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 5: Muscular Effort
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 5...............Muscular Effort


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

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


"If there is a phenomenon which seems to be presented immediately to consciousness under the
Muscular effort seems at
first sight to be quantitative
form of quantity or at least of magnitude, it is undoubtedly muscular effort. We picture to our minds a psychic force imprisoned in
the soul like the winds in the cave of Aeolus, and only waiting for an opportunity to burst forth: our will is supposed to watch over this force and from time to time to open a passage for it, regulating the outflow by the effect which it is desired to produce. If we consider the matter carefully, we shall see that this somewhat crude conception of effort plays a large part in our [classical] belief in intensive magnitudes. Muscular force, whose sphere of action is [classical] space and which manifests itself in [classical] phenomena admitting of measure, seems to us to have existed previous to its manifestations, but in smaller volume, and, so to speak, in a compressed [classical] state: hence we do not hesitate to reduce this volume more and more, and finally we believe that we can understand how a purely psychic state, which does not occupy space, can nevertheless possess magnitude. Science, too, tends to strengthen the illusion of common sense with regard to this point. Bain, for example, declares that "the sensibility accompanying muscular movement coincides with the outgoing stream of nervous energy:" (1) it is thus just the emission of nervous force which consciousness perceives. Wundt also speaks of a sensation, central in its origin, accompanying the voluntary innervation of the muscles, and quotes the example of the paralytic "who has a very distinct sensation of the force which he employs in the effort to raise his leg, although it remains motionless." (2)"

Note (1): The Senses and the Intellect, 4th ed., (1894), p. 79.
Note (2): Grundzüge der Physiologischen Psychologie, 2nd ed. (1880), Vol. i, p. 375.

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




22 "Most of the authorities adhere to this opinion, which would be the unanimous view of positive science were it not that several years ago Professor William James drew the attention of physiologists to certain [experimental investigation of] phenomena which had been but little remarked, although they were very remarkable.

"When a paralytic strives to raise his useless limb, he certainly does not execute this movement,
The feeling of effort. We are [quantum coherently] conscious not of an expenditure of force but of the resulting muscular movement. but, with or without his will,
he executes another. Some movement is carried out somewhere: otherwise there is no sensation of effort. (1) Vulpian had already called attention to the fact that if a man affected with hemiplegia is
told to clench his paralysed fist, he unconsciously carries out this action with the fist which is not affected. Ferrier described a still more curious phenomenon. (2) Stretch out your arm while slightly bending your forefinger, as if you were going to press the trigger of a pistol; without moving the finger, without contracting any muscle of the hand, without producing any apparent movement, you will yet be able to feel that you are expanding energy."

Note (1): W. James, Le sentiment de 1'effort (Critique philosophique, 1880, Vol. ii,) [cf. Principles of Psychology, (1891), Vol. ii, chap. xxvi.]
Note (2): Functions of the Brain, 2nd ed. (1886), p. 386.

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









23 "On a closer examination, however, you will perceive that this sensation of effort coincides with the fixation of the muscles of your chest, that you keep your glottis closed and actively contract your respiratory muscles. As soon as respiration resumes its normal course the consciousness of effort vanishes, unless you really move your finger. These facts already seemed to show that we are conscious, not of an expenditure of force, but of the [quantum coherent] movement of the muscles which results from it. The new feature in Professor James's investigation is that he has verified the hypothesis in the case of examples which seemed to contradict it absolutely. Thus when the external rectus muscle of the right eye is paralysed, the patient tries in vain to turn his eye towards the right; yet objects seem to him to recede towards the right, and since the act of volition has produced no effect, it follows, said Helmholtz, (1) that he is conscious of the effort of volition. But, replies Professor James, no account has been taken of what goes on in the other eye. This remains covered during the experiments; nevertheless it moves and there is not much trouble in proving that it does. It is the movement of the left eye, perceived by consciousness, which produces the sensation of effort together with the impression that the objects perceived by the right eye are moving. These and similar observations lead Professor James to assert that the feeling of effort is centripetal and not centrifugal."

Note (1): Handbuch der Physiologischen Optik, 1st ed. (1867), pp. 600-601.

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








"We are not conscious of a force which we are supposed to launch upon our organism: our feeling of muscular energy at work "is a complex [quantum affective ensemble] afferent sensation, which comes from contracted muscles, stretched ligaments, compressed joints, an immobilized chest, a closed glottis, a knit brow, clenched jaws," in a word, from all the points of the periphery where the effort causes an alteration.

"It is not for us to take a side in the dispute. After all, the question with which we have to deal is not
Intensity of feeling of effort proportional to extent of our body affected. whether the feeling of effort comes from the centre or the periphery, but in what does our perception of its intensity exactly consist? Now, it is sufficient to observe oneself attentively to
reach a conclusion on this point which Professor James has not formulated, but which seems to us quite in accord with the spirit of his reaching. We maintain that the more a given effort seems to us to increase, the greater is the number of muscles which contract in [quantum coherent] sympathy with it, and that the [classically] apparent consciousness of a greater intensity of effort at a given point of the organism is reducible, in reality, to the perception of a larger surface [i.e., a larger quantum ~Hilbert isomanifold] of the body [i.e., its quantum stage] being affected.

"Try, for example, to clench the fist with increasing force. You will have the impression of a sensation of effort entirely localized in your hand and running up a scale of magnitudes."

