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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter IV: The Cinematographical Mechanism Of Thought
and the Mechanistic Illusion

A Glance at the History of Systems

Real Becoming and False Evolutionism.

Topic 44: Spinoza and Leibniz
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 44...............Spinoza and Leibniz


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

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


"Such was the case with Leibniz, as also with Spinoza. We are not blind to the treasures of originality their doctrines contain. Spinoza and Leibniz have poured into them the whole content of their souls, rich with the inventions of their genius and the acquisitions of modern thought. And there are in each of them, especially in Spinoza, flashes of intuition that break through the system. But if we leave out of the two doctrines what breathes life into them, if we retain the skeleton only, we have before us the very picture of Platonism and Aristotelianism seen through Cartesian mechanism. They present to us a systematization of the new physics, constructed on the model of the ancient metaphysics.

"What, indeed, could the unification of physics be? The inspiring idea of that science was to isolate, within the universe, systems of material points such that, the position of each of these points being known at a given moment, we could then calculate it for any moment whatever. As, moreover, the systems thus defined were the only ones on which the new science had hold, and as it could not be known beforehand whether a system satisfied or did not satisfy the desired condition, it was useful to proceed always and everywhere as if the condition was realized."

(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



348 "There was in this a methodological rule, a very natural rule—so natural, indeed, that it was not even necessary to formulate it. For simple common sense tells us that when we are possessed of an effective instrument of research, and are ignorant of the limits of its applicability, we should act as if its applicability were unlimited; there will always be time to abate it [or beg forgiveness for using it]. But the temptation must have been great for the philosopher to hypostatize [i.e., objectify; and epistatize (stop—lock in or encapsulate material meaning)] this hope, or rather this impetus, of the new science, and to convert a general rule of method into a fundamental law of things. So he transported himself at once to the limit; he supposed physics to have become complete and to embrace the whole of the sensible world. The universe became a system of points, the position of which was rigorously determined at each instant by relation to the preceding instant and theoretically calculable for any moment whatever. The result, in short, was universal mechanism. But it was not enough to formulate this mechanism; what was required was to found it, to give the reason for it and prove its necessity. And the essential affirmation of mechanism being that of a reciprocal mathematical dependence of all the points of the universe, as also of all the moments of the universe, the reason of mechanism had to be discovered in the unity of a principle into which could be contracted all that is juxtaposed in space and successive in time. Hence, the whole of the real was supposed to be given at once [thus denying nature's creative evolution itself, outright...but quantum thinkqing shows us that creative evolution is unstoppable, durational process and evolution at each Planck moment, at each Planck tickings of quantum real ubiquitous clockings, is always only a partiality, an said incompletioning, of what it shall become...its always imminent unsaidings... Doug - 10Mar2009.]. The reciprocal determination of the juxtaposed appearances in space was explained by the indivisibility of true being, and the inflexible determinism of successive phenomena in time simply expressed that the whole of being is given in the eternal."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)



Among modern physicists today, including many quantum physicists, this approach is highly prized. They refer it as "…the Jesuit strategy." We like its pioneering spirit, but we are also aware of innate and implicit limitations of 'modern' mathematics used as part of 'Jesuit strategies' practiced in quantum physics. Also, consider Bergson's unsubtle indictment of 'common' sense.

Bergson just described how classical thing-king methods encourage us to put things and keep things in SOM's box, its church of reason. Where classicism is the box, quantum philosophy is Pandora. Pandora represents quantons which commingle and interrelate whole reality, both actuality and nonactuality as coobsfecting c¤mplements, not just its classically objective (hypostatic) 'parts.'





"The new philosophy was going, then, to be a recommencement, or rather a transposition, of the old. The ancient philosophy had taken each of the concepts into which a becoming is concentrated or which mark its apogee: it supposed them all known, and gathered them up into a single concept, form of forms, idea of ideas, like the God of Aristotle. The new philosophy was going to take each of the laws which condition a becoming in relation to others and which are as the permanent substratum of phenomena: it would suppose them all known, and would gather them up into a unity which also would express them eminently, but which, like the God of Aristotle and for the same reasons, must remain immutably shut up in itself. [Old and new, thus in this regard, essentially same.]

