Conscious In Time
The Bergson-Einstein-debate about the Duration of SpaceTime.
Otto B. Wiersma

10 Mar. 2005 – 24 Nov 2005 (last update)

abstracts home

consciousness, duration, spacetime, metaphysics, poliphysics
The book of Bergson (Durée et simultanéité. À propos de la théorie d'Einstein. 1922) and the debate between the two scientists at a meeting, convened by the Philosophical Society of Paris, marked the fall of Bergson’s and the rise of Einstein’s star. Although part of the debate seemed to deal with technical details (e.g. the interpretation of the geometrical models used by Einstein and the role of the observer), the real clash was the one between metaphysics and poliphysics (as mix of politics and physics).
As introduction to the Bergson-Einstein debate, I like to sketch a frame of reference related to two keywords in the debate (consciousness and time) and related to the year 1922.
I start with a brief outline of a model in which it’s possible no only to distinguish different states of consciousness but also to visualize measurable variables that are related to these different states of consciousness.
Regarding time I write a bit about different philosophical approaches of time: substantialism, relationalism and idealism.
Bergson’s idea of duration is presented, together with a framework of keywords that given a comprehensive impression of his views.
Einstein’s idea of SpaceTime is presented with a short characterization of some differences between the Special Relativity Theory (SRT) and the General Relativity Theorie (GRT).
Before an impression is given of the debate between Bergson and Einstein, I present some information about the year 1922. The year 1922 contained beside Bergson’s book more interesting eventities, related to the status of the Relativity Theory (RT), eventities that contribute to the hypothesis how RT, that started as physical theory, seemed to end up as poliphysical theory.
What follows are some keypoints in the debate between Bergson and Einstein and this sketch ends with some conclusions.
Regarding consciousness there can be found a lot of theories at the border-lines of speculation: e.g. old-time metaphysical and futuristic quantumphysical theories. A nice example of the last category is the quantum consciousness of Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose. In this essay I like to start within the borders of these speculations and give some information from the research-fields of the neuro-sciences, part of which try to relate different states of consciousness to measurable processes that can be traced in the neurological networks in our brains. In his book Consciousness (1998) J. Allan Hobson gives a simple model of different states of consciousness. The next pictures give the outlines of his model. For the time being the text in the pictures is in Dutch, of course not because I was too lazy to hunt down the English version of the book after reading the Dutch translation (2000), but because I like to present these bits of information as a test of your consciousness: given the context, how much do you understand of information that is presented in a foreign language?
Hobson makes a difference between a series of components of consciousness which he categorizes as primary and secondary consciousness (1 and 2 in the picture below, 1=all non-human mamals and very young children, 2=adults).

Different species use more or less specialized brain-area’s and related components of consciousness (M=humans, P=primates, Z=non-primate mamals, G=e.g. frogs, reptiles, O=invertebrates, e.g. insects,molluscs)

In order to understand different states of consciousness, like being awake, deep sleep (NREM) or dreaming (REM), researchers look at the way the different components of consciousness and their related brain-area’s behave.

Hobson simplifies the vast amount of relevant data into his AIM-model. The axes of its three-dimensional space are formed by
Within the AIM-space different states of consciousness can be found on clearly marked positions:

Using time as auxiliary variable within the 3-dimensional space of the AIM model a time-line can be drawn through the different conscious states that are reresented by their specific positions within the AIM-space. Using the (biological) clock(s) it’s possible to plot time-lines like:

Also it’s possible to use the AIM-model to project more suble differences of several states of consciousness, e.g. during being awake:

The AIM-model clearly visualizes the dynamics of changes in the states of consciousness, e.g. how slow normaly the change from being awake into deep sleep and how fast the change from REM to being awake takes place, presenting the underlying AIM-mechanics as explanetory framework how this big difference in speed is possible.

Also pathological states of consciousness can be explained using the AIM-model, like e.g. epilepsy or narcolepsy:

The strength of the AIM-model is the way statements about conscious states are related to statements about measurable variables, like energetical flows and the amounts of neurochemicals and their effects:

The weakness of the AIM-model is that it’s far from complete in terms of "how does it work exactly", so we can’t be too sure about the decisive relevance of the dimensions and variables choosen by Hobson. Nevertheless: those who want to suggest other dimensions, should also bring the tools to measure the variables underlying those dimensions.
Hobson regards consciousness as an emergent property, as function of the neural processes in our brains, showing that his materialistic monism tends to be translated into neurological reductionism (be it reduced to an irreducable manifold of neural networks).
Around 1900 Bergson describes this type of scientific research as delivering a ‘cinematographical shapshot’ view of reality. Bergson feels that presenting series of spacial images using time as auxiliary variable can give a for our intellect satisfying representation of materialized reality, but that this appraoch fails to reveal the organizational principle that drives to new realizations. More about this in a later section about Bergson’s duration.
Thinking about reality can follow different approaches, e.g. a geometrical or a physical approach, both of which are abstractions from reality. Some confusion can arise when the same words are used within the contexts of different approaches. The word space has a geometrical meaning, being the domain of points, lines, dimensions, figures, shapes, and all kinds of geometrical properties. It’s less obvious that the word space can have a physical meaning as well, having assigned to it also physical properties. This is because of our intuition telling us that there is a lot of ‘empty space’ around us containing some things here and there and that only those things are physical, having physical properties. How can the surrounding ‘empty space’ have any physical properties (or even properties at all)? Even more confusion arises when one specific approach is regarded as ‘the fundamental’ or ‘the in the end only relevant’ one. This is where the reductionists come forward, and the history of philosophy is full of them, like e.g. the arithmetical reductionist Pythagoras (‘everything is number’).
Until the 20th century most philosophers dealt simultaneously with the keywords matter, space and time, struggling with their meaning and how they could be related. Substantialists regarded matter as a property of space & time, relationalists regarded space & time as properties of matter, and idealists regarded space, time & matter as properties of consciousness. Those views predominantly presupposed 3-dimensional Euclidian space and linear time. By the beginning of the 20th century it became clear that some physical as well as some metaphysical problems refused to be solved within these frameworks.
Two scientists developed by that time profound and revolutionary thoughts about time, space and matter: the metaphysician Bergson and the theoretical physician Einstein.

Bergson’s duration (1859-1941)
Bergson concentrated on the metaphysical problems related to time, space and matter, although he kept in close touch with the main scientific developments, stating: "Philosophers can not today content themselves with vague generalities, but must follow the scientists in experimental detail and discuss the results with them." (1907, 78) and so he did, e.g. in the fields of psychology, biology and physics.
Regarding philosophy Bergson was not satisfied with ancient philosophy ending up in concepts, as he was not content with modern philosophy of his days ending up in laws. According to Bergson both ancient and modern philosophy broke up reality into representational pieces and both tried to (re-)construct again the whole tale of world and life, based on those pieces (be it concepts or laws). Opposing idealism and materialism, finalism and mechanism, Bergson did reset and restart his thought with the intuition that reality is continuous inventive change. He experienced reality as expanding duration and felt that intellect and science should be understood as contingent products of this unforseeable and unpredictable evolution.
The next table presents Bergson in keywords. The dynamics of reading the table leads from A to B and C, and from B to C. The next quote from Bergson backs this up: "Intuition and intellect represent two opposite directions of the work of consciousness: intuition goes in the very direction of life, intellect goes in the inverse direction, and thus finds itself naturally in accordance with the movement of matter (..) intuition is mind itself, and, in a certain sense, life itself (..) we have to place ourselves in intuition in order to go from intuition to the intellect, for from the intellect we shall never pass to intuition." (1907)
Bergson often starts an argument by opposing elements of B en C and ends by bridging and integrating them from B in A. In presenting the keywords I separate the adjectives from the nouns they can be attached to.
pure, undivisible
vital, mental
virtual, representational
divided, divisible
determined, necessary
finalistic, mechanistic
action, will, effort
  matter, things
spacialized measurement
immobility, states, instants
Bergson’s thoughts about duration and time show the same scheme as presented in the framework above.
He starts presenting and opposing the (in his eyes) reductionist views on time, whichs opens the way for his own view on duration and time. So he presents the physical concepts of time as atomistic, deterministic, homogeneous, infinitely divisible and containter-like (e.g. Newton’s absolute time, the everywhere now, Carnap’s Momentenraum and Einstein’s geometrized relativistic times as well).
Let’s follow the development of his thoughts about duration and time through the years more in detail.
Already in 1889 Bergson wrote: ‘Science retains nothing of duration but simultaneity and nothing of motion itself but the position of the moving body, i.e. immobility.’ (..) ‘Freedom cannot be denied except on condition of identifying time with space.’ and ‘The main object of science is to forecast and measure (..) the only thing we are able to measure is space.’ But according to Bergson ‘the succession in duration has nothing in common with juxtaposition in homogeneous space.’
In his 1896 book Bergson opposes idealism and materialism/realism as both being dualistic in contrasting perception and conception and in their assumption to be able to point to ‘pure knowledge’. B states that our body and consciousness are not about ‘pure knowledge’, but about action: perception is the function that prepares action (not subjective nor relative (vs idealism)) and conception is the function that knows action. When considering the extensity of the body and the duration of perception, it shows that no snapshot cerebral state is the equivalent of a perception (vs epiphenomenal consciousness). There is not a difference of degree between perception and conception (recollection) (vs idealism), but a difference of kind (cf auditive, visual, motor brain-functions ). B describes an actual perception as a present materialization of ‘virtual states’ which are lead, step by step, through a series of [thousands of] different planes of consciousness up to what makes us act. B regards action and dream as two extreme planes of consciousness. Where is action and images [of action], there is consciousness. The material universe itself is a kind of consciousness.
Bergson wants to overcome the dualism of mind and matter– so he speaks of ‘pure recollection already being spirit and pure perception as still being in a sense matter’, and as synthesis: ‘reciprocal action of spirit and matter (..) of mind and matter (..) the inextended and the extended, quality and quantity, freedom and necessity’. ‘That which is given, that which is real, is something intermediate between divided extension and pure inextension.’ (..) ‘It is what we have termed the extensive.’ (..) ‘By the idea of tension we have striven to overcome the opposition between quality and quantity, as by the idea of extension that between the inextended and the extended.’ B holds the ‘contingency of the course nature’, but ‘Freedom always seems to have its roots deep in necessity and to be intimately organized with it.’
In his 1907 book Bergson appreciates the logic of solids as making our intellect triumph in geometry. But that’s only one side of the story (after all it’s life that made geometricians). Life as transcending teleology as well as mechanism is according to B a continuous change / transition / progress / transformation / maturation / evolution. This opens our eyes also for the ‘arrow of time’: ‘Consciousness cannot go through the same state twice. That is why our duration is irreversible.’ B opposes the idea that aspects of the present are calculable as functions of the past (e.g. as differential equations). Bergson: ‘The most complex has been able to issue from the most simple by way of evolution.’ but ‘Anything that is irreducible (..) and irreversible in the successive moments of a history eludes science.’ For which Bergson uses comparative arguments: ‘life is no more made of physico-chemical elements than a curve is composed of straight lines’. This way Bergson opposes both radical mechanism (the real is complete – the only problem is that our mind just doesn’t know that) and radical finalism (realization of a previously arranged programme - as inverted mechanism), although refuting radical mechanism and radical finalism is not as easy for both of them. Finding a trace of spontaneity will refute radical mechanism, but there is no similar refutation for radical finalism. With his Philosophy of Life Bergson claims to transcend both mechanism and finalism, looking for another principle of organization. For this he refers to ‘curious facts of regeneration’ in order to postulate an ‘appeal to some inner directing principle in order to account for this convergence of effects’ which may also ‘imply consciousness and will (..) admitting an internal and psychological principle of development’. Darwinian, neo-Darwinian nor neo-Lamarckism deliver an explanation of this development. According to B an original impetus of life is the fundamental cause of variations, that accumulate and create new organs and new species. For instance: two points are equally striking in an organ like the eye: the complexity of its structure and the simplicity of its function. Nature does not show straight ways to succesfull organs and species: failure seems the rule, success exceptional and always imperfect. In the creative process B distinguishes intelligence (manifacturing) and instinct (organizing): two different methods of action on inert matter, which both involve knowledge that is acted. In this context he makes some remarks about ‘matter’ that sound very modern in 2005: Matter can be seen as ‘elementary vibrations, the shortest of which are of very slight duration, almost vanishing, but not nothing.’ And again he constrasts the succession of eventities with simultaneity: ‘For the (..) system of to-day actually to be superimposed on that of yesterday, the latter must have waited for the former, time must have halted, and everything become simultaneous: that happens in geometry, but in geometry alone. (..) Induction therefore implies first that, in the world of the physicist as in that of the geometrician, time does not count. But it implies also that qualities can be superposed on each other like magnitudes. (..) Matter becomes, it seems to us, geometry itself.’ But this approach of science itself is contingent, relative to the variables it has chosen, relative to the order in which it has successively put the problems. So again B contrasts the order of the vital or the willed (impetus, impulsion) against the order of the inert and the automatic’.
But the universe is no static thing, it is ‘being made continually (..) growing by the addition of new worlds (..) energies in an extraspatial process (..) In vital activity (..) a reality which is making itself in a reality which is unmaking itself [OBW that last remark is a reference to entropy]. Bergson sees organization as a modus vivendi between life and matter. What we tend to see and know of it only seems to have a snapshot statical character, which tells more about us than about reality as it evolves. As B states: ‘Each species behaves as if the general movement of life stopped at it instead of passing through it. It thinks only of itself, it lives only for itself.’
Bergson also comes with a speculative framework for the determinants of the creative processes. In his view two things only are necessary: (1) a gradual accumulation of energy; (2) an elastic canalization of this energy in variable and indeterminable directions, at the end of which are free acts. What does the trick (the ‘vital impetus’) is neither pure unity nor pure multiplicity. It is ‘consciousness, or rather supra-consciousness, that is at the origin of life.’ This determines also Bergson’s view at the relation between brain and consciousness. They correspond because equally they measure, the one by the complexity of its structure and the other by the intensity of its awareness, the quantity of choice. The psychical state tells us more than the cerebral state - consciousness is synonymous with invention and with freedom. Our brain, our society, and our language are only the external and various signs of one and the same internal superiority. Everywhere but in man, consciousness has had to come to a stand; in man alone it has kept on its way. Intuition and intellect represent two opposite directions of the work of consciousness: intuition goes in the very direction of life, intellect goes in the inverse direction, and thus finds itself naturally in accordance with the movement of matter. Consciousness includes potentialities without number which interpenetrate and to which consequently neither the category of unity nor that of multiplicity is appropriate, made as they both are for inert matter.
This approach provides a completely different view on time. Time is not divided objectively in one way or another by the matter that fills it. Modern science must be defined pre-eminently by its aspiration to take time as an independent variable. But with what time has it to do? We do not count extremities of intervals, we feel and live the intervals themselves. While the duration of the phenomenon is relative for the physicist, this duration is an absolute for my consciousness. Succession or continuity of interpenetration in time is irreducible to a mere instantaneous juxtaposition in space [OBW sc (non-)simultaneities].
So Bergson does not force a choice between science and metaphysics. In his view they are complementary ways of knowing. But in both one should make the right choices, and not regard reality as given in eternity (like ancient and modern philosophy), but reality that creates itself gradually as absolute/concrete duration, in which a radical recasting of the whole is always going on. Matter (the reality that descends) endures only by its connection with life and consciousness (the reality that ascends).
To conclude this section: Bergson’s general idea of duration involves all the innovative processes that are embedded in the continuity of cosmic interaction. His more particular idea of a manifold of durations is more specifically related to different levels of consciousness.

