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
Time and Free Will
Chapter I: The Intensity of Psychic States
Topic 3: The Aesthetic Feelings
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
says, "You are here!")

Topic 3...............The Aesthetic Feelings


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

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


"The aesthetic feelings offer us a still more striking example of this progressive stepping in
The aesthetic feelings. Their increasing intensities are really different feelings. of new elements, which can be detected in the fundamental emotion and which seem to increase its magnitude, although in reality they do nothing more than
alter its nature. Let us consider the simplest of them, the feeling of grace. At first it is only the perception of a certain ease, a certain facility in the outward movements."

"And as those movements are easy which prepare the way for others, we are led to find a superior ease in the movements which can be foreseen, in the present attitudes in which future attitudes are pointed out and, as it were, prefigured. If jerky movements are wanting in grace, the reason is that each of them is self-sufficient and does not announce those which are to follow. If curves are more graceful than broken lines, the reason is that, while a curved line changes its direction at every moment, every new direction is indicated in the preceding one. Thus the perception of ease in motion passes over into the pleasure of mastering the flow of time and of holding the future in the present. A third element comes in when the graceful movements submit to a rhythm and are accompanied by music. For the rhythm and measure, by allowing us to foresee to a still greater extent the movements of the dancer, make us believe that we now control them. As we guess almost the exact attitude which the dancer is going to take, he seems to obey us when he really takes it: the regularity of the rhythm establishes a kind of communication between him and us, and the periodic returns of the measure are like so many invisible threads by means of which we set in motion this imaginary puppet. Indeed, if it stops for an instant, our hand in its impatience cannot refrain from making a movement, as though to push it, as though to replace it in the midst of this movement, the rhythm of which has taken complete possession of our thought and will."

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

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





13 "Thus a kind of physical sympathy enters into the feeling of grace. Now, in analysing the charm of this sympathy, you will find that it pleases you through its affinity with moral sympathy, the idea of which it subtly suggests. This last element, in which the others are merged after having in a measure ushered it in, explains the irresistible attractiveness of grace. We could hardly make out why it affords us such pleasure if it were nothing but a saving of effort, as Spencer maintains. (1) But the truth is that in anything which we call very graceful we imagine ourselves able to detect, besides the lightness which is a sign of mobility, some suggestion of a possible movement towards ourselves, of a virtual and even nascent sympathy. It is this mobile sympathy, always ready to offer itself, which is just the essence of higher grace. Thus the increasing intensities of aesthetic feeling are here resolved into as many different feelings, each one of which, already heralded by its predecessor, becomes perceptible in it and then completely eclipses it. It is this qualitative progress which we interpret as a change of magnitude, because we like simple thoughts and because our language is ill-suited to render the subtleties of psychological analysis.

"To understand how the feeling of the beautiful itself admits of degrees, we should have to submit to a [m]inute [This word, "inute" is original. We suspect it is archaic for inutile. Or perhaps it is mute mistyped. It could also be minute. We think Bergson means beauty's qualitative quintessence is inaccessible via classical analytic and objective lingual techniques. It would be like seeing a beautiful woman's image in a mirror, then breaking said mirror to understand her beauty. Consider! That is exactly what Subject-Object Metaphysics (SOM), philosophy, science, language, and mathematics do to reality! Doug, 20Feb2001.] analysis."

Note (1): Essays, (Library Edition, 1891), Vol. ii, p. 381.

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



Bergson's "...a virtual and even nascent sympathy..." is so quantum! What does it offer us via metaphysical reembodiment? At least two quantum memeos: included~middle and ever~presence and ever~availability of reserve energy.

Then compare Bergson's next sentence, "It is this mobile sympathy, always ready to offer itself, which is just the essence of higher grace."

Until late 2005 and through now in 2006, Doug could n¤t relate words like Bergson's (here) to notions other than classical dialectic, objective~relativism (we, in Quantonics, refer this as "naïve pluralism;" we call it "naïve" since, as Clifford Geertz shows us, "Relativism disables selection based upon judgment and choice..."), and thence quantum animate, plural (multiplicate, heterogeneous) included~middle n¤nlocally~coherent and locally apparent islandic coassociativity AKA REIMAR. (Adepts re cognize this as Mae-wan's m¤dal of a quantum~society.)

Now, though, we can cogitate and analogize Bergson's words, an additional way, in light of an ancient way of thinking: optimistic gnosticism, quantum~gn¤sticism. Bergson segues his entreaty here with gnostic terms: "lightness." Another: "movement." Another: "ourselves." His "ourselves" uncloaks a key feature of ancient gnosticism: individual (n¤n classically social) autonomy, Mae-wan Hoesque gestalt for gnostic society as coherence of individual autonomies! Remarkable!

We ask our readers to imagine a fourth, gnostic, column added to our SOM, CR, and MoQ philosophy comparison table.

