it contradicted prophets an_§l§_'7 against the voluntarism of modernizing powers. As We have seen, Christian

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96 Modernity in Crisis \ rt The Decay of Modernity 97
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spiritualism, as transcribed by theories of natural law, was the main the domain of production, the idea of organization becomes
to political power during the first stages of modernity. But if God is 3' Whilst the great figures of nineteenth-century capitalism were
the only defence against an invasive social power is the ,devil. Man and in France the brothers Pereire in particular, management
creature of God imprinted with the mark of his creators freedom and Captains of industry Came to the fore at thg mm of tine
replaced by a being of desire. The Ego is no more than an envelope especially in thfi United States“ The 19205 Wm, a period of
Id and for sexuality, which attempts to recover its vital energy by breakinézg especially in Germany’ and trade unions in the United States
through the barriers erected by social conventions and moralizing adapted, as did the German unions, to the new theme; of
The new anthropology . . .
is modern because .
it is an extreme
. . .
form. . ._ ‘re
g
and Taylorisrn. The factory is both a decision-making centre
struggle against religion and, more specifically, Christianity. This is tl1e_i.:,§"Q? it system for mobilizing financial and human resources, and it now plays
central theme of the work of Nietzsche and Freud, but it is also 1*” that once devolved upon capitalism. Increasingly, social struggles
”/-5
flI‘11SiIT10<IlBf1"1 Yhefllfi in 50 far 85 it igH01‘¢$ T113155 l’1i5t0Yi¢3l being and inside the factory, so much so that the factory occupation became the
trates upon his anthropological nature. There is, then, an eternal W‘;{:63 weapon in both the United States and France during the Popular
between desire and the law. _ . p p p period. As we reach the end of the twentieth century, it may seem that
Privacy came to be seen, especially in late eighteenth-century Britain "===5§i;}1_:-e-re-has been a return to the reign of financial capitalism, but observers like
France, as something separate from religious life. As a result of the protest;i'_i§1t§;i§,§j ilieslter Thurow (1993) and Michel Albert (1991) rightly criticize those who
and catholic Reformations and the importance accorded to piety :;==,9;ie=rlo0k the central role of the production unit.
confession, it had already become an autonomous part of the religious >’ * j-\
\
3§3:i1',_3:=':_;Social struggles often merge in to national struggles. Like the Zolloerein
was rapidly secularized; the confession of sins was transformed 111; " r "" ;=--.-which, . __ by turning _ _ to a single
the German states in _ market, paved the way for
psychological counselling or even psychoanalysis. 1 t was th e ‘ §§:;:Bo'thieconomic development and the political unification of Germany in
what Nietzsche called the Id that did most to destroy the rationalist they too claim that their goal is modernization. Their effect is, rather,
consciousness. The word itself was then bequeathed by Groddeck
..;;;toiI;vintroduce or revive the idea of cultural identity. The defence of national
Freud who acknowledges his debt {Freud 1923: 362) .1 ..@_»_/,>,:.,.
- - '1" 2* languages was an essential part of the rise of nationalities: one of its later
2. The economy of consumption cannot be reduced to an triumphs was the revival of Hebrew in the new state of Israel. Every
dleglsrgi a5gEan1‘_1°‘gHeClgsgoclagidlromflndusfrléllmE°§1al1Zau9n']e?1 nationality tries to define and expand its territory, creates symbols of its
( 1) and o 151 at ave eggme 3.I‘I'1C€1llS or t eir accounts odéecent an collective identity, arms itself and acquires a collective memory. The trend
3°“ crate Pm “°t1"’1tY ga1n5- lneteem "°em‘~‘YY economlsts 1 n°t became very general. Throughout this period, even Great Britain and France,
productivity gains the importance they merit. From the end of the HlH€I€6nth{%§‘ which had so readily identified with the universal values of economic,
century onwards,
_ I our societies began to make the
_ transition from an almostkfgf,
I I institutional or olitical modernit develo ed a hei htened conscio f
stable equilibrium or long cycles, to growth. The image of ‘take off’ accurately 1; *
their national P
identities. Y’ P g usness 0
captures the mutation. Despite a hundred years of industrial revolutioit;§-;§;;§§§/ii” The nation becomes divorced from reason and independence increasingly
industrializing
_ societies experienced
_ _ few far-reaching changes
_ in consumption;;f§;§
_ _ __ takes precedence over modernization. Whereas the two goals were closely
or ways of life, but despite crises and wars, consumption was I‘6VOlL1t1OI'11Z¢(ZlV_;;:jj;, i_- related
r in Germany, Italy and Japan in the second half of the nineteenth
between the end of the nineteenth century and the end of the twentieth. At .: ieentury,the goal of national independence has become so important in most
same time, labour came to have a much less important role in life as the world in the twentieth century that it is more likely to be allied with a
working year became shorter and as periods of study and retirement -popular fundamentalism than with the liberalism of the new bourgeoisies, or
longer. The proto-modern economy, which was a production economy, ..5e_ven with the voluntarism of state apparatuses.
dominated by the scientific and technical spirit; the economy defined by
production and consumption is dominated by the market and marketing. ";A‘=Hidden Unity
spectacular change was symbolized by the victory, after the First World
of Alfred Sloane and General Motors, who paid attention to
rapid survey of the main forces — sexuality, commodity consump-
demand, over Ford, the hero of industrial revolution and the author of a .§l‘-ion, the company and the nation — which have dominated the social
famous ‘Any colour you like, as long as it’s black’. Rationality cannot _
M? M-.;i¢.'-=--:--.--=
-and cultural scene for the last hundred years can provide no more
instrumental now that it is required to meet demands which are as
_'I.";§_l_'lan a preliminary overview by drawing our attention to the apparent
expressive of a search for social status symbols, an attempt to seduce or
desire for exoticism as of a search for labour-saving devices, rapid mobility _<>__lf'jf;;;§j@;,»-ggtiE--:;-:-_--heterogeneity
/ _ . . of a scene that We can no longer call a society. We have
foodstuffs of guaranteed quality that can be prepared rapidly. $- the impression of living in a fragmented world, in a non—society,

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The Decay of Modernity 99
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BEING CHANGE ./ ..,
the nineteenth century has no unity: it constitutes, not a new
\\ H-._\,,. .»

