Voegelin on Cassirer

Voegelin reviewing Cassirer’s The Myth of the State:

Even when [Cassirer] describes the emergence of a new myth…. he seems to be insensitive to the inner movement of mythical creations: that the new myth emerges because the old myth has disinteg-rated. In the present book there is no awareness that the myth is an indispensable forming element of social order though, curiously enough, in his earlier work on the philosophy of the myth Cassirer, under the influence of Schelling, had seen this problem quite clearly. The overcoming of the “darkness of myth” by reason is in itself a problematical victory because the new myth which inevitably will take the place of the old one may be highly unpleasant. The Myth of the State is written as if it had never occurred to the author that tampering with a myth, unless one has a better one to put in its place, is a dangerous pastime.

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