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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter II: The Divergent Directions of the
Evolution of Life, Torpor, Intelligence, Instinct
Topic 18: Divergent Tendencies
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 18...............Divergent Tendencies


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

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











"THE evolution movement would be a simple one, and we should soon have been able to determine its direction, if life had described a single course, like that of a solid ball shot from a cannon. But it proceeds rather like a shell, which suddenly bursts into fragments, which fragments, being themselves shells, burst in their turn into fragments destined to burst again, and so on for a time incommensurably long. We perceive only what is nearest to us, namely, the scattered movements of the pulverized explosions. From them we have to go back, stage by stage, to the original movement.

"When a shell bursts, the particular way it breaks is explained both by the explosive force of the powder it contains and by the resistance of the metal. So of the way life breaks into individuals and species. It depends, we think, on two series of causes: the resistance life meets from inert matter, and the explosive force—due to an unstable balance of tendencieswhich life bears within itself.

"The resistance of inert matter was the obstacle that had first to be overcome. Life seems to have succeeded in this by dint of humility, by making itself very small and very insinuating, bending to physical and chemical forces, consenting even to go a part of the way with them, like the switch that adopts for a while the direction of the rail it is endeavoring to leave."

(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


In a 100-year newer, more modern perspective, with filtering for gained knowledge, we hear Bergson describe nature's fractal modes of evolutionary growth.




We perceive Bergson's "unstable balance of tendencies" as quanton(DQ,SQ), quanton(nonactuality,actuality), or quanton(VES,PES). His "resistance life meets from inert matter" is Pirsig's MoQ's SQ attempt to stay latched under impetus from DQ. His "explosive force…which life bears within itself" is none other than DQ itself, and Bergson shows them both commingling as we said, as quanton(DQ,SQ).

This jibes well with Pirsig's remarks in his SODV paper, on page 12,

"In the Metaphysics of Quality the world is composed of three things: mind, matter, and Quality. Because something is not located in the object does not mean that it has to be located in your mind. Quality cannot be independently derived from either mind or matter. But it can be derived from the relationship of mind and matter with each other. Quality occurs at the point at which subject and object meet. Quality is not a thing. It is an event. It is the event at which the subject becomes aware of the object. And because without objects there can be no subject, quality is the event at which awareness of both subjects and objects is made possible. Quality is not just the result of a collision between subject and object. The very existence of subject and object themselves is deduced from the Quality event. The Quality event is the cause of the subjects and objects, which are then mistakenly presumed to be the cause of the Quality!"

Take a look at our QELR of event. Similarly, ponder Bergson's use of "partiality," in lieu of our own 2006-2007 hermeneutics of absence, partiality, and enthymemetics. Doug - 8Oct2007.

Pirsig's perspective here is fascinating. One must recall that he is presenting his SODV paper to a group of scientists, mostly classical objectivists, some of whom are quantum physicists, in Brussels, Belgium on June 1, 1995. He claims subject follows object, latter which arises from Quality. Consider that both subject and object are Static Quality (or classes of Static Patterns of Value). We infer from Pirsig's SODV and his other works, both ZMM and Lila, that
Quality issi Realityquanton(DQ,SQ).

Most of our work in Quantonics builds from this Pirsigean Metaphysics of Quality (MoQ) foundation. To us MoQ appears as a well-aligned philosophical analogue of quantum science. We call both MoQ and quantum science together, with our own Quantonic notations and extensions, "Quantonics: a new philosophy and science of quantum Value interrelationships." We use:

  • quantons, (including, quanton(DQ,Doug) )
  • some innovated semiotics,
  • our own innovated heuristics derived from:
    • multiple sources and giants of quantum science literature (e.g., Stein, Ho, Howard, Albert, Herbert, Baggott, Bell, Feynman, Hoffmann, Tomonaga, von Neumann, Bohm, Bohr, Dirac, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, et al.), and
    • multiple sources and giants of infant, non-classical, quantum philosophy literature (e.g., Pirsig, Bergson, James, et al.), and
  • an evolving Quantonic language, and Quantonics' English Language Remediation, as our working notation.