modernity, but its decay. Perhaps no other civilization has


. 3 central principle to this extent. No great religion exercises a
INDIVIDUAL Sexuality Consumption l;
COLLECTIVE Nation Company influence in this secularized culture where the separation of
ll and State is a fundamental principle. Yet, at the same time,
for the past and a lost order has never been weaker. Our
of the shattered fragments of modernity has shown that
them bears the mark of a voluntarist modernity. This is
because personality, culture, economics and politics all seem in the case of the elements that define the new pro-
moving in different directions. Before we even begin to explore society; it is also obvious in the case of nationalisms,
' W
four worlds, let us try, however, to put some order in to this appare_ii1j;§;§ are never traditionalisms. Matters are more confused when we
incoherence, not in order to promote an image of a new society but,"--1% to the great thinkers of the Id. Nietzsche and Freud are resolute
on the contrary, to show that all these social or cultural forces resultf g5," ,__ \ but they are also rationalists who believe that it is
from the decay of classical modernity. "I . to free man from the fetters created by a moralizing culture.
1;’ ~ <<‘»i;7|:1":Q:-‘
How can we situate in relation to one another sexuality, CO1'1’1HlOCllty3i; why I think this historical set can best be described as post-
,
consumption, the factory as organization and central site of This definition, which may seem paradoxical, should be an
conflicts, and the nation or nationalism? The most obvious fact011~_ijs_;11; ii§§;fi-ti"dote to facile optimism and should remind us that this so-called
the dissociation between the order of change and the order of beiiigiiii of progress has, at least in Europe, also been seen as a century
J which were once associated in the idea of modernity — which me'ai__ii§:§1 ' F '/*fa:~7*/1;=."L:‘ ‘ -:“(£j£ii'i(i1'iSiS, and often of decline and disaster. The great upsurge of
%'=1‘~~ 4‘ . both rationality and individualism. The constant changes that take?=\= _..
:;. industrialization was accompanied by a broad intellectual
.i. |.
place in production and consumption are increasingly divorced inhvement which was criticial of modernity, especially in Germany
qt Iii. the recognition of an individual personality which is both a sexualityjie and turn of the century Vienna. More than fifty years later and after
1
Mi. ,,l . 1.,“ I and a collective cultural identity. Rather than gradually been influenced by the radical criticisms of jean-Paul Sartre,
» ll, before the transparence of rational thought, social and cultural reality‘ the period in French history that jean Fourastié (1950) describes as
‘li \"‘ '
is invading the space of modernity on two fronts. And there appears -F ‘ . ,;4§/"5:>.:<..; //it//"~>
fthe thirty years of glory’ [les trente glorieuses] was dominated by the
to be no principle to reunite the various forces that occupy the. antimodernist and deeply pessimistic thought of the descendants of
fragmented world of modernity. The long century that stretched from Nietzsche, and especially by Michel Foucault. It is impossible to
the mid 1800s to the mid 19005, and even beyond, saw the 7 1 :<év::/q, think of one French intellectual of any importance who has celebrated
/,
tation of the rationalist world, but not its replacement by modernity. Even Raymond Aron, who comes closest to playing that
unifying principle or by a new and more complex model. role1,; was a politician rather than an economist, and was too aware
Secondly and more simply, the personal order has become divorcedjg1131' ~/4»M__,i.,55E»;hagt,.the
‘ ' 4//~:*‘\t;:.
problems of war and peace were more important than those
e -ii:/an
from the collective order. On the one hand, We have sexuality ‘
'§j_of.production and consumption, not to be influenced by the dominant
consumption, and, on the other, the factory and the nation. fig -.91.‘ /> ‘, , 4.$3T§':T,' _I.jjj:'
which in his view was justified by the cold war and the
It is not difficult to reconcile these dichotomies. The hope ==;§:e'irp'ansion of totalitarian regimes (Aron 1969). The image of our
endogenous modernization and the triumph of the light of reason :i__i§::Ii§_l_1tLl1'Y painted by statisticians is in open contradiction with that
1;/it-5-1;. ..
the laws of nature would dispel the illusions of consciousness, the -;
/it» _:"e_l_aborated by our most important thinkers and writers, from Thomas
of ideologies and the irrationality of traditions and privileges, ‘?:jli(lann to ]ean~Paul Sartre. The divorce between acts and meaning,
given way to the brutal recognition of forces whose diversity disoilihg -<34--= the economy and culture, provides the best definition of the
ganizes the social and cultural field. The idea of modernity has been .\-
. of modernity.
aV-;-:\‘:~.
-:5 E1 -.-:iIII'-:'
replaced by that of modernizing action, which mobilizes non—moderni;- " ‘v""‘3i -= . :iI1:I?jII.'Tliroughout the long nineteenth century — the century of modernity
--- -=-i.a.,g.;=1 /»a=~.\-E. — we lived and thought inside the model of the national
forces and frees individuals and a society that had hitherto been;
prisoners of the divine law and then of impersonal laws of nature.-’ society, and we eventually made it the concrete expression of
The cultural and social field in which we have been living since the W ihiodernity.
We asserted ~ in ways that varied from country to country
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109 Modernity in crisis Q1 ’é.r$7-3 “
The Decay of Modernity 101
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— that the economy, society and the existence of the nation instant to such an extent that it can be grasped only by an
closely related as the fingers of our hands. We claimed that collectivieill of its absence and by the fear of death.
a b
experience ha a asic unity, and were quite happy to call it i picture is still incomplete. As the full, global model of
whilst Talcott Parsons did more than anyone else to convince us which was at once cultural, economic and political, breaks
politics, economics, education and justice were the four main /we-..<'» in to sexuality, consumption, company and nation, rationality
%rr”*%;.=....-.1g._.reduced
as -.~I =i"-: z§;:;:. '
to being '
a residue. ‘ " or tec/mzque
Instrumental rationality '
tions of that social body. Modernity was defined at once /Ws-'“"
Q-‘-'\Y.i1 N
increase in trade, the development of production, wider participatio_1q§§;%_ l "f
to mean
.7 )1-~.‘
the search for the most efficient means to achieve
in political life, and the formation of nations and Nation States. . .‘\> A ~.~///»"¢'-<4.»
»F"" /$7’ r/»Z~‘,4.\ in themselves escape the criteria of rationality, and to
French pragmatically recognized the correspondence between ‘T? =:‘%1§§§Ei5fY choices which are sometimes made on the basis of criteria that
factors, whilst the United States interpreted it in more voluntarist § reference to rationality. Technical reason is now the servant
therefore more juridical terms, and whilst the Germans gave it a repressive policing as Well as of social solidarity. It 1S the servant of
prophetic and cultural content. .- §§§§3ggg§$=production, but also that of military aggression, propaganda and
A century later, most intellectuals on both the left and the regardless of the content of the message it delivers.
stress what Daniel Bell calls the cultural contradictions of reason is rarely discussed, because it is clear to most people
- ‘F1&1/Y~,”‘~$/\*i‘
(Bell 1976) and the increasingly divergent norms that govern leaves them no choice as to the ends of their actions.
tion, consumption and politics. Does the France of the late .. ».<,,.-
wt =-.;= yet many intellectuals follow Weber’s example and denounce
J /
century still have any faith in the image of a republican, of instrumentalism and the cult of technology and efficiency.
and modernizing nation that is still promoted by a few intellectuals?‘\=1? :w§<:».i"=-' criticisms are based upon an awareness of the decline of
and political leaders? Does anyone listen to them seriously? reason and of the rationalist worldview, which may or may
what is known as the crisis in education primarily a been governed by a rational God who guaranteed our
these cultural contradictions and of the breakdown of the system f ‘reason’s ability to understand the laws of the world. Yet their claims
norms and values that schools, the family and all the other agenciesjg ~to have a social and political content are groundless. Their denunci-
of socialization are supposed to hand on to new members
V
of society‘B...=j§§;
- ~ '~ 2»
ations of technocrats are equally weak. It is as though the hold of
The national consciousness which was the other side of revolutionary technical rationality were so powerful that it replaces all finalities. It
liberation is now its antithesis. And the twentieth century has too is too easy to denounce the ubiquity of technicians and it is dangerous
2 ‘@‘;;‘§\/In

