Books by this author
It is clear that the task facing Christians and the church differs entirely according to whether we think of ourselves as being in a secularized, social, lay, and grown-up world which is ready to hear a demythicized, rationalized, explicated, and humanized gospel the world and the gospel being in full and spontaneous harmony because both want to be nonreligious—or whether we think of ourselves as being in a world inhabited by hidden gods, a world haunted by myths and dreams, throbbing with irrational impulses, swaying from mystique to mystique, a world in which the Christian revelation has once again to play its role as negator and destroyer of the sacred obsessions, of the religious phantasmagoria, in order to liberate man and bring him, not to the self his demons are making him want to be, but to the self his Father wills him to be.
27 min read
Now, more than ever before, man is enslaving himself to things and to other men through the religious process. It is not technology itself which enslaves us, but the transfer of the sacred into technology. That is what keeps us from exercising the critical faculty, and from making technology serve human development. It is not the state which enslaves us, not even a centralized police state. It is its sacral transfiguration (as inevitable as that of technology), which makes us direct our worship to this conglomerate of offices. It is not sex which is wicked and which perverts us. It is the ideology of repression, and at the same time equally the ideology of the liberation of man through sex. That is when man enters a mystique still just as infertile.
7 min read
It can be said that these religions are both spontaneous and fabricated. They are spontaneous because man, of his own accord, will contribute his worship of the supreme head, the father, the saviour, the director. He has need of grandeur, of truth, of justice, of good, of pardon. He will find these there, and only there. They are fabricated because the power, in its role as technician, is precisely in need of love and adoration. The state no longer is willing to be “the coldest of all the cold monsters.” It needs to be warm, friendly, neighbourly, hence the paternal and benign visage of Stalin, and the joyous, open, and understanding visage of Mao. One can say that the more a power is organized, rationalized, and strict, the more it needs the irrational and mystical behavior of the people with respect to it. It has to be given a love and a warmth by Man.
51 min read
It seems that the more technology and organization are rationalized, so that, logically, they should rationalize man and his behavior, the more, to the contrary, irrationalities increase. Everything is happening as though man could not stand this logic (even a living logic) and had reacted violently against everything which normalizes him. In the presence of technical rationality, we are seeing a ground swell of basic irrationalism. The more the technical universe becomes organized, the more man blows apart in disorder.
55 min read
History’s myth of progress is always accompanied by the myth of youth. Civilizations turned toward the past had the myth of old age. We have surely changed, and that change itself is weighted with profound significance. The sameness of this youth, which is everywhere alike, takes the pungency out of the discourse in its praise. Though rationally based, because youth represents the maximum in working energy, the maximum capacity for progress and the greatest strength for the battle, the myth nevertheless cannot stop at that. It is true that we need the young in the face of superabundant technical progress, for only they can adapt to the endless innovations. It is true that scientific research always calls for a newly trained, hence a young, personnel, and that the need for increased production requires the young even more. Of course. But from that, one passed on solemnly to the well-known tautology that youth is the hope of the future, and in this attitude one is leaning automatically on the myths of progress and happiness.
47 min read
The truth is that for nearly a half century we have witnessed a massive invasion by the sacred into our western world. Rational man has not been able to adhere to his rationality. In the end, the world is revealed to have a number of false bottoms. The more man penetrates into himself the more he is led to question the systematic certitudes so painfully acquired during the nineteenth century. We are detecting the remote depths which can no longer be concealed, and we have learned that our lucid intelligence rests on a base of mystery. We have seen reasonable man caught up in waves of mystic insanity and acting like a barbarian. We have witnessed the exasperated search for universal communions, from surrealism to jazz to eroticism. The fact is that man cannot live without participation in the sacred, and we are seeing his protest.
55 min read
Secularization which is an expression of atheistic humanism is presented as a formulation of moral values in the domain of the profane: justice, solidarity, equality, dignity of the person, and on the global scale the project of a new earth, a humanity of the future. “The awareness of man’s powers doubles for an awareness of his rights, duties and responsibilities.” This attitude is treated as good, as much for scientific research as for the formulation of values. That is how science can advance (and has in fact advanced). That is how man can become fully himself.
41 min read
The shape Christendom takes will depend on the energy of Christians, on the one hand, and on the extent of social disorder and the inadequacy of the political powers, on the other. But it is impossible to refuse to establish a Christian society. If we want each Christian to live out his faith in a concrete way in his personal life, how can we not want all Christians to do so in a collective way? And if Christianity is political, can we help but want a political order that is inspired by faith?
24 min read
What is called Technique can be assimilated neither to the machine nor to a collection of machines, methods and products. No longer a secondary factor integrated into a nontechnical society and civilisation, Technique has become the dominant factor in the Western world, so that the best name for our society is the “technicist society”.
20 min read