.

Late Scholar of New College. M.A.^ NEW PHILOSOPHY By OF HENRI BERGSON EDOUARD LE ROY TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY VINCENT BENSON. Oxford NEW YORK HENRY HOLT AND COMPA LONDON: WILLIAMS & NORGATE 1913 .

PRESS N. J.COPYRIGHT. CO. . 1913. BY HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY Published April. 1913 THE QUINN A BOOEN RAHWAY.

Bergson s little THIS philosophy to the public at large. does not in any way claim Indeed. and . some additional explanations on points which did not come within the scope of investigation in the origi nal sketch. without too minute details. I need hardly add that my work. and describing. though thus far complete. These articles I have here But I have added. would to-day be pre mature. in the reprinted intact.PREFACE book is due to two articles pub lished under the same title in the Revue des Deux Mondes. introduction which will make it easier to read s and understand Mr. I have simply aimed at writing an to be a profound critical study. such a study. Bergson iii works. Their object was to present Mr. 1st and 15th February 1912. giving as short a sketch as possible. form of continuous notes. dealing with a thinker who has not yet said his last word. the general trend of his movement.

in fact. On the contrary. not as a rather clever discourse. that the inquirer will succeed in understanding it. de Metaphysique de Morale. I can conceive no better method of mis understanding the point at issue. An original philosophy is not meant to be studied as a mosaic which takes to pieces. collecting instances of resemblance. Bergson s teaching and that of older philosophies. is in all the only method. or a body which dissects. ex senses of the word fully if I shall none the less be glad these . and have made no comparisons. &quot. I have therefore firmly waived all the para phernalia of technical discussions. than that of pigeon-holing names of systems. between Mr.iv PREFACE who serve as a preliminary guide to those desire initiation in the new philosophy. it is by considering it as a living act.&quot. by ex amining the peculiar excellence of its soul rather than the formation of its body. learned or otherwise. and specifying ingredients. November 1911). Bergson the method which he himself justifiably prescribes in a recent et article (Revue which act. Properly speaking. I mean the simple unity of productive intuition. a compound which analyzes. I have only applied to Mr. making up analo gies.

as far as possible. ceeded in my attempt. at any rate. is the precise end I had in view. which it would undoubtedly be worth while to assist I may or may not have suc in removing.correspondence. proved at once a help and a hindrance to me in entering into the exact comprehension of so profoundly The reader will thus original a doctrine. but such. Bergson s posi tion is in many cases full of faults. to allow them to trace. my own direct reflection on science and life had already produced in me I found in his similar trains of thought. In conclusion. which I have not exaggerated. Bergson kindly wrote me after the publication of the articles reproduced in . It has become evident to me that even to day the interpretation of Mr. This &quot.PREFACE brief v pages can be of any interest to profes sional philosophers. under the concise formulae employed. Bergson s pupil. understand that I think it in place to quote my authority to him in the following lines which Mr.&quot. and have endeavored. work the striking realization of a presenti ment and a desire. the scheme which I have refused to develop. and. I may say that I have not had the honor of being Mr. at the time when I became acquainted with his outlook.

this . . in fact.Underneath and beyond the method you have caught the intention and the Your study could not be more spirit. PARIS. of rethinking the subject in a personal and original manner. the power. In this direction I should myself say exactly what you have said.VI PREFACE volume: &quot. condensation increases in a As it marked degree: the reader becomes aware that the explanation is undergoing a progressive in volution similar to the involution by which we determine duce the reality of Time. Nowhere is this sympathy more in evidence than in your concluding pages. . conscientious or true to the original. 28th March 1912. advances.&quot. much more has been neces than a close study of my works: it has sary required deep sympathy of thought. To pro this feeling. where in a few words you point out the possibilities of further de velopments of the doctrine. .

Bergson s works.PUBLISHERS NOTE Mr. Benson has made his own translations of passages quoted from M. instead of to the French editions. . but for the convenience of American readers the references in the footnotes have been made to apply to the authorized translations available in this country.

.

Liberty and Determinism. . Perception Discussed. Material and Authorities. . Bergson s View of Mind and Matter. . Tri umph of Refuted.CONTENTS PAGE PREFACE . . iii GENERAL VIEW CHAPTER I. Evolution and Automatism. Place of Religion in the New Objections Philos ADDITIONAL EXPLANATIONS I. . . Concepts and Sym bolism. The Inert and the Living. ophy. II. Qualita tive Continuity. BERGSON S WORK AND THE GEN OF CONTEMPORARY 126 ERAL. Practical Life and Reality. Value of Science. Memory. Parallelism. . . Mr. 1 Scope of Mr. METHOD . . Real Duration Heter ogeneous. TEACHING The Ego. Bergson s Philosophy. . Man/~The Vital Impulse. Realism and Positivism. Mr. Bergson and the Intuition of Duration.60 Space and Number. MR. Investigation of Commonsense. Use of Meta phor. Intuition and Analysis. DIRECTIONS THOUGHT Mathematics and Philosophy. Meaning of Reality. . . TheJPHS . ix .

x
CHAPTER
II.

CONTENTS
PAGE
.

IMMEDIACY

.

.

.

.

.

.

142

Necessity of Criticism. Utilitarianism of mon-sense. Perception of Immediacy.

Com
156

III.

THEORY OF PERCEPTION
Relation of Perception Experience.
to

....
Kant
s

Pure and Ordinary Perception.

Position.

Matter.

Complete

IV. CRITIQUE OF

LANGUAGE

.

.

.

.

167

Dynamic Schemes.
Eleatic Dialectic.

Dangers of Language. The Scientific Thought and the
Discussion of Change.

Task of
V.

Intuition.

THE PROBLEM
States
as

OF CONSCIOUSNESS: DURA TION AND LIBERTY - . .
.

.

185

Phases in Duration. The Scientific View of Time. Duration and Freedom. Lib the LighlT of Mr. erty and Determinism Bergson s Philosophy.

m

VI.

THE PROBLEM
MATTER

OF EVOLUTION: LIFE AND
.
.

.

.

.

.

201

Evolution and Creation. Laws of Conservation and Degradation. (Quantity and Quality. Sec ondary Value of Matter.

VII.

THE PROBLEM
Difficulties

OF ^INOWLEDGE: ANALYSIS

AND INTUITION
Intelligence.

.....
Mr. Bergson

210

Reason.

of Kant s Position. Insufficiency of Mr. Bergson and the Problem of Geometric and Vital Types of Order.

VIII. CONCLUSION
Moral and Religious Problems.
Position.
s

223

INDEX

233

THE NEW PHILOSOPHY OF HENRI BERGSON

.

THE NEW PHILOSOPHY OF HENRI BERGSON
GENERAL VIEW
I

METHOD
THERE
is

a thinker whose

name

is

to-day on

everybody s lips, who is deemed by acknowl edged philosophers worthy of comparison with the greatest, and who, with his pen as well as
his brain,

has overleapt

all

technical obstacles,

and won himself a reading both outside and inside the schools. Beyond any doubt, and by common consent, Mr. Henri Bergson s work will appear to future eyes among the most characteristic, fertile, and glorious of our era. It marks a never-to-be-forgotten date in
history;

opens up a phase of metaphysical thought; it lays down a principle of develop ment the limits of which are indeterminable; and it is after cool consideration, with full
it

consciousness of the exact value of words, that

2

A NEW PHILOSOPHY
are able to pronounce the revolution which effects equal in importance to that effected

we
it

by Kant, or even by Socrates. Everybody, indeed, has become aware of this more or less clearly. Else how are we
to explain, except through such recognition, the sudden striking spread of this new phi

losophy which, by its learned rigorism, pre cluded the likelihood of so rapid a triumph? Twenty years have sufficed to make its

and now its influence is alive and working from one pole of thought to the other; and the
results felt far

beyond

traditional limits:

can be seen already extending to the most varied and
active

leaven contained in

it

distant spheres: in social

and

political spheres,

where from opposite points, and not without certain abuses, an attempt is already being made to wrench it in contrary directions; in the sphere of religious speculation, where it has been more legitimately summoned to a distinguished, illuminative, and beneficent
career; in the sphere of pure science, where, despite old separatist prejudices, the ideas

sown are pushing up here and there; and lastly, in the sphere of art, where there are
indications that
it is

likely to help
till

certain

presentiments, which have

now remained

is The revelation will overpowering. contemplated face to face for the first time. which he thought he knew already Everything this direct . and once vouchsafed never afterwards be forgotten. is to study his philosophy in itself. premature. but in the face of so of many attempted methods some of them a of trifle employment. Bergson s own method to himself. enveloping every thing including ourselves in its illusive folds. to 3 become conscious of themselves. Nothing can convey to the reader the effects of and intimate mental vision. stands fully revealed.METHOD obscure. the point paramount importance. its for itself. in its pro found trend and authenticated it action. seems of a sudden to fall. dissipated by en chantment. The moment is favorable to a study of Mr. without claiming to enlist any cause whatsoever. and display to the mind depths of light till then undreamt. The curtain drawn be tween ourselves and reality. in which reality it self. s Bergson philosophy. in the ranks of Mr. Bergson s readers will undergo at al most every page they read an intense and singular experience. applying Mr.

heavy and saturated with life. But whether. in the clear light hands. in the long run. have received a regenerating shock. an internal upheaval not readily silenced: the network of our intellec- . Each of them is no sooner blown than it appears feel we yet there is nothing paradoxical or disturbing in the novelty. new intuitions spring up and open them big with infinite conse quences. all of us. we each of us give or refuse complete or partial adhesion. And some dim hope. in the glow of dawn. What he has seen is still at bottom so new. believe So vivid is truth. Afterwards. sometimes even decided objections. It is a reply to our expectation. we some mys if incertitude reappears. that afterwards we the impression of are even ready to we recognize the revelation as had always darkly anticipated it in terious twilight at the back of consciousness. in certain cases. corrects his thought. who at first was under a magic spell. so unexpected. For this surging from wave of thought our mind contains none of those ready-cut channels which render comprehen sion easy. at least. The reader. no doubt. so far removed familiar conceptions. an answer to fertile forever. or at least hesitates.4 finds A NEW PHILOSOPHY new birth and vigor all of morning: on out.

closely-argued.nnnt. wnrrls pa. in shorter form. where the end to understand rather than to judge. and penetrating dis many cussions. criticism ought to take second place. In such an undertaking. over the marvelous dexterity of the psychological analysis. It is more profit able to attempt to feel oneself into the heart . in this its new directing idea and general is movement. It all obviously impossible to sketch in brief the aspects and all the wealth of so original is a work. I must decide to pass rapidly over the technical detail of clear. express. we cannot mistake its the fact that we have here a principle of integral renewal for ancient philosophy and old and timeworn problems. here the Still less shall I be able to answer questions which arise.METHOD tual habits . philosophy. nor its austere and subtle beauty. 5 henceforth a new leaven is broken works and ferments in us. The solidity of the construction will rioFBe evidenced in these pages. ovr the a Style Which Can Pflll up wlmt. over the scope and exactness of the evidence borrowed from the most diverse posi tive sciences. is But what I do at all costs wish to bring out. we shall no longer think as we used to think. and be we pupils or critics.

to per ceive the principle of organic unity.6 A NEW PHILOSOPHY of the teaching. he pub lished Matter and Memory. In the case before us this road is landmarked by several books which it will be sufficient to study one after the other. In 1907 he followed . the contact surface between things and the ego. Taking up his personality. to relive its genesis. passing this time years later. in its inmost mind. which he him self put forward as an inquiry into the relation between body and mind. In 1889 Mr. a masterly study of perception and recollection. and along the paths which they have opened up. in 1896. Let our reading be a course of meditation which true we live. to come at the mainspring. to the externals of consciousness. Bergson made his appearance with an Essay on the Immediate Data of Con- sciousness. The only homage we can render to the masters of thought consists in ourselves thinking. in their train. as far as we can do so. under their inspiration. This was his doctor position inside the s thesis. he endeavored to lay hold of the depths of life and free action in their com human monly overlooked and Some fugitive originality. and take successively as the text of our reflections.

It is not. I without some apprehension that summing up so much research. where before we were aware only of the ex ternal film. step must confess. With him we see all at once the concrete thickness and inexhaustible extension of the most familiar reality. in the philosopher s first task. ending in a general critique of knowledge and a completely original definition of philosophy. Do not imagine that this is simply a poetical . gence and instinct. meaning of of intelli the nature of mind and matter. I undertake the task of by step. which has always been before our eyes. Never has anyone better understood how to fulfil significance. so and of condensing into a few pages and such new conclusions. in which the 7 new metaphysic was outlined in its full breadth. and developed with a wealth of suggestion and perspective opening upon the distances of infinity. These will be our guides which we shall carefully follow.METHOD with Creative Evolution. the life. in pointing out the hidden mystery in everything. Bergson excels. universal evolution. even on points of least producing the feeling of unfathomed depths and infinite levels. were the great problems here treated.. many Mr.

determined also to &quot. all that is not pure and simple statement of I set myself to solve the problem. neglect. These if We must be grateful us avoid being duped by a show of printed matter: these unannotated pages are supported by positive are rare qualities. only if restricted to the problem of memory.8 delusion. A NEW PHILOSOPHY the philos opher uses exquisite language and writes in a style which abounds in living images. let But science spection. in the enunciations of philosophers. submitted to the One day. After to the recollection of words confining myself . and fact ? I very soon perceived that the question was susceptible of a provisional solution. Twelve years or so before its appearance. In memory itself I was forced to determine bounds which I had afterwards to narrow considerably. I had set myself the following problem: What would be the teaching of the physiology and pathology of to-day upon the ancient question of the connection between physical and moral to an unprejudiced mind. at the most minute in French Philosophical Society. in 1901. Mr. deter mined to forget all speculation in which it has indulged on this point. and even of precise formulation. Bergson related the genesis of Matter and Memory.

positive his mixture of his inquiry and bold invention. his vast pioneer work carried on with indefatigable patience. as stated.METHOD 9 I saw that the problem. to put the question in its most precise and interesting form. The on aphasia sift it. informed of the minutest details and swift each of them at every turn. and so well does he blend the whole and breathe upon it the breath of life that the final state- . was still too broad. to follow up With a problem which would at first have seemed secondary and incomplete. and that. enormous.&quot. but which reappears as the subject deepens and is thereby metamor phosed. that between the psychological fact and its corresponding basis in the brain there must be the a relation which answers to none us of ready-made concepts characteristics furnished of by s philosophy. stupendous reading. Bergson manner will be remarked throughout: f orgetf ulness to his provisional effort of recreate a new and untrammeled mind. he connects his entire philosophy. I took five years to this And I arrived at conclusion. his constant correction by criticism. Certain Mr. I should have is to substitute the recollection literature of the sound of words.

and the same break in continuity. to understand proceeding better. we should not sometimes put an end to the dispute. and in We To put are forced to express ourselves think. Examples will be necessary to enable even to a feeble extent. as between material objects. language compels us to establish between our ideas the same clear and precise distinctions. But we are right in asking whether the insuperable difficulties of certain philosophical problems do not arise from the fact that we persist in placing nonspatial phenomena next one another in space. another way. Bergson defined the principle of a method which was afterwards its to reappear in we identity throughout his various works. words. in space. But before we come to examples. if we did away with the vulgar illustrations round which we dispute.&quot. it is stated to be the . and we it most often. In the preface to his first Essay Mr. and whether. This assimilation is useful in practical life and necessary in most sciences.10 A NEW PHILOSOPHY leaves the reader with ment an impression of us. That is to say. this sovereign ease. a preliminary question requires examination. must recall the terms he employed.

We To must therefore pause here a moment. constituting the best preface to the reading of *the books themselves. and decides whether we is fully understand what to follow. and to achieve a direct intuitional him in immediate contact with reality. &quot. &quot. . article in the Meta : physical and Moral Review (January 1903) a short but marvelously suggestive memoire. Bergvolume form. for dominates shall the rest. it It all is also a delicate question. but seek merely to define the bility method and disclose the possi of applying it on some essential points. est &quot.&quot. along with 1 scarcely to be some other articles which are had at all to-day. that we should be it grateful to son if he would have bound in Mr.&quot.METHOD 11 philosopher s duty from the outset to renounce the usual forms of analytic and synthetic thought. attention. Without doubt it is this question of method which demands our first It is the leading question. problems all at once. may say in pass We ing. Preface to Creative Evolution. an which appeared as an direct us in this preliminary study we have admirable Introduction to Metaphysics. Mr. himself presents his works as es Bergson which do not aim at solving the great says effort which shall put &quot.

made as much. presents itself. Bergson. prior to taking shape in a group of co-ordinated theses. this elementary act of direction and movement. for thought. a method. has al ways been the philosopher s ambition and the .&quot. and here that contact reality takes effect. action than for says Mr. For the problem are * is We complex. . is vital. and listen to the secret inmost breath. and more. here that the form of the future system is is determined. and the goal distant. as an attitude. to watch the throbbing in its life pure of its state. to descend into the inmost depths of being.12 A NEW PHILOSOPHY II Every philosophy. To return to the direct view of things beyond all figurative symbols. a frame of mind. Nothing can be more im portant than to study this starting-point. with The last point. new philosophy has not departed from this ideal. at rhythm least so far as measurement is possible. to measure it. in its initial stage. particularly. if we wish afterwards to arrive at the precise shade of meaning of the subsequent teaching. But in what light does it regard its task? That is the first point to clear up. Here it is really the fountain-head of thought.

. it would appear to an immediate of but an adaptation practical interests and reality to the demands of social Hence all cedence of its the question which takes pre others is: to distinguish in our the fact in common representation of the world. 2 life. &quot. pulse. Matter and Memory.METHOD &quot. we are in danger of committal to a path which it is impossible to follow. What we ordinarily call a fact is not reality or rather. 297. Now. p. 13 when we follow our natural im And again. such as intuition.&quot. it is not sufficient to abandon the images and conceptions invented by human initiative. thought Above all. with a mind which would be adequate to the new and so doing virgin issue of a simple writ of oblivion. At the time when critical reflection begins. still less is it sufficient to fling our selves into the torrent of brute sensations. we have already been long engaged 1 * in action Creative Evolution. to rediscover nature in her fresh springs of reality. it is to act that we think. p. 238. The philosopher is not free to begin the work of knowledge again upon other planes. true sense from the combinations which we have introduced in view of action and language. By we are in danger of dissolving our in dream or quenching it in night.&quot.

fashioned and informed itself. a kind of conversion. our senses and our understanding. edge to recreate in us a new mind. and which are by and instinctive. in its present state. On the thresh old of philosophical speculation it is full of more or less concealed beliefs. During this twilight period it has lived. by the training of individual life. worked. so familiar to-day that they even pass unobserved. we time unconscious are haunted by all kinds this of ideas and principles. help us to the nature of a disinterested intuition ? Does know Nothing but a methodical examination of consciousness can tell us that and it will take more than a renunciation of explicit knowl .14 A NEW PHILOSOPHY science . acted. all But what is it worth? it. our faculties of perception and conception. mark is and branded with a secret influencing its every movement. and perceptive function we term our intelligence emerges from darkness The rational through a slowly lifting dawn. which are literally prejudices. as by hereditary and racial experience. Here an actual situation. Exemption from it is . capable of grasping the bare fact exactly as it is: what we require is perhaps a penetrating reform. have contracted habits.

into relation with pure consciousness? This is our first and inevitable doubt. after investigation. This we term com mon-sense. and positive science is itself only an extension and refinement of it. in so doing. from the beginning of our in or no. total one by one. and with nothing? Com ideas of necessity form the groundwork for the broidery of our advanced thought. or such and such a The and reconstruction of the clean sweep can never be too vigorously condemned. to But it would be a quixotic proceeding first make a void in our mind. admit into principle. What is the value of this work performed without clear Does it consciousness or critical attention? we are bring us into true relation with things. have corrected the causes of error which are to-day graven upon the very structure of our intelligence. illusion such and such a concept. and afterwards to it. which requires solution. even if we succeeded in our possible task. Further. quiry immersed in a doctrine which disguises nature to us.METHOD beyond anyone 15 Whether we will s province. and already at bottom constitutes a complete metaphysic. . should we. Is it from the void that we set out to think? Do we mon think in void.

One conclusion is work of common-sense suspicious. with a view to shedding light upon its spontaneous virgin con dition. Everything has its starting-point in con struction and verification. It is from within.16 A NEW PHILOSOPHY such as our past life has made it? These would not cease to act imperceptibly upon the work of revision intended to apply errors the remedy. Such Mr. but the form is : In common-sense is contained. has doubtless subjected these facts to a which is artificial process of interested alteration. Bergson s fundamental . Thus philosophical research can only be a conscious and deliberate return to the facts of primal intuition. And philosophy s first task is to institute critical reflection upon the ob scure beginnings of thought. is verification. for reality not construction. by an effort of immanent purgation. but without any vain claim to lift it out of the current in which it is actually plunged. in proportion to the labor is bestowed. at any rate virtually and in embryo. that the necessary reform must be brought about. already plain the ground is sure. being prepossessed in a practi cal direction. all that can ever be attained of reality. But common-sense.

Whether we regard organic life in the genesis and preservation of the individual.&quot. of action. . Notice how far presumption is in favor of our hypothesis. it is not added from outside. The work in freeing of reform will consist therefore its our intelligence from utilitarian habits. 1 Again. 17 &quot. of employing in thought the forms tice or of . lastly. see its natural direction to be Must we not expect from serve its this that it will pre former habits? And what is do we actually observe? The first gleam of human revealed to intelligence in prehistoric times us by an industry. every science has begun First edition. the cut flint of the primi tive caves marks the first stage of the road which was one day to end in the most sublime philosophies.METHOD hypothesis. it is the continuance and the flower of the former effort. Preface to Matter and Memory. or in the evolution of species. and it is far-reaching. by endeavoring at the outset to be come clearly conscious of them. arise Many from probably metaphysical and prac our habit of confounding speculation difficulties pushing an idea in the direction of utility. we towards utility: but the effort of thought comes after the effort of life. when we think we fathom it in theory or.

Their task was rather. It . to is practical aspect. and remains enable us to grasp its so. Everything tends. as to act. arrests. however disinterested it may have become. maintaining be tween themselves the constant relations which find their most perfect and ideal presentment in mathematics. remains none the less in close relation with the demands of our action.18 A NEW PHILOSOPHY by practical arts. The forms of knowledge elaborated by common-sense were not originally intended to allow us to see reality as it is. Have we not here exactly the essential postulates of action and speech? To speak. then. to incline us to wards the hypothesis in question. it permits us to speak of and to handle things rather than to see them in their intimate and profound nature. our understanding solidifies all that it touches. we must have separable elements. is a moving series. when applied to our operations of knowledge. shows us that our understanding parcels out. a flux of blended qualities. terms and objects which remain inert while the operation goes on. Indeed. Analysis. whereas reality. our science of to day. That is to say. and quantifies. as it appears to immediate intuition. Let us re gard it henceforward as expressing a fact.

the true in An inner reform if . sifting. to is therefore imperative are to succeed in unearthing and to-day. in our perception of nature. and not in order to live. This attempt at return to the standpoint of pure contemplation and disinterested experi ence is a task very different from the task of science. It is more or less one thing to regard more and and less closely with the eyes made for us by utilitarian evolution: it is another to labor at remaking for ourselves eyes capable of seeing. in order to see. and carry it mark with them everywhere. soon becoming even when we have reached the unconscious. these forms nevertheless have existed Now habits.METHOD 19 for that they are made. not for philosophical speculation. Philosophy understood in this manner and we shall see on that there more and more clearly as we go is no other legitimate method of . leaving upon the fresh tasks which we are fain make them accomplish. But this in this new stage they preserve the bias of their original utilitarian function. in us as inveterate point of desiring knowledge for its own sake. we tuitional content. under the veinstone of practical symbolism.

with paratus of forms and principles. Philosophy consists in reliving the imme diate over again. 241. inclines above the critical bend where towards our practical use and be comes. Matter and Memory. its instinct towards action has carried its and go to seek experience source. shall find afterwards that that is not all.20 A NEW PHILOSOPHY understanding it demands from us an almost violent act of reform and conversion. . ap- is true that science develops and perfects refines and extends 1 it. ence. climb the at it hill down which it. s thought. light. is the first stage. and in interpreting our ra and everyday perception by its That. and even now and p. What science really does is to preserve the its general attitude of common-sense. it must pass outside common- properly In sense and synthetic understanding to return to pure intuition. speaking. for the first time. by a twin effort of criticism and expansion. philos ophy is made specifically distinct from science. The mind must turn round upon invert the habitual direction of its itself. at least. Here is a genuinely new conception of tional science We philosophy.&quot. human experi short. yet remains no less positive. It it. Here. &quot.

on the contrary. Bergson losophy may less. the world of inert matter. so long as the object studied is the world of practical action. 21 But science does not change either the direction or the essential steps. and employed it in moments of discovery. in history current at its task. but we must recognize its just limits. . and lead to a knowledge is true (though still symbolical). in Everywhere we find its secret All great philosophers have had glimpses of it. de serve to be styled classic and traditional. What it really defines is not so much a particular philosophy as philosophy its original function. or. Not that. life. we mean to condemn science. in saying so. The methods of science proper are in their which place and appropriate.METHOD again corrects it. And yet. itself. it does not from another point of view. In this philosophy. But soul. new as Mr. any the conception of phi deservedly appear. and yet these are the spring and ultimate basis of everything: and it is the appreciation of this fact. what is at first suspected and finally modified. that is s new. with what it entails. to put it briefly. is the setting of the points before the journey begins. and activity escape it.

for the mental reform in question is of the kind which requires gradual fulfilment. But on refer this point I cannot insist without going into lengthy the detail. The truth which it involves does not set out to be a non-tem poral essence. The new philosophy . I do not. under pressure. wish to abuse systems of philosophy. where he will find the whole question dealt with. to per ceive in its entirety at one view. and am obliged to reader to the fourth chapter of Creative Evolution. Truth undergoes analysis into systems as does light into colors. a moment in the life of thought. One remark. has made. however. But the mere name system calls static idea of a finished building. Bergson s con ception.22 A NEW PHILOSOPHY as a general rule they have not clearly recognized what they were doing. according to Mr. and so have Only soon turned aside. is up the Here t. which a sufficiently powerful genius would be able. implies and demands time. of course. Each of them is an experience still to be of thought. and that again seems to be very new. Philosophy. it does not aim at completion all at once.here nothing of the kind. a reagent which reveals an aspect. a method of exploring reality.

to be a system. in How are How are we first we to attain the immediate? to realize this perception of pure fact which we stated to be the philosopher s step? Unless we can clear up this doubt. 1 in the sense which concerns Preface to Creative Evolution. It demands that thought should work at living its true life.&quot.&quot. and even more than. but not on that account &quot. For there is a serious difficulty in which the very em immediate might ployment of the word &quot. and creative. active.METHOD 23 desires to be a proceeding as much as. correcting. com pleting. towards external action. and righting one another. And. Bergson. and what is its by the collective 1 generating act. It insists on being lived as well as thought. and of many observers. The immediate. . &quot. says Mr. lead us astray. &quot. This is. an inner life related to itself. the point which requires instant explanation. it can only be constructed directed and progressive effort of many thinkers. effective. then. the end proposed will remain to our gaze an abstract and lifeless ideal. Let us see how it begins.