Einstein’s SpaceTime
Earlier I wrote that some physical problems refused to be solved within the framework of 3-dimensional Euclidian space and linear time. By postulating an universal invariant lightspeed c (3*108 m/s) in all reference systems, Einstein drew the problems in a different light, which made it possible to provide a relationalist interpretation of the Lorentz transformation in his Special Relativity Theory (SRT): as a relation of measurements of relatively moving observers. The geometrical representation of these findings did not fit into the Euclidian space, so Einstein had to use the Minkowskian 4-dimensional spacetime as a geometrical model of his physical theory. Although SRT was independent of matter, and in SRT time and space were relative (covariant), Einstein tended to interpret SRT spacetime ( with it’s ‘interval/distance’-metrics K = x2 + y2 + z2 - (ct) 2 ) itself as absolute – something like the ‘inertial ether’. And although Einstein in this respect joined Newton and Lorentz by leaning to the substantialist view, he still stayed to be puzzled by the fact that he had no exact and complete explanation of phenomena like inertia and gravitation. As next step Einstein tackled the matter-independence of the SRT by integrating the electromagnetic and gravitational force-fields into the geometrical Riemann-model of his General Relativity Theory (GRT), postulating the same limited speed of gravity waves (like that of c), the equivalence of mass and energy (E=mc2, a relation already know before the SRT from radioactive decay) and the equivalence of gravitation and accelleration, yielding the covariance of (curved) spacetime and (curved moving) mass. This way he became an even more substantial substantialist: "According to GRT spacetime has physical properties" (Einstein 1916,1920). Hubble’s 1921 from each other away-moving galaxies were interpreted by Hubble as expanding in (empty) space, but by Einstein as expanding spacetime itself. Which implies a substantial increase in substantial SpaceTimeEnergyMass, so to speak. During the next decades Einstein tried to unify all the known physical force-fields into one geometrical model, but this didn’t work out.
This very brief outline of thinking about matter, space and time illustrates the idea that analyzed time is part of a conceptual network, involving other key-concepts without which the concept time would make no sense. Further that approach-specific conceptual networks are irreducible (physics or geometry cannot be reduced to each other) and compatible (physical theories and geometrical models are only functional if they adequately represent their specific aspect of reality and if their representations share mutual matches). Finally that Einstein interestingly moved from a moderate relationist to a firm substantialist view.
Or didn’t he?
Einstein (1935): "The real difficulty lies in the fact that physics is a kind of metaphysics. Physics describes "reality". But we don’t know what "reality" is; we only know reality by means of the physical description."
Doesn’t this remark seem to have the ring of idealism?
The year 1922
1992 was an interesting year for the history of science in general and the history of Relativity Theory (RT) in particular. In this essay we focus on the Einstein-Bergson-debate, but during that year some other developments took place that (in combination) seemed to change RT from physics into poliphysics.
Einstein was not only active in the field of physics, but profiled himself also politically as pacifist opponent of the German aggression that lead to World-War I. This triggered some opponents of his physical theory to use antisemitism as ‘argument’ in the physical debate. Mueller (2004,1.2) writes: "Die erste bedeutende physikalische Abhandlung mit antisemitischen Äußerungen stammt mit einer Datierung vom Juli 1922: LENARD, PHILIPP: Über Äther und Uräther. 2., vermehrte Auflage, mit einem Mahnwort an deutsche Naturforscher. Leipzig: Hirzel 1922. 66 S. Lenard hat mit seinem „ Mahnwort" einen unheilvollen Einbruch der politischen Hetze in die physikalische Fachdiskussion begonnen, der zehn Jahre später mit der Machtergreifung durch die Nationalsozialisten in Deutschland für 12 Jahre offizielle Politik wurde."
Mueller analyzed 3789 critical publications regarding the RT for antisemitic ‘arguing’, and found: "Aus rund 3789 kritischen Veröffentlichungen sind bisher als antisemitisch ermittelt worden: - 15 Autoren, davon 14 deutsche; - insgesamt 18 Veröffentlichungen, davon 17 deutsche; - nur Arbeiten aus den Jahren 1920-1944." And although the percentage of this antisemitic ‘arguing’ was very limited, it backfired during the next decades in a very awkward way: critics of RT who concentrated completely on the phsycial arguments, were nevertheless accused of antisemitic sentiments. Together with the concealment of the physical criticism, this approach appeared to be a quick and dirty way to ‘win’ the ‘debates’ about RT. [OBW TODO how often this happened? – percentage of the 3789 publications analyzed by Mueller?]
In 1922 there was another signal that RT was moving out of reach of any criticism. Mueller (2004, 1.2): "Anläßlich der Hundertjahrfeier der Gesellschaft deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte im September 1922 in Leipzig wurden zur Relativitätstheorie zwei hymnische Vorträge von Max v. Laue und Moritz Schlick gehalten, kein Vortrag eines Kritikers wurde zugelassen, keine Diskussion über die Theorie geführt. Während die Relativisten bis dahin die Kritik in allen wesentlichen Punkten nur mit Schweigen bedachten, erreichten sie es nun, auch deren öffentlichen Auftritt zu verhindern. Dabei ist es seither geblieben." This was in the eyes of Mueller a "kalte Machtergreifung der Relativisten", and it meant a revolution of the physical debate: "Die wahre Revolution bestand jedoch in der Einführung der Machtfrage zur Entscheidung über Wahrheit und Richtigkeit physikalischer Theorien: diese Revolution ist, trotz 8 Jahrzehnten des Erfolges, von Anfang an zum Scheitern verurteilt."
These developments did not help to enhance the climate for the mathematical and physical falsification of the RT. And for this falsification were already by 1922 several arguments. E.g. one of the pillars of SRT is the zero-outcome of the 1887 Michelson-Morley-experiment with lightspeed going into and coming back from different directions. But Micholson reported 8 km/sec and a series of repeated experiments during the next years reported values of around 10 km/sec (e.g. 1921, April, Miller, Mount Wilson, 1750 m). Other attacks are directed at mathematical aspects of the RT, e.g. Walton suggests that in the mathematical sources of the Lorentz transformation Voigt mistakenly applied algebraic solutions to the geometrical problem.
Poliphysical hypothesis: for decades RT has been saved from falsification in order to save the reputations of power-playing physicists. The phenomenon (if true) asks for an explanation. [OBW TODO bureaucratization of science related to rising amounts of students; financial and organizational developments that stimulated conformism in science; parallels: marxist science in the 20th century, islamic science in the 21 th century]
The debaters
Bergson & Einstein

The debate
Real or virtual – that’s the question. How is time experienced and thought of, perceived and conceived? Are specific properties that have been ascribed to time by philosophers, psychologists and physicists real or only virtual?
Bergson contrasts psychological time with mathematical/physical time.
The first is the real, lived time of our experience in which a manyfold of durations relates to different levels of consciousness.
The second is the scientific, virtual time of experiments in which a multiplicity of clock-times (time-representations) relates to different observers and different ways of measurement.
Because Bergson regards the latter, geometrized times, as being spacial reductions, they, like all derived concepts and laws, don’t open our minds to duration as creative evolution.
According to Bergson we have to start from the other side. Consciousness provides the intuition that the time-order in terms of going from real > virtual runs from continuous durations > temporality > contemporaneity > succession (encompassing before and after) > simultaneity > discontinuous measurements of time (which involves spacial representation, called ‘computer of time’ by Bergson).
Regarding RT Bergson states that in any system at rest, time and space are cleary separated and that virtual spacetime is only related to moving systems – and a moving system is always another system, sc not the system in which our consciousness experiences real life. He reasons that in the SRT there is no objective way to determine which system is at rest and which system moves, which means that there is a symmetry of motion as a reciprocal relation, and that therefore the paradoxical relativistic effects (like time dilation and length contraction) have to be virtual: because of the symmetry it should work both ways but it can’t be ‘real’ both ways. On the other hand he accepts the GRT spacetime curvature as being real. And he appreciated the RT fact that the succession of events is the same in all frames of reference, which in his view strengthened the objective status of becoming.

B’s selective appreciation or RT is remarkable, because the logic of both SRT and GRT lies in the covariance of its key-concepts. In the SRT the covariance of space and time in ‘SpaceTime’ and in the GRT the covariance of spacetime, energy and mass in something that could be called ‘SpaceTimeEnergyMass’ (STEM). From the RT point of view it’s the separation or isolation of space, time, energy or mass in a system at rest that is virtual, because only covariant STEM is real (or better: a more realistic approximation of what in the end should encapsulate all ‘forces of nature’).

Bergson’s opponents (like e.g. Becquerel and Metz) suggested that he missed the relation of the relativistic effects with the GRT’s accelleration/gravitation. Perhaps due to his firm stand in conscious intuition, B seemed to have trouble accepting the counter-intuitive implications of RT. Einstein pointed out that this was by no means a necessary trouble in the light of Bergson’s own philosophical views, because (consciously) experienced events (simultaneous or non-simultaneous) still are independent of any chosen system (in a letter to Metz, 2.7.1924). But this does not imply that one consciousness can regarded to be the lynchpin around which all frames of reference are organized. One could say: if Bergson in system B accellerates and moves fast compared to system A (e.g. the earth), Bergson’s consciousness ( sc duration) in system B really changes.
Both Bergson and Einstein showed remarkable intuitions.
Bergson postulated action as startingpoint for a fresh view on philosophical problems.
Einstein postulated the constancy of lightspeed as startingpoint for a fresh view on physical problems.
Bergson saw a manyfold of durations related with different levels of concsiousness. In his work he also anticipated not only [quantum-theoretical] uncertainties, probabilities and indeterminacy, but [string-theoretical] pulsations/vibrations as well (see for more details Capek, 1971).
Einstein saw a multiplicity of SpaceTimeEnergyMass eventities.
Bergson worked out his intuitions as metaphysical speculations.
Einstein worked out his intuitions as mathematical physics.
Bergson contributed to changes in the interpretation of a range of philosophical key-words, like ‘concepts’, ‘laws’, ‘consciousness’, ‘space’ and ‘time’ (what yielded arguments to keep an open mind for irreducible and unpredictable evolutionary changes).
Einstein contributed to changes in the interpretation of a whole range of physical key-concepts like ‘space’, ‘time’, ‘energy’ and ‘mass’ (what opened our minds for almost incomprehensible STEM-properties and STEM-scales).
Like Bergson the historical phenomenologist Jan Hendrik van den Berg relativizes the scientific view of reality because of its reductionist bias. But unlike Bergson he regards the principle of continuity as basic for modern science (Descartes 1609 deriving the next terms from the first terms of specific sequences of numbers, Leibniz 1704 and Darwin’s evolution as continuous process, which lines of reasoning lead to causality and predictability). Van den Berg presents his ‘metabletica’ (history of contemporaneous but independent transformations in reality and science) as an intellectual campaign against the principle of continuity. Is one of both philosophers right, or shows their difference of judgement regarding continuity or discontinuity as characteristic of the scientific view perhaps that this issue should not be regarded as the relevant discrimination between science and the real? I tend to the last, but more research should be done of the work of van den Berg to back this up.
Another interesting further point of investigation will be what triggered and what triggers modal transformations of knowledge like the ones presented by Bergson and Einstein.