many reasons to associate nationalism with anti-progressivism for us '7/":'1i*‘


to believe that they are running a world governed by mere engineers
to be able to understand our last Jacobins. Mass of the human soul and of society. The world of technology, or the
certainly one of the motors behind economic growth, but who world of means, is all the more subordinated to the world of personal
now defy all the ecological warnings and claim that all its effects or collective ends now that the link between objective and subjective
positive? Who would dare to sing the praises of rationalization in reason has been broken, and now that technology is no longer
way that Taylor (1914) did almost a hundred years ago? Each of the servant of a rationalist worldview or the command-
shattered fragments of modernity is marked by both modernity of a philosopher-God or a mathematician-God.
the crisis of modernity. Everything in our society and culture The denunciation of technology is a particular form of nostalgia for
marked by the same ambiguity. Everything is both modern Q-:f,B'eing; it sustains every ideology that seeks to make one of the
antimodern, so much so that it is scarcely an exaggeration to say "'-=I_=I§'fragments of our shattered modernity the central principle of the
the surest sign of modernity is the antimodern message it sends is:-=:.:t.-;iii‘i‘-.‘zfniodern world. One ideology argues that nationality is all, and that
;g;¢_:‘:t‘I. . '"':I
Modernity is self—critical and self-destructive. It is fleet!/tZO?’li;i?7’ZOTOii»Z:i-ii_"§/if .-'5'-we must recreate self—contained communities that can resist outside
menos, to cite the poet who, along with Théophile Gautier, was the 3-j;i-aggression; another argues that, on the contrary, national traditions
first to launch the theme of modernity (Baudelaire 1857). Accordingigf /-A /‘rt
,. .;i‘;§_and defences must be swept aside so as to facilitate the operations of
to Baudelaire (1863), modernity means the presence of the fltlie transnational companies whose technologies and products can be
the instant, in the ephemeral. It is the beauty of fashion, which}. - -fifound everywhere; a third argues that the market is replacing every
changes every season. His definition implies the feeling that, just -5§.j(§:ther principle of social organization. According to the fourth, we
love is dissolved in to desire, the eternal will eventually be ;;{1'§i5=§i:j:;;;;-;§ §;_I'11ust surrender to pansexualism, as it 1S the one thing which can unite
i'<».;e='.-': ---=-5:3;
~- -
i

. as Z‘-§:i33I':::5: "- =
_ :=; fix
¥
" I-

- _ 1.1135; =
102 Modemity in Crisis T/are Decay of Modernity 103

BEING CHANGE them the seeds of war. Yet, as I have said, each of these
also expresses one of modernity’s demands: national inde-
INDIVIDUAL Sexuality Commodity . is a precondition for economic development; sexuality is a
'\ consumption to norms designed to ensure social integration and cultural
) _ . .
n, the output of great factories 1S consumer-led and
Instrumental to meet increasingly varied demands. This modernizing
rationality always implies an alliance with instrumental rationality,
/ \ attacks on technology are associated with the antimodern and
COLLECTIVE Nationalism Company - tendencies within each of these fragments of our
strategy ' modernity.
above assertion cannot replace the search for a central cultural
Figure 2 that allows the reconstruction of an integrated cultural field,
does define a limit which cannot be crossed in any circum-
all human beings in the new Dionysian cult that is being spread If rarivnalilatiqn is no l01_1ger._the _pri11.@;i.];J.l.¢’=..E1?%P..il1I.¢.grat.es.. our
television and video cassettes. that 9P_1.t.I.~1t§§een.@t _bs.t¢unifi.@d.ar<>w1d _0pp.<>siriQ.n ta .rari@.na1
Given this cultural chaos and the fragmentation of modernity, andaction. Irrationalism leads to extreme fragmentation, to
may well ask ourselves if it is possible to reconstruct a divorce between elements that were once integral parts of
cultural world. I will try to do so, and the first two parts of this of ob]ective rationality. That is why denunciations of
do no more than supply the preparatory materials for that are dangerous and have usually inspired totalitarian
1 AI
4
The alternative is to come to terms with chaos, to accept a rather than liberal or anarchistic thinking. It is possible to
.‘! _l‘ the reign of profit, the destruction of the environment or
1.: |,' pluralism of experiences and values, and simply to organize a
‘t' I‘ which is tolerant, pluralistic and in search of authenticity. Weak :1 of sex. In all these cases, it is possible to have a
I
we ll‘ may be, the reference to instrumental rationality has a major and to exchange arguments. Denunciations of technology, on
4 it
that it prevents each of the fragments of our shattered hand, are all the less justifiable in that they have never been
\ from severing its links of interdependency with the others. It to demonstrate that, in a modern society, means become ends.
them from believing themselves to be completely different, technical experts have, especially in periods of crisis, defended
and therefore obliged to wage a holy war on the others. cause against both capitalism and social and cultural
Technical rationality restricts each cultural tendency’s claims to which they regard as obstacles to growth. This school of
dominant, and therefore prevents them from transforming whose rnost eloquent spokesman is Thorstein Veblen in the
in to social forces in search of political hegemony. In the best States, has never become dominant because no society is
scenario, we find at the centre of p0st—modern society — that a machine, and no State is simply a bureaucracy. The weakness
yesterday and that of -today — a value vacuum which guarantees societies does 1.11.tl1¢ disappeatallce of 4endswhich
if I
autonomy of technical rationality and makes it possible to protect %m.al..lQ gis . technical . means,.. but
power vacuum at the heart of society which Claude Lefort (1 up ,
A_which,has een. d.estr.o.y.ed. by
1986) rightly regards as the first principle of democracy. the separate development of logics
The shattering of modernity can he represented as in no longer refer to rationality: the search for pleasure,
should be recalled that this table must be read in two co status and for profit or power.
ways. It describes the fragmentation of modernity, and therefore
forces which tend to become antimodern, as all critical schools
thought say so consistently and so firmly, whatever their
orientations. Sexuality and consumption involve both
and destruction; in business policy, profit or power tends to
the function of production, and nationalisms, like all
/
I
»_

