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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter I: The Evolution of Life Mechanism and Teleology
Topic 15: Variation and Heredity
by Doug Renselle
Doug's Pre-review Commentary
Start of Review

Chapter I II
Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 
Chapter III IV
22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47

Move to any Topic of Henri Louis Bergson's Creative Evolution,
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Topic 15...............Variation and Heredity


(Most quotes verbatim Henri Louis Bergson, some paraphrased.)

(Relevant to Pirsig, William James Sidis, and Quantonics Thinking Modes.)


"Neo-Lamarckism is therefore, of all the later forms of evolutionism, the only one capable of admitting an internal and psychological principle of development, although it is not bound to do so. And it is also the only evolutionism that seems to us to account for the building up of identical complex organs on independent lines of development. For it is quite conceivable that the same effort to turn the same circumstances to good account might have the same result, especially if the problem put by the circumstances is such as to admit of only one solution. But the question remains, whether the term "effort" must not then be taken in a deeper sense, a sense even more psychological than any neo-Lamarckian supposes.

"For a mere variation of size is one thing, and a change of form is another. That an organ can be strengthened and grow by exercise, nobody will deny. But it is a long way from that to the progressive development of an eye like that of the molluscs and of the vertebrates. If this development be ascribed to the influence of light, long continued but passively received, we fall back on the theory we have just criticized. If, on the other hand, an internal activity is appealed to, then it must be something quite different from what we usually call an effort, for never has an effort been known to produce the slightest complication of an organ, and yet an enormous number of complications, all admirably coördinated, have been necessary to pass from the pigment-spot of the Infusorian to the eye of the vertebrate. But, even if we accept this notion of the evolutionary process in the case of animals, how can we apply it to plants?"

(Our bold and color.)

Bergson restarts his footnote counts on each page. So to refer a footnote, one must state page number and footnote number.

Our bold and color highlights follow a code:

  • black-bold - important to read if you are just scanning our review
  • green-bold - we see Bergson suggesting axiomatic memes
  • violet-bold - an apparent classical problematic
  • blue-bold - we disagree with this text segment while disregarding context of Bergson's overall text
  • gray-bold - quotable text
  • red-bold - our direct commentary

"Here, variations of form do not seem to imply, nor always to lead to, functional changes; and even if the cause of the variation is of a psychological nature, we can hardly call it an effort, unless we give a very unusual extension to the meaning of the word. The truth is, it is necessary to dig beneath the effort itself and look for a deeper cause.

"This is especially necessary, we believe, if we wish to get at a cause of regular hereditary variations. We are not going to enter here into the controversies over the transmissibility of acquired characters; still less do we wish to take too definite a side on this question, which is not within our province. But we cannot remain completely indifferent to it. Nowhere is it clearer that philosophers can not to-day content themselves with vague generalities, but must follow the scientists in experimental detail and discuss the results with them. If Spencer had begun by putting to himself the question of the hereditability of acquired characters, his evolutionism would no doubt have taken an altogether different form. If (as seems probable to us) a habit contracted by the individual were transmitted to its descendants only in very exceptional cases, all the Spencerian psychology would need re-making, and a large part of Spencer's philosophy would fall to pieces. Let us say, then, how the problem seems to us to present itself, and in what direction an attempt might be made to solve it.

"After having been affirmed as a dogma, the transmissibility of acquired characters has been no less dogmatically denied, for reasons drawn a priori from the supposed nature of germinal cells. It is well known how Weismann was led, by his hypothesis of the continuity of the germ-plasm, to regard the germinal cells—ova and spermatozoa—as almost independent of the somatic cells. Starting from this, it has been claimed, and is still claimed by many, that the hereditary transmission of an acquired character is inconceivable."

(Our bold and color.)










It is worthwhile to note that neo-Darwinian evolution, also called "synthetic theory" of evolution has retained prominence among many biologists at least until Millennium II's end. Sadly, it is a classical and objective theory of evolution. In other words, it retains much radical mechanism and radical finalism which Bergson considers problematic (so do we). But quantum biology is arising, even growing with such amazing robustness, that we do not know just what its current theory of evolution is.

We can tell you what we, in Quantonics, think. In a sense, we already have been telling you that in this review. We think reality is quantum. We think all constituents of reality are quantons. Thus, for example, humans are quantons.