. provided we opened our eyes and abstained from reflection. is A NEW PHILOSOPHY not at all. more generally speaking. to shall very vision. that the consequences are shall weighty and far-reaching. there must be effort and work. And it is here. How are we to guide this effort? In what will this work consist? By what sign that. Mr. it open our eyes. As a matter of fact. Bergson speaks of them chiefly in con nection with the realities of consciousness. But simplify my explanation. may Therefore it appears most in place in the be. it how assumes least proportions. is no longer for indefinable us the passive the something which we should inevitably receive. I will here choose another example: that of inert matter. of life. or at least experience. reflection we cannot is abstain from reflection: come on the trail of the immediate. to-day part of our comes into play as soon as we So we be able to recognize that the result has been obtained? These are the questions to be cleared up. or. in fact. It is in this case that the divergence between common ever real perception and pure perception. of the perception on which the physical is based.24 us. We most need to to refer to them again in detail.

In fact. But nothing could be more are speaking of the perception untrue. we enter into them unresistingly and apprehend them all readily believe that at once in their intrinsic nature. main lines and general when we cast our eyes upon surrounding objects.METHOD 25 sketch I desire to trace of an exceedingly complex work. all concrete perception comes much up v for analysis as an indissoluble mixture of construction and fact. interpretations. evi dently. in which the fact is only revealed through the construction. the last term in a highly complicated series of mental operations. where I can only hope. that the most enlightened and adroit person proceeds in just the We same . on the contrary. And this term contains as of us as of things. and takes on experi incapable the uneducated person is of explaining the simple appearance of the its complexion. if we which we employ without profound criticism in the course of our daily life. to indicate the direction. We all know by ence how least fact. We Perception would thus be nothing but simple passive registration. without embodying a crowd of false know to a less extent. What we here take to be pure fact is. but it is also true.

we read this or that. why accurate observation see. Who was it defined art as nature seen through a mind? Perception. This art has its its tools. organs of sense are actual instruments con structed by the unconscious work of the mind in the course of biological evolution. or in ference. . But that is not all. and Go processes. they too sum up and give concrete form and expres sion to a system of enlightening theories. which enters into what we should be tempted to call pure perception. is an art. each of them ories. is literally a sheaf of materialized the and by means of it all acquired science is brought to bear on each new observation of In exactly the same way our the student. into a laboratory and study one of those complex instruments which make our senses finer or more powerful. is That difficult. according to the direction of the inves tigation on which we are engaged. is so we see or we do not we notice such and such an aspect. according to our state of consciousness at the time. manner: still but it is interpretation. The most elementary psychol ogy shows us the amount of thought. recollection. too. its conventions.26 A NEW PHILOSOPHY his interpretation is better. in the correct sense of the term.

its it is portunity of recollection. with the aid of habit. Bergson on this becomes in the end only an op subject. invariably interpreted. &quot. and placed in pre-existing forms which constitute veritable theoretical frames. The part of pure perception in it is small. and he will hardly retain any more of reality than &quot. One day. child has to learn to That is why the There is an perceive. and immediately covered and almost buried by the contribution of memory. p.METHOD Establishment of fact it is is 27 not the simple reception of the faithful imprint of that fact. 1 Matter and Memory. he will almost cease to see things a few lines. 71. schemes and symbols. It is summons to recollection. challenging us to extract from our previous experience. a few simple signs noted in a : brief passing glance. will enable him to recog nize them. This infinitesimal part acts as a a bait. . is di upon the present than the past. says Mr. rected less true. systematized. and construct with our acquired wealth a system of images which permits us to read the experi ence of the moment. All concrete perception.&quot. a few glimpses. education of the senses which he acquires by long training.&quot. Perception.

and in the same manner.28 A NEW PHILOSOPHY With our scheme of interpretation thus constituted we encounter the few fugitive traits which we have actually perceived. is what causes mistakes in reading. from a probable meaning to This the print which you are interpreting. connecting. Let us take a simple example.&quot. Thus are explained &quot. a few downstrokes in their graphical outline. and succeeds in accounting and making sense of these finally for. the veri fication of a theory. If the theory we have elaborated adapts itself. do you spell each syllable. . and the well-known difficulty in seeing printing errors. errors of the senses. is the resolution of a problem. one by one. to group the syllables afterwards into words. and the words into phrases. in the usual sense of the word. Thus too. we have the explanation of dreams. traveling in the re verse direction. When you read a book. Perception then. traits. thus Not at traveling from print to meaning? all: you grasp a few letters accurately. which are in reality errors of interpretation. then you guess the remainder. we shall have a perception properly so called. is confirmed by curious Write some everyday phrase This observation experiments.

METHOD

29

or other on a blackboard; let there be a few intentional mistakes here and there, a letter
or two altered, or left out. Place the words in a dark room in front of a person who, of course, does not know what has been written.
the light without allowing the observer sufficient time to spell the writing.

Then turn on
In

the

spite of this, he will in most cases read entire phrase, without hesitation or

difficulty.

He

has restored what was missing, or cor
is

rected what

was at fault. Now, ask him what letters he saw, and you will find he will

certain he

tell

you an

omitted or altered letter as well as a letter
actually written. The observer then thinks he sees in broad
light a letter which is not there, if that letter, in virtue of the general sense, ought to appear

phrase. But you can go further, and vary the experiment. Suppose we write the word tumult cor
in the
"

"

rectly.

After doing

so, to direct

the

memory

of the observer into a certain trend of recol
lection, call

out in his ear, during the short time the light is turned on, another word of
different
"

meaning,

for

example,

the

word

railway."

30

A NEW PHILOSOPHY
The
observer will read
"

tunnel

"

;

that

is

to say, a word, the graphical outline of which is like that of the written word, but connected
in sense with the order of recollection called

up.

In

this

mistake in reading, as in the spon
is

taneous correction of the previous experiment,

we

see very clearly that perception the fulfilment of guesswork.

always

It

is

the direction of this

work

that

we

are

concerned to determine.

According to the popular idea perception has a completely speculative interest: it is Therein lies the funda pure knowledge.
mental mistake. Notice first of
it
is,

all

a priori, that any other natural and spontaneous work, should have a utilitarian signification. is Life," says Mr. Bergson with justice,
just as
"
"

how much more probable the work of perception,

the acceptance from objects of nothing but the useful impression, with the response of the
1

appropriate

reactions."

view receives striking objective confirmation if, with the author of Matter and
this

And

Memory, we

follow the progress of the per functions along the animal series from ceptive
1

Laughter, p. 151.

METHOD

31

the protoplasm to the higher vertebrates; or if, with him, we analyze the task of the body,

and discover that the nervous system

is

mani

fested in its very structure as, before all, an instrument of action. Have we not already
besides proof of this in the fact that each of

us always appears in his own eyes to occupy the center of the world he perceives?

The Riquet
Bergson
s

of Anatole France voices
"

Mr.

view:

I

am

always in the center

of everything, and men and beasts and things, for or against me, range themselves around." But direct analysis leads us still more
plainly to the
is

same conclusion.

Let us take the perception of bodies. It easy to show and I regret that I cannot

here reproduce Mr. Bergson s masterly dem onstration that the division of matter into
distinct objects with sharp outlines is pro duced by a selection of images which is com pletely relative to our practical needs. The distinct outlines which we assign to an object, and which bestow upon it its indi viduality, are nothing but the graph of a certain kind of influence which we should be
1

able to
is

at a certain point in space: it the plan of our future actions which is submitted to our eyes, as in a mirror, when

employ

32

A NEW PHILOSOPHY

we perceive the surfaces and edges of things. Remove this action, and in consequence the
high roads which
it

by

perception, in the

makes for web of

itself in

advance

reality,

and the

individuality of the body will be reabsorbed in the universal interaction which is without

doubt reality

itself."
"

Which

is

tantamount

to saying that rough bodies are cut in the material of nature by a perception of which
line

the scissors follow, in some sort, the dotted l along which the action would pass."

Bodies independent of common experience do not then appear, to an attentive criticism, as veritable realities which would have an
existence
in

themselves.
"

They

are

centers of co-ordination for our actions.
if

only Or,

you prefer

it,

our needs are so

many

shafts of light which, when played upon the continuity of perceptible qualities, produce in

them the
the

outline of distinct
its

bodies."

Does

not science too, after

own

fashion, resolve

into a center of intersecting relations, which finally extend by degrees to the entire

atom

universe in an indissoluble interpenetration?

A

qualitative
off,

shaded

continuity, imperceptibly over which pass quivers that here
Creative Evolution, p. 12.

1

2

Matter and Memory,

p. 262.

METHOD
and there converge,
reality.
is

33

the image

by which we

are forced to recognize a superior degree of

But
tative

is

this perceptible material, this quali

continuity,

the pure fact in matter?

Not

yet.

Perception,

we

said just

now,

is

always in reality complicated by memory. There is more truth in this than we had seen. Reality is not a motionless spectrum, extend
ing to our view its infinite shades; it might rather be termed a leaping flame in the spectrum. All is in passage, in process of

becoming.

On
"

this flux consciousness concentrates at

long intervals, each time condensing into one an immense period of the inner quality
"

history of things. thousand successive

"

In just

this

way

the

positions of a runner one single symbolic attitude, which our eye perceives, which art reproduces, and which becomes for everybody the repre

contract

into

sentation of a

man

*

running."

In the same way again, a red light, con tinuing one second, embodies such a large number of elementary pulsations that it would
take 25,000 years of our time to see its dis tinct passage. From here springs the sub1

Matter and Memory,

p. 277.

in grasping. with the result that in the end succeed. the different periods of the preceding dialectic. restore on the other all the effective tendencies they have extinguished. and many others as well no doubt. Vibration. Or rather. and bodies are none of them reality by themselves. by a kind of sympathy. into colorless &quot. and pass. matter would resolve disturbances. qualities. into the incessantly moving play of all the possible innumerable contractions or we should it resolutions. roughly speaking. The different qualities correspond. Let us now unite in one single continuity &quot. and become the pure matter of the natural philosopher. according to their in- . and imagining a complete expansion. but all the same are part of reality. And absolute reality they would be the whole of these degrees and moments. by a simultaneous view as were. rhythms to the different degrees of inner tension in different the perceiving consciousness. we should have on the one hand to get rid of all that our practical needs have constructed. to the of contraction or dilution. follow the complete scale of qualitative con centrations and dilutions. to secure absolute intuition of matter. Pushing the case to its limits.34 jectivity A NEW PHILOSOPHY of our perception.

Methods. 7th July 1910. admit of perception. as we are aware of the beating of our heart in the general feeling that of x we have living. 35 modes. the phases of this mat ter which. in the perceptible quality in which they suffer con traction. though at present latent. in the case before us. disturbances which constitute matter. and &quot. Now it must be stated that our realizable knowledge is at every moment partial and limited rather than exterior and relative. we see at any rate in what direction we should have to work to reach it. absolute knowl edge is found to be the result of integral ex and though we cannot attain the term. for perience. and Scientific . Our least are actually based on pure per perceptions we are aware of the elementary ception. much as an absorbing medium resolves into separate rays the continuous spectrum of a luminous body. whilst the rhythm of dura1 The Journal of Philosophy. our effective perception itself is related to matter in as the part to the whole. Thus.METHOD finitely various &quot. ^ Psychology.&quot. pro duces the fragmentary world of commonsense. coming between reality and ourselves.&quot. But the preoccupation of practical action.

A NEW PHILOSOPHY and the degree of tension peculiar to our consciousness. &quot. which is decisive. and speak as he must have done. limit us to the apprehension of certain qualities only. in its turn. Every feature will appear . . produce him under his different aspects. make yourself at home in him.Enter into your author.36 tion. throbbing In connection with this last vital point. as with the object until closely as &quot. at the same then have to What we time. do to progress to wards absolute knowledge? Not to quit ex perience: quite the contrary. and finally quicken all the results thus obtained by an effort of sympathy which will make us familiar we feel its profound and its inner wealth. we correct in it the dis turbing effects of action. move. you can. . . . . Study him. follow him to his fireside and in his domestic habits. ask him questions at your leisure. turn him round and round. but to extend it and diversify it by science. himself in this expression. make him live. by criticism. An individual reality will gradually blend . call to mind a celebrated page of Sainte-Beuve where he defines his method: &quot. place him before you. . while. and take the place of the man . .

. By language alone are we en abled to submit it to a positive test: the letter is the ballast of the mind. the body which . it would seem. it could not be better put. we have still to translate this perception language. Transpose this from the literary to the metaphysical page order. we should not have into intelligible truth. supposing it came to birth. rv The immediate perception of reality is not all. Without language. . But a You have the return to im arises: Is new problem then immediacy not our in danger of remain our language has been ing inexpressible? For formed in view of practical life. . Yes.METHOD with . Bergson. and general type. . we should not have knowledge in the strict sense of the word. that is exactly what we want: man. failing which. not of pure intuition of knowledge. intuition. as defined by Mr. There is our abstract. and you have intuition.&quot. into a connected chain of concepts. mediacy. . 37 and become incarnate in the vague. and would perish in a solitary cry. would remain intransmissible and incommunicable.

But it is imperative that language should translate. and that again is the work of language. side it.38 allows it A NEW PHILOSOPHY to act. familiar to the understanding. The an act of pure intuition demands so great inner tension from thought that it can only be very rare and very fugitive: a few rapid gleams here and there. We shall see in losopher precisely consists. that the body of formulae should not stifle the soul of intui what the work of reform and conversion imposed on the phi tion. whence you can only see the object of your investigation at a distance. no necessary is ordinary language. and of the methods. with such interval as would be sufficient for the . and in acting to scatter the unreal delusions of dream. these processes of analysis really convey secretly all the postulates of practical action. and these dawning glimpses must be sustained. at points of vantage on a circumference. not betray. Place the object studied before yourself as an Then place yourself out exterior &quot. and afterwards united. The attitude of the ordinary proceedings of common thought can be stated in a few words. But while language is thus necessary.thing.&quot. in perspective. less a criticism of These forms of reflected knowledge.

it. the attempt to resolve all reality into general ideas. which vary according to direction we and angle? By means of them claim to determine the object from out if. as in order to it know it. space is what . in short. but we do not penetrate it. it were suffi cient to enclose in a system of logical sides and angles. I shall term analysis by concepts. 39 move round the object instead of entering boldly But these proceedings lead to what into it. divide it up piece by it in various frames. Is not that obviously life theories which explain the soul done by the converting by the body. quality by movements. What are concepts and abstract ideas really. that is to say. and mount lay hold of it it. species of model drawings. but distant and simplified views. by resemblances and differences. perhaps in this way we do really grasp perhaps we do establish its precise de scription. by matter.METHOD contemplation of a picture. They dismember piece. And Concepts translate relations resulting from comparisons by which each object is finally expressed as a function of what it is not. giving only a few summary features of their object. side. They only by ends and corners.

our perspectives and plane projections: no accu mulation of this concrete solid. lending itself to indefinite enumeration and endless development and multiplicity but you will never recompose the profound and original unity of the source. pictures you like not absurd to conceive as given what is by nature interminable and inexhaustible. you may take all the schemes. inversely. by outside forcing yourself to seek the object itself.40 itself A NEW PHILOSOPHY by pure number? Is not that what is done generally by all criticisms. all doctrines which connect one idea to another. where it certainly is not. In vain we multiply our points of view. the scheme representing the prints. but not the organic unity nor the inner essence. supposing that it is prints. We kind will reconstruct the can pass from an object directly perceived to the pictures which rep resent it. But. How. the prints which represent the pic tures. and is obtained from it by simple diminution. and parts common. the reciprocal contacts. or to a group of other ideas? In this way we reach only the surface of things. except . be cause each stage contains less than the one before. mutual inter sections.

would you ever find its You are but intimate and specific reality? condemning yourself to symbolism. of all upon The thesis tivity which maintains the inevitable rela human knowledge originates mainly from the metaphors employed to de scribe the act of knowledge. how are we to grasp but what reaches us in the receiver anything at the end of the wire? organs fill a projecting lantern playing a shaft of light on nature how should it do otherwise than tint nature its own color? itself is . The subject occupies this point. your knowledge of things will remain irremediably relative. rela tive to the symbols selected and the points of view adopted. The mind But spatial these difficulties all arise out of the metaphors employed. &quot. and these meta- .METHOD in echo 41 and reflection. the object that. and lives within its rhythm. flings himself stream. how are we to span the distance? Our perceptory the interval. for one can only be in another symbolically. Absolute revelation is only given to the man thing &quot. To go who its passes into the object. with the marks to which you relate it. Everything will happen as in a movement of which the appearance and formula vary with the spot from which you re gard it. further still.

even to sharing the physical sensation of its labored or easy work ing. or the engineer who has lived in comradeship with it. Between knowledge by theory and knowl edge by experience. becomes on intimate terms with it. really nothing mysterious or strange in this. profession. the student who analyzes it in mechanical theorems. supply the effort of which he establishes himself in sympathy by the object. what difference and diver gence there is! has absolute knowledge of a machine. in a word. and. above tunes himself to lives it. and. who notes movements . philosopher must adopt an attitude entirely inverse. likes Who who feels the play of its inner muscles.42 A NEW PHILOSOPHY little phors in their turn do translate the but illustrate and of analysis by common method this concepts: and lated by the essentially regu needs of action and practical method is language. its is There rhythm. breathing. Consider your daily judgments in matters of art. its its and dislikes. or sport. but listen in a The manner to their inward all. not keep at a distance from things. between understanding by external analogy and perception by pro found intuition.

par ticipates in its essence and holds communion with its duration? But the external nature of the knowledge obtained by conceptual analysis is only its least fault. from within. for whom it has become an extension of his own body.METHOD 43 and the task before it. history. a group of prearranged gestures and automatic habits? The student the builder. but the only true knowledge is that of the engineer. com make mon. regard them as elaborated once for are building-material. by a living experience. And what I have just said does not concern material objects only. There are others still more serious. or he who. a new sensori-motor organ. unspecific. interest their utility. and exactly consist in sparing us this labor? We all. and metaphysics. of religion. ready-hewn They . he Who who has absolute knowledge it analyzes in psychology. as the machine itself would do were it conscious. what should us feel the need of recasting them when we apply them to a new object? 1 If concepts actually express what is Do their not their ground. general. sociology. s knowledge is more useful to and I do not wish to claim that we should ever neglect it.

of alignment concepts. or else we must fall back on metaphors mental chemistry. such as combination. a explanation of a thing That being done. Juxtaposition and arrangement are the geometrical operations which typify the work of knowledge in such a case. partaking of each of them in definite propor tions: which is the same as considering it sufficiently expressed by a list of general frames into which it will go. they can be at tached externally.44 A NEW PHILOSOPHY we have only to bring together. and it . but without un blocks. and in virtue of this theory. from some proportioning and In all cases. simple elements a mathe They matician would say prime factors capable of associating with infinity. are atoms. They admit linkage. but they leave the aggre gate as they went into it. no more than show ing it in the intersection of several classes. which dergoing any inner modification in contact with it. the the method is still that and blending of pre-existent fact of proceeding thus setting up the concept as is is Now mere equivalent to symbol of an abstract class. on principle. referred to the already known. The unknown is then.

METHOD 45 thereby becomes impossible ever to grasp any true novelty or any irreducible originality. from which we . we can draw from an how we are to conduct ourselves toward it. to what degree it is deserving of this or that title which determines an attitude we must take up. and thereby becomes impossible ever to reach &quot. is no doubt of evident practical utility. is here in existence to meet every different clauses define so its many unshifting points of view. what label we can suitably attach to it. we find our in its pigeon-holes all ready-made. and only then. sense of the word tion. under what already known class it comes. Then. Our end is to place the object approximate class. or a step we must perform. A catechism research. soul. we claim to re construct nature with pure symbols.&quot. the invisible and present This intuitional coinage in fixed standard concepts. On principle. this creation of an easily handled intellectual cash. it For knowledge is in the usual not a disinterested opera consists in finding out what profit object. and the same universal parcel of reagents meets all cases. it its concrete reality. once more. having regard to advantageous employment or to everyday language.

incessantly renew his plant. We need reality. incessantly creating new thoughts. an ideal cen ter of intersecting abstractions. of the ordinary kind. He must not go from concepts to things. but he has to work to measure. pre-existing to be employed. capable of being continually modeled on delicately following infinite curves. And each of the concepts he creates . has He not to confine himself to ready-made business concepts. as if each of them were only the cutting-point of several concurrent generalities. he must go from things to concepts. of plastic fluid. to create concepts The philosopher s task is then much more than to combine them. There could be no solution of the problem in a more or less ingenious mosaic or tessel lation of rigid concepts. which fit nobody because they almost fit everybody. on the con trary.46 A NEW PHILOSOPHY regard each object. con tinually recreate his mind. supple and its living concepts. and our study is subse quently limited to applying a kind of nomen clature to the preconstructed frames. Once again the philosopher has to proceed in exactly the opposite direction. suits cut to an average model. and inces santly recasting the old. and meet each new problem with a fresh adaptive effort.

no matter what the circumstances: they are no longer living and colored ideas. . ego many: no formula. In it this way only remain what | ought to be: the examination into the consciousness of the human mind. the one contests this double is The ego what is its lesson to us? bound to happen to the two concepts of unity and multiplicity. by the mere fact that we take them for general frames independent of the reality contained. the effort towards enlargement and depth which it attempts unremittingly. without distinction of case. motion less. Do you want an example? I will take that of human is personality. like a method or a program: it must be the arrow pointing to a path which descends from in tuition to language. But everything admits of one. ready for the necessary renewal and adaptation. without shades or gradations. for detached language and Observe what is it. and neutral forms. but abstract. char acterizing two points of view from which you can observe anything and everything. not a boundary marking does philosophy I a terminus. admitting empty and blank definition. in order to advance beyond its present intellectual condition.METHOD j 47 I must remain open and adjustable. always representable by the same word.

one with the other. to understand how the living person is at once multiple unity and one multiplicity. point. the same duty of reversing our familiar attitude. is not the colorless The interesting two symbolical marks indicating the two ends of it the spectrum. the continuity between. is not whether there is unity. how these two poles of conceptual dissociation are con nected. by their opposition. becomes ours for another reason. impossible to arrive at this con crete transition unless we begin from direct in it But tuition and descend to the analyzing concepts. statically defined imagine a synthesis? the interesting question Correctly speaking. ever combination. how could we. . or combina tion realizes the case in point. in a word. Again. multiplicity. between two such entities. multiplicity. but to see what sort of unity.48 A NEW PHILOSOPHY This being so. of inverting our customary proceeding. above all. with its changing wealth of coloring. and the double progress of shades which resolve it is into red and is violet. how could the application of these forms help us to grasp the original and peculiar nature of the unity and multiplicity of the ego? Still further. how these two diverging branches of abstraction join at the roots.

as the instantaneous lightning flashes on a of isolates Each them and fixes storm-scene in the 1 1 darkness.&quot. It is immobility which it esteems as primary. of an unin terrupted stream of movement? &quot. it and mo seeks to ex plain as a function of immobility. movement is According added to the atom. thought. on the contrary. by be coming. Immobility appears to it to be the base of existence. and endeavors to bring to rest all that to common moves. and. the pre-existent terms are strung to gether like pearls on a necklace. as a supplementary acci dent to a body previously at rest. 248. It delights in rest.METHOD leads 49 The conceptual atomism of common thought it to place movement in a lower order rest. fundamental. It decomposes and pulver izes every change and every phenomenon. What indeed are concepts but logical lookout stations along the path of becoming? what are they but motionless ex ternal views. out of progresses and transitions. to make things. fact in than a lower order than becoming. To see distinctly. . Matter and Memory. taken at intervals. which itself. intelligible of tion. an aspect. And so it tends. until it finds the invariable element in them. it appears to need a dead halt. p.

in which it constitutes the solid The fulcrum. what it has become. is thus In this respect analysis by concepts sense. constant. or what it is fitting to say of it. the foundation and landmark of dia lectic progress. again. is the natural It consists in method of commonasking from time to time what point the object studied has reached. and seize it as it passes. in order to see what one could derive from it. they make a net laid in ad vance. a strong meshwork in which the human intelligence posts itself securely to spy the flux of reality. The constant . But this method has only a practical reach.50 A NEW PHILOSOPHY Placed together. if we are to be able to is the concrete by our operate through work it. . in which the word represents its inert permanence. is the element of lan guage. support demanded action: the matter upon which we must not escape our grasp and slip our hands. states and we imagine ideal science as an open eye which gazes forever upon objects that do not move. identi ties. and is out of place in the speculative. Such a proceeding is made for the practical world. non-variants. being that which can be dis carded by the mind. whose attention free for other tasks. Every where we are trying to find constants.

Analysis by concepts is a cinematograph method. movement is never ex plicable except by itself. never grasped ex cept in itself. moving body passes filter it. the result of the drifted down to us. the dynamic connection. as a When we fixed points. and must therefore be given in addition to the views themselves. the transition from one view to another? This capacity for movement must be contained in the picture apparatus. 51 which in its essence is becoming. and nothing can better prove how. we retain only deposit. passes through our concepts without ever let ting itself be caught. the march of the images. after all. With such conceptual sections taken in the stream of continuity. . and buoys make the current of the river? Do the festoons of dead Do seaweed ranged along the sand make the Let us beware of confounding rising tide? the stream of becoming with the sharp out line of its result. however many we ac cumulate. should we ever reconstruct the movement itself. ment we have fixed views of Every mo moving objects. its becoming the dams.METHOD Reality. and it is plain that the inner organization of the movement is not seen in the moving pictures. canals.