For instance:
Or do we want to know what can’t be known in the end? Kant stated that the ‘thing as such’ can’t be known. Doesn’t Bergson try to tell us that the ‘change as such’ can’t be known? What will prove him right or wrong?
In a previous sketch about SpaceTime Presence (2003) I wrote: ‘We perceive factual change without observing actual alterations.’ It seems that by that time I was sceptical about the possibility of a complete description. I still am. But after reading Bergson’s books I know this can change.
Links to places within this text to abstracts of / about:
Bergson, H., Time and Free Will, 1889
Bergson, H., Matter and Memory, 1896
Bergson, H., Creative Evolution, 1907
Bergson, H., Duration and Simultaneity, 1922
Bergson, H., Creative Mind, 1934
Capek, M., Bergson and modern physics. A re-interpretation and re-evaluation, 1971
Einstein, A., Philosopher-Scientist, 1949
Elliot, H.S.R, Modern Science and the illusions of professor Bergson, 1912
Posner, M.I. & M.E. Raichle, Images of Mind, 1994
Links naar samenvattingen in het Nederlands:
Berlin, I., Het kromme hout waaruit de mens gemaakt is: episoden uit de ideeëngeschiedenis, 1994
Dennet, D.C., Het bewustzijn verklaard, 1991 [Consciousness Explained]
Libbrecht, U., Oosterse Filosofie, Een inleiding, 2002
Scruton, R., Moderne Cultuur, een gids voor kritische mensen, 2003
Zwart, H., Boude bewoordingen. De historische fenomenologie (‘metabletica’) van Jan Hendrik van den Berg, Kampen 2002
Bergson, Henri, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Bergson, Henri, Wipkedia
Ferret, Juan, The Einstein-Bergson Debate: Time-Centered Account of General Relativity
Hameroff, Stuart, & Roger Penrose,
Mueller, G.O. (anonymus), GOM-Projekt "Relativitätstheorie"
Walton, G., Sapere Aude
Wiersma, Otto B., SpaceTime Presence
Bergson, Henri, Time and Free Will, 1889
Bergson, Henri, Matter and Memory, 1896
Bergson, Henri, Creative Evolution, 1907
Bergson, Henri, La Perception de la Changement, 1911
Bergson, Henri, Durée et simultanéité. À propos de la théorie d'Einstein, 1922
Bergson, Henri, Duration and Simultaneity. (translation L. Jacobson 1922
Bergson, Henri, Laughter: an Essay on the Meaning of the Comic
Bergson, Henri, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, 1932
Bergson, Henri, The Creative Mind, 1934
Capek, M., Bergson and modern physics. A re-interpretation and re-evaluation, 1971
D’ Abro, A., Bergson ou Einstein, 1927
Durie, R., Introduction. In Duration and simultaneity. Manchester: Clinamen. 1999
Einstein, A., Relativity: The Special and General Theory, 1916/1920
Einstein, A., Philosopher-Scientist, 1949
Emmens, W., Das Raumproblem bei H. Bergson, 1931 [OBW surprisingly nothing in it about the Bergson-Einstein debate]
Elliot, H.S.R., Modern Science and the illusions of professor Bergson, 1912 [OBW a work in the spirit of the best materialistic traditions]
Espagnat, Bernard d', Reality and the physicist : knowledge, duration and the quantum world, transl. by J.C. Whitehouse and Bernard d' Espagnat, 1989
Hobson, J. Allen, Consciousness, Scientific American Library 1998
Kuznetsov, B.G., The Einstein-Bohr dispute, the Einstein-Bergson dispute and the science of the second half of the twentieth century (Russian), in Einstein collection, 1980--1981, "Nauka" (Moscow, 1985), 49-85.
Murphy, T.S., Beneath relativity: Bergson & Bohm on absolute time. In J.
Mullarkey (Ed) The new Bergson. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 1999
Pearson., K.A., Philosophy and the adventure of the virual; Bergson and the time of life, 2002
Posner, M.I. & M.E. Raichle, Images of Mind, Scientific American Library 1994
Robinet, A., Bergson et les métamorphoses de la durée, 1965
Sageret, J., La révolution philosophique et la science: Bergson, Einstein, Le Dantec, J. H. Rosny aîné, 1924
Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville,The Old Place (1999)
Abstracts in this file
Henri Bergson, Time and Free Will (1889):
Spacial expression of thoughts, confusion of duration with extensity, of succession with simultaneity, of quality with quantity (..) Kant drew a sharp line of separation between time and space, the extensive and the intensive, and, as we should say to-day, consciousness and external perception (..) Intensity, duration, voluntary determination, these are the three ideas which had to be clarified by ridding them of all that they owe to the intrusion of the sensible world and, in a word, to the obsession of the idea of space. (..) pure quality, which is the state of consciousness (..) intensity, within you, is never magnitude (..) consciousness does not measure intensive quantity (..) What is duration within us ? A qualitative multiplicity, with no likeness to number; an organic evolution which is yet not an increasing quantity ; a pure heterogeneity within which there are no distinct qualities. In a word, the moments of inner duration are not external to one another. What duration is there existing outside us? The present only, or, if we prefer the expression, simultaneity. No doubt external things change, but their moments do not succeed one another, if we retain the ordinary meaning of the word, except for a consciousness which keeps them in mind. We observe outside us at a given moment a whole system of simultaneous positions ; of the simultaneities which have preceded them nothing remains. To put duration in space is really to contradict oneself and place succession within simultaneity. Hence we must not say that external things endure (..) science retains nothing of duration but simultaneity, and nothing of motion itself but the position of the moving body, i.e. immobility. A very sharp separation is here made and space gets the best of it. Therefore the same separation will have to be made again, but this time to the advantage of duration, (..) Duration, thus restored to its original purity, will appear as a wholly qualitative multiplicity, an absolute heterogeneity of elements. which pass over into one another. (..) freedom cannot be denied except on condition of identifying time with space (..) All determinism will thus be refuted by experience, but every attempt to define freedom will open the way to determinism. (..) The main object of science is to forecast and measure (..) the only thing we are able to measure is space (..) Hence there are finally two different selves, one of which is, as it were, the external projection of the other, its spatial and, so to speak, social representation. We reach the former by deep introspection, which leads us to grasp our inner states as living things, constantly becoming, as free states not amenable to measure, which permeate one another and of which the succession in duration has nothing in-common with juxtaposition in homogeneous space. (..) Kant's great mistake was to take time as a homogeneous medium. (..) we generally live and act outside our own person, in space rather than in duration, (..) Kant imagines on the one side " things in themselves," and on the other a homogeneous Time and Space, through which the " things in themselves," are refracted (..) Now we have tried to prove that duration, as duration, and motion, as motion, elude the grasp of mathematics : of time everything slips through its fingers but simultaneity, and of movement everything but immobility. This is what the Kantians and even their opponents do not seem to have perceived : in this so-called phenomenal world, which, we are told, is a world cut out for scientific knowledge, all the relations which cannot be translated into simultaneity, i.e. into space, are scientifically unknowable. (..) With Kant, we assume a homogeneous space, the intuition of which is peculiar to man and prepares the way for social life. (..) But if concrete duration is heterogeneous, the relation of psychic state to act is unique and the act is rightly judged free. (..) carry ourselves back in thought to those moments of our life when we made some serious decision, moments unique of their kind, which will never be repeated (..) in their dynamic unity and wholly qualitative multiplicity they are phases of our real and concrete duration, a heterogeneous duration and a living one (..) to have all the conditions given is, in concrete duration, to place oneself at the very moment of the act and not to foresee it. (..) although we are free whenever we are willing to get back into ourselves, it seldom happens that we are willing (..) the process of our free activity goes on, as it were, unknown to ourselves, in the obscure depths of our consciousness at every moment of duration, that the very feeling of duration comes from this source, and that without this heterogeneous and continuous duration, in which our self evolves, there would be no moral crisis.
Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory (1896):
translated by Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer. (..) 1911 (..) our body is an instrument of action (..) In no degree, in no sense, under no aspect, does it serve to prepare, far less to explain, a representation. (..) that which the brain explains in our perception is action begun, prepared or suggested, it is not perception itself. (..) Consider memory, the body retains motor habits capable of acting the past over again; (..) (..) neither in perception, nor in memory, (..) does the body contribute directly to representation (..) body and soul (..) bringing them together (..) difficulties (..) in materialism and idealism (..) from considering (..) the physical and the mental as duplicates the one of the other (..) unable to understand why certain cerebral phenomena are accompanied by consciousness (..) how could ever arise, the conscious repetition of the material universe (..) Suppose I prefer idealism: I then allow myself only perceptions, and my body is one of them. (..) images which succeed one another around my body (..) cerebral movements (..) are the duplicates of my perceptions (..) an inexplicable correspondence between my real perception of things and my possible perception of certain cerebral movements (..) the reef upon which all idealism is wrecked (..) there is no possible transition from the order which is perceived by our senses to the order which we are to conceive for the sake of our science (..) no possible transition from sense to understanding (..) materialistic hypothesis of an epiphenomenal consciousness (..) Idealism and materialism are then the two poles between which this kind of dualism will always oscillate (..) make them both of equal rank (..) these three hypotheses (..) common basis (..) all three regard the elementary operations of the mind, perception and memory, as operations of pure knowledge (..) growing complexity of the nervous system (..) larger number of possible actions (..) memory (..) primary function is to evoke all those past perceptions which are analogous to the present perception (..) By allowing us to grasp in a single intuition multiple moments of duration, it frees us from the movement of the flow of things, that is to say, from the rhythm of necessity. (..) powers of action upon things (..) this energy (..) the true principle (..) My (..) perception (..) of (..) objects (..) is in them rather than they in it. (..) prepare the reaction of my body (..) sketch out my virtual actions. (..) Perception, therefore, consists in detaching, from the totality of objects, the possible action of my body upon them. (..) Perception appears, then, as only a choice. It creates nothing ; its office, on the contrary, is to eliminate from the totality of images all those on which I can have no hold, and then, from each of those which I retain, all that does not concern the needs of the image which I call my body. (..) intermediate place which we thus take up between realism and idealism (..) images outrun perception on every side (..) science and metaphysic (..) seek (..) the whole of a chain of which our perception grasps only a few links (..) leave to perception its true office, which is to prepare actions (..) idealism fails (..) to pass (..) from the contingency with which our sensations appear to follow each other to the determinism which binds together the phenomena of nature (..) suppose that my conscious perception has an entirely practical destination (..) that which interests my possible action (..) My consciousness of matter is then no longer either subjective, as it is for English idealism, or relative, as it is for the Kantian idealism. It is not subjective, for it is in things rather than in me. It is not relative, because the relation between the 'phenomenon' and the 'thing' is not that of appearance to reality, but merely that of the part to the whole. (..) realism fails to draw from reality the immediate consciousness which we have of it (..) Kantian realism (..) between the ` thing-in-itself,' that is to say the real, and the `sensuous manifold' from which we construct our knowledge, no conceivable relation, no common measure (..) homogeneous space as a barrier between the intellect and things (..) the obscurity of realism, like that of idealism, comes from the fact that, in both of them, our conscious perception and the conditions of our conscious perception are assumed to point to pure knowledge, not to action (..) But suppose now (..) that this homogeneous space is not logically anterior, but posterior to material things and to the pure knowledge which we can have of them; suppose that extensity is prior to space ; suppose that homogeneous space concerns our action and only our action, being like an infinitely fine network which we stretch beneath material continuity in order to render ourselves masters of it, to decompose it according to the plan of our activities and our needs (..) lessening the contradictions raised by divisibility in space,--contradictions which always arise, as we have shown, from our failure to dissociate the two points of view, that of action from that of knowledge (..) concrete extensity is not really (..) divided, any more than immediate perception is in truth unextended (..) if we suppose an extended continuum, and, in this continuum, the centre of real action which is represented by our body (..) virtual action of things upon our body and of our body upon things is our perception itself (..) the cerebral substance thus sketch out at every moment our possible action on things, the state of the brain exactly corresponds to the perception. It is neither its cause, nor its effect, nor in any sense its duplicate : it merely continues it, the perception being our virtual action and the cerebral state our action already begun (..) we have, to begin with, and for the convenience of study, treated the living body as a mathematical point in space and conscious perception as a mathematical instant in time. We then had to restore to the body its extensity and to perception its duration. By this we restored to consciousness its two subjective elements, affectivity and memory (..) the affection is within our body, the image outside our body (..) In this interiority of affective sensation consists its subjectivity ; in that exteriority of images in general their objectivity (..) we demonstrate, as against the theory of an (..) epiphenomenal consciousness, that no cerebral state is the equivalent of a perception (..) the material universe itself, defined as the totality of images, is a kind of consciousness (..) When we pass from pure perception to memory, we definitely abandon matter for spirit (..) on our hypothesis everything is bound to happen as if perception were a consequence of the state of the brain (..) in pure perception, the perceived object is a present object (..) memory (..) a remembrance is the representation of an absent object (..) ascertain whether the office of the brain is not rather to ensure its working than to imprison the recollections in cells (..) process of recognition (..) in neither case did the brain act as a reservoir of images (..) lesion of the brain (..) the affected recollections do not resemble each other by all belonging to the same period, for instance, or by any logical relationship to each other, but simply in that they are all auditive, or all visual, or all motor (..) memory is something other than a function of the brain (..) there is not between recollection and perception a mere difference of degree but a radical difference of kind (..) English idealism (..) consists in finding only a difference of degree, and not of kind, between the reality of the object perceived and the ideality of the object conceived (..) memory does not consist in a regression from the present to the past, but, on the contrary, in a progress from the past to the present (..) We start from a ‘virtual state' which we lead onwards, step by step, through a series of different planes of consciousness, up to the goal where it is materialized in an actual perception ; that is to say, up to the point where it becomes a present, active state (..) In this virtual state pure memory consists (..) our present should not be defined as that which is more intense : it is that which acts on us and which makes us act, it is sensory and it is motor ;-our present is, above all, the state of our body. Our past, on the contrary, is that which acts no longer but which might act, and will act by inserting itself into a present sensation of which it borrows the vitality (..) What is the cardinal error of associationism ? It is to have set all recollections on the same plane, to have misunderstood the greater or less distance which separates them from the present bodily state, that is from action (..) associationism (..) persists in regarding a less complete as a less complex recollection, whereas it is in reality a recollection less dreamed, more impersonal, nearer to action (..) Between the plane of action (..) and the plane of pure memory (..) we believe that we can discover thousands of different planes of consciousness, a thousand integral and yet diverse repetitions of the whole of the experience through which we have lived (..) These planes, moreover, are not given as ready-made things superposed the one on the other. Rather they exist virtually, with that existence which is proper to things of the spirit (..) the laws of association are similarity and contiguity (..) The interest of a living being lies in discovering in the present situation that which resembles a former situation, and then in placing alongside of that present situation what preceded and followed the previous one, in order to profit by past experience (..) two extreme planes of consciousness which we have called the plane of action and the plane of dream. In the first are displayed only motor habits; these may be called associations which are acted or lived, rather than represented (..) tension (..) of memory (..) transposes itself as a whole from one key into another (..) The nascent generality of the idea consists, then, in a certain activity of the mind, in a movement between action and representation (..) If pure recollection is already spirit, and if pure perception is still in a sense matter, we ought to be able, by placing ourselves at their meeting place, to throw some light on the reciprocal action of spirit and matter (..) perception in its concrete form, as a synthesis of pure memory and pure perception, that is to say of mind and matter (..) the inextended and the extended, quality and quantity, freedom and necessity (..) opposition between perception and matter (..) is not given in immediate intuition (..) That which is given, that which is real, is something intermediate between divided extension and pure inextension (..) It is what we have termed the extensive (..) it is not true that consciousness, turned round on itself, is confronted with a merely internal procession of inextensive perceptions. It is inside the very things perceived that you put back pure perception (..) the homogeneous and calculable changes on which science works seem to belong to multiple and independent elements, such as atoms, of which these changes appear as mere accidents, and this multiplicity comes in between the perception and its object. But if the division of the extended is purely relative to our possible action upon it, the idea of independent corpuscles is a fortiori schematic and provisional (..) no longer dealing with that movement which is the accident of a moving body, with that abstract motion which the mechanician studies and which is nothing, at bottom, but the common measure of concrete movements (..) concrete movement (..) concrete perception (..) living synthesis of pure perception and pure memory, necessarily sums up in its apparent simplicity an enormous multiplicity of moments (..) by the idea of tension we have striven to overcome the opposition between quality and quantity, as by the idea of extension that between the inextended and the extended (..) Extension and tension admit of degrees, multiple but always determined (..) freedom and necessity (..) Can each moment be mathematically deduced from the preceding moment ? (..) contingency of the course of nature (..) an individual consciousness (..) extracts from the whole that is real a part that is virtual, chooses and finally disengages that which interests it (..) while we watch the birth of that consciousness we are confronted, at the same time, by the apparition of living bodies, capable, even in their simplest forms, of movements spontaneous and unforeseen (..) growing and accompanying tension of consciousness in time (..) this consciousness retains the past better and better, so as to organize it with the present in a newer and richer decision (..) living with an intenser life, contracting, by its memory of the immediate experience, a growing number of external moments in its present duration, it becomes more capable of creating acts of which the inner indetermination, spread over as large a multiplicity of the moments of matter as you please, will pass the more easily through the meshes of necessity (..) freedom always seems to have its roots deep in necessity and to be intimately organized with it (..) Spirit borrows from matter the perceptions on which it feeds, and restores them to matter in the form of movements which it has stamped with its own freedom.
Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution (1907):
translated by Arthur Mitchell (..) 1911 (..) our concepts have been formed on the model of solids; that our logic is, pre-eminently, the logic of solids; that, consequently, our intellect triumphs in geometry (..) our thought (..) incapable of presenting the true nature of life, the full meaning of the evolutionary (..) movement. Created by life, in definite circumstances, to act on definite things, how can it embrace life, of which it is only an emanation or an aspect? (..) we do indeed feel that not one of the categories of our thought - unity, multiplicity, mechanical causality, intelligent finality, etc.-- applies exactly to the things of life (..) most often, when experience has finally shown us how life goes to work to obtain a certain result, we find its way of working is just that of which we should never have thought. (..) life (..) producing pure understandings (..) in making geometricians (..) evolution (..) other forms of consciousness (..) a consciousness as wide as life (..) we do not transcend our intellect (..) this would be right if we were pure intellects (..) certain powers that are (..) complementary to the understanding, (..) theory of knowledge (..) and theory of life (..) inseparable (..) common enterprise (..) dig to the very root of nature and of mind (..) substitute for the false evolutionism of Spencer - which consists in cutting up present reality, already evolved, into little bits no less evolved, and then recomposing it (..) with these fragments (..) a philosophy of this kind will (..) only be built up by the collective and progressive effort of many thinkers, of many observers also, completing, correcting and improving one another (..) The idea of regarding life as transcending teleology as well as mechanism is far from being a new idea. Notably in three articles by Ch. Dunan on "Le problème de la vie" (Revue philosophique, 1892) (..) intellectual mechanism and finalism having meaning only where there is " distinct multiplicity," " spatiality," and consequently assemblage of pre-existing parts: (..) "real duration" signifies both undivided continuity and creation. (..)

