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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter I: The Evolution of Life Mechanism and Teleology
Topic 4: Individuality and Age
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
says, "You are here!")

Topic 4...............Individuality and Age


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

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


"In vain does immediate experience show us that the very basis of our conscious existence is memory, that is to say, the prolongation of the past into the present, or, in a word, duration, acting and irreversible. In vain does reason prove to us that the more we get away from the objects cut out and the systems isolated by common sense and by science and the deeper we dig beneath them, the more we have to do with a reality which changes as a whole in its inmost states, as if an accumulative memory of the past made it impossible to go back again. The mechanistic instinct of the mind is stronger than reason, stronger than immediate experience. The metaphysician that we each carry unconsciously within us, and the presence of which is explained, as we shall see later on, by the very place that man occupies amongst the living beings, has its fixed requirements, its ready-made explanations, its irreducible propositions: all unite in denying concrete duration. Change must be reducible to an arrangement or rearrangement of parts; the irreversibility of time must be an appearance relative to our ignorance; the impossibility of turning back must be only the inability of man to put things in place again. So growing old can be nothing more than the gradual gain or loss of certain substances, perhaps both together. Time is assumed to have just as much reality for a living being as for an hour-glass, in which the top part empties while the lower fills, and all goes where it was before when you turn the glass upside down.

"True, biologists are not agreed on what is gained and what is lost between the day of birth and the day of death. There are those who hold to the continual growth in the volume of protoplasm from the birth of the cell right on to its death.(1)"

Note (1) - Sedgwick Minot, On Certain Phenomena of Growing Old (Proc. Amer. Assoc. for the Advancement of Science, 39th Meeting, Salem, 1891, pp. 271-288).

(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

We doubt "instinct" is wholly responsible here. Sophists apparently did not have this "instinct" for 10-12 millennia prior to Parmenides, Plato, et al. We do admit an apparent biological predilection for some architectural biformality.


"More probable and more profound is the theory according to which the diminution bears on the quantity of nutritive substance contained in that "inner environment" in which the organism is being renewed, and the increase on the quantity of unexcreted residual substances which, accumulating in the body, finally "crust it over."(1) Must we however—with an eminent bacteriologist—declare any explanation of growing old insufficient that does not take account of phagocytosis?(2) We do not feel qualified to settle the question. But the fact that the two theories agree in affirming the constant accumulation or loss of a certain kind of matter, even though they have little in common as to what is gained and lost, shows pretty well that the frame of the explanation has been furnished a priori. We shall see this more and more as we proceed with our study: it is not easy, in thinking of time, to escape the image of the hour-glass.

"The cause of growing old must lie deeper. We hold that there is unbroken continuity between the evolution of the embryo and that of the complete organism. The impetus which causes a living being to grow larger, to develop and to age, is the same that has caused it to pass through the phases of the embryonic life. The development of the embryo is a perpetual change of form. Any one who attempts to note all its successive aspects becomes lost in an infinity, as is inevitable in dealing with a continuum. Life does but prolong this prenatal evolution. The proof of this is that it is often impossible for us to say whether we are dealing with an organism growing old or with an embryo continuing to evolve; such is the case, for example, with the larvae of insects and crustacea."

Note (1) - Le Dantec, L'Individualité et 1'erreur individualiste, Paris, 1905, pp. 84 ff.

Note ((2) - Metchnikoff , La Dégénérescence sénile (Année biologique, iii., 1897, pp. 249 ff.). Cf. by the same author, La Nature humaine, Paris, 1903, pp. 312 ff.

(Our bold and color.)

Biological theory had not advanced to a point of our modern percepts of telomeres. Even so, their ideas and concepts still fit telomeric change of cells which we call "aging." Telomeres lose incremental length with each cell duplication. Cells consequently lose longevity.

"On the other hand, in an organism such as our own, crises like puberty or the menopause, in which the individual is completely transformed, are quite comparable to changes in the course of larval or embryonic life—yet they are part and parcel of the process of our aging. Although they occur at a definite age and within a time that may be quite short, no one would maintain that they appear then ex abrupto, from without, simply because a certain age is reached, just as a legal right is granted to us on our one-and-twentieth birthday. It is evident that a change like that of puberty is in course of preparation at every instant from birth, and even before birth, and that the aging up to that crisis consists, in part at least, of this gradual preparation. In short, what is properly vital in growing old is the insensible, infinitely graduated, continuance of the change of form. Now, this change is undoubtedly accompanied by phenomena of organic destruction: to these, and to these alone, will a mechanistic explanation of aging be confined. It will note the facts of sclerosis, the gradual accumulation of residual substances, the growing hypertrophy of the protoplasm of the cell. But under these visible effects an inner cause lies hidden. The evolution of the living being, like that of the embryo, implies a continual recording of duration, a persistence of the past in the present, and so an appearance, at least, of organic memory.

"The present state of an unorganized body depends exclusively on what happened at the previous instant; and likewise the position of the material points of a system defined and isolated by science is determined by the position of these same points at the moment immediately before. In other words, the laws that govern unorganized matter are expressible, in principle, by differential equations in which time (in the sense in which the mathematician takes this word) would play the role of independent variable."

(Our bold and color.)

"Is it so with the laws of life? Does the state of a living body find its complete explanation in the state immediately before? ...

[See extensive comments on
Bergson's prescient
















"...Yes, if it is agreed a priori to liken the living body to other bodies, and to identify it, for the sake of the argument, with the artificial systems on which the chemist, physicist, and astronomer operate. But in astronomy, physics, and chemistry the proposition has a perfectly definite meaning: it signifies that certain aspects of the present, important for science, are calculable as functions of the immediate past. Nothing of the sort [happens] in the domain of life. Here calculation touches, at most, certain phenomena of organic destruction. Organic creation, on the contrary, the evolutionary phenomena which properly constitute life, we cannot in any way subject to a mathematical treatment. It will be said that this impotence is due only to our ignorance. But it may equally well express the fact that the present moment of a living body does not find its explanation in the moment immediately before, that all the past of the organism must be added to that moment, its heredityin fact, the whole of a very long history. In the second of these two hypotheses, not in the first, is really expressed the present state of the biological sciences, as well as their direction. As for the idea that the living body might be treated by some superhuman calculator in the same mathematical way as our solar system, this has gradually arisen from a metaphysic which has taken a more precise form since the physical discoveries of Galileo, but which, as we shall show, was always the natural metaphysic of the human mind. Its apparent clearness, our impatient desire to find it true, the enthusiasm with which so many excellent minds accept it without proof—all the seductions, in short, that it exercises on our thought, should put us on our guard against it."

(Our bold and color.)

These are extraordinary questions! When one views them classically, in an analytical fashion, one sees hint of induction, i.e., (actual) past determining future analytically. We also call this cause and effect. Both deny free will. Both are artifacts of SOM. In SOM, time as an independent variable (as we discuss frequently), demands homogeneity of time itself.

When one views cause and effect quantumly and assumes our Quantonic map of reality where reality is:

  1. nonactuality,
  2. its complement actuality, and
  3. their Quantonic commingling (face of change)

—one sees that part of Bergson's duration lies in nonactuality and part of it lies in actuality and they commingle and compenetrate one another, fructifying a new, spectacular anticlassical-to-proquantum transitory notion of reality:

  • Homogeneous classical effect becomes heterogeneous quantum affects.
  • Homogeneous, unitemporal classical cause becomes heterogeneous, paratemporal quantum outcomes.

Classical cause and effect ascend to quantum affects and outcomes.

Our two bullets paraphrase a Pirsigean dual which we render heterogeneously: "...outcomes B(s) Value preconditions A(s)..." See Pirsig's Lila, top of page 104 of 410 total pages, end of Ch. 8, Bantam hardbound, 1st edition, 1991: "...B values precondition A..."

Actual quantum ensemble patterns stochastically emerse from both nonactuality and actuality, 'be' or 'exist' for their lifetimes in both nonactuality and actuality, and immerse to nonactuality (with some actual elemental and molecular residuals). Thus with this new view, our Quantonic view, we can see that biohistory is (all 'histories' are) immersed in nonactuality. Thus nonactuality has a quantum complementary interrelationship with what Bergson calls (actual) "state." In that regard biohistory complements state, but not in a classical inductive, cause-effect, analytic, deterministic way! Thus we see Bergson's duration may be preserved perceptually as:

duration issi quanton(nonactuality,actuality), or
duration quanton(nonactuality,actuality).

How and what does nonactuality contribute to 'next?' Dunno. Quantum science hints that nonactual 'entanglements' contribute. However, entanglements entangle comtexts of actuality. We think quantum coherence interrelates both nonactuality and actuality in extraordinary ways, too. Here, gravity is our best example. Gravity is a quantum superluminal interrelationship without whose 'duration' our actual survival would be in question. We see gravity as partial coherence, and thus partial duration via nonactuality. If you wish to persist here, consider Stein's random both/and walk in nonspace. Here is a picture depicting an artistic vision of our words above.


By "a priori," Bergson means conveniently or conventionally.

Any "
ignorance" argument is just more SOM Boole. It's roughly equivalent to "hidden variables," which classicists presume are somehow hidden in some unknown part of actuality. That too is just more SOM Boole, unless one is claiming cloaked "variables" in nonactuality. But then, we may not know anything about those.

Bergson's "...all the past of the organism must be added to that moment, its heredity..." has recently (CeodE 2007) been confirmed as a quantum memeo called "epigenome." Did you see NOVA's PBS program Ghost in Your Genes? Inferences can be made that our epigenomes also carry a priori and quantum~pragmatic future implications unique to each of us. What is interesting about memes of epigenome is that it begs a quantonic comparison somewhat like this:

quanton(n¤nactuality,actuality) issi quanton(your_epigenome,you).

Our individual holograms coinside a vaster, real, quantum_reality_hologram issi quanton(isoflux,flux).

For more on quantum~pragmatism read Durant on William James.

See a partial video of PBS' Ghost in Your Genes?

What are we seeing here? Did you watch that video? You can see other three segments if you follow their text just to right.

What is another term for epigenic? Quantum~holographic. What is a hologram? A hologram is quantum~isocomtextual~flux. Every fuzzon in any local hologram has quantum~coobsfective~nexi to every other fuzzon in that hologram! Now thinkq about our quanton(n¤nactuality,actuality). You agree with us that our comma~n¤space is an everywhere~associative~quantum~included~middle, right?

Following box of text and diagrams we borrow from our Quantonics' Version of Hamilton's Quaternion:

"We created another n¤vel graphic which students may use to visualize any quanton's EIMA:

"That sphere issi a sphere of p¤tentially (an) ¤mnivalent (ensehmble of) quantum include-middle c¤mma-n¤-space c¤pula. It shows that when we depict quanton(c¤mplementqi,c¤mplementqj), its quantum EIMA c¤mma-n¤-space issi massively heter¤gene¤us. Imagine our quanton's c¤mma-n¤-space c¤pulum as only an iceberg tip of that c¤mma-n¤-space sphere. Then imagine all that as abs¤lutely anihmatæ quantum flux.

"Here is an analogous ~circular GIF showing what we intend, in 2D, less abstractly (coarse 30° increments for readability; imagine that disk of c¤mplements being rotated ecliptically too, to make a quasi-sphere, and then anihmatæd):

"Students should assume c¤mplementqi is varying due absolute quantum flux.
Further assume c¤mplementsqj are each unique and varying even
though we do not show their quantum-unique comtexts.
Click graphic's link to see a comtextual interpretation.

"Here you can see heter¤gene¤us, ensehmble quantum c¤mplements without having to infer their presence only by a spherical 'hive' of c¤mma-n¤-space anihmatæ EIMAs. This is a sort of sledge-hammer way of saying, "There are n¤ classical dyads in quantum reality, and there are n¤ Aristotelian syllogisms in quantum reality. Too, if you fathom what we intend, Bell's inequalities are thus ubiquitous in quantum reality. There are n¤ 'equalities' in quantum reality!" See identity. See equals."

We call it "EIMA: everywhere~included~middle~associativity;" entangled, unentangled, coherent, decoherent, superposed and n¤t. etc. Interfering and n¤t. That describes isoflux and flux interrelationshipings holographically. Isoflux is isoholographic and isomixes with actual flux holographically. Voila! Mediator of what classical 'scientists' call an "epigenome.'

Ponder Doug's now ancient "One is the onliest number..."

All genes are isocomtextually sensitive to both their local and n¤nlocal quantum~environments. Quantum~entangled genes are especially sensitive to one another. Entanglement probably should be called something like epientanglement, perhaps isoentanglement.

Quantonics makes this easy to understand and to explain!

Doug - 30Jul2008.


"The attraction it has for us proves well enough that it gives satisfaction to an innate inclination.

"But, as will be seen further on, the intellectual tendencies innate to-day, which life must have created in the course of its evolution, are not at all meant to supply us with an explanation of life: they have something else to do.

"Any attempt to distinguish between an artificial and a natural system, between the dead and the living, runs counter to this tendency at once. Thus it happens that we find it equally difficult to imagine that the organized has duration and that the unorganized has not. When we say that the state of an artificial system depends exclusively on its state at the moment before, does it not seem as if we were bringing time in, as if the system had something to do with real duration? And, on the other hand, though the whole of the past goes into the making of the living being's present moment, does not organic memory press it into the moment immediately before the present, so that the moment immediately before becomes the sole cause of the present one?To speak thus is to ignore the cardinal difference between concrete time, along which a real system develops, and that abstract time which enters into our speculations on artificial systems. What does it mean, to say that the state of an artificial system depends on what it was at the moment immediately before? There is no instant immediately before another instant; there could not be, any more than there could be one mathematical point touching another. The instant "immediately before" is, in reality, that which is connected with the present instant by the interval dt. All that you mean to say, therefore, is that the present state of the system is defined by equations into which differential coefficients enter, such as ds|dt, dv|dt, that is to say, at bottom, present velocities and present accelerations."

(Our bold and color.) We agree! Nature almost appears to want to delude us. We think this arises from humans' intrinsic biformal architecture. We see this as an artifact of our evolute and thus not yet fully realized potential. Neo sapiens and other much more advanced biologicals (including those which humans may create) may have three or more brain lobes and other more highly evolved artifacts which allow them to better perceive nature's vast complexity.
22 "You are therefore really speaking only of the present—a present, it is true, considered along with its tendency. The systems science works with are, in fact, in an instantaneous present that is always being renewed; such systems are never in that real, concrete duration in which the past remains bound up with the present. When the mathematician calculates the future state of a system at the end of a time t, there is nothing to prevent him from supposing that the universe vanishes from this moment till that, and suddenly reappears. It is the tth moment only that counts and that will be a mere instant. What will flow on in the interval—that is to say, real time—does not count, and cannot enter into the calculation. If the mathematician says that he puts himself inside this interval, he means that he is placing himself at a certain point, at a particular moment, therefore at the extremity again of a certain time t'; with the interval up to T' he is not concerned. If he divides the interval into infinitely small parts by considering the differential dt, he thereby expresses merely the fact that he will consider accelerations and velocities—that is to say, numbers which denote tendencies and enable him to calculate the state of the system at a given moment. But he is always speaking of a given moment—a static moment, that is—and not of flowing time. In short, the world the mathematician deals with is a world that dies and is reborn at every instant—the world which Descartes was thinking of when he spoke of continued creation. But, in time thus conceived, how could evolution, which is the very essence of life, ever take place? Evolution implies a real persistence of the past in the present, a duration which is, as it were, a hyphen, a connecting link. In other words, to know a living being or natural system is to get at the very interval of duration, while the knowledge of an artificial or mathematical system applies only to the extremity."

(Our bold and color.)

Please remember that Bergson very likely did not know of quantum reality. Where classical science is as he speaks, quantum science at least entertains perception of his duration. As we see it, quantum reality depends on Bergson's duration! And not just in animate reality, but in all reality!

Consider how
Stein's space-nonspace approach does this during nonspace measurement hiatuses.

And here we see Bergson's profound quantum intuition! Juxtapose David Bohm's nearly analogous remarks

"We are led, instead, to a new point of view, based on [an] idea that [] quanta connecting object and environment constitute irreducible links that belong, at all times, as much to one part as to [an] other."

See Chapter 8, Sec. 24, Quantum Theory, by David Bohm, Dover, 1979 (originally published by Prentice Hall, 1951). (Doug's brackets to remove thelogos.)


"Continuity of change, preservation of the past in the present, real duration—the living being seems, then, to share these attributes with consciousness. Can we go further and say that life, like conscious activity, is invention, is unceasing creation?

"It does not enter into our plan to set down here the proofs of transformism. We wish only to explain in a word or two why we shall accept it, in the present work, as a sufficiently exact and precise expression of the facts actually known. The idea of transformism is already in germ in the natural classification of organized beings. The naturalist, in fact, brings together the organisms that are like each other, then divides the group into sub-groups within which the likeness is still greater, and so on: all through the operation, the characters of the group appear as general themes on which each of the sub-groups performs its particular variation. Now, such is just the relation we find, in the animal and in the vegetable world between the generator and the generated: on the canvas which the ancestor passes on, and which his descendants possess in common, each puts his own original embroidery. True, the differences between the descendant and the ancestor are slight, and it may be asked whether the same living matter presents enough plasticity to take in turn such different forms as those of a fish, a reptile and a bird. But, to this question, observation gives a peremptory answer. It shows that up to a certain period in its development the embryo of the bird is hardly distinguishable from that of the reptile [homomorphism], and that the individual develops, throughout the embryonic life in general, a series of transformations comparable to those through which, according to the theory of evolution, one species passes into another."

(Our bold and color. Our brackets.)

It is important to give an explanation of classical perceptions of classical "transformism." Classical reality is a closed, monolithic, conservative, objective, analytical reality. Classicists assume physical reality pre-exists. "Transformism" is thus no more than conserved rearrangement of pre-existing classical objects.

Classical "transformism" is antithetic quantum emergence or Darwinian evolution. Too, it is antithetic Jamesian pluralistic novelty. Note that we could easily adopt a kind of quantumesque "transformism," but that would require its redefinition and its own immersion in quantum comtexts and QTMs.


"A single cell, the result of the combination of two cells, male and female, accomplishes this work by dividing. Every day, before our eyes, the highest forms of life are springing from a very elementary form. Experience, then, shows that the most complex has been able to issue from the most simple by way of evolution. Now, has it arisen so, as a matter of fact? Paleontology [study of prehistoric beings], in spite of the insufficiency of its evidence, invites us to believe it has; for, where it makes out the order of succession of species with any precision, this order is just what considerations drawn from embryogeny [evolutionary genesis of embryos: classical is deadly state-formal, quantum is emerqant EIMA living processings] and comparative anatomy would lead any one to suppose, and each new paleontological discovery brings transformism a new confirmation. Thus, the proof drawn from mere observation is ever being strengthened, while, on the other hand, experiment is removing the objections one by one. The recent experiments of H. de Vries, for instance, by showing that important variations can be produced suddenly and transmitted regularly, have overthrown some of the greatest difficulties raised by the theory. They have enabled us greatly to shorten the time biological evolution seems to demand. They also render us less exacting toward paleontology. So that, all things considered, the transformist hypothesis looks more and more like a close approximation to the truth. It is not rigorously demonstrable; but, failing the certainty of theoretical or experimental demonstration, there is a probability which is continually growing, due to evidence which, while coming short of direct proof, seems to point persistently in its direction: such is the kind of probability that the theory of transformism offers.

"Let us admit, however, that transformism may be wrong. Let us suppose that species are proved, by inference or by experiment, to have arisen by a discontinuous process, of which to-day we have no idea."

(Our bold and color.)

Bergson did not know of DNA. Nor did he know how mitosis and meiosis work. Classical transformism is in modern biological theory now clearly refuted! But our comparatively advanced current knowledge fits Bergson's quantum concepts of duration very well. Duration thus, is a robust meme.

Note how Bergson's biological transformism does not apply to modern biological aggregates; however, consider how it does apply to precursor or precursor aggregate Planck quanta depicted in our graphic we showed you on page 20. In other words, much lower evolutionary level Planck quanta and more highly evolved and complex aggregates thereof, compose all of actual reality. Aggregates at more highly evolved levels of Value patterns form more complex pattern interrelationships which do not include artifacts of more basic quantum transformism.

Bergson was both correct and incorrect: nature uses a kind of quantum transformism, but does so at much, much smaller quanta of reality than chromosomes and DNA.


Bergson's intuitions are superb! Transformism we must now perceive as quantized emergence. What is interesting, though, is that quanta are durational flux, but their ability to change Balmer energy levels appears 'classically discontinuous' as "scintillations' zero latency quantum jumps." Doug - 30Jul2008.

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©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2010 Rev. 17Oct2008  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(1Jan2001 rev - Add David Bohm quote to page 22 comments, plus link to Planck Quanton as quanta.)
(19Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(25Aug2002 rev - Add 'consensus' link to common sense above.)
(12Nov2002 rev - Add p. 20 comments 'paratemporal' link.)
(7Jun2005 rev - Change some colors. Release page constraints. Replace some wingdings fonts with GIFs for compatibility.)
(15Sep2006 rev - Adjust colors and reformat.)
(14Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(30Jul2008 rev - Extend p. 20 comments. Add p. 24 brackets and links in text.)
(2Aug2008 rev - Repair some punctuation in most recent update.)
(17Oct2008 rev - Correct p. 20 comment typo.)

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