Bergson speaks as though acquired heredity must come either from external affects or internal affects. At this early stage of his book, he may just be using that as a classical pretender. We will know for sure by book's end. At this stage, we must assume he adheres that particular classical either internal or external hereditary acquisition as his theory of hereditary evolution. In Quantonics, our quanton interrelates both its internals and externals, so both affect acquired heritable evolute changes in humans. Where Bergson speaks of a somatic envelope objectively separating interior from exterior, we see a quantum commingling and compenetration of our quantons' actuality and nonactuality with other quantons' actualities and nonactualities. You may get a more vivid explanation of our view of us commingling both actualities and nonactualities at our previously referenced link to Our Minds as Quantum Stages Perceiving Illusory Stairways. If we were to conjecture on what aspects of reality we think contribute to acquired heritable traits we would list:

  • our own personal local actuality,
  • to a lesser extent—other both local and nonlocal actualities, and
  • nonactuality itself.

So you may ask, "Doug, how do these nonpersonal actualities and nonactualities affect an individual?" That is a superb question. If you read Dr. Irving Stein's description of a Schrödinger quantum object's isometric walk in nonspace (his rough metaphor of our nonactuality—we say "rough" because Stein treats nonspace as a quantum symmetrical conjugate (which magically, somehow, still offers "unlimited possibilities") of his space—our nonactuality is not a symmetrical conjugate of our actuality—where Stein's space-nonspace appears classically conservative and thus closed—our realty's actuality-nonactuality is quantumly nonconservative and thus open) you may begin to grasp an analogue of what we think happens at Planck rate special (i.e., Quality) events or measurements. Each event where our quantons (all or any subset(s)) participate in a quantum measurement, they take a very brief partially coherent hiatus into nonactuality. At some point all quantons involved in a given measurement make a choice for what happens next (See our classical homogeneous time vis-a-vis quantum heterogeneous time graph.). If their choice affects a change our personal quanton absorbs, or latches, or frets that change. This process repeats over and over in vast, parallel, omnimensional, omniadic, unending Planck rate driven choice, chance, change ontological loops. Each of countless loops' measurement hiatuses offers opportunity for entangled local and nonlocal quantons—via and including nonactuality—to coobsfect one another and affect pluralistic/heterogeneous, incremental, quantal changes. All of that is what we call our Quantonic view of quantum evolution. We halfway expect Bergson to arrive somewhere close to that view by his Creative Evolution book's end. In about a month from now (6Nov2000), we should know.


"But if, perchance, experiment should show that acquired characters are transmissible, it would prove thereby that the germ-plasm is not so independent of the somatic envelope as has been contended, and the transmissibility of acquired characters would become ipso facto conceivable; which amounts to saying that conceivability and inconceivability have nothing to do with the case, and that experience alone must settle the matter. But it is just here that the difficulty begins. The acquired characters we are speaking of are generally habits or the effects of habit, and at the root of most habits there is a natural disposition. So that one can always ask whether it is really the habit acquired by the soma of the individual that is transmitted, or whether it is not rather a natural aptitude, which existed prior to the habit. This aptitude would have remained inherent in the germ-plasm which the individual bears within him, as it was in the individual himself and consequently in the germ whence he sprang. Thus, for instance, there is no proof that the mole has become blind because it has formed the habit of living underground; it is perhaps because its eyes were becoming atrophied that it condemned itself to a life underground.(1) If this is the case, the tendency to lose the power of vision has been transmitted from germ to germ without anything being acquired or lost by the soma of the mole itself. From the fact that the son of a fencing-master has become a good fencer much more quickly than his father, we cannot infer that the habit of the parent has been transmitted to the child; for certain natural dispositions in course of growth may have passed from the plasma engendering the father to the plasma engendering the son, may have grown on the way by the effect of the primitive impetus, and thus assured to the son a greater suppleness than the father had, without troubling, so to speak, about what the father did."

Note (1) - Cuénot, "La Nouvelle Théorie transformiste" (Revue générale des sciences, 1894). Cf. Morgan, Evolution and Adaptation, London, 1903, p. 357.

(Our bold and color.)