Chapter 1: The Evolution of Life -- Mechanism and Teleology (..) I pass from state to state. I am warm or cold, I am merry or sad, I work or I do nothing (..) I change, then, without ceasing (..) there is no feeling, no idea, no volition which is not undergoing change every moment (..) My mental state, as it advances on the road of time, is continually swelling with the duration which it accumulates (..) we change without ceasing, and that the state itself is nothing but change (..) the transition is continuous (..) actually there is only a gentle slope; but in following the broken line of our acts of attention, we think we perceive separate steps (..) states (..) our attention has distinguished and separated them artificially (..) artificial character of the process by which the attention places clean-cut states side by side, where actually there is a continuity which unfolds. (..) an artificial imitation of the internal life, a static equivalent which will lend itself better to the requirements of logic and language, just because we have eliminated from it the element of real time. (..) time is just the stuff it is made of (..) Duration is the continuous progress of the past which gnaws into the future and which swells as it advances. (..) the past is preserved by itself, automatically (..) Doubtless we think with only a small part of our past, but it is with our entire past, including the original bent of our soul, that we desire, will and act. Our past, then, as a whole, is made manifest to us in its impulse; it is felt in the form of tendency, although a small part of it only is known in the form of idea. (..) it follows that consciousness cannot go through the same state twice. (..) That is why our duration is irreversible. (..) Each of its moments is something new added to what was before. (..) not only something new, but something unforeseeable. (..) that which has never been perceived, and which is at the same time simple, is necessarily unforeseeable (..) Now such is the case with each of our states, regarded as a moment in a history that is gradually unfolding: it is simple, and it cannot have been already perceived, since it concentrates in its indivisibility all that has been perceived and what the present is adding to it besides. It is an original moment of a no less original history. (..) for to predict it would have been to produce it before it was produced (..) we are creating ourselves continually (..) for a conscious being, to exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly (..) descend to the molecules of which the fragments are made, to the atoms that make up the molecules, to the corpuscles that generate the atoms, to the " imponderable" within which the corpuscle is perhaps a mere vortex (..) stop only before the unchangeable (..) a composite object changes by the displacement of its parts. But when a part has left its position, there is nothing to prevent its return to it (..) All our belief in objects, all our operations on the systems that science isolates, rest in fact on the idea that time does not bite into them. (..) the abstract time t attributed by science to a material object or to an isolated system consists only in a certain number of simultaneities or more generally of correspondences (..) wait until the sugar melts (..) the time I have to wait is not that mathematical time (..) It coincides with my impatience, that is to say, with a certain portion of my own duration (..) It is no longer something thought, (..) matter has a tendency to constitute isolable (..) But it is only a tendency. Matter does not go to the end, and the isolation is never complete. (..) The universe endures (..) duration means invention, the creation of forms, the continual elaboration of the absolutely new (..) in the universe itself two opposite movements are to be distinguished, as we shall see later on, "descent" and "ascent." The first only unwinds a roll ready prepared. (..) the ascending movement, which corresponds to an inner work of ripening or creating, endures (..) while the subdivision of matter into separate bodies is relative to our perception, while the building up of closed off systems of material points is relative to our science, the living body has been separated and closed off by nature herself (..) A perfect definition applies only to a completed (..) the tendency to individuate (..) is everywhere opposed by the tendency towards reproduction (..) thinking (..) regulated by this simple law: the present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause (..) individuality is never perfect, and that it is often difficult, sometimes impossible, to tell what is an individual, and what is not, but that life nevertheless manifests a search for individuality (..) essential character of organization (..) the organism (..) endures (..) it has a history (..) it matures (..) Wherever anything lives, there is, open (..) somewhere, a register in which (..) This, it will be said, is only a metaphor (..) The mechanistic instinct of the mind is stronger than reason, stronger than immediate experience. (..) it is not easy, in thinking of time, to escape the image of the hour-glass (..) what is properly vital in growing old is the insensible, infinitely graduated, continuance of the change of form (..) The evolution of the living being, like that of the embryo, implies a continual recording of duration, a persistence of the past in the present, and so an appearance, at least, of organic memory. (..) the laws that govern unorganized matter are expressible, in principle, by differential equation (..) in which time (in the sense in which the mathematician takes this word) would play the role of independent variable. (..) in astronomy, physics, and chemistry the proposition has a perfectly definite meaning: it signifies that certain aspects of the present, important for science, are calculable as functions of the immediate past. Nothing of the sort in the domain of life. Here calculation touches, at most, certain phenomena of organic destruction. (..) the organized has duration and that the unorganized has not (..) cardinal difference between concrete (..) present (..) velocities and present (..) really speaking only of the present (..) considered along with its tendency (..) the world the mathematician deals with is a world that dies and is reborn at every instant - the world which Descartes was thinking of when he spoke of continued creation (..) to know a living being or natural system is (..) the knowledge of an artificial (..) up to a certain period in its development the embryo of the bird is hardly distinguishable from that of the reptile (..) the most complex has been able to issue from the most simple by way of evolution (..) experiments of H. de Vries (..) important variations can be produced suddenly and transmitted regularly (..) life is like a current passing from germ to germ through the medium of a developed organism. (..) organic evolution resembles the evolution of a consciousness (..) astronomical, physical and chemical facts (..) the only changes are changes of position (..) any living form (..) the variation (..) is being produced every moment (..) in every living being (..) it might be said of life, as of consciousness, that at every moment it is creating something. (..) Like ordinary knowledge, in dealing with things science is concerned only with the aspect of repetition. (..) Anything that is irreducible (..) and irreversible in the successive moments of a history eludes science. (..) To get a notion of this irreducibility and irreversibility, we must break with scientific habits (..) living beings (..) rather be compared to that natural system which is the whole of the universe. (..) life (..) the mechanism of the real whole (..) partial views of the whole (..) with these partial views put end to end, you will not make even a beginning of the reconstruction of the whole, any more than, by multiplying photographs of an object in a thousand different aspects, you will reproduce the object itself. (..) an ever-growing number of physico-chemical phenomena (..) it does not follow that chemistry and physics will ever give us the key to life (..) In reality, life is no more made of physico-chemical elements than a curve is composed of straight lines. (..) the introduction of motion into the genesis of figures is nevertheless the origin of modern mathematics (..) inner vital movement (..) which is transformation (..) mechanics of transformation (..) perhaps the integration of the physico-chemical elements of properly vital action might determine that action only in part (..) science has reconstructed hitherto nothing but waste products of vital activity; the peculiarly active plastic substances obstinately defy synthesis (..) those who are concerned only with the functional activity of the living being are inclined to believe that physics and chemistry will give us the key to biological processes (..) theoretical reasons which prevent us from likening the living being, a system closed off by nature, to the systems which our science isolates (..) The more duration marks the living being with its imprint, the more obviously the organism differs from a mere mechanism (..) The essence (..) scientists who have believed in the universality and perfect objectivity of mechanical explanations (..) Laplace (..) Du Bois-Reymond (..) Huxley (..) Radical mechanism implies a metaphysic in which the totality of the real is postulated complete in eternity, and in which the apparent duration of things expresses merely the infirmity of a mind that cannot know everything at once. (..) It is of no use to hold up before our eyes the dazzling prospect of a universal mathematic; we cannot sacrifice experience to the requirements of a system. That is why we reject radical mechanism. (..) But radical finalism is quite as unacceptable, and for the same reason. The doctrine of teleology, in its extreme form, as we find it in Leibniz for example, implies that things and beings merely realize a programme previously arranged. (..) Finalism thus understood is only inverted mechanism. (..) The mechanistic philosophy is to be taken or left: it must be left if the least grain of dust, by straying from the path foreseen by mechanics, should show the slightest trace of spontaneity. (..) The doctrine of final causes, on the contrary, will never be definitively refuted. (..) the position of vitalism is rendered very difficult by the fact that, in nature, there is neither purely internal finality nor absolutely distinct individuality. (..) If there is finality in the world of life, it includes the whole of life in a single indivisible embrace. (..) Originally, we think only in order to act. (..) Speculation is a luxury, while action is a necessity. (..) the human intellect, inasmuch as it is fashioned for the needs of human action, is an intellect which proceeds at the same time by intention and by calculation, by adapting means to ends and by thinking out mechanisms of (..) more and more geometrical form (..) In so far as we are geometricians, then, we reject the unforeseeable. (..) If everything is in time, everything changes inwardly, and the same concrete reality never recurs. (..) We do not think (..) The free act is incommensurable with the idea, and its "rationality" must be defined by this very incommensurability, which admits the discovery of as much intelligibility within it as we will. Such is the character of our own evolution; and such also, without doubt, that of the evolution of life. (..) The idea that for a new object we might have to create a new concept, perhaps a new method of thinking, is deeply repugnant to us. (..) philosophy of life (..) claims to transcend both mechanism and finalism (..) Life (..) progresses and endures (..) At every instant, then, evolution must admit of a psychological (..) the finalistic interpretation (..) is a particular mode of viewing the past in the light of the present. (..) the question which we regard as essential: can the insufficiency of mechanism be proved by facts? (..) Pure mechanism, then, would be refutable, and finality, in the special sense in which we understand it, would be demonstrable in a certain aspect, if it could be proved that life may manufacture the like apparatus, by unlike means, on divergent lines of evolution; and the strength of the proof (..) (..) would be proportional both to the divergency between the lines of evolution thus chosen and to the complexity of the similar structures found in them. (..) The Darwinian idea of adaptation by automatic elimination of the unadapted is a simple and clear idea. (..) we see that identical structures have been formed on independent lines of evolution by a gradual accumulation of effects. (..) term " adaptation" (..) two entirely different senses (..) pour into the same glass (..) water and wine (..) mechanical adjustment (..) life must create a form for itself, suited to the circumstances (..) Such adapting is not repeating, (..) adaptation so understood explains why different evolutionary processes result in similar forms: the same problem, of course, calls for the same solution. (..) examples (..) plants and animals (..) sexuality (..) the pigment-spot of the simplest organisms and the infinitely complex eye of the vertebrates (..) Let us place side by side the eye of a vertebrate and that of a mollusc such as the common Pecten. (..) molluscs and vertebrates separated from their common parent-stem long before the appearance of an eye so complex as that of the Pecten. Whence, then, the structural analogy? (..) Darwin spoke of very slight variations being accumulated by natural selection (..) opposite idea that a new species comes into being all at once by the simultaneous appearance of several new characters (..) striking experiments of Hugo de Vries (..) How could the same (..) culable in number, have ever occurred in the same order on two independent lines of evolution, if they were purely accidental? (..) And how could they have been preserved by selection and accumulated in both cases, the same in the same order, when each of them, taken separately, was of no use? (..) Suppose the variations are due, not to accidental and inner causes, but to the direct influence of outer circumstances. (..) Though molluscs and vertebrates have evolved separately, both have remained exposed to the influence of light. And light is a physical cause bringing forth certain definite effects. (..) purely mechanistic biology will strive to make the passive adaptation of an inert matter, which submits to the influence of its environment, mean the same as the active adaptation of an organism which derives from this influence an advantage it can appropriate (..) causality (..) that three very different meanings of this term are commonly confused (..) A cause may act by impelling, releasing, or unwinding. The billiard-ball, that strikes another, determines its movement by impelling. The spark that explodes the powder acts by releasing. The gradual relaxing of the spring, that makes the phonograph turn, unwinds the melody (..) What distinguishes these three cases from each other is the greater or less solidarity between the cause and the effect. (..) Only in the first case, really, does cause explain effect (..) this production of the same effect by two different accumulations of an enormous number of small causes is contrary to the principles of mechanistic philosophy (..) ontogenesis would have furnished us with facts no less cogent (..) identical results (..) by entirely different embryogenic processes (..) different (..) evolutionary processes which lead, in man and in the Pecten, to the development of a like retina (..) curious facts of regeneration in one and the same organism (..) we must appeal to some inner directing principle in order to account for this convergence of effects (..) Such convergence does not appear possible in the Darwinian, and especially the neo-Darwinian, theory of insensible accidental variations, nor in the hypothesis of sudden accidental variations (..) neo-Lamarckism (..) variation (..) springs from the very effort of the living being to adapt itself to the circumstances of its existence (..) it may also imply consciousness and will (..) admitting an internal and psychological principle of development (..) (78) (..) it is necessary to dig beneath the effort itself and look for a deeper cause (..) if we wish to get at a cause of regular hereditary variations (..) philosophers can not to-day content themselves with vague generalities, but must follow the scientists in experimental detail and discuss the results with them. (..) still claimed by many, that the hereditary transmission of an acquired (..) character is inconceivable (..) experiment should show that acquired characters are transmissible (..) experience alone must settle the matter (..) there remains hardly a single unquestionable example of acquired and transmitted peculiarities (..) the inheritance of an acquired peculiarity in the experiments of Brown-Séquard can be explained by the effect of a toxin on the germ (..) chemical change (..) in the germ-plasm (..) inherited deviation (..) keep to the actual results of observation (..) the transmissibility of acquired characters (..) hereditary transmission is the exception and not the rule (..) eye (..) neo-Lamarckism is no more able than any other form of evolutionism to solve the problem (..) reality is the special object of philosophy, which is not constrained to scientific precision because it contemplates no practical application (..) neo-Darwinians (..) variation (..) inherent in the germ (..) the theory of mutations is modifying Darwinism profoundly on this point. (..) tendency to change (..) the part played by chance is much greater in the variation of plants than in that of animals, because, in the vegetable world, function does not depend so strictly on form (..) hypothesis like Eimer's, according to which the variations of different characters continue from generation to generation in definite directions (..) Where we differ from Eimer is in his claim that combinations of physical and chemical causes are enough to secure the result. We have tried to prove, on the contrary, by the example of the eye, that if there is " orthogenesis " here, a psychological cause intervenes. (..) A hereditary change in a definite direction, which continues to accumulate and add to itself so as to build up a more and more complex machine, must certainly be related to some sort of effort, but to an effort of far greater depth than the individual effort, far more independent of circumstances (..) an original impetus of life (..) is the fundamental cause of variations (..) that accumulate and create new species (..) Two points are equally striking in an organ like the eye: the complexity of its structure and the simplicity of its function. (..) The mechanism of the eye is, in short, composed of an infinity of mechanisms all of extreme complexity. (..) Yet vision is one simple fact. (..) contrast between the complexity of the organ and the unity of the function (..) Mechanism (..) reproaches finalism with its anthropomorphic character (..) nature (..) worked like a human being (..) Life does not proceed by the association and addition of elements, but by dissociation and division. (..) (..) both mechanism and finalism (..) only standpoints to which the human mind has been led by considering the work of man (..) two aspects have by no means the same importance, or rather the same degree of reality (..) elements of a different order, with which we try to imitate it artificially (..) imitate (..) picture with many-colored squares of mosaic (..) we have conceived the whole (..) hand [moving] from A to B (..) indivisible act (..) Mechanism, here, would consist in seeing only the positions. Finalism would take their order into account. But both mechanism and finalism would leave on one side the movement, which is reality itself. (..) Nature has had no more trouble in making an eye than I have in lifting my hand. Nature's simple act has divided itself automatically into an infinity of elements which are then found to be coordinated to one idea, just as the movement of my hand has dropped an infinity of points which are then found to satisfy one equation. (..) it is one thing to manufacture, and quite another to organize (..) To manufacture, therefore, is to work from the periphery to the centre, or, as the philosophers say, from the many to the one. Organization, on the contrary, works from the centre to the periphery. (..) concentric waves which go on enlarging (..) spermatozoon (..) one of the smallest cells (..) organized machine (..) the materiality of this machine does not represent a sum of means employed, but a sum of obstacles avoided (..) effective vision, limited to objects on which the being can act (..) we may compare the process by which nature constructs an eye to the simple act by which we raise the hand (..) In reality, the cause, though more or less intense, cannot produce its effect except in one piece, and completely finished. (..) same visual organ (..) for the form of the organ only expresses the degree in which the exercise of the function has been obtained (..) progress (..) implied in this movement itself (..) life is (..) a tendency to act on inert matter. (..) The direction of this action is not predetermined; hence the unforeseeable variety of forms which life, in evolving, sows along its path. (..) But this action always presents, to some extent, the character of contingency; it implies at least a rudiment of choice. (..)
