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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Time and Free Will
Chapter I: The Intensity of Psychic States
Topic 10: Sensation and Sound
by Doug Renselle
Doug's Pre-review Commentary
Start of Review






Bibliography Author's
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Conclusion Index
Move to any Topic of Henri Louis Bergson's Time and Free Will,
or to beginning of its review via this set of links
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Topic 10...............Sensation and Sound


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

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


"The sensations of sound display well marked degrees of intensity. We have already spoken
The sensations of sound. Intensity measured by effort necessary to produce a similar sound. of the necessity of taking into account the affective character of these sensations, the shock received by the whole of the organism. We have shown that a very intense sound is one which engrosses our attention,
which supplants all the others. But take away the shock, the well marked vibration, which you sometimes feel in your head or even throughout your body: take away the clash which takes place between sounds heard simultaneously: what will be left except an indefinable quality of the sound which is heard? But this quality is immediately interpreted as quantity because you have obtained it yourself a thousand times, e.g. by striking some object and thus expending a definite quantity of effort. You know, too, how far you would have to raise your voice to produce a similar sound, and the idea of this effort immediately comes into your mind when you transform the intensity of the sound into a magnitude."

(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
  • orange-bold - text ref'd by index pages
  • green-bold - we see Bergson suggesting axiomatic, perhaps quantum and even gnostic 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




"Wundt (1) has drawn attention to the quite special connexions of vocal and auditory nervous filaments which are met with in the human brain. And has it not been said that to hear is to speak to oneself? Some neuropaths cannot be present at a conversation without moving their lips; this is only an exaggeration of what takes place in the case of every one of us. How will the expressive or rather suggestive power of music be explained, if not by admitting that we repeat to ourselves the sounds heard, so as to carry ourselves back into the psychic state out of which they emerged, an original state, which nothing will express, but which something may suggest, viz., the very motion and attitude which the sound imparts to our body?

"Thus, when we speak of the intensity of a sound of medium force as a magnitude, we allude
Intensity and pitch. The part played muscular effort. principally to the greater or less effort which we should have ourselves to expend in order to summon, by our own effort, the same auditory sensation.
Now, besides the intensity, we distinguish another characteristic property of the sound, its pitch."

Note (1): Grandzüge der Physiologischen Psychologie, 2nd ed., (1880). Vol. ii, p. 437.

(Our bold, color, and violet bold italic problematics.)







45 "Are the differences in pitch, such as our ear perceives, quantitative differences? I grant that a sharper sound calls up the picture of a higher position in space. But does it follow from this that the notes of the scale, as auditory sensations, differ otherwise than in quality? Forget what you have learnt from physics, examine carefully your idea of a higher or lower note, and see whether you do not think simply of the greater or less effort when the tensor muscle of your vocal chords has to make in order to produce the note? As the effort by which your voice passes from one note to another is discontinuous, you picture to yourself these successive notes as points in space, to be reached by a series of sudden jumps, in each of which you cross an empty separating interval: this is why you establish intervals between the notes of the scale. Now, why is the line along which we dispose them vertical rather than horizontal, and why do we say that the sound ascends in some cases and descends in others? It must be remembered that the high notes seem to us to produce some sort of resonance in the head and the deep notes in the thorax: this perception, whether real or illusory, has undoubtedly had some effect in making us reckon the intervals vertically. But we must also notice that the greater the tension of the vocal chords in the chest voice, the greater is the surface of the body affected, if the singer is inexperienced; this is just the reason why the effort is felt by him as more intense."

(Our bold, color, and violet bold italic problematics.)

Mr. Bergson would be both happy and dismayed to discover modern 'science's' progress describing quantum reality.

Sounds, in quantum reality are quantons. What do quantons permit us to show about sounds (or Planck least units of action, for that matter)?

  • amplitude (probability or Pirsigean Value)
  • frequency (actualized flux energy)
  • phasicity (~quantum uncertainty)
  • intensity (individual quanton recurrence rate packet energy)
    • see our QELR of 'intensity'
    • note that 'recurrence rate' is mostly a classical 'notion'
    • quantum~intensity as a way of increasing 'electron velocity' begs increasing individual photon packet energies, n¤t classically increasing 'number' of photon packets emitted.

It may be helpful to readers, now CeodE 2009-2010, to see our more recent exegeses of both intensity and quantum~intensity. Doug - 15Dec2009.

We think Bergson would find delight in our list of quantum 'numbers' as qualitatively affective. We turned amplitude from magnitude into probability. Frequency, similarly is probabilistic due its always changing and uncertain phasicity. And intensity is qualitative and affective since it comes in packets of quantum uncertain-amplitude, -frequency, and -phase.

Bergson, we think, would like that progress.

He would n¤t like however, how quantum field theory ignores quantum phasicity! (Legacy application of SOM's knife, again. )

He would n¤t like that we trap quantons in inanimate classical symbology (but he would be happy that qubits in quantum computers are intrinsically real and animate, permitting us to measure reality as an ongoing, Bergsonian thibedir experience. Doug -23Feb2002.


46 "And as he breathes out the air upwards, he will attribute the same direction to the sound produced by the current of air; hence the sympathy of a larger part of the body with the vocal muscles will be represented by a movement upwards. We shall thus say that the note is higher because the body makes an effort as though to reach an object which is more elevated in space. In this way it became customary to assign a certain height to each note of the scale, and as soon as the physicist was able to define it by the number of vibrations in a given time to which it corresponds, we no longer hesitated to declare that our ear perceived differences of quantity directly. But the sound would remain a pure quality if we did not bring in the muscular effort which produces it or the vibrations which explain it."

(Our bold and color.)


I.e., definition of tone by frequency alone.

Anyone who loves/understands music, intuits its quantum, describable, but always indefinable, affective quality! They know that, especially classical-, physicists are morons for attempting to 'define/control' music. That is like trying to 'define/control' reality! .

(Ask yourself a key Quantonic question here: "Why have world politicians historically feared music?" Should we worry if Neandertalibanists figure this one out...? Consider, that over 2700 years ago, our legacy of recorded Western cultural hate began, "Sing O' Muse of the wrath of Achilles...")

See object. See omnifference.


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To contact Quantonics write to or call:

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

©Quantonics, Inc., 2001-2013 Rev. 15Dec2009  PDR Created: 23Feb2001  PDR
(26May2006 rev - Release page constraints. Adjust colors. Add p. 46 'object' and 'omnifference' links.)
(21Jan2008 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(12,14,22Mar2008 rev - Reformat page and index slightly. Add 'Doug's String Opus,' and 'Planck Quanton' links to p. 45 comments. Update intensity bullet. Repair typo.)
(15Mar2009 rev - Reset legacy markups. Replace wingdings fonts with gifs.)
(15Dec2009 rev - Add comment cell links to 'Intensity' and 'Quantum Intensity.')

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