From we shall ceived as the limit of movement. There is then a radical difference between philosophic intuition and conceptual analysis. In this way the true philosophical method. in short. in sympathizing with the rhythm of its genesis. possible. is less as its arrest or extinction. in adopting its changing curves and variable tension.52 A NEW PHILOSOPHY But if we take movement as our principle. to And come back to the unity or multiplicity as. in perceiving all existence from within. in promoting movement to funda mental fixed reality. as a growth. if I may venture the expression. and. and even easy. the philosopher must seek in the ego not so much a ready-made thus. it is. and stop dead. for rest than movement. in degrading rank of secondary and derived reality. on the contrary. two antagonistic and correlative movements of unification and purification. example of the human personality. . which is the inverse of the common method. in following it in its inner generation . states to the inversely. slacken speed by imperceptible degrees. to never get our movement again but rest can very well be con a dead stop . consists in taking up a position from the very outset in the bosom of becoming.

intuition From the heart of how have no difficulty in seeing and analyzes into concepts. it is a picture which we can place in an infinite number of frames. will original condition. reserve for it its and philosophy But we must normal place and its just task. splits up concepts of such and such a kind or such and you will it But by successive analyses you never reconstruct the least intuition. Begin from intuition: it is a summit from which we can descend by infinite slopes. no matter how you distribute the water. and seeks . science could not do without could not do without science. not the concepts intuition. Analysis cuts the channels intuition supplies the water. where it is interested only in the immovable basins the former goes back to the source of the concepts. and the lower ends of all the slopes will not explain how they . Concepts are the deposited sediment of in tuition: intuition produces the concepts. . to possess it where it gushes out. It is not a question of banning analysis. But all the frames together will not recompose the picture. Intuition acquires and analysis expends. you will never reconstruct the reservoir in its such a shade. just as.METHOD The 53 latter delights in the play of dialectic. in fountains of knowledge. it.

is to elicit a certain active force is which in most 1 men liable to be trammeled Introduction to Metaphysics. What we have to do. but I understand without trouble. Here are some letters which you can ar * range in chains in a thousand ways: the in divisible sense running along the chain. Thus the conversion and reform incumbent on him con sist essentially in a transition from the ana lytic to the intuitive The result is point of view.&quot. it is Intuition is a necessary the impulse which sets the beginning. its unity. says himself. I shall never understand penetrate. how we can regard it from the double point of view of black and white. not its consequence. he &quot. is the original cause of the writing. the soul which assures &quot.54 A NEW PHILOSOPHY at the meet summit. if how black and white inter I have not seen gray. that the chosen instrument is of philosophic thought metaphor. Thus it is with intuition in relation to analysis. But beginnings and generative activities are the proper object of the philosopher. and of metaphor we know Mr. . and gives it direction it is the sounding which brings it to solid bottom. after once seeing gray. . and making one phrase of it. Bergson to be an in comparable master. analysis in motion.

by their convergent action. can.&quot. demand of our mind the same kind of attention. In making them all. 1 Introduction to Metaphysics.METHOD life. Strictly speaking. borrowed from very different orders &quot. awaken in them the feeling But many different original. we accustom our consciousness little by little to a quite peculiar and well-determined disposition. But it can be suggested and called up. pre cisely the one which it ought to adopt to ap pear to is itself unmasked. 55 to by mental habits more useful to of the immediate. direct consciousness to the precise point where there is a certain intuition to be seized. to break through the mechanical imagery in which we have allowed ourselves to be caught . Our aim is to modify the habits of imagination in ourselves which are opposed to a simple and direct view. and in some way the same degree of tension. of things. we prevent any one of them from usurping the By place of the intuition it is intended to call up. How? By ringing it round with concurrent metaphors. since it would in that case be immediately routed by its rivals. the intuition of immediacy inexpressible. and concrete. choosing images as unlike as possible. despite their different aspects. images.&quot. .

and does Is his Mr. to suggest to us a direct vision of it. . work of amount It told. poet. is unquestionable and uncontested. Bergson s immense scientific knowl edge should be sufficient refutation. obliterated We by revive the feeling of reality habit. and is by awakening other imagery and will say.56 A it NEW PHILOSOPHY we can succeed in so doing. to lift the veil of illusion But which hides us from ourselves. and intuition is. images Bergson only a and metaphors. Mr. other habits that 1 where is the difference then. to nothing but the introduction impressionism in metaphysics? is an old If the truth be objection. But we can go further and put it better. That there are analogies between philosophy and art. aesthetic in its own way. and the means are also the same. between metaArt also physical and aesthetic intuition? tends to reveal nature to us. you between philosophy and art. Only those who have not read and positive the mass of discussions carefully proved could give way thus to the impressions of art awakened by what is truly a magic style. between metaphysical and aesthetic intuition. perception of immediacy. we summon the deep and penetrating soul of things: the object is the same in both cases.

bounded by dream.METHOD At the same time. and takes ac count of it. and supposes implies a test of science. Art is. said just We now its inmost depths. previous to criticism and science. ballasted by the language of reason. the aesthetic intuition is metaphysical intuition in process of birth. the demands of stern is criticism. secondly. previous to analysis. like the facts . metaphysical intuition the aesthetic intuition verified. it verification in its strict Instead of stopping at the acts meaning. and that is of common-sense that. not proceeding to the test of positive Reciprocally. for each of these results. philosophy is the art which follows upon science. and submits itself to verification. the art which uses the results of analysis as its material. the analogies to 57 must not be philosophy allowed to hide the differences. it completes them with all the contributions of analysis and scientific investigation. a certain extent. sys tematized. envelops. it only quite exact when we mean common-sense developed in positive science. in possesses reality: that is why philosophy takes the results of science as its basis. of common-sense. it rests upon. Philosophy then differs from art in two essential points: first of all.

whilst theory seemed to me mainly relative to the constructive industry.58 A NEW PHILOSOPHY and data of common perception. to the test of calculation as to that of working. To journey towards living intuition. to the complete experi ment which brings into play all the various deoxydizing agents of criticism. Just now I was comparing the two kinds of knowledge which the theorist and the engineer can have of a machine. opens a way for critical penetration towards the immediate. and this task is governed by standards unknown to art. start ing from complete science and complete sensa tion. it shows it self capable of withstanding analysis without . That is But the true. would have only an artist s. Metaphysical intuition offers a victorious resistance to the test of thorough and con tinued experiment. that is to say. For absolute intuition. and I do not go back upon it. a living application of ra tional theory no less than of working technique. in the full sense of the word. is the philosopher s task. and I allowed the advantage of absolute knowledge to practical experience. who did not know the mechanism of his machine. we must have integral experi ence. not a philosopher s knowl edge. most experienced engineer. who possessed only unanalyzed feelings about it.

These are its two moments. and exalt it. still uncertain dawn. no doubt co-ordinate and mutually dependent. in the half-darkness. . and these characteristics it are sufficient to distinguish in a profound degree from aesthetic intuition. the day of positive revelation. a veiled and former. on all in a word. Bergson. We have just examined the method of the new philosophy inaugurated by Mr. and what can we foresee that it will lead us? This is what we have still to find. its two aspects. is only the prophetic type of the a dream or presentiment. but none the less distinct. Every philosophy has two faces. it creates light and truth mental planes.METHOD 59 dissolving or succumbing. . . it abounds in con cepts which satisfy the understanding. a twilight myth preced The latter ing and proclaiming. and must be studied in two movements method and full . To what to teaching has this method led us. teaching.

But philosophy claims to pierce within reality. those that by agreement termed themselves as so ferential points many positive. es60 . and confine themselves to investigating from a distance. which are more practical in use and waste less time. They leave us on the outside of things. and all the inevitable relativity involved in its use. and even to simple con ventional notes.II TEACHING THE are sciences properly so called. the colored views give place to regular lines. by in creasing abstraction. The views they perspectives of a give us resemble the brief town which we obtain in different angles looking at it from on the surrounding Less even than that: for very soon. remain prisoners of the symbol. And so the sciences hills. present external and circum from which we view reality.

to us. This reality is ourselves. there is be attempted if. which we^ perceive in its deep and internal content. follow its 61 thousand turns and folds. and our study may fitly begin here. Psychology puts us in direct contact with it. the old maxim has re thyself mained the motto of philosophy since Socrates. It is typical of all. But such a generalization can only. the effort of sympathetic revelation is natural outset. The path must take is of thought which the philosopher from the inner to the outer being. and metaphysics attempt to generalize this contact. and penetrate right into the concrete depths of its heart. but demands an intuition. Now there is one existence which. it is not content with an analysis. obtain from it a direct and immediate feeling. the motto at least which marks its initial :&amp. : . to begin with. we know and almost easy one reality at least which we grasp from within. we are familiar with reality at the point where we have im mediate access to it.lt. reality. Know &quot. at the better and more surely tharr there is a privileged case in which any other.TEACHING tablish itself in the object.

Bergson. . more than anyone else. even yesterday. Conclusion. 1 Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. has given a it. will Mr. reverses from the outset. of his researches. Bergson. inclining towards the depth of the subject. and asking whether the most apparent which we think we grasp directly. criticism had till now been principally engaged in unraveling the contribution of the subject in the act of consciousness. when. the authenticated way of And it is precisely this regarding the problem. What was the current interpretation before him? Speaking only of the last century we may say that. whilst science continues to extend on the surface. attitude which which &quot. and profound meaning. under the influence of Kant. in establishing our perception of things through certain representative forms borrowed from our own constitution. says he. by a volte-face remain familiar to him in the course &quot. Each philosophy in turn has commented upon and applied this old motto.&quot. But Mr. there was ground for setting oneself the inverse problem. 1 that It has appeared to me. are not most of the time per ceived through certain forms borrowed from states of the ego itself.62 A NEW PHILOSOPHY moment. new as he does everything else he takes up. Such was. it commences its true work of penetration.

that they must result from a own com if promise between matter and mind. For supposing that the forms of which we are speaking. a conceivable loophole. come from the mind. it seems is what goes on. in this way. when we try to possess ourselves again after an excursion into the outer world. A way gives us priori. It con sists in maintaining on principle an absolute analogy. we must admit. we doubtless receive something from it. and that. we no longer have our hands free. that we give much to this matter. we risk taking a reflection of the frame in which we place them that is. The forms which suit the 6ne would then also suit the other. it seems difficult to apply them constantly to objects without soon entirely producing the coloring of the objects in the forms. But further.TEACHING the outer world. to which we adapt matter. actually. . and state that forms appli cable to things cannot be entirely our work.&quot. therefore in using these forms for the knowledge of our own personality. which in this 63 back what we have lent fairly probable that this it. an exact similitude between internal reality and external objects. To avoid such a consequence. there is. the external world we can go for the very coloring of the ego.

in our inmost selves. This effort and this work are out what we necessary.&quot. Bergson. and manifests more plainly every day the failure Secondly. numerable 1 units. the most important. it all hands illegal to assert previously as a postulate of method. and above of the theories which try to assimilate the world of consciousness to that of matter. We Hence the necessity of the attitude adopted by Mr.in order to contemplate the ego in its original purity. &quot. immediately. psychology must eliminate or correct certain forms which bear the visible mark of the outer world.&quot. Conclusion . What are these forms? Let us confine ourselves to Things appear to us as placed side by side in space.64 A NEW PHILOSOPHY But it must be observed that such a principle constitutes in the highest degree a metaphysical thesis which it would be on all. We have an effort to make. two different orders. must be observed that on this head experience is decisive. and thus con ceals us from our own view. The apparatus of the first does not admit of being employed in the &quot. to have here copy psychology from physics. a work of reform to undertake. lift the veil of symbols which envelops our usual representation of the ego. Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. to second. in order to find are in reality. because.

situated at different depths. its moods presents itself in its turn a similar character. at first pent in. But the more deeply we enter into the heart of psychological life. a dust of terms between which geo metrical ties are established. Such without . like the harmonies of one and the same note. But space and number of immobility. the less they are in place. two schemes of let by which we must not ourselves be ob I do not say that there is no place to give them. from the dark and concentrated welling of the source to the gleam of the scattered tumbling spray and each of . 1 there are several planes of coni sciousness. rather it is a gushing spring which. even in the internal world. the sessed. and each mental phenomenon interests all these planes simul taneously. spreads upwards and outwards. like a sheaf of corn. The ing all the intervening degrees between pure thought and bodily action. being only a thread within the whole. Or. are the two forms analysis. passing through many different states. the life of the spirit is not the uniform transparent surface of a mere . if you prefer it.TEACHING They compose numerical and 65 spatial multi plicity. and is thus repeated in a thousand higher tones. markfact is.

it is true. we must admit the exist ence of an internal world. have brought forward a thesis of parallelism. which succeeds in contracting a complete metaphysic. and in gripping it so firmly that the examination ends by passing to the dis cussion of a few humble facts relative to the or philosophy of the brain! severity But its technical and its it very conciseness. I cannot possibly condense its substance here. render in a it with the wealth able. of a spiritual activity No distinct from matter and its mechanism. according to which each mental phenomenon corresponds point by point to a phenomenon in the brain. combined contains. tongue. First of all. without adding anything to it. so that a glance sufficiently penetrat ing to follow the molecular revolutions and . or indeed to the least sensation. convey its astonishing synthetic power. is 1 equivalent to the least thought.66 A NEW PHILOSOPHY doubt is the central and activating idea of the admirable book entitled Matter and Memory. merely translating it into another Some. chemistry of the brain. without influencing its course. its irresum- and I can only few words indicate conclusions. however little we pride ourselves on positive method. no dance of atoms.

Bergson came down into the dialectic. a kind of phosphor escence which emphasizes the lines of vibration in the brain. Taking it at its best. arena of in their and. by its and renders in miraculous dupli mysterious and useless light. talking to his opponents &quot. cer tain phenomena already complete without it? One day Mr. that . intelligible- And are intelligible it is not. How we to understand a consciousness destitute of activity and consequently without connection with reality. own language. its worth to-day could only be one of ness. and that it can only be in a preconceived direction. cate. paralogism to pieces before it is only by confounding in one and the same argument two systems of incom patible notations. psycho- physiological their eyes. that it goes enormously beyond the certain data of current biology. pulled their &quot. it is formulated by anticipating future discoveries Let us be candid : not really a thesis of positive science. idealism and realism.TEACHING 67 the fluxes of nervous production in their least episodes would immediately read the inmost secrets of the associated consciousness. But no one kind is will deny that a thesis of this only in reality a hypothesis. but a metaphysical thesis in the unpleasant mean ing of the term.

68 A NEW PHILOSOPHY succeed in enunciating the parallelist thesis. nor of the and former by the latter. Then. but which may be approximately formulated in * these terms Given a psychological state. nor their reciprocal independence. Bergson completely grasps and measures the divergence between soul and body. nor their simple parallel concomitance. a relation which an swers to none of the ready-made concepts which abstraction puts at our service. This reasoning went home. in short. putting into practice what he said elsewhere cise about the creation of at the conclusion sions new concepts. But a more positive and more categorical proof is to be found all through Matter and Memory. all the more as it was adapted to the usual form of discussions we between philosophers. he arrives these are his own expres that its between the psychological fact counterpart in the brain there must be a relation sui generis. that part of : &quot. between mind and matter. Mr. 1 Report of 1901. 2nd May . the French Philosophical Society. which is neither the determination of the one by the other. nor the produc tion of the latter by the former. From the pre example of recollection analyzed to its lowest depths. meeting.

is a margin for the again. again. So that to one .We do not represent the image to our selves. It is this sketch. do not imagine this design itself without We imagining and. sketching certain movements which would reproduce it. which is rep resented in the brain. there image. They are psychological states which all have in com mon the same motor scheme. The thought is Frame the sketch.TEACHING 69 the state which admits of play. out adding to it We do not conceive it with it. and has no equivalent in the brain. there remains a margin. is represented in the brain the remainder is independent of it. without supporting it by a de sign which resumes its leading features. Into one and the same frame many pictures may go. Let us take a lofty abstract philo sophical thought. an image representing which we place beneath. though not all kinds of states. and a still larger margin. but not all pictures. and this sketch only. &quot. in so doing. for the thought. the part which would be translated by an attitude of the body or by bodily actions. and the same state of the brain there may be many different psychological states which cor respond. Frame the image thus relatively free and indeterminate in relation to the activity which conditions it in .

distributed. since any kind of idea. of which I spoke just planes now.&quot. with tolerable clearness to result from experi ment. and decreasing materiality. without thickness or transition. placed one above the other on different levels. Let us neglect the and look only at the intervening multiples. it is by an imper ceptible degradation of increasing depth. that we pass from one term to the other. extreme poles of the series. for this activity expresses only the motive articulation of the idea. There are not two plane surfaces. In short. between We and thought. between body and mind. none of the simple concepts us by philosophy could express the furnished relation we seek. but this relation appears &quot. are arranged.70 A NEW PHILOSOPHY the brain. action . taken at hazard. be the same for ideas absolutely And yet it is not complete liberty nor absolute indetermination. would not present the articulation desired. and the artic ulation may different. the law by which they are The same and the meaning which attaches to their disposition. are inclined to imagine too abrupt a severance between gesture and dream. analysis of facts tells us how the of consciousness.

more acutely than ever: are the forms of number and space equally suitable on all changing Thus our the course of planes of consciousness? Let us consider the most external of these planes of life.TEACHING 71 are the And the in characteristics continually transition. live as a rule on the surface of ourselves. and of distinct and solid with sharp outlines and mechanical re by side. And it is for the representation of the rind that space phenomena which occur within this dead and number are valid. with our body. Our attention is therefore most often directed by a natural inclination to the practical worth and useful function of our in ternal states. the one which receives directly the impressions of external reality. hardened in action: it is a skein of motionless and numerable habits. the one which is in contact with the outer world. For we have to live. to the effect they produce ex- . to the public object of which common they are the sign. with our customary mechanism rather than with our true depths. side things. I mean live our daily life. in the We numerical and spatial dispersion of language and gesture. Our deeper ego is covered as it were with a tough crust. lations. initial problem confronts us again.

to the gestures by which we express in space. like dead leaves on the water of a pond. .&quot. The words of language besides offer us so many symbolic centers round which crystallize groups of motor mechanisms set up by habit. we have these neutral dry and colorless residua. Thus the progress we have lived falls into the rank of a thing that can be handled. manipulated Quite different appears the true inner reality and quite istics. Now. it profound character contains nothing p. feeling. And soon all that remains of what was movement and life is combinations formed and annulled. Space and number lay hold of it. whether it be a question of sen sation. which spread life less over the surface of ourselves. collection of petrified concepts. the only usual elements of our internal determinations. social average of individual modalities interests us more than the incom them A municable originality of our deeper life. 135. 1 different are its To begin with. and to represent this whole a &quot. and forces mechanically composed in a whole of juxta posed atoms. or ideas.72 A NEW PHILOSOPHY ternally. in dialectic like counters. contact with society has rendered these motor mechanisms practically identical in all men. Hence. Essay on the Immediate Data.

objective cause from which it proceeds. for example. the magnitude of the If. it is a question of a complex such as those impressions of profound joy or sorrow which lay hold of us entirely. The Essay on the be meas Immediate Data of it Consciousness begins with the proof of this leading statement. on the contrary. so color. invading and overwhelming us. the intensity is measured by a certain quality of shade which indicates to us approximately. If it is a question of a sim ple state. dyeing them. You will see that the feeble intensity of this desire consisted first of all in the fact that it seemed to you isolated and to all the rest of your inner little it penetrated a larger elements. by an association of ideas and thanks to our acquired experience. the intensity of a psychological not a magnitude. and increasing wealth. &quot. Take. state. way foreign But little by number of psychic to speak. an obscure desire. in a and now you find your point of view on things as a whole appears to you to have changed. nor can ured.TEACHING state is 73 quantitative. Is it not true that you become aware . its own life. such as a sensation of light or weight. which has gradually become a profound pas sion. what we call their intensity expresses only the confused feeling of a qualitative progress.

they live each in the bosom of &quot. were the words these mouth of his statue. and the necessary condition of measurement. another. .&quot. they are encircled by an innumerable degrada tion of halos. they are grouped in harmonies. each note of which contains an echo of the whole. giving a view of the less in the ment of bosom of the more. in the rustle of leaves. and with it multiplicity numerical space. his fellow. by the fact that the same objects no longer produce the same impression upon you? All your sensations. all your ideas.&quot. inner states form a qualitative continuity they are prolonged and blended into one extended in Our . once it has taken root. In a Condillac put in the passing breath I breathe my childhood. There is is here none of the homogeneity which the property of magnitude. I am the scent of roses. I find 1 Essay on the Immediate Data.74 A NEW PHILOSOPHY of a profound passion. The ele number has vanished. and words translate the immediate truth exactly. it is like a new child hood. 8. as soon as observation becomes naive and simple enough to attain pure fact. in a ray of moonlight. p. appear to you refreshed by x it. which gradually color the total content of consciousness .

its inclinations in its obvious states. where our ego . may reveal a like complete me. and finally. the truth which modern philosophy proclaims with more force every day under the name of immanence of thought. is the justifying principle of metaphors. Let us push still further into the hidden retreat of the soul. it is the best of us. since it is this which ensures our being able to surrender ourselves. my sensations. the source of all poetry. Here we are in these regions of twilight and dream. the multiple unity of the ego did not present the essential characteristic of vibrating in its entirety in the depths of each of the parts descried or rather determined in it All psychical determinations imply each other reciprocally. ideas in its sensations. and this which constitutes the real unity of our person. an soul. A if thought. My ideas. or its its acts.TEACHING an infinite 75 series of reflections act. a feeling. genuinely and unre servedly. its feelings. the fact which explains our moral responsibility with regard to our affections and our beliefs themselves. its recollections in its thus present in percepts. that the soul is by analysis ? envelop and the fact And each of its entirety in for example. and dreams. are How would such facts be possible.

&quot. We hear the wells of consciousness at invisible shiver their mysterious task like of running water through the mossy shadow of the caves. indistinct or my attention which my my attitudes. breathe sounds. I no longer know whether I see scents. his acts in what seemed complex become more conscious. each of my I It is changes.76 takes A NEW PHILOSOPHY shape. complete self. under the simplest appearance. where the spring within us gushes up. in the birth. deep and &quot. warm Words an are useless now. secrecy of the dark ness which ushers our trembling being into Distinctions fail us. I abandon myself to the delight of being a pulsing reality. &quot. the rhythm of his duration becomes amplified and and refined. each of not my sight which is is idle. in no longer a meaning for me. inner it &quot. It is who have resumed contact with pure reality. or smell colors. whose essential movement admits no form of He who thus makes the really number. inexhaustible sources of unsuspected wealth. effort necessary to be coming were only for an elusive moment discovers. to him at first sudden imperceptibly severance or instantaneous pulsation he dis covers transitions . Do I love? Do I think? The question has I am. I dissolve in the joy of becom ing.

and the Everything is ceaseless change.TEACHING shaded off. Constant quantities are represented only state by the materialization of habit or by means of practical symbols. In its true nature. that the categories of matter become adapted to them. since it continues and grows old. . it collection of atomically constructed The phenomena distinguished in units. Thus. 77 musical transitions full of unex pected repetitions and threaded movements. the deeper we go in consciousness. by analysis are not composing but phases. the less suitable become these schemes of numerical forms. separation and fixity existing in spatial and The inner world is that of pure quality. Bergson &quot. external And it is only when they reach the when they come in contact with the world. a perpetual flux of waves which ebb and break and dissolve into one another without flow. reality appears as an uninterrupted an impalpable shiver of fluid changing tones. shock or jar. no There is no measurable homo elements. p. And it is on this point that Mr. when they are incarnated in language or gesture. 1 rightly insists. The apparent 1 discontinuity 3. of psycho- Creative Evolution. surface. which appears the most stable is already change. geneity.

Our attention is upon them because they interest it more. the steps of a staircase. But the gap in their appearances stands out against the continuous background on which they are represented. and not to be connected with what follows. Each of them is only the brightest in a moving zone which understands all point we feel. that observe that states defined in this distinct elements. do not think that perhaps such a description represents only or principally our And . wish. but each of them proceeds from the fluid mass of our entire psychological exist ence. then. think.&quot.78 logical life A NEW PHILOSOPHY is attention is due. and to which they owe the very intervals that separate them. It is this zone which But we may really constitutes our state. arise which seem to contrast with what pre life is full A cedes them. all that we are at a given moment. in fact. It is true that our psychological only a we follow thousand incidents of surprises. we think we see. way are not They are an endless stream of mutual continuity. to the fact that our concentrated on it in a series of acts. when the broken line of our attention. discontinuous where there is gentle slope. they are the the fixed drumbeats which break into symphony at intervals.

Hence comes the characteristic. For we perhaps are is.TEACHING life 79 of feeling. Are we not confusing the trajec tory and its performance. their living depth. ourselves completely original nature of the change which But it is here that we must constitutes us. same characteristic. is surely a ready-made pre sentation. because our past remains present to us. it under pretext of seeing it To define movement of positions. it is in permanence of direction. the points traversed and the traversing of the points. our most profound It is by memory we enlarge and draw continually upon the wealth of our treasuries. the quantitative distance over which the . Reason and thought share the penetrate be a question of creative invention or of those primordial judg If they ments which direct our activity. in short. with a time-table or correspondence sheet between places and times. shake off familiar representations! Commonsense cannot think in terms of movement. the result of the genesis and the genesis of the result. It forges a static conception of it it. endowed with memory. and that on the whole. with a generating law. as soon as we whether it evidence greater stability. and destroys as a series by arresting better.

&quot. There mistake about time. strength. p.&quot. the duration which is lived. same common Analytic and synthetic the thought can see in time only a string of co incidences. . and every homogeneous medium for as homo space. in which the luminous point called the present is the geo it of metrical index. * or at least dimension. a logi cal series of relations. flowing without determinable it Thus gives to time in space. It is pure hetero1 * Essay on the Immediate Data. puts this distance behind qualitative flight which In this way the it? very mobility which the essence of is move ment vanishes.80 A NEW PHILOSOPHY and the is flight extends. Introduction to Metaphysics.&quot. homogeneity could be distinguished one from the 3 other. it is not clear how two forms of &quot. Quite different appears real duration. a stream without bottom or sides.&quot. a kind of fourth it reduces it to nothing more than an abstract scheme of succession. Essay on the Immediate Data. 98. consists here in the absence of any geneity quality. It requires time to be homogeneous. in an indefinable is 2 direction. each of them instantaneous. It imagines the whole to be a graduated slide-rule. form &quot.

but prolonged and interpenetrating phases. a steep climb towards a difficult truth or a gentle descent from a luminous principle to consequences which easily follow. what is our character. And of this ever-new life melody which constitutes contains a reso every nance or an echo of past moments. 5-6. the still joy of ecstasy or the tumult of passion unchained. and * act.TEACHING 81 geneity. our inner moment we bring with us our prenatal dis Without doubt we think only positions? since with a small part of our past. and Creative Evolution. including our original bias of soul. What are we really. and its rhythm varies without end. but it is with our complete past. call up intuitions admitting no comparison with one another. .&quot. It contains a thousand different de grees of tension or relaxation. a moral crisis or a shooting pain. This what makes our duration irreversible. even before our birth. except the condensation of the history which we have lived since our birth. their sequence is not a substitution of one point for another. The magic silence of calm nights or the wild disorder of a tempest. but rather resembles a musical resolution of harmony into harmony. pp. wish. We have here no series of moments. that is we 1 desire.

that of liberty. For a reality is verified.82 its A NEW PHILOSOPHY novelty perpetual. we can only grasp by intuition. And thus we see. since. under pain of going round in a circle. how. p. it will be bound to express liberty as a function of what it is not. And it is the center where lines of his research converge. for each of the states through which it passes envelops the recollec tion of all past states. in the light of an immediate feeling. . and we are now or never in one of those situations where the philosopher s 1 Creative Evolution. The solution given by Mr. not constructed. in the end. &quot. ripening. 8.&quot. not by analysis. or. change in ory. formula we face the capital prob lem in which psychology and metaphysics meet. Every definition. in the strict sense of the term. for a heing endowed with mem existence consists in change. all the What is liberty? What must we under Beware of the answer stand by this word? you are going to give. ripening in endless self -creation. It is from this sum mit that he finds light thrown on the riddle of inner being. Either psychological liberty is an illusive ap pearance. Bergson marks one of the culminating With this points of his philosophy. will imply the determinist thesis in advance. it if it is real.

instead of abiding elements. that it is so much ours as to constitute every see. That is all two conceptions which are seek. says Mr. ceed from our entire personality. the an 1 essentially Essay on him who can incomparable and new for p. initiative.&quot. Bergson. not simple extension of external mechanism. equivalent to each other.&quot. and irre ducible novelty. Immediate Data. We when our acts pro free. capable of independence. 1 express it. when they exhibit that indefinable resemblance to it which we find occasionally between the we need and his work.TEACHING task is 83 to create some new concept. . 172. when they &quot. by a combination of previous Man is free. and at reluctant to be confined by any definition. is not that the only true imme diate fact? That our spiritual life is genuine action. moment. not mere result produced from outside. word: which bottom only another way of declaring incommensurable with every concept. two concordant formula?. in so far as are depends only on himself. after all. It is true that this amounts to de artist termining the free act by is it its in the etymological sense of the very originality. But. his action says common-sense.

it is a thing of duration. wandering breeze. and from our past life. And lastly. is crees. Liberty is rare. many Liberty is a thing which contains an infinite number of degrees and shades. and die and have never known it. Liberty is a thing which goes on in us unceasingly: our liberty potential rather than actual. A NEW PHILOSOPHY is exactly what represents for us the name of liberty. and this that we must under come into our life. not the work of moments or de. not of space and number.84 invention. The free act is the act which has been long in preparing. along with direct observation of psychological reality freed from the deceptive forms which warp the common perception of . the act which is heavy with our whole history. it is measured to every live by our capacity for the inner life. falls like a ripe fruit But how are we tion of these views? to establish positive verifica are we to do away How with the danger of illusion? The proof will in this case result from a criticism of adverse theories. not in the petty familiar actions which their very insigni ficance submits to all surrounding influences. decidedly it is like stand it. liberty is a profound thing: we seek it only in those moments of high and solemn choice which Understood thus.

