Page:Georges Sorel, Reflections On Violence (1915).djvu/20

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6
REFLECTIONS ON VIOLENCE

misfortune? Disciples have nearly always exercised a pernicious influence on the thought of him they called their master, and who has often believed himself obliged to follow them. There is no doubt that his transformation by young enthusiasts into the leader of a party was a real disaster for Marx; he would have done much more useful work if he had not been the slave of the Marxists.

People have often laughed at Hegel's belief—that humanity, since its origins, had worked to give birth to the Hegelian philosophy, and that with that philosophy Spirit had at last completed its development. Similar illusions are found to a certain extent in all founders of schools; disciples expect their master to close the era of doubt by giving final solutions to all problems. I have no aptitude for a task of that kind. Every time that I have approached a question, I have found that my enquiries ended by giving rise to new problems, and the farther I pushed my investigations the more disquieting these new problems became. But philosophy is after all perhaps only the recognition of the abysses which lie on each side of the footpath that the vulgar follow with the serenity of somnambulists.

It is my ambition to be able occasionally to stir up personal research. There is probably in the mind of every man, hidden under the ashes, a quickening fire, and the greater the number of ready-made doctrines the mind has received blindly the more is this fire threatened with extinction; the awakener is the man who stirs the ashes and thus makes the flames leap up. I do not think that I am praising myself without cause when I say that I have sometimes succeeded in liberating the spirit of invention in my readers; and it is the spirit of invention which it is above all necessary to stir up in the world. It is better to have obtained this result than to have gained the banal approbation of people who