Chapter 2: The Divergent Directions of the Evolution of Life -- Torpor, Intelligence, Instinct (..) the way life breaks into individuals and species (..) depends, we think, on two series of causes: the resistance life meets from inert matter, and the explosive force (..) organized matter has a limit of expansion that is very quickly reached; beyond a certain point it divides instead of growing (..) divide, to remain united (..) thus made to function as would a continuous living mass which had simply grown bigger (..) life is tendency (..) compare the societies of bees and ants, for instance, with human societies. The former are admirably ordered and united, but stereotyped; the latter are open to every sort of progress, but divided, and incessantly at strife with themselves. (..) Evolution will thus prove to be something entirely different from a series of adaptations to circumstances, as mechanism claims; entirely different also from the realization of a plan of the whole, as maintained by the doctrine of finality. (..) a mere glance at fossil species shows us that life need not have evolved at all, or might have evolved only in very restricted limits (..) adaptation explains the sinuosities of the movement of evolution, but not its general directions, still less the movement itself (..) evolution (..) takes directions without aiming at ends (..) it remains inventive even in its adaptations (..) evolution (..) creates (..) not only the forms of life, but the ideas that will enable the intellect to understand it (..) the unity of life is to be found solely in the impetus that pushes it along the road of time, the harmony is not in front, but behind (..) Evolution is not only a movement forward; in many cases we observe a marking-time, and still more often a deviation or turning back. (..) We must recognize that all is not coherent in nature. (..) the evolution of life (..) is a creation that goes on for ever (..) constitutes the unity of the organized world (..) superior to any that the intellect could dream of, for the intellect is only one of its aspects or products. (..) different species (..) defining the principal directions of their evolution (..) the group must not be defined by the possession of certain characters, but by its tendency to emphasize them (..) vegetables and animals (..) two divergent developments of life (..) animal life is characterized by mobility in space (..) although both mobility and fixity exist in the vegetable as in the animal world, the balance is clearly in favor of fixity in the one case and of mobility in the other (..) fixity and mobility, again, are only superficial signs of tendencies that are still deeper (..) mobility and consciousness (..) relationship (..) the nervous system arises, like the other systems, from a division of labor (..) there is something from which, by a kind of splitting, both the reflex and the voluntary will arise (..) the humblest organism is conscious in proportion to its power to move freely (..) consciousness (..) the effect or the cause? (..) In one sense it is the cause, since it has to direct locomotion. But in another sense it is the effect, for it is the motor activity that maintains it (..) define the animal by sensibility and awakened consciousness, the vegetable by consciousness asleep and by insensibility (..) the same impetus that has led the animal to give itself nerves and nerve centres must have ended, in the plant, in the chlorophyllian function (..) accumulation of potential energy (..) needs for its action (..) by pulling a trigger (..) the work of releasing (..) principal source of energy (..) the sun (..) presume that the first living beings sought on the one hand to accumulate, without (..) ceasing, energy borrowed from the sun, and on the other hand to expend it, in a discontinuous and explosive way, in movements of locomotion (..) every living cell expends energy without ceasing, in order to maintain its equilibrium (..) in the animal, all points to action, that is, to the utilization of energy for movements from place to place (..) From the sensori-motor system, then, everything starts (..) in animals that have died of hunger the brain is found to be almost unimpaired (..) a higher organism is essentially a sensorimotor system (..) the role of life is to insert some indetermination in matter (..) nervous system (..) manifold ways (..) reservoir of indetermination (..) in the evolution of life (..) the disproportion is striking between the work and the result (..) freedom (..) dogged by automatism (..) The most living thought becomes frigid in the formula that expresses it. The word turns against the idea. (..) The letter kills the spirit. (..) the essence of life is in the movement by which life is transmitted (..) life is a continually growing action (..) failure seems the rule, success exceptional and always imperfect (..) the greatest successes have been for those who have accepted the heaviest risks (..) vertebrates and arthropods (..) progress of the sensori-motor nervous system (..) The evolution of the arthropods reaches its culminating point in the insect, and in particular in the hymenoptera, as that of the vertebrates in man. (..) evolution of the animal kingdom (..) on two divergent paths, one of which led to instinct and the other to intelligence. (..) Vegetative torpor, instinct, and intelligence (..) three divergent directions of an activity that has split up as it grew. (..) The difference between them is not a difference of intensity, nor, more generally, of degree, but of kind. (..) intelligence and instinct, having originally been interpenetrating, retain something of their common origin (..) they are tendencies, and not things (..) two different methods of action on inert matter (..) intelligence, considered in what seems to be its original feature, is the faculty of manufacturing artificial objects, especially tools to make tools, and of indefinitely varying the manufacture. (..) (..) instinct perfected is a faculty of using and even of constructing organized instruments; intelligence perfected is the faculty of making and using unorganized instruments (..) Instinct is therefore necessarily specialized, being nothing but the utilization of a specific instrument for a specific object. (..) the original psychical activity included both at once (..) intelligence has even more need of instinct than instinct has of intelligence; (..) Instinct and intelligence therefore represent two divergent solutions, equally fitting, of one and the same problem. (..) (..) instinct and intelligence imply two radically different kinds of knowledge (..) consciousness is the light that plays around the zone of possible actions or potential activity which surrounds the action really performed by the living being. It signifies hesitation or choice. (..) the consciousness (..) of a living being may be defined as an arithmetical difference between potential and real activity. It measures the interval between representation and action. (..) intelligence is likely to point towards consciousness, and instinct towards unconsciousness (..) while instinct and intelligence both involve knowledge, this knowledge is rather acted and unconscious in the case of instinct, thought and conscious in the case of intelligence. (..) the little beetle, the Sitaris (..) Anthophora (..) the behavior of the insect involves, or rather evolves, the idea of definite things existing or being produced in definite points of space and time, which the insect knows without having learned them. (..) the young child understands immediately things that the animal will never understand (..) But this innate intelligence, although it is a faculty of knowing, knows no object in particular. (..) Besides things, there are relations (..) of attribute to subject (..) several general categories, of which the mind possesses innate knowledge since it makes a natural use of them. (..) whatever, in instinct and intelligence, is innate knowledge, bears in the first case on (..) things and in the second on knowledge. (..) Intelligence, in so far as it is innate, is the knowledge of a form; instinct implies the knowledge of a matter.(..) two different and even divergent modes of knowing (..) "This is;" (..) " if the conditions are such, such will be the conditioned." (..) categorical propositions (..) hypothetically (..) extension of knowledge (..) intension (..) Where activity is directed toward manufacture, therefore, knowledge necessarily bears on relations. But this entirely formal knowledge of intelligence has an immense advantage over the material knowledge of instinct. (..) There are things that intelligence alone is able to seek, but which, by Itself, it will never find. These things instinct alone could find; but it will never seek them. (..) the function of the intellect is essentially unification (..) it might be asked if the function of intelligence is not to divide even more than to unite (..) We regard the human intellect, on the contrary, as relative to the needs of action. (..) Postulate action, and the very form of the intellect can be deduced from it. This form is therefore neither irreducible nor inexplicable. (..) the intellect aims, first of all, at constructing. (..) its chief object the unorganized solid (..) Of the discontinuous alone does the intellect form a clear idea. (..) From mobility itself our intellect turns aside, because it has nothing to gain in dealing with it. (..) the intellect (..) always starts from immobility, as if this were the ultimate reality (..) aims at a practically useful end (..) space as homogeneous and empty medium, infinite and infinitely divisible (..) is never perceived; it is only conceived (..) What is perceived is extension colored, resistant, divided according to the lines which mark out the boundaries of real bodies or of their real elements. But when we think of our power over this matter, that is to say (..) of our faculty of decomposing and recomposing it as we please, we project the whole of these possible decompositions and recompositions behind real extension in the form of a homogeneous space, empty and indifferent, which is supposed to underlie it. (..) the intellect is characterized by the unlimited power of decomposing according to any law and of recomposing into any system. (..) (..) what characterizes the signs of human language is not so much their generality as their mobility. The instinctive sign is adherent, the intelligent sign is mobile (..) extended from things to ideas (..) the intellect, reflecting upon its own doings, perceives itself as a creator of ideas, as a faculty of representation in general, there is no object of which it may not wish to have the idea (..) intelligence (..) must (..) in order to think itself clearly and distinctly, perceive itself under the form of discontinuity (..) symbols (..) logic is the complete set of rules that must be followed in using symbols (..) logic triumphs in that science which takes the solidity of bodies for its object, that is, in geometry (..) But, outside this domain, pure reasoning needs to be supervised by common sense, which is an altogether different thing. (..) the intellect cannot think true continuity, real mobility, reciprocal penetration - in a word, that creative evolution which is life. (..) Just as we separate in space, we fix in time. (..) the intellect represents becoming as a series of states (..) the new is ever upspringing, that the form just come into existence (although, when once produced, it may be regarded as an effect determined by its causes) could never have been foreseen (..) history of hygiene or of pedagogy (..) wrongness of a medical or pedagogical practise (..) amazed at the stupidity and especially at the persistence of errors (..) The intellect is characterized by a natural inability to comprehend life. (..) (..) Instinct, on the contrary, is molded on the very form of life. While intelligence treats everything mechanically, instinct proceeds, so to speak, organically. (..) in the instinct of the animal and in the vital properties of the cell, the same knowledge and the same ignorance are shown. (..) it is impossible for intelligence to re-absorb instinct. That which is instinctive in instinct cannot be expressed in terms of intelligence, nor, consequently, can it be analyzed. (..) each new piece really requires, if all is not to be spoiled, a complete recasting of the whole. How could mere chance work a recasting of the kind? (..) in one form or another we shall appeal to intelligence (..) not clear how this sort of explanation could be extended to the vegetable world, where effort is never intelligent (..) neo-Darwinians (..) neo-Lamarkians (..) The first are probably right in holding that evolution takes place from germ to germ rather than from individual to individual; the second are right in saying that at the origin of instinct there is an effort (although it is something quite different, we believe, from an intelligent effort). But the former are probably wrong when they make the evolution of instinct an accidental evolution and the latter when they regard the effort from which instinct proceeds as an individual effort. (..) circumference of a circle, from different points of which these different varieties have started, all facing the same centre all making an effort in that direction (..) musical theme, which had first been transposed (..) different variations played (..) general theme "the necessity of paralyzing without killing"; the variations are subordinated to the structure of the victim (..) suppose a sympathy (in the etymological sense of the word) between the Ammophila and its victim, which teaches it from within (..) result from the mere presence together of the Ammophila and the caterpillar, considered no longer as two organisms, but as two activities (..) Why, then, should instinct be resolvable into intelligent elements? Why, even, into terms entirely intelligible? (..) But, though instinct is not within the domain of intelligence, it is not situated beyond the limits of mind. (..) a process of knowledge-by an intuition (lived (..) Instinct is sympathy (..) it is to the very inwardness of life that intuition leads us - by intuition I mean instinct that has become disinterested, self-conscious, capable of reflecting upon its object and of enlarging it indefinitely. (..) Intelligence remains the luminous nucleus around which instinct, even enlarged and purified into intuition, forms only a vague nebulosity. (..) by the sympathetic communication (..) between us and the rest of the living (..) it introduces us into life's own domain, which is reciprocal interpenetration, endlessly continued creation. (..) if consciousness has thus split up into intuition and intelligence, it is because of the need it had to apply itself to matter at the same time as it had to follow the stream of life (..) Man (..) not limited to playing his past life again; he represents and dreams it (..) relation of the conscious state to the cerebral state (..) tendencies outwardly in movements rather than internally in representations (..) consciousness launched into matter, fixed its attention either on its own movement or on the matter it was passing through (..) turned either in the direction of intuition or in that of intellect (..) consciousness (..) as the motive principle of evolution (..) invention (..) fabricate (..) new ideas and new feelings that the invention may give rise to (..) in overcoming automatism, set consciousness free (..) A survey of the evolution of life suggests to us a certain conception of knowledge, and also a certain metaphysics, which imply each other. (..)
Chapter 3: On the Meaning of Life -- The Order of Nature and the Form of Intelligence (..) matter (..) must be a flux rather than a thing. In this we were preparing the way for a reconciliation between the inert and the living (..) instinct and intelligence (..) same background (..) consciousness in general (..) Intellectuality (..) and materiality (..) are derived from a wider and higher form of existence (..) In order to follow the indications of instinct, there is no need to perceive objects, it is enough to distinguish properties (..) intelligence (..) busies itself with dividing (..) distinct concepts (..) objects excluding one another (..) The more consciousness is intellectualized, the more is matter spatialized. (..) Metaphysics (..) deduces a priori the categories of thought (..) most philosophers (..) in affirming the unity of nature, and in representing this unity under an abstract and geometrical form (..) that nature is one and that the function of intellect is to embrace it in its entirety (..) ocean of life (..) our being (..) formed therein by a kind of local concentration (..) Philosophy can only be an effort to dissolve again into the Whole (..) All that is clear in your consciousness is intelligence. You are inside your own thought; you cannot get out of it. (..) But the same reasoning would prove also the impossibility of acquiring any new habit. (..) But action breaks the circle. (..) to learn to swim, we must begin by holding ourselves up in the water (..) So of our thought, when it has decided to make the leap. (..) that is, leave its own environment. (..) walking would never have pushed you on to swimming (..) you must thrust intelligence outside itself by an act of will (..) Positive science is, in fact, a work of pure intellect. (..) the intellect is at home in the presence of unorganized matter (..) when the intellect undertakes the study of life, it necessarily treats the living like the inert (..) philosophy (..) speculate, that is to say, to see (..) its attitude toward the living should not be that of science, which aims only at action (..) doctrine of the simple unity of knowledge and of the abstract unity of nature (..) the inert enters naturally into the frames of the intellect, but that the living is adapted to these frames only artificially, so that we must adopt a special attitude towards it (..) science can and must continue to treat the living as it has treated the inert (..) the more symbolic, the more relative to the contingencies of action, the knowledge (..) philosophy (..) superpose on scientific truth a knowledge of another kind, which may be called metaphysical (..) The knowledge we possess of it (..) is reality itself (..) living unity (..) pure duration (..) in which the past (..) is swelling (..) unceasingly with a present that is absolutely new (..) the state of consciousness overflows the intellect (..) matter (..) elementary vibrations, the shortest of which are of very slight duration, almost vanishing, but not nothing. (..) Behind " spirituality" (..) and " materiality" (..) two processes opposite in their direction (..) conscious of our progress in pure duration (..) pressed against the future (..) life and action are free (..) But (..) dream (..) the self (..) broken up into a thousand recollections made external to one another (..) there is no material point that does not act on every other material point (..) all the atoms interpenetrate and that each of them fills the world (..) simply a view of the mind (..) Kant (..) The ideality of space is proved directly by the analysis of knowledge indirectly by the antinomies to which the opposite theory (..) leads. Such is the governing idea of the Kantian criticism (..) three alternatives (..) either the mind is determined by things, or things are determined by the mind, or between mind and things we must suppose a mysterious agreement. (..) the truth is that there is a fourth, which does not (..) seem to have occurred to Kant (..) having put time, a priori, on the same plane as space. This alternative consists, first of all, in regarding the intellect as a special function of the mind (..) intellect and matter have progressively adapted themselves one to the other in order to attain at last a common form. (..) creates at once the intellectuality of mind and the materiality of things (..) science (..) overaccentuates the spatiality of matter (..) conventional (..) self-conscious (..) extension of the self into recollections (..) tension (..) as an indivisible active will (..) matter (..) undergoing the action of the whole (..) All that which seems positive to the physicist and to the geometrician would become, from this new point of view, an interruption or inversion of the true positivity, which would have to be defined in psychological terms. (..) complexity (..) as a positive reality (..) geometry (..) the main spring of our intellect (..) consider the two essential functions of intellect, the faculty of deduction and that of induction. (..) deduction (..) I feel, I see in space the relation of the definition to its consequences, of the premisses to the conclusion. (..) how feeble is the reach of deduction in the psychological and moral sciences (..) Deduction succeeds in things moral only metaphorically (..) On the contrary, in geometry, in astronomy, in physics, where we have to do with things external to us, deduction is all-powerful! (..) Deduction, then, does not work unless there be spatial intuition behind it. (..) But we may say the same (..) Induction rests on the belief that there are causes and effects, and that the same effects follow the same causes. (..) It implies, in the first place, that reality is decomposable into groups, which can be practically regarded as isolated and independent (..) For the (..) system of to-day actually to be superimposed on that of yesterday, the latter must have waited for the former, time must have halted, and everything become simultaneous: that happens in geometry, but in geometry alone. (..) Induction therefore implies first that, in the world of the physicist as in that of the geometrician, time does not count. But it implies also that qualities can be superposed on each other like magnitudes. (..) matter becomes, it seems to us, geometry itself. (..) But things change their aspect when we consider the whole of reality as an undivided advance forward to successive creations. (..) no complication of the mathematical order with itself (..) can introduce an atom of novelty into the world (..) the interruption of the creative act (..) inflexible determinism (..) and mathematical order are one with this very interruption (..) It is this merely negative tendency that the particular laws of the physical world express. None of them, taken separately, has objective reality (..) matter is a relaxation (..) of liberty into necessity (..) constituted by the movement which leads to space (..) on the way to geometry (..) something artificial (..) in our scientific knowledge of things. (..) measuring is a wholly human operation (..) Nature (..) does not measure , nor does it count (..) the same movement (..) results in making us count, measure (..) If the mathematical order were a positive thing (..) finding the standard of nature (..) the mathematical order is nothing positive (..) it is the form toward which a certain interruption tends of itself (..) our science is contingent, relative to the variables it has chosen, relative to the order in which it has successively put the problems (..) mathematics in general represents simply the side to which matter inclines (..) see what a prominent part the idea of disorder (..) the absence of a certain order (..) to the profit of another (..) the idea of disorder (..) represents nothing at all (..) begin by distinguishing (..) two kinds of order (..) reality is ordered exactly to the degree in which it satisfies our thought. (..) order of the second kind may be defined as geometry (..) the first kind of order (..) oscillates no doubt around finality (..) creative evolution (..) that the vital is in the direction of the voluntary (..) this first kind of order is that of the vital or of the willed, in opposition to the second, which is that of the inert and the automatic (..) We try to express the difference between the physical and the vital order, the former making the same combination of causes give the same combined effect, the latter securing the constancy of the effect even when there is some wavering (..) in the causes (..) problem of knowledge (..) the geometrical order and the vital order are accordingly confused together. According to the point of view, the generality of laws is explained by that of genera, or that of genera by that of laws. (..) The ancients, indeed, did not ask why nature submits to laws, but why it is ordered according to genera. (..) the ancients were confined, in fact, to a more or less clumsy interpretation of the physical in terms of the vital (..) But there is the same confusion in the moderns, with this difference, however, that the relation between the (..) two terms is inverted: laws are no longer reduced to genera, but genera to laws (..) laws of Kepler and of Galileo (..) ideal and unique type of all knowledge (..) a law is a relation (..) and a relation is essentially a comparison; it has objective reality only for an intelligence that represents to itself several terms at the same time (..) arbitrary confusion between the generality of laws and that of genera (..) it is the confusion of two kinds of order that lies behind the relativism of the modems, as it lay behind the dogmatism of the ancients (..) due to the fact that the "vital" order, which is essentially creation, is manifested to us less in its essence than in some of its accidents, those which imitate the physical and geometrical order (..) Heredity (..) transmits (..) impetus (..) and this impetus is vitality itself (..) The physical order is " automatic;" the vital order is, I will not say voluntary, but analogous to the order "willed." (..) The main problem of the theory of knowledge is (..) why there is order (..) it is unquestionable that all order is contingent, and conceived as such. But contingent in relation to what.? (..) in reality, chance merely objectifies the state of mind of one who, expecting one of the two kinds of order, finds himself confronted with the other. Chance and disorder are therefore necessarily conceived as relative (..) distinguish two kinds of order that are