..;:3:a%£-715% "

tr: ,7/1:-I
F4/I a '_;_4}.-<5» -2,
;;,,.;;¢$. r~\-J;/(/~:~\..
The Destruction of the Ego 105
:1?

i /\//¢ .,E..g§¢hange-value, between the productive forces and social relations of


i/% ,
ipi-Ioduction. J
. ‘f§§i‘j'.,j§..;'-;'1‘s]:iere is no room in Marx’s work for a worker—Subject, perhaps
he was writing at a time of extreme proletarianization.
Qixiploitation stems from the fact that the price capitalists pay for the
Th€ D€Sl§I'llCtlOI1 Of tl1€ EgO . . --1. -w~'
-Ma./,..,.. .»
<~=.i¢'.://=a:1--- that is produced is the minimum required to reproduce labour-
..,i i§-' or in other words the continued existence of the worker.
’- ~'
- - '32:.»
M» ,
e\”“i§v?,~,?.i'.\~
._.M'gi-x brushes aside the ob]ection that unskilled labourers who are
- - \r.z<=.*'
1? ..
minimal wages coexist alongside skilled workers, some of whom
. 2-'I"=::s>; as. l Q
QRQ3} a favourable position in the labour market and who will create
an=... “‘. 2 AC
,~... 7’
NM y
f§_:_1§_15i3'ei'-workers’ movement. Marx eradicates the figure of the skilled
~,. V
"\/“':~’/ 1:-viiorker, who must in my view be central to any study of the workers’
- 1 ;:"4:?;,/ ;_, _ '}fi_oyement, and peremptorily states that skilled and complex labour is
5' =2; .
Marx, Once More 0, W. .§_1I_mf_more than a compound form of simple and unskilled labour.
__ _ ;§-_;if':;"',I.There is, then, a link between Marx’s great themes: laws of

The presence of Marx at the beginning of this cultural ==>¢'¢‘ -}:..i.=


~- development and technological and economic determinism;
c

modernity may Seem Surprising, as I have, in classical contradiction between the natural history of humanity, and class
described him as one of the greatest thinkers of modernity. His desireg domination; a critique of consciousness on the grounds that it is an
- ieffect of bourgeois domination; an absence of class actors. All these
to invert He g el’s thou g ht is too g reat for him not to belon g to the?
. .
.-" 0*-_ .. »/.
:=
ii"?V
same cultural world as his master and adversary. The inversion itliemes combine to define the motor-role of revolutionary intellec-
_/‘A ::,~ .
however, constitute a break with the idealism of philosophies _ pi, tuals armed with a science of history.
history. Progress is no longer seen as the triumph of reason or Marx is the first great post-modern intellectual because he is an
realization of Absolute Spirit. It is seen as the liberation of a natur‘alli§§;.;§ antihumanist and because he defines progress as the liberation of
energy and natural needs that come in to conflict with institutional nature, and not as the realization of a conception of man. His
-.-i
,- W ~
and ideological constructs. The divorce between the spiritual and the W5 . conception of totality varies from text to text, and even from one
temporal, which was overcome by idealism, returns in force. Indeed, stage in his life to the next, but his work does have its unity:
it returns in such an extreme form that it extends beyond the domaiii‘ materialism, and therefore the struggle against subjectivity. That is
of institutions and even the political scene itself. On the one hand, Maix’s sociological heritage. The appeal to consciousness, to inten-
have need; on the other, profit. Between the two, we have not tional action and, a fortiori, values, is ‘petty-bourgeois’, and its only
a conflict that might result in a compromise, but a contradictioiii“f*ff»ii§j§ function is to conceal exploitation and its purely economic logic.
which will be overcome only when a liberating rebellion and today, Marxists sense that they have much more in common
development of the productive forces finally converge with the the liberals who defend an extreme methodological individualism
. . . . . . .
socialization of production and socialism, to bring about the natural;--.;.;,=».s=..~ than with social reformers, and they have yet to withdraw their
denunciations of social democrats.
ization of society and the elimination of the obstacles created 1§i3I jIi’.?:§§§§Eii"i'1.
consciousness. Marx’s principal intellectual adversary is therefore trhjéii i j'_.-: The important thing about Marxist thought, and its struggle against
idea of the 5ubjeCt- The Conllict is One between need and 4 , socialism or left—Hegelians is that it replaces arebellion waged
anything representing society or the personality, a model of the name of the human Subject with an analysis of the contradic-
or a human model, or individual or collective subjectivity, is a ruse l:"i§:13ZI*53§=‘=3' 3--
__tions of capitalism. It contrasts capitalism, not with values, but with
the -natural energy of the productive forces — including human labour
on the part of the bourgeoisie. Consciousness is always a fal's_Ԥf
and the pressure of needs which will eventually be freely expressed
consciousness. This justifies the role of revolutionary intellectualsji -,=.' =-
-IE"? f 1 ' In communist society. Its polemical and political force is unrivalled,
They are by no means agents who raise consciousness; their role is td
decipher the laws of history. To that extent, Marx remains a because it makes a frontal assault on the moralism of
cist. Social life is no more than a struggle between use—value hizililiiiijij-'E§_"-;-_I-philanthropists, reformers and utopians and, above all, because it

