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 7: Violent Emotions
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 7...............Violent Emotions


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

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


"Now, we do not see any essential difference between the effort of attention and what may be
The intensity of violent emotions as muscular tension. called the effort of psychic tension: acute desire, uncontrolled anger, passionate love, violent hatred.
Each of these states may be reduced, we believe, to a system of muscular contractions coordinated by an idea; but in the case of attention, it is the more or less effective idea of knowing; in the case of emotion, the unreflective idea of acting. The intensity of these violent emotions is thus likely to be nothing but the muscular tension which accompanies them.

"Darwin has given a remarkable description of the physiological symptoms of rage. 'The action of the heart is much accelerated. . . . The face reddens or may turn deadly pale. The respiration is laboured, the chest heaves, and the dilated nostrils quiver. The whole body often trembles. The voice is affected. The teeth are clenched or ground together and the muscular system is commonly stimulated to violent, almost frantic action. The gestures . . . represent more or less plainly the act of striking or fighting with an enemy.' (1) We shall not go so far as to maintain, with Professor James, (2) that the emotion of rage is reducible to the sum of these organic sensations: there will always be an irreducible psychic element in anger, if this be only the idea of striking or fighting, of which Darwin speaks, and which gives a common direction to so many diverse movements. But, though this idea determines the direction of the emotional state and the accompanying movements, the growing intensity of the state itself is, we believe, nothing but the deeper and deeper disturbance of the organism, a disturbance which consciousness has no difficulty in measuring by the number and extent of the bodily surfaces concerned. It will be useless to assert that there is a restrained rage which is all the more intense."

Note (1): The Expression of the Emotions. 1st ed., (1872), p. 74.

Note (2): "What is an Emotion?" Mind, 1884, p. 189.

(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


On James' reducibility: Few philosophers are aware that between 1870 and 1910 William James made quite a remarkable transformation away from Bergson's quote of James' 1884 perspective. See James' posthumously published (1911) last work, Some Problems of Philosophy, these chapters and pages:

  • Chapter 7 - p. 115,
  • Chapter 8 - pp. 135, 136

Please read each page's text and our comments. You will find that penultimate James denied and renounced any notions of ideal classical reducibility.

Just to refresh, in quantum reality, classical ideals of localability, isolability, separability, and reducibility do n¤t 'exist.' Why? A good example is how every atom in our quantum multiverse has electrons. Those electrons are quantized wave-energy 'packets'

(n¤ human 'knows' how to describe wave quanta perfectly; so...our words here are only meager, humbling attempts to do so)

whose quantal loci are probabilistic. We use plural "loci" because, thinking of wave quanta as plural in location is a quantum epiphany one must experience. Electrons are never in one, ideal, classically stoppable locus! Electrons are (an electron is) everywhere, and their whereness has preference or Value attractors of atomic nuclei. (You may be able now to intuit how both Feynman and Wheeler asked this question, "Is there only one electron?")

Each electron's N-dimensional/omni-dimensional (again, poor, classical words) distribution 'centers' near its (currently preferred; electrons are 'mobile' among atoms) atom's nucleus, reaches its max/mode at an idealized Bohr 'orbit,' and thence spreads asymptotically, unlimited by any spatial considerations. See any good chemistry book for 2D pictures of what we are describing. Yes! All electrons are metaphysically everywhere, and everywhere-associative, to a greater/lesser extent.

A major failing of Earth's Western cultural 20th century education is to teach students that reality is objective, particulate, and that electrons are particles. As you can see here, clearly they are n¤t, n¤r is reality objective/particulate.



"The reason is that, where emotion has free play, consciousness does not dwell on the details of the accompanying movements, but it does dwell upon them and is concentrated upon them when its object is to conceal them. Eliminate, in short, all trace of organic disturbance, all tendency towards muscular contraction, and all that will be left of anger will be the idea, or, if you still insist on making it an emotion, you will be unable to assign it any intensity.

""Fear, when strong," says Herbert Spencer, "expresses itself in cries, in efforts to escape, in
Intensity and reflex
No essential difference between intensity of deep-seated feelings and
that of
violent emotions.
palpitations, in tremblings." (1) We go further, and maintain that these movements form part of the terror itself: by their means the terror becomes an emotion capable of passing through different degrees of intensity.
Suppress them entirely, and the more or less intense state of terror will be succeeded by an idea of terror, the wholly intellectual representation of a danger which it concerns us to avoid. There are also high degrees of joy and sorrow, of desire, aversion and even shame, the height of which will be found to be nothing but the reflex movements begun by the organism and perceived by consciousness. "When lovers meet," says Darwin, "we know that their hearts beat quickly, their breathing is hurried and their faces flushed." (2) Aversion is marked by movements of repugnance which we repeat without noticing when we think of the object of our dislike."

Note (1): Principles Of Psychology, 3rd. ed., (1890), Vol. i, p. 482.

Note (2): The Expression of the Emotions. 1st ed., p. 78."

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








Suppression as Bergson uses it is another way of saying that CTMs attempt to throw away subjective, quantum Value.




"We blush and involuntarily clench the fingers when we feel shame, even if it be retrospective. The acuteness of these emotions is estimated by the number and nature of the peripheral sensations which accompany them. Little by little, and in proportion as the emotional state loses its violence and gains in depth, the peripheral sensations will give place to inner states; it will be no longer our outward movements but our ideas, our memories, our states of consciousness of every description, which will turn in larger or smaller numbers in a definite direction. There is, then, no essential difference from the point of view of intensity between the deep-seated feelings, of which we spoke at the beginning, and the acute or violent emotions which we have just passed in review. To say that love, hatred, desire, increase in violence is to assert that they are projected outwards, that they radiate to the surface, that peripheral sensations are substituted for inner states: but superficial or deep-seated, violent or reflective, the intensity of these feelings always consists in the multiplicity of simple states which consciousness dimly discerns in them.

"We have hitherto confined ourselves to feelings and efforts, complex states the intensity of which does rot
Magnitude of sensations. Affective and representative sensations. absolutely depend on an external cause. But sensations seem to us simple states: in what will their magnitude consist? The intensity of sensations varies with the external cause of which they are said to be the conscious equivalent: how shall we explain the presence of
quantity in an effect which is inextensive, and in this case indivisible? To answer this question, we must first distinguish between the so-called affective and the representative sensations. There is no doubt that we pass gradually from the one to the other and that some affective element enters into the majority of our simple representations. But nothing prevents us from isolating this element and inquiring separately, in what does the intensity of an affective sensation, a pleasure or a pain, consist?"

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










Again, reader, beware of classical concepts related to cause-effect. Classical 1-1 correspondence and causation are but ugly Aristotelian/Newtonian deign to feign delusions. See our August, 2001 QQA on cause-effect.

Quantum reality is quantized. We call it an, "ensemble-affects, ensemble-outcomes reality." To say it simply, n¤ affect may be classically 'singular.' Similarly, n¤ outcome may be classically 'singular.'


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., 2001-2011 Rev. 24Feb2009  PDR Created: 23Feb2001  PDR
(26Aug2002 rev - Add italicized red text 'and everywhere-associative' to page 29 comments.)
(11Feb2003 rev - Change some Wingdings fonts to GIFs for browser compatibility.)
(19May2003 rev - Add page 29 comment link to Zeno on stoppability.)
(19May2003 rev - Add indices for 'intellect...')
(27Feb2008 rev - Reformat slightly.)
(24Feb2009 rev - Add link to recent QELR of 'aware.')

Return to Review