Return to Review

If you're stuck in a browser frame - click here to view this same page in Quantonics!

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 46: The Kantian Criticism
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 46...............The Kantian Criticism


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

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


"These doctrines are thus found to fall short of the Kantian criticism. Certainly, the philosophy of Kant is also imbued with the belief in a science single and complete, embracing the whole of the real. Indeed, looked at from one aspect, it is only a continuation of the metaphysics of the moderns and a transposition of the ancient metaphysics. Spinoza and Leibniz had, following Aristotle, hypostatized in God the unity of knowledge. The Kantian criticism, on one side at least, consists in asking whether the whole of this hypothesis is necessary to modern science as it was to ancient science, or if part of the hypothesis is not sufficient. For the ancients science applied to concepts, that is to say, to kinds of things. In compressing all concepts into one, they therefore necessarily arrived at a being, which we may call Thought, but which was rather thought-object than thought-subject. [i.e., dichon(subject, object)] When Aristotle defined God the nohsews nohsis [roughly we think, knower of knowledge, or gnostic of gnosis], it is probably on nohsews, and not on nohsis that he put the emphasis. God was the synthesis of all concepts, the idea of ideas. But modern science turns on laws, that is, on relations. Now, a relation is a bond established by a mind between two or more terms. A relation is nothing outside of the intellect that relates. [Which is why we say "Quantonics is a philosophy and science of interrelationships which we call 'quantons.'" Objective quantitative properties and attributes have relations. Quantonic patterns of Value are quantum qualitative patterns of interrelationships.] [Classically,] The universe, therefore, can only be a system of laws if phenomena have passed beforehand through the filter of an intellect. [Making 'god' a scientist!] Of course, this intellect might be that of a being infinitely superior to man, who would found the materiality of things at the same time that he bound them together: such was the hypothesis of Leibniz and of Spinoza. [Which, from a perspective of quantum science, is a lot of Bobbi Streisand.]"

(Our brackets and bold.)

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
357 "But it is not necessary to go so far, and, for the effect we have here to obtain, the human intellect is enough: such is precisely the Kantian solution. Between the dogmatism of a Spinoza or a Leibniz and the criticism of Kant there is just the same distance as between "it may be maintained that—" and "it suffices that—." Kant stops this dogmatism on the incline that was making it slip too far toward the Greek metaphysics; he reduces to the strict minimum the hypothesis which is necessary in order to suppose the physics of Galileo indefinitely extensible. True, when he speaks of the human intellect, he means neither yours nor mine: the unity of nature comes indeed from the human understanding that unifies, but the unifying function that operates here is impersonal. It imparts itself to our individual consciousnesses, but it transcends them. It is much less than a substantial God; it is, however, a little more than the isolated work of a man or even than the collective work of humanity. It does not exactly lie within man; rather, man lies within it, as in an atmosphere of intellectuality which his consciousness breathes. It is, if we will, a formal God, something that in Kant is not yet divine, but which tends to become so. It became so, indeed, with Fichte. With Kant, however, its principal role was to give to the whole of our science a relative and human character, although of a humanity already somewhat deified. From this point of view, the criticism of Kant consisted chiefly in limiting the dogmatism of his predecessors, accepting their conception of science and reducing to a minimum the metaphysic it implied." (Our bold.)

"But it is otherwise with the Kantian distinction between the matter of knowledge and its form. By regarding intelligence as pre-eminently a faculty of establishing relations, Kant attributed an extra-intellectual origin to the terms between which the relations are established. He affirmed, against his immediate predecessors, that knowledge is not entirely resolvable into terms of intelligence. He brought back into philosophy—while modifying it and carrying it on to another plane—that essential element of the philosophy of Descartes which had been abandoned by the Cartesians.

"Thereby he prepared the way for a new philosophy, which might have established itself in the extra-intellectual matter of knowledge by a higher effort of intuition. Coinciding with this matter, adopting the same rhythm and the same movement, might not consciousness, by two efforts of opposite direction, raising itself and lowering itself by turns, become able to grasp from within, and no longer perceive only from without, the two forms of reality, body and mind? Would not this twofold effort make us, as far as that is possible, re-live the absolute? Moreover, as, in the course of this operation, we should see intellect spring up of itself, cut itself out in the whole of mind, intellectual knowledge would then appear as it is, limited, but not relative.

"Such was the direction that Kantianism might have pointed out to a revivified Cartesianism. But in this direction Kant himself did not go.