:.'~..>~";;¢i~\,..
- =-- .-.-//.3
r .//2» L
.i.i.~-=-
-»-@1l
.-
I..I.-:"
9
It ..
-ii .. _ _ g
I ' ' ....» ,<,\,._,
‘L __-.,, —_..,..-....~
.n:..;;r-,—-;,,;;_>,~,-
., .. Ii l
-2!‘? '>.<.>‘~
5-:,;_,-.;>-:;=g,¢»¢.'
,,“~b v.— \¢/,1?‘
’ :5 .r "1525\’!fi"?"\
*~ie»~”+’; 4"‘)¢',‘
'Z'R<4" /~\/
, -11..-;i M;
M -' J9
,.. ' '
106 Modernity in Crisis Q The Destruction of the Ego 107
fLi:":1’~‘
fir i": '1»-

gives a revolutionary counter-elite complete control over the do so in order to recreate an impossible order, but in order
of political action. In the mid nineteenth century, the to life and desire, or in other words to the impersonal element
Victorian society was complete and the spirit of the institutions experience, rather than the conscious or voluntarist element.
served triumphant capitalism had been successfully transformed destroy the Ego and the illusion of consciousness, just as
moral convictions and rules for the organization of collective ” distrust the illusion of the social order, which simply protects
Marx flung a stone in to a pond, and the ripples are still spreading. '"
/' appetites. How can critical thought and action not reject
We can conclude that the brutality of capitalist industrializationil, ' » of the Ego, individualism and the social order, and how
“”‘<s“-6 V I l

and the complete break between economy and society explain most vigorous ethical and social thinkers from Schopenhauer I ii
Marxism prevailed over the study of social movements and ” not defend life against technology, and continuity and the l
democratic reforms for so long in Europe, particularly in against discontinuity and the individual? It would be a
. HI
where absolute political power was most successful in blocking , g. V???“ to try to find the birth of the Subject in this intellectual . I
ji - I /ca-ii. ': I‘
autonomous or anization of the workers’ movement. Ca italism 3; Hit. I.-'.->1»,//:-‘¢..‘-i
<*/'1.§"'».‘.::'C5
Efiibjyementz on the contrary, it is hostile to the idea of the Subject. I

the State combined to crush democracy’s social actors with /"1'/1/~<'¢'~»"


>%-.~..-0.
do find within it the destruction of the Ego and a critique of
violence that Western society saw only the struggle labour and; and whilst they are certainly far from being central to
production were waging against violence and profit, and relegatedliiig of the Subject, it would be impossible without them. II
vi sl
any reference to the goals of action to the realms of ethics and art. rejects Schopenhauer’s answer but adopts his critique of iii.| I,
'| .,
Hfidfividualism. He sees himself as a modern, and claims to be an heir
:?-

Nietzsche _ ~ Enlightenment, and to Voltaire in particular, notably because Il. l» ,.


‘la I tick;-,¢/,=i>~
'2 ‘ ‘];i'éI'-rejects Christianity. Men have become divorced from the gods, 1%
The industrial society that took shape in Europe and then in
‘_‘. ;i.I
, that break is not the end of a world. It is both a liberation that :|.[ II.
I!
America seemed to have been cut in two by the brutality of -» u= '
kw ‘opens up a new era and a murder which leaves man covered in guilt. éili i i
On the one hand, there was the world of interest and individuality? is dead’, he writes in The Gay Science (Nietzsche 1882: 181).
~‘7~ "
ll" I
which, according to Schopenhauer (1818) was a tavern full of "r <e4?1*<?:/"1:1~:'
// i
.~./.~ I‘: “§\‘1:‘=i2;'t¢..1“': He then adds ‘We have killed him’ and goes on: .,.,i. ,_. .
ards in aesthetic terms, a madhouse in intellectual terms and a den at 1/11;:
nun »///v ii: 5
thieves in moral terms. On the other, there was the impersonal worldfii “ God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall
> we-e,><:1I
75: .-, g/,».
cr‘i~v»;’»~,'~
~;§<,1.~/.,». *~ we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was
of desire, which did not communicate with the world of calculation. c
/2//,<, ear...
512%?
‘//1 :-:1 - An;/1 .. “ holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to
There was no longer any connection between the instrumental reas‘oi1.,,_,;,;; ~e. tiff
6‘ "'1'/I A 1

death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water I|i3F;
l
,7
that served possessive egotism, and the forces of life, the body is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what
3
desire, which could not be perceived through representation, but -.
v £5"/,\,,,/;;a.=-. _ sacred games shall we have to invent? ls not the greatness of this deed E >=

through intuition. Kant’s dualism became tragic. In Schopenhauer,"s§:-=--5,; too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear
-IE‘ I2
5.,
.11," .-9E :<"W\,».~;..~
view, man was wretched because he was torn between his desire P514,#2
/12’-Z of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born
live on a cosmic scale and the tendency towards individuatioir§5?§§f5§§% §,;§§I;,i;j;ia_fter us - for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history
. . A/*4 .
Schopenhauer’s answer was that we must choose. We must £i¢¢_j1§;~., all history hitherto.
ourselves from individuation and a liberal conception of right _;.‘-/»-aw
-2 aw
2 . -‘.“ '4
of God also signals the death of metaphysics. Metaphysics
merely prevents the will of others from encroaching on our will, *1, .4/
*4
j1_,$'IE=',;'dfefined as a quest for the correspondence between Being and
in order to abandon ourselves to desire, but to de~individualize desirez, . '
‘iii: i
=zli I
or for their unity, and it has gone on from Parmenides to
to free ourselves from desire by reaching nirvana. Schopenhauer ¥’,,,c=...=..- liii
iizl ‘. l
interested in Buddhism, but he was also influenced by Madame ‘"-3-lilato, l駑4':\! Q "_:=
from Descartes to Spinoza. In the middle of the century of
.==,.~/\
Guyon’s quietism. His ascetic nihilism liberates the will to lifgii -=:§;.f¢’.. Nietzsche replaces Being with becoming, substance with
..I
through art, philosophy and a meditation upon death. - I"
// _. and what he might, like Marx, call praxis. The transvaluation axi.
II’
.
At the very beginning of the nineteenth century, Schopenhaueii--3; _ 12¢¢\ values that he announces replaces adaptation to the rational
distances himself from the world of reason, science and tecln1olog§§§IfIi§§ of the world with a celebration of will and passion. He writes
which, in his view, is a world of egotism and de—socialization. gM$, ; < , _ _, : _ ; i _ ' 5 : f l : l \ l e t z SCl 1 € 1885: 41)1
Z‘-..-2 <.-~
//
/ _ 4,-.2
._:.;.\_,
.,/ J, t./-, .. ..
liI
. '5 -/‘ »v>="~-

