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By René Thom

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It must be stressed, however, that individuals still consider churches to be trustworthy, at least as regards the guidance they give on spiritual and, to a lesser extent, moral matters. 5). When the churches’ claim to regulate society and the lives of individuals is brought into question it is a sure sign that a general secularization of that society is underway. The disinstutionalization of religiosity is a reaction against integralism, understood as the kind of religious system which, by imposing it conception of ethical social values and sexual behavior, exercises a controlling influence on all areas of people’s lives.

Although there are so many complaints about the lack of solidarity in our societies today, this is not because this particular value is disappearing as believed by some people with a certain amount of nostalgia for more rural societies. In fact, a kind of institutional solidarity as demonstrated through the role of the state and through the work of humanitarian and charitable organizations has substituted itself for the interpersonal, familial, and neighborly solidarity which characterized the more rural societies of the past.

The impact of these ruptures was still being felt across Europe centuries later, notably in the conf licts which have punctuated Irish history since the beginning of the last century, as well as the wars in Eastern Europe and Bosnia and Herzegovina which followed the disintegration of the communist bloc. In other words, far from being a unifying force, Europe’s religious baggage has been a constant source of divisiveness, manifesting itself not only in tension between nations, but also in relations between Church and State, and in the attitudes and behavior of various European populations.

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Esquisse d'une sémiophysique : Physique aristotélicienne et théorie des catastrophes by René Thom


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