At least it requires that some where or other there should be a principle of position giving once for all what will after wards be maintained. Bergson s reasoning in a few words. the course of phenomena displays three tendencies : a tendency to conservation. To make conservation the sole law of matter implies an arbitrary decree. On the one hand it includes the parallelist con ception which we have recognized as effete.TEACHING it. maintaining an exact equivalence between departure and presents the universe to us as an we possibly have after that the genuine creation which we require in the act we call free? arrival. How can The answer mechanism is that the universality of the at bottom only a hypothesis is which is still awaiting demonstration. The first obstacle which confronts affirma tion of our liberty comes from physical de it And will here be terminism. and a tendency to progress. denoting only those aspects . And on the other it is plain that it is not self-sufficient. immense homogeneous transformation. In actual fact. but also a tendency to collapse. beyond question. we are told. as in the diminution of energy. Positive science. 85 an easy task to resume Mr. as in biological evolution.

too strongly on this conception. and in many respects this seems to be the com mon-sense hypothesis. with effort. insisting. what right do we thus exclude. allow ing a disconnected waste of absolute causality. but of a differ This would bring us to the hypoth ent order. it has a sense except in relation to the superficial phenomena which take place in our dead rind. yet proceeds according to an inter nal mechanism equally severe. I am ready to admit that it explains our common of our actions. it is true. And the mechanism of which we dream has no true sense for. I need not dwell upon it. Without mongrel examination of inner psychological . after all.86 A NEW PHILOSOPHY By vital of reality which will count for anything. esis of a kind of psychological mechanism. is even the feeling of liberty which in us so vigorous? might say. if it is not a simple extension of external mechanism. Inner reality which does not admit number is not a sequence of distinct terms. let us pass to the direct reality. but here is it is our profound consciousness which in question. after the numerous criticisms already made. not the play materialized habits. that our spiritual We life. then. in relation to the automaton which we are in daily life.

which is continually accumulating itself. and always introducing some irreducible new factor.&quot. but unable to be foreseen. doubtedly matter is there. Each of our mo ments remains essentially unique. in retrospect. under the forms of habit. even if superficially identical. We shall never again have the soul we had this evening. It is something new added to the surviving past. For how can we speak of foresight which riot is simple conjecture. how can we conceive an absolute extrinsic determination. seek- . when the accomplished action has fallen into the plan of matter. Thus our inner life is a work of enduring creation: We of phases which mature slowly. prevents any kind of state. late. not only new. when the act in birth only makes one with the finished sum of its conditions.TEACHING 87 Everything is ready for the conclusion. moments and conclude at long intervals the decisive Un of emancipating discovery. threatening us with automatism. from repeating itself in depth. Our duration. when these conditions are complete only on the threshold of the action beginning. including the fresh and irreducible contribution added by its very can only explain date in our history? we can only foresee when it is too afterwards.

Must we come to the same conclusion about external being. stealing a march on us whenever we forget. that it is duration. it is is a creative process which never ceases to labor incessantly. In addition.88 A NEW PHILOSOPHY ing at every moment to devour us. and growth. an empire within an empire? That is the question we itself have yet to investigate. the swoon of the creative action falling back inert while the depths of our being still pulse with the . employs mechanism only as a means of action. the mortal fall of weakened reality. in a word. progress. we shall at the same time study the . liberty which. about existence in general? Let us consider that external reality which nearest us. our body. does not this conception make a Now. But matter represents in us only the waste of existence. in its true function. It is known to us both externally by our perceptions and inter nally by our affections. ii We have just attempted to grasp what being and we have found that becoming. and by analogy. singular exception of us in nature. It is then a privileged is case for our inquiry. that it is in ourselves.

What these are the distinctive characteristics of new realities? Each of them possesses a genuine individuality to a far greater degree than inorganic objects. and form wholes which are naturally complete.TEACHING 89 other living bodies which everyday induction shows us to be more or less like our own. and modify continually. a flight. These wholes are not collections of juxtaposed they are organisms that is to say. whilst the latter are hardly limited at all except in relation to the needs of the former. and where the various parts : . elements a perpetual flux. memory. the is life of the body past. of all those which come before each . and their life is mutability itself. This uninterrupted flight cannot in any way be compared to a geo metrical movement it is a rhythmic succession of phases. serves as an . each of which contains the resonance . and so do not constitute beings in themselves. in which each de tail implies the whole. we say of change them not only that they are. makes the living being accumulates its a snowball of itself. the former evidence a powerful internal unity which is only further emphasized by their prodigious complication. These organisms interpenetrate. state lives on in the state following. but that they live. sys tems of connected functions.

we always But Is it find here and there the &quot. the center of spontaneity. I spoke just now of individuality. appears as the reservoir of indeterobjects. in some measure. such the aspects which observation. essential features of duration. mination. and grows old.&quot. not even in man. the living body al ways remains. as if in the course it phenomena nothing really new could be produced except by its agency. an absolutely original and unique invention. True. one of the distinctive marks of really life? it We know how difficult it is to define accurately. it Nowhere. where reality is defined not so much by . for there are not two specimens exactly alike and. in which geometrical precision is inadmis sible. though every part of them reproduces their complete unity. Despite all resemblances. contingence. ripens. Such are the characteristic tendencies of of life. or whether it simply prolongs it. it presents to immediate spiritual activity unconsciously presides over biological Whether evolution. among inert . and there are beings in ex it istence in which seems a complete illusion.90 A NEW PHILOSOPHY open register for time. and genuine action. is fully realized. but we are now dealing with biology.

each phase resolves and melts Is imperceptibly into that which follows. Only the truth ter-balanced. and up to what point. . individuals. and above all to reproduction.&quot. seems to take no interest in Life appears to be a current passing from one germ to another through the medium of a developed organism. a new individual breaks away from the individuals which pro duced it? Is not the real mystery of heredity 1 Creative Evolution. &quot. It seems as if the organism played the part of a What is important is thoroughfare. 27. is that the tendency to indivi remains always and everywhere coun duality and therefore limited. It is as a tendency that individuality larly manifested. in many respects. not the real problem of heredity to know how. p. Between these phases again there are no sharp severances.TEACHING 91 the possession of certain characteristics as by its tendency to accentuate them. by an op / posing tendency. rather the continuity of progress of which/ the individuals are only transitory phases. and light. This necessi tates a correction in our analysis. if is more particu it we look at in this no one can deny that it does constitute one of the fundamental tendencies of life. the tendency to association. Nature.

then. occurring between one term and another? Whatever be its solution. 26. On the con speak any longer of trary. without failing or be coming exhausted in any one of them. But such a all our familiar ideas. belongs the primordial function of It is a very real current transmitted it from generation to generation. There is a racial memory by which the past is continually accumulated and preserved. to reality. Life s history is is embodied in its present. draw one conclusion Reality. organizing and passing through bodies. The characteristics of biological evolution are thus the same as those of human And that really the ultimate rea- progress. We may already. It is we should submit and it to the test of critical examination verification. not the resemblance. Once again of reality in duration. write down all living beings. p. son of the perpetual novelty which surprised us just now. all the individual phases mutually extend and interpenetrate one another. . thesis is : runs counter to imperative that becoming.&quot. 1 positive Creative Evolution. we find the very stuff We must not then life in general as an ab or a mere heading under which we straction.92 A NEW PHILOSOPHY the difference. at bottom.

underlies common-sense. seems to say. form of an eternal equilibrium which created. I said some time ago. &quot. nothing destroyed.&quot. Every phenomenon appears to it as a transformation which ends where it began.&quot. the rest has There is vanished in algebraical smoke. is thus conceived in astronomical All that is left of the universe hence forward is a whirl of atoms in which nothing counts but certain fixed quantities translated by our systems of equations. therefore nothing more or less in the effect than in the group of causes. the inverse of that which we have is just intimated. According to its is this system. as a whirling but it But captive eddy. mean to deny move ment. however. reality in fixity static very depths and permanence. represents it as fluctuation round invariable types. The nothing idea does not need much forcing to end in the old supposition of a cyclic return which restores everything to its original conditions. It does not. Everything periods.TEACHING 93 One system of metaphysics. and the causal . and the result is is that the world takes in the &quot. animating and informing which is it. except in so far as we are not. This the completely the opposite of becoming: it conception which sees in being exactly we cannot become.

Do we not indeed speak to-day of aging and atomic separation? If the quantity of energy its is preserved. Here are facts which pure mechanism does &quot. were to be unfolded before our eyes all at once like a fan. even if it open to many were only a question of Simple physics already inorganized matter. The stream of phenomena flows in an irreversible direction and obeys a deter If I wish to prepare myself mined rhythm. instead of opening out in consecutive phases. I may do what I * like. number of coincidences true duration remains absent. regarding as it does only statically conceived relations. betoken the insufficiency of a purely mechanic conception. By stant. but I must wait for my sugar to melt. . something like a common denominator a certain all of concrete successions.94 relation A NEW PHILOSOPHY moves towards identity as towards is its asymptote. which from which would remain unchanged even if the world s history. at least the quality side of is continually deteriorating. 9. not take into account. Such a view of nature objections. a glass of sugar and water. and making time into a measure only. the something which remains con world also contains something 1 Creative Evolution. p.&quot.

ascent and we have descent: to a double such is movement of what life and matter immediate observation. the co-ordination and subordination of vital functions to one another in the same living being. exhausted. of which Mr. Finally. decomposed. It is the drama of evolution. postulate what will afterwards be preserved Whence we get another or deteriorated? aspect of things: that of genesis and creation. preserves an indelible trace of the treatment it has undergone. and grapple. natural philosophers tell us that there is a memory of solids.&quot. These are all very positive facts which pure mechanism passes In addition. in stating the high place which man fills in nature I cannot regard the general evolution and progress of life in the whole of the organized : &quot. must we not first of all over. a specimen of metal. world. Further still. in its molecular structure. the relations which psychology . and of in reality life we register the ascending effort as a reality no less startling than mechanic inertia.TEACHING which is 95 being used up. &quot. Bergson once gave a masterly ex planation. dissipated. appear These two currents meet each other.

without arriving at this conclusion.96 A NEW PHILOSOPHY lish and physiology combined seem bound to estab between brain activity and thought in man. that liberty. that life is an immense effort attempted by thought to obtain of matter something which matter does not wish to give it. to com pose for itself a matter so subtile. Automatism means view of a superior end. But caught in the snare. It seems as if thought seeks to profit by this mechanical inclination in matter to utilize it . and life. at least all that this energy energy possesses which admits of play and external extraction. it With laborious research piles up complica tions to rfiake liberty out of necessity. is entirely . inevitably forgetting the end which it had determined. for actions. The eddy on which it was poised seizes and drags it down. it and thus to convert all the creative contains. and so mobile. which was only to be a in has set up. Matter is inert. by a veritable physical paradox. and thanks to an effort which cannot maintaining its last long. It becomes prisoner of the mechanism it lays hold of it. this it is very mobility. it is the seat of necessity it proceeds mechanically. into contingent movements in space and events in time which cannot be foreseen. succeeds in equilib rium on &quot.

to employ the determinism of nature to pass through the meshes of the 1 Report of the French Philosophical Society. and of the more or less complete The whole crushing of consciousness by matter falling upon The enterprise was para doxical. construct a mechanical system to triumph over mechanism. 2nd 1901. 264-265. man and in man only obtains its freedom.TEACHING 97 used up in an effort to preserve itself by itself. May 2 Creative Evolution. Man has triumphed. pp. From the humblest of organized beings to the higher vertebrates which come immediately before man. moment s has triumphed. which is necessity itself. of enterprise and effort.&quot. till man. with and so incompletely that and inattention on his part lapse surrender him to automatism again. And Mr. we always foiled witness an attempt which is and always resumed with more and more a art. it is true. and create an instrument of liberty. it again. . 1 . But he difficulty. Bergson With man In adds in another place: it 2 consciousness breaks the chain. . except The paradoxically. task was to take matter. . meeting. had been tKe history of an effort of consciousness to lift matter. history of life. if indeed we can speak here.

He owes which stores and preserves language stores thought. against itself. the flux of which would drag it it down and soon engulf life. consciousness let itself be caught in the net of which it sought to traverse the meshes. to get away. which allows him to construct an unlimited number of motor mechanisms. thus dispensing it from depending exclusively upon material bodies. he succeeds in using it as it pleases him. it. But man does not merely keep his machine going. which furnishes consciousness with an im material body in which to become incarnate. except in man. He owes it without doubt to the superiority of his brain. to oppose new habits to old time after time. because the energy with which it had supplied itself for action is almost entirely employed in maintaining the exceed ingly subtile and essentially unstable equi librium into which it has brought matter. But everywhere. and to master automatism by dividing it He owes it to his language. The automatism which it claimed to be drawing towards liberty enfolds It has not the strength it and drags it down. It remained taken in the mechanisms it had set up. thereby fixing a mean level to which individuals will to social efforts as .98 net it A NEW PHILOSOPHY had spread.

all others came down. from the first origins of life to the times in which all times. finding the cord stretched too high. is As not on that account isolated in the smallest grain of dust forms part of our entire solar system. so all organized beings from the humblest to the highest. man alone has leapt But man nature: &quot. do in all places as at but demonstrate to our eyes a live. and our language are only the varied outer signs of one and the same internal superiority. the obstacle.&quot. indivisible. prevents average individuals to sleep and urges better people from going to rise higher. and is involved along with it in this is undivided downward movement which materiality itself. ^ we and unique impulse contrary to the movement of matter.TEACHING rise initial 99 with ease. our society. and. They trans late the djfferenoejnjmture. in itself. All living beings are connected. by means of this impulse. they tell us the unique exceptional success which life has won at after its a given moment of its evolution. at the end of the broad springboard from which life took off. and not in degree which separates man from the rest of the only. Each and fashion. and which. They let us see that if. and all yield to the same . But our brain. animal world.

in a spirited charge which can upset all resistance. In the forcible poetry of the pages just quoted its original accent rings deep and pure.&quot. And besides. 1 Creative Evolution. * We of underlying fact. are noted here. Some of its leading theses. Let us take first the fact of biological evolu tion. 270-271. we can go further. rejected only on the inspiration of preconceived ideas all which are completely unscientific. and that succeeds in the task allotted to it is it doubtless already the proof that it responds to some part of reality. But now we must discover the solid foundation obstacles. man rides the animal. and the whole of humanity in space and time is an immense army galloping by the side of each of us.100 A NEW PHILOSOPHY The animal is formidable thrust. has it been selected as the basis of Why the system? Is it really a fact. before and behind us. or is it only a more or less conjectural and plausible theory? Notice in the first instance that the argu ment from evolution appears at least as a weapon of co-ordination and research ad mitted in our day by philosophers. see with what broad and far-reaching conclusions the new philosophy closes. . supported by the plant. and leap many perhaps even death. moreover. pp.

divides the group into sub-groups. and possessed in common by them. through out the operation. 23. p. within which the re semblance is still greater.TEACHING The idea of transformism is 101 tained in germ in the already con natural classification of organized beings. it is true. each broiders his original * pattern. the characteristics of the group appear as general themes upon which each of the sub-groups executes variations. develops. ask ourselves whether the genealogical method permits results so far divergent as those presented to us by variety of species. its particular Now this is precisely the relation we find animal world and in the vegetable world between that which produces and what is produced. on the canvas bequeathed by the in the ancestor to his posterity. The resembling organisms naturalist brings together. and so on. . as .&quot. But embryology answers by show ing us the highest and most complex forms of life attained every day from very elementary forms and palaeontology. us to witness the same versal history of life. We may. &quot. allows spectacle in the uni it as if the succession of phases through which the embryo passes were 1 Creative Evolution.

but yet. 2nd May . help us to understand more easily the conception which obtrudes itself under so many heads. is Evolution true. Now there are some certainties which are only centers of concurrent probabilities. meeting. there are some truths determined only by succession of facts. be transposed. That is how we measure the distance from an inaccessible point. In addi tion.102 A NEW PHILOSOPHY only a recollection and an epitome of the complete past whence it has come.* recently observed. the French Philosophical Society. since in any actual state there would always remain this striking fact that the living forms met with as remains in geological layers 1 Report of 1901. but not sup pressed. Thus the trend of all our ex perience is the same. by their intersection and convergence. by diminishing the im portance of the apparent lacunas in genealog ical continuity. Is not that the case here? The affirmative seems all the more inevitable inasmuch as the language of transf ormism is the only language known can. sufficiently determined. the phenomena of sudden changes. by regarding it time after time from the points to which we have access.&quot. it to the biology of to-day.

a collection of laws before the eternity of What which change becomes negligible like an appearance. Now he who thinks of the universe as a con his struction of unchangeable relations denies by method the evolution of which he speaks. the natural philosophers who dream that by the deterioration of energy and the dissipation of movement the material world will obtain final rest in the inertia of a homo geneous equilibrium. they are anxious to discern in evolution is the persistent influence of an initial cause once given. But how rare is the true idea! Let us ask the astronomers who originate cosmo- gonical hypotheses. But what we have to do is to appreciate its object. the attraction of a fixed end.TEACHING 103 are ranged by the natural affinity of their char acteristics in an order of succession parallel to the succession of the ages. since he transforms it into a calculable effect necessarily produced by a regulated play of since generating conditions. We are not really then inventing a hypothesis in beginning with the affirmation of evolution. meet the word everywhere Evolution! We to-day. he implicitly . let and psychologists who species and inquisitive about ancestral us ask the biologists are enemies of fixed history. and invent a primitive nebula.

is not general: represents only the law of co existence and of mechanism. does not save him from his error. periods. &quot. for finality in his eyes is nothing but an efficient cause projected into the future. For we can.104 A NEW PHILOSOPHY illusive admits the character of a becoming which adds nothing to what is given. Finality itself.&quot. are the bed down which passes the torrent of facts. marking stages. in it its classical form.&quot. says Monsieur Boutroux. . continually destroying movement by halting it before his gaze. that these laws never define anything but a momentary state of things. though they follow it. and we must. they have dug it. if he keeps the name. conceive that there is an evolution of natural laws.Laws. that they are in reality like streaks determined in the flux of becoming by the meeting of contrary currents. Yet we see the common theories of evolution appealing to the concepts of the present to describe the past. inserting means. the static relation between two numerically disconnected terms. &quot. putting in So we see him fixing milestones. And we all do the same by instinctive inclination. and in order to grasp evolution we shall doubtless have to invent a new type of law: law in duration. dynamic relation. Our concept of law.

mechanism and : finality. and beyond the reasoning of to-day. by an example which he These theories either do analyzes in detail. is in place. that everything is given. because both of them imply &quot. the same postulate. whilst evolution is nothing if it is not. chap. and limit themselves to an attempt to make us under stand how. Bergson so justly criticises in Spencer that of reconstructing evolution with fragments of its product. or else through need of adaptation they look for a 1 1 Creative Evolution. it becomes fixed. There is the stumbling-block of the &quot.&quot. i. Bergson devotes to it a closely argued and singularly penetrating criticism. This is the method which Mr.&quot. contrary. care not to confound evolution and develop ment. either at the beginning or at the end. imagining the same laws as always existing is . we must think otherwise. on the Let us take that which gives.TEACHING 105 forcing them back to prehistoric times. usual transformist theories. . viz. once born. beginning what and always observed. placing at the only conceivable in the mind of the contemporary thinker in a word. If we wish thoroughly to grasp the reality of things. Neither of these ready-made concepts. and Mr. not explain the birth of variation.

&quot. The road which town is certainly obliged to climb and go down the slopes. more than they have imparted 1 At the bottom of all these errors there are only prejudices of practical action. and a concerted goal. Bergson makes this plain by two admirable analyses in which he takes to pieces the their common ideas of disorder and nothingness in order to explain meaning 1 relative to our proceedings in industry or language. a mechanism which hurls to a finality which aims. And Mr. but not the general directions of the movement. 102. and art. that adaptation explains the windings of the movement of evolution. it adapts itself to the accidents of the ground. But the genuine explanation must be sought elsewhere. That is of course why every work appears to be an outside construction beginning with previous elements. an effective projecting cause. . a phase of anticipation followed by a phase of execution. but the accidents of the ground are not the cause of the road. fail. any its direction. But in both cases they &quot. calculation. Creative Evolution. The truth is t still less the leads to the the hills movement itself.106 A NEW PHILOSOPHY its conception of birth. p.

a continuity of qualitative progress . What are the characteristics of vital evolution? First of all it is a dynamic con-^ tinuity. mount It is to saying that it is experience. it is essentially a duration.- next. By the memory inherent in it. and on which too often it founders.gt. is habit. of which the infinity of times and spaces does not offer two identical specimens. we see it triumphant in the originality of the least state of consciousness. But the reef which lies in its way. &amp. as it defies all repetition. also an effort of perpetual invention. is a hindrance and an obstacle.lt. but in so far as it congeals and becomes materialized. We see it at its task of research in the groping attempts exhibited by the long-sought genesis of species. of the least body. habit would be a better and more powerful means of action if it remained free. generation of continual novelty. a work of inner maturation. an irreversible * - rhythm. the whole of its past lives on and accumulates. and try to translate its pure data simply. First of all we have the average types round which fluctuates . a &amp. the whole of its past remains forever present to it which is tanta . indeducible and capable of defying all anticipation. to immediate experience.TEACHING 107 Let us come back to facts. of the tiniest cell.

that it is and creative evolution. if corpses. tion which again determines the counter-cur- . at least in this life itself is But a continually renewed effort of growth and liberation. the proofs of dead life. and finally we have the inert gear from which all real life has disappeared. . &quot. open sea of mind. and its ready effort sends out a current of ascending realiza &quot. suits the The concept of mechanism phenomena which occur within the fixities zone of wreckage.108 A NEW PHILOSOPHY an action which is decreasing and becoming re duced in breadth. And it is from here we get Mr. demand impulse consists in a for creation life in its humblest stage al constitutes a spiritual activity. on this shore of and rather finality. always present in a myriad degrees of tension or sleep. not in the anthropomorphic sense of premedi tated design. Then we have the residual organs. and under infinitely various rhythms. In this conception of being consciousness is everywhere. or program. the encrusta tions from which the stream of consciousness gradually ebbs. plan. Bergson s formulae: vital impetus sense. as original and fundamental reality. The vital &quot. the masses of shipwrecked rearing things their spectral outlines where once rolled the &quot.

Consciousness or ruption of the former. in strictness. nor a system of stationary pulsations. the latter and in resulting automatically from a simple inter &quot. 261. What image of universal evolution is then a cascade of deduction. is vital activity. rhythm on the other. the extin guished remains of which fall into matter. of which spiritual activity represents the highest form. 109 Thus all reality is contained in a double movement of ascent and descent. be almost instantaneous. but a fountain which spreads like a sheaf of corn and is partially arrested suggested? Not or at least hindered and delayed.TEACHING rent of matter. the reality which is created.&quot. The first only. the second might. as static terms in fixed antithesis. and the spray which falls 1 Creative Evolution. is essentially durable. but rather as two inverse directions of movement. From this point of view mind and matter appear not as two things opposed to each but the one imposes its other. The fountain itself. like that of an escaping spring . which translates an inner work of creative maturation. superconsciousness is the rocket. we must therefore not so much of matter or mind as of speak spiritualization and materialization. . certain respects. p. by the falling spray.

being a work of consciousness which escapes it and by liberty. taking root. then comes habit. comprises a psychological formula. And complete the few words which I am still going to add making rhythm. It is the books of the master himself that a as conclusion are only intended to sketch the . it the creative act which is is reality matter and inertia. In a word. is little by little is degraded into buried. which undone. as the body is already a group of habits and habit. Bergson to appear.110 is A NEW PHILOSOPHY falls. . a kind of body. clearer to perception. it is x Everything begins genius. and what I may call from more revelation must be sought. in the vention. the double play of which constitutes the uni verse. mechanism in which the soul in The main Mr. lines s and general perspective of philosophy now perhaps begin Certainly I am the first to feel slender resume really all its is how powerless a translate all its to wealth and strength. as the fruit of manner of an in duration and creative by pure mind. the supreme law of genesis and fall. At its least I wish I could its have contributed to movement. turns against it.

As for the causes of this/ dispersion into kingdoms. and so on for a very long time. Mr. But we are here dealing with a shell which has immediately burst into frag ments. Bergson first confines himself to the branches of the man. being themselves species of shells. in fact. and finally into individuals. we can distin guish two series: the resistance which matter opposes to the current_of life sent tlir_Q ugli it.&quot. p. allow its distant reach to be seen. have again burst into fragments destined to burst again. which. and course of a minute and in the order searching discussion he shows us the character1 Creative Evolution. 111 and would be a very simple and easy thing to understand if it were fulfilled along one single trajectory and followed a evolution of life &quot. The straight path. each emphasizing some distinct aspect of its original wealth. animal. It is. And plant. then into species/. 98. the property of a tendency to develop itself in the expansion which analyzes it.TEACHING principal consequences of the doctrine. due to an unstable equilibrium ofTendencies imputse~within itself the thrust of life carried by the vital Both unite in mating divide in more and more diverging but complementary directions.explosive force . . ancTtEe &quot.

That is how could such a novelty be understood at once? It is also very exactly the demands for enlightenment which lead a doctrine to full consciousness of itself. More than one quite natural: desirable. as we must. Bergson on objection has been brought this head. the vegetable kingdom con intelligence: structing and storing explosives which the signified by the three words animal expends. There we have yet another proof of the striking and fertile originality of the new philosophy. With what has Mr. must arise to precision and perfection. But we be afraid of false objections.112 istics A NEW PHILOSOPHY moods or qualities of these lines in the and torpor. instinct. those which from an obstinate translation of the new philosophy into an old language steeped in a different metaphysic. with ruining positive science. the many flashes of light which fall on all faces of the problem. and let us confine ourselves to seeing how we get a theory of knowledge from this doctrine. Bergson been reproached? With misunder standing reason. Let us leave aside. it is against Mr. . and man creating a nervous system for himself which permits him to con vert the expense into analysis. the many suggestive views scattered lavishly about.

