Henri Bergson’s The Two Sources: Against Nature’s Static Religion

3 Jun

Henri Bergson’s work The Two Sources of Morality and Religion concern just those things. Bergson sections off an area in the work for Static Religion. The big topic concerns the division between man and other animals and their difference. Man and animal have differences in intelligence that everyone knows about. We would not have the problems and dilemmas we have everyday unless we were intelligent (more so than inferior animals). Bergson relates this intelligence of ours to the religion we believe and the deity(ies) we worship. Think about the connection between intelligence and having religion before reading on. Then go on.

Like in the other statement of Bergson I last addressed in my last Bergson opinionated work, a paragraph in Bergson’s text begins and explains things (most likely premises) and an end italicized inference (conclusion). The preceding material in the paragraph is necessary what Bergson means down to the word to understand the whole proposition. Bergson begins the paragraph about static religion, talking about how the actions of man are often uncertain because of our superior intelligence. Bergson states that for an animal, instinct and habit provides their daily routine and solves all of their momentary problems. A man having superior intelligence has the ability to imagine all scenarios and apparently, man will expect the worst scenario, this causes the man’s future to be uncertain because he knows about how possible it is that his life could go awry. The paragraph preceding the inference explains this thought about intelligence and man’s state. Bergson uses these facts to define static religion:

It is a defensive reaction of nature against what might be depressing for the individual, and dissolvent for society, in the exercise of intelligence” (Bergson).

By it, Bergson means static religion, or just religion to make things as simple as possible. This quote states that nature reacts in a defensive way because of the things in this world. In life, things might get depressing because, in short, life sucks (sometimes, not all the time, as it is shown here). What is depressing to the individual? We can probably name about a billion things: bills, foreclosure, divorce, bankruptcy, death, illness….. Lets define dissolvency. If something is solvent, it dissolves throughout everything, and the thing it dissolves in is okay with it being there and it will cooperate with it. If something is dissolvent, it does not cooperate with the things around it. What is dissolvent for society? Drugs, gambling, alcoholism, crime etc…. These things only occur according to Bergson because man and men in society are intelligent and they try to perceive everything, and in this process, depressing things and dissolvent things come about just because they are known to exist. Because of these intelligences, Bergson says that nature creates a defense against these depressive things and dissolvencies.  This defensive tactic that nature creates, involves itself in the lives of men and society making it feel better and secure about the bad things that can/will occur to them in their lifetime. If intelligence were not here, this would not even be needed, but men are intelligent and see all scenarios of their possible existence, and it scares them. Bergson says that nature uses religion or static religion as this defense mechanism to make man feel secure about the bad possibilities of existence.

Bergson saying that nature creates this defense in religion, creates a lot of room for argument. With this proposition, he states the following:

  • God does not exist, but rather nature controls the equilibrium of the universe and its life.
  • None of the current religions are truthful.
  • Bad bad things will happen to people on this earth and beyond.
  • There is no known purpose for the universe.
  • There is no known creator of the creatum.

The fact that nature is the entity/deity (maybe?) casting any defense to stabilize something, states that God does not exist. If God exists, nature is not a real living thing itself, just the living things God created. If nature is the thing casting any form of defense, the current religions it casts as defense  are all false. Also, people are doomed to bad bad results according to this statement. Nature, the possible deity that controls things, would be misleading its living things, because, the intelligence of the man causes him to rightly concern himself with the worst case scenarios that will likely happen to them. Nature using religion to disguise these truths is not something I can fathom. If these things are so, there is no purpose for existence of the man and living things. If there is a misleading, natura god that pretty much directs you to perish, there is no purpose for the life of the man. Because of there being no purpose, there cannot have been a creator either, and if there is not creator, there is no existence, unless that existence is a supreme deity, which in this case there is none. So there is no purpose, therefore no creator, therefore there cannot be any possibility for anything to exist in this small statement by Bergson. Bergson is wrong in this proposition.

I want to explain the way things really are before blatantly rejecting Bergson’ s statement here. One thing I love about Henri Bergson’s philosophy is that his ideas are outside of the box and I have to over explain myself to even understand why I do not agree with a certain statement of his. The world today, in real life, is created, run, loved, and caused by God. God does everything.  I reject this proposition because each stipulation that goes with this statement of Bergson’s goes against the possibilities of the way things are. We live here and serve a purpose to serve, love, and converse with God. We live here for Him. We will soon go to either heaven or hell based on our commitment to God. I use the word creatum a lot in my work because it represents all of the things created. I feel it works well because, the creatum and the creator are different entities and should be explained differently. I explain more about this in my work about Spinoza and Godly substance monism. I take the word creatum from use of it while arguing Spinoza’s position. If this statement of Bergson were true, only the creatum would exist, and this would be like Spinoza’s attribute existing without the existence of a substance: not possible. Nature is a part of the creatum. In reality, God created nature and nature does not control anything itself. Nature is just a largely categorized group of living things. Therefore, nature could not have done anything (could not have casted any defense).