Gnostics believed there were people (pneumatics) who could achieve Bergson's higher grace. Gnostics also believed there were people who, for some reason, perhaps congenital, could not achieve Bergson's higher grace (psychics AKA intellectuals, and hylics AKA materialists).

Elaine H. Pagels, widow of Heinz Pagels, and author of countless books on this subject has helped Doug (via Doug's partial consumption of her opus) make nexi, quantum nexi, with these gnostic beliefs.

One of Earth's greatest gnostics of all time was Jesus Christ. Another was Didymos Judas Thomas (colloquially known as Jesus' twin, i.e., 'Didymos'). Arguably, another was Paul (who previously was known as King Saul). Paul wrote many New Testament scripts. Elaine Pagels does a superb job of uncloaking and chronicling many Christian gnostics. Countless other works born of fairly recent discoveries of ancient gnostic texts uncover even more, including Philip, et al. See G. R. S Mead's works for translations of other gnostic texts.

Dr. Pagels, in her The Gnostic Paul, covers Paul's use of terms and contexts (of use) similar (at least to us) what Bergson is saying here. Let's share and compare.

Jesus and Paul and Didymos talked in a quantum hermeneutic language of many meanings. Allow us to compare them:

  1. Some people in their time darkly perceived their words without light, literally. Sound familiar?
  2. Some could intellectually interpret naïvely, semantics.
  3. A few could grasp their gnostic nuances and compound, multiplicate, and ascendant semantics.

Those three descriptives correspond Gnostic topos, its hierarchy, like this:

  1. hylic,
  2. psychic,
  3. pneumatic.

Number 1, Pagels calls "the uncalled, the hylic." Number 2 she refers as "the called, the psychic." Number 3 she refers "the elect." Those categories roughly correspond what we mean in Quantonics when we say "SOMites, CRites, and MoQites," as "the uncalled hylics," "the called psychics," and "MoQites as the elect pneumatics."

We believe uncalled hylics are what Daniel C. Dennett refers "helpless innocents," and who when universally and dogmatically socialized (programed, pogromed and institutionally deprived of their natural individualism) became what we know today (c. 2007) as the Çatholic 'church.' Doug - 6Aug2007.

For us, this is just profound. Pagels was writing and studying and talking about these ancients at least 30 years ago, and using an analogy of what we (thought we) have innovated as quantum language remediation. As Pirsig said, highly paraphrased, "The ancients were already practicing Quality, until Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, and then Rome's inane bishops turned gnostic Quality into dialectical quantity!" Bergson agrees! We agree!

The called use dialectic quantity to interpret messages literally.

The elect use sophist rhetorical quality to hermeneut pragmaparalogisms quantumly, gnostically.

Bergson is comparing these two ways of thin(g)king under a philosophical and metaphysical microscope in his Creative Evolution and in his Time and Free Will. His conclusion is that the called didn't "get it." The elect are in an advantageous situation of having qua to "get it and to be getting it." The called live in a contrived mythos. The elect are livings in an evolving~quantum~emersos.

Doug - 14May2006. (Doug really messed this up first pass. Corrections shown above in red text.)


14 "Perhaps the difficulty which we experience in
The feeling of beauty: art puts to sleep our active and resistant powers and makes us responsive to suggestion. defining it is largely owing to the fact that we look upon the beauties of nature as anterior to those of art: the processes of art are thus supposed to be nothing more than means by which the artist expresses the beautiful, and the essence of the
beautiful remains unexplained. But we might ask ourselves whether nature is beautiful otherwise than through meeting by chance certain processes of our art, and whether, in a certain sense, art is not prior to nature. Without even going so far, it seems more in conformity with the rules of a solid method to study the beautiful first in the works in which it has been produced by a conscious effort, and then to pass on by imperceptible steps from art to nature, which may be looked upon as an artist in its own way. By placing ourselves at this point of view, we shall perceive that the object of art is to put to sleep the active or rather resistant powers of our personality, and thus to bring us into a state of perfect responsiveness, in which we realize the idea that is suggested to us and sympathize with the feeling that is expressed. In the processes of art we shall find, in a weakened form, a refined and in some measure spiritualized version of the processes commonly used to induce the state of hypnosis. Thus, in music, the rhythm and measure suspend the normal flow of our sensations and ideas by causing our attention to swing to and fro between fixed points, and they take hold of us with such force that even the faintest imitation of a groan will suffice to fill us with the utmost sadness."

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









15 "If musical sounds affect us more powerfully than the sounds of nature, the reason is that nature confines itself to expressing feelings, whereas music suggests them to us. Whence indeed comes the charm of poetry? The poet is he with whom feelings develop into images, and the images themselves into words which translate them while obeying the laws of rhythm. In seeing these images pass before our eyes we in our turn experience the feeling which was, so to speak, their emotional equivalent: but we should never realize these images so strongly without the regular movements of the rhythm by which our soul is lulled into self-forgetfulness, and, as in a dream, thinks and sees with the poet. The plastic arts obtain an effect of the same kind by the fixity which they suddenly impose upon life, and which a physical contagion carries over to the attention of the spectator. While the works of ancient sculpture express faint emotions which play upon them like a passing breath, the pale immobility of the stone causes the feeling expressed or the movement just begun to appear as if they were fixed for ever, absorbing our thought and our will in their own eternity. We find in architecture, in the very midst of this startling immobility, certain effects analogous to those of rhythm."

