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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Time and Free Will
Chapter III: The Organization of Conscious States - Free Will
Topic 31: Psychological Determinism
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 31...............Psychological Determinism


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

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


"Psychological determinism, in its latest and most precise shape, implies an associationist
Psychological determinism depends on associationist conception of mind. conception of mind. The existing state of consciousness is first thought of as necessitated by the preceding states, but it is soon realized that this cannot be a
geometrical necessity, such as that which connects a resultant, for example, with its components. For between successive conscious states there exists a difference of quality which will always frustrate any attempt to deduce any one of them a priori from its predecessors. So experience is appealed to, with the object of showing that the transition from one psychic state to another can always be explained by some simple reason, the second obeying as it were the call of the first. Experience really does show this: and, as for ourselves, we shall willingly admit that there always is some [quantum c¤mplementary] relation between the existing state of consciousness and any new state to which consciousness passes. But is this relation, which explains the transition, the cause of it?

"May we here give an account of what we have
The series of associations may be merely an ex post facto attempt to account for a new idea. personally observed? In resuming a conversation which had been interrupted for a few moments we have happened to notice that both we ourselves and our friend were thinking of some new object at
the same time.—The reason is, it will be said, that each has followed up for his own part the natural development of the idea at which the conversation had stopped: the same series of associations has been formed on both sides.—No doubt this interpretation holds good in a fairly large number of cases; careful inquiry, however, has led us to an unexpected result."

(Our link, 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 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

See our Quantonic English Language Remediation of associate. Doug - 24Feb2003.

This single sentence of Bergson's, "For between successive conscious states there exists a difference of quality which will always frustrate any attempt to deduce any one of them a priori from its predecessors," goes directly to entirety of failure of all western thought based on Aristotle.

Had classicists listened to ancient gnosists, this might not have borne such an enormous burden on modern, CeodE 2010, Earth societies. Gnostics told us that "redemption is process." That is analogous its quantum~complement, "redemption is n¤t classical, Aristotelian state." Most humans today believe they can 'arrive,' at redemption as classical state. They view reality as stopped, perpetually concrete.

But now we are k~now~ings, reality evolves, reality issi (up to) absolute Planck rate change, and agreeing with ancients, "redemption is quantum~processings."

Classically event (change from one state to another) is indescribable, except as more states and events: Bergson's "we cannot make movement out of immobilities." In a sense, this is classical thought's socially, positively most tragic of commons. It is a disaster!!!

"Well Doug, how do we describe redemption as quantum~processings?" Using waves and wave functions. However, we cannot use classical methods to do that! We have to learn about quantum~reality and how vastly it omniffers classical (assumptions about) reality. Then we must commence using QTMs and wMBU™ to solve problems in quantum~reality.

Doug - 5Mar2010.


"It is a fact that the two speakers do connect the new subject of conversation with the former one: they will even point out the intervening ideas; but, curiously enough, they will not always connect the new idea, which they have both reached, with the same point of the preceding conversation, and the two series of intervening associations may be quite different. What are we to conclude from this, if not that this common idea is due to an unknown cause—perhaps to some physical influence—and that, in order to justify its emergence, it has called forth a series of antecedents which explain it and which seem to be its cause, but are really its effect?

"When a patient carries out at the appointed time the suggestion received in the hypnotic state,
Illustration from hypnotic suggestion. the act which he performs is brought about, according to him, by the preceding series of his conscious states. Yet
these states are really effects [we would say quantum qualitative affects], and not causes it was necessary that the act should take place it was also necessary that the patient should explain it to himself; and it is the future act which determined, by a kind of attraction, the whole series of psychic states of which it is to be the natural consequence. The determinists will seize on this argument: it proves as a matter of fact that we are sometimes irresistibly subject to another's will. But does it not also show us how our own will is capable of willing for willing's sake, and of then leaving the act which has been performed to be explained by antecedents of which it has really been the cause?"

(Our bold, color, and violet bold italic problematics.)
158 "If we question ourselves carefully, we shall see that we sometimes weigh motives and deliberate
Illustration from deliberation. over them, when our mind is already made up. An inner voice, hardly perceivable, whispers: "Why this deliberation? You
know the result and you are quite certain of what you are going to do." But no matter! it seems that we make a point of safeguarding the principle of mechanism and of conforming to the laws of the [classical 1-1 correspondent causal] association of ideas. The abrupt intervention of the will is a kind of coup d'état which our mind foresees and which it tries to legitimate beforehand by a formal deliberation. True, it could be asked whether the will, even when it wills for willing's sake, does not obey some decisive reason, and whether willing for willing's sake is free willing. We shall not insist on this point for the moment. It will be enough for us to have shown that, even when adopting the point of view of [classical] associationism, it is difficult to maintain that an act is absolutely determined by its motive and our conscious states by one another. Beneath these deceptive appearances a more attentive psychology sometimes reveals to us effects which precede their causes, and phenomena of psychic attraction which elude the known laws of the association of ideas. But the time has come to ask whether the very point of view which associationism adopts does not involve a defective conception of the self and of the multiplicity of conscious states."
(Our bold, color, and violet bold italic problematics.)

"Associationist determinism represents the self as a collection of psychic states, the strongest of
Associationism involves a defective conception of the self. which exerts a prevailing influence and carries the others with it. This doctrine thus sharply distinguishes co-existing psychic phenomena
from one another. "I could have abstained from murder," says Stuart Mill [quoting Sr. William Hamilton], "if my aversion to the crime and my dread of its consequences had been weaker than the temptation which impelled me to commit it."(1) And a little further on: "His desire to do right and his aversion to doing wrong are strong enough to overcome . . . any other desire or aversion which may conflict with them."(2) Thus desire, aversion, fear, temptation are here presented as distinct things which there is no inconvenience in naming separately. Even when he connects these states with the self which experiences them, the English philosopher still insists on setting up clear-cut distinctions: "The conflict is between me and myself; between (for instance) me desiring a pleasure and me dreading self-reproach."(3) Bain, for his part, devotes a whole chapter to the "Conflict of Motives."(4) In it he balances pleasures and pains as so many terms to which one might attribute, at least by abstraction, an existence of their own. Note that the opponents of determinism agree to follow it into this field."

Note (1): Cf. Examination of Sir W. Hamilton's Philosophy. 5th ed., (1878), p. 583.
Note (2): Ibid. p. 585.
Note (3): Ibid. p. 585.
Note (4): The Emotions and the Will, Chap. vi.

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

Associationist determinism can only be conceived within SOM's box, SOM's classical mythos. See our Quantonics English Language Remediation of associate. Doug - 24Feb2003.


"They too speak of associations of ideas and conflicts of motives, and one of the ablest of these philosophers, Alfred Fouillée, goes so far as to make the idea of freedom itself a motive capable of counterbalancing others.(1) Here, however, lies the danger. Both parties commit themselves to a confusion which arises from language, and which is due to the fact that language is not meant to convey all the delicate shades of inner states.

"I rise, for example, to open the window, and I have hardly stood up before I forget what I had to do.—All right, it will be said; you have associated
This erroneous tendency aided by language. Illustration. two ideas, that of an end to be attained and that of a movement to be accomplished: one of the ideas has vanished and only the idea of the movement
remains.—However, I do not sit down again; I have a confused feeling that something remains to be done. This particular standing still, therefore, is not the same as any other standing still; in the position which I take up the act to be performed is as it were prefigured, so that I have only to keep this position, to study it, or rather to feel it intimately, in order to recover the idea which had vanished for a moment. Hence, this idea must have tinged with a certain particular colouring the mental image of the intended movement and the position taken up, and this colouring, without doubt, would not have been the same if the end to be attained had been different."

Note (1): Fouillée, La Liberté et le Déterminisme.

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

"Nevertheless language would have still expressed the movement and the position in the same way; and associationism would have distinguished the two cases by saying that with the idea of the same movement there was associated this time the idea of a new end: as if the mere newness of the end to be attained did not alter in some degree the idea of the movement to be performed, even though the movement itself remained the same! We should thus say, not that the image of a certain position can be connected in consciousness with images of different ends to be attained, but rather that positions geometrically identical outside look different to consciousness from the inside, according, to the end contemplated. The mistake of associationism is that it first did away with the qualitative element in the act to be performed and retained only the geometrical and impersonal element: with the idea of this act, thus rendered colourless, it was then necessary to associate some specific difference to distinguish it from many other acts. But this association is the work of the associationist philosopher who is studying my mind, rather than of my mind itself.

"I smell a rose and immediately confused recollections of childhood come back to my
Illustration from "Associations" of smell. memory. In truth, these recollections have not been called up by the perfume of the rose: I breathe them in with the
very scent; it means all that to me."

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

"To others it will smell differently.—It is always the same scent, you will say, but associated with different ideas.—I am quite willing that you should express yourself in this way; but do not forget that you have first removed the personal element from the different impressions which the rose makes oil each one of us you have retained only the objective aspect, that part of the scent of the rose which is public property and thereby belongs to space. Only this was it possible to give a name to the rose and its perfume. You then found it necessary, in order to distinguish our personal impressions from one another, to add specific characteristics to the general idea of rose-scent. And you now say that our different impressions, our personal impressions, result from the fact that we associate different recollections with rose-scent. But the association of which you speak hardly exists except for you, and as a method of explanation. It is in this way that, by setting side by side certain letters of an alphabet common to a number of known languages, we may imitate fairly well such and such a characteristic sound belonging to a new one; but not with any of these letters, nor with all of them, has the sound itself been built up.

"We are thus brought back to the distinction which we set up above between the multiplicity of
Associationism fails to distinguish between the multiplicity of juxtaposition and that of fusion. [1] juxtaposition and that of
[2] fusion or interpenetration. Such and such a feeling, such and such an idea, contains an indefinite plurality of conscious states but the plurality will not
be observed unless it is, as it were, spreadout in this homogeneous medium which some call duration, but which is in reality space."

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



Classical science is, paradigmatically only about public property. Classical science fails dramatically in private!

163 "We shall then perceive terms external to one another, and these terms will no longer be the states of consciousness themselves, but their symbols, or, speaking more exactly, the words which express them. There is, as we have pointed out, a close connexion between the faculty of conceiving a homogeneous medium, such as space, and that of thinking by means of general ideas. As soon as we try to give an account of a conscious state, to analyse it, this state, which is above all personal, will be resolved into impersonal elements external to one another, each of which calls up the idea of a genus and is expressed by a word. But because our reason, equipped with the idea of space and the power of creating symbols, draws these multiple elements out of the whole, it does not follow that they were contained in it. For within the whole they did not occupy space and did not care to express themselves by means of symbols; they permeated and melted into one another. Associationism thus makes the mistake of constantly replacing the concrete phenomenon which takes place in the mind by the artificial reconstruction of it given by philosophy, and of thus confusing the explanation of the fact with the fact itself. We shall perceive this more clearly as we consider deeper and more comprehensive psychic states." (Our brackets, bold, color, and violet bold italic problematics.)


"The self comes into contact with the external world at its surface; and as this surface retains
Failure of associationism to explain the deeper states of the self. the imprint of objects, the self will associate by contiguity terms which it has perceived in juxtaposition: it is connexions of this kind, connexions of quite
simple and so to speak impersonal sensations, that the associationist theory fits. But, just in proportion as we dig below the surface and get down to the real self, do its states of consciousness cease to stand in juxtaposition and begin to permeate and melt into one another, and each to be tinged with the coloring of all the others. Thus each of us has his own way of loving and hating; and this love or this hatred reflects his whole personality. Language, however, denotes these states by the same words in every case: so that it has been able to fix only the objective and impersonal aspect of love, hate, and the thousand emotions which stir the soul. We estimate the talent of a novelist by the power with which he lifts out of the common domain, to which language had thus brought them down, feelings and ideas to which he strives to restore, by adding detail to detail, their original and living individuality. But just as we can go on inserting points between two positions of a moving body without ever filling up the space traversed, in the same way, by the mere fact that we associate states with states and that these states are set side by side instead of permeating one another, we fall to translate completely what our soul experiences: there is no common measure between mind and language."
(Our brackets, bold, color, and violet bold italic problematics.)
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Doug Renselle
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Suite 18 #368 1950 East Greyhound Pass
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©Quantonics, Inc., 2001-2014 Rev. 5Mar2010  PDR Created: 23Feb2001  PDR
(21Jul2002 rev - Change QELR links to A-Z pages.)
(24Feb2003 rev - Add links to our QELR of 'associate.')
(5Mar2010 rev - Make page current.)

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