Here. we may say. the spectacle of pure thought face to face with things. bottom of the theories which we are going to discuss some dark background. the better than anywhere. perhaps contrary. really the gen uine positivism. understanding or depreciation of science. Even where contingency and most visible in it. But it is a complete thought. Let us begin by a few preliminary remarks to clear the ground. of falling into a vicious circle intellectualism turn by making round upon itself. Bergson goes so far as to say that physical science touches an absolute. or of thinking otherwise than by thought. More . we have here. It is true that it touches this absolute rather than sees it. there is one ridiculous objection which I quote only to I mean that which suspects at the record. not thought reduced to some partial functions. some pre On the possession of irrational mysticism. Not one of these reproaches has any foundation. Mr. in short. relativity are in the domain of inert matter. but sufficiently sure of its critical power to sacrifice none of is its re sources. truth is.TEACHING 113 with being caught in the illusion of getting knowledge otherwise than by intelligence. which reinstates all spiritual It does not in any way lead to a mis reality. First of all.

orders of science. Now if such a method to seek the study of inert matter because in a manner geometrical. Hence came the inclination always most certain knowledge from the most abstract side. if we were to conduct scientific research always in the same grooves and according to the same formulae. on the veil of theory with which moments.A NEW PHILOSOPHY particularly it perceives all its reactions on a system of representative forms which it pre sents to it. The temptation was to make a kind of less severe and rigorous mathe matics of biology itself. Formerly it was from the mathematician that we borrowed the ideal of evidence. scholar s all the envelops same. the At certain veil becomes case almost transparent. in the curve And in any the thought guesses and grazes reality drawn by the succession of its But there are two increasing syntheses. whilst the geometrical method is commensurable only with things. we should immediately encounter symbolism and relativity. and his rare merit has been to disengage . so much so that our suits the knowledge of it plete than inexact. Bergson is aware of this. For life is progress. for the things of Here. and observes the it effect it. thus acquired is more incom this is not at all the case life. Mr.

intelligence and instinct. and finally end in two opposed forms of organiza Several contion. But let us come to the heart of the problem. the more we think of it. two diverging lines which at first confused. Such a point of view is the only one which conforms to the real nature of things. a fixed system of categories attitude. are . considered in the direction of evolves on &quot. Now what do we conclude from this point of view? Life.&quot.TEACHING specific originality 115 from biology. What was Kant s point of departure in the theory of knowledge? In seeking to define the structure of the mind according to the traces of itself which it must have left in its works. thing he could only regard intelligence as a made. while elevat ing it to a typical and standard science. the more we perceive that the theory of knowledge and the theory of life are bound up with one another. Bergson adopts an inverse is a product of evolution: we see Intelligence it and uninterruptedly constructed slowly along a to through the vertebrates man. Mr. knowledge. and in proceeding by a reflective analysis ascending from a fact to its con ditions. line rises which and the actual conditions of reality. and principles. then gradually separate.

and functions. reflect . it Instinct sympathy. Take a natural philosopher who has long breathed the atmos phere of the laboratory. their them them working tendencies. he possesses as groups of habitual actions. . instruments. and of the effort which presides over its growth. in com munion with their rhythm and with inner it feeling of them. thus dis coursing by manipulations as easily and spontaneouslv as others discourse in calculation.116 trary A NEW PHILOSOPHY potentialities interpenetrated at their but of this source each of source. Bergson analyzes and dis cusses in detail. As much might be said of the work which produces a living body. and it will be common easy to mark is its dual character. this The history of animals in respect supplies many remarkable ex amples which Mr. &quot. their move ments. . but operates with incomparable certainty because it remains lodged in things. these kinds of activity preserves or rather accentuates only one tendency. their resources. who has by long prac he tice acquired what we call experience has a kind of intimate feeling for his &quot. does not know how its to it is hardly capable of varying steps . it has no clear con sciousness of itself. he perceives as extensions of himself. maintenance.

which works throughout our daily action and forms the fundamental thread of our scientific operations. 117 only an image but transpose and generalize it. In a word. But something quite different. the domain in which they apply and are valid. at home among the objects in which &quot. and natural But I task of intelligence. here go back to the criticism of I need not its ordinary must now note the serv proceedings. ice which suits them. . of course. Whilst instinct vibrates in sympathetic har mony with life. reach. and what they teach us thereby about the meaning.TEACHING Doubtless that it is . of the analytic and synthetic intelligence which we use in our acts of current thought. potent is it perhaps in matters of art or 1 Preface to Creative Evolution. But if we enter the vital order its incompetence is manifestly apparent.&quot. our logic is primarily the logic of * solids. it it is a rider to our faculty of action. our industry finds its supports and its tools. We are talking. it is about inert matter that intelligence feels is granted. and it will help you to under intelligence is stand the kind of action which divines instinct. It is very significant that deduction should Still more im be so impotent in biology. it triumphs in geometry.

remains of the like a brilliantly still first This halo represents the nebulous vapor at the expense of which intelligence was constituted condensed nucleus. inspiring contact and divining sympathy. place it Do under tutelage. for the duty of philosophy is to consider everything in its relation to life. that the philoso pher s duty is to renounce intelligence. has remained too weak to be suffi cient for us. Round intelligence itself exists a/ halo of instinct. all its wealth. and it is to-day the atmosphere which gives it life. with us who have evolved along the grooves of in telligence. the . it not conclude. Instinct. A NEW PHILOSOPHY whilst. intelligence path by which light could dawn of primitive darkness.118 religion. even the right to do so. Besides. it it works marvels so long as does this mean. and delicate probing. or abandon it to the blind It has not suggestions of feeling and will. if has only to foresee in move ments or transformations bodies. What not that intelligence and materiality go together. however. the only in the bosom is But let us look at present reality in all its complexity. fringe of touch. that language with its analytic steps is regulated by the movements of matter? Philosophy once again then must leave behind. on the contrary.

True. which the soul of good from common-sense. impossible for life to grow and reasoning we could go beyond itself continually. to reality meaning of intuition. We at once How by it can we go intelligence beyond itself? intelligence except We are apparently inside our thought. and that is atten &quot. what and the is immediate. left to its own is . coming out of as is as incapable of this a balloon of rising above the atmosphere. It and critical certain that the synthetic intelligence. sense. of discovery. but on just as well prove that it is impossible for us to acquire any new habit whatsoever. We must avoid drawing false conclusions from the simile of the balloon. suspect a vicious circle.TEACHING which we see in play &quot. 119 in the phenomena &quot. The question here is to know what are the real limits of the atmosphere. as also in the acts of that sense of reality tion to life. and life. so widely distinct And the peculiar task of the philosopher is to reabsorb intelligence in instinct.&quot. or better still. This the Certainly the task is difficult. to. or rather to reinstate instinct in intelligence. to win back This is to the heart of intelligence all the initial resources which is it must have sacrificed. meant by return the primitive.

and people . It is action again under the name of experience which removes the danger of illusion or giddiness. It always falls therefore to intelligence to pronounce the grand verdict in the sense that only that can be called true which will finally satisfy it. since it has broken off from it and in it dwell the it is complementary powers of the understanding. stronger. and to which not altogether foreign. remains imprisoned in a which there is no escape. Thus the objection of &quot. directed against the new philosophy falls to the &quot. &quot. by an effort of en during maturation which tests the idea in intimate contact with reality and judges it by its fruits. The better. ground. intelligence will soon become adapted and so will only be lost for a moment to reappear greater. irrationalism &quot.120 A NEW PHILOSOPHY circle strength. but we mean an intelligence duly enlarged and transformed by the very effect of the action it has lived. But action removes the barrier. from If intelli gence accepts the risk of taking the leap into the phosphorescent fluid which bathes it. objection of But it fares no non-morality has been made. by a practical demonstration. and of fuller content. it is action which verifies.

whence its radical inability to establish a hierarchy of moral Strange reproach! not yet presented to us as a finished system. Its author manifests a plain desire to classify his The system qualifications. its recognized right to all which is to be. On the other new not without contradiction. in question is problems. treating in due order of the problem of human destiny.TEACHING 121 have thought fit to accuse Mr. &quot. It forms But . And he is is certainly right in proceeding so: there and on occasion we a time for everything. though creative. too coldly lucid. is not for all that quixotic or anarchist. and perhaps even in the work so far completed we descry some attempts to bring this future within ken. must learn to be just an eye focused upon being. too exclusively curious to see and understand. philosophy has been called hand. un troubled and unthrilled by the universal drama of life. and people have tial traits tried to find in its its it the essen of romanticism: predilection for feeling and imagination. But that does not at all exclude the possibility of future works. unique anxiety for vital intensity.&quot. by the tragic reality of evil. may universal evolution. the romantic. Bergson s work of being the too calm production of an intel ligence too indifferent.

105. is mental travel. or the guidance of an outer law. In spite of the stationary eddies or momentary backwashes we observe here and there. ever swelling and broadening.Jisji continual creation of what is new: new be it well understood in the sense of growth and progress in relation to what has gone before. he marks the culminating point at which creation con open. not to the ^tratioi^jof_a clearly preconceived goal.A NEW PHILOSOPHY a sequence. is it not for that very reason re sponsible for the result? Life. desire. its stream moves in ji definite direction. * least it tinues. On the other hand.&quot. evolutioiijs growth. ascent in a path of growing spiritualization. he ended is thinks this growth now under a simple delusion: The gates who &quot. Life. . but to the actual tendency of the original thrust. according to the new philosophy. It_is a becomingLwith direction. at up to a certain point from him onwards . Such the at least first is the intense and 1 such tendency which Creative Evolution. in a word. For the spectator who regards the general sweep of the current. p. undoubtedly due. of the future stand wide In the stage at present attained man is leading. in him. life has already succeeded. advances with consciousness capable of re flection.

and by means of us results in action. a law doubtless not to be found in any code. a directing law im- . and at every moment also marks a direction of progress. more. are we to find the means to abolish Where and reis absorb the evil? \ What in the individual called memory becomes tradition and joint is responsibility in the race. as of good. being as it were the shifting tangent to the curve of becoming? Let us add that according to the new phi losophy the whole of our past survives forever in us. On the other hand. persistent reality of evil. This an undeniable fact. urgent. but a law which finds definition at every moment. memory makes a indelible shade. its and it whole history: the act which we make accomplish will exist henceforward forever. or travel down the hill. and will forever tinge universal duration with its Does not that imply an imperious. solemn. and once recognized does it not awake in us the presentiment of a directing law immanent in vital effort. and tragic problem of action? Nay. nor yet binding through the stern behest of mechanical neces sity. But it may is faint. halt.TEACHING launched and still inspires it. It is then literally true that our acts do to a certain extent involve the whole universe.

they reach the hidden retreats where the springs of consciousness well up. in tone. His books. come once so far from Mr. lighting up the dark road of the future for us with a prophetic ray of dawn? religion. so tranquil in measured harmony. Bergson s extraordinarily suggestive. warns me that it is time to end. manent where are is we there And to seek the inspiring strength? not ground for asking ourselves whether intuitions have not arisen here and there in the course of history. I must forget here what I myself may have elsewhere tried to do in this order of ideas. in us a awaken . But this word which has not religion. work so is Mr. with in life. this future transcendent to our daily life. More than any other. Bergson s pen. No man to-day would be justi fied in foreseeing the conclusions to which the doctrine of creative evolution will one day un doubtedly lead on this point.A NEW PHILOSOPHY shape of an appeal In dealing with to endless transcendence. but in the this further shore of present experience. coming now from mine. But it was impossible not to feel the approach of the temptation. mystery of presentiment and imagination.&quot. It philosophy would at this point that the new find place for the problem of is &quot.

impossible to tell what latent germs they foster. . However valuable already their explicit contents may be. closed 125 them we are shaken strangely moved. passing on and on. It is impossible to guess what lies be It is hind the boundless distance of the horizons they expose. we listen to the deepening echo. But this at least is sure: these books have verily begun a new work in the history of human thought.TEACHING Long after we have within. they reach still further than they aimed.

to some more important or more difficult individual points.ADDITIONAL EXPLANATIONS I MR. in ample employed takes ticular study? Still less 126 its place as a par do I wish to under- . and now that this is completed it will doubt less not be superfluous to come back. and to examine by themselves the most prominent centers on which we should focus the light Not that I intend to probe minute detail the folds and turns of a doc trine which admits of infinite development: how can I claim to exhaust a work of such profound thought that the least passing ex of our attention. on the same plan as before. BERGSON S WORK AND THE GENERAL DIRECTIONS OF CON TEMPORARY THOUGHT A BROAD survey of the new philosophy was bound to be somewhat rapid and summary.

as far as possible. and therefore to point out and anticipate the misunder which falls upon his vision. and therefore obscurely. It is these points . the rhythm and toning of the image. task is to read and enable others to read between the lines. as I understand it. all that the linear form of writing and language has not consists in no way allowed the author himself to elucidate. what constitutes the dynamic tie between them. Bergson s philosophy. Now it seems to me that there are a few points round which the errors of interpretation more naturally gather. The critic s true task. no undertak ing could be less profitable than that of ar ranging paragraph headings to repeat too briefly. some astounding misconceptions of producing Mr. His task is. resulting in the shade of light His task. between the chapters. in drawing up a table of His contents strewn with qualifying notes. yet with every requisite explanation. to master the accompaniment of underlying thought which produced the resonant atmosphere of the inquirer s intuition. in a word.BERGSON & CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT 127 take a kind of analytic resume. what a thinker has said without any extravagance of lan guage. and between the successive works. standings to be feared. is to help understanding.

in its days of pride. displayed on a plane by it always uniformly competent. This science. was con sidered unique. But at the same time I shall use the opportunity to supply information about authorities. Bergson s philosophy must have had birth. capable of gripping any object whatever with the same strength. One of the essential and frequently cited features of the generation in which Taine and Renan were the most prominent leaders was the passionate. somewhat ex clusive and intolerant cult of positive science. Let us begin by glancing at the milieu of thought in which Mr. of one and the same unbroken connection.128 A NEW PHILOSOPHY only that I propose to clear up. those which herald and prepare the near future. . enthusiastic. For the last thirty years new currents are traceable. In what direction do they go? And what distance have they What. and of inserting it in the thread self. are the already gone? We intellectual characteristics of our time? must endeavor to distinguish the deeper tendencies. to avoid riddling with references pages which were primarily intended to impart a general impression. in short. which I have hitherto deliberately omitted.

This deified science. and radically triumph incapable of telling us the origin. of after all this pride came the turn and humility of the very lowest. 129 was a universal of of that time. It analyzed the conditions of too hour weight. of humility. buoyant. delicate. despite all verbal science of mathe course. and basis of things. borne down a heavy by been recognized as powerless to necessarily go beyond the order of relations. but was ill-suited ever to grasp .BERGSON & CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT The dream palliations. and unreservedly to take the place Genuine phi of ancient spiritual discipline. and judicious. supple and sensitive. as poetry empty f ormulse or of the gray morning before the splendor of the rising sun. if possible. a simple play of puerile dreams. in ideal. had in its phenomena. but mathematics governed from end to end by an equal necessity. Conceived as the sole mistress of truth. However. end. this science was expected in days to come to fulfil all the needs of man. had had its day: all metaphysics losophy seemed deception and fantasy. religion itself paled before science. where feasible. with their bare and brutal rigor softened and shaded off. matics: mathematics. a myth ical procession of abstraction and phantom.

but as bringing for ward a thesis of perilous and unconscious metaphysics. And in this way destitution arose out of ambition itself. ex was compelled at the itself end of its effort to confess beaten to when confronted with which no questions man may is the only ever be indifferent. to the same degree. This double attitude no longer that of The prestige the contemporary generation. to know it in one only of its forms. of illusion has vanished. in brief formula. since thought. Let us go even further. In the religion of but idolatry. That is. is an unintelligent claim. it became the Unknowable. each in its originality. that it in any generation. the verdict of the present Not. not as expressing a positive fact or a science we see now nothing result duly established. before which the human mind could only halt in despair. we must that the claim to reduce reality to one say only of its modes. way misconceives or disdains the true value .130 A NEW PHILOSOPHY any real cause. If true intelligence is mental expansion and aptitude for understanding widely different things. after trusting too clusively to its geometrical strength. Further. of course. or any deep essence. The haughty affirmation of yesterday appears to day.

BERGSON & CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT

131

of science, whether as an instrument of action for the conquest of nature, or as intelligible

language, allowing us to abouts in things and talk
"

know our where
"

them.

aware that in all circumstances positive methods have their evidence to produce, and that, where they pronounce within the limits of their power, nothing can stand against their
It
is

verdict.

But

it

considers

first

of

all

that

science
stiff

was conceived of late under much too and narrow a form, under the obsession

of too abstract a mathematical ideal which

corresponds to one aspect of reality only, and
that the shallowest.

And

it

considers after

science, even when broadened and made flexible, being concerned only with what and datum, remains radically is, with fact

wards that

powerless to solve the problem of human life. Nowhere does science penetrate to the very

depth of things, and there world but things."
"

is

nothing in the

Experience has shown where the dream of Number is universal mathematics leads us. driven to the heart of phenomena and nature
dissected with this delicate scalpel.
in

Speaking more general terms, we adopt spatial rela tion as the perfect example of intelligible rela tion. I do not wish to deny the use of such a

132

A NEW PHILOSOPHY
services
it

method now and again, the

may

render, or the beauty of construction peculiar to the systems it inspires. But we must see

what price we pay for these advantages. Do we choose geometry for an informing and The more we advance regulating science? towards the concrete and the living, the more

we

feel

the

mathematical type.
to

necessity of altering the pure The sciences, as they get

further from inert matter, unless they agree

pale and weaken; they become vague, impotent, ansemic; they touch little but the trite surface of their object, the body, not

reform,

them symbolism, artifice, and rela tivity become increasingly evident; at length, arbitrary and conventional elements crop up and devour them. In a word, the claim to
the soul
;

in

treat the living as inert matter conduces to the misconception in life of life itself, and the

retention of nothing but the material waste. This experience furnishes us with a lesson.

There

is

not so

much one

science as several

by an autonomous method, and divided into two great kingdoms. Let us therefore from the outset follow Mr.
sciences, each distinguished

Bergson in tracing a very sharp line of de marcation between the inert and the living.

Two

orders of knowledge will thereby become

BERGSON & CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT

133

separate, one in which the frames of geometri cal understanding are in place, the other where

new means and a new attitude are required. The essential task of the present hour will now appear to us in a precise light; it will
henceforward
consist, without any disregard of a glorious past, in an effort to found as specifically distinct methods of instruction

those

sciences

which take
of
life

for
in

objects
its

the

successive

moments

different
;

degrees, biology, psychology, sociology in an effort to reconstruct, setting out
these

then

from
their

new

sciences

and according

to

spirit, the like of what ancient philosophy had attempted, setting out from geometry and

mechanics.

By

so doing

we

shall succeed in

throwing knowledge open to receive all the wealth of reality, while at the same time we
shall reinstate the sense of
thrill

further result of higher anxieties. will be that the phantom of the Unknowable
will

A

mystery and the

be exorcised, since it no longer represents anything but the relative and momentary
limit of each

method, the portion of being

which escapes its partial grip. This is one of the first controlling ideas of Others result the contemporary generation.

from

it.

More

particularly,

it is

for the

same

134

A NEW PHILOSOPHY

the

body of motives, in the same sense, and with same restrictions, that we distrust intelI

lectualism;

mean

the

tendency

to

live

uniquely by intelligence, to think as if the whole of thought consisted in analytic, clear

and reasoning understanding. Once again, it is not a question of some blind abandonment to sentiment, imagination,
or
will,

nor do we claim to
critical

restrict the legiti

mate

rights

But around

of intellectuality in judgment. reason there is a quick

ening atmosphere in which dwell the powers of intuition, there is a half-light of gradual tones in which insertion into reality is ef
fected.

If by rationalism

we mean

the atti

which consists in cabining ourselves within the zone of geometrical light in which language evolves, we must admit that ration alism supposes something other than itself, that it hangs suspended by a generating act which escapes it.
tude

The method

therefore which
is

we

seek to

employ everywhere to-day

experience; but

complete experience, anxious to neglect no aspect of being nor any resource of mind; shaded experience, not extending on the surface only, in a homogeneous and uniform

manner;

on

the

contrary,

an

experience

BERGSON & CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT
distributed
in

135

depth over multiple planes, adopting a thousand different forms to adapt
kinds of problems; in short, a creative and informing experience, a veritable genesis, a genuine action of thought,
itself to the different

a

work and movement
principles,

of

life

by which the
intelligibility,

guiding

forms

of

and

criteria of verification obtain birth

and

by Mr. Bergson s own formula from borrowing him that we shall most accurately describe
it is

stability in habits.

And

here again

the

new

spirit.

That the attitude and fundamental pro cedure of this new spirit are in no way a
return to skepticism or a reaction against thought cannot be better demonstrated than
this resurrection of metaphysics, this re naissance of idealism, which is certainly one of the most distinctive features of our epoch.

by

Undoubtedly philosophy

in

France has never
so
it is

known
moment.

so

prosperous

and

pregnant

a

Notwithstanding,

not a return

to the old

dreams of
is

dialectic construction.

Everything regarded from the point of view of life, and there is a tendency more and more to recognize the primacy of spiritual But we wish to understand and activity. this activity and this life in all its employ

you will say. seek it. But positivism. without dissolving thought in dreams or language. we begin by greeting the great spiritual realities with this title. and the reason of which we recognize the sovereign weight is reason laden with its complete past history. really. but realism? By realism I the mean work the gift of ourselves to reality. to live what we think and think that is what we live. return to questions which were . seek it in the concrete. and by all its func wish to think with the whole of thought.136 wealth. the soul which specifies towards and quickens. And what is that. to regulate the idea by the action as much as the action by the idea. of concrete realization. without losing contact with the body or the most critical control. and go to the truth with the whole of our soul. the effort to convert every idea into action. as real its Hence and genuine part of being. But how changed! Far from considering as positive only that which can be an object of sensa tion or calculation. The deep and living aspiration of our day is in everything to seek the soul. seek it by an effort the revealing sympathy which is genuine intelligence. in fine. certainly it is positivism. in tions: A NEW PHILOSOPHY all its we degrees.

hence its taste for problems of aesthetics and mo rality. Ravaisson in &quot. in 1867. Bergson speaks with just praise of this shrewd and penetrating sense of what was coming: What could be bolder or more novel than to come and pre &quot. to answer Already. to . This prophetic view was further commented on in a work where Mr. his celebrated : Report wrote these prophetic lines Many signs permit us to foresee in the near future a philosophical epoch of which the general character will be the predominance of what may be called spiritualist realism or positiv ism. being none other than its action. homesickness for a faith har monizing the powers of action and the powers of thought. having as generating principle the con sciousness which the mind has in itself of an existence recognized as being the source and support of every other existence.&quot. its close siege of social its and religious problems. to biologists that life will only be understood by thought.BERGSON & CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT 137 lately declared out of date and closed. hence its restless desire to hark back to tradition and discipline. A this new philosophy was required new way of looking at things. dict to the physicists that the inert will be explained by the living.

with a creative originality which prevents the critic who is anxious for justice and precision from insist ing on any researches establishing connection of thought. and in make them become conscious of themselves. reason for the popularity to-day en joyed by this new philosophy is doubtless to be found in the very tendencies of the milieu One which it is produced and in the aspirations which work it. What 1 synthetic formula will be best able to Works of M. after once remarking these desires. 1904.138 A NEW PHILOSOPHY &quot. Bergson himself accomplishes. Felix RavaissonAcademy of Moral and Political Notice on the Life and Molien. Let us therefore try to understand in itself and by itself the work of genius of which just now we were seeking the dawning gleams. . philosophers that generalities are not philo x sophic? But let us give each his due. What Ravais- son had only anticipated Mr. determine them. with a precision which gives body to the impalpable and floating breath of first inspiration. with a depth which renews both proof and theses alike. But. Bergson has contributed more than any one else to awaken them. in the Reports of the Sciences. we must further not forget that Mr.

But before construct ing such a body for itself. Every phi losophy tends to become incarnate in a sys tem which constitutes for it a kind of body of analysis. us be deceived by this appearance: it signifies only that language is incommensurable let with thought. Ibid. Here is the fitti point at which to see its essence. 1 A always contingent and philosophy worthy of the et Philosophic Intuition in the Revue de Metaphysique Morale.BERGSON & CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT tell 139 us the essential direction of it I will borrow its movement? from the author himself: It &quot. and begins with the simple unit of a generating intuition.&quot. it complication. 1 &quot. de . seems to me. which &quot. that speech admits of endless multiplication in approximations incapable of exhausting their object.&quot. in which measures have been taken to pro &quot. is incomplete. that metaphysics are trying at this moment to simplify them selves. he writes. appears to be an in a complex construction with a thousand alcoves of high architecture. to come nearer to life.&quot. November 1911. vide not Do ample lodging for all problems. all philosophy is a soul. this is what determines it much better than its conceptual expression. a mind. Regarded finite literally.

Hence comes the fact that a philosophy is at bottom much more independent of its natal environment than one might at first suppose.140 A NEW PHILOSOPHY name has never said but one thing. And it has only said one thing. and if this movement. and l that it would still have been the same vortex. the creative intuition is We cannot hesitate long: it is the intuition of duration. then. because that it has only seen one point: and was not so much vision as contact. and that thing it has rather attempted to say than actually said. What. and Philosophic Intuition in the Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale. November 1911. though apparently relative to a science which is out of date. That is the perspective center to which we must inde- we must 1 fatigably return.&quot. that is the principle which labor to expose in its full light. this impulse a movement. is only visible to our eyes by what it has picked up on its path. philosophy. . this contact supplied an impulse. which is a kind of vortex of a certain particular form. Bergson s whence it comes forth? the original intuition of Mr. it is no less true that other dust might equally well have been raised. hence also the fact that ancient philosophies. remain always living and worthy of study.

BERGSON & CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT that is. gradually determined and realized. 141 finally. it is further and above Now an acting intuition. Hence the review upon which we are entering. and tested by its explanatory works. and it is by its fruits that we can understand and judge it. the source of light which will illumine us. a philosophy is not only an expressed intuition. all .

I have &quot. as afterwards the critic s first duty is to describe this initial attitude. for every proposition isolated is a proposition falsified. with what THE tangent to the origin of the path along which he is traveling. an anticipation of experience seems hardly . A system is not to be resumed in a phrase. Bergson s philosophy.II IMMEDIACY philosopher s first duty is in clear lan guage to declare his starting-point. therefore first idea of the new of all to indicate the directing philosophy. a mathematician would call the &quot. 142 On point. To philosophy itself falls the task and belongs the right to define as it itself gradually this becomes constituted. or of fencing the soul of doctrine within a few sum mary formulae. I wish merely to eluci date the methodical principle which inspires the beginning of Mr. But it is not a question of extracting a quintessence.

and circum traditional Such was always the conception: such will ours continue to be. the designation of which sufficient to characterize would be scribe it. true. we are obliged if program of the our research. the finding of a liminary question. . every object has a philosophy and all matter can be regarded In short. here. the existence of the one involving the legitimacy of the other. from the outset of the work to determine the a final rather than pre However. It inquiry. as a matter of fact. and a matter. and attitude and a proceeding: the peculiar specific in it is tent. an chiefly a way of perceiving and thinking. beyond that. in There. the analogy ceases. and object a new science reciprocally corresponds. is only to direct the same on the threshold it is of every science. For any science properly speaking the determination of beginning consists in the indication of an object. having distinct object. philosophy is philosophically. more an intuition than a con a spirit rather than a domain. For. philosophy cannot.IMMEDIACY synthetic formula is 143 possible. in its turn. as elsewhere. to each new I mean the posi divide different objects thus be tween them. But if the various sciences tive sciences come forward a as a particular science.

simple. as a kind of knowledge &quot. mind to each of the realities to be if Their object. we must employ the it is the act of know as a new &quot. &quot. in which it is less a ques tion of learning than of understanding. or at least so fond of formulae which can be . of their labors. Philosophy thus appears is word.144 A NEW PHILOSOPHY then. reach. of the second degree. that which marks its To criticise the opening? works of knowledge spon is taneously effected. is What. what they study is not so much as the such and such a particular thing relation of studied. at least its initial function. that their direction. knowledge itself. not effort to extend the quantity of knowledge. order with what is of knowledge. the characteristic function of philosophy. in which we aim at progressing in depth rather than in extent. or scientific Spontaneous is thought vulgar a direct. co-extensive knowable. seeking what is formulable rather than what is true. ing regarded from the point of view of its meaning and value. to say. In other terms. but reflection on the quality of this knowledge. and practical thought turned towards things and partial to useful results. to scrutinize and conditions: that is to-day the unanimous answer of philosophers when questioned about the goal &quot.

that it is always tempted to see the truth in them. become entirely transparent and luminous in its own eyes. abandons itself to the motive impulses of habits contracted. on the contrary. by some act of tran scendence. a thought which. and. knowledge labor examination. desires to be thought about thought. moreover. What we have before our eyes then are the ing to about know postulates themselves. manipulated. but it carries it out after determining more pre At cisely the real conditions of the problem. itself. and goes straight on indefinitely without self- Philosophy. to itself.IMMEDIACY 145 handled. the obscure origins of reason. fact which aspires to fact mental effort to become free. if need be. and we are proceeding towards a initial taneous point of departure rather than arrival. the first spon thoughts. the hour when methodical research begins. the in its own way philosopher s mind is not clean-swept. or transmitted. to effect selfreform by dissipating its natural illusions. and it would be chimerical to wish to place oneself from the beginning. The new philosophy does not refuse to carry out this first critical task. sets out from more or less unguarded postulates. This . outside common thought. thought retracing its life and work.