.":?%J~' 1 »:Tv4
1-:'“l ””/‘
l
ii
/5'53: V ---xi‘!-;:>..-5* ‘ 5‘
> I r.
M
Q’ ¢"5!';_ , 4%

108 A Modernity in Crisis E The Destruction of the Ego 109


$’=:'?.
" eves
We have abolished the real world: what world is left? the apparent,"i,‘1;.'i§§} ‘ ' /»r>:1*P~relig* »1O11
’ of the weak. So too was the psychologism of Socrates and his
world perhaps? . . . But no! with the real world we have also ,1‘
’:;;E;§»_~.I ,
Euripides, which destroyed the
_
spirit of Greek tragedy. Accord-
the apparent world! (Mid-day; moment of the shortest shadow; end Genealogy of Morals (Nietzsche 1887: 180),
the longest error; zenith of mankind; INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA). l
This sort of person requires the belief in a ‘free subject able to choose
Nothing Could be more fnoflern than this at”-‘Ck on Kant out of that instinct of self-preservarioniwhich notoriously
C°memPt for metaPhY51f3S 15 so g1_‘eHt_that 11; Could be 3; every kind of lie. It may well be that to this day the subject, or
Auguste Comte . Yet this modernity is traversed_ _ by_ a I number of/at popular
language the soul, has been the most viable of all articles of
different paths. The most popular leads to utilitarianism, wl11__¢;_1:,.¥. -.-.faL1Il'!S11TlPY ecauseit makes it possible for the majority of I1‘1a1'1l{1nCl~*
i ‘i-.=é;-, the weak and oppressed of every sort — to practice the sublime
Nietzsche calls English thought and which he violently I‘6]€C1ZS.- _ _
' of hand which gives Weakness the flppflarance of free choice and
impossible to live when we are enclosed in the apparent _ __ _ _ A |
- - - - - "'one’s natural disposition the distinction of merit.
French civilization is as loathsome as English thought. It is lifele;s"5Z?3§" -
and its Cultural °bl@¢tS float in a void. _ ta Good and Evil, the critique concentrates on the philos-
If W6 ?=ll38HEl0l1 the ¢l&551<3fil Paths ‘E0 IT10d@f1'11FY, We $311 of the Subject, with particular reference to Descartes’s cogito.
utilitarianism by going back to the idea of natural law and to past . . . one said “I” is the condition, “think” is the predicate
th°“ght- We can Centre Our refle°tl°n$_ 9“ the id” of the sublem
tans
istonnes llst? . . . Then one tried . . . to fathom . . . whether the
that of democracy. Yet none of the thinkers who dominate the was not perhaps true: “think” the condition, “I” conditioned;
‘Fl m°de1'n1tY “ Marx: Nletzsche and Freud — made that ¢l1°1‘3e- being only a synthesis produced by thinking’ (Nietzsche
it was Nietzsche who rejected it most violently 81). Using terms very similar to those later used by Freud,
(J i
His central argument is outlined in The Genealogy of describes consciousness as a social construct bound up
Ii'= l (Nietzsche 1887). Some are weak and others are strong. Some ilviiithi,,language and communication, and therefore with social roles.
,l
. .,.
mi
v
and others M6 ful6Cl- 501116 are b1fCl$_0f P1‘6Y_ and Others 9-Y6 ismost personal is also what is most conventional and mediocre.
. l
iv‘ |; Relations between the two are material relations and are Consciousness is, Nietzsche writes in The Gay Science (1882: 84),
any ethical element. These are the rel ations o f ll
1 e, the relatlons that; last and latest development of the organic and hence also what is
.i.~' ,‘i, \
rm; it.-
‘ 1 ,
v
I 5;
exist between individuals and SPCCIBS. In order to escape powers;/Z unfinished and most unstrong. Consciousness gives rise to
i
is
ll

f@l&ti011$ Whi¢l'1 are 110$ in Thfiif favour, the Weak, l10W¢V@Yi lntepretfiggff countless errors that lead an animal or man to perish sooner than 2
l
v their enemies’ strength as wickedness. They therefore assumenecessary.’ One is inevitably reminded of Marx’s contrast between l
r

|
existence of a will or an essence which rnotlvares a¢t10n- T1118 the productive forces, which are creative expressions of life and
birth to the notion of a subject. It is as irrational and artificial energy, and relations of production, which are constructs of con-
notion of thunder, which the ignorant intro duc 6 V0 EXp lain 5I1i7" 5lil.QUSness — and for Marx this means the consciousness of the ruling
electrical discharge. That notion also becomes a Subject, and takes l-1.3.55?
form of ]upiter. Anything that introduces a general intention iE::%>iI>niNietzsche’s view, modernity has until now meant the triumph
consciousness in order to explain behaviour is an 1nstrumentij,j;§i,=;§;;:;;, ;;-:..f
, whi ch turns against
' ' lf b y 1'd enti'fying
itse ' witha
' god,
defend the weak. It therefore
thg _ _ 1 that A destroys the order
{E co te of nature
as the and createsg -a non—human force to which man has to submit. Modernity has
essences, or princip es ugus m saw nihilism, to the exhaustion of man. Christianity projected all
of l'uridical and metaphysical thought. As Gilles Deleuze power in to the divine universe, and lfift him with Weakness as
so accurately puts it: ‘Consciousness is never self~c0nsciousness, possession. Hence his decadence and inevitable disappear-
the consciousness of an Ego as opposed to the Self, which =:=:"-flllfie. The inversion of values will lead him to reject this alienation
conscious It is not the consciousness of a master, but the COI1SCl()L1§_‘i §§i§§§§j_§/5 =-""'iilIid;.allow man to recover his natural being, his vital energy and his
ness of a slave, as opposed to a master who does not need :'f"l?lllll_ to power.
, i-:=iiI="iI_'"-'@nly the renuciation of the ideal and of God, and only the triumph
conscious. -
The important thing here is Nietzsche s violent rejection of the 1 life over the will to death can bring about this liberation. There is,
of the Subject and of Christianity in particular. Christianity :--..l:_1:_:C_>wever, an incessant struggle between these conflicting forces, as
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110 Modernity in Crisis The Destruction of the Ego 111