irreducible to one another (..) there is only the geometrical and the vital, and then, by a swaying of the mind between them, the idea of the incoherent (..) the faculty of seeing (..) a continual coming and going is necessary between nature and mind (..) When we put back our being into our will, and our will itself into the impulsion it prolongs, we understand, we feel, that reality is a perpetual growth, a creation pursued without end. (..) We are not the vital current itself; we are this current already loaded with matter (..) the idea of creation (..) is merged (..) in that of growth (..) the universe is not made, but is being made continually. It is growing, perhaps indefinitely, by the addition of new worlds. (..) the two most general laws of our science (..) conservation of energy (..) closed system (..) sum of its kinetic and potential energy (..) constant (..) energies of various kinds (..) and the measurement of each of them has evidently been so chosen as to justify the principle of conservation of energy (..) the second principle of thermodynamics (..) entropy (..) it expresses the fact that all physical changes have a tendency to be degraded into heat, and that heat tends to be distributed among bodies in a uniform manner (..) the physicist is obliged to attach energy to extended particles, and, even if he regards the particles only as reservoirs of energy, he remains in space: he would belie his role if he sought the origin of these energies in an extraspatial process. It is there, however, in our opinion, that it must be sought (..) everything happens as if it were doing its utmost to set itself free from these laws (..) life (..) like an effort to raise the weight which falls (..) it succeeds only in retarding the fall (..) an impulsion which continues itself in a direction the inverse of materiality (..) image of a creative action which unmakes itself (..) In vital activity (..) a reality which is making itself in a reality which is unmaking itself. (..) our intellect (..) made to present to us things and states rather than changes and acts (..) But things and states are only views, taken by our mind, of becoming. There are no things, there are only actions. (..) when I speak of a centre from which worlds shoot out (..) I do not present this centre as a thing, but as a continuity of shooting out. God thus defined, has nothing of the already made; He is unceasing life, action, freedom. Creation, so conceived, is not a mystery; we experience it in ourselves when we act freely. (..) In reality, life is a movement (..) materiality is the inverse movement, and each of these two movements is simple, the matter which forms a world being an undivided flux, and undivided also the life that runs through it, cutting out in it living beings all along its track. (..) between them a modus vivendi, which is organization. (..) Let us try to see (..) with that faculty of seeing which is immanent in the faculty of acting (..) catch a glimpse of a simple process (..) The impetus of life, of which we are speaking, consists in a need of creation. It cannot create absolutely, because it is confronted with matter, that is to say with the movement that is the inverse of its own. (..) progress of the nervous system (..) a simultaneous development of automatic activity and of voluntary activity (..) increasing precision, increasing variety, increasing efficiency and independence (..) animal life consists (1) in procuring a provision of energy; (2) in expending it, by means of a matter as supple as possible, in directions variable and unforeseen. (..) energy (..) Vegetables alone gather in the solar energy (..) chlorophyllian function (..) using solar energy to fix the carbon of carbonic acid, and thereby to store this energy (..) life (..) accumulate energy and then to let it (..) flow into flexible channels (..) accomplish (..) varied kinds of work (..) each species behaves as if the general movement of life stopped at it instead of passing through it. It thinks only of itself, it lives only for itself. (..) Hence the numberless struggles (..) contingency in evolution (..) Contingent the arrests and set-backs; contingent, in large measure, the adaptations. (..) Two things only are necessary: (1) a gradual accumulation of energy; (2) an elastic canalization of this energy in variable and indeterminable directions, at the end of which are free acts. (..) life is possible wherever energy descends the incline indicated by Carnot's law and where a cause of inverse direction can retard the descent (..) essential of life (..) slow accumulation of energy and sudden release (..) in space only, is distinct multiplicity possible (..) Abstract unity and abstract multiplicity are determinations of space or categories of the understanding (..) Is my own person, at a given moment, one or manifold? (..) . I am then (..) a unity that is multiple and a multiplicity that is one (..) but unity and multiplicity are only views of my personality taken by an understanding that directs its categories at me (..) mutual interpenetration and continuity that I find at the base of my own self. (..) thousands of tendencies (..) Matter divides actually what was but potentially manifold (..) tendency to individualize (..) antagonistic and complementary tendency to associate (..) balancing between individuation and association (..) Individuals join together into a society; but the society, as soon as formed, tends to melt the associated individuals into a new organism, so as to become itself an individual (..) Very probably it is not the cells that have made the individual by means of association; it is rather the individual that has made the cells by means of dissociation (..) unity and multiplicity are categories of inert matter, that the vital impetus is neither pure unity nor pure multiplicity (..) If our analysis is correct, it is consciousness, or rather supra-consciousness, that is at the origin of life. (..) Consciousness, or supraconsciousness, is the name for the rocket whose extinguished fragments fall back as matter (..) a need of creation (..) consciousness (..) attached to certain neurons (..) In reality, a living being is a centre of action. (..) the development of consciousness will appear to be dependent on that of the nervous centres (..) In reality, consciousness does not, spring from the brain; but brain and consciousness correspond because equally they measure, the one by the complexity of its structure and the other by the intensity of its awareness, the quantity of choice (..) the psychical state tells us more than the cerebral state (..) the brain is the sharp edge by which consciousness cuts into the compact tissue of events (..) to the living being's power of choice (..) consciousness is synonymous with invention and with freedom (..) language (..) furnishes consciousness with an immaterial body in which to incarnate itself and thus exempts it from dwelling exclusively on material bodies (..) social life (..) stores and preserves efforts as language stores thought (..) our brain, our society, and our language are only the external and various signs of one and the same internal superiority (..) abundantly evident that the rest of nature is not for the sake of man (..) Everywhere but in man, consciousness has had to come to a stand; in man alone it has kept on its way. (..) Intuition and intellect represent two opposite directions of the work of consciousness: intuition goes in the very direction of life, intellect goes in the inverse direction, and thus finds itself naturally in accordance with the movement of matter. (..) In the humanity of which we are a part, intuition is, in fact, almost completely sacrificed to intellect. (..) intuition is mind itself, and, in a certain sense, life itself (..) place ourselves in intuition in order to go from intuition to the intellect, for from the intellect we shall never pass to intuition. (..) consciousness (..) includes potentialities without number which interpenetrate and to which consequently neither the category of unity nor that of multiplicity is appropriate, made as they both are for inert matter. (..) consciousness is essentially free (..) but it cannot pass through matter without settling on it, without adapting itself to it: this adaptation is what we call intellectuality (..) the intellect (..) always perceive freedom in the form of necessity (..) facilitate speculation (..) more power to act and to live (..) All the living hold together, and all yield to the same tremendous push. (..) able to beat down every resistance and clear the most formidable obstacles, perhaps even death. (..) Everything is as if this death had been willed, or at least accepted, for the greater progress of life in general. (..)
Chapter 4: The Cinematographical Mechanism of Thought and the Mechanistic Illusion -- A Glance at the History of Systems -- Real Becoming and False Evolutionism (..) a philosophy which sees in duration the very stuff of reality. (..) Matter or mind, reality has appeared to us as a perpetual becoming. (..) the intellect (..) like the senses, is limited to taking, at intervals, views that are instantaneous and by that very fact immobile of the becoming of matter. (..) Consciousness, being in its turn formed on the intellect, sees clearly of the inner life what is already made, and only feels confusedly the making. Thus, we pluck out of duration those moments that interest us, and that we have gathered along its course. (..) Of becoming we perceive only states, of duration only instants (..) two illusions (..) consists in supposing that we can think the unstable by means of the stable, the moving by means of the immobile. (..) Principle of creation (..) why does this principle exist rather than nothing? (..) Existence appears to me like a conquest over nought. (..) if the principle of all things exists after the manner of a logical axiom or of a mathematical definition, the things themselves must go forth from this principle like the applications of an axiom or the consequences of a definition, and there will no longer be place, either in the things nor in their principle, for efficient causality understood in the sense of a free choice. Such are precisely the conclusions of a doctrine like that of Spinoza, or even that of Leibniz, and such indeed has been their genesis. (..) I am always perceiving something, either from without or from within. (..) the idea of an annihilation of everything presents the same character as that of a square circle: it is not an idea, it is only a word. (..) what is, and what is perceived, is the presence of one thing or of another, never the absence of anything (..) "nought" or the "void," is not so much thought as feeling (..) an interference between, this feeling of preference and this idea of substitution (..) the representation of the void is always a representation which is full and which resolves itself on analysis into two positive elements: the idea, distinct or confused, of a substitution, and the feeling, experienced or imagined, (..) of a desire or a regret. (..) the idea of the absolute nought, in the sense of the annihilation of everything, is a self-destructive idea, a pseudo-idea, a mere word (..) the annihilation of a thing in thought implies the substitution in thought of a new thing for the old. (..) the representation of the existence of the object is inseparable from the representation of the object, and indeed is one with it. (..) The very root of all the difficulties and errors with which we are confronted is to be found in the power ascribed here to negation. We represent negation as exactly symmetrical with affirmation. (..) This table is not white (..) I judge a judgment and not the table (..) while affirmation bears directly on the thing, negation aims at the thing only indirectly, through an interposed affirmation. (..) Negation, therefore, differs from affirmation properly so called in that it is an affirmation of the second degree: it affirms something of an affirmation which itself affirms something of an object. (..) (..) Judgments that posit the nonexistence of a thing are therefore judgments that formulate a contrast between the possible and the actual (that is, between two kinds of existence, (..) for a mind which should follow purely and simply the thread of experience, there would be no void, no nought, even relative or partial, no possible negation. (..) Such a mind would see facts succeed facts, states succeed states, things succeed things. (..) Suppress all interest, all feeling, and there is nothing left but the reality that flows, together with the knowledge ever renewed that it impresses on us of its present state. (..) affirm the existence of the actual while looking only at the possible. (..) the question, "Why does something exist?" is consequently without meaning, a pseudoproblem raised about a pseudo-idea (..) Our action proceeds thus from "nothing" to "something," and its very essence is to embroider "something" on the canvas of "nothing." (..) a utility (..) speculation (..) is exercised on things themselves and not on the utility they have for us. (..) the idea of Nothing (..) is self-destructive and reduced to a mere word; and that if, on the contrary, it is truly an idea, then we find in it as much matter as in the idea of All. (..) strive to see in order to see, and no longer to see in order to act (..) But do we ever think true duration? (..) It is no use trying to approach duration: we must install ourselves within it straight away. (..) The intellect (..) only represents to the activity ends to attain, that is to say, points of rest. (..) our activity is carried by a series of leaps (..) we distinguish qualities (..) every quality is change (..) in the continuity of sensible qualities we mark off the boundaries of bodies (..) What is real is the continual change of form: form is only a snapshot view of a transition. (..) Whether the movement be qualitative or evolutionary or extensive, the mind manages to take stable views of the instability. (..) three kinds of representations: (1) qualities, (2) forms of essences, (3) acts. (..) To these three ways of seeing correspond three categories of words: adjectives, substantives, and verbs, which are the primordial elements of language. (..) qualitative movements (..) evolutionary movements (..) extensive movements (..) The trick of our perception, like that of our intelligence, like that of our language, consists in extracting from these profoundly different becomings the single representation of becoming in general (..) on a screen a living picture (..) the marching past of a regiment (..) cinematograph (..) The movement (..) is in the apparatus. It is because the film of the cinematograph unrolls, bringing in turn the different photographs of the scene to continue each other, that each actor of the scene recovers his mobility (..) Such is the contrivance of the cinematograph. And such is also that of our knowledge. (..) Instead of attaching ourselves to the inner becoming of things, we place ourselves outside them in order to recompose their becoming artificially. We take snapshots, as it were, of the passing reality (..) the mechanism of our ordinary knowledge is of a cinematographical kind (..) Of the altogether practical character of this operation there is no possible doubt. (..) the cinematographical character of our knowledge of things is due to the kaleidoscopic character of our adaptation to them. (..) (..) Action is discontinuous, like every pulsation of life; discontinuous, therefore, is knowledge. (..) In order to advance with the moving reality, you must replace yourself within it. (..) every attempt to reconstitute change out of states implies the absurd proposition, that movement is made of immobilities. (..) arrow which goes from A to B (..) indivisible mobility (..) The absurdity vanishes as soon as we adopt by thought the continuity of the real movement (..) Nothing would be easier, now, than to extend Zeno's argument to qualitative becoming and to evolutionary becoming. We should find the same contradictions in these. (..) childhood and manhood are then only possible stops, mere views of the mind (..) escape from the cinematographical mechanism of thought (..) The Greeks trusted to nature, trusted the natural propensity of the mind, trusted language above all, in so far as it naturally externalizes thought. Rather than lay blame on the attitude of thought and language toward the course of things, they preferred to pronounce the course of things itself to be wrong. (..) Eleatic school (..) In spatial movement and in change in general they saw only pure illusion. (..) seek that which defies change (..) classic age, the philosophy of Forms (..) Idea (..) (1) the quality, (2) the form or essence, (3) the end or design (in the sense of intention) of the act being performed, (..) we end in the philosophy of Ideas when we apply the cinematographical mechanism of the intellect to the analysis of the real. (..) there is more in a movement than in the successive positions attributed to the moving object, more in a becoming than in the forms passed through in turn, more in the evolution of form than the forms assumed one after another. (..) ancient philosophy proceeds as the intellect does. (..) cinematographical method (..) snapshots (..) represent all that is positive in Becoming (..) Such is (..) the philosophy of Forms or Ideas (..) philosophy of Ideas (..) posits Forms in the eternal; of this motionless eternity, then, duration and becoming are supposed to be only the degradation (..) Space and time (..) in ancient philosophy, the same origin and the same value. (..) physics is but logic spoiled. In this proposition the whole philosophy of Ideas is summarized (..) immanent in the philosophy of Ideas, a particular conception of causality (..) attraction (..) procession and conversion. Everything is derived from the first principle, and everything aspires to return to it. (..) The affirmation of a reality implies the simultaneous affirmation of all the (..) degrees of reality intermediate between it and nothing, (..) perceive God as efficient cause or as final cause, according to the point of view (..) And yet neither of these two relations is the ultimate causal relation. (..) We come to a philosophy of this kind, indeed, whenever we follow to the end, the cinematographical tendency of perception and thought. (..) an irresistible attraction brings the intellect back to its natural movement, and the metaphysic of the moderns to the general conclusions of the Greek metaphysic (..) Modern, like ancient, science proceeds according to the cinematographical method. (..) What is the essential object of science? It is to enlarge our influence over things (..) Science (..) always isolates moments (..) As to what happens in the interval between the moments, science is no more concerned with that than are our common intelligence, our senses and our language (..) ancient science thinks it knows its object sufficiently when it has noted of it some privileged moments, whereas modern science considers the object at any moment whatever. (..) our physics differs from that of the ancients chiefly in the indefinite breaking up of time. (..) ancients (..) time is always supposed to be divided into determinate periods (..) a Kepler or a Galileo, on the contrary, time is not divided objectively in one way or another by the matter that fills it. (..) seeking a higher precision (..) the same cinematographical mechanism in both cases (..) modern science is distinguishable from the ancient in that it applies to magnitudes and proposes first and foremost to measure them. (..) ancient science applied to concepts, while modern science seeks laws-constant relations between variable magnitudes. The concept of circularity was sufficient to Aristotle to define the movement of the heavenly bodies. (..) The principle of Archimedes is a true experimental law. (..) The science of the ancients is static. (..) no account of time (..) Kepler (..) Galileo (..) time (..) substitute an equation for a figure (..) Modern science is the daughter of astronomy (..) it is through Galileo that Newton and his successors are connected with Kepler (..) modern science must be defined pre-eminently by its aspiration to take time as an independent variable. But with what time has it to do? (..) real time (..) as the very mobility of being, escapes the hold of scientific knowledge (..) science (..) has no sign to express what strikes our consciousness in succession and duration. (..) It no more applies to becoming, so far as that is moving, than the bridges thrown here and there across the stream follow the water that flows under their arches. (..) But for us, conscious beings, it is the units that matter, for we do not count extremities of intervals, we feel and live the intervals themselves. (..) sugar in my glass of water (..) wait for it to melt (..) While the duration of the phenomenon is relative for the physicist (..) this duration is an absolute for my consciousness (..) succession (..) with this particular velocity (..) The duration of the universe must therefore be one with the latitude of creation which can find place in it. (..) (..) succession, or continuity of interpenetration in time, irreducible to a mere instantaneous juxtaposition in space. (..) Time is invention or it is nothing at all. But of time-invention physics can take no account, restricted as it is to the cinematographical method. (..) counting simultaneities between the events (..) abstract (..) in a time unrolled in space (..) while modern physics is distinguished from ancient physics by the fact that it considers any moment of time whatever, it rests altogether on a substitution of time-length for time-invention. (..) second kind of knowledge (..) within becoming (..) the flow of time (..) the very flux of the real (..) practically useless (..) necessity of a continual growth of the universe, I should say of a life of the real. (..) intuition (..) science and metaphysics (..) complementary ways of knowing (..) Descartes (..) superposes on the determinism of physical phenomena the indeterminism of human actions, and, consequently, on time-length a time in which there is invention, creation, true succession. (..) metaphysics a systematization of science (..) Greek philosophers (..) Such was the case with Leibniz, as also with Spinoza (..) ancient philosophy (..) concepts (..) gathered (..) into a single concept, form of forms, idea of ideas, like the God of Aristotle (..) new philosophy (..) laws (..) gather them up into a unity (..) physical laws (..) quantitative (..) relations (..) parallelism (..) in Leibniz and in Spinoza (..) Spinoza (..) Thought and Extension (..) two attributes of one and the same substance, which we must call God (..) Leibniz (..) thought (..) is the original, (..) The Whole, that is to say, God, is this very relief for Leibniz, and the monads are these complementary plane views; for that reason he defines God as "the substance that has no point of view," (..) Leibniz differs from Spinoza in this, that he looks upon the universal mechanism as an aspect which reality takes for us, whereas, Spinoza makes of it an aspect which reality takes for itself. (..) regard the temporal aspect of things as a mere illusion (..) Leibniz says so in explicit terms, for he makes of time, as of space, a confused perception. (..) The natural trend of these two philosophies brings them back to the conclusions of the ancient philosophy. (..) For both, reality as well as truth are integrally given in eternity. Both are opposed to the idea of a reality that creates itself gradually, that is, at bottom, to an absolute duration. (..) experience (..) shows us the interdependence of the mental and the physical, the necessity of a certain cerebral substratum for the psychical state - nothing more (..) From the fact that two things are mutually dependent, it does not follow that they are equivalent (..) the relation of the brain to consciousness seems to be entirely different (..) the relation of the psychical to the physical is just that of the machine to the screw (..) The medical philosophers of the eighteenth century, with their cramped Cartesianism, have had a great part in the genesis of the "epiphenomenalism" and " monism" of the present day. (..) . Spinoza and Leibniz had, following Aristotle, hypostatized in God the unity of knowledge. (..) A relation is nothing outside of the intellect that relates (..) Kant (..) the whole of our science a relative and human character (..) limiting the dogmatism of his predecessors (..) Kant (..) all our intuitions are sensuous, or, in other words, infra-intellectual. (..) Kant (..) all intuition is thus found to be sensuous (..) we must give up the method of construction, which was that of Kant's successors. (..) experience (..) seeks, beyond the spatialized time in which we believe we see continual rearrangements between the parts, that concrete duration in which a radical recasting of the whole is always going on. (..) the usual device of the Spencerian method consists in reconstructing evolution with fragments of the evolved. (..) It is not by dividing the evolved that we shall reach the principle of that which evolves. It is not by recomposing the evolved with itself that we shall reproduce the evolution of which it is the term. (..) We must begin by mixing the reflex and the voluntary. We must then go in quest of the fluid reality which has been precipitated in this twofold form, and which probably shares in both without being either. (..) matter, we have said, is weighted with geometry; and matter, the reality which descends, endures only by its connection with that which ascends. But life and consciousness are this very ascension. (..) philosophy (..) coincidence of human consciousness with the living principle whence (..) it emanates, a contact with the creative effort (..)