&quot. and what are. That. is not its primary basis. 44. constitutes also our sole point of insertion into It can only then be a question of reality. the sole concrete and positive point of Let us add that common-sense departure. the But we must distinguish in what is problems. 1 Creative 1 Evolution. says the proverb. whilst action is a necessity. on the contrary. in order to see what are the problems which really are presented. those which relate only to our artifices of language. p. p. pure and what is ulterior arrangement.&quot.146 A NEW PHILOSOPHY thought cannot be inspected and judged from It constitutes. 151. In deinde philosophari. purifying fact. speculation is a luxury. Laughter. false The search for facts is then the first neces sary moment of all philosophy. But common thought comes before us at the outset as a piece of very composite alluvial ground. life re quires us to apprehend things in the relation 2 Hence comes the they have to our needs. But &quot. Primum vivere. &quot. and also a residue of all philosophical opinions which have had some vogue. it. or no. certain respects. . the illusory problems. however. not in any way of replacing it it. whether we wish it outside. It is a beginning of positive science.

trans lating things by the relations they maintain to our action. is it But Nothing of the kind. However. I mean our corporal and synthetic action. but which thus con tains a thought which is itself eminently practical. Let us appearances purification? . Its proper language. Its utilitarianism then becomes a kind of spon taneous metaphysics from which we must not the very task of positive science to execute this work of detach ourselves. is perception and mechanical the language of customary fabrication. which very evidently implies thought.IMMEDIACY 147 fundamental utilitarianism of common-sense. since it is a question of the action of a reasonable being. modeled upon action. despite and despite intentions. it is we may say. there fore a language relative to action. Thus that outside all speculative opinion it is effectively lived by all. it appears to us no longer as rudimentary science and philosophy. we are here regarding commonsense considered as a source of fact. Therefore if we wish to define it in itself and for itself. and no longer as a first approxima tion of such and such a system of metaphysics. but as an organiza tion of thought in view of practical life. made to express action.

thought. and all it attains of reality is that by which nature is a possible object of language or industry. it &quot. But it does not set itself is genuinely free from the habits contracted in common experience. it does not follow that it has no value as knowledge. science science does not practise a certain disinterest edness as far as immediate mechanical utility concerned. examine more of The general categories common 1 son. the main roads traced by our senses through the continuity of reality are still those along which science will pass. p. 825. our faculty for action. Bergremain those of science. Re November 1911.148 A NEW PHILOSOPHY closely. according to Mr. . perception is an infant science and an adult perception. so much so that customary knowledge and scientific knowl edge. so that it always grasps things by their actable side. and to inform its re preserves the postulates of commonsense. ^Philosophic Intuition in the Metaphysical and Moral view. though of unequal It does not follow that precision and reach. both of them destined to prepare our action upon things. by their point of contact with search &quot. are of necessity two visions of the same kind. under the forms by which we handle them conceptually or prac tically.

living. at every moment it collects the whole of our experience and organizes it in view of the present.&quot. de livered tion. By the side of &quot. which is the &quot. common-sense. to discover in it the germ of the necessary criticism. a fine touch for is complexities. original. it is anxious to locate and any oversights. suppleness of attitude. is real. It is. of reality. automatism. attention 1 Cf. which differs from it profoundly. upon ready-made ideas and linear deduction. thought to without which keeps its freedom.&quot. It contains a certain distrust of the logical faculty in respect of itself it wages incessant war upon intellectual . continually feeling like the an tennae of some insects. above all. in a word. Bergson at the Concours general prize distribu 30th July 1895. . first rough- draft of positive science. there good sense. concrete. it arrests the development of every principle and every method at the precise point where too brutal an application would offend the delicacy weigh. by Mr. activity which re mains awake. an address on Good Sense and Classical Studies. an art of equilibrium and precision. and marks the beginning of what we shall later on call 1 It is a sense of what philosophic intuition.IMMEDIACY 149 Let us turn now towards another aspect of natural thought.

we seek a departure-point. Immediate data or primitive data or pure data are appre hended by us under forms of disinterested action. a colored mo ment of the Cogito. this time. Let us specify this point. will be the taking of each percep tion considered as an act lived. and this living ef This is what we must fort of sympathy. the pure fact. and this will be for us a criterion and departure-point. What. and to emerge from the relativity in which it buries us. an ever-renewed adjustment to ever-new situations.150 to A NEW PHILOSOPHY suit life. What we shall term return to the immediate. a criterion. its action of profound life independent of all practical shall thus only be imitating the aim? . tend to transpose from the practical to the speculative order. something which decides the raising of inquiry. We example of Descartes when solving the prob lem of temporary doubt. the primitive. except in the very action of thought I mean. Where are we to find such a principle. will be for us the beginning of philosophy? After taking cognizance of common utilitarianism. I mean that they are first of all lived . then. Its revealing virtue is derived from this moving contact with fact.

which is action itself so far as it is luminous. vocabulary. article Immediate. let us try to 1 1 Report of the French Philosophical Society. generating act of reality&quot. philosophical &quot. a preconceptual thought which is the intrinsic light of action. that perception of them pre cedes their use. Bergson speaks at the beginning of Matter and there is &quot. What is the image of which Mr. the flash of conscious existence which the act of knowledge coincides with the &quot. but only of distinguishing between the perceptive and theoretic functions of mind. in brief. when grasped in its first move in ment. Thus no question here of restricting in any degree the part played by thought. Mind except.&quot. they appear as moments of life. the goal of which gradually to make to our primordial intuition. It is we our are at this stage previous to language that by these pure data in intimate com reality itself. our clear intelligence equal The latter al ready constitutes a thought. that before becoming material for science. is munion with critical task to return to and the whole of them through is a regressive analysis. . &quot.? Let us forget all philosophical controversies about realism and idealism.IMMEDIACY 151 rather than conceived.

nor states felt internally. not portraits of exterior beings nor projections of internal moods.152 A NEW PHILOSOPHY for reconstruct ourselves a simplicity. Matter and Memory. from which proceeds the duality of sub And such also. . can only be such a direction of life and action.: not things presented externally. Foreword to the 7th edition. were it in an enunciation of a problem or a doubt. These then are our &quot. And we must certainly accord to this immediacy a its lived act. in every ject and object. previous to language. as yet neither sub jective nor objective. since it realizes the coincidence of being and knowledge.immediate feelings&quot. for every initial impossible fact can be only such a pulsation of conscious Because it is ness in and the fundamental and primitive direction of the least word. marking a moment of consciousness previous to the work of reflec tion. as 1 action in birth. appear the &quot. order. freeing us from the habits contracted in the course of practi cal life. but appear ances.images&quot. appearances lived simply. Why depart from the immediate thus con ceived as action and life? quite to do otherwise. a virginal and candid glance. in the etymological sense of the word. without our being distinguished from them. 1 Cf.. value of absolute knowledge.

be cause the critique of language allows it to exist thus as an indissoluble residue. and in which they be- . In this task of purification there is doubt less always to be feared an illusion of remain ing in the primitive stage. a criticism always in activity. the first is a Hence it practical limitation of the second. always ready for the reiteration and the renewal of effort. by what signs can we recognize that we have touched the goal? Pure fact is shown to be such on the one hand because it remains in theoretical symbolism. live it. because dependent of all we even when we free ourselves from the anxiety of utility. follows that a previous criticism is necessary to return from one to the other.IMMEDIACY But let 153 us not think that the perception of immediacy is simple passive perception. tems. on the other hand. &quot. to day when our utilitarian education is completed and has passed into the state of habit. always open as a way of progressive investigation. There is a difference between common experience and the initial action of life. because it dominates all sys are unable not to &quot. that it is sufficient to open our eyes to obtain it. and imposes itself equally upon them all as the common source from which they derive by diverging analyses. By what criteria.

Now. once again become capable of direct and simple view. and at another a certain in fact. It is true that here a last objection presents itself: this limit. to extricate we must appeal this to the revela tions of science. and no thing. Once set free. notion of fact fact in is The is quite relative.154 A NEW PHILOSOPHY reconciled. a certain quality of progression. What in one case may become construction another. come Assuredly. But employment of analysis against analysis does not in any way consti tute a circle. for it tends only to destroy prejudices which have become unconscious: it is a simple artifice destined to break off habits and to scatter illusions by changing the points of view. Why speak thus of limit? This word has two senses: at one time it designates a last term in a series of approximations. what we accept as fact is what bears no trace of syn thetic elaboration. to attain it. the second sense only which suits Immediacy contains no matter statically defined. if it purely given. to degree at all internal character of convergence. the percepts of . how shall we think any must precede all language? The answer is easy. it is the case before us. For example. to the exercise of deliberate thought. it.

a journey from the most to the least elaborate.IMMEDIACY common 155 experience are facts for the physicist. The expression primitive then determines not so much a final as a direction of thought. and constructions for the philosopher. the same applies to a table of numerical results. and the contact &quot. more action. to convert the elements of experience into real and profound . which precede fact object of critical retrogression. trying to establish a or for the observer and the psycholo theory. each term follow &quot. is only the effort. may then conceive a series in which gist. a movement with pure immediacy &quot. is for the scholar who We it. is fact in relation to those which in relation to those &quot. and constructed it. and more prolonged.

example. the work of return to immediacy it and how the if intuition which calls up reveals absolute fact. Too the depth of reality at true it is that such an ideal remains inaccessible to us. .Ill THEORY OF PERCEPTION OF what consists. Doubt less we might define philosophy by this same : ideal. as an effort to expand our perceptive it power all until we render and all capable of grasping the wealth a single glance. and our ideal is to convert all conception into perception. If the act of perceiving realizes the lived communion of the subject and object in the image. Bergson s philosophy. we must admit that here we have the perfect knowledge which we wish to obtain always we resign ourselves to conception only for want of perception. we shall see by an we study more closely a capital point of Mr. the theory of external perception. 156 Something.

His mistake was that he afterwards believed such a vision for ever impossible. But philosophy must be conceived implying science and as an art criticism. 1 and it is. 26th May 1911.THEORY OF PERCEPTION however. First lecture on The Perception of Change. not by dialectic progress. and has explained also to us how philosophy pursues an an 2 alogous end. and whence did this mistake arise. 150 ff. This work is everywhere possible. is 157 aesthetic given us already 1 in in Mr. par excellence. from its utilitarian prej shall obtain Let us do the same: we s a similar result without laying ourselves open to Kant objections. Kant has con clusively established that what lies beyond language can only be attained by direct vision. the work of Laughter. intuition. It is when we look at meta physics in this way that they become a positive order of veritable knowledge. He appeals to no transcendent sense. Here again the artist will be our example and model. delivered at Oxford. pp. but de taches common-sense udices. all experience and all reason. 2 . for his new he exacted intuitive faculties quite different from those at man s disposal. not from the fact that. Bergson has pointed it out some admirable pages. if vision.

and what it designates must be I mean. It might be thus resumed: at the point of departure we have simple sensations.&quot. at the root of all ordinary perception. in We must distinguish two senses of the word perception. common opinion seems very precise. sults in the construction of a percept: a whilst the objects of ordinary perception are. This word means first of all simple apprehension of immediacy. the bodies of which we speak in common language. live the images in an act of pure perception.158 A NEW PHILOSOPHY it philosophy: let us try then to sketch relation to the perception of matter. for example. a direction of research rather than the possession of a thing. It is perhaps in place to see in it nothing but a limit which concrete experience never presents unmixed. When we use it in this sense. With regard to the relation of the two senses which we have just distinguished. the first sense is the fundamental sense. similar . &quot. with judgment from externals. representing the result of a complex work of analysis and We synthesis. However that may be. we will agree to say pure perception. of every mental operation which re term formed by analogy with concept. grasp of primitive fact.

159 atoms (this is the part of pure and afterwards their arrangement perception) into connected systems. confidence by long superficial manifesta its the leading facts. we must in this all accumulate and melt them down into such an enormous mass that we are sure. And it is not a question merely of assimilating inmost content. in a long-pursued effort to &quot. But criticism does not authorize this manner of looking at it. of neutralizing in one another preconceived and premature ideas the which observers may have unconsciously allowed to form the sediment of their observations. are always a product of analysis. Do not suppose that the solution of this problem is easy. lectual common-sense For we do not obtain that is to say. Nowhere does knowledge Such elements begin by separate elements. which are percepts. to plunge into reality. . an intel of its sympathy with unless we have gained companionship with its tions. an intuition of reality.THEORY OF PERCEPTION to qualitative . One method only is use. assimilate all the records and positive science. fusion. to become any im mersed in it. So there a problem to solve to regain the basis of pure perception which is hidden and obscured is by our familiar percepts.

I . known directing principle controls this work and reintroduces order and convergence.&quot.) We before Creative Evolution. and only thus. Bergson employed the word intelligence in a wider acceptation. &quot. if it is knowledge. that. viz. of disinterested knowledge. Mr. too. percep tion as practised in the course of daily life. very often. natural perception does not aim at a goal &quot. January 1903. but one of prac tical utility. as for example when we seem to see a disIntroduction to Metaphysics in the Metaphysical and Moral Review. what interests us practically.160 A NEW PHILOSOPHY is Thus. or rather. Need we repeat here the proofs by which we have already established in the most positive manner that such is really the mean ing of ordinary perception. &quot. commonly received. the underlying reason which causes it to take the place of pure perception? perceive by habit only what is useful to us. For the correct interpretation of this intellectual sympathy it must not be forgotten passage 1 (&quot. &quot. A contrary to common opinion. after dispensing with them at the outset. be disengaged from crude materiality to facts. it is only knowledge elaborated in view of action and speech. we think we are perceiving when we are merely inferring. more akin to that that &quot.

2 Report of the International Psychological Institute. of the Library of the International Philosophical Congress. has been so lucidly explained by Mr. A slow education has gradually taught us to co-ordinate their impressions. Theoretical forms come between nature and us: a veil of symbols envelops reality. Our senses supplement one another. we no longer see things themselves. thus. of which in reality we judge by differences of coloring or relief. 1 chapter of Matter and in which further arguments are to first I will only add one remark. i. finally. * Philosophical Review. 1900. and that in view of our practical insertion in the pres I will not come back to this point which ent. our perception appears to analysis completely saturated with memories. Note on the Psychological Origins of Our Belief in the Law of Causality. May 1901. be found. we are content to read the labels on them. January 1902. Vol. Berg2 son in a lecture on Dream and an article on Intellectual Effort? the reading of which can not be too strongly recommended as an intro duction to the Memory. 161 a succession of planes. Bergson. fol- H.THEORY OF PERCEPTION tance in depth. . especially those 1 of touch to those of vision. Moreover.

what the elaboration which it makes undergo consists. indeed. extinguishing the weak. lines. but consciousness of an original visual emotion combined with a complete group of actions in embryo. ii. chap. Matter by the facts of apraxia or psychic blind and Memory. move 1 sand ways. and the is artificial character of our proceeding thus made Does not 1 science. . as always: perception is not simply contemplation. which are the most use ful from the practical point of view. in a thou sound it. emphasizing the strong. we make this choice above all by according preference to impressions of touch. we choose between the images. and handle From the utilitarian the preceding observations and practical nature of springs common see of reality Let us attempt now to perception. This selection determines the parceling ter into up of mat plain. This time I am summing up the fourth chapter of Matter and Memory.162 A NEW PHILOSOPHY lowing Mr. Bergson. by which we prepare to grasp the object. although both have. test its it functions. conclude in the same This is attested ness. describe its it. the same interest for pure knowledge. and the graze of movement within. First of all. independent bodies. ges tures in outline. a priori. Cf.

scheme of which.THEORY OF PERCEPTION 163 way. the scale of sensations. we shall be nearer pure per ception if we cease to consider anything but the perceptible stuff in which numerically dis tinct percepts are cut. Even there. by extinguishing most of the perceptible In short. subtends .&quot. then.&quot. which deter mines the disconnected scale of simple quali ties radiations. and all bodies resolved into station full &quot. each of discerning a possible path of action. &quot. ary waves and knots of intersecting fluxes? Already. to our the natural. advantage. let from homogeneous fixity. them We may say that corporal life functions in the manner of an absorbing milieu. monly we perceive only averages and wholes. is nothing but the Com spectrum of our practical activity. its with numerical aspect. showing us as soon as she frees herself even to a small extent from common-sense continuity re-established by moving strata. however. which we contract into distinct qualities. this sub this stratum of greater arbitrary measurement and division. us strive to disengage our space. Our senses are instruments of abstraction. Let us disengage from peculiar to ourselves. a utilitarian division continues. this rhythm what is Above selves all.

of things is Our knowledge then no longer relative to the fundamental structure of our mind. The final. 2 and conceive.164. The impotence of is speculative reason. . and exercised upon a matter which it has had to disorganize for in the satisfaction of our needs. Matter and Memory. and resume contact with is reality. only the impotence of an intelligence bondage to certain neces sities of the corporal life. space. That We Here we how things are really presented. relativity of knowledge is therefore not In unmaking what our needs have re-establish intuition in its original 2 made we purity. perhaps. There is no disputing the absolute value of this pure perception. that extension precedes p. 1 extension of images. 241. on the contrary. And we have pure per ception in so far as accessible to us. as demonstrated by Kant. are confronted by the moving con- 1 usually represent homogeneous space as previous to the heterogeneous extension of images: as a kind of empty room which we furnish with percepts. to the contingent form which it takes on from our corporal functions and our lower only to its superficial needs. at bottom. A NEW PHILOSOPHY and undivided shall finally it is qualitative. must reverse this We order. but and acquired habits.

we were to succeed in possessing the stream of total interaction of which it marks a wave. not in us. says Mr. 1 risk &quot. p. but the root of pure per ception plunges into full objectivity. throwing shadows here and there: the reality perceived by common-sense is nothing else actually than universal interaction rendered visible by its very interruption at certain points. while inaccessible on the one hand. Bergson. 1 to Matter and Memory. we should coin It is true that such cide with reality itself.THEORY OF PERCEPTION tinuity of images. and our consciousness is rather limited than relative. would not succeed on the other without to knowledge in fact. 165 is Pure perception com plete perception. subjectivity of our current perception comes from our w ork of outlining it in the the r bosom of reality. at each point of matter. an ideal. . Whence we have this double conclusion already formulated higher up: the relation of perception to matter is that of the part to the whole. and if we were to succeed in seeing the multiplicity of these points as a qualitative heterogeneous flux without number or severance. . It must be stated that primarily we perceive things in themselves. If. 46. From it we pass to ordi nary perception by diminution.

a dynamic and approximate solution.&quot. material this double difficulty remains possible. this com plete experience can be practically thought. which consists in looking for the absolute intuition of matter in such a mobili zation of our perspective faculties that we But a solution of become capable of following. how &quot. and capable of realizing all the infinitely dif ferent modes of But we qualification have still to see &quot. and discernment. . according to the circumstances.166 A NEW PHILOSOPHY all perceive all the influences of all the points of bodies would be to descend to the state of object. all the paths of virtual perception of which the common anxiety for the practical has made us choose one only.

it manageable and portable concepts. except when once socialized. were it analyze into only to utter the impotence of words. By language I mean the product of this conceptualization. Not less necessary is a critique of spontaneous language. for we must always speak. once made the common property of men. except with due knowledge. THE There viz. If it is impossible to escape practical use. Thus language is necessary. it is at least fitting not to employ them them. of the postulates which it embraces. to is one means only of doing that. of the laws which govern it. and thereby also tested and verified. and when prop167 .IV CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE perception of reality does not obtain the full value of knowledge. Synthetic forms are actually theories already they effect an adaptation of reality to the demands of . of the methods which convey its implicit doctrines.

But that is inexact. and let us attempt to grasp the nature of this causal activity. thought Its dynamic continuity and duration. or negation of another thing. in greater depth. and the act of knowledge. No doubt the use of number and the resulting atomism are imposed by defini tion. on the thought which proceeds by conceptual analysis. Intellectual Effort January 1902. considered in itself. some go so far as to regard atomism as a necessary method.168 erly A NEW PHILOSOPHY warned against the illusion of the false problems which they might arouse. What are the principal characteristics. in its concrete life. the essential steps? ily say. Let us first of all consider thought in itself. and then by unifying construction. H. as an absolute condition of intelligibility. is unification. The act of thought is always a complex play 1 1 view. analysis and synthesis. correlation. Nothing can be known except We read in contrast. Thus number appears as a fun damental category. that is to say. is But. on syn thetic thought. Let us see in it rather a kind of creative maturation. in the Philosophical Re . we might say. essential work does not consist in discerning and afterwards in assembling ready-made elements. Bergson.

than representative. Bergson s expression. . But there are several planes of thought. it mark movement. do not think solely by concepts or first according to Mr. We . inexpressible in itself. one and the same scheme. but a source of language containing not so much the images or concepts in which it will develop as the indication of the path to be followed in order to obtain them. by dynamic schemes.CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE of 169 representations. progress. images we think. moving is to say. its by function of calling representations images for and concepts. gen the gaze directed upon the various points of one plane of deliberate contemplation so much as an effort to pass through successive planes of thought in a We up direction leading might define from it intuition to analysis. an evolution of life in which incessant inner reactions occur. and the thought which goes deeper and deeper the from one plane to another. It is not rather so much system does not as esis. it is movement. from intuition to language. are neither strictly determined nor anything in which. and we must distinguish between That thought which moves on the surface among terms displayed on a single plane. What is a dynamic scheme? It is motive of all.

Bergson between an idea and its basis in the brain. and by en deavoring to secure a more intimate feeling of this direction we suddenly arouse the de sired recollection. mutatis mutandis. resentations which have in rep common one and the same logical power. but we feel them approaching. the suggestive anxiety we experience when we seek to remember a name. for a few facts of current observation. and already we possess something of them. example. the precise syllables of the name still escape us. Nothing is easier than to illustrate the ex istence of this scheme. since we imme diately reject those which do not answer to a certain direction of expectancy. if not that we perceive it. what does it mean to have the sense of a complex situation in active life.&quot. &quot. it is the very act of creative thought which the dynamic scheme interprets. the act not yet fixed in results. representations called up form a body to the scheme. and the relation of the scheme to The the concepts and images which it calls up resembles. the relation pointed out by Mr. In short. not as a static group .170 A NEW PHILOSOPHY concurrent particular in themselves. In the same way. Let us merely remark Recall.

finally.&quot. the weight would be too heavy. What we entrust to memory is &quot. which contains in the state of potential implication an inex haustible multiplicity ready to be developed in actual representations. but as a meeting of powers allied or hostile. we should never get away initial reactions us the from them. is through such a scheme. nor is it a simple formula putting in the present indic ative what the enunciation expressed in the . would be at an end. how do we learn. But of what does such a hypothesis How. a &quot. and to solve a problem we must always begin by supposing it solved. convergent or divergent. how can we assimilate a vast system of con Our task is not to con cepts or images? centrate an enumerative attention on each individual factor.CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE 171 of explicit details. directed towards this or that. dynamic scheme permitting us to regain what we should not have succeeded in re In reality our only taining. &quot. of which the aggregate whole tends of itself to awaken in which analyze it? In the same way again. any discovery made ? Find ing is solving a problem. is consist? It is for then all not an anticipated view of the solution. knowledge &quot. really &quot.

all the notes taken. literary composition knows well that when the subject has been long studied. often very painful. ments something more. the enumeration of which would have no end. re mains by the best of itself a method and a dynamic scheme. and yet. and to seek as deep down as possible an impulse to which afterwards we This shall only have to let ourselves go.172 A NEW PHILOSOPHY future or the imperative. the more we it had collected never succeed in saying everything. that is to say. projects the mind on a road where it finds both the information which and a thousand other details as well. It is exactly a dynamic scheme. the further we advance. discover. for then nothing would be begun. to place oneself suddenly in the very heart of the subject. But one last example will perhaps reveal the truth still more. shall we . a method in the state of directed tension. capable of and unending developments and resurrections. impulse. if we turn sharply round towards the impulse we feel behind ourselves. the discovery once realized as theory or system. an effort. Anyone who has attempted &quot. to embark on the actual work of composition. once received. often. we need. all the docu collected. it develops and analyzes itself in terms.

Bergson. and though in definitely extensible it is x simplicity itself. nor even a finished group of various On distinct and rigorously separable senses. Metaphysical and Moral Review. January The whole critique of language is implicitly contained in this Introduction to Metaphysics. for the feeling of effort appears precisely in the traject from the dynamic scheme to the images and concepts. 1 1903. The ideal is a continual oscilla tion from one plane to the other. then. a restless alternative of intuitive concentration and con ceptual expansion.CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE 173 to grasp it. know what dangers threaten us there. Do not suppose that to word there is one corresponding sense only. the same conceptual is direction through descend ing planes another. that of language.&quot. it escapes. . which proceeds from one representation to another in one and the same plane is one kind . We this Suppose we have some idea or other and the word representing it. H. in the passing from one plane of thought to another. But our idleness takes ex ception to this. for it was not a thing but a direction of movement. that which follows one and The thought. Creative and fertile thought is the thought which adopts the second kind of work. Thus the natural tendency is to remain in the last of these planes.

174

A

NEW PHILOSOPHY

the contrary, there is a whole scale correspond ing, a complete continuous spectrum of un

meanings which tend unceasingly to resolve into one another. Dictionaries attempt
stable

to illuminate them.

They who shall say what
lie

The task is impossible. co-ordinate a few guiding marks; but
infinite transitions

under
of

them?

A
ists

word designates rather a current

thought than one or several halts on a logical path. Here again a dynamic continuity ex
previous to the parceling out of the ac What, then, should be the atti ceptations.

tude of mind?

A supple moving attitude more attentive to
the curve of change than to the possible halt ing-points along the road. But this is not the
case at all; the effort would be too great, and what happens, on the contrary, is this. For the spectrum a chromatic scale of uniform tints
is

very quickly substituted.

This

is

in itself

an undesirable

simplification, for it is impos sible to reconstitute the infinity of real shades

by combinations of fundamental colors each representing the homogeneous shore, which
each region of the spectrum finally becomes. However cleverly we proportion these aver

ages

we

get, at most,

some vulgar counterfeit:

CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE
orange, for example,
is

175

low and
to those

red, although

this

not a mixture of yel mixture may recall
it

who have known
original

elsewhere the
of

simple

and

sensation

orange.

Again, a second simplification,
desirable, succeeds the first.

still

more un

There are no longer any colors at all; black lines serve as guidemarks. are therefore with pure concepts decidedly in full

We

symbolism. And it is with symbols that we shall henceforward be trying to reconstruct
reality.

I need not go back to the general character istics or the inconveniences of this method.

Concepts resemble photographic views; con
crete

thickness

escapes

them.

However

exact, varied, or

numerous we suppose them,

reveal

they can certainly recall their object, but not it to anyone who had not had any
direct intuition of
it.

to trace the plan of a
all
"

the same, this

Nothing is easier than body in four dimensions drawing does not admit
"

;

as is the case with visualization in space ordinary bodies, for want of a previous intui

would awaken: thus it is with concepts in relation to reality. Like photo graphs and like plans, they are extracted from
tion which
it

reality,

but

we

are not able to say that they

176

A NEW PHILOSOPHY
it;

were contained in
sides are not so

and many of them be
as extracts; they are

much

simple systematized notes, in fact, notes made upon notes. In other terms, concepts do not represent pieces, parts, or elements of reality.
Literally they are nothing but simple symbolic To wish to make integral factors notations.
as strange an illusion as that of seeing in the co-ordinates of a geometric point the constitutive essence of that point.

of

them would be

do not make things with symbols, any more than we should reconstruct a picture with the qualifications which classify it. Whence, then, comes the natural inclination of thought towards the concept? From the fact that thought delights in artifices which
facilitate analysis

We

and language.
artifices
is

The

first

of these

that

from

which results the possibility of decomposition or recomposition according to arbitrary laws.