Before I felt the need to explain the conditions Bergson states to exist in this proposition, before I wanted to explain what was suspectedly occurring. Placing aside the fact that nature could not cast any kind of defense because it is creatum and placing aside the fact that this defense would lead the man to doom, what is this religion that nature is supposedly passing?

Lets define religion (again aside from all of the previous things that disqualify Bergson’s statement from truth): The state of a religious commitment, or the devotion to a religious faith or observance. Nature is here using a falsity as a defense. This falsity is false because, it is not possible that this religion is true (like the reality one). The religion created as a defense to depression and dissolvency is a false truth that will lead the man to doom. This religion, regardless of its truth, causes a man to confide in it and trust it with his life. The man will practice it and adhere to it in his life as much as he can because he feels that it is the only way he can prevent himself from having bad things happen to him. When the man dies and suffers eternally, his trust is violated just because nature wanted to stabilize things for awhile. In Bergson’s statement, man would be continuously violated in his trust because of a false deity. Thank God, our god is not a part of the creatum and protects our lives.

Rejecting Bergson’s statement here, makes me thank God more and more that he will not violate our trust, let us have eternal hardships, or let us suffer eternally. Our God stays with us all the time making sure we are okay and are helped from our necessary hardships.

I feel that I want to again present Bergson’s proposition here logically. I want to show how Bergson is wrong in a few logical sentences of contradiction.

∀x(Nx –> ~Px)

In all existence, nature is not controlling.

∀x(Rx –> Tx)

In all existence, religion causes full trust.


In all existence, God exists and is all powerful.


In all existence, intelligence causes fear.

∀xRx(Fx –> ~Ex)

In all religion, fake ones do not cause equilibrium in nature and universe.

When religion is created and employed upon a certain number of people, it may have a certain power that causes people to believe in it and trust its deities.  Religion has an overpowering power of trust that could kill an elephant if it was poison. Religion should only be used for comfort, conversation with God, inspiration, spiritual involvement and other things when a true God is behind it. Without this true God, the religion is an empty shell that will have everlasting horrible effects on those that exit the religion. Because of this, Bergson is so wrong, because nothing (no existence) could just throw religion around to fit a situation for awhile just to stabilize some things. Once the religion blew over, it would have everlasting detrimental effects to the living men there and equilibrium and stability would no longer be a problem because of how bad things would be imbalanced.  Religion and its power should not be messed with.  Religion messes men up every day where they die after worshiping the wrong deity and practicing the wrong religion their whole lives and ending up in hell for eternity. That is the best example of the power of religion and its everlasting detrimental results, regardless of who uses religion loosely, it is wrong that it can be used so in any fashion.

As I explained before, it is also not possible that nature did the religion throwing and how it would stabilize things at all (it may stabilize the world for awhile, but once men find out the religion is an empty shell, there will be a forever imbalance in the world).

Bergson was right about one thing: intelligence causes men to know every possible scenario causing them to expect the worse scenario causing paranoidal depression and dissolvency. But the religion that is not empty, but has a true large and powerful deity is the religion that is not used as a defense tactic, but it is used as a device to save and comfort those who want the safety and comfort. This religion will save you from all worst case scenarios and it will help you get through the hard times here on earth. No member of the religion will find out that the religion is an empty case and end up in demise.

I think Bergson was inferring that religion is always an empty box and no deity ever shows up in this statement, but I immediately shoot down this opinion and show why the empty religious fake is so detrimental.

Bergson’s statement here, is just one thing that says that intelligence causes fear that something will have to cover, but in it, it packs so much inferences and conclusions that need to be addressed. It packs the thought that intelligence causes fear, that nature uses religion whenever it wants, it shows that God does not exist to sit behind religious environments, it shows that society and man needs to be balanced, it shows that no God exists, it shows that nature is the smallest possible controlling thing that exists, and on………… I believe I addressed all of them in different ways.

Comment below if you would like  on what you think about Bergson’s statement on static religion in the Two Sources. Comment below and I will respond in address to your thoughts.


One Response to “Henri Bergson’s The Two Sources: Against Nature’s Static Religion”

  1. Die Casts Wholesale June 4, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

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