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






16 "The symmetry of form, the indefinite repetition of the same architectural motive, causes our faculty of perception to oscillate between the same and the same again, and gets rid of those customary incessant changes which in ordinary life bring us back without ceasing to the consciousness of our personality: even the faint suggestion of an idea will then be enough to make the idea fill the whole of our mind. Thus art aims at impressing feelings on us rather than expressing them; it suggests them to us, and willingly dispenses with the imitation of nature when it finds some more efficacious means. Nature, like art, proceeds by suggestion, but does not command the resources of rhythm. It supplies the deficiency by the long comradeship, based on influences received in common by nature and by ourselves, of which the effect is that the slightest indication by nature of a feeling arouses sympathy in our minds, just as a mere gesture on the part of the hypnotist is enough to force the intended suggestion upon a subject accustomed to his control. And this sympathy is shown in particular when nature displays to us beings of normal proportions, so that our attention is distributed equally over all the parts of the figure without being fixed on any one of them: our perceptive faculty then finds itself lulled and soothed by this harmony, and nothing hinders any longer the free play of sympathy, which is ever ready to come forward as soon as the obstacle in its path is removed."

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







17 "It follows from this analysis that the feeling of the beautiful is no specific feeling, but that every
Stages in the
aesthetic emotion.
feeling experienced by us will assume an aesthetic character, provided that it has been suggested, and not caused. It
will now be understood why the aesthetic emotion seems to us to admit of degrees of intensity, and also of degrees of elevation. Sometimes the feeling which is suggested scarcely makes a break in the compact texture of psychic phenomena of which our history consists; sometimes it draws our attention from them, but not so that they become lost to sight; sometimes, finally, it puts itself in their place, engrosses us and completely monopolizes our soul. There are thus distinct phases in the progress of an aesthetic feeling, as in the state of hypnosis; and these phases correspond less to variations of degree than to differences of state or of nature. But the merit of a work of art is not measured so much by the power with which the suggested feeling takes hold of us as by the richness of this feeling itself: in other words, besides degrees of intensity we instinctively distinguish degrees of depth or elevation. If this last concept be analysed, it will be seen that the feelings and thoughts which the artist suggests to us express and sum up a more or less considerable part of his history. If the art which gives only sensations is an inferior art, the reason is that analysis often fails to discover in a sensation anything beyond the sensation itself."

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








18 "But the greater number of emotions are instinct with a thousand sensations, feelings or ideas which pervade them: each one is then a state unique of its kind and indefinable, and it seems that we should have to re-live the life of the subject who experiences it if we wished to grasp it in its original complexity. Yet the artist aims at giving us a share in this emotion, so rich, so personal, so novel, and at enabling us to experience what he cannot make us understand. This he will bring about by choosing, among the outward signs of his emotions, those which our body is likely to imitate mechanically, though slightly, as soon as it perceives them, so as to transport us all at once into the indefinable psychological state which called them forth. Thus will be broken down the barrier interposed by time and space between his consciousness and ours: and the richer in ideas and the more pregnant with sensations and emotions is the feeling within whose limits the artist has brought us, the deeper and the higher shall we find the beauty thus expressed. The successive intensities of the esthetic feeling thus correspond to changes of state occurring in us, and the degrees of depth to the larger or smaller number of elementary psychic phenomena which we dimly discern in the fundamental emotion."

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

Students of quantonics may wish to take a look at our graphic of Bergson's I-cubed. His instinct corresponds QVF (quantum n¤nactuality). Our quantum stage minds are a quanton whose intellect is analytic or Static Quality (quantum actuality). Bergson's intuition sympathetically compenetrates both actuality/intellect and n¤nactuality/instinct. We also call QVF/n¤nactuality "reserve energy."

We have already averred how our quantum stages may be thought of as SONs. Consider an important implication that "reserve energy" is also only partially describable manifolds quantum isocoherent SONs! Does It have a memory? Does it memorize reality and all its complex behaviors? Is this what we tap into when we access our reserve energy? Is this how our quantum multiverses preserve and reuse progress?


Return to Chapter Index

To contact Quantonics write to or call:

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

©Quantonics, Inc., 2001-2009 Rev. 21Dec2007  PDR Created: 23Feb2001  PDR
(14May2006 rev - Release page constraints. Adjust colors. Extend p. 13 comments.)
(6Jun2006 rev - Add 'The Called vav The Elect' anchor under p. 13 comments.)
(6Aug2007 rev - Repair p. 13 Comments re: Gnostic topos vav SOM, CR, and MoQ.)
(21Dec2007 rev - Reset legacy text. Reformat slightly.)

Return to Review