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The Re-Enchantment of the WorldSecular Magic in a Rational Age$
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Joshua Landy and Michael Saler

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804752992

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804752992.001.0001

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The Birth of Ideology from the Spirit of Myth: Georges Sorel Among the Idéologues

The Birth of Ideology from the Spirit of Myth: Georges Sorel Among the Idéologues

(p.201) Chapter 11 The Birth of Ideology from the Spirit of Myth: Georges Sorel Among the Idéologues
The Re-Enchantment of the World

Dan Edelstein

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the possibility of a secular form of collective salvation—a secular messianism. It offers a revisionary view of Georges Sorel, looking at a blend of myth and politics often seen as leading to fascism. It looks at the attempt to reconcile mythic, “enchanted” thought with a rational and secular form of politics. Sorel believed that modern politics had become disenchanted by ideologies that enumerated the social goals to be achieved. Disagreeing with established conceptions of ideologies, he complained that they spoke to the head, not to the heart, and thus were ineffective. He noted that genuine political change would only occur if deliberative thought was complemented by emotional fervor. This chapter argues that Sorel's strategy remains relevant for contemporary political life: enchantment need not be reason's opposite, but can instead be its partner.

Keywords:   collective salvation, secular messianism, Georges Sorel, fascism, modern politics

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