Henri Bergson, Duration and Simultaneity (1922, appendices 1999)
Introduction (Durie).
B presents duration as lived time vs absolute, objective, quantifiable, spacialized time. Measuring time is an abstraction, projecting time into space. The duration of consciousness is contemporaneous with an object – only objects of consciousness may be simultaneous. So B’s order runs from duration -> contemporaneity -> simultaneity -> measurement of time. B wants to get rid of the relativistic paradoxes and attacks the realistic interpretations of the relativistic time-dilation and length-contraction. According to B there is only one real time and the relativistic multiple times are fictuous, virtual, imaginary. According to his critics B overlooked the relativistic effects of acceleration that breaks the symmetry of reciprocal equivalence between two systems of reference of which one keeps moving uniformly while the other follows a faster track. According to B there are two kinds of multiplicity (two types of operations): continuity (duration) and discontinuity (spacial time). B: duration is encompassing other durations (temporal events, lived flows) and Einstein’s relativity fails to account for this temporality of time and how time becomes temporal. B’s essay concentrates on the question what is real and what virtual in Lorentz formulae.
Bergson’s text.
B: there is no analogy between space and time – spacialized time is not time itself that’s experienced by us as duration, flow, fluidity of our inner life (30). A multiplicity of durations relate to different levels of consciousness (31). B hypotheses physical time as one and universal > impersonal time in which all things will pass (32). We cannot speak of a reality that endures without inserting consciousness into it. Time as succession encompasses before and after and a bridge between the two: elementary memory, making duration a continuum of what no longer exists into what does exist: real time, perceived and lived (33). Inner duration is like a melody, unfolding (pure duration, which can’t be divided) – different from the unfolded (which can be divided, a trajectory projected in space which can be measured) (34,35). Our attention differentiates and unites several contemporaneous flows, occupying the same duration as actual experience – which is different from converting time into spacialized, simultaneous instants as virtual representation (36). Science can’t tell what is the speed of the unfolding time – only the unfolded can be measured (41). B: spacial representation of time as ‘model motion’ and ‘computer of time’ (42). The future can’t be known, because it’s open to (our) action with novelty unforeseen, which makes the universe a continuity of creation (43). The idea of temporal flow can’t be derived from relativity theory or Minkowsky’s model (44,45). Real time can be percieved [consciously], not conceived (46) [OBW B paradoxes flowing from clock time don’t touch on real time] B: The multiple times or RT are only expressions indictating which system is taken as system of reference (as if in rest). It’s a multiplicity of representations of time, seen from one observer’s point of view (52). B’s reasonings starts from the SRT’s reciprocity of rectilinear, uniform motion, from which he derives the conclusion that the time dilation (slower clocks) and length contraction are attributed, not real (‘lived’). B: there is only one real time, the others are imaginary (54-56). Doing away with the priviledged system, RT calls for a single time and gives it a greater intelligibility (83). Motion in a n-dimensional space is represented as form in a (n+1)-dimensional space (106) – which means a spacial reduction of becoming to form (107). B perceives forward progress as gradual enrichment, time as action, a future that’s open, unforeseen, indeterminate (111). Laws are certain unchanging relations derived from the changing flux -–our understanding is natively inclined to see only them, but this understanding is only one of the faculties of the mind which is the integral experience of duration (112). B opposes Eddington’s block universe as passing states of the universe (112). The RT’s ds2 is not a simple sum of four squares: the formula dx2 + dy2 + dz2 – (ct)2 shows that the component time (even spacialized) is different from the space-components (114). In any system at rest, time and space are clearly separated. Virtual spacetime is related to moving systems, and a moving system is always another system (115), some kind of optical effect in the mirror of motion (cf: we cannot move a piece of furniture in a room that is perceived in the depths of a mirror) (118). B takes the SRT time dilation and length contraction as virtual, but the GRT space curvature as real (122).
Bergson vs Jean Becquerel, who regarded accelleration as causing asymmetry. Bergson regarded the symmetry of motion as a reciprocal relation. [OBW Bergson seemed not to hold accelleration for being a real physical phenomenon. The question still is what in accelleration ‘really’ ‘causes’ time dilation and length contraction – what actually happens to space and time?] B: the psychological time is different from the physical time – the philosopher’s time is both psychological and physical (158, 159). Metz: accelleration forces to distinguish the observer who is accellerated from the one who is not (176). Bücherer e.a.: increased mass of electrons with increase of speed (182). Einstein in a letter to Metz (2.7.1924): "It is regrettable that M. Bergson is so clumsy mistaken and that his error is of a purely physical nature, independent of any discussion between philosophical schools. Bergson forgets that the simultaneity (as indeed the non-simultaneity) of two events which affects one and the same being is something which is absolute, independent of any chosen system."
Henri Bergson, Creative Mind (1934):
intuition (<> instinct/feeling) as a method of ‘thinking in duration’, different from conceptual thinking, combined: dynamic knowledge of continuously changing reality. Pure time (duration, continuous and undivisible, not measured, only experienced) different from measurable & divisible (spacialized) mathematical time. Unify different perceptions of reality: intuition/metaphysics and intellect/science. Relation time and indeterminateness. The possible does not reveal the actual - the actual reveals what was possible. Reality is not a succession of immobile states, so there is room for indeterminateness and uncertainty.
Capek, M., Bergson and modern physics. A re-interpretation and re-evaluation, 1971
Epistemological paradox: one sensory quality (e.g. visual sensation of redness) correlated with many physical events (electromagnetec vibrations) (196). (..) B distinction divisibility of psychical duration (> 10-3 sec) and physical duration (e.g. Levi’s chronon 10-23 sec) (198). B regards divisibility of time as an extrapolation of our macroscopic (marcrochronic) experience (202). Time intervals can’t be measured, because (unlike geometrical figures) they can’t be superimposed (203). There is a difference in ‘rhythm’ or ‘tension’ of duration, and B assumes the contemporaneity of durations of different degrees of tension (both psychical and physical) (205, 214). Without reaching the limits there is only a tendency towards juxtaposition and exteriorization, to numerical multiplicity and homogeneous space, narrowing the present moment, determinism (211, 220, 221). B. process > states (as artificial snapshots) (229). No absolute frame of reference > no absolute motion, no ‘actio in distans’, no space separable from time (230v). SRT no juxtaposition for all observers, but succession the same in all frames of reference (strengthening the objective status of becoming) (232v). B thought that length-contraction and time-dilation were mere referential (not physical) and reciprocal, and therefore could not be observed. (240v). B considered Paul Langevin’s paradox of the twins incompatible with the reciprocity of appearances, which was correct regarding the SRT, but not regarding the GRT: the enormous accelleration breaks the symmetry of appearances causing the physical difference in spacetime (245v). [OBW at ‘rest’ in gravitational wave – any accelleration in any direction makes the difference – which difference and how?] C: different psychological, biological and physical clocks (different metrics), but the same succession, so contemporary (248v). Relativistic TimeSpace resembles B’s extensive becoming, since in both the instantaneous cuts are artificial and unreal (252). The classical corpuscular-kinetic model is practically usefull on the macroscopic (human) level (257). B: but bodies and corpuscules tend to dissolve into an universal interaction – the durational process (that can’t be represented by the concept of geometrical space nor by the concept of atomistic matter) (260v). B: it’s enough to distinguish properties (cf intellect: wants to perceive objects and matter acting on matter) (261). RT both TimeSpace and EnergyMass losing its invariance (264). No persistence of ‘particles’ in atoms in which they invade – decay and creation of ‘particles’. ‘particles’ constituted by a string of ultimately short events – elementary ‘vibrations’ of vanishing duration (265v). Classical motion: change of position in container-space. RT reabsorbtion of ‘matter’ into the local curvature of TimeSpace. B: underneath the changes no ‘things’ which change (..) movement does not imply a mobile (CM, 173). B anticipating the probabilistic concept of causal relations of Quantum Theory (294). Location and motion as complementary idealizations – almost compatible on the macroscopic scale, but not strictly so on the microscopic scale. Zeno: motion is not real. B: motion/change is real, immobility is not real. (295) B: indeterminacy as an objective feature of nature – independent of the observer(‘s mind) (299). B: it’s consciousness (sc memory and anticipation) that links before and after (DS 47,48). NB difference between the mathematical continuum and the qualitative continuity of duration (311). B open and incomplete character of every temporal process (316). A vibrational pattern requires a whole period in which to manifest itself (cf a musical note) (317). Change not in, but as TimeSpace (320). Impermanence as general feature of microphysical individualities (they are not waves or particles, but only behave like waves or particles): no definite structures, only abstract mathematical structures, only similar to macroscopic structures, factually dynamic imageless patterns (327v). Abstract concepts as bodies and particles are only usefull as economic simplification and practical approximation (332). 1675 Olaf Römer: finite velocity of light – 1905 Einstein SRT (only time-consuming, chrono-geometrical relations (‘distances’) (332).
Does microphysical indeterminacy really exist and if so, is there a relation between microphysical indeterminacy and freedom?
Pascual Jordan: organisms as amplifiers of microphysical indeterminism (346). Potential energy is continuesly stored in complex and unstable organic molecules and released again by a quantitatively minute stimulus that triggers (the amount of work needed for starting the action) (347). This trigger energy has to be available at the desired moment, at the desired spot and in the desired direction (ME 14, CE 127-128). B regards the nervous system as reservoir of indeterminism (CE 139, 140). Here he also finds the will as a special instance of novelty (350). The microphysical indeterminacy has to be found in the trigger – the released energy is channeled by established paths in the body (353). In sofar a trigger is related to the will (a mental process), it’s not related to a single physical process, because a mental process has a one-to-many relation to physical processes, having a larger time-span [compare 10-2 sec with the Planck-time of 10-43 sec] and extension [compare 10-xx cm with the Planck distance of 10-33 cm] 356v). If the ‘conscious initiative’ is on the scale of quantum mechanical indeterminacies, it could be too tiny to be detected (363).
Entropy can be regarded as one of the manifestations of the arrow of time, the irreversibility of psychological duration and of evolution (368). B regards the universe as an intrinsically irreversible process (vs the classical corpuscular-kinetic model of the universe) (370). After the Euclidian container-concept of space and time the Riemannian geometry made it possible to think the universe as limitless and finite, dissolving the distinction between spatio-temporal ‘container’ and physical ‘contents’ (377). [OBW entropic development of the STEM (SpaceTimeEnergyMass) only related to the time-irreversible aspect. Condensed STEM as highest potential diversity – the more expanding, the lower the potential diversity.] B as at least temporal optimist: ectropic life retarding local entropy (393). B sees no necessity of a final and ultimate death of life (395).
Elliot, H.S.R., Modern Science and the illusions of professor Bergson, 1912
In the preface a metaphysician is by Sir Ray Lancaster compared to ‘a blind man in a dark room hunting for a black cat which is not there’ [OBW probably because it’s Schrödinger’s cat being in another room, dead or alive.] Metaphysics is regarded as just a set of statements that can’t be proven right or wrong.
In his introduction Elliot states that the attitude of his book is purely mechanistic (11). Elliot understands that the limitations, under which the intellect works, give rise to the sensation of an unsolved problem. He feels that Bergson nevertheless tries to find a solution, but in doing so gets stuck in verbalism and fancy metaphors. Bergson often takes the rejection of other theories as ‘proof’ that his own theory ‘must be’ correct (which is called the ‘mannikin fallacy’ by Elliot). For example: Bergson argues that the complexity of the independent development of the eye in different branches of evolution proves the mechanistic hypothesis to be wrong and therefore his hypothosis to be right: ‘We cannot help to believe that these differences are the development of an impulsion.’ [vital impetus] Also Bergson often uses false analogies (e.g. the paralogism of nail - coat applied to cerebral state – consciousness). Further a lot of statements of Bergson are questionable (in terms of lack of evidence [OBW fact-free propositions]), which nevertheless are used by Bergson as data for his deductions (examples: ‘the perception does not reside in the brain, but in the object percieved’, ‘pain is located in the part of the body where it appears to be felt’). For his core concept (the psychical stream of life) Bergson gives not even one fact to prove it (74).
Bergson applies a form of materialising abstractions such as time, life, motion and memory (101). Why not stick to mass and energy as sine qua non of all transformations, for energy cannot be (re)directed without the addition of more energy, however slight? (171,191). Assigning little survival-value to metaphysical theories (200), and reducing epistemology to the statement that our knowledge is only valid relatively to ourselves (220), Elliot advocates the physico-chemical hypothesis as more sound versus pseudo-knowledge, fallacies and superstition of thought and actions (223). Determinism does not necessarely lead to moral fatalism, because mechanism gives hope to control and improve the environment (229). Determinism causes the weak to count the evils in life, it causes the strong to count the goods in life (235). The principle of truth should be accompagnied by the principle of tolerance, versus those who condemn and burn the fathers of science like e.g. Giordano Bruno (236).
Einstein (1949) (..) that which appears to me to be the programmatic aim of all physics: the complete description of any (individual) real situation (as it supposedly exists irrespective of any act of observation or substantiation) (..) We consider as a physical system, in the first instance, a radioactive atom of definite average decay time, which is practically exactly localised at a point of the coordinate system. (..) to be described (..) by a Psi-function in three dimensions (..) the Psi-function does not imply any assertion concerning the time instant of the disintegration of the radioactive atom. (..) Can this theoretical description be taken as the complete description of the disintegration of a single individual atom? The immediately plausible answer is: No. (..) Psi-function is to be taken as the description, not of a singular system, but of an ideal ensemble of systems (..) The location of a mark on the registration-strip [OBW sign of decay] is a fact which belongs entirely within the sphere of macroscopic concepts, in contradistinction to the instant of disintegration of a single atom. (..) in the macroscopic sphere it simply is considered certain that one must adhere to the program of a realistic description in space and time; whereas in the sphere of microscopic situations one is more readily inclined to give up, or at least to modify, this program. (..) difficulties of theoretical interpretation disappear, if one views the quantum-mechanical description as the description of ensembles of systems (..) Roughly stated the conclusion is this: Within the framework of statistical quantum theory there is no such thing as a complete description of the individual system. (..) if the statistical quantum theory does not pretend to describe the individual system (and its development in time) completely, it appears unavoidable to look elsewhere for a complete description of the individual system (..) Insofar as physical thinking justifies itself, in the more than once indicated sense, by its ability to grasp experiences intellectually, we regard it as "knowledge of the real." (..) the "real" in physics is to be taken as a type of program, to which we are, however, not forced to cling a priori. (..) The theoretical attitude here advocated is distinct from that of Kant only by the fact that we do not conceive of the "categories" as unalterable (conditioned by the nature of the understanding) but as (in the logical sense) free conventions. They appear to be a priori only insofar as thinking without the positing of categories and of concepts in general would be as impossible as is breathing in a vacuum. (..) Newton’s theory deserves the name of a classical theory. It has nevertheless been abandoned since Maxwell and Hertz have shown that the idea of forces at a distance has to be relinquished and that one cannot manage without the idea of continuous "fields." The opinion that continuous fields are to be viewed as the only acceptable basic concepts, which must also be assumed to underlie the theory of the material particles, soon won out. Now this conception became, so to speak, "classical;" but a proper, and in principle complete, theory has not grown out of it. (..) field-theory does exist as a program: "Continuous functions in the four-dimensional [continuum] as basic concepts of the theory." (..)The scientist (..) appears as realist insofar as he seeks to describe a world independent of the acts of perception; as idealist insofar as he looks upon the concepts and theories as the free inventions of the human spirit (not logically derivable from what is empirically given); as positivist insofar as he considers his concepts and theories justified only to the extent to which they furnish a logical representation of relations among sensory experiences. He may even appear as Platonist or Pythagorean insofar as he considers the viewpoint of logical simplicity as an indispensable and effective tool of his research. (..) For the construction of the present theory of relativity the following is essential: (1) Physical things are described by continuous functions, field-variables of four co-ordinates. As long as the topological connection is preserved, these latter can be freely chosen. (2) The field-variables are tensor-components; among the tensors is a symmetrical tensor gik for the description of the gravitational field. (3) There are physical objects, which (in the macroscopic field) measure the invariant ds. If (1) and (2) are accepted, (3) is plausible, but not necessary. The construction of mathematical theory rests exclusively upon (1) and (2). A complete theory of physics as a totality, in accordance with (1) and (2) does not yet exist. If it did exist, there would be no room for the supposition (3). (..) Kurt Gödel’s essay constitutes, in my opinion, an important contribution to the general theory of relativity, especially to the analysis of the concept of time. [meaning earlier-later of two time-like connected not-far-apart world-points A en B, signal from B to A] What is essential in this is the fact that the sending of a signal is, in the sense of thermodynamics, an irreversible process, a process which is connected with the growth of entropy (whereas, according to our present knowledge, all elementary processes are reversible). [if time-like connected world-points far apart > distinction "earlier-later" abandoned > Gödel’s paradoxes] E: It will be interesting to weigh whether these are not to be excluded on physical grounds.
Einstein’s genius can also be found in his 1917 article (Physik.Z, V.18, p.121) about the stimulated emission of photons by photons, that can be regarded as fundamental for the development of the laser technology. (J.P. Harbison & R.E. Nahory, LASERS Harnessing the Atom’s Light, The Scientific American Library, 1998).
Posner, M.I. & M.E. Raichle, Images of Mind, 1994
Different area’s of the brain are involved in different functions and sub-functions. The visual function contains e.g. a distinct "where"-route and "what"-route, involving differently located neural networks that function as algorithms computing e.g. form, depth, colour, direction etc.

