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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter I: The Evolution of Life Mechanism and Teleology
Topic 7: Radical Mechanism
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
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Topic 7...............Radical Mechanism


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

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


"These reasons have less force, we acknowledge, in the case of a rudimentary organism like the amoeba, which hardly evolves at all. But they acquire more when we consider a complex organism which goes through a regular cycle of transformations. The more duration marks the living being with its imprint, the more obviously the organism differs from a mere mechanism, over which duration glides without penetrating. And the demonstration has most force when it applies to the evolution of life as a whole, from its humblest origins to its highest forms, inasmuch as this evolution constitutes, through the unity and continuity of the animated matter which supports it, a single indivisible history.

"Thus viewed, the evolutionist hypothesis does not seem so closely akin to the mechanistic conception of life as it is generally supposed to be. Of this mechanistic conception we do not claim, of course, to furnish a mathematical and final refutation. But the refutation which we draw from the consideration of real time, and which is, in our opinion, the only refutation possible, becomes the more rigorous and cogent the more frankly the evolutionist hypothesis is assumed. We must dwell a good deal more on this point. But let us first show more clearly the notion of life to which we are leading up.

"The mechanistic explanations, we said, hold good for the systems that our thought artificially detaches from the whole. But of the whole itself and of the systems which, within this whole, seem to take after it, we cannot admit a priori that they are mechanically explicable, for then time would be useless, and even unreal. The essence of mechanical explanation, in fact, is to regard the future and the past as calculable functions of the present, and thus to claim that all is given. On this hypothesis, past, present and future would be open at a glance to a superhuman intellect capable of making the calculation."

(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

Bergson's description appears overly gentle to us. We see 'mechanism' as contrived and axiomatic. We see 'mechanism' as classicists' means of keeping sentients in a (their) box of reason. Bergson's duration is intentionally kept out of SOM's contrived and closed box. His duration cannot penetrate because SOM disallows it. Quantum reality not only allows his duration to inter- and com-penetrate, but demands it.

Reader, that last bold-black clause may refresh your recall of Mae-wan Ho's comparison of classical monist analyticity to a more Bergsonian pluralist stochasticity: Classicism—"An infinitely divisible homogeneous quantity," vis-à-vis Bergsonian/quantum Pluralism—"An indivisible heterogeneous Quality."

In those phrases Mae-wan juxtaposes simply monist and pluralist views. Our analogous Quantonics description of monist/pluralist differences are:

Classical monists claim reality is a pre-existing materialistic unitemporal in-motion whole, but they claim you can use a classical knife to analytically cut reality arbitrarily into separable pieces each of which harbors locally its own individuistic objective and quantitative properties.

Quantum pluralists claim reality is countless emersing-evolute-immersing qualitative islands scaling actuality's entirety while commingling both themselves and nonactuality in both separable and inseparable nonobjective (i.e., quantum) Value interrelationships.


"Indeed, the scientists who have believed in the universality and perfect objectivity of mechanical explanations have, consciously or unconsciously, acted on a hypothesis of this kind. Laplace formulated it with the greatest precision:

"An intellect which at a given instant knew all the forces with which nature is animated, and the respective situations of the beings that compose nature—supposing the said intellect were vast enough to subject these data to analysis—would embrace in the same formula the motions of the greatest bodies in the universe and those of the slightest atom: nothing would be uncertain for it, and the future, like the past, would be present to its eyes."(1)

"And Du Bois-Reymond:

"We can imagine the knowledge of nature arrived at a point where the universal process of the world might be represented by a single mathematical formula, by one immense system of simultaneous differential equations, from which could be deduced, for each moment, the position, direction, and velocity of every atom of the world."(2)

"Huxley has expressed the same idea in a more concrete form:

"If the fundamental proposition of evolution is true, that the entire world, living and not living, is the result of the mutual interaction, according to definite laws, of the forces possessed by the molecules of which the primitive nebulosity of the universe was composed, it is no less certain that the existing world lay, potentially, in the cosmic vapor, and that a sufficient intellect could, from a knowledge of the properties of the molecules of that vapor, have predicted, say the state of the Fauna of Great Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the vapor of the breath in a cold winter's day."

Note (1) - Laplace, Introduction à la théorie analytique des probabilités ((Œuvres complètes, vol. vii., Paris, 1886, p. vi.).

Note (2) - Du Bois-Reymond, Über die Grenzen des Naturerkennens, Leipzig, 1892.

(Our bold and color.)


Some classical scientists today, at Millennium III's beginning still adhere this extraordinary arrogance in their 'scientific' methods.




This is, simply, naïve classical bilge. Every symbol in mathematics is an ideal classical object. Classical objects are innately incapable of modeling reality's constituents.



We see more naïve classical bilge. Our blue highlights above show Huxley's extreme classical materialism. Allow us to comment on each:

  1. "living and not living" - quantum reality is alive,
  2. "mutual interaction" - quantum constituents do not quantitatively property- "interact," they qualitatively Value- 'interrelate.'
  3. "according to definite laws" - quantum reality has no definite 'laws,'
  4. "forces" - quantum reality has no objective quantitative forces, rather it has quantum cohesive Value interrelationships,
  5. "possessed" - quantum constituents do not possess properties, rather they interrelate Value,
  6. "molecules" - quantum reality is not particulate, rather it is quantonic,
  7. "predicted" - quantum reality is not analytically determinate, rather it is ensemble stochastic,
  8. etc.
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Doug Renselle
Quantonics, Inc.
1950 East Greyhound Pass, Ste 18, # 368
Carmel, INdiana 46033-7730

©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2028 Rev. 5Jun2015  PDR Created: 20Sep2000  PDR
(31Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(24May2005 rev Adjust colors. Release page constraints.)
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