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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 29: Intellect and Materiality
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 29...............Intellect and Materiality


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

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


"Let us then concentrate attention on that which we have that is at the same time the most removed from externality and the least penetrated with intellectuality. Let us seek, in the depths of our experience, the point where we feel ourselves most intimately within our own life. It is into pure duration [DQ] that we then plunge back, a duration [Note that Bergson does not say, "…the duration."] in which the past [Note that Bergson does say, "…the past."], always moving on, is swelling unceasingly with a present [Note that Bergson does not say, "…the present."] that is absolutely new. But, at the same time, we feel the spring of our will strained to its utmost limit. We must, by a strong recoil of our personality on itself, gather up our past which is slipping away, in order to thrust it, compact and undivided, into a present which it will create by entering...

(Our links, 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



...Rare indeed are the moments when we are self-possessed to this extent: it is then that our actions are truly free. And even at these moments we do not completely possess ourselves. Our feeling of [pure] duration, I should say the actual coinciding [coinsiding] of ourself with itself, admits of degrees. But the more the feeling is deep and the coincidence [coinsidence] complete, the more the life in which it replaces us absorbs intellectuality by transcending it.

Aside 26-27Mar2008:

Bergson is describing in that prior sentence, according what Quantonics intends, "How to tap into Reserve Energy." We tap into it by doing a quantum~straddle of isoflux (Bergson's duration) and flux (Bergson's "intellectuality"). Classically, according SOM, flux is analytic motion of 'state-ic' objects, and isoflux 'exists not.' So to do what Bergson describes, we have to give up our SOM predilections, give up CTMs.

When we adopt QTMs we enable ourselves to do quantum~straddles like these, which Bergson describes:

Specifically, quantumly, we can make an analogy of wave and particle. SOMites live in particularity. Bergson is asking us to live QTMically in wavicularity: quanton(wave,particle). Allow quantum~flux into your life. When you live objectively in particularity, dichon(SQ, SQ), reality looks like this: |, a post, a unimension, an instantiated instantaneity! When you live in quanton(DQ,SQ), quantum~Quality's wavicularity, reality looks like this: ~~~~~~, wavings, omnimensions...your quantum stage transcendently spreads out massively in spacings, timings, and energyings and you can see more, sense more, understand more. Isn't that fabulous? Do you still want to be a SOMite?

Doug - 26-27Mar2008.

End aside 26-27Mar2008.

For the natural function of the intellect is to bind like to like, and it is only facts that can be repeated that are entirely adaptable to intellectual conceptions. Now, our intellect does undoubtedly grasp the real moments of real duration after they are past; we do so by reconstituting the new state of consciousness out of a series of views taken of it from the outside, each of which resembles as much as possible something already known; in this sense we may say that the state of consciousness contains intellectuality implicitly...

This page is superb! Pay close attention!

Consider that we might wish to stay there, in pure duration, in Pirsig's DQ. But then reality could not unfold its actuality. Reality needs us and many other SPoVs to spend hiatuses in SQ so that she might fruitfully evolve her potential. Reader, if you have not, you should see these relevant videos: City of Angels, and Beyond Death. Also read Herman Hesse's Nobel prize-winning (1946 Literature), Magister Ludi. And recall how I Ching interprets aging as growing and dying as rebirth.

That last full sentence (in bold red) is pure essence of classicism (i.e., SOM). It shows classicism's smallness, its inept and tiny view of only a part of actuality. It clarifies for us how classicism can only see through blindered eyes a dialectic reality, while it ignores and calls "phenomenal" its actual and nonactual subjective complements. Quantonics is a new mode of think-king which opens its practitioners eyes to a larger reality, a larger reality which Bergson describes for us here. In Quantonics, Pirsig's MoQ is our philosophical foundation.













See 'scientific facts' for what they really are, a mythos. Doug -26Mar2008.



...Yet the state of consciousness overflows the intellect; it is indeed incommensurable with the intellect, being itself indivisible and new.

"Now let us relax the strain, let us interrupt the effort to crowd as much as possible of the past into the present. If the relaxation were complete, there would no longer be either memory or will—which amounts to saying that, in fact, we never do fall into this absolute passivity, any more than we can make ourselves absolutely free...

[We are not illegal drug users, nor do we advocate non-medically approved uses of drugs other than health foods and related accoutrements (yep, we're stuck in some Victorian attitudes, still J)—but in our reading we see many descriptions of ancients' uses of drugs to approach absolute passivity Bergson describes here. Two excellent examples: Pirsig's Indian tribal ceremony visit with Dusenberry where they used peyote, and Jean Auel's (Clan of Cave Bear series of four excellent books) descriptions of Neandertal priest's uses of datura (much more dangerous than peyote)! Beware! Datura, as described by Auel sometimes put priests in 'permanent' connection with Bergson's pure duration! Datura is a narcotic!]

"...But, in the limit, we get a glimpse of an existence made of a present which recommences unceasingly—devoid of real duration, nothing but the instantaneous which dies and is [up to Planck's rate, quantum evolutionarily, SOON~holographically] born again endlessly." Brackets added by Doug - 25Mar2008.

Bergson's choice of 'incommensurable' here is superb. This term has many syn¤nyms in quantum l¤gic: c¤unterfactual definiteness, comtrafactual definiteness, islands ¤f truth, n¤ndistributivity, n¤nfact¤rizability, n¤nc¤mmutativity, et al. As we menti¤n frequently here in Quantonics, quantum reality was 'disc¤vered' by n¤nc¤mmutativity ¤f a Poisson bracket ¤f an electr¤n's p¤siti¤n amd m¤mentum. I.e., p x m m x p, als¤ expressed [p, m] [m, p]. Fr¤m this ¤bservati¤n, quantum matrix mechanics was b¤rn. Schrödinger devel¤ped c¤mplementary wave mechanics sh¤rtly thereafter. B¤th types ¤f quantum mechanics use classical mathematical axi¤ms (e.g., independence, identity, m¤dular inducti¤n, commensurability, etc.) amd n¤tati¤n. Only later, did quantum scientists realize that tw¤ superat¤mic quantons ¤r aggregates there¤f were classically equal t¤ each ¤ther. And m¤re recently, since quarks amd glu¤ns are quantons, we kn¤w that n¤ tw¤ ¤f th¤se are classically identical either (they change as fast as ¤r alm¤st as fast as Planck's rate). This is one way in which we can deny Aristotle's syllogisms directly and very simply. This actuality spawned ¤ur inn¤vati¤n ¤f ¤ur Quantonics 'equals' semi¤tic: C¤nsider what this means f¤r classical mathematical f¤undati¤ns amd symb¤l¤gy! There is n¤ classical 'one!' There is n¤ classical equals sign, n¤ perfect identity! Etc. (We Quantonics-remediated this paragraph, replacing classical contextual 'o' with quantum comtextual '¤.' Also added relevant links some of which we developed since this review was written. 22Jul2001 - Doug. Add 'commensurability' to list above. Quantum reality is omniincommensurable due its absolute EIMA Planck rate animacy (Bergsonian instability), and its incommensurable quantum complementary included~middle (Bergsonian non independence) 28Dec2004 - Doug. .)



"Is the existence of matter of this nature? Not altogether, for analysis resolves it into elementary vibrations, the shortest of which are of very slight duration, almost vanishing, but not nothing. [Bergson describes Planck rate flux!] It may be presumed, nevertheless, that physical existence inclines in this second direction, as Psychical existence in the first.

"Behind "spirituality" on the one hand, and "materiality" with intellectuality on the other, there are then two processes opposite in their direction, and we pass from the first to the second by way of inversion, or perhaps even by simple interruption, if it is true that inversion and interruption are two terms which in this case must be held to be synonymous, as we shall show at more length later on. This presumption is confirmed when we consider things from the point of view of extension [we assume he means EEE here], and no longer from that of duration alone.

"The more we succeed in making ourselves conscious of our progress in pure duration, the more we feel the different parts of our being enter into each other, and our whole personality concentrate itself in a point, or rather a sharp edge, pressed against the future and cutting into it unceasingly. It is in this that life and action are free. But suppose we let ourselves go and, instead of acting, dream. At once the self is scattered; our past, which till then was gathered together into the indivisible impulsion it communicated to us, is broken up into a thousand recollections [omniwhere] made external to one another. They give up interpenetrating in the degree that they become fixed. Our personality thus descends in the direction of space [i.e., Stein's nonspace]. It [iso-] coasts around it continually in sensation. We will not dwell here on a point we have studied elsewhere."

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


We are unsure whether Bergson expresses Stein's quantum epiphany here. Allow us to use this moment to review it. Classically, one may move in either one direction or another—one direction "at a time." For a classicist to imagine any possibility of moving in two or N 'directions' (or omniwhere) simultaneously is "absurd." But our quantons' pure-duration-complements do exactly that. A walk in pure duration, is very akin Lou Reed's A Walk on the Wild Side. When we do it wholly, we isobecome isobeings! See our review of Stein's description of a quantum random both/and walk in his one-dimensional nonspace.






"Let us merely recall that extension admits of degrees, that all sensation is extensive in a certain measure, and that the idea of unextended sensations, artificially localized in space, is a mere [classical] view of the mind, suggested by an unconscious metaphysic much more than by psychological observation.

"No doubt we make only the first steps in the direction of the extended, even when we let ourselves go as much as we can. But suppose for a moment that matter consists in this very movement pushed further, and that physics is simply psychics inverted. We shall now understand why the mind feels at its ease, moves about naturally in space, when matter suggests the more distinct idea of it. This space it already possessed as an implicit idea in its own eventual detension, that is to say, of its own possible extension. The mind finds space in things, but could have got it without them if it had had imagination strong enough to push the inversion of its own natural movement to the end. On the other hand, we are able to explain how matter accentuates still more its materiality, when viewed by the mind. Matter, at first, aided mind to run down its own incline; it gave the impulsion. But, the impulsion once received, mind continues its course. The idea that it forms of pure space is only the schema of the limit at which this movement would end. Once in possession of the form of space, mind uses it like a net with meshes that can be made and unmade at will, which, thrown over matter, divides it [classical analytics] as the needs of our action demand. Thus, the space of our geometry and the spatiality of things are mutually engendered by the reciprocal action and reaction of two terms which are essentially the same, but which move each in the direction inverse of the other. Neither is space so foreign to our nature as we imagine, nor is matter as completely extended in space as our senses and intellect represent it."

(Our brackets and bold.)









"We have treated of the first point elsewhere. As to the second, we will limit ourselves to pointing out that perfect spatiality would consist in a perfect externality of parts in their relation to one another, that is to say, in a complete reciprocal independence. [Classical mathematics founds itself on such reciprocal independence. Modern physi-cs uses said mathematics.] Now, there is no material point that does not act on every other material point. When we observe that a thing really is there where it acts, we shall be led to say (as Faraday(1) was) that all the atoms interpenetrate and that each of them fills the world. On such a hypothesis, the atom or, more generally, the material point, becomes simply a view of the mind, a view which we come to take when we continue far enough the work (wholly relative to our faculty of acting) by which we subdivide matter into bodies. Yet it is undeniable that matter lends itself to this [quantum—nonclassical] subdivision, and that, in supposing it breakable into parts external to one another, we are constructing a science sufficiently representative of the real. It is undeniable that if there be no entirely isolated system, yet science finds means of cutting up the universe into systems relatively independent of each other, and commits no appreciable error in doing so. What else can this mean but that matter extends itself in space without being absolutely extended therein, and that in regarding matter as decomposable into isolated systems, in attributing to it quite distinct elements which change in relation to each other without changing in themselves (which are "displaced," shall we say, without being "altered"), in short, in conferring on matter the properties of pure space, we are transporting ourselves to the terminal point of the movement of which matter simply indicates the direction?

"What the Transcendental Aesthetic of Kant appears to have established once for all is that extension is not a material attribute of the same kind as others."

Note (1) - Faraday, A Speculation concerning Electric Conduction (Philosophical Magazine, 3d. series, vol. xxiv.).

(Our brackets, bold and color. Bergson's parentheses.)





This is a classical view. No appreciable error only classically verifies that classicists do all their verifications and validations in their box, their Church of Reason. That is why we call them "blind." To quote Hofstadter's paraphrase of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, "All consistent axiomatic formulations in number theory include undecidable propositions." SOM's Church of Reason formal axiom set only appears consistent, but it is not; nor is it—as claimed—complete; nor is it—as claimed—absolute.



EEE is not material, period. It is Quantonic. "Material" is classical, Greek, legacy baggage finalized and concretized by Aristotle.



"We cannot reason indefinitely on the notions of heat, color, or weight: in order to know the modalities of weight or of heat, we must have recourse to experience. Not so of the notion of space. Supposing even that it is given empirically by sight and touch (and Kant has not questioned the fact) there is this about it that is remarkable that our mind, speculating on it with its own powers alone, cuts out in it, a priori, figures whose properties we determine a priori: experience, with which we have not kept in touch, yet follows us through the infinite complications of our reasonings and invariably justifies them. That is the fact. Kant has set it in clear light. But the explanation of the fact, we believe, must be sought in a different direction to that which Kant followed.

"Intelligence, as Kant represents it to us, is bathed in an atmosphere of spatiality to which it is as inseparably united as the living body to the air it breathes. Our perceptions reach us only after having passed through this atmosphere. They have been impregnated in advance by our geometry, so that our faculty of thinking only finds again in matter the mathematical properties which our faculty of perceiving has already deposed there. We are assured, therefore, of seeing matter yield itself with docility to our reasonings; but this matter, in all that it has that is intelligible, is our own work; of the reality "in itself" we know nothing and never shall know anything, since we only get its refraction through the forms of our faculty of perceiving. So that if we claim to affirm something of it, at once there rises the contrary affirmation, equally demonstrable, equally plausible. The ideality of space is proved directly by the analysis of knowledge indirectly by the antinomies to which the opposite theory leads."

(Our bold and color.)







Again, we see Bergson creating his own classical trap. He claims that we are in a box of reason, and that our perceptual abilities are stuck too. Why is he not claiming that our perceptual, i.e., memetic and intuemic faculties are evolving just as he claims all reality is evolving? Why is he focusing our attentions on antinomies and opposites—dichotomies each? He suggests reality is an omneity—why does he not speak of it as an omneity? He appears to intuit reality is not classically bivalent, rather he appears to intuit reality is omnivalent. Why does he even continue his classical legacy use of dichons, when they offer only legacy maintenance?



"Such is the governing idea of the Kantian criticism. It has inspired Kant with a peremptory refutation of "empiricist" theories of knowledge. It is, in our opinion, definitive in what it denies. But, in what it affirms, does it give us the solution of the problem?

"With Kant, space is given as a ready-made form of our perceptive faculty-a veritable deus ex machina, of which we see neither how it arises, nor why it is what it is rather than anything else. "Things-in-themselves" are also given, of which he claims that we can know nothing: by what right, then, can he affirm their existence, even as "problematic"? If the unknowable reality projects into our perceptive faculty a "sensuous manifold" capable of fitting into it exactly, is it not, by that very fact, in part known? [Doug has been asking a similar question as problematic of Pirsig's claim that DQ is absolutely undefinable. Since DQ is actuality's absolute agent of creation, change and discreation, do not we at least partly know it? Cannot we make inferences as to its physi?] And when we examine this exact fitting, shall we not be led, in one point at least, to suppose a pre-established harmony between things and our mind—an idle hypothesis, which Kant was right in wishing to avoid? At bottom, it is for not having distinguished degrees in spatiality that he has had to take space readymade as given—whence the question how the "sensuous manifold" is adapted to it. It is for the same reason that he has supposed matter wholly developed into parts absolutely external to one another;—whence antinomies, of which we may plainly see that the thesis and antithesis [classical dichotomy] suppose the perfect coincidence of matter with geometrical space, but which vanish the moment we cease to extend to matter what is true only of pure space. Whence, finally, the conclusion that there are three alternatives, and three only, among which to choose a theory of knowledge: either the mind is determined by things, or things are determined by the mind, or between mind and things we must suppose a mysterious agreement. [Naught but naïve Platonic, Aristotelian, Newtonian classical bat scat!]"

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





Reader, consider our previously mentioned meme that there is no harmony without disharmony. (e.g., horsehair bow dynamically 'conflicting' with violin strings; sound fidelity via negative feedback; learning via negative feedback; sculpted stone negatively fitted to and via sculptor's imagined shape, hammer, and chisel; and so on…) Harmony arises as reality's tentative judgment for 'better' based upon reality's absolute and self-imposed nexts via Planck rate changes on whatevers were. (Yes, reader, we are using quantum plurals, quantum heterogeneity, to grab your attention!)




"But the truth is that there is a fourth, [Indeed, there are an uncountable infinity—Why? There is no limit to how many classical axiomatic conventions may be contrived. See our set of all sets sophism under our Sophism Connection.] which does not seem to have occurred to Kant—in the first place because he did not think that the mind [quantum stage] overflowed the intellect, and in the second place (and this is at bottom the same thing) because he did not attribute to duration an absolute existence, [which says flux is absolute] having put time, a priori, on the same plane as space. [Note how Einstein did a similar thing with his space-time 'identity.'] This alternative consists, first of all, in regarding the intellect as a special function of the mind, essentially turned toward inert matter; then in saying that neither does matter determine the form of the intellect, nor does the intellect impose its form on matter, nor have matter and intellect been regulated in regard to one another by we know not what pre-established harmony, but that intellect and matter [subject and object schism criminally lacerated by SOM's knife—From the original Iliad in symbol font: "mhnin aeide thea Peladew Achilos..." In English language: "Sing, oh, Muse of the {criminal} Wrath of Achilles..."] have progressively adapted themselves one to the other in order to attain at last a common form. This adaptation has, moreover, been brought about quite naturally, because it is the same inversion [object over subject; truth over value] of the same movement which creates at once the intellectuality of mind and the materiality of things.

"From this point of view the knowledge of matter that our perception on one hand and science on the other give to us appears, no doubt, as approximative, but not as relative. [It cannot be relative. It assumes OGT in OGC.] Our perception, whose role it is to hold up a light to our actions, works a dividing up of matter that is always too sharply defined, always subordinated to practical needs, consequently always requiring revision. Our science, which aspires to the mathematical form, over accentuates the spatiality of matter; its formulae are, in general, too precise, and ever need remaking. For a scientific theory to be final, the mind would have to embrace the totality of things in block and place each thing in its exact relation to every other thing; but in reality we are obliged to consider problems one by one, in terms which are, for that very reason, provisional, so that the solution of each problem will have to be corrected indefinitely by the solution that will be given to the problems that will follow: thus, science as a whole is relative to the particular order in which the problems happen to have been put."

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

Kant separably (lisrably) reified mind. Once you grasp that, you see his specification of objective 'state,' and objective 'independence.' Both are classical Parmenidean, Platonic, and Aristotelian illusions which violate Bergson's (quantum~reality's) two prime, directly observable, apparencies:

  • quantum~reality is animate, absolutely animate flux, and
  • quantons in reality coinside (as EIMA stochastic waves) one another.

Reader please observe those as 'inversions' of Bergson's classical illusions, self-delusions:

  • classical reality is stable, has 'state,' i.e., is 'stoppable,' and
  • objects in classical reality are independent of one another.

Reader also note how Pirsig's ancients, quantum~Gn¤stics were emitting warnings two to twelve millennia ago. Plato called them "sophists." He did n¤t grasp how sophism is quantum~reality. Plato and Aristotle (and Kant) wr¤ngly denigrated sophists! Be Gn¤stic! quantum~Gn¤stic!! How? See Doug's 2003-2004 Feuilleton Chautauqua.

Doug - 25Mar2008.





"It is in this meaning, and to this degree, that science must be regarded as conventional. But it is a conventionality of fact so to speak, and not of right. In principle, positive science bears on reality itself, provided it does not overstep the limits of its own domain, which is inert matter.

"Scientific knowledge, thus regarded, rises to a higher plane. In return, the theory of knowledge becomes an infinitely difficult enterprise, and which passes the powers of the intellect alone. It is not enough to determine, by careful analysis, the categories of thought; we must engender them. As regards space, we must, by an effort of mind sui generis, follow the progression or rather the regression of the extra-spatial degrading [latching] itself into spatiality. When we make ourselves selfconscious in the highest possible degree and then let ourselves fall back little by little, we get the feeling of extension: we have an extension of the self into recollections that are fixed and external to one another, in place of the tension it possessed as an indivisible active will. But this is only a beginning. Our consciousness, sketching the movement, shows us its direction and reveals to us the possibility of continuing it to the end; but consciousness itself does not go so far. Now, on the other hand, if we consider matter, which seems to us at first coincident with space, we find that the more our attention is fixed on it, the more the parts which we said were laid side by side enter into each other, each of them undergoing the action of the whole, which is consequently somehow present in it."

(Our bold.)







208 "Thus, although matter stretches itself out in the direction of space, it does not completely attain it; whence we may conclude that it only carries very much further the movement that consciousness is able to sketch within us in its nascent state. We hold, therefore, the two ends of the chain, though we do not succeed in seizing the intermediate links. Will they always escape us? We must remember that philosophy, as we define it, has not yet become completely conscious of itself. Physics understands its rôle when it pushes matter in the direction of spatiality; but has metaphysics understood its rôle when it has simply trodden in the steps of physics, in the chimerical hope of going further in the same direction? Should not its own task be, on the contrary, to remount the incline that physics descends, to bring back matter to its origins, and to build up progressively a cosmology which would be, so to speak, a reversed psychology? All that which seems positive to the physicist and to the geometrician would become, from this new point of view, an interruption or inversion of the true positivity, which would have to be defined in psychological terms. [And, dear reader, that is exactly what quantum science, Pirsig and his new MoQ, and our efforts via Quantonics attempt to accomplish! Doug 20Oct2000.]"

(Our bold and brackets.)






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

©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2009 Rev. 25-27Mar2008  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(26Mar2001 rev - Add link to our p. 200 comments on 'contrafactual definiteness.')
(22Jul2001 rev - Quantonics English language remediated our p. 200 comments on 'contrafactual definiteness.')
(22Jul2001 rev - Reformat p. 200 to allow off-page links to return more appropriately.)
(5Nov2001 rev - Correct page 201 'band' to 'hand' typo.)
(31Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(21Jul2002 rev - Change QELR links to A-Z pages.)
(22Sep2003 rev - Replace incompatible font characters with GIF symbols. Add p. 200 link to How SOMites View Reality.)
(29Sep2003 rev - Add p. 200 comments link to How MoQites View Reality.)
(28Dec2004 rev - Update p. 200 comments with 'commensurability.')
(1Oct2005 rev - Add anchor to 1st occurrence of 'SOM's knife.' Adjust page constraints, colors, etc.)
(2Jul2007 rev - Reformat. Massive respell.)
(15Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(25-27Mar2008 rev - Reformat slightly. Add p. 206 comments and relevant, more recent links. Add page 200 aside. Add more valuable links to same update.)

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