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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter III: On The Meaning of Life The Order of Nature
and the
Form of Intelligence
Topic 27: The Method of Philosophy
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
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Move to any Topic of Henri Louis Bergson's Creative Evolution,
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Topic 27...............The Method of Philosophy


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

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


"IN the course of our first chapter we traced a line of demarcation between the inorganic and the organized, but we pointed out that the division of unorganized matter into separate bodies is relative to our senses and to our intellect, and that matter, looked at as an undivided whole, must be a flux rather than a thing. In this we were preparing the way for a reconciliation between the inert and the living.

"On the other side, we have shown in our second chapter that the same opposition is found again between instinct and intelligence, the one turned to certain determinations of life, the other molded on the configuration of matter. But instinct and intelligence, we have also said, stand out from the same background, which, for want of a better name, we may call consciousness in general, and which must be coextensive with universal life. In this way, we have disclosed the possibility of showing the genesis of intelligence in setting out from general consciousness, which embraces it.

"We are now, then, to attempt a genesis of intellect at the same time as a genesis of material bodies—two enterprises that are evidently correlative, if it be true that the main lines of our intellect mark out the general form of our action on matter, and that the detail of matter is ruled by the requirements of our action."

(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



"Requirements of our action" is anthropocentric. From our quantum perspective Protagoras misstated, "Man is the measure of all things."


"Intellectuality and materiality [SQ] have been constituted, in detail, by reciprocal adaptation. Both are derived from a wider and higher form of existence [DQ]. It is there that we must replace them [quanton(DQ,SQ)], in order to see them issue forth.

"Such an attempt may appear, at first, more daring than the boldest speculations of metaphysicians. It claims to go further than psychology, further than cosmology, further than traditional metaphysics; for psychology, cosmology and metaphysics take intelligence, in all that is essential to it, as given, instead of, as we now propose, engendering it in its form and in its matter. The enterprise is in reality much more modest, as we are going to show. But let us first say how it differs from others.

"To begin with psychology, we are not to believe that it [psychology] engenders intelligence when it [psychology] follows the progressive development of it [intelligence] through the animal series. Comparative psychology teaches us that the more an animal is intelligent, the more it tends to reflect on the actions by which it makes use of things, and thus to approximate to man. But its actions have already by themselves adopted the principal lines of human action; they have made out the same general directions in the material world as we have; they depend upon the same objects bound together by the same relations; so that animal intelligence, although it does not form concepts properly so called, already moves in a conceptual atmosphere. Absorbed at every instant by the actions it performs and the attitudes it must adopt, drawn outward by them and so externalized in relation to itself, it no doubt plays rather than thinks its ideas; this play none the less already corresponds, in the main, to the general plan of human intelligence.(1)"

Note (1) - We have developed this point in Matière et mémoire, chaps. ii. And iii., notably pp. 78-80 and 169-186.

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)

"To explain the intelligence of man by that of the animal consists then simply in following the development of an embryo of humanity into complete humanity. We show how a certain direction has been followed further and further by beings more and more intelligent. But the moment we admit the direction, intelligence is given.

"In a cosmogony like that of Spencer, intelligence is taken for granted, as matter also at the same time. We are shown matter obeying laws, objects connected with objects and facts with facts by constant relations, consciousness receiving the imprint of these relations and laws, and thus adopting the general configuration of nature and shaping itself into intellect. But how can we fail to see that intelligence is supposed when we admit objects and facts? A priori and apart from any hypothesis on the nature of the matter, it is evident that the materiality of a body does not stop at the point at which we touch it: a body is present wherever its influence is felt; its attractive force, to speak only of that, is exerted on the sun, on the planets, perhaps on the entire universe. The more physics advances, the more it effaces the individuality of bodies and even of the particles into which the scientific imagination began by decomposing them: bodies and corpuscles tend to dissolve into a universal interaction. Our perceptions give us the plan of our eventual action on things much more than that of things themselves. The outlines we find in objects simply mark what we can attain and modify in them. The lines we see traced through matter are just the paths on which we are called to move. Outlines and paths have declared themselves in the measure and proportion that consciousness has prepared for action on unorganized matter—that is to say, in the measure and proportion that intelligence has been formed. It is doubtful whether animals built on a different plan—a mollusc or an insect, for instance—cut matter up along the same articulations."

(Our bold and color.)



Note, reader, that Spencer is essentially a scientific, logical positivist. So his underpinnings are SOMitic. Too, he is a Lamarckian. Spencer's philosophy adheres evolution as not accidental, but he did not go so far as to say, as we do, that natural evolution is based upon proemial quantum awareness and intrinsic, Planck rate quantal and incremental choice. Unfortunately, Spencer was a socialist. He saw society as evolution's ultimate form and frame of human perfectibility. Clearly, we know now, that intellectual memes and patterns of Value are much more highly evolved than social patterns of Value. On that basis, we can refute Spencer's final, radical socialism.


"It is not indeed necessary that they should separate it into bodies at all. In order to follow the indications of instinct, there is no need to perceive objects, it is enough to distinguish properties. Intelligence, on the contrary, even in its humblest form, already aims at getting matter to act on matter. If on one side matter lends itself to a division into active and passive bodies, or more simply into coexistent and distinct fragments, it is from this side that intelligence will regard it; and the more it busies itself with dividing, the more it will spread out in space, in the form of extension adjoining extension, a matter that undoubtedly itself has a tendency to spatiality, but whose parts are yet in a state of reciprocal implication and interpenetration. Thus the same movement by which the mind is brought to form itself into intellect, that is to say, into distinct concepts, brings matter to break itself up into objects excluding one another. The more consciousness is intellectualized, the more is matter spatialized. So that the evolutionist philosophy, when it imagines in space a matter cut up on the very lines that our action will follow, has given itself in advance, ready made, the intelligence of which it claims to show the genesis.

"Metaphysics applies itself to a work of the same kind, though subtler and more self-conscious, when it deduces a priori the categories of thought. It compresses intellect, reduces it to its quintessence, holds it tight in a principle so simple that it can be thought empty: from this principle we then draw out what we have virtually put into it. In this way we may no doubt show the coherence of intelligence, define intellect, give its formula, but we do not trace its genesis. [Unless, as in Pirsig's MoQ, a new metaphysics compenetrates its source, its font.] An enterprise like that of Fichte, although more philosophical than that of Spencer, in that it pays more respect to the true order of things, hardly leads us any further."

(Our bold and color.)


In Quantonics, we have suggested long and well that Bergson's three (bold red) sentences imply SOM's innate incapabilities of evolving itself into MoQ. Bergson tells us and we agree: SOM evolution is not natural evolution! It just makes more SOM. It just keeps nature in SOM's anthropocentric church of reason, while it objectively rearranges its closed, classically conserved contents. This rearrangement process it calls "new." As we can now intuit, classical in-form-ation is nought but classically conserved content rearrangement. SOM is incapable, innately — by anthropocentric 'design,' of open quantum emergence of any thing. Latter is what Bergson and James refer as "novel."

SOM's languages, as Niels Bohr and so many others observe, use almost exclusively objective terminology which becomes a lingual SOM wall which keeps all practitioners in SOM's box. SOM offers no natural words or lingual comtexts which allow practitioners to even describe what natural quantum evolution is. It keeps its practitioners in lingual, communicatively ambiguous detention, while assuring them absolute absence of ambiguity.

SOM has no innate means of disclosing underlying and proemial semantics of EEE: Empirical Evolute Extension. SOM objects (e.g., 'self') are incapable of recursive self-referent self-mutable self-extension! SOM claims ideas like self-reference, self-mutability, and self-extension are sophisms! SOM chases out all sophisms, yet quantum reality's constituents are all sophisms! All quantons are intrinsic sophisms!

But, to SOM, sophisms are all FALSE and WRONG and "absurd, nonsense, ridiculous, unreasonable, silly, and illogical." That is why we say SOM is neither MoQ's parent, nor is it capable via evolution of transforming itself into MoQ.

This offers a strong metaphor of a similar relationship twixt classical science and quantum science. What we see now is a need for a pragmadigm shear of immense proportions—a quantum tsunami of change.

Classical science and philosophy have to be booted out of their reign and replaced by something wholly new and wholly different. Some way—we need many, simultaneous, parallel quantum-evolutionary leaps.

What crises will precipitate this tsunami? Dunno. We guess that unfathomable (to SOMites) transcendent successes of those few who pioneer QTMs and their applications. We see this happening much as Linux did: virtually as an OSS (Open Source System) via bazaar management and organization styles. Many pioneers, not one. Many parallel successes, not one. (Viz. Mae-wan Ho's unifying quantum cohesion cowithin many individual autonomies.) We probably will see breakthroughs like antigravity, ambient superconductivity, emerscenture (i.e., EEE 'manufacturing'), quantum computing, free energy (at will access to quantum vacuum energy), quantum communications, quantum teleportation, and Many OSSes (MOSS) management modes, etc., all occur within a span of fewer than 100 years.


"Fichte takes thought in a concentrated state, and expands it into reality; Spencer starts from external reality, and condenses it into intellect. But, in the one case as in the other, the intellect must be taken at the beginning as given—either condensed or expanded, grasped in itself by a direct vision or perceived by reflection in nature, as in a mirror.

"The agreement of most philosophers on this point comes from the fact that they are at one in affirming the unity of nature, and in representing this unity under an abstract and geometrical form. Between the organized and the unorganized they do not see and they will not see the cleft. Some start from the inorganic, and, by compounding it with itself [i.e., non-EEE], claim to form the living; others place life first, and proceed towards matter by a skilfully managed decrescendo; but, for both, there are only differences of degree in nature—degrees of complexity in the first hypothesis, of intensity in the second, Once this principle is admitted, intelligence becomes as vast as reality; for it is unquestionable that whatever is geometrical in things is entirely accessible to human intelligence, and if the continuity between geometry and the rest is perfect, all the rest must indeed be equally intelligible, equally intelligent. Such is the postulate of most systems. Any one can easily be convinced of this by comparing doctrines that seem to have no common point, no common measure, those of Fichte and Spencer for instance, two names that we happen to have just brought together.

"At the root of these speculations, then, there are the two convictions correlative and complementary, that nature is one and that the function of intellect is to embrace it in its entirety. The faculty of knowing being supposed coextensive with the whole of experience, there can no longer be any question of engendering it. It is already given, and we merely have to use it, as we use our sight to take in the horizon."

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

Note that Fichte is an idealist who formulated a kind of Kantian transcendentalist philosophy.

Indeed, nature's quantum complementarity of both actuality and nonactuality may be thought of as a mirror—but it is a different kind of mirror. And it is not an impenetrable SOM wall.

It is not limited to two or n-dimensions. It is partially reflective and partially translucent. And its reflectivity and translucence are neither bivalent nor symmetric. It allows actuality and nonactuality to compenetrate one another.

In our version of Bergson's mirror analogue, our quantum mirror becomes reality's "face of change."

In our Quantonic notation our use of a comma without a space between paired complements, e.g., quanton(nonactuality,actuality) is just such a face of change mirror! So, from hence forth, reader, you may call our comma a "quantum face of change."

Similarly, in our dichonic notation comma-space are an impenetrable SOM wall between often contradictory, bivalent opposites.


"It is true that opinions differ as to the value of the result. For some, it is reality itself that the intellect embraces [i.e., in a classical church of reason]; for others, it is only a phantom [i.e., fathomless]. But, phantom or reality, what intelligence gasps is thought to be all [i.e., an insistence on classical closure] that can be attained.

"Hence the exaggerated confidence of philosophy in the powers of the individual mind. Whether it is dogmatic or critical, whether it admits the relativity of our knowledge or claims to be established within the absolute, a philosophy is generally the work of a philosopher, a single and unitary vision of the whole. It is to be taken or left.

"More modest, and also alone capable of being completed and perfected, is the philosophy we advocate. Human intelligence, as we represent it, is not at all what Plato taught in the allegory of the cave. Its function is not to look at passing shadows nor yet to turn itself round and contemplate the glaring sun. It has something else to do. Harnessed, like yoked oxen, to a heavy task, we feel the play of our muscles and joints, the weight of the plow and the resistance of the soil. To act and to know that we are acting, to come into touch with reality and even to live it, but only in the measure in which it concerns the work that is being accomplished and the furrow that is being plowed, such is the function of human intelligence. Yet a beneficent fluid bathes us, whence we draw the very force to labor and to live. From this ocean of life, in which we are immersed, we are continually drawing something, and we feel that our being, or at least the intellect that guides it, has been formed therein by a kind of local concentration. Philosophy can only be an effort to dissolve again into the Whole. Intelligence, reabsorbed into its principle, may thus live back again its own genesis. But the enterprise cannot be achieved in one stroke; it is necessarily collective and progressive."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)

Now consider MoQ/quantum/Quantonics whose mutual heuristics are both/and, e.g., quanton(phantom,closed_all_attainable). In a quantum sense both views, taken commingling together, are correct.

Most classical scientists love to hear this. It tells them they are right in assuming philosophy valueless and pointless. Theirs is a positivistic view. But only philosophers, in their work as ''the scientists of science" (Fichte), can show resolutely the fallibilities of positivism and other classical ISMs. Positivism, upon careful examination, simply fails. But scientists proceed, blindly, and use it just as they use classical mathematics, just as they assume their m, l, t, and g 'indefinable' measurables are secure foundation, just as they assume time is homogeneous, just as they assume reality is objective, etc. We agree that philosophers are fallible as humans. However, we believe that both our abilities to evolve and improve our thinking modes and our fallibility are natural givens—if nothing else reality has proven that by countless examples. We believe it is evident philosophers fathom depths of thought which often frighten scientists. Scientists, living and working closer to actuality, believe that "Status quo is the way to go." We see evidence of scientists' attempts to make a classical straw man of philosophy, and we ask why? Just as Plato and Aristotle were afraid of Sophists (philo/love-of-sophy/sophism), scientists are afraid of philosophers! Scientists are of classical Aristotelian/Platonic ilk. They love worshiping in their classical churches of scientific positive reasonings. They would rather be wrong than insecure. But reality is about absolute change! In a sense, quantum reality is absolutely insecure! Even positivistic truth is an agent of its own change. Even classical scientists admit their facts are always provisional. Why do they hate philosophers? Classical scientists do not fear analytic change. They fear philosophic hegemony. Classical scientists fear loss of their own fragile hegemony. Beware scientists! You have real hegemony. If you did, nature would change it.


"It consists in an interchange of impressions which, correcting and adding to each other, will end by expanding the humanity in us and making us even transcend it.

"But this method has against it the most inveterate habits of the mind. It at once suggests the idea of a vicious circle. In vain, we shall be told, you claim to go beyond intelligence: how can you do that except by intelligence? All that is clear in your consciousness is intelligence. You are inside your own thought; you cannot get out of it. Say, if you like, that the intellect is capable of progress, that it will see more and more clearly into a greater and greater number of things; but do not speak of engendering it, for it is with your intellect itself that you would have to do the work.

"The objection presents itself naturally to the mind. But the same reasoning would prove also the impossibility of acquiring any new habit. It is of the essence of [classical] reasoning to shut us up in the circle of the given. But action [some pragma always] breaks the circle. If we had never seen a man swim, we might say that swimming is an impossible thing, inasmuch as, to learn to swim, we must begin by holding ourselves up in the water and, consequently, already know how to swim. Reasoning, in fact, always nails us down to the solid ground. But if, quite simply, I throw myself into the water without fear, I may keep myself up well enough at first by merely struggling, and gradually adapt myself to the new environment: I shall thus have learnt to swim. So, in theory, there is a kind of absurdity in trying to know otherwise than by intelligence; but if the risk be frankly accepted, action will perhaps cut the knot that reasoning has tied and will not unloose.

"Besides, the risk will appear to grow less, the more our point of view is adopted."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)

"We have shown that [classical] intellect has detached itself from a vastly wider reality, but that there has never been a clean cut between the two; all around conceptual thought there remains an indistinct fringe which recalls its origin. And further we compared the intellect to a solid nucleus formed by means of condensation. This nucleus does not differ radically from the fluid surrounding it. It can only be reabsorbed in it because it is made of the same substance. He who throws himself into the water, having known only the resistance of the solid earth, will immediately be drowned if he does not struggle against the fluidity of the new environment: he must perforce still cling to that solidity, so to speak, which even water presents. Only on this condition can he get used to the fluid's fluidity. So of our thought, when it has decided to make the leap.

"But leap it must, that is, leave its own environment. [Leave SOM's box.] Reason, reasoning on its powers, will never succeed in extending them, though the extension would not appear at all unreasonable once it were accomplished. Thousands and thousands of variations on the theme of walking will never yield a rule for swimming: come, enter the water, and when you know how to swim, you will understand how the mechanism of swimming is connected with that of walking. Swimming is an extension of walking, but walking would never have pushed you on to swimming. So you may speculate as intelligently as you will on the mechanism of intelligence; you will never, by this method, succeed in going beyond it, You may get something more complex, but not something higher nor even something different. You must take things by storm: you must thrust intelligence outside itself by an act of will. [Your possible transition from CTMs to QTMs will require an act of your will, just as it did ours to accomplish it over a couple of decades.]

"So the vicious circle is only apparent. It is, on the contrary, real, we think, in every other method of philosophy. [Yes! All SOM ISMs are stuck in a vicious circle Bergson describes.] This we must try to show in a few words, if only to prove that philosophy cannot and must not accept the relation established by pure intellectualism between the theory of knowledge and the theory of the known, between metaphysics and science."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)








Here, Bergson agrees with our earlier comments about SOM's innate incapability to evolve itself, by its own volition, out of its Church of Reason. Reader, please note that we first offered this perspective in September, 1998 in an email titled MoQ and Language we wrote to Anthony McWatt. We declared language evolvable, where SOM is innately non-evolvable. Why is SOM innately non-evolvable? Because it uses classical dialectic reason! That dialectic reason requires a set of assumptions (axioms) to make it apparently consistent and apparently complete (it is neither, i.e., n¤t either). Dialectic's axioms remain essentially unchanged, since Aristotle, over 2300 years! N¤ classicist will even try to change them! If a classicist even mentioned such an attempt their career would be in serious jeopardy. Classicism's Church of Reason allows no heretics! Scientific Inquisitions are the norm in modern 21st century science. (See our remarks about Judah Folkman in our January-February, 2001 News.) You, reader, can now see that we and Bergson agree on this very important issue.

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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., 2000-2009 Rev. 3Apr2008  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(19Mar2001 rev - Extended page 189, 191, & 193 comments in bold dark red.)
(19Mar2001 rev - Corrected some classical negatives to quantum. Added links.)
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