"Of phenomena in the simplest forms of life, it is hard to say whether they are still physical and chemical or whether they are already vital. Life had to enter thus into the habits of inert matter, in order to draw it little by little, magnetized, as it were, to another track. The animate forms that first appeared were therefore of extreme simplicity. They were probably tiny masses of scarcely differentiated protoplasm, outwardly resembling the amoeba observable to-day, but possessed of the tremendous internal push that was to raise them even to the highest forms of life. That in virtue of this push the first organisms sought to grow as much as possible, seems likely. But organized matter has a limit of expansion that is very quickly reached; beyond a certain point it divides instead of growing. Ages of effort and prodigies of subtlety were probably necessary for life to get past this new obstacle. It succeeded in inducing an increasing number of elements, ready to divide, to remain united. By the division of labor it knotted between them an indissoluble [i.e., quantonic] bond. The complex and quasi-discontinuous organism is thus made to function as would a continuous living mass which had simply grown bigger.

"But the real and profound causes of division were those which life bore within its bosom. For life is tendency, and the essence of a tendency is to develop in the form of a sheaf, creating, by its very growth, divergent directions among which its impetus is divided. [i.e., fractal patterns of value] This we observe in ourselves, in the evolution of that special tendency which we call our character. Each of us, glancing back over his history, will find that his child-personality, though indivisible, united in itself divers persons, which could remain blended just because they were in their nascent state: this indecision, so charged with promise, is one of the greatest charms of childhood."

(Our brackets, bold and color.)


Note that quantum flux—reality's simplest forms—Planck quantons, are intrinsically animate. In Quantonics we add an intueme that they are proemially aware.


"But these interwoven personalities become incompatible in course of growth, and, as each of us can live but one life, a choice must perforce be made. We choose in reality without ceasing; without ceasing, also, we abandon many things. The route we pursue in time is strewn with the remains of all that we began to be, of all that we might have become. But nature, which has at command an incalculable number of lives, is in no wise bound to make such sacrifices. She preserves the different tendencies that, have bifurcated with their growth. She creates with them diverging series of species that will evolve separately.

"These series may, moreover, be of unequal importance. The author who begins a novel puts into his hero many things which he is obliged to discard as he goes on. Perhaps he will take them up later in other books, and make new characters with them, who will seem like extracts from, or rather like complements of, the first; but they will almost always appear somewhat poor and limited in comparison with the original character. So with regard to the evolution of life. The bifurcations on the way have been numerous, but there have been many blind alleys beside the two or three highways; and of these highways themselves, only one, that which leads through the vertebrates up to man, has been wide enough to allow free passage to the full breath of life. We get this impression when we compare the societies of bees and ants, for instance, with human societies. The former are admirably ordered and united, but stereotyped; the latter are open to every sort of progress, but divided, and incessantly at strife with themselves. The ideal would be a society always in progress and always in equilibrium, but this ideal is perhaps unrealizable: the two characteristics that would fain complete each other, which do complete each other in their embryonic state, can no longer abide together when they grow stronger."

(Our bold and color.)



Our beings, remains, refuse, and residuals disperse as entropies: negative, zero, and positive, among reality's stasis and dynamis. Those entropies are flux of various numbers and kinds: isocoherent, coherent, partially coherent, decoherent, etc.

Note "bifurcated" as strong correlation with recent development of fractals and a new science of periodic flux. See Hofstadter (esp. Metamagical Themas) and Feigenbaum (via James Gleick's Chaos).

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To contact Quantonics write to or call:

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

©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2019 Rev. 21Jul2011  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(4Nov2000 rev - Minor text changes.)
(15Aug2001 rev - Add p. 98 comments link to our language remediation URL.)
(14Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(24May2005 rev - Adjust colors. Release page constraints. Add arrow GIF; replace incompatible wingding.)
(8Oct2007 rev - Reformat slightly. Massive respell.)
(23Feb2009 rev - Add link to recent QELR of 'aware.' Change a wingdings font to gif. Reset legacy markups.)
(21Jul2011 rev - Add 'fractal' link to "How to do quantum~fractals.")

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