"So of many examples drawn from the progressive domestication of animals: it is hard to say whether it is the acquired habit that is transmitted or only a certain natural tendency—that, indeed, which has caused such and such a particular species or certain of its representatives to be specially chosen for domestication. The truth is, when every doubtful case, every fact open to more than one interpretation, has been eliminated, there remains hardly a single unquestionable example of acquired and transmitted peculiarities, beyond the famous experiments of Brown-Séquard, repeated and confirmed by other physiologists.(1) By cutting the spinal cord or the sciatic nerve of guinea-pigs, Brown-Séquard brought about an epileptic state which was transmitted to the descendants. Lesions of the same sciatic nerve, of the restiform body, etc., provoked various troubles in the guinea-pig which its progeny inherited sometimes in a quite different form: exophthalmia [abnormal protrusion of one's eyeball(s)], loss of toes, etc. But it is not demonstrated that in these different cases of hereditary transmission there had been a real influence of the soma of the animal on its germ-plasm. Weismann at once objected that the operations of Brown-Séquard might have introduced certain special microbes into the body of the guinea-pig, which had found their means of nutrition in the nervous tissues and transmitted the malady by penetrating into the sexual elements.(2)"

Note (1) - Brown-Séquard, " Nouvelles recherches sur 1'épilepsie due à certaines lésions de la moere épiniéere et des nerfs rachidiens" (Arch. de physiologie, vol. ii., 1866, pp. 211, 422, and 497).

Note (2) - Weismann, Aufsäze über Vererbung, Jena, 1892, pp. 376-378, and also Vorträge über Descendenztheorie, Jena, 1902, vol. ii., p. 76.

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)

See Paul Pietsch's excellent Shufflebrain.


"This objection has been answered by Brown-Séquard himself;(1) but a more plausible one might be raised. Some experiments of Voisin and Peron have shown that fits of epilepsy are followed by the elimination of a toxic body which, when injected into animals,(2) is capable of producing convulsive symptoms. Perhaps the trophic disorders following the nerve lesions made by Brown-Séquard correspond to the formation of precisely this convulsion-causing poison. If so, the toxin passed from the guinea-pig to its spermatozoon or ovum, and caused in the development of the embryo a general disturbance, which, however, had no visible effects except at one point or another of the organism when developed. In that case, what occurred would have been somewhat the same as in the experiments of Charrin, Delamare, and Moussu, where guinea-pigs in gestation, whose liver or kidney was injured, transmitted the lesion to their progeny, simply because the injury to the mother's organ had given rise to specific "cytotoxins" which acted on the corresponding organ of the foetus.(3) It is true that, in these experiments, as in a former observation of the same physiologists,(4) it was the already formed foetus that was influenced by the toxins. But other researches of Charrin have resulted in showing that the same effect may be produced, by an analogous process, on the spermatozoa and the ova.(5)"

Note (1) - Brown-Séquard, "Hérédité d'une affection due à une cause accidentelle" (Arch. de physiologie, 1892, pp. 686 ff.).

Note (2) - Voisin and Peron, "Recherches sur la toxicité urinaire chez les épileptiques" (Arch. de neurologie, vol. xxiv., 1892, and xxv., 1893. Cf. the work of Voisin, L'Épilepsie, Paris, 1897, pp. 125-133).

Note (3) - Charrin, Delamare and Moussu, "Transmission expérimentale aux descendants de lésions développées chez les ascendants " (C. R. de l'Acad. des sciences, vol. cxxxv., 1902, p. 191). Cf. Morgan, Evolution and Adaptation, p. 257, and Delage, L'Hérédité, 2nd edition, p. 388.

Note (4) - Charrin and Delamare, "Hérédité cellulaire" (C. R. de l'Acad. des sciences, vol. cxxxiii., 1901, pp. 69-71).

Note (5) - Charrin, "L'Hérédité pathologique" (Revue générale des sciences, 15 janvier 1896).

(Our bold and color.)














We find most issues discussed by Bergson in his last few pages, when described classically and thus objectively, are relatively very complex and difficult to understand. By comparison, we find those same issues, when described Quantonically become much easier to grasp. An amazing result we experienced in these last few pages was an ability to anticipate outcomes easily. Better, Quantonic descriptions are incredibly simpler to teach, once one's students understand QTM fundamentals. CTMs keep both biological practitioners and their observed constituents unphysially (recall: 'physi' is Greek for nature) separate, a la Aristotle's third 'law' of excluded-middles.

Aristotle's radical thing-king is inappropriate any biological discipline. Objective thing-king has no place in biology. Why? It is lisr thinking! However, quantonic think-king is natural to biology. Why? It is a much more holistic, included-middle thinking mode. Biology is a science of included-middles, therefore it is a science of Quantonics! Biologists! Use QTMs! Dump CTMs! Doug. J


"To conclude, then: the inheritance of an acquired peculiarity in the experiments of Brown-Séquard can be explained by the effect of a toxin on the germ. The lesion, however well localized it seems, is transmitted by the same process as, for instance, the taint of alcoholism. But may it not be the same in the case of every acquired peculiarity that has become hereditary?