"He would not, because, while assigning to knowledge an extra-intellectual matter, he believed this matter to be either co-extensive with intellect or less extensive than intellect. Therefore he could not dream of cutting out intellect in it, nor, consequently, of tracing the genesis of the understanding and its categories. The molds of the understanding and the understanding itself had to be accepted as they are, already made. Between the matter presented to our intellect and this intellect itself there was no relationship. [We, again, see Kant's essential and incomplete, inconsistent, objectivism.]"

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)





This paragraph is worthy of a whole separate effort. It broaches much of what we learned through many years of study. It broaches that stuff of quantum reality and that stuff of which Bergson heavily propounds. Mining this paragraph to adequate depth, might even require a whole text. This paragraph is almost a 'mission statement' for Quantonics. Just as a simple example, juxtapose Bergson's "…two efforts of opposite direction," with Irving Stein's quantum Buridan epiphany. Also consider his "re-live the absolute" as thibedir.


"The agreement between the two was due to the fact that intellect imposed its form on matter. So that not only was it necessary to posit the intellectual form of knowledge as a kind of absolute and give up the quest of its genesis, but the very matter of this knowledge seemed too ground down by the intellect for us to be able to hope to get it back in its original purity. It was not the "thing-in-itself," it was only the refraction of it through our atmosphere.

"If now we inquire why Kant did not believe that the matter of our knowledge extends beyond its form, this is what we find. The criticism of our knowledge of nature that was instituted by Kant consisted in ascertaining what our mind must be and what Nature must be if the claims of our science are justified; but of these claims themselves Kant has not made the criticism. I mean that he took for granted the idea of a science that is one, capable of binding with the same force all the parts of what is given, and of coordinating them into a system presenting on all sides an equal solidity. He did not consider, in his Critique of Pure Reason, that science became less and less objective, more and more symbolical, to the extent that it went from the physical to the vital, from the vital to the Psychical. Experience does not move, to his view, in two [many] different and perhaps opposite [c¤mplementary] ways, the one [some] conformable to the direction of the intellect, the other[s] contrary [c¤mplementary] to it. There is, for him, only one experience [another 'tell' of Kantian SOMiticism; OGT in OGC], and the intellect covers its whole ground. This is what Kant expresses by saying that all our intuitions are sensuous, or, in other words, infra-intellectual. And this would have to be admitted, indeed, if our science presented in all its parts an equal objectivity. [I.e., classical 'properties' are infra-objective—in objects. Kant tried to entrap intuition as objective, dictated by intellectual reasonings. We view this much differently than Bergson's version of intellectual sympathy and intuition as a c¤mplementary and compenetrating adjunct to intellect which we show in Bergson's I-Cubed.]"

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

We want to distinguish two kinds of c¤mplementarity. See link.
360 "But suppose, on the contrary, that science is less and less objective, more and more symbolical, as it goes from the physical to the Psychical, passing through the vital: then, as it is indeed necessary to perceive a thing somehow in order to symbolize it, there would be an intuition of the Psychical, and more generally of the vital, which the intellect would transpose and translate, no doubt, but which would none the less transcend the intellect. There would be, in other words, a supra-intellectual intuition. If this intuition exist, a taking possession of the spirit by itself is possible, and no longer only a knowledge that is external and phenomenal. What is more, if we have an intuition of this kind (I mean an ultra-intellectual intuition) then sensuous intuition is likely to be in continuity with it through certain intermediaries, as the infra-red is continuous with the ultra-violet. Sensuous intuition itself, therefore, is promoted. It will no longer attain only the phantom of an unattainable thing-in-itself. It is (provided we bring to it certain indispensable corrections) into the absolute itself that it will introduce us. So long as it was regarded as the only material of our science, it reflected back on all science something of the relativity which strikes a scientific knowledge of spirit; and thus the perception of bodies, which is the beginning of the science of bodies, seemed itself to be relative. Relative, therefore, seemed to be sensuous intuition. But this is not the case if distinctions are made between the different sciences, and if the scientific knowledge of the spiritual (and also, consequently, of the vital) be regarded as the more or less artificial extension of a certain manner of knowing which, applied to bodies, is not at all symbolical. Let us go further: if there are thus two intuitions of different order (the second being obtained by a reversal of the direction of the first), and if it is toward the second that the intellect naturally inclines, there is no essential difference between the intellect and this intuition itself."

