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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter I: The Evolution of Life Mechanism and Teleology
Topic 17: The Vital Impetus
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 17...............The Vital Impetus


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

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


"Mechanism, here, reproaches finalism with its anthropomorphic character, and rightly. But it fails to see that itself proceeds according to this method—somewhat mutilated! True, it has got rid of the end pursued or the ideal model. But it also holds that nature has worked like a human being by bringing parts together, while a mere glance at the development of an embryo shows that life goes to work in a very different way. Life does not proceed by the association and addition of elements, but by dissociation and [evolute, emergent] division.

"We must get beyond both points of view, both mechanism and finalism being, at bottom, only standpoints to which the human mind has been led by considering the work of man. But in what direction can we go beyond them? We have said that in analyzing the structure of an organ, we can go on decomposing for ever, although the function of the whole is a simple thing. [cohesion…] This contrast between the infinite complexity […of plethoric autonomies or quantons] of the organ and the extreme simplicity of the function is what should open our eyes. [We argue a need for both/and, above-over either/or.]

"In general, when the same object appears in one aspect and in another as infinitely complex, the two aspects have by no means the same importance, or rather the same degree of reality. [This is an example of classicism's firm and confident (arrogant?) denial of quantum reality.] In such cases, the simplicity belongs to the object itself, and the infinite complexity to the [unlimited quantum-real] views we take in turning around it, to the symbols by which our senses or intellect represent it to us, or, more generally, to elements of a different order, with which we try to imitate it artificially, but with which it remains incommensurable, being of a different nature. [And that nature is quantum real.] An artist of genius has painted a figure on his canvas. We can imitate his picture with many-colored squares of mosaic. And we shall reproduce the curves and shades of the model so much the better as our squares are smaller, more numerous and more varied in tone."

(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

Actually, quantum reality does both: quanton(association,dissociation). Mae-wan Ho describes it something like this: quanton(cohesion,autonomy). To a classical mind these quantum both/ands are, "…sophisms, paralogisms, absurdities, nonsense, ridiculous, unreasonable." However, now we know that they are quantum-real.


"But an infinity of elements infinitely small, presenting an infinity of shades, would be necessary to obtain the exact equivalent [classically conceivable; quantumly impossible] of the figure that the artist has conceived as a simple thing, which he has wished to transport as a whole to the canvas, and which is the more complete the more it strikes us as the projection of an indivisible intuition. Now, suppose our eyes so made that they cannot help seeing in the work of the master a mosaic effect. Or suppose our intellect so made that it cannot explain the appearance of the figure on the canvas except as a work of mosaic. We should then be able to speak simply of a collection of little squares, and we should be under the mechanistic hypothesis. We might add that, beside the materiality of the collection, there must be a plan on which the artist worked; and then we should be expressing ourselves as finalists. But in neither case should we have got at the real process, for there are no squares brought together. It is the picture, i.e. the simple act, projected on the canvas, which, by the mere fact of entering into our perception, is decomposed before our eyes into thousands and thousands of little squares which present, as recomposed, a wonderful arrangement. So the eye, with its marvelous complexity of structure, may be only the simple act of vision, divided for us into a mosaic of cells, whose order seems marvelous to us because we have conceived the whole as an assemblage.

"If I raise my hand from A to B, this movement appears to me under two aspects at once. Felt from within, it is a simple, indivisible act. Perceived from without, it is the course of a certain curve, AB. In this curve I can distinguish as many positions as I please, and the line itself might be defined as a certain mutual coördination of these positions. But the positions, infinite in number, and the order in which they are connected, have sprung automatically from the indivisible act by which my hand has gone from A to B."

(Our bold and color.)