There is, indeed, one point on which both those who affirm and those who deny the transmissibility of acquired characters are agreed, namely, that certain influences, such as that of alcohol, can affect at the same time both the living being and the germ-plasm it contains. In such case, there is inheritance of a defect, and the result is as if the soma of the parent had acted on the germ-plasm, although in reality soma and plasma have simply both suffered the action of the same cause [for a comparison of Bergsonian objectivity to Quantonics read 'cause' as 'quantons']. Now, suppose that the soma can influence the germ-plasm, as those believe who hold that acquired characters are transmissible. Is not the most natural hypothesis to suppose that things happen in this second case as in the first, and that the direct effect of the influence [read 'influence' as 'quantonic affects'] of the soma is a general alteration of the germ-plasm? If this is the case, it is by exception, and in some sort by accident, that the modification of the descendant is the same as that of the parent. It is like the hereditability of the alcoholic taint: it passes from father to children, but it may take a different form in each child, and in none of them be like what it was in the father. Let the letter C represent the change in the plasm, C being either positive or negative, that is to say, showing either the gain or loss of certain substances."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)



This illustrates very well our last comments on CTMs vis-à-vis QTMs. Phages, viruses, bacteria, alcohol, prions, fungi, amoebae, cells, ribosomes, DNA, RNA, spermatozoa, eggs, lesions,…, all are quantons. When viewed as such, one grasps a generality unavailable to one's antique, passé, and obsolete Aristotelian/Newtonian/classical/objective biological perspective. From whence did we arrive here?

  1. Pirsig's generalization of all Static Quality (all actuality) as value patterns.
  2. A Quantonics extension of Bohr's quantum subject-object complementarity.
  3. Gary Zukav's Cantonese 'physics,' i.e., 'Wu Li,' or patterns of organic energy.

Reality's constituents are not classical objects, but value patterns! Further, Pirsig combined all previously classical subdivisions of actuality into that one class of 'value patterns,' and further, he told us that those patterns of value subsume all of actuality including that which we know and that which we do not yet know. Now what is left in Pirsig's MoQ model of reality? Nonactuality! He calls it "Dynamic Quality." It is nearly an exact metaphor of quantum vacuum flux! When he did that, previously denigrated classical subjective patterns, including "phenomena," became part of Pirsig's class of actual value patterns. Essentially, this is a dual of what we call a quantum both/and epiphany! I.e., reality is a both/and of nonactuality and actuality. Actuality is a both/and of subject and object. Etc. If you can grasp these essentials, you will, no—you shall, rise from classical thing-king doldrums into a new and wonderful realm of QTMs. Mae-wan Ho has…Brian Josephson has…Pirsig has…Dr. Stein is underway…we have… Won't you join us? Doug.

Bergson's 'modification' is quantonic, i.e.,

  • consider quanton(parent,child)
  • now consider quanton(alcohol,human)
  • consider quanton(cancer,human)
  • consider quanton(prion,cow)
  • how about quanton(human,steak)
  • and quanton(human,prion).

"The effect will not be an exact reproduction of the cause, nor will the change in the germ-plasm, provoked by a certain modification of a certain part of the soma, [Consider: Bergson's C issi quanton(soma,germ-plasm).] determine a similar modification of the corresponding part of the new organism in process of formation, unless all the other nascent parts of this organism enjoy a kind of immunity as regards C: the same part will then undergo alteration in the new organism, because it happens that the development of this part is alone subject to the new influence. And, even then, the part might be altered in an entirely different way from that in which the corresponding part was altered in the generating organism.

"We should propose, then, to introduce a distinction between the hereditability of deviation and that of character. An individual [a local quantum comtext, or quanton] which acquires a new character thereby deviates from the form it previously had, which form the germs [diploid quantons], or oftener the half-germs [haploid quantons], it contains would have reproduced in their development. If this modification does not involve the production of substances capable [quantons] of changing the germ-plasm, or does not so affect nutrition as to deprive the germ-plasm of certain of its elements, it will have no effect [doubtful: rather, outcomes are outside of human perceptual bandwidth] on the offspring of the individual. This is probably the case as a rule. If, on the contrary, it has some effect, this is likely to be due to a chemical change which it has induced in the germ-plasm. This chemical change might, by exception, bring about the original modification again in the organism which the germ is about to develop, but there are as many and more chances that it will do something else. In this latter case, the generated organism will perhaps deviate from the normal type as much as the generating organism, but it will do so differently. It will have inherited deviation and not character. In general, therefore, the habits formed by an individual have probably no echo in its offspring [rather, quanton(complement_echo,echo), a quantum both/and of echo and echo's unlimited ('mu') quantum complement]; and when they have, the modification in the descendants may have no visible likeness to the original one. Such, at least, is the hypothesis which seems to us most likely."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)


