Magic Talismans

Eric Voegelin called symbols divorced from the "engendering experience" that gave rise to the symbol "hieroglyphs." But we might also call them "magic talismans."

In the comments section on this article, we see someone claiming:

"Thomas Hobbes makes the argument more pungently, and more brutally. What is advocated here, is a kind of monarchy lite, a sentimental affection. Real monarchs (rulers, tyrants—Hobbes sees these all as basically synonyms) have real power.”

Hobbes is being invoked by this commenter as a kind of magic talisman that can be used to ward off evil monarchists. He does not even know Hobbes well enough to realize that for Hobbes the sovereign could just as well be a legislature, and the same characteristics would apply to it as to a king.

"Galileo" is often invoked as a similar sort of magic talisman in "science versus religion" debates by those who have no clue about the issues actually at play in the Galileo affair.

"The Spanish Inquisition" is a similarly talismanic object. So is "Munich."


  1. This is fascinating... Voegelin illuminates another part of human experience once again!


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