"Mechanism, here, would consist in seeing only the positions. Finalism would take their order into account. But both mechanism and finalism would leave on one side the movement, [absolute flux] which is reality itself. In one sense, the movement is more than the positions and than their order; for it is sufficient to make it in its indivisible simplicity to secure that the infinity of the successive positions as also their order be given at once—with something else which is neither order nor position but which is essential, the mobility. But, in another sense, the movement is less than the series of positions and their connecting order; for, to arrange points in a certain order, it is necessary first to conceive the order and then to realize it with points, there must be the work of assemblage and there must be intelligence, [rather, quantal, cohesive awareness] whereas the simple movement of the hand contains nothing of either. [Mind is an extended, both local and nonlocal Quantum Stage.] It is not intelligent, in the human sense of the word, and it is not an assemblage, for it is not made up of elements. [it is a quanton and its 'elements' are quantons] Just so with the relation of the eye to vision. There is in vision more than the component cells of the eye and their mutual coördination: in this sense, neither mechanism nor finalism go far enough. But, in another sense, mechanism and finalism both go too far, for they attribute to Nature the most formidable of the labors of Hercules in holding that she has exalted to the simple act of vision an infinity of infinitely complex elements, whereas Nature has had no more trouble in making an eye than I have in lifting my hand. [But she takes a hell of a lot of times.] Nature's simple act has divided itself automatically into an infinity of elements which are then found to be coördinated to one idea, [again, quanton(cohesion,infinity_of_elements] just as the movement of my hand has dropped an infinity of points which are then found to satisfy one equation.

"We find it very hard to see things in that light, because we cannot help conceiving organization as manufacturing."

(Our links, brackets, bold, and color.)










But a classical object y=f(t) is nonviable as a quanton. And sir, you imply that you are about to show us that time is not homogeneous!


"But it is one thing to manufacture, and quite another to organize. Manufacturing is peculiar to man. It consists in assembling parts Of matter which we have cut out in such manner that we can fit them together and obtain from them a common action. The parts are arranged, so to speak, around the action as an ideal centre. To manufacture, therefore, is to work from the periphery to the centre, or, as the philosophers say, from the many to the one. [classically, many to one is mechanical, formal synthesis] Organization, on the contrary, works from the centre to the periphery. [quantumly, one to many, via evolute change, is ontological synthesis] It begins in a point that is almost a mathematical point, and spreads around this point by concentric waves which go on enlarging. The work of manufacturing is the more effective, the greater the quantity of matter dealt with. It proceeds by concentration and compression. The organizing act, on the contrary, has something explosive about it: it needs at the beginning the smallest possible place, a minimum of matter, as if the organizing forces only entered space reluctantly. The spermatozoon, which sets in motion the evolutionary process of the embryonic life, is one of the smallest cells of the organism; and it is only a small part of the spermatozoon which really takes part in the operation.

"But these are only superficial differences. Digging beneath them, we think, a deeper difference would be found.

"A manufactured thing delineates exactly the form of the work of manufacturing it. I mean that the manufacturer finds in his product exactly what he has put into it. If he is going to make a machine, he cuts out its pieces one by one and then puts them together: the machine, when made, will show both the pieces and their assemblage. The whole of the result represents the whole of the work; and to each part of the work corresponds a part of the result."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)

Almost nine years after reviewing Bergson's fine text, Creative Evolution, we have much more to say now re: manufacture. First we have a quantum QELR coined term for it: emerscenture. And where classical manufacture follows classical architecture, quantum~emerscenture follows emerscitecture. Latter is another coined Quantonics term, a QELR of architecture.

Classical manufacture is canonic other-directed, assembly by plan of a designer. Stuff of classical dialectic.

Quantum emerscenture is self~directed, auto~urgical, autsimilar, fractal, development of self. Stuff of quantum~sophist~rhetoric. Doug assumes said emerscenture proceeds in quantum~comtextings of quantum~other interrelationshipings affecting outcomes of said emerscenture. Again, we see Mae-wan's quanton(coherence,autonomy).

Classical manufacture depends upon state, objective-independence, ideal identity, and negation.

Quantum emerscitecture educes absolute change, coobsfective interrelationshipings, omnivalent omniquenessings, and wholly positive flux.

Humanity's challenge is to move from classical notions of reality toward quantum memeos of reality. That is what Quantonics teaches us: H5Wings to move from CTMs to QTMs; from mechanics to quantum~holographics.

Doug - 6Jul2009. (Thanks to our Chinese students proxied through Beijing! Stay with Quantonics and you will put USA to academic shame, similar how Japanese did with Deming's 20th century Total Quality Control, even though "Quality Control" now is an quantum oxymoron. Say "Hi!" to Henry Osho and Mae-wan Ho for us! Doug.)


"Now I recognize that positive science can and should proceed as if organization was like making a machine. [And we counter that quantum science, indeed, should not.] Only so will it have any hold on organized bodies. For its object is not to show us the essence of things, but to furnish us with the best means of acting on them. Physics and chemistry are well advanced sciences, and living matter lends itself to our action only so far as we can treat it by the processes of our physics and chemistry. Organization can therefore only be studied scientifically if the organized body has first been likened to a machine. The cells will be the pieces of the machine, the organism their assemblage, and the elementary labors which have organized the parts will be regarded as the real elements of the labor which has organized the whole. This is the standpoint of [classical, Aristotelian, Newtonian] science. Quite different, in our opinion, is that of philosophy. [and of thus of its ever-so-close kin, quantum scihæncæ]

"For us, the whole of an organized machine may, strictly speaking, represent the whole of the organizing work (this is, however, only approximately true), yet the parts of the machine do not correspond to parts of the work, because the materiality of this machine does not represent a sum of means employed, but a sum of obstacles avoided: it is a negation rather than a positive reality. So, as we have shown in a former study, vision is a power which should attain by right an infinity of things inaccessible to our eyes. But such a vision would not be continued into action; it might suit a phantom, but not a living being. The vision of a living being is an effective vision, limited to objects on which the being can act: it is a vision that is canalized, and the visual apparatus simply symbolizes the work of canalizing. Therefore the creation of the visual apparatus is no more explained by the assembling of its anatomic elements than the digging of, a canal could be explained by the heaping-up of the earth which might have formed its banks."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)




Real, quantum~scihæncæ will learn how to emulate nature and build its own emerqancies holographically. Quantum~reality is holographic. What we call gluons, quarks, photons, electrons, protons and neutrons and their assemblages (ensembles of quanta) are holographic! Doug - 6Jul2009.





Bergson's canalizing offers little difference as a descriptive tool from classicism's now defunct 'reduction.'


"A mechanistic theory would maintain that the earth had been brought cart-load by cart-load; finalism would add that it had not been dumped down at random, that the carters had followed a plan [AKA ersatz notions of 'Intelligent Design.']. But both theories would be mistaken, for the canal has been made in another way.

"With greater precision, we may compare the [holographic] process by which nature constructs an eye to the simple act by which we raise the hand. But we supposed at first that the hand met with no resistance. Let us now imagine that, instead of moving in air, the hand has to pass through iron filings which are compressed and offer resistance to it in proportion as it goes forward. At a certain moment the hand will have exhausted its effort, and, at this very moment, the filings will be massed and coördinated in a certain definite form, to wit, that of the hand that is stopped and of a part of the arm. Now, suppose that the hand and arm are invisible. Lookers-on will seek the reason of the arrangement in the filings themselves and in forces within the mass. Some will account for the position of each filing by the action exerted upon it by the neighboring filings: these are the mechanists. Others will prefer to think that a plan of the whole has presided over the detail of these elementary actions. they are the finalists. But the truth is that there has been merely one indivisible act, that of the hand passing through the filings: the inexhaustible detail of the movement of the grains, as well as the order of their final arrangement, expresses negatively, in a way, this undivided movement, being the unitary form of a resistance, and not a synthesis of positive elementary actions. For this reason, if the arrangement of the grains is termed an "effect" and the movement of the hand a cause, it may indeed be said that the whole of the effect is explained by the whole of the cause, but to parts of the cause parts of the effect will in no wise correspond."

(Our bold and color.)








See Quantonics comparison of 'classical effect' and quantum~affectation. Doug - 6Jul2009.


"In other words, neither mechanism nor finalism will here be in place, and we must resort to an explanation of a different kind. Now, in the hypothesis we propose, the relation of vision to the visual apparatus would be very nearly that of the hand to the iron filings that follow, canalize and limit its motion.

"The greater the effort of the hand, the farther it will go into the filings. But at whatever point it stops, instantaneously and automatically the filings coördinate and find their equilibrium. So with vision and its organ. According as the undivided act constituting vision advances more or less, the materiality of the organ is made of a more or less considerable number of mutually coördinated elements, but the order is necessarily complete and perfect. It could not be partial, because, once again, the real process which gives rise to it has no parts. [This is a close dual of our Quantonic isoflux and its isocoherence.] That is what neither mechanism nor finalism takes into account, and it is what we also fail to consider when we wonder at the marvelous structure of an instrument such as the eye. At the bottom of our wondering is always this idea, that it would have been possible for a part only of this coördination to have been realized, that the complete realization is a kind of special favor. This favor the finalists consider as dispensed to them all at once, by the final cause; the mechanists claim to obtain it little by little, by the effect of natural selection; but both see something positive in this coördination , and consequently something fractionable in its cause,—something which admits of every possible degree of achievement. In reality, the cause, though more or less intense, cannot produce its effect except in one piece, and completely finished. According as it goes further and further in the direction of vision, it gives the simple pigmentary masses of a lower organism, or the rudimentary eye of a Serpula, or the slightly differentiated eye of the Alciope, or the marvelously perfected eye of the bird; but all these organs, unequal as is their complexity, necessarily present an equal coördination."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)

"For this reason, no matter how distant two animal species may be from each other, if the progress toward vision has gone equally far in both, there is the same visual organ in each case, for the form of the organ only expresses the degree in which the exercise of the function has been obtained.

"But, in speaking of a progress toward vision, are we not coming back to the old notion of finality? It would be so, undoubtedly, if this progress required the conscious or unconscious idea of an end to be attained. But it is really effected in virtue of the original impetus of life; it is implied in this movement itself, and that is just why it is found in independent lines of evolution. If now we are asked why and how it is implied therein, we reply that life is, more than anything else, a tendency to act on inert matter. The direction of this action is not predetermined; hence the unforeseeable variety of forms which life, in evolving, sows along its path. But this action always presents, to some extent, the character of contingency; it implies at least a rudiment of choice. Now a choice involves the anticipatory idea of several possible actions. Possibilities of action must therefore be marked out for the living being before the action itself. Visual perception is nothing else:(1) the visible outlines of bodies are the design of our eventual action on them. Vision will be found, therefore, in different degrees in the most diverse animals, and it will appear in the same complexity of structure wherever it has reached the same degree of intensity."

Note (1) - See, on this subject, Matière et mémoire, chap. i.

(Our bold and color.)

Again, we disagree with Bergson's use of same. Quantum reality does not agree, either. Clearly differing species' eyes share notable similarities, but not sameness or classical identity. Too, we know that a gorilla's and a human's DNAs match 98%, but that 2% difference carries an extreme variation in outcome. Then, too, among just humans we know that 6.7% of genes are heterozygous. As a result every human is unique, in detail, genetically. Further, that 6.7% implies as many as 102011 genetic variations! (I.e., assumes ~100k genes, 6.7% is 6700, 26700 is ~102011.)

Now we grasp, CeodE 2009, from a perspective of QCD, that nature emerscentures (creatio ex nihilo aperio) bosons and fermions from vacuum flux. Doug - 6Jul2009.

97 "We have dwelt on these resemblances of structure in general, and on the example of the eye in particular, because we had to define our attitude toward mechanism on the one hand and finalism on the other. It remains for us to describe it more precisely in itself. This we shall now do by showing the divergent results of evolution not as presenting analogies, but as themselves mutually complementary."

(Our bold and color.)

See autsimilar. Also, read Karl H. Pribram's Languages of the Brain. Bohm and Pribram commiserated on holographic modalings of reality. Read David Bohm's 1951 Quantum Theory. Good luck! Doug - 6Jul2009.

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To contact Quantonics write to or call:

Doug Renselle
Quantonics, Inc.
Suite 18 # 368 1950 East Greyhound Pass
Carmel, INdiana 46033-7730

©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2019 Rev. 21Jul2011  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(13Nov2001 rev - Add page 89 anchor. Add bracketed "dissociation" comment. Page 96 comment typo.)
(31Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(24May2005 rev - Adjust colors. Release page constraints. Add arrow GIF; replace incompatible wingding.)
(15Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(6-7Jul2009 rev - Adjust page cell sizes. Add pp. 92-93 comments and links. Repair typo 'emerscenture educes' to 'emerscitecture educes.')
(21Jul2011 rev - Add 'fractal' link to "How to do quantum~fractals.")

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