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






Again, here, it is we believe helpful to imagine a quanton analogous to this:


where actual_SON is you/us, and n¤nactual_SON represents y-our shared ~n¤nconceptual QVF c¤mplement. N¤nactual_SON is analogous Bergson's instinct compenetrating in a c¤mplementary manner, y-our actual_SONs.


25 "In reality, what you experience in your hand remains the same, but the sensation which
Our consciousness of an increase of muscular effort consists in the perception of
(1) a greater number of peripheral sensations
(2) a qualitative change in some of them.
was at first localized there has affected your arm and ascended to the shoulder; finally, the other arm stiffens, both legs do the same, the respiration is checked; it is the whole body which is at work. But you fail to notice distinctly all these concomitant movements unless you are warned of them: till then you thought you were dealing with a single state of consciousness which changed in magnitude. When you press your lips
more and more tightly against one another, you believe that you are experiencing in your lips one and the same sensation which is continually increasing in strength: here again further reflection will show you that this sensation remains identical, but that certain muscles of the face and the head and then of all the rest of the body have taken part in the operation. You felt this gradual encroachment, this increase of the surface affected, which is in truth a change of quantity; but, as your attention was concentrated on your closed lips, you localized the increase there and you made the psychic force there expended into a magnitude, although it possessed no extensity. Examine carefully somebody who is lifting heavier and heavier weights: the muscular contraction gradually spreads [quantum~coherently] over his whole body. As for the special sensation which he experiences in the arm which is at work, it remains constant for a very long time and hardly changes except in quality, the weight becoming at a certain moment fatigue, and the fatigue pain."

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






What Bergson just accomplished so beautifully and so eloquently might slip past us were we n¤t students of Quantonics. When we generalize a human body classically, we see it as an ideal classical object. Bergson tells us, "No! No! No! A human body is an ensemble of qualitative affectors." In Quantonics we call it, "A quantum real quanton of quantons." Bravo! Bergson. Bergson intuits, instinctively, quantum reality.

See quantum~coherence.



"Yet the subject will imagine that he is conscious of a continual increase in the psychic force flowing into his arm. He will not recognize his mistake unless he is warned of it, so inclined is he to measure a given psychic state by the conscious movements which accompany it! From these facts and from many others of the same kind we believe we can deduce the following conclusion: our consciousness of an increase of muscular effort is reducible to the twofold perception of. a greater number of peripheral sensations, and of a qualitative change occurring in some of them.

"We are thus led to define the intensity of a superficial effort in the same way as that of a
The same definition of intensity applies
superficial efforts, deep-
seated feelings

states intermediate between the two.
deep-seated psychic feeling. In both cases there is a qualitative progress and an increasing complexity, indistinctly perceived. But consciousness, accustomed to think in terms of space and to translate its thoughts
into words, will denote the feeling by a single word and will localize the effort at the exact point where it yields a useful result: it will then become aware of an effort which is always of the same nature and increases at the spot assigned to it, and a feeling which, retaining the same name, grows without changing its nature. 'Now, the same illusion of consciousness is likely to be met with again in the case of the states which are intermediate between superficial efforts and deep seated feelings. A large number of psychic states are accompanied, in fact, by muscular contractions and peripheral sensations. Sometimes these superficial elements are coordinated by a purely speculative idea, sometimes by an idea of a practical order. In the first case there is intellectual effort or attention; in the second we have the emotions which may be called violent or acute: anger, terror, and certain varieties of joy, sorrow, passion and desire. Let us show briefly that the same definition of intensity applies to these intermediate states."

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


Our Quantonic script shows this nicely:





"Exact point" is a classical delusion. In Einstein's relativity, which we find problematic in many ways, quantum time and space, and thus momentum, energy, temperature, et al., always form n¤ntrivial quantum c¤mplementary interrelationships! Locus is always, to some extent, uncertain. All quantum c¤mplementary interrelationships form quantons whose Static Value, as an apparent aggregate in actuality, manifests as a classical object/illusion. Really, they are qualitative Value:


just as Bergson has been explaining. Any human's consciousness, when trained in CTMs turns quantum real and c¤mplementary duration into classical state, locus, and lisr independence. From which any classicist may establish 'opposition,' thence 'contradiction,' thence Popperian 'falsifiability,' thence provisional 'scientific proof.' This is SOM's great deign to feign. This is all plainly and simply classical putative, 'tautologous' HyperBoole.


Return to Chapter Index

To contact Quantonics write to or call:

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

©Quantonics, Inc., 2001-2027 Rev. 28Dec2014  PDR Created: 23Feb2001  PDR
(21Jul2002 rev - Change QELR links to A-Z pages.)
(25Aug2002 rev - Add 'consensus' link to common sense above.)
(11Feb2003 rev - Change some Wingdings fonts to GIFs for browser compatibility.)
(26May2006 rev - Release page constraints. Adjust colors.)
(12Mar2008 rev - Reformat index and page slightly.)
(23Feb2009 rev - Add link to recent QELR of 'aware.')
(3Apr2010 rev - Make page current. Correct a scanning error: 'fall' to 'fail.' Add quantum~coherence comments and link to page 25.)
(28Dec2014 rev - Add links to 'quantum time and quantum reality.' Make page current. Adjust color.)

Return to Review