  • quanton(parent_soma,C);
  • quanton(C,parent_soma_germ-plasm);
  • quanton(parent_soma_germplasm_C,sperm_haploid);
  • quanton(sperm_haploid_C,egg_haploid);
  • quanton(diploid_C); quanton(child,C).

Now, reader, does our quantum egg take on more meaning to you? We did this egg artwork (15Nov98) almost two years prior to reading Bergson's works (September, 2000)!!! J

For a deeper, nonobjective semantic consider a QTM perspective of Bergson's use of 'hereditability' as 'co-here-edit-ability.' Then consider similarities and interrelationships to Bergson's words of these, more quantum intuemes: quantum coherence, Pirsigean cowithinitness, Jamesian compenetration, and quantum fluxes' physi of: coherence, decoherence, partial coherence, isocoherence, etc.



And why? It will experience new local comtexts: its own, unique local comtexts, other different quantum local and nonlocal comtexts, and absolute quantum flux.


"In any case, in default of proof to the contrary, and so long as the decisive experiments called for by an eminent biologist(1) have not been made, we must keep to the actual results of observation. Now, even if we take the most favorable view of the theory of the transmissibility of acquired characters, and assume that the ostensible acquired character is not, in most cases, the more or less tardy development of an innate character, facts show us that hereditary transmission is the exception and not the rule. How, then, shall we expect it to develop an organ such as the eye? When we think of the enormous number of variations, all in the same direction, that we must suppose to be accumulated before the passage from the pigment-spot of the Infusorian to the eye of the mollusc and of the vertebrate is possible, we do not see how heredity, as we observe it, could ever have determined this piling-up of differences, even supposing that individual efforts could have produced each of them singly. That is to say that neo-Lamarckism is no more able than any other form of evolutionism to solve the problem.

"In thus submitting the various present forms of evolutionism to a common test, in showing that they all strike against the same insurmountable difficulty, we have in no wise the intention of rejecting them altogether. On the contrary, each of them, being supported by a considerable number of facts, must be true in its way. Each of them must correspond to a certain aspect of the process of evolution. Perhaps even it is necessary that a theory should restrict itself exclusively to a particular point of view, in order to remain scientific, i.e. to give a precise direction to researches into detail. But the reality of which each of these theories takes a partial view must transcend them all. And this reality is the special object of philosophy, which is not constrained to scientific precision because it contemplates no practical application."

Note (1) - Giard, Controverses transformistes, Paris, 1904, p. 147.

(Our bold and color.)







Consider how Bergson's words, again, fit a quantum and MoQ perspective of many: quantum interpretations, truths, comtexts, lengths, masses, times, and gravities.


Bravo Bergson! Bravo!. Reader, in all Doug's work and reading and experiences, these are his most favored crown jewel quotations. Bergson says it all, for Doug, in these two sentences. Pirsig's MoQ transcends all other antecedent ISMs! Quantum science transcends all other antecedent sciences! Quantum philosophy transcends all other antecedent philosophies! And…where science is specific…philosophy is general…and…where classical science is more specific…quantum science is more general…and…where objects are more specific…quantons are more general. Bravo Bergson! Bravo!

See Doug's efforts describing enthymemetics as "Quantum~partiality." Doug - 3Mar2008.

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Doug Renselle
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Carmel, INdiana 46033-7730

©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2009 Rev. 10Apr2008  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(14Nov2001 rev - Add 'What Happens Next' link to page 78 comments. Add link to ontology loops.)
(15Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(16Jan2002 rev - Add page 82 comment link to our 'two types of complementarity.')
(28Nov2005 rev - Adjust colors. Add GIFs.)
(11Sep2006 rev - Reformat page colors and reset table constraints.)
(15Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(3Mar2008 rev - Add p. 78 comment link to our QELR of 'entangle.' Add p. 80 comment-link.)
(10Apr2008 rev - Reset legacy pink and red text on p. 80 with bold brown.)

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