(Our bold and color.)








This is a tough one for us! SOM cannot experience Bergson's second more intuitive intellect. MoQ and Quantonics can. Is not there a difference? We agree, there is no difference once one arrives in an ascendant intellect. However, there are great and distinct differences in SOM and MoQ intellects.


"The barriers between the matter of sensible knowledge and its form are lowered, as also between the "pure forms" of sensibility and the categories of the understanding. The matter and form of intellectual knowledge (restricted to its own object) are seen to be engendering each other by a reciprocal adaptation, intellect modeling itself on corporeity, and corporeity on intellect.

"But this duality of intuition Kant neither would nor could admit. It would have been necessary, in order to admit it, to regard duration as the very stuff of reality, and consequently to distinguish between the substantial duration of things and time spread out in space. It would have been necessary to regard space itself, and the geometry which is immanent in space, as an ideal limit in the direction of which material things develop, but which they do not actually attain. Nothing could be more contrary to the letter, and perhaps also to the spirit, of the Critique of Pure Reason. No doubt, knowledge is presented to us in it as an ever-open roll, experience as a push of facts that is for ever going on. But, according to Kant, these facts are spread out on one plane as fast as they arise; they are external to each other and external to the mind. Of a knowledge from within, that could grasp them in their springing forth instead of taking them already sprung, that would dig beneath space and spatialized time, there is never any question. Yet it is indeed beneath this plane that our consciousness places us; there flows true duration.

"In this respect, also, Kant is very near his predecessors. Between the non-temporal, and the time that is spread out in distinct moments, he admits no mean. And as there is indeed no intuition that carries us into the nontemporal, all intuition is thus found to be sensuous, by definition. But between physical existence, which is spread out in space, and non-temporal existence, which can only be a conceptual and logical existence like that of which metaphysical dogmatism speaks, is there not room for consciousness and for life?"

(Our bold and color.)

"There is, unquestionably. We perceive it when we place ourselves in duration in order to go from that duration to moments, instead of starting from moments in order to bind them again and to construct duration.

"Yet it was to a non-temporal intuition that the immediate successors of Kant turned, in order to escape from the Kantian relativism. Certainly, the ideas of becoming, of progress, of evolution, seem to occupy a large place in their philosophy. But does duration really play a part in it? Real duration is that in which each form flows out of previous forms, while adding to them something new, and is explained by them as much as it explains them; but to deduce this form directly from one complete Being which it is supposed to manifest, is to return to Spinozism. It is, like Leibniz and Spinoza, to deny to duration all efficient action. The post-Kantian philosophy, severe as it may have been on the mechanistic theories, accepts from mechanism the idea of a science that is one and the same for all kinds of reality. And it is nearer to mechanism than it imagines; for though, in the consideration of matter, of life and of thought, it replaces the successive degrees of complexity, that mechanism supposed by degrees of the realization of an Idea or by degrees of the objectification of a Will, it still speaks of degrees, and these degrees are those of a scale which Being traverses in a single direction [Bergson appears to assume for post-Kantian philosophy only posentropy here. Quantum philosophy begs at least an entropy trichotomy.]. In short, it makes out the same articulations in nature that mechanism does. Of mechanism it retains the whole design; it merely gives it a different coloring. But it is the design itself, or at least one half of the design, that needs to be re-made.

"If we are to do that, we must give up the method of construction, which was that of Kant's successors. We must appeal to experience—an experience purified, or, in other words, released, where necessary, from the molds that our intellect has formed in the degree and proportion of the progress of our action on things. An experience of this kind is not a non-temporal experience. It only seeks, beyond the spatialized time in which we believe we see continual rearrangements between the parts, that concrete duration in which a radical recasting of the whole is always going on. It follows the real in all its sinuosities. It does not lead us, like the method of construction, to higher and higher generalities—piled-up stories of a magnificent building. But then it leaves no play between the explanations it suggests and the objects it has to explain. It is the detail of the real, and no longer only the whole in a lump, that it claims to illumine."

(Our bold and color.)
Return to Chapter Index

To contact Quantonics write to or call:

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

©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 - Add page 359 c¤mplementarity link and comment.)
(6Jan2005 rev - Add 'Pure Duration' anchor.)
(15Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(18Feb2009 rev - Add 'What is Gnosis?' link.)
(8Aug2012 rev - Add p. 361 text link to Doug's 'What is Immanence?')

Return to Review