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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Time and Free Will
Chapter II: The Multiplicity of Conscious States - The Idea of Duration
Topic 24: Duration and Simultaneity
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 24...............Duration and Simultaneity


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

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


"Now, just for this reason, science cannot deal with time and motion except on condition of
Science has to eliminate duration from time and mobility from motion before it can deal with them. first eliminating the essential and qualitative element—of time, duration, and of motion, mobility. We may easily convince ourselves of this by examining the part played in astronomy and mechanics
by considerations of time, motion, and velocity.

"Treatises on mechanics are careful to announce that they do not intend to define duration itself but only the equality of two durations. 'Two intervals of time are equal when two identical bodies, in identical conditions at the beginning of each of these intervals and subject to the same actions and influences of every kind, have traversed the same space at the end of these intervals.'"

(Our links, bold, color, and violet bold italic problematics. Nested quotes converted to single quote marks.)

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 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

And here, in his last quoted sentence, Bergson shows us classical radical mechanics' shear idiocy: animate, durational time defined as immutable, numerable, extensible space. (See duration. Doug - 2Jun2003.)

What time and space share in quantum reality is flux, i.e., absolute change, what Bergson refers "duration." Heterogeneous timings are qualitative interrelationships among omnifferent and variably persistent/tentative quantum fluxings. 'Slower' quantum fluxings offer a quantum Gestalt with 'faster' quantum fluxings whose quantum interrelationships (quantons) are sentiently notable. Comsider how these interrelationships scale from Planck's maximum flux to nearly and apparently fluxless. Also comsider omniffering sentient 'bandwidths' across this scale, e.g., compare a human's sentient flux bandwidth (<1013 unassisted and <1019 assisted, out of 1043 total quantum flux spectrum; see James' SPoP Chapter 1, page 22 comments) to a photon (mostly limited to atomic and virtual/QVF interrelationships) or electron's sentient (quantum awareness) flux bandwidth (much smaller).

116 "In other words, we are to note the exact moment [which is another classical self-delusion] at which the motion begins, i.e. the coincidence of an external change with one of our psychic states; we are to note the moment at which the motion ends, that is to say, another simultaneity; finally we are to [classically] measure the space traversed, the only thing, in fact, which is really measurable. Hence there is no question here of duration, but only of space and simultaneities. To announce that something will take place at the end of a time t is to declare that consciousness will note between now and then a number t of simultaneities of a certain kind. And we must not be led astray by the words "between now and then," for the interval of duration exists only for us and on account of the interpenetration of our conscious states. Outside ourselves we should find only space, and consequently nothing but simultaneities, of which we could not even say that they are objectively successive, since succession can only be thought through comparing the present with the past.—That the interval of duration itself cannot be taken into account by science is proved by the fact that, if all the [cosmic] motions of the universe took place twice or thrice as quickly, there would be nothing to alter either in our formulae or in the figures which are to be found in them. [Poincaré pondered this and other similar/related issues seriously too.] Consciousness would have an indefinable and as it were qualitative impression of the change, but the change would not make itself felt outside consciousness, since the same number of simultaneities would go on taking place in space. We shall see, later on, that when the astronomer predicts, e.g., an eclipse, he does something of this kind: he shortens infinitely the intervals of duration, as these do not count for science, and thus perceives in a very short time—a few seconds at the most—a succession of simultaneities which may take up several centuries for the concrete consciousness, compelled to live through the intervals instead of merely counting their extremities." (Our brackets, links, bold, color, and violet bold italic problematics.)
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Doug Renselle
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©Quantonics, Inc., 2001-2010 Rev. 29Jan2008  PDR Created: 23Feb2001  PDR
(23Jul2002 rev - Change QELR links to A-Z pages.)
(7Aug2002 rev - Assure all colons are emboldened.)
(2Jun2003 rev - Add page 115 comment link to 'duration' index item for TaFW.)
(13Nov2007 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(29Jan2008 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(21Dec2008 rev - Add 'Quantum Awareness' anchor.)

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