For

that

we need

a previous substitution of

symbols for things. this better than the

Nothing demonstrates celebrated arguments which we owe to Zeno of Elea. Mr. Bergson returns to the discussion of them over and
over again.
1

1 Essay on the Immediate Data, pp. 112-115; Matter and Memory, pp. 250-253; Creative Evolution, pp. 308-313.

CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE
The nerve

177

of the reasoning there consists in evident absurdity there would be in con the ceiving an inexhaustible exhausted, an un

achievable achieved; in short, a total actually completed, and yet obtained by the successive

number of terms. But the question is to know whether a move ment can be considered as a numerical multi
addition of an infinite
plicity.

Virtual divisibility there is, no doubt, but not actual division; divisibility is indefi

nite,

respects the inner articulations of reality, is bound to halt at a limited number of phases.

whereas an actual

division, if

it

divide and measure is the track movement once accomplished, not the movement itself: it is the trajectory, not the In the trajectory we can count end traject.

What we

of the

less

positions; that

is

to say, possible halts.

Let us not suppose that the moving body meets these elements all ready-marked.

Hence what
is

the Eleatic dialectic illustrates

a case of incommensurability; the radical our inability of analysis to end a certain task; powerlessness to explain the fact of the
transit, if

we apply

to

it

such and such modes

of numerical decomposition or recomposition, which are valid only for space; the impossi
bility

of conceiving becoming as susceptible

178

A NEW PHILOSOPHY
up into arbitrary segments, and reconstructed by summing of

of being cut

afterwards

terms according to some law or other; in short, it is the nature of movement, which is
without division, number, or concept.
delights in analyses regulated by the sole consideration of easy language; hence its tendency to an arithmetic and

But thought

geometry of concepts,

in

spite

of the

dis

astrous consequences; and thus the Eleatic paradox is no less instructive in its specious character than in the solution which it

embodies.

At bottom, natural thought, I mean thought which abandons itself to its double inclination
of synthetic idleness

and useful industry,

is

a

thought haunted by anxieties of the operating manual, anxieties of fabrication. What does it care about the fluxes of reality
only interested in the outcrops scattered here and there over the firm soil of the practical, and it solidifies
It
is
"

and dynamic depths?

terms

"

ground.
its

plunged in a moving Hence comes the configuration of
like

stakes

spontaneous logic to a geometry of solids, and hence come concepts, the instantaneous

moments taken

in transitions.

Scientific thought, again, preserves the

same

a curve. It seeks what repeats. It is thus. in a word. Let us imagine reality under the figure of different. in a sym metry. Thus our logic is valid as infini tesimal analysis. in something therefore which is of the nature of an equilibrium and a fixity all the same. although in a manner a little aims only in actual fact at obtain ing finished and workable results. it tends to between composing unities which form a homogeneous and dis connected multiplicity. There is contact at one point. that vitality . states not transitions. for example. what can be counted. The apparatus of the laboratory really grasps nothing but arrangement and coincidence. Even in cases we determine of contrary appearance. when a weight by observing the oscil lation of a balance and not its rest. when it theorizes. for example. like common-sense. but at one point only. only Everywhere. The reason of it is that science. a rhythmic succession of phases of which our concepts mark so many tangents.CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE habits 179 and the same preferences. just as the geometry of the straight line allows us to define each state of curve. we are interested in regular recurrence. establish static relations Its very instruments bias it in that direction.

can ever suffice. actual it. or rather. From this tangential point of view we try to grasp the genesis of the curve as envelope. That is ex the task represented by the return to actly intuition. think. it follows its movement in a straight line to Thus are produced limit-concepts. however. Speaking non-metaphori- cally. becoming It desires immediately to find things sharply determined and very clear. and better still. fact remains Let us not indisputably legitimate. even when repeated in as wish. . the birth of successive tangents as instanta neous directions. maintains a relation of momentary tangency to physico-chemical this If we study this relation and analogous relations. &quot. the dynamic scheme. We with its proper instrument. cling to genetic methods of concep tualization and proceed from the generating we principle to sustain such its conceptual derivatives. many points as we must afterwards by genuine integra tion attain moving continuity. partial to horrifies &quot. that such a study. the ultimate terms.180 A the NEW PHILOSOPHY structure. That is why immediately a tangent is constructed. the atoms of language. rectilineal deduction. finds it But our thought an very It is difficult to effort long. infinity.

every analysis being dichotomy. 3 Creative Evolution. From the same spring many concepts: &quot. as a complementary remainder. Report of the French Philosophical Society. according to the selection effected among concepts.&quot. and its appearance of regulated between antagonistic schools which get play up on the stage together.&quot. we get the antinomies between which a philosophy of analysis must forever remain oscillating and torn in sunder. the opposite path of direction. meeting. p.As the wind which rushes into the crossroads divides into diverging currents of air. Hence. each to win ap &quot. 51. 2nd May 1901.CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE 181 antithetic As a rule they go in pairs. Hence comes the parceling up of metaphysics into systems. a descent to ever intuition new concepts along dynamic schemes which remain open. H. not dialectic com bination of pre-existing concepts. in couples. which are all only one and the same 1 gust. since the discernment of one path of abstraction determines in contrast. plause in turn. but. . setting out from a direct and really lived intuition. The method followed to find a genuine solution must be inverse. Bergson. and the relative weight which is attributed to them.

and it will be impos sible to reconstitute the wealth of the original. Two colliding waves. seen in the successive positions of the tangent to the trajectory. we form the in movement stantaneous position of a ricochet. .182 A NEW PHILOSOPHY are The antinomies irreducible. resolved genetically. It shows us two necessary move ments in the reform of our habits of imagina first tion or conception. With the movement of a stone. two rollers meeting. is What 1 is dynamic stability. the tints and neutralize them easily create by one another. that to say. Bergson at Oxford on The Perception of Change. Let us try fixity deriving of all to familiarize our selves with the images which show us the from becoming. Do you 1 desire a precise example of the work we must accomplish? Take that of change. The very of the stone. whilst in the plane of language they remain With when we mix a heterogeneity of shades. typify rest by extinction and interference. and the fluidity of running water. no other is more significant or clearer. but take the result of this work. stationary to our view. the average final color. except non- Of. we homogeneity is . two lectures delivered by Mr. 26th and 27th May 1911.

no substance. no material successively draped in dummy on the contrary. ^oi a support.CRITIQUE OF LANGUAGE 183 variation arising from variation itself? Equi librium is produced from speed. Change self-sufficient . Of movement thus conceived.of states. man solidifies the moving ground. forbidding us to break it up way according to (2) arbitrary laws. is like a homo geneous length. it has no need &quot. let us try to perceive change in itself. indivisible and . &quot. 1 becoming. and then represent it to ourselves ac cording to its specific and original nature. After this. no spatial receptacle. it is the\ body or the atom which should be subordinately defined as symbols of completed/ colored stuffs. in such a that each change has its natural inner articulations. In running A short. resembling a theater-scene. a thing in Thqre is no vehicle. two moving bodies regulated by each other become fixed in relation to each other. but a rhythm of phases. The common conception needs reform on two principal points: (1) LA11 change is revealed in the light _of immediate intuition. a motion. moving body. not as a numerical series . each of which constitutes an indivisible act.

If we kind with require to reach a conception of this regard to change. a phrase in melody? That is how we must work to conceive reality. a century later a stroke of genius. 1 and finally an instinctive axiom. except &quot.&quot. it will share the fate of all its predecessors: to our contem poraries it will be a scandal. but the assurance once * obtained that we can handle it profitably. &quot. In any case. H. the Eleatic it dialectic is there to establish beyond dis positive science comes to the same conclusion.184* A NEW PHILOSOPHY substantial. Bergson. let us credit experience. what better image can we have than a musical evolution. after some centuries com mon evidence. Metaphysics. and nothing but movements placed upon move as tem ments. Introduction to . porary symbols of what we leave at a given moment outside the field of study. or rather the corresponding intuition. it is little more than a difficulty of the imaginative order. since it shows us everywhere pute. And as for the conception itself. at bottom. If such a conception at first appears obscure.&quot. for ideas are grad ually illuminated by the very use we make of the clarity of a concept being hardly them. anything. never fixed things. the difficulty of such a con ception need not stop us.

The first chapter of the Essay on the Immediate Data contains a decisive criticism of the conceptions which claim to introduce number and measure into the domain of the facts of consciousness. Bergson turned first of all to the problem of the ego: taking up his position in the center of mind. our business to reject as false the notion of psychological intensity. he has at tempted to establish its independent reality by examining its profound nature. The same reproach must it into a notion of size is 185 . DURATION AND LIB ERTY ARMED ward with the method we have just de scribed Mr. but this notion demands interpretation. and the least that we can say against the attempt to turn that it is Not that in doing so we are misunderstanding the specific character of the object studied.THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUS NESS.

each of which would be sufficient to show its radical flaw. the system of mechanical psychology of which the type is presented us by Taine and Stuart Mill. there. we must represent the it it state of consciousness to ourselves as variable according to the whole of which part. by a massing of units exterior to one another. of the Essay. the system is riddled with objections. it is a materialist philosophy which improperly transfers the seeks to : proceedings of the physical sciences to the sciences of the inner life. ii. again. and iii. it is although bears the same name. and again all through Matter and Memory. Already in chaps. the more also do its states of con- . In respect of each of them we have an illustration of the insufficiency of the atomism which recompose the soul with fixed elements. All the aspects. forms a always Here and &quot.186 A NEW PHILOSOPHY be levelled against association of ideas. everywhere and always the same this is a grammatical philosophy which believes reality to be composed of parts which admit of number just as language is made of words placed side by side. On the contrary. all the phenomena of mental life come up for successive review. no longer the same The more the ego becomes itself thing.

Historically this was Mr. the intuition of real duration. and tinge one another with the coloring of all the rest. ward the bringing for necessity. the fact that scientific time has no duration. even the they may contain in reality mark nothing but present tendencies. in which science employs to He first notice &quot. penetrate one another.&quot. and we are here touching on his all. p. of substituting a new notion of continuous is At bottom Mr. 164. commonit.&quot. instead of being in juxtaposition. blend with one an other. in the case before us. Bergson s startingpoint and the origin of his thought a criticism : of time under the form in which sense imagines was the it. . Our equations really express only differential static relations between simultaneous phenomena. Thus each of us has his man ner of loving or hating. and this love or hate * reflects our entire personality. Bergson qualitative heterogeneity for the old notion of numerical and spatial continuity.THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS 187 sciousness. no change would take place in our calculations quotients 1 Essay on the Immediate Data. Above emphasizing the still more imperious necessity of regarding each state as a phase in duration. is he principal and leading intuition.

The scholar makes use of a like image. for he defines time by its measurement. neutral and indifferent. but a coincidence. and time is resolved into a dust of fixities. marking nothing but a sequence of pauses. contains nothing it is &quot. while the hazard of prediction bears of constancy only upon the minute divergence between the actual phenomenon and the exact period attributed to it. like a linear whole of points in numerical order. Such symbols are sufficient. when in biology and psychology quite different char- . Notice under what figure common-sense imagines time: as an inert receptacle. instan taneously fulfilled. considered.&quot. strictly But durable. an instantaneous arrange ment. approximation. at least for a first only a question of matter. and all measurement implies interpretation in space. as in those pneumatic clocks in which the hand moves forward in jerks. periodic. For the scholar the hour is not an interval. Even in astronomy there is less and anticipation than judgment the phenomena being almost strictly stability.188 if A NEW PHILOSOPHY the time were given in advance. a homogeneous milieu. the mechanism of which. a kind of space. in fact. with no more genuine duration than that contained in the numerical succession.

qualitative. foreign to space.THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS acteristics 189 become essential. each of which contains the resonance of those preceding and announces going to follow it is a process of enriching which never ceases. age and memory. . That duration thus conceived is really the basis of ourselves Mr.&quot. irreversible which cannot be lengthened or rhythm &quot. and a per petual appearance of novelty it is an indivisi ble. Then it is that the return of time becomes necessary to duration. 10. . scribe this duration? It tion of How is are we to de a melodious evolu moments. imagine a symphony having feeling of and creating itself. p. Bergson proves by a thousand examples. refractory to number. and by a marvelous em ployment of the introspective method which he has helped to make so popular. heterogeneity of musical phases. shortened at 1 will. Or rather itself. cannot quote these admirable analyses here. the one which sciousness passing through the continuity of the spectrum. 1 We Creative Evolution. and becoming tinged succes sively with each of its shades. Summon the image of a stream of con is . that is how we should conceive duration. and organic becoming.

then three. that is. I become aware that the first four sounds had struck into my ear and even moved my consciousness. but only aware of it after several is my strokes have already sounded. my sensibility. on being ques- . In order to estimate in retrospect the number of strokes which have sounded. At the moment when I write these lines a clock near me is distracted ear striking the hour. specially selected as referring to one of the most life. I have not counted them. accompanies us in &quot. And yet an effort of introspective attention enables me to total the four strokes already struck and add them to those which I hear. had blended into one another in such a way as to endow the whole with a peculiar aspect and make of it a kind of musical phrase. instead of following in juxtaposition. then two. to show plainly that the perception of real duration always A ordinary moments of our secret. If I then withdraw myself and carefully question myself about what has just happened.190 A NEW PHILOSOPHY single one will serve as model. and so long as it had not reached the exact number four. but that the sensations produced by each of them. I attempted to reconstitute this phrase in thought: my imagination struck one.

127-128. pp. and preserves this form so long as it does not give place to a symbolical rep resentation drawn from are space. that the intuition of duration reduces to the spasm of delight of the mollusc basking a complete mistake! should fall back into the misconceptions which I was pointing out in connection with in the sun&quot. as a shepherd dozing watches the water flow ? Or are we even to believe. In fact. replied that the total effect differed in quality. not as quan tity: duration is thus presented to immediate consciousness. tained. we should be ness. and 1 finally we should bei misunderstand Immediate Data. &quot.&quot. and without bringing in the image of a juxtaposition of of the four strokes in a way of its distinct terms. &quot. and allowing ourselves an idle relaxation in dream or dissolution in sensation. the number of strokes struck was perceived as quality. as has been main &quot. but quite otherwise than by addition. ing the character of a creative invention perEssay on the .? This is We immediacy forget that there are several rhythms of dura ting tion. It had therefore noted the succession own. as there are several kinds of conscious in general.THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS 191 tioned. And now we to believe that return to the feeling of real duration consists in letting ourselves go.

But that is not quite this independence I am describing has not always a moral character. he says. In this. which life. to a certain degree. in acting in conformity with oneself. I believe that liberty consists in being entirely oneself. since free- . that of our inner For it is in duration that we are free. to the two terms liberty and free-will. has for me a sense interme liberty diate between those which we assign as a rule forestall &quot. in order. But I will Essay on the borrow from Mr. the moral liberty of philosophers. Further. as all determinist conceptions suppose in contradiction. Bergson himself a few complementary explanations. since the accept this sense completely either. not in spatialized time. I shall not go back to the proofs of this thesis. I should come back to And yet I do not the sense of free-will. liberty. they were condensed some way back after the third chapter of the Immediate Data. to The word any misunderstanding.192 A NEW PHILOSOPHY is petually renewed. as far as possible. the independ it is ence of the person with regard to everything other than itself. On one hand. then. it does not consist in depending on oneself as an effect depends on the cause which of necessity determines it.

I might say then. case ceive this of equal possibility of the two contraries. such as I understand it. is situated between these two terms. . that back in pure duration. . on this particular point. 6 free-will.&quot. &quot. to see action arise 1 to place ourselves Then we seemed antecedents by an from its Report of the French Philosophical Society.We have supposed that there is. I should select &quot. article &quot. has been pre cisely to find a position intermediate between moral liberty and free-will/ Liberty. vocabulary.THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS will. 1 After say. or as an incomprehensible creation ex nihilo. . and on or even con the the thesis my theory in we cannot formulate. but not at equal distances from both. If I were obliged to blend it with one of the two. philosophical Liberty. the act necessarily appears either as the resultant of a mechanical composition of elements. is a third course to pursue. that the object of my thesis. . that is to substitute its when we for the real and profound ego image refracted through space. in 193 the usual the equal possibility of meaning of the term. when we perspective of place ourselves in the homogeneous time. all. implies two contraries. without fall ing into grave error about the nature of time.

p. At most this would be the case in the animal world. being an the fruit upon the But in principally that of the affections.194 A NEW PHILOSOPHY evolution sui generis. to obvious spontaneity. 2 most important letter. Mr. the case of man. .&quot. meeting. while at the same time it adds something absolutely advance upon them as flower. it implies that Matter and Memory. 26th February 1903. negation. tion than in this &quot. and the evolution which leads to and it a reasonable 1 evolution. in a of liberty with the negation of physical de for there is more in this affirma terminism. Report of the French Philosophical Society. a thinking being. All the same. as has been said. 243. Bergson We must certainly not confuse the affirmation Finally. &quot. psychological causality itself. in such a way that we discover in this action the antecedents which explain it. Liberty is in no way reduced thereby. In opposition to the 1 2 latter. the free act can be called a synthesis of feelings ideas. which must not be represented after the model of physical causality. becomes a little more precise still. It is liberty supposes a certain contingence.&quot. where the psychological life is new to them.&quot.

that in the transition from one to the other there is a genuine creation. With out doubt the free act is not without explana tory reasons. The method which Mr. thesis of psycho-physiological parallelism We know The is there peremptorily refuted. Bergson has fol lowed to do so will be found set out by him self in a communication to the French Philo sophical Society. is that the solution of this problem the principal object of Matter and Memory. 2nd . determining.THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS 195 between two moments of a conscious being there is not an equivalence admitting of deduction. Report of meeting. 1 it is important to in- The paralogism May 1901. But these reasons have determined us only at the moment when they have become &quot. that the act is. true that all this implies a certain independence of mental life in relation to the mechanism of matter. Bergson was obliged to set himself the problem of the relation between body and mind. and that is why Mr.&quot. is creation of which I speak in the progress entirely contained by which these reasons have It is become determining. which 1 study as introduction. at the moment when and the was virtually accomplished.

November 1904. to which present conceptions sup ply a body of actuality.196 A NEW PHILOSOPHY eluded in the very enunciation of the parallelist thesis is explained in a memoire presented Geneva International Philosophical 1 But the actual proof is Congress in 1904. What we call our present must be con ceived neither as a mathematical point nor as a segment with precise limits: it is the et de Morale. ii. of the work cited above. Bergson studies their living contact at the point of intersection marked by the phenomena of perception and memory: he compares the higher point of matter the brain and the lower point of mind certain recollections and it is between these two neighbouring points that he notes a difference. its . the part concerned with action. Mr. to the It is there established. 8 Instead of brutally connecting the two extremes of matter 1 Revue de Metaphysique 2 An and mind. but that one part only is conscious of it. 3 by the most is positive arguments. with the indivisible nature of change. extremely suggestive resume of these theses will be found in the second lecture on The Perception of Change. made by the analysis of the memoire which 2 fills chaps. that all our past self-preserved in us. one regarded in its highest action. thus dooming to certain failure any attempt to explain their actual union. the other in most rudimentary mechanism. by a method no longer dialectic but experimental. and iii. that this preservation only makes one with the musical character of duration.

from &quot. to the life of practical schemes. simplifying. of which Mr. &quot. in dimin from it all ishing.&quot.&quot. a simple instrument of action. and we descend from the one to the other. a bundle of motive habits. and nothing.THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS moment tice. and extracting employed in . &quot.it us. According to a dictum of Ravaisson. not yet interpreted in distinct images down to the same recollec tion actualized in embryo sensations and movements begun. drama. Bergson makes use. along planes dynamic is The last of these the body. the explana is ma tion must be sought in the body: teriality which causes forgetfulness in There are. dream &quot. a group of mechanisms which mind has set up to act. Minute study of facts shows that the brain is does it choosing from the past. in fact. 197 of our history brought out by our attention to life. How operate in the work of memory? The task of the brain is every moment to thrust back into unconsciousness all that part of our past which is not at the time useful. from the life of simple &quot. but forgetfulness which demands ex planation.&quot. &quot. several planes of memory.pure recollection&quot. It is not recollection then. in strict jus would prevent it from extending to the whole of this history.

and Thus is independence determined the relation of soul to body. x impressed its liberty. resulting in a common impotence. That is why the analysis of memory its illustrates the reality of mind.198 A NEW PHILOSOPHY that can contribute to present experience. Bergson discovers a common postulate. the brain can only explain absences. 1 and object and static. is how to solve systems by which attempts have been made it. then. And this double failure comes again from the under lying hypothesis. radical.&quot. according to which the dual ity of the subject primitive. and gives them back to it in the form of movement. is conceived as Our duty is Matter and Memory. it is not concerned to preserve it. nor from the realistic point of view how an ego is expressed internally. on which it has relative to matter. the closes. by returning to problem of perception. Mr. 332. . From the idealistic point of view we do not succeed in explaining how a world is expressed externally. &quot. In the two opposing This. not presences. the cycle of research the initial problem. but In short. from matter perceptions from which it derives its nourishment. the penetrating point which it inserts and drives Mind borrows into the plane of action. p.

Our representation begins by being impersonal. is only of the universe. And it is the is common it mistake of realism effected in advance. emerge We gradually from universal reality. that this sep aration is effected. and in so far as so far as it is a group of mechanisms become habits. But this the already consciousness. . accentuated. and by action. and idealism whereas to believe relatively second to perception. is of only a result of the initial action of life. Hence comes diate intuition.THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS diametrically opposed. this duality as 199 We have to consider gradually elaborated. and fixed. It is by the work of life. and it is only later that it adopts our body as center. and of perception always puts us back into the initial state previous to the first moment separation of the subject and object. presenting the same a part characteristics as the whole. the absolute value of imme For from what source could an irreducible relativity be produced in it? It would be absurd to make it depend on the constitution of our brain. and our real izing roots are always sunk in reality in itself is it. it it is a group of images. since our brain self. and the it must be first stated and then solved as a function of time rather problem concerning than of space. created.

not perception in the subject not primitively. in real ity. other hand.200 A NEW PHILOSOPHY And. since. that is to say. no less absurd would be the fear that the subject can ever be excluded or elimi nated from its own knowledge. like the object. problems as they ought to be presented. on the original perceptive discernment. . the subject. by a trick of speech that the theses of fundamental rela it is So that tivity take root: they vanish immediacy. in terms which do not suppose any conceptual to when we return when we present analysis yet accomplished. is in percep at least tion.

for Either sensation has no raison d etre or it is that is what the Esa beginning of liberty l say on the Immediate Data already told us. evolution..VI THE PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION: LIFE AND MATTER AFTER problem of consciousness Mr. 1 2 Page 25. I wrote with regard to the new philosophy considered as a philosophy of It has been prepared by contembecoming: &quot. Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale. May 1901. &quot. duration might take a position which would render it more intelligible by removing its appearance of singular exception. 2 Thus in 1901. 201 . It was easy then to foresee the necessity of a general theoretical frame in which our &quot. Bergson was bound to approach that of the psychological liberty is only truly conceivable if it begins in some meas ure with the first pulsation of corporal life.

Modern science is quite different. for example. When we characteristic examine ancient knowledge. is almost always limited to the static consideration of figures already traced. by degrees at all successive moments? This fundamental of . sifting and turning it into genuine metaphysics. It studies little but certain privileged moments of changing reality. carried out. to follow the moving generation phenomena and magnitudes in its conti nuity. Has not the greatest progress which it has realized in the mathematical order really been the invention of infinitesimal analysis. losing its role as the regulating science. is about to give This is the program place to biology.&quot. an effort to substitute the process for the resultant. perfects. certain states of equilibrium. Is it from its not this the philosophy suited to the century of history? Perhaps it indicates that a period has arrived in which mathematics. to place oneself along becoming at any moment whatsoever. that is to say. which it investigates and ore of materialism. by the doctrine of Creative Evolution.A NEW PHILOSOPHY porary evolution. or rather. Ancient geom etry. certain stable forms. one of it is at once visible. in what an original manner we are well aware.

but we hardly think of the thing. we pro nounce the word. Whence comes a latent materialism. 1 2 Creative Evolution. There is no genuine duration. coupled with the development of was bound to incline it towards a doctrine of evolution. and a motionless theater of In change which is at bottom only space? such a doctrine we still talk of time. 38. ready to grasp the chance of self-expression. with such precision. p. nothing really tending to evolution in Spencer s evolution: no more than there is in the periodic working of a arbitrarily divisible. emphasized by the perpetual employment of mechanical Is not what images and vulgar engineering metaphors. and Huxley have expressed &quot. 203 tendency. indefinitely only a time-length. Whence the automatic return to the dream of universal arithmetic. Ibid. and hence the success of Spencer. which is everywhere in modern is science the chief variable. Du Bois-Reymond.. p. for time is here robbed of all effect. But time. which Laplace. 8 .&quot. and turbine or in the stationary this tremble is of a diapason. 38. the least fault of which is to suppose a homo geneous time.THE PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION biological research.