"True, this return to the ancient philosophy was not without great difficulties. When a Plato, an Aristotle, or a Plotinus melt all the concepts of their science into a single one, in so doing they embrace the whole of the real, for concepts are supposed to represent the things themselves, and to possess at least as much positive content. But a law, in general, expresses only a [classical hypostatic property] relation, and physical laws in particular express only [classical hypostatic property] quantitative relations between concrete things. So that if a modern philosopher works with the laws of the new science as the Greek philosopher did with the concepts of the ancient science, if he makes all the conclusions of a physics supposed omniscient converge on a single point, he neglects what is concrete in the phenomena—the qualities perceived, the perceptions themselves. His synthesis comprises, it seems, only a fraction of reality. [Stated differently, "He stays in SOM's tiny box."] In fact, the first result of the new science was to cut the real into two halves, quantity and quality, the former being credited to the account of bodies and the latter to the account of souls. The ancients had raised no such barriers either between quality and quantity or between soul and body. For them, the mathematical concepts were concepts like the others, related to the others and fitting quite naturally into the hierarchy of the Ideas. Neither was the body then defined by geometrical extension, nor the soul by consciousness."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)










View Bergson's ancients here as those of feminine wisdom now referred "gnostics, quantum~gnostics," who practiced sophial wisdom of gnosis. Doug - 10Mar2009.




"If the yuch [yuch ] of Aristotle, the entelechy of a living body, is less spiritual than our "soul," it is because his ovma, already impregnated with the Idea, is less corporeal than our "body." The scission was not yet irremediable between the two terms. It has become so, and thence a metaphysic that aims at an abstract unity must resign itself either to comprehend in its synthesis only one half of the real, or to take advantage of the absolute heterogeneity of the two halves in order to consider one as a translation of the other. Different phrases will express different things if they belong to the same language, that is to say, if there is a certain relationship of sound between them. But if they belong to two different languages, they might, just because of their radical diversity of sound, express the same thing. [Many truths in many contexts.] So of quality and quantity, of soul and body. It is for having cut all connection between the two terms that philosophers have been led to establish between them a rigorous parallelism, of which the ancients had not dreamed, to regard them as translations and not as inversions [rather, c¤mplements] of each other; in short, to [wrongly] posit a fundamental identity as a substratum to their duality. The synthesis to which they rose thus became capable of embracing everything. A divine mechanism made the phenomena of thought to correspond to those of extension, each to each, qualities to quantities, souls to bodies.

"It is this parallelism that we find both in Leibniz and in Spinoza—in different forms, it is true, because of the unequal importance which they attach to extension. With Spinoza, the two terms Thought and Extension are placed, in principle at least, in the same rank. They are, therefore, two translations of one and the same original, or, as Spinoza says, two attributes of one and the same substance, which we must call God."

(Our brackets and bold.)



Again, Bergson describes quantum c¤mplementarity: a quanton(mind,body). He offers his own prescient and profound solution, and it is now, in retrospect, so simple and so good.


See link's description ot two kinds of c¤mplementarity.


Reader, you may wish to review our ISM Extremes. See 'dualism.'


Consider how Bergson's elan vital or vital impetus (Pirsig's DQ) prods thought to extend via evolution. We call it EEE.


351 "And these two translations, as also an infinity of others into languages which we know not, are called up and even forced into existence by the original, just as the essence of the circle is translated automatically, so to speak, both by a figure and by an equation [rather, many figures and many equations]. For Leibniz, on the contrary, extension is indeed still a translation, but it is thought that is the original, and thought might dispense with translation, the translation being made only for us. In positing God, we necessarily posit also all the possible views of God, that is to say, the monads [i.e., immutable classical hypostatic objects]. But we can always imagine that a view has been taken from a point of view, and it is natural for an imperfect mind like ours to class views, qualitatively different, according to the order and position of points of view, qualitatively identical, from which the views might have been taken. In reality the points of view do not exist, for there are only views, each given in an indivisible block and representing in its own way the whole of reality, which is God. But we need to express the plurality of the views, that are unlike each other, by the [gnostic quantum~holographic] multiplicity of the points of view that are exterior to each other; and we also need to symbolize the more or less close relationship between the views by the relative situation of the points of view to one another, their nearness or their distance, that is to say, by a magnitude. That is what Leibniz means when he says that space is the order of coexistents, that the perception of extension is a confused perception (that is to say, a perception relative to an imperfect mind), and that nothing exists but monads, expressing thereby that the real Whole has no parts, but is repeated to infinity, each time integrally (though diversely) within itself, and that all these repetitions are complementary to each other."

(Our brackets and bold.)


You should, by now reader, be able to see how disparate this Leibnizian view is from Pirsig's DQ and Bergson's vital impetus. Leibniz' is classical mechanical motion, i.e., 'mechanism.' And that is how 'modern' science sees it today!

Here we see Leibniz struggle with classical concepts to try to describe a reality which he appears to intuit is both cohesive and autonomous. Western language uses 'Con' where Leibniz appears, like us, to seek something more like 'Com.' Where Con separates and opposes, Com commingles and unifies. Where dichons split and sever, quantons interrelate and c¤mplement.

Doug hasn't read Leibnitz, but to any extent he is-was gnostic, it is apparent he moved closer to quantum~reality than any of his peers and any of his predecessors. See E . T. Bell's Men of Mathematics on Leibnitz. Fathom how Bell simply didn't grasp gnosis. Doug - 10Mar2009.