any desire dreams of its fulfilment and thus gives birth to an id ; itself by trying to find that myth in past civilizations. The
the end of the century, Weber will return to the theme of asce ragedy (Nietzsche 1872: 103-4) teaches us that there is a
which is so important to Nietzsche, but he stresses the tra :t way to taste the delight of existence. We must
from otherworldly to worldly asceticism in order to explain t
of capitalism, and therefore a world of rich and poor and not a this delight not in the phenomena but behind them . . . For a
of weak and strong. Nietzsche, in constrast, brutally contra ment we become, ourselves, the primal Being, and we experi-
asceticism of priests and philosophers who extol silence, povei insatiable hunger for existence Pity and terror notwith-
, we realize our great good fortune in having life — not as
chastity, with the will to power. The explanation is that Wi
ls, but as part of the life force with whose procreative lust we
3.
writing of the economic and social world, and Nietzsche of the ome one.
of thought, as he accuses the philosophers of having turned mi
behaviour appropriate to their own work in to universal virtue - to Nietzsche, the Dionysiac myth which escapes the
shift of perspective has decisive implications. Unlike Weberea~ i of social life can appear only when the union between a
Nietzschean man is not a social man. Nietzsche looks to the 1: l a civilization disappears. In France, its disappearance has
his models, to Ancient Rome and to the Italian Renaissanc it in an exemplary, if dangerous form. The Dionysiac myth
virtal of the Renaissance is the highest expression of a will to >e a German myth, precisely because it is asocial and does
that has acquired a taste for knowledge. We have killed God, a pond to any national consciousness. Ever since Luther’s
guilt feeds on our desire for submission and redemption. W iany has been the land of ‘becoming’, of a will—to—be that
therefore go beyond murder, beyond good and evil, and red been exhausted in political and social forms. Only the
.'i,
M
or create a natural existence which is free of all asceticism . pirit can fight modern decadence and the degeneration of
I§l'=\; “
. . J alienation. Doing so requires a combination of desire and 1 ean race. It is difficult to interpret this argument, which is
‘l ' .i i’V.
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,‘ 1 domination and self—control. This is not an internalization ed from the nationalism, bureaucracy and militarism of
l*\
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l3“r 1 L . 1; in liberation of the self, a return to Dionysus. This was the p ; State. We also know that Nietzsche was, in his day, one
, . . , V ..
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5“:-1| , ‘i.,
theme of‘ the young Nietzsche who wrote The Birth of T resolute opponents of anti~Semitism. It would therefore be
i
(Nietzsche 1872) and saw in Wagner a return to Dionysus, yet :0 confuse him with the Nazism that claimed to be his heir.
H ll
few years later Nietzsche denounced the composer of Parsz did not identify with the nation or the German Vol/e. The
having reverted to a Christian morality. Gilles Deleuze is right manifestation of the Being or the One to which he refers
that Dionysus is contrasted with Socrates and ]esus rather tha 'ever, have as its Vehicle the will of a people, and more
Appollo, who is his necessary compiement. For Dionysus is li I the will of the German people, who have ‘risen up in
therefore a supra-individual principle. disgust’ against '“modern ideas” (Nietzsche 1888: 185).
Nietzsche escapes English utilitarianism only by outflanki constantly refers to ‘slave peoples’. Because of his origins,
Christian idea of the Subject, by moving further and furthe es to some extent with Russia and Poland, but his main
from empiricism and by rising above individuality. He is fasi .0n is with the German people. He contrasts the German
by the Eleusinian rites because we find ‘a recognition that wl :h both French civilization and English thought, and the
exists is all of a piece, and that individuation is the root of all rast will be drawn in different terms by Tonnies, whose
conception of art as the sanguine hope that the spell of indivic Y between society and community (Tonriies 1957) is not
may yet be broken, as an augury of eventual reintegration’ (Nit certain nostalgia for community, or a certain nationalism.
1872: 67). This is a nostalgia for Being, a desire to go l phiiosophy of the Enlightenment, society and history were
consciousness — or against consciousness — and to return, to th ZS of a single reality. That idea is still very much present in
which is not the divine world but a world that predates the night, which identifies France with the triumph of reason
world of paganism in which man himself is a god, a demigt m This new alliance between the temporal and the spiritual
hero. Our civilization has no myths. It has lapsed in to decat pace for the freedom of anyone who is not defined in terms
and France is at once the most brilliant and the worst example rticipation in progress, as embodied in the nation. German
decadence. It is attempting to recreate a foundation myth ) f which Nietzsche is a prime representative, dissociates
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nation and rationalization. He attacks abstract men who have1';&§%,'§§§.2 and Illa Slaw? IT101'al1'EY- But 15 It 111 {E1015 8 p0ll1I1CS? The
constructive myths, abstract education, abstract law and the '=- I -:
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State in the name of the national myth, of something more 1: to free man, an ‘animal with the right to make promises’
than a collective will, namely the very life—force of a concretéé
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to the opening words of the second essay on The Genealogy
-
historical Being‘ N-ietZSChe,S thought is an appeal to both Being. (Nietzsche 1887: 189), and one capable of turning life in to
the movement of the nation’s self—assertion. The appeal to Being Gay Scimge calls ‘gt means to ,knQW1Qdg@,_ Nietzsche
him beyond good and evil, and allows him to reconcile freedom thus: ‘With this principle in one’s heart one can live not
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necessity. In The Gay Science, he writes (Nietzsche 1882: but gaily, and laugh gaily too. And who knows how to
want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is and live well if he does not first know a good deal
things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. and victory’ (Nietzsche 1882: 255).
fati: let that be my love henceforth.’ themes are contained in the words ‘rejection of
The superman is capable of an amor fart and knows
' K e wic ' e ness 1I1
' man is ngcessaf Y for the
as morality’, ‘gaiery’ and ‘Wfl1"- The ¢0H1I1"101"1 £34101‘ lD@t'W€€I1
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in him’ (Nietzsche 1883w~92: 235). Nietzsche is clearly HOE calling and the subordination of individual Being and the life it
the 1' eration
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for the trans ormation o nature in to ' a wor of art and .___._ cr1t1 Cl ue 1S radical
_ onl_Y because it 1S antisocial
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acceptance of the Eternal Return: ‘Everything goes, everythirigiigi... of so many artists and intellectuals to a civil society and a
returns,- t e w ee o existence' ro s for ever. Eve YY thin g _. Y theY identifY with a P hilistine caP italism. His thou Sht
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15¢ everything blossoms anew; the year of existence runs on for light on a major aspect of the fragmented modernity we I
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ii“ (Nietzsche 1883—92): 234). This elevation to Being and art is in the previous chapter. Nostalgia for Being and an appeal
i; ent with the central current in German thought from SCl{11l_l€1':_~';l§(§‘lf'§§§55$ energy are the two main forms of resistance to modernity,
1;; i Holderlin and the young Hegel, all of whom studied together thereturn to something that lies beyond the social, and which can
\'.l'i, Stift in Tiibingen. It is associated with the national spirit, as all the God who died. With Nietzsche, thought becomes antiso-
reject a modernity which they identify with social integration, and antimodern. Sometimes it will become antibourgeois, and 'll’=
., it alization and bourgeois civilization. _ it will become antidemocratic, but it will always be wary
The association is fragile: the appeal to the peoplerapidly any face-to-face encounter between the forces and social actors of
nationalism and Comes in to conflm Wlth aesthetlclsm, But 1; Irrespective of whether it appealsvto the unity of Being,
more fragile than the Christian consciousness or the social 1‘-allonal 5P11'1t 01' the evolullon of l'119t°TY> 115 always tal<6$ the Path
that provide the basis for modern democratic action. In the l¢&<?l$ I0 1 return ‘E0 the One, Y0 H Wl10l@- A5 1 Y@$ul11, the
moment of its triumph, utilitarianism finds itself faced with century Wlll be a century of confrontation in which societies
adversaries. They sometimes seem to have a lot in common, but tllfilf utm-OSI ‘E0 S@I'V@ tl'1@1I‘ gods, and Will hurl tl'1@I11$@lVfiS 111
are in fact diametrically opposed to one another: Nietzschean §tti§:‘i»f.ia’;’.gstruggle
to the death over the empty tomb of the God of
ism and the democratic spirit, which is based upon the defence of b"’4--2 Nietzsche himself avoids this all too real war, partly
weak and the exploited as well as on the idea of human he refuses to make an absolute break with Christianity.
intellectuals of my generation often opted for Nietzsche s \.'s;§§>§<
<f"e
Good and Evil and the final pages of The Genealogy of
logical critique of bourgeois civilization rather than for the re—_establ_ish acertain continuity with the religion that associ-
critique of capitalist domination, even though the expansion"-1-"1qf;§%’?§$@:§§'?'l%??3§'-'$ulf¢Y1ug Will! Wllllug mil the figure Of Christ, and Wl-'11Cl1 taught
totalitarian regimes did produce some convergences and similaritie_sg It 1S necessary that the emotions be cooled’ (Nietzsche 1887:
that were more apparent than real, as the grand politics u'1u$'E be Sublimated in ‘£0 tllfi paSSi011 Of love. AS historicism
dreamed of in his last years was anything but demon-ati¢_ in progress become exhausted, Nietzsche’s thought takes on
importance and eventually becomes dominant In France,
inversion of values now comes to be typified by the transition
,,
the Revolution to Napoleon. Nietzsche’s politics was intended it inspired the reaction against the ideology of moderni-
a struggle against decadence, or in other words against that accompanied the period of rapid economic growth which