204 A NEW PHILOSOPHY we du to escape such consequences must. is a tangent to physico-chemical mecha nism. Consider the development of an embryo. ences? It summarizes the history of species. reintroduce real ration. we see appearing the our view is rhythmic organization. Bergson. reproduces phylogenesis. onto genesis. that is In order evolution. to this task. the musical character. and that Now thus capable of a synthesis which before was too difficult. we are told. But physico-chemistry does not reveal its secret any more than the straight line pro duces the curve. with Mr. creative duration into must conceive life according to the mode general. . And what do we observe then? that a long sequence of centuries is contracted for us into a short period. something besides a conservative play of actions and reactions. we to say. exhibited with regard to change in And it is science itself which calls us What let it us to when we it does science actually tell speak instead of prescribing answers which conform to our prefer Vitality. In each state of the embryo there is something besides an instantaneous structure. which the slowness of the transitions at first prevented us from seeing. at every point of its becom ing.

presented as the doctrine. this a~ creative activity. constituting an which we are not authorized by the facts to pronounce fatalistic: &quot. as it were. the case be. And further. again is an act of generating impulse. Mr.A simple glance at the fossil species shows us that life could have done without evolution. Bergson establishes by direct and positive arguments that life is genuine creation. with general evolu have there. a vision of We biological duration in miniature. rather than an effect of mechanical inertia. by analogy. had it chosen the far easier path open to it of becoming cramped in its primitive forms. The stage traversed is less interesting than the traversing itself. . evolution disappears. properly speaking. tension bring its but at the same homo time. So must tion.THE PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION there is 205 a tendency. implies initiative effort and choice. for we cannot deny that the history of life is revealed to us under the aspect of a And this impulse progress and an ascent. a direction. an effort. A similar conclusion of his is envelope of all whole It is imposed first by immediate evidence. or could have evolved only within very restricted limits. expansion its and relaxation of geneity to notice.

we are of is Whatever be the in what is and what is being 2 it: a conclusion by analogy by its aptitude for of detail. : &quot. life. chap. November 1911.206 certain A NEW PHILOSOPHY Foraminifera have not varied since period. relative to its nature and its phenomena a law of conserva tion and a law of degradation. or re &quot. would indisputably creation and liberty. p. Moreover. * * Revue de Metaphysique Creative Evolution. drawn up by Mr.&quot. inertia. On the one we have mechanism. 1 Creative Evolution. how it not. et ii. 102. this analyses the gard to 3 development of animal As regards matter. de Morale. are to-day what they were in the most distant times of the palaeozoic life is era. repetition. in us. hand.&quot. conclusion is verified But. and for taking solving problems account of observed facts. to some extent. looking the innumerable revolutions silurian the unmoved upon which have upheaved our planet. two main laws stand out from the whole of our science. and in this respect I regret that I can only refer the reader to the whole body of admirable discussions and therefore legitimate. the Lingulse. if. above all. be so in universal nature? most essence of made.&quot. Bergson with the plant and the animal. .

we have something which is being used up. move dissipated. 207 play of the material world. a homo geneous transformation tending to maintain in itself and invariants: the an exact equivalence between the de parture and arrival point. from the point of view of quantity. degraded. addition. and thus a principle of crea at the base of things. Reality falling asleep or break ing up is the figure under which we finally observe matter: matter then is secondary. according to Mr. from the point of view of quality. constructions breaking up. notice that the failure of the vital impulse is most infallibly interpreted by the appearance we of mechanism. On the other hand. except imperfectly. this descent as the interruption of an ascent. offers us the aspect of an immense transformation without gain or loss. and differences effaced. exhausted: energy expended. tion is . this ascent it self as growth. matter is defined as a kind of descent. The travel of the ma ment terial world appears then as a of fall loss. while. Bergson. weights falling. there is only a tendency to a tendency which is never realized conservation. Finally.THE PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION constants. on the contrary. a move ment In and descent. lowered. levels becoming equalized.

tical my desire. and the according to Mr. and I express my Or deception in the else I language of speak ing a language of construction. it always harks back to its eternal question: How has something come out of When nothing? of nothing The question is is false. I never perceive except what is. Nothing is unthinkable.&quot. 1 Cf. it is not that I perceive a nothing. since to think nothing is neces sarily to think or not to think something.&quot. But I have not per ceived what I was seeking. The becoming of evolution will then appear to us in its true light. for the idea only a pseudo-idea. . of Creative Evolution. : &quot. not accustom itself to the idea of a becoming which is bution.208 A NEW PHILOSOPHY It can Such a view seems obscure and disturbing to the mathematical understanding. When I say &quot. iv. Bergson s formula. more than a simple change of distri and more than a simple expression of latent wealth. what I was ex pecting. the discussion on existence and non-existence in chap.&quot. am Let us abruptly forget these idols of prac action and language. There is nothing. implying that I do not yet possess what I intend to make. confronted with such an idea. 1 sentation. representation of void is always a full repre &quot. as phases of gradual maturation.

the other as an aspect of retrospection after And we shall see that the same the event. the one as an aspect of ascent towards the future. key will in addition of knowledge. Continuity and discontinuity will thus admit possibility of reconciliation. disclose to us the theory .THE PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION rounded at intervals 209 by crises of creative dis covery.

in the human mind. But from what point of view and by what method do we or . Every movement of thought shows this power in exercise.VII THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE: ANALYSIS AND INTUITION WE know what importance has since been attached problem of reason: it would seem sometimes that all future philosophy is to the Kant a return to it. that it is no longer called to Besides. is. dinarily construct this theory of knowledge? The spontaneous works of mind. unifying the experi ence and rendering it by that very fact intel ligible. To bring it every where to the front would be the proper task of philosophy at least it is in this manner that we understand it to-day. the power of is light. the essential operation of which defined as an act of directing synthesis. in the broad sense. understand by reason. what we speak of anything else. percep210 .

in consequence. evolution. art. as a complete system come down ready-made from heaven. and action of such and such a kind. The task. method followed compels us to consider this act only when once accomplished. In do we persist in maintaining that it is originally an act we always come round to the fact that . is no longer anything but the science of problems already solved. at bottom a kind of non-tem original poral essence. the science which is confined to saying why knowledge action. the . in is to reascend from production to pro short. of which all vain genesis and all progress are absurd. and such and is knowledge such a quality. 211 and morality are the de of the inquiry and its initial parture-point matter. We how they are possible. and when The inevitable cononce expressed in results. which we regard as its suffi ciently revealed by natural products.THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE tion. Philosophy. what they imply. definable without respect to duration. or history. a regressive analysis at tempts by critical reflection to discern in them their principles and requisites. and what they suppose. do not ask ourselves whether but science. And in consequence also rea son can no longer appear anything but an datum postulated as a simple fact. ducing activity.

whether we will or no. it is always in life and by 1 life that is we are.A NEW PHILOSOPHY sequence is that we imprison ourselves hope lessly in the affirmation of Kantian relativism. Is it not a fact that human intelligence has been slowly constituted in the course of bio To know it. 2nd May 1901. it is a of truth. For Kant. 1 Moreover. the atmosphere of dead eternity in which every mental action is displayed. as to replace it in its history.If moment of Pure Reason closely. we have not logical evolution? so much to separate it statically from its works. Life not a brute force. since. a plane of thought. Kant has made the critique. . a blind mechanism. Such a system can only be true as a partial and temporary truth: at the most. in any case. of reason but of a reason fashioned to the habits and demands of Cartesian mechanism or Newtonian physics. a sectional view of becom ing. but reason itself has it is the fixed spot. Let us begin with life.&quot. he plainly studies only adult reason. its present state. men progress perhaps no duration : in rea son. meet ing. not we read the Critique we become aware that in general. &quot. Report of French Philosophical Society. H. But this could not be the final and complete truth. Bergson.

separating in the very process.THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE from which one could never conceive that thought would spring. paths the comple are produced and in mentary potentialities tensified. of which has retained only certain characteristics to accentuate them. p. life is at bottom of the psycho But the es logical nature of a tendency. or the Pure faculty and conceptual 1 reflection analysis. One of them ends in what we call intelligence. sence of a tendency is to develop in sheaf&quot. by the mere fact of its growth. that is life is discernment already luminous. creative effort tending towards liberty. spiritual activity. form. although the In quality is at first faint and diffused. From its first pulsation. 99. if we must conceive the word as intelli we prefer the word. This latter therefore has less become gradually detached from a it in tense but fuller luminous condition. We mind gence. their Along these different original interpretation being possible only in the state of birth. creating. thought extending beyond intelligence. other terms. .&quot. see that or. diverging directions between which its im * pulse will be divided. s consciousness. represents only one of critical Creative Evolution.

&quot. the part organized in view of practical action. the part consolidated as language.&quot. Intelligence. &quot. and everything it reduced by it to solid atoms.A NEW PHILOSOPHY form of thought in its entirety. it becomes easy to escape Kantian relativity. makes us acquainted. It arranged for action. that which has neither change nor duration. is naturally it &quot. possesses in its own domain a greater power of penetration. supposes remains itself by continual loans from a vaster and fuller activity from which it is sprung. What are its characteristics? It understands only what is discontinuous. a function. And this return to com plementary powers is From by an this point of view what we call intuition. intelligence We is are confronted which doubtless no longer a faculty universally competent. a determination or particular adaptation. to the very fact that forms except it only. if not with all is . it uses mathematics continually. it feels at home only among is things. that its What naturally grasps do we mean by that election it mechanism only object of of matter? But living is the life. &quot. inert. it bathes in an atmosphere of spatiality. but which. then.materialist. and fixed. owing &quot. Now action would not be able to move in irreality. on the contrary.

. language and mechanism are regulated by each other. how could it be applied throughout the evolutive movement itself? might as well claim that the part We equals the whole. 198. Preface to Creative Evolution. More profoundly. namely that which reality is a possible object of part by mechanical or synthetic action. life 1 2 Creative Evolution. at least 215 with some of it. life. &quot. Is not that as good as saying that life is it unknowable? &quot. That is why. intuition falls into analysis as life into matter: they are two aspects of the same movement. its non-success in the For.&quot. Being a deposit its of the intelligence evolutive movement along path. we only consider the general form of physics. or that the pebble left on the shore outlines the form of the wave which 2 brought it. and order of life. we can say that it touches the absolute. l In other terms. This explains at once the success of mathematical science in the order of matter. that the effect can absorb its cause into itself. p. Must we conclude that if is impossible to understand it? should be forced to do We so. provided &quot. when confronted with fails.&quot.THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE reality.

one another. if there had not remained round 1 Creative Evolution. though doubtless vanish It is precisely in this that the ing vision? act of philosophic intuition consists. essential in the movement &quot. by turning sharply round upon it feels behind it. Preface. But is to say. of obtaining a complete. And we should be right in saying so. shall be told that.J1 and capable. and making them afterwards amalga should mate with we not thus life.216 A NEW PHILOSOPHY all had employed contains that is the psychic potentialities it in making pure understandings. obtain a consciousness co-extensive with the vital thrust which &amp. none the less for that. not the only one. and through our intelligence. We beyond our intelligence. also express something immanent and of evolution. By bringing them into connection with intelligence. but which. in preparing mathematicians. since it is with our intelligence. even so. the line of evolution which ends in man other divergent ways other forms of consciousness have developed. By which have not been able to free themselves from external constraint. nor regain the vic tory over themselves as intelligence has done. if we were pure intelligences. we do not get :&amp. .gt. that we observe all the other forms of consciousness.lt.

as a pale and fugitive gleam. of which we have only a confused feeling when we remain shut up in ourselves. and life. but which will become illumined distinct when they perceive themselves at work. to go.&quot. in the evolution of nature. and descent with it into infra-consciousness again? By no to become more intense. or that it goes against intelligence&quot. made of the very substance at the expense of which the luminous nucleus. They will thus learn what effort they have to and make to expand Does that in the actual direction of mean abandonment to instinct. has been formed.THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE 217 our conceptual and logical thought a vague nebula. means. In it reside certain complementary powers of the understanding. to become free On and illumined an in it. so to speak. as possible in the flash of it is sometimes possible for the eye to perceive. Can we say of such a doctrine that it seeks &quot. and is this ascent towards super-consciousness intuitive act. beyond what we properly term light. the contrary. Preface. . our task is to bring instinct to enrich intelligence. for Nothing limitation of a sphere 1 is not misappreciation Creative Evolution.? authorizes such an accusation. which we call intelligence. the ultra-violet rays of the spectrum.

the mind must do itself violence. Besides. and its complete whole appears in the sequence of centuries. natural products do not completely exhaust or mani fest our power of light. and as it were irrational. that they evolve and expand. facts originally admitting no comparison. At bottom. is not the whole of thought. is possible: we work out its differential every moment. and by the fertility which they manifest. the history of thought would furnish examples in plenty. must ex pand till it becomes adapted to what formerly shocked its habits so much as almost to seem Such a task. forever arrested in their inner structure. In order to grasp the complex content of reality. and only anticipated. become instructive and lumi nous by the fruitful use made of them. is a fact: the place of discovery is precisely the residual fringe of which we were speaking above. moreover. contradictory to it.218 A NEW PHILOSOPHY But and intelligence its of every legitimate exercise. In this respect. the new theory of knowledge has nothing new in it except the demand that all the facts shall be taken into account: . Intuitions at first obscure. that intelligence and reason are not things completed. must awaken its sleep ing powers of revealing sympathy.

but elaboration of the frames themselves. of its true task: it is an echo and a recollection. Hence its conception of ex perience. Bergson s doctrine mis understands it: to deny it and to place it are A the problem of reason changes its two it is different things. great mistake has been made in thinking that Mr. is not simple infor mation. and its essential act is presented as apper the demand It is unifying activity. of complete perception. for it. Hence aspect. without being deprived. is In its inmost essence. by a view of reciprocal implica however shaded we sup pose if we entails a previous analysis. But it. in the bosom of the elementary atomism which character- .THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE it 219 renews duration in the thinking mind. Therefore place ourselves in a perspective of intui tion. not only at that of subsequent demonstration. fitted into pre-existing frames. not so much by a dialectic of harmonious con struction as tion. reason why for unity. I mand mean. and places itself at the point of view of creative invention. that is why displayed as a faculty of synthesis. which. the de for reason appears second only. all that. ception of relation. our original anticipation and our final hope. an appeal and a promise of profound continuity. however.

which Do of all oppose them and afterwards force intelligence to move endlessly from one term first to another? would certainly be intelligible If such were the case. atomism s basic irreality. as alone making an continuity out of discontinuous perception and restoring total unity to each temporary part by a synthetic dialectic. . but only of putting it in its proper place. to say. reason first. and weaknesses unified. and reason thus marks the zone of contact be tween intelligence and instinct. of atomism unity constitutes like a murmur of deep underlying something continuity: it expresses in the very language of atomism. its present task is to measure and correct in us the limits. Is thought only possible under the law of number? Does reality only become an object of knowledge as a system of distinct but ideas regulated factors and moments? exist only by their mutual relations. In a perspective of complete intuition nothing would require to be Reason would That is then be reabsorbed in perception. There is The demand in the bosom for rational no question of misunderstanding reason. gaps. But all this really has meaning only after analysis has taken place.220 izes the A NEW PHILOSOPHY transitory region of language.

Bergson admirably points out is coherent that there are two types of order. It is essentially relative. These two types are opposed. It is to abolish both at once. geometric and vital. Bergson to reduce this task true worth and genuine importance. For we son &quot. Rea invoked in solemn and moving tones. in fact. 220 ff. But we to its try with Mr. as space to duration and matter to mind. therefore impossible The idea of disorder does not correspond to any genuine reality. . the other a tion of the other. Mind. In this respect not a man of us thinks of denying it its task. are decidedly tired of hearing &quot.THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE of the perceptive faculty. the one a static hierarchy of rela musical continuity of mo ments. from unity rather it than arrives at and the order which appears to discover subsequently in an ex perience which at first is manifold and in only refraction of the original unity through the prism of a spontaneous * analysis. but the negation of one coincides with the posi tions. sets out it. as if to write the venerable name with the largest of capital s were a magic solution of all R problems. Mr. and arises only when we do not meet the type of order which we 1 Creative Evolution. pp.

accepting preliminary analysis. by soaring it is when above synthetic dissociations. seeks to organize it according to But it is the vital the mathematical type. the absence the of the expected order being equivalent.222 A NEW PHILOSOPHY were expecting. absence of all order. this practical point of view. How true at most of the disjointed experience this em ployed by common-sense. &quot. at least a question of the Whole. Reason. and only intuition has re-access to it. therefore do we come which to speak of a perceptible diversity mind has to regulate and unify? This is only &quot. type which corresponds to absolute reality. and proceeding to language. un duly taking form as the common basis of two antithetic types. . Regarded in notion is only a verbal entity. and then it expresses our deception in the language of our expectation. from the to itself.

capable of continuous. studies the human mind in so far as it operates in a useful manner to a practical end. and intuition. Introduction to Metaphysics in the Revue de Metaphysique de Morale. as contact with creative effort. January 1903. Let us say once more that it appears as the to say. life. Bergson. if we wish to aright the original notions which it proposes to us about liberty. its each of which retains place. according to Mr. regular. and begins a never-ending match with the 1 rest. forcibly schools. metaphysics repreet 223 .&quot. and collective divided progress. into enthronement of positive metaphysics: positive. Bergson s duration. my whole study: is a philosophy philosophy of [Let conceive that is us regard it from this point of view.VIII CONCLUSION As my last word and closing formula I come back to the leitmotiv of Mr. irreducible its no longer &quot. chooses dice. Psychology.

allows us to measure with more and more accuracy the divergence between these two planes of life. is a kind of Mr. The considerations put for But he adds ward in my Essay on the Immediate Data result in an illustration of the fact of liberty. the . in its it work of discovery and verification. since no other. I hope. to put our finger on mental reality. Now experience. : Creative Evolution present creation as a fact sent the effort of this : same mind to free itself from the conditions of useful action.A NEW PHILOSOPHY Let us next say that until the present moment constitutes the only doctrine which is truly a metaphysic of experience. hence the positive character of the new metaphysics. God would would do nothing. to see in Some have wanted monism. and regain possession of itself as pure creative energy. the experience of laboratory. and point himself. since he &quot. those of Matter and Memory lead us. at bottom. those of really be nothing. what he right in rejecting. remains in subjection to a law of probation by durable action. are the doctrines which confine themselves to personifying the unity of nature or the unity of knowledge in God as motionless first cause. explains why thought. Bergson has answered What he rejects. We have its now evades certain criticisms only to show how it which have been it leveled against atheist this tendencies.

de Tonqu6dec. producing matter and life at once. Mr. . he is waiting and search ing. in a vital direction. of monism and pantheism in general Now. and he will say nothing. About these new prob &quot. and quoted here as found in the Annal* of Christian Philosophy.&quot. published in the Studies of 20th February 1912. March 1912. to results as positive. because he does not consider that mere subjective opin He there ions are in place in philosophy. fore denies nothing. on this point. so long as his method does not lead him.CONCLUSION 225 from all this we derive a clear idea of a free and creating God. as those of his other works. those of morality. ac cording to the actual expression of the author. whose creative effort is continued. can we help finding in these words.? &quot. Bergson points out that we must approach problems of quite a different kind. always in the same spirit: what more could we ask of him? is : possible to-day to discern in the doctrine already existing the points of a One thing only 1 Letter to P. lems the author of Creative Evolution has as yet said nothing. to go further and become more pre cise. after their man ner.&quot. How the most categorical refutation &quot. by the evolution of species and the construction of human l personalities.

as admitting proposi tion and solution only as functions of a previous theoretical philosophy beyond which we should not go that in his eyes the solution of this problem will be deduced from princi ples already laid down without any call for . the already formed and visible lineaments of what will . whether the premisses down block the road to all future devel opment in the direction before us or whether. there is incompatibility between Mr. as has been claimed. question is only to know whether.226 A NEW PHILOSOPHY moral and religious philosophy which present themselves in advance for ultimate insertion. But let us fully understand what is at issue. To imagine that the religious and moral problem is bound to be regarded by Mr. Bergson as arising when it is too late for revision. This is what we are permitted to attempt. such a development is invited by some parts at least of the previous work. the introduction of points of view. The question is not to find in this work the necessary and sufficient bases. of inner . on the contrary. without any need to begin from a new intuition that his view precludes all con siderations of strictly spiritual life. new facts or new . Bergson s point of view and the religious The laid or moral point of view. one day complete it.

for example. to give us the whole of his thought. Till now. be it is contrary to all his tendencies. after Matter and critics Memory they condemned him as failing for ever to explain the juxtaposition of the two points of view. because Mr. is proper to introduce only the necessary final. result is only tempo lose the strange habit of asking an author continually to do something other than he has done. Bergson has always con sidered each specific new problem according to its solve it. in the solution of each of them. Bergson has cause said nothing of the kind. After the Essay on the Immediate Data proceeded to confine him in an irre ducible static dualism. or distinguish. in what he has done. and secondly. first of all. rarily But each Let us &quot. to a new effort of autonhe has always supplied and . or. Mr. different orders of life? The problems must be approached one it after the other. and.CONCLUSION and profound tion to 227 God and action. regarding things in rela in an eternal perspective: such a view would be illegitimate and unrea sonable.&quot. and. utility and truth: why should we require that after Creative Evolution he should be forbidden to think anything new. original nature. elements.

. Conse there authority for saying that forever only one order of life. Bergson to break with the con clusions of his previous studies. only one plane of action. and can we not. on the contrary. agreement? In the depths of ourselves we find each of its moments works for the pro duction of an indeducible and transcendent This future must not be regarded as a simple development of the present. and for the necessity which compels him to abide now by work. only one rhythm of dura quently we have no is tion. ing it indissoluble and irreducible. the religious sentiment. as the sentiment of obligation. foresee points of gen this: will the The only point which we have eral liberty. is 1 the premisses contained in his past to examine moral and religious question compel Mr. Since evolution is crea tive. Bergson. contains a basis of render immediate datum &quot. expression of germs already given. only one perspective of existence. 1 For Mr.228 A NEW PHILOSOPHY omous adaptation: why should it be other wise for the future? I seek vainly for the decree forbidding him the right to study the problem of biological evolution in itself. in the depths of universal being we find a demand for creation. And &quot. a simple future.

they would be glad to mark time. in a straight line.&quot. Each Creative Evolution.CONCLUSION if 229 disconnections and abrupt leaps are visible economy of the past from matter to life. life in its first tendency. taking spirit. Evolution in general would take place as far as possible behind. special evolution is a circu Like dust-eddies raised by the lar advance. And apart from that. fail. Life in general mobility the par ticular manifestations of life accept this bility mo only with regret. and constantly fall While it is always going forward. it is direction of its ascent. passing wind. But life may &quot. is or travel downwards. and in the general current. halt. p. . growth. 128. spiritualizing upward effort. that the point of view of the flesh. for Good is a path rather than a thing. and the point of view of the the point of view of reason. living bodies are self-pivoted and hung in the full breeze of 1 life. and the point of view of charity are a homogeneous extension of it. itself. from the animal to man we have no in the authority again for claiming that we cannot observe to-day something analogous in the very essence of human life. and a work of and emancipating creation: by that we might define Good.

demand moment. strictly speaking. pure instruments. cise evil becomes sin. with man. problems of There is no on the contrary. to take itself as its end. actually become principles of death. and letter. which is more open. which are. thought. and none which. and clear At the same time also properly moral qualifications appear: good becomes duty. and surrenders downward cur rent which constitutes the essence of material ity: it is thus that Evil would be defined. reason or problems of morality.230 A NEW PHILOSOPHY each function tends species. sometimes even abandons it self to the inertia of the weight which to the it ought to raise. consciousness appear. each individual. mechanism. reflection. which some are closed by nature to all order. body. . in actual fact. At this pre a new problem begins. allows itself to be converted by matter into captive eddies. lends itself better to further extension. Thus it comes about that life is exhausted in efforts towards self-preservation. as travel the direction of Now. opposed to Good. yet connected at clear and visible points with previous problems. This is the philosophy pleased to say is problems of a certain doctrine. ing the soundings of a new intuition. habit.

It possible not to understand it. which is that of pure knowledge. Let us confine ourselves to taking it in what it has expressly s my given us of itself. into matter! a new scholastic.CONCLUSION It is 231 not my believe can be extracted is it duty to state here what I from it. Still less duty to try to foresee what Mr. . there is henceforth the departure-point of all specula tive philosophy. Bergson conclusions will be. thus it will be until the inevitable day when disciples more re spectful of the letter than the spirit will turn it. The future is there. as I conclude. I must again. each day increases the num ber of minds which recognize it and it is bet ter not to dwell upon the proofs of several of . alas. What does it despite miscon ceptions. despite incomprehensions. emphasize its excep tional importance is and its infinite reach. each time that a truly new intuition has arisen among men. From this point of view. Such is fre quently the case: thus it always has been in the past. those who are unable or unwilling to see it.

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201. Du Bois-Reymond. 78. 43. 205. 189. 194. Automatism. drama of. ally 82. Existence. 182 seqq. as sym bols. 107. creation of. 38. Habit. Determinism. 91. conceptual. Adaptation. 86 71. Duration. 13. Freedom. 103. Criticism. Good. 46. Constants. 117. 113. 52. a path. 53. Art. 44. 98. Fact. 105. 83. 206. 152. 168. Conservation. Appearances. rep resented. 82. 85. real. and time. search for. work of. 47. 106. Deduction. as general frames. as activity. Embryology. 82. Degradation. a reality. Free-will. value of. of the. biological. 168. Consciousness. Immediacy. 50. Heterogeneity. Disorder. 152. 57. 18. as becoming. life. further discussed. 154. 15. perpetu and new. by and 39. 233 142. Concepts. 192. distin guished from development. 121. 36. 106. Experience. Eleatic 177. Change. Dynamic Ego. 185 seqq. contrasted with intuition. inferior to intuition. qualitative. 229. schemes. 74. 203. value and meaning of. 175 seqq. 107. 110. impotence of. 50. 109. Continuity. 192. of language. 85. 100. Analysis. 169. law of. as obstacle. 204. evidence Being. 165. a reality. 203. of. 97. 87. Homogeneity. practi cal reach of. 80. further dis cussed. Causality. Evolution. Images. as change. law of. 197. 77. of daily seqq. Brain. law of. Genesis. 184. phys ical. the. encrustations dialectic. 123. Huxley. analysis functions of. 85. 194. 16. not indispensable. 123. connection. . psychological. 51. 174. Heredity. absence of. Discontinuity.INDEX Absolute. 101. apparent. pure. Atomism. 27. and philosophy. as dynamic continuity. Automaton. 134. 74. 193. 88. 95. Common-sense. 206. Evil. thought. 81. 18.

Motor-schemes. Limit-concepts. 112. Intellectualism. Intuition. 186. contrasted sympathy. triumph of. 157. 158. 69 . 72. function of. 132. 79. 92. a flux. Parallelism. startingpoint. 112. racial. 37. ception of immediacy. aesthetic. 25. further discussed. 115. affected by memory. 19. 11. 33. 37. Instinct. Kant. 120. 26. fulfilment of guesswork. 27. and duration. failure of. Quantity. 212.207. 90 seqq. 10. 53. 61. 33. 153. planes of. 16. 62. Philosophy. conclusions of. absolute. 157. Materialism. 75. 119. 136. 164. content. Intuitional effort. 86.. Mysticism. 66-67. his point of de parture. Inert. 134. utilitarian nature of. 30 seqq. Stuart. 180. 213. 48. 137. pure. 162 seqq. 34. justification 55. 106. 192 seqq. and quality. Realism. 203. 18. Life. 150. Method. importance of. 118. 95. 218. Number. product of evolution. 207. 28. philosophical. 196. further explained. Progress. 213. duty of. 72. absolute. per ception complicated by. 117. 77. 134. broad meaning of. 138. 65. finality. Ravaisson. evidence of. escape from.INDEX Immediate. memory of solids. 23. further discussed. per new theory Language. Non-morality. 84. 204. Intelligence. 24. 58. 113. 115. and analysis. 118.. 167. and instinct. psychological. as 20. per sonal. relation to matter. 215. 173. isms. 45. Ontogenesis. 108. of. 197. dangers Law. 144 seqq. 33. 11. 82. 179. Phylogenesis. is 116. Mill. . recogni tion of. 204. 109. 93. 215. essentially qual itative. 140. subjectivity of. Palaeontology. an art. of. is and inner world.. tendencies of. Nothingness. Metaphor. 76. pure and ordinary. 114. Mechanism. the. mechan telligence. Quality. 36. 34. utilitarian signification. 165. 12. Reality. of consciousness. the. contact with. 51. and reality. Memory. 120. 86. 35. inner. elusive nature of. with in distrusted. Rationalism. 65. 5452. contrasting views about. is progress. 214. 94. 33. 104. 56. 30. 197. concept Liberty. further discussed. 73. intransmissi ble without language. Perception. of. Planes. 79. Knowledge. 8. problem of. 101. of. im personal portance of. Laplace. Paralogism.

225 seqq. 17. prisoner of symbolism. 105. cult of. 180. 160. Science. Zone. Sympathy. sense. 176. 188. 102. of. Spiritualism. impotence of. and and commonduration. of. 21&. between mind and matter. Romanticism. philosophy. Time. 20. . Renan. Thought. 175. Space. Religion. space. 149. Sense. methods of common. 78 seqq. criticism success 203. Symbolism. 124. 128. of feeling. and common- 80. its place in philos ophy. Zeno of Elea. Spencer. 169 seqq.. Relation. Trans formism. aeqq. 60. errors sense. 21. 186. good. goal of per 105. 235 36. Utility. 68. dynamic. and weakness Variation. 121. of. 189. Torpor. required by Mr. 105. 101. 65. as ception. 131. Bergson s in 22.INDEX Reason. 128. 49. 112. Schemes. 109. Taine.

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B Le Roy. Edouard Louis 2430 B43U53 Emmanuel Julien The new philosophy of Henri Bergson PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE FROM THIS CARDS OR SLIPS POCKET UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY .