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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter I: The Evolution of Life Mechanism and Teleology
Topic 14: Orthogenesis
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,
or to beginning of its review via this set of links
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Topic 14...............Orthogenesis


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

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


"But in neither case can parallel development of the same complex structures on independent lines of evolution be due to a mere accumulation of accidental variations. So we come to the second of the two great hypotheses we have to examine. Suppose the variations are due, not to accidental and inner causes, but to the direct influence of outer circumstances. Let us see what line we should have to take, on this hypothesis, to account for the resemblance of eye-structure in two series that are independent of each other from the phylogenetic point of view.

"Though molluscs and vertebrates have evolved separately, both have remained exposed to the influence of light. And light is a physical cause [affects, i.e., not singular!] bringing forth certain definite effects [outcomes]. Acting in a continuous [quantal] way, it has been able to produce a continuous [quantal] variation in a constant [quantal] direction. Of course it is unlikely that the eye of the vertebrate and that of the mollusc have been built up by a series of variations due to simple chance. Admitting even that light enters into the case as an instrument of selection, in order to allow only useful variations to persist, there is no possibility that the play of chance, even thus supervised from without, should bring about in both cases the same juxtaposition of elements coördinated in the same way. But it would be different supposing that light acted directly on the organized matter so as to change its structure and somehow adapt this structure to its own form. The resemblance of the two effects would then be explained by the identity of the cause. The more and more complex eye would be something like the deeper and deeper imprint of light on a matter which, being organized, possesses a special aptitude for receiving it.

"But can an organic structure be likened to an imprint?"

(Our brackets, 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

Bergson's "Suppose the variations are due, not to accidental and inner causes, but to the direct influence of outer circumstances" opensq potentiaq for us to entertain Jungian sychronicity as "quantum~hologral~coaffectation" ihn its ubiquitous~perpetual quantum~adiabatic~superluminal manifesta. Via re cognizing this potentiaq we take a quantum epiphanous leap out of classical linear, mechanical, unitemporal SOM's box thing-king. Doug - 12Mar2014.

Our bracketed inserts show Bergson's own latent radical mechanism. Cause-effect, analytic continuity, and constant (determinate) direction are all artifacts of classical radical mechanism.

Reader, dichon(without, within) and dichon(external, internal) are additional facets of Bergson's latent mechanism.

Ditto "identity."

70 "We have already called attention to the ambiguity of the term "adaptation." The gradual complication of a form which is being better and better adapted to the mold of outward circumstances is one thing, the increasingly complex structure of an instrument which derives more and more advantage from these circumstances is another. In the former case, the matter merely receives an imprint; in the second, it reacts positively, it solves a problem. Obviously it is this second sense of the word "adapt" that is used when one says that the eye has become better and better adapted to the influence of light. But one passes more or less unconsciously from this sense to the other, and a purely mechanistic biology will strive to make the passive adaptation of an inert matter, which submits to the influence of its environment, mean the same as the active adaptation of an organism which derives from this influence an advantage it can appropriate. It must be owned, indeed, that Nature herself appears to invite our mind to confuse these two kinds of adaptation, for she usually begins by a passive adaptation [Pirsig's Static Quality] where, later on, she will build up a mechanism for active response [Pirsig's Dynamic Quality]. Thus, in the case before us, it is unquestionable that the first rudiment of the eye is found in the pigment-spot of the lower organisms; this spot may indeed have been produced physically, by the mere action of light, and there are a great number of intermediaries between the simple spot of pigment and a complicated eye like that of the vertebrates.—But, from the fact that we pass from one thing to another by degrees, it does not follow that the two things are of the same nature. From the fact that an orator falls in, at first, with the passions of his audience in order to make himself master of them, it will not be concluded that to follow is the same as to lead."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)







Agreeing with Pirsig's differentiation of exclusively static virtue and quality virtue, Bergson shows us how mechanism attempts to remove Dynamic Quality from adaptation by intentionally turning active into passive. Classical 'science' accomplishes this active (flux~life) to passive (state-death) hegemony by turning Planck's clock off, by disabling (killing) quantum~reality. In classical 'reality' this would illude atemporality and its attendant analytic stoppability, holds-still-ability, zero momentum reference framing of SOM's 'scientific' self delusions. We see this extreme mental retardation in Globalists and their hegemony over weather and world economic systems. Doug calls it "...kindergarten potty time retardation..." LOL... Doug - 12Mar2014.


"Now, living matter seems to have no other means of turning circumstances to good account than by adapting itself to them passively at the outset. Where it has to direct a movement, it begins by adopting it. Life proceeds by insinuation. The intermediate degrees between a pigment-spot and an eye are nothing to the point: however numerous the degrees, there will still be the same interval between the pigment-spot and the eye as between a photograph and a photographic apparatus. Certainly the photograph has been gradually turned into a photographic apparatus; but could light alone, a physical force, ever have provoked this change, and converted an impression left by it into a machine capable of using it?

"It may be claimed that considerations of utility are out of place here; that the eye is not made to see, but that we see because we have eyes; that the organ is what it is, and " utility " is a word by which we designate the functional effects of the structure. But when I say that the eye "makes use of" light, I do not merely mean that the eye is capable of seeing; I allude to the very precise relations that exist between this organ and the apparatus of locomotion. The retina of vertebrates is prolonged in an optic nerve, which, again, is continued by cerebral centres connected with motor mechanisms. Our eye makes use of light in that it enables us to utilize, by movements of reaction, the objects that we see to be advantageous, and to avoid those which we see to be injurious. Now, of course, as light may have produced a pigment-spot by physical means, so it can physially determine the movements of certain organisms; ciliated Infusoria, for instance, react to light. But no one would hold that the influence of light has physically caused the formation of a nervous system, of a muscular system, of an osseous system, all things which are continuous [quantal] with the apparatus of vision in vertebrate animals."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)

We disagree with Bergson's assumption here. Instead of life "starting out" as passive and then becoming active, we say that all quantons, including their proemial isoflux attractors are "aware, co-aware, and self-aware." So, in our view, reality is "aware." We see reality's awareness as an intrinsic of its proemial quantum flux. In quantum theory, Bergson's extra step of passivity-to-activity requires some (hegemonic other) pre-existing device extra to flux, where our Quantonic model does not. Search for 'recording' in our Quantum Interpretations.



Reader, you may note our insistence on Quantonics' use of "interrelationships." Quantum interrelationships coobsfect omniadically local quanton systems.



Greek for 'nature' is 'physi.' We surmise Bergson means 'naturally' here. Hey physicists! Did you know that? Physics means naturics! Or another possible view is that physical/physics is 'unnatural!' Consider a Bergsonesque quantonic view of this apparent both-all/and:




"The truth is, when one speaks of the gradual formation of the eye, and, still more, when one takes into account all that is inseparably connected with it, one brings in something entirely different from the direct action of light. One implicitly attributes to organized matter a certain capacity sui generis, the mysterious power of building up very complicated machines to utilize the simple excitation that it undergoes.

"But this is just what is claimed to be unnecessary. Physics and chemistry are said to give us the key to everything. Eimer's great work is instructive in this respect. It is well known what persevering effort this biologist has devoted to demonstrating that transformation is brought about by the influence of the external on the internal, continuously exerted in the same direction, and not, as Darwin held, by accidental variations. His theory rests on observations of the highest interest, of which the starting-point was the study of the course followed by the color variation of the skin in certain lizards. Before this, the already old experiments of Dorfmeister had shown that the same chrysalis, according as it was submitted to cold or heat, gave rise to very different butterflies, which had long been regarded as independent species, Vanessa levana and Vanessa prorsa: an intermediate temperature produces an intermediate [quantum included-middle] form. We might class with these facts the important transformations observed in a little crustacean, Artemia salina, when the salt of the water it lives in is increased or diminished.(1) In these various experiments the external agent seems to act as a cause of transformation. But what does the word "cause" mean here?"

Note (1) - It seems, from later observations, that the transformation of Artemia is a more complex phenomenon than was first supposed. See on this subject Samter and Heymons, "Die Variation bei Artemia Salina" (Anhang zu den Abhandlungen der k. preussischen A kad. der Wissenschaften, 1902).

(Our bold and color.)







Reader, please consider these three (or more) 'species' arising from a single chrysalis, as a type of quantum sophistry. You also may wish to review our other comments on Our Minds as Quantum Stages Perceiving Illusory Stairways. Look for 2D quantum included-middle twixt two toggling 3D projections!

Deeply affectq self'sq didacticsq and nous~weighq H5Wq those crysali are radically quantum~comtext sensitive, rqcs. Doug - 12Mar2014.

73 "Without undertaking an exhaustive analysis of the idea of causality, we will merely remark that three very different meanings of this term are commonly confused. A cause may act by impelling, releasing, or unwinding. The billiard-ball, that strikes another, determines its movement by impelling. The spark that explodes the powder acts by releasing. The gradual relaxing of the spring, that makes the phonograph turn, unwinds the melody inscribed on the cylinder: if the melody which is played be the effect, and the relaxing of the spring the cause, we must say that the cause acts by unwinding. What distinguishes these three cases from each other is the greater or less solidarity between the cause and the effect. In the first, the quantity and quality of the effect vary with the quantity and quality of the cause. In the second, neither quality nor quantity of the effect varies with quality and quantity of the cause: the effect is invariable. In the third, the quantity of the effect depends on the quantity of the cause, but the cause does not influence the quality of the effect: the longer the cylinder turns by the action of the spring, the more of the melody I shall hear, but the nature of the melody, or of the part heard, does not depend on the action of the spring. Only in the first case, really, does cause explain effect; in the others the effect is more or less given in advance, and the antecedent invoked is—in different degrees, of course—its occasion rather than its cause. Now, in saying that the saltness of the water is the cause of the transformations of Artemia, or that the degree of temperature determines the color and marks of the wings which a certain chrysalis will assume on becoming a butterfly, is the word "cause" used in the first sense? Obviously not: causality has here an intermediary sense between those of unwinding and releasing."

(Our bold and color.)




Compare quantum~intensity and...

    • as quantity as (photon affectationally~qualitative flux rate, thence effectuate-quantitative photon count) and
    • as qualitative~affectationq

...affectationq. Quantityc and qualityq are antinomialq one another in any senseq of quantum~intensity. Doug - 12Mar2014.


"Such, indeed, seems to be Eimer's own meaning when he speaks of the "kaleidoscopic" character of the variation,(1) or when he says that the variation of organized matter works in a definite way, just as inorganic matter crystallizes in definite directions.(2) And it may be granted, perhaps, that the process is a merely physical and chemical one in the case of the color-changes of the skin. But if this sort of explanation is extended to the case of the gradual formation of the eye of the vertebrate, for instance, it must be supposed that the physico-chemistry of living bodies is such that the influence of light has caused the organism to construct a progressive series of visual apparatus, all extremely complex, yet all capable of seeing, and of seeing better and better.(3) What more could the most confirmed finalist say, in order to mark out so exceptional a physico-chemistry? And will not the position of a mechanistic philosophy become still more difficult, when it is pointed out to it that the egg of a mollusc cannot have the same chemical composition as that of a vertebrate, that the organic substance which evolved toward the first of these two forms could not have been chemically identical with that of the substance which went in the other direction, and that, nevertheless, under the influence of light, the same organ has been constructed in the one case as in the other?

"The more we reflect upon it, the more we shall see that this production of the same effect by two different accumulations of an enormous number of small causes is contrary to the principles of mechanistic philosophy. We have concentrated the full force of our discussion upon an example drawn from phylogenesis. But ontogenesis would have furnished us with facts no less cogent."

Note (1) - Eimer, Orthogenesis der Schmetterlinge, Leipzig, 1897, p. 24. Cf. Die Entstehung der Arten, p. 53.

Note (2) - Eimer, Die Entstehung der Arten, Jena, 1888, p. 25.

Note (3) - Ibid. pp. 165 ff.

(Our bold and color.)

"Every moment, right before our eyes, nature arrives at identical results, in sometimes neighboring species, by entirely different embryogenic processes. Observations of "heteroblastia" have multiplied in late years,(1) and it has been necessary to reject the almost classical theory of the specificity of embryonic gills. Still keeping to our comparison between the eye of vertebrates and that of molluscs, we may point out that the retina of the vertebrate is produced by an expansion in the rudimentary brain of the young embryo. It is a regular nervous centre which has moved toward the periphery. In the mollusc, on the contrary, the retina is derived from the ectoderm directly, and not indirectly by means of the embryonic encephalon. Quite different, therefore, are the evolutionary processes which lead, in man and in the Pecten, to the development of a like retina. But, without going so far as to compare two organisms so distant from each other, we might reach the same conclusion simply by looking at certain very curious facts of regeneration in one and the same organism. If the crystalline lens of a Triton be removed, it is regenerated by the iris.(2) Now, the original lens was built out of the ectoderm, while the iris is of mesodermic origin. What is more, in the Salamandra maculata, if the lens be removed and the iris left, the regeneration of the lens takes place at the upper part of the iris; but if this upper part of the iris itself be taken away, the regeneration takes place in the inner or retinal layer of the remaining region.(3)"

Note (1) - Salensky, 'Heteroblastie" (Proc. of the Fourth International Congress of Zoology, London, 1899, pp. 111-118). Salensky has coined this word to designate the cases in which organs that are equivalent, but of different embryological origin, are formed at the same points in animals related to each other.

Note (2) - Wolff, "Die Regeneration der Urodelenlinse" (Arch. f. Entwickelungsmechanik, i., 1895, pp. 380 ff.).

Note (3) - Fischel, "Uber die Regeneration der Linse" (Anat. Anzeiger, xiv., 1898, pp. 373-380).

(Our bold and color.)

Nature reuses what works better. That is another way to describe evolution. Nature reuses atoms. She reuses, biologically, six specific atoms (S, C, H, O, N, P) for both nucleic (C, H, O, N, P) and amino acids(S, C, H, O, N). So we are not surprised by nature's patterns of reuse. Nor are we surprised to see her reuse of successful patterns across many phyla and species. What is important to remember is that no two of those patterns (e.g., atoms, molecules, etc.) is ever identical, and that all of those patterns are always in flux! Quantum Planck rate flux! For some deeper quantum~essence see Doug's CeodE 2013-2014 What is Consciousness? Doug - 12Mar2014.


"Thus, parts differently situated, differently constituted, meant normally for different functions, are capable of performing the same duties and even of manufacturing, when necessary, the same pieces of the machine. Here we have, indeed, the same effect obtained by different combinations of causes.

"Whether we will or no, we must appeal to some inner directing principle in order to account for this convergence of effects. Such convergence does not appear possible in the Darwinian, and especially the neo-Darwinian, theory of insensible accidental variations, nor in the hypothesis of sudden accidental variations, nor even in the theory that assigns definite directions to the evolution of the various organs by a kind of mechanical composition of the external with the internal forces. So we come to the only one of the present forms of evolution which remains for us to mention, viz., neo-Lamarckism.

"It is well known that Lamarck attributed to the living being the power of varying by use or disuse of its organs, and also of passing on the variation so acquired to its descendants. A certain number of biologists hold a doctrine of this kind to-day. The variation that results in a new species is not, they believe, merely an accidental variation inherent in the germ itself, nor is it governed by a determinism sui generis [i.e., one of a kind, one's own/unique genesis, etc.] which develops definite characters in a definite direction, apart from every consideration of utility. It springs from the very effort of the living being to adapt itself to the circumstances of its existence. The effort may indeed be only the mechanical exercise of certain organs, mechanically elicited by the pressure of external circumstances. But it may also imply consciousness and will, and it is in this sense that it appears to be understood by one of the most eminent representatives of the doctrine, the American naturalist Cope.(1)"

Note (1) - Cope, The Origin of the Fittest, 1887; The Primary Factors of Organic Evolution, 1896.

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)



Reader, we need to nit-pick just a tad here. In quantum reality 'sameness' loses its correspondence to classical identity. Why? In quantum reality at meso-atomic, atomic, and superatomic levels of actuality there is NO identity. Quantum sameness represents similarities, e.g., all nucleic acids are built from a same subset of five atomic constituents (C, H, O, N, P) as mentioned above, however, no two carbon atoms are identical, no two hydrogen atoms are identical, etc. Similarly, no two nucleic or amino molecules or their ribosome-generated peptides and proteins are identical. We are sure that no concept of pure or perfect identity appears anywhere in quantum actuality. We are unsure, but suspect that pure or perfect identity appears in quantum nonactuality, what we call isoflux. In other words, quantum isoflux is some strange kind of isometric isocoherent omniflux identity. Latter is Quantonics' conjecture/heuristic. So when Bergson speaks of sameness, we must not conclude he intends classical 'identity,' or if he did intend such, it is just another indication of his partial classical predilections and legacy. Obviously, Bergson is in his own evolutionary process of unlearning his classical legacy. Doug.

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©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2026 — Rev. 12Mar2014  PDR — Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(9Oct2000 rev - Repair link to Jon & Doug Dialogue about Pirsig's two kinds of virtue.)
(15Jul2001 rev - Add anchor to Bergson's first CE use of 'physi.' Extend p. 71 'physical' vis-à-vis 'physial' comments.)
(14Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(15Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(12Mar2014 rev - Make page current. Add comparative Jung meme of synchronicity.)

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