"In just the same way, the visible relief of an object is equivalent to the whole set of stereoscopic views taken of it from all points [this is a gnostic quantum~hologram! Doug - 10Mar2009], so that, instead of seeing in the relief a juxtaposition of solid parts, we might quite as well look upon it as made of the reciprocal complementarity of these whole views, each given in block, each indivisible, each different from all the others and yet representative of the same thing. The Whole, that is to say, God, is this very relief for Leibniz, and the monads are these complementary plane views; for that reason he defines God as "the substance that has no point of view," or, again, as "the universal harmony," that is to say, the reciprocal complementarity of monads. In short, Leibniz differs from Spinoza in this, that he looks upon the universal mechanism as an aspect which reality takes for us, whereas, Spinoza makes of it an aspect which reality takes for itself.

"It is true that, after having concentrated in God the whole of the real [thus making us 'unreal.'], it became difficult for them to pass from God to things, from eternity to time. The difficulty was even much greater for these philosophers than an Aristotle or a Plotinus. The God of Aristotle, indeed, had been obtained by the compression and reciprocal compenetration of the Ideas that represent, in their finished state or in their culminating point, the changing things of the world. He was, therefore, transcendent to the world, and the duration of things was juxtaposed to His eternity, of which it was only a weakening. But in the principle to which we are led by the consideration of universal mechanism, and which must serve as its substratum, it is not concepts or things, but laws or relations that are condensed. Now, a relation does not exist separately. A law connects changing terms and is immanent in what it governs. The principle in which all these relations are ultimately summed up, and which is the basis of the unity of nature, cannot, therefore, be transcendent to sensible reality; it is immanent in it, and we must suppose that it is at once both in and out of time, gathered up in the unity of its substance and yet condemned to wind it off in an endless chain."

(Our brackets.)








And regardless, reality and we are separate. Unlike Spinoza and Leibniz, MoQ and Quantonics tell us reality is in us and we are in reality. We are not monads, rather we are quantons! Quantons cowithin quantons cowithin quantons.




"Rather than formulate so appalling a contradiction, the philosophers were necessarily led to sacrifice the weaker of the two terms, and to regard the temporal aspect of things as a mere illusion. [Note that this is exactly what Julian Barbour decided to do.] Leibniz says so in explicit terms, for he makes of time, as of space, a confused perception. [Then Einstein and Minkowski made them an identity!] While the multiplicity of his monads expresses only the diversity of [objectively separate and distinct lisr] views taken of the whole, the history of an isolated [lisr] monad seems to be hardly anything else than the manifold views that it can take of its own substance: so that time would consist in all the points of view that each monad can assume towards itself, as space consists in all the points of view that all monads can assume towards God. [Which are: dichon(space, time), dichon(god, self).] But the thought of Spinoza is much less clear, and this philosopher seems to have sought to establish, between eternity and that which has duration, the same difference as Aristotle made between essence and accidents: a most difficult undertaking, for the ulh of Aristotle was no longer there to measure the distance and explain the passage from the essential to the accidental, Descartes having eliminated it for ever. However that may be, the deeper we go into the Spinozistic conception of the "inadequate," as related to the " adequate," the more we feel ourselves moving in the direction of Aristotelianism—just as the Leibnizian monads, in proportion as they mark themselves out the more clearly, tend to approximate to the Intelligibles of Plotinus.(1) The natural trend of these two philosophies brings them back to the conclusions of the ancient philosophy.

"To sum up, the resemblances of this new metaphysic to that of the ancients arise from the fact that both suppose ready-made-the former above the sensible, the latter within the sensible—a science one and complete, with which any reality that the sensible may contain is believed to coincide. For both, reality as well as truth are integrally given in eternity. Both are opposed to the idea of a reality that creates itself gradually, that is, at bottom, to an absolute duration."

Note (1) - In a course of lectures on Plotinus, given at the Collège de France in 1897-1898, we tried to bring out these resemblances. They are numerous and impressive. The analogy is continued even in the formulae employed on each side.

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














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©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2021 Rev. 8Aug2012  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(8Jul2001 rev - Correct link to page 30.)
(14Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(21Jan2002 rev - Remediate quantum comtextual occurrences of 'complement' to 'c¤mplement.)
(25Aug2002 rev - Add 'consensus' link to common sense above.)
(15Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(23Feb2009 rev - Add link to recent QELR of 'aware.' Reformat page.)
(10Mar2009 rev - Update page 348 text with a bracketed red text comment. Add 'ancients' comment to p. 349.)
(10Mar2009 rev - Change wingdings font to gif. Add p. 351 text circle link. Add 'gnostic quantum~holographic' text to p. 351. Add page indices.)
(8Aug2012 rev - Add p. 352 text link to Doug's 'What is Immanence?')

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