On the union of nations

 The following text is an excerpt from La trahison des clercs (Benda, p. 141-142):

‘‘The thing to possess would be the whole earth, and they would finally come to realize that the only way to exploit it properly is by union, while the desire to set themselves up as distinct from others would be transferred from the nation to the species, arrogantly drawn up against everything which is not itself. And, as a matter of fact, such a movement does exist. Above classes and nations there does exist a desire of the species to become the master of things, and, when a human being flies from one end of the world to the other in a few hours the whole human race quivers with pride and adores itself as distinct from all the rest of creation. (…) It is Man, and not the nation or the class, whom Nietzsche, Sorel, Bergson extol in his genius for making himself master of the world. It is humanity, and not any one section of it whom Auguste Comte exhorts to plunge into consciousness of itself and to make itself the object of its adoration. Sometimes one may feel that such an impulse will grow ever stronger, and that in this way inter-human wars will come to an end. In this way humanity would attain ‘universal fraternity’. But far from being the abolition of the national spirit with its appetites and its arrogance, this would simply be its supreme form, the nation being called Man and the enemy God. Thereafter, humanity would be unified in one immense army, one immense factory, would be aware only of heroisms, disciplines, inventions, would denounce all free and disinterested activity, would long cease to situate the good outside the real world, would have no God but itself and its desires, and would achieve great things; by which I mean that it would attain to a really grandiose control over the matter surrounding it, to a really joyous consciousness of its power and its grandeur. And History will smile to think that this is the species for which Socrates and Jesus Christ died.’’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s