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0 emity in nszs The Destruction of the Ego 115


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followed the Second World War. Gianni Vattimo (1985) _ {W |


is intended to free man from all the decadent tende ncles ' _
describes Nietzsche as the source of pOst-modernism. Nietzscheiwagzi tian democrat ' ' - - - -
the first to sh O w the e Xhau S tion of the mO dern s P irit 1'n ‘e P i g°n1§§}%§a§:t
'- .1 ‘ i ’ S Ih Ought lc and £'€mmme
easily _ thata result
becomes nostalgia In sub]
forect1vatlOn'
Being and a
More enerall he is the best re resentative of the hiloso hi¢ai;? --{Oh with th ‘ - - - .
~\_,;»4L- 0 .
obsessiin withyia. lost Bein 8» of thepnihilism that triurn PFllfld. _ Q? .h_. -;-was steepe d in ' 6Nietzsche,
nation as to hvmgallY Cqmmunltyi
himself with ItNazism ,
and it is
led Heidegger’
death of God. ContemP orary thought is characterized b Y an _ I _ ..._. I”-:":"55ible to is 0 l a t e Nietzsche
' himself
' from the rise - of nationaligms
. .
signais the first great crisis in the modernist
ing divorce between those who, following Marx, make, not B€IE1j§:§;;;g§i‘l
with A 1;ati?)T1]$1Yer$d c as great an exaggeration to identify
but the struggle waged against social domination in the name
human S11l3]6Ct or nature, the principle of order and of the unity;=;-.¢gl“%;. h 1 lst “V9 (Dmflg) 18 rtvwould be to regard
-IS:-=81’11Z ropo ogy as a necessary response to utilitarianism and social
the world, and those who, inspired by Nietzsche, turn toward:s__;_gg", ‘?‘?@§3
Being—in—the—world. This is a form of energy,‘ but it is A thinker can be seen as a particular element in 3 cultural
bearer of a tradition, a culture, or a history. It is therefore definsag _‘-“V0 “mg °_tl_1@1' elements, Which are not ideas but
bY its nationalism. Nietzsche was both the first to social and political forces. We might also recall that
modernist illusion, or the idea that there is a correspondence himself reminds us that a thinker exists at the heart of a
P ersonal develo P ment and social inte 8 ration_ > and the P l'11lOSO‘ ;§§.%aa»» ivi e y con icting ' interests.
' -
Consciousness . .
and interiority
h ' b cl t f E
W O lm “B sec °1"5 O uYOP@an tho ht th t
“'5 W1 Q nos 3 Sm 01'l f -. ,,. '
gag./~»;afi..,,,._are..instruments for the defence of the poor; .
life .
1S reactive
a matterformsfor the
ma l_\lietzche’s dichotomy between active and of
that has often led to the celebration of particular natural and
liififiaviour is indeed a social dichotomy, and it is no accident that his
Post—Nietzschean modernist thought is critical, and it is -. - - vfiw/r»~.~:='~.~: . .. YShoulci be directed against the Weak 3 democracy and Women I
by the rise of an antimodern school of thought which concentratesfigfigg ;i2glie%te,_of cil")ucial importance, and {intend to defend
1):‘ |' gpofthf S b_o view ly demonstrating in this book that the
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