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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 34: The Idea of Disorder
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 34...............The Idea of Disorder


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

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


"But the philosopher will perhaps refuse to found a theory of knowledge on such considerations. They will be repugnant to him, because the mathematical order, being order, will appear to him to contain something positive. It is in vain that we assert that this order produces itself automatically by the interruption of the inverse order, that it is this very interruption. The idea persists, none the less, that there might be no order at all, and that the mathematical order of things, being a conquest over disorder, possesses a positive reality. In examining this point, we shall see what a prominent part the idea of disorder plays in problems relative to the theory of knowledge. It does not appear explicitly, and that is why it escapes our attention. It is, however, with the criticism of this idea that a theory of knowledge ought to begin, for if the great problem is to know why and how reality submits itself to an order, it is because the absence of every kind of order appears possible or conceivable. It is this absence of order that realists and idealists alike believe they are thinking of—the realist when he speaks of the regularity that "objective" laws actually impose on a virtual disorder of nature, the idealist when he supposes a "sensuous manifold" which is coordinated (and consequently itself without order) under the organizing influence of our understanding. The idea of disorder, in the sense of absence of order, is then what must be analyzed first. [Consider carefully how Bergson speaks of dichon(disorder, order).] Philosophy borrows it from daily life. And it is unquestionable that, when ordinarily we speak of disorder, we are thinking of something. But of what? [A classical opposite.]"

(Our brackets and link.)

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




221 "It will be seen in the next chapter how hard it is to determine the content of a negative idea, and what illusions one is liable to, what hopeless difficulties philosophy falls into, for not having undertaken this task. [Beware Bergson's dichons: order versus disorder, positive versus negative. These are classical thought's promulgators of absolute antitheses, of absolute verifiable contradiction, of absolute (Popperian) falsifiability. All of these Platonic 'ideas' lead to classical mathematics' unfounded arrogance and imprudent claims of ability to assess 'proofs.'] Difficulties and illusions are generally due to this, that we accept as final a manner of expression essentially provisional. They are due to our bringing into the domain of speculation a procedure made for practice. If I choose a volume in my library at random, I may put it back on the shelf after glancing at it and say, "This is not verse." Is this what I have really seen in turning over the leaves of the book? Obviously not. I have not seen, I never shall see, an absence of verse. I have seen prose. But as it is poetry I want, I express what I find as a function of what I am looking for, and instead of saying, "This is prose," I say, "This is not verse." In the same way, if the fancy takes me to read prose, and I happen on a volume of verse, I shall say, "This is not prose," thus expressing the data of my perception, which shows me verse, in the language of my expectation and attention, which are fixed on the idea of prose and will hear of nothing else. Now, if Mons. Jourdain heard me, he would infer, no doubt, from my two exclamations that prose and poetry are two forms of language reserved for books, and that these learned forms have come and overlaid a language which was neither prose nor verse. Speaking of this thing which is neither verse nor prose, he would suppose, moreover, that he was thinking of it: it would be only a pseudo idea, however. Let us go further still: the pseudo idea would create a pseudo-problem, if M. Jourdain were to ask his professor of philosophy how the prose form and the poetry form have been superadded to that which possessed neither the one nor the other, and if he wished the professor to construct a theory of the imposition of these two forms upon this formless matter."

(Our link and brackets.)














"His question would be absurd, and the absurdity would lie in this, that he was hypostasizing as the substratum of prose and poetry the simultaneous negation of both, forgetting that the negation of the one consists in the affirmation of the other.

"Now, suppose that there are two species of order, and that these two orders are two contraries within one and the same genus. Suppose also that the idea of disorder arises in our mind whenever, seeking one of the two kinds of order, we find the other. The idea of disorder would then have a clear meaning in the current practice of life: it would objectify, for the convenience of language, the disappointment of a mind that finds before it an order different from what it wants, an order with which it is not concerned at the moment, and which, in this sense, does not exist for it. But the idea would not admit a theoretical use. So if we claim, notwithstanding, to introduce it into philosophy, we shall inevitably lose sight of its true meaning. It denotes the absence of a certain order, but to the profit of another (with which we are not concerned); only, as it applies to each of the two in turn, and as it even goes and comes continually between the two, we take it on the way, or rather on the wing, like a shuttlecock between two battledores [i.e., badminton], and treat it as if it represented, not the absence of the one or other order as the case may be, but the absence [and quantumly, partial~presence] of both together—a thing that is neither perceived nor conceived, [a quanton(fluxoid_0,fluxoid_1)] a simple verbal [quantum] entity. So there arises the problem how order is imposed on disorder, form on matter. In analyzing the idea of disorder thus subtilized, we shall see that it represents nothing at all, and at the same time the problems that have been raised around it will vanish.

"It is true that we must begin by distinguishing, and even by opposing one to the other, two kinds of order which we generally confuse."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)

In previous page's last paragraph Bergson used superadded. He intuits quantum memes brilliantly and he continues his use of those memeos in this page.






A terrific exemplar of Bergson's quantum intuitions appears here in his "shuttlecock between two battledores." To juxtapose Doug's review intent here compare Bergson's badminton parable to an nitrogen atom in an ammonia molecule:

Readers may choose to view fluxoids 0 and 1 as a quantum~superposition of a nitrogen atom in 'two' 'loci' durationally. Now fathom shuttlecock durationally superposing player 1 (fluxoid 0) and player 2 (fluxoid 1). Bergson is showing us how reality is a quantum~both~and, not a classical either-or. He is showing us quantum~rhetoric as above classical dialectic. He is showing us that quantum~reality is durational while classical reality is 'state' ic. Indeed, in many ways this is essence of understanding quantum~reality.

Doug - 11Apr2008.



"As this confusion has created the principal difficulties of the problem of knowledge, it will not be useless to dwell once more on the marks by which the two orders are distinguished.

"In a general way, reality is ordered exactly to the degree in which it satisfies our thought. Order is therefore a certain agreement between subject and object. It is the mind finding itself again in things. But the mind, we said, can go in two opposite ways. Sometimes it follows its natural direction: there is then progress in the form of tension, continuous creation, free activity. Sometimes it inverts it, and this inversion, pushed to the end, leads to extension, to the necessary reciprocal determination of elements externalized each by relation to the others, in short, to geometrical mechanism. Now, whether experience seems to us to adopt the first direction or whether it is drawn in the direction of the second, in both cases we say there is order, for in the two processes the mind finds itself again. The confusion between them is therefore natural. To escape it, different names would have to be given to the two kinds of order, and that is not easy, because of the variety and variability of the forms they take. The order of the second kind may be defined as geometry, which is its extreme limit; more generally, it is that kind of order that is concerned whenever a relation of necessary determination is found between causes and effects. It evokes ideas of inertia, of passivity, of automatism. As to the first kind of order, it oscillates no doubt around finality; and yet we cannot define it as finality, for it is. sometimes above, sometimes below. In its highest forms, it is more than finality, for of a free action or a work of art we may say that they show a perfect order, and yet they can only be expressed in terms of ideas approximately, and after the event."

(Our bold and color.)

Please learn to thinkq of "knowledge" as classically "know ledge," a ledge of stuck, state-ic ideas, classical thing-king, and concrete concepts. A "knowledge" is a palimpsest of stuxness, a tote of rote recall. Doug - 11Apr2008.


It is our view, in Quantonics, that we can (we are able) to learn to leave this classical duality, this classical either/or of either natural freedom or versus geometrical mechanism. Bergson appears to tell us we must learn to do both, but separately, classically either/or one or the other but not both superposed together. We, respectfully, disagree. For some Quantonic concord, please read James' view that we have two legs but must use both together. Note how our assessment concurs with our earlier comments that his intellectual sympathy contain very similar classical either/or aspects. See our review of his An Introduction to Metaphysics. Search on 'either/or.'




224 "Life in its entirety, regarded as a creative evolution, is something analogous; it transcends finality, if we understand by finality the realization of an idea conceived or conceivable in advance. The category of finality is therefore too narrow for life in its entirety. It is, on the other hand, often too wide for a particular manifestation of life taken separately. Be that as it may, it is with the vital that we have here to do, and the whole present study strives to prove that the vital is in the direction of the voluntary. We may say then that this first kind of order is that of the vital or of the willed, in opposition to the second, which is that of the inert and the automatic. Common sense instinctively distinguishes between the two kinds of order, at least in the extreme cases; instinctively, also, it brings them together. We say of astronomical phenomena that they manifest an admirable order, meaning by this that they can be foreseen mathematically. And we find an order no less admirable in a symphony of Beethoven, which is genius, originality, and therefore unforeseeability itself."

(Our bold and color.)







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©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2011 Rev. 13Mar2009  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(8Jul2001 rev - Correct link to page 30.)
(14Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(25Aug2002 rev - Add 'consensus' link to common sense above.)
(21Feb2007 rev - Adjust format.)
(15Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(11,15Apr2008 rev - Add p. 222 comments. Repair typo.)
(13Mar2009 rev - Make page current.)

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