PET-scans of the brain derive brain-activity from relative increase and decrease of the bloodstreams in the brain. The PET-technics is based on the decay of injected radio-active oxygen 15O, generating the anti-matter elementary particle positron, which (after loosing it’s kinetical energy within some millimetres) annihilates with a matter elementary particle electron, thereby generating two high-energetical photons that travel in the opposite direction, detected by the PET-scanner. Large samples of this decay-detection can be converted to images of the brain-activity.
The PET-technology provides specific task-images by subtracting the images that are related to that specific task from ‘baseline-images’ and by combining the images of a sample of different persons.
The next picture shows acitivy in different brain-area’s:

Different aspects of words are related to different neural networks: seeing the word (visual functions), hearing the word (auditive/phonetical functions), speaking the word (motoric functions) or looking for an associated meaning (semantical functions) is represented by activity in clearly distinct brain-area’s:
see a word

hear a word

speak a word

associate a word (e.g. find the activity that matches the thing – hammer > hit)

Comparing the pictures shows that semantical association is most "spread" over a series of differently located and activated neural networks.
PET-scans also show clear differences between starting to practice a task, performing the task after practicing (automatically) and renewing the task:

The PET-technology around 1995 was invasive, not real-time and with relative low resolution (millimetres). During the next years less invasive methods of research were developed (like MRI and MEG). What has to be developed in order to gain more precision, is a technology that will provide real-time high-resolution imaging of the neurological processes.

Research based on the effects of brain-damage also reveals the (lack of) cooperation of different neural networks while processing visual information. The next picture shows remarkable differences in handling the details and the overall image of a picture that had to be redrawn by persons suffering from brain-damage in different brain-area’s (drawings in the middle by a person with damage in the right hemisphere; drawings on the left side by a person with damage in the left hemisphere):

notes (todo)
Related to Bergson
Duration as a synthesis beyond idealism and realism. Duration as evolving reality (life force, élan vital) and the immediate awareness of reality (intuition as different from intellect). Duration as unpredictable and incommunicable by concepts or images. In duration there is no causality. Teleological character of duration (cf Prigonine: macroscopic irreversibility of time – arrow of time, this irreversibility as the mechanism of chaos>order-processes). Multiplicity of the phenomena: immediate data of consciousness. Duration as qualitative multiplicity: heterogeneous (singularized, continuously interpenetrating, progressive) and temporal (e.g. a feeling of sympathy) vs quantitative multiplicity: homogeneous and spacial (e.g. a flock of sheep, can be symbolized arithmetically: 25 similar sheep). Duration, unlike space, cannot be measured by an objective standard, duration is the indivisible universal time. Bergons regards clock-time as a counterfeit representation of lived experience. Bergson opposes contemporaneity and duration with simultaneity and succession (cf a sounding melody with it’s written score). The possible experience of time [by human observers] limits the conceptualization of simultaneity (vs Einstein).

There is no equivalence between reality and the way we describe different aspects of reality. We might miss the point of reality if we focus on our descriptions, the more so if we focus reductively or exclusively on one specific way of describing.
The relation of different ways of describing reality can be characterized by irreducibility and (if the descriptions are adequate) compatibility.
I still don’t see any specific modal Archimedean point of reference for evolving reality. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to look for something like that, if evolving reality, having it’s source and goal here and now, makes it’s own point here and now.
OBW According to Bergson our consciousness is a construction of time (duration) and space is a construction of our consciousness.
OBW Matter makes possible the existence of philosophers who deny that matter exists. Some miss the point that the meaning of matter is changing constantly (events and entities are integrated into eventities, that only get a specific scientific meaning if conceptualized into falsifiable/verifiable perceptual predictions). Mathematics, physics, biochemics etc do not describe the universe, but only have a practical function, providing tools for limited (if and only if..) predictions and controls, while interpreting and organizing experiental and experimental data. A property of metaphysical (or speculative) concepts is that they do not lead (for the time being) to falsifiable/verifiable perceptual predictions.
Interesting: Bergson’s view on movies, "presenting immobile images of movement". How did this phenomenon influence his view on the relation of continuity and discontinuity? (OBW >25 movie-images p/s give our consciousness the impression of vision-continuity – synchronized neurons fire with a speed of 30-40 cycles p/s, synchronization activated by reticular neurons in the brain stem – there is also "decided" whether the source of the information is external ("real") or internal ("virtual" e.g. dreams) and whether the information will be forwarded to the analytical or reflex-circuits or will be erased).
Related to Einstein
Sense of spacetime: look at a clock-face and tell what is here now of one of the 5 minutes you see marked on that clock-face?
Reflection is changing knowledge. Understanding and insight are expressions of evolving life.
Modal constraints: e.g. spacial rules limit the number of functional arithmetical operations, physics limits the number of functional spacial operations. Forgetting the functionality-test can be a source of confusion.
There is compatibility between 3D-geometry and physical descriptions, which does not imply that there will be compatibility between a nD-geometry and physical descriptions.
4D geometry can be used to visualize non-linear relations between e.g. time and distance, by representing e.g. accellerated movement as a 4D function ‘graph’.
Spacial transformations: shift (homogeneous: the same everywhere), turn (isotrope: the same in all directions), mirror (what cannot be mirrored in a nD space, is called enantiomorphic: e.g. L is enantiomorphic in 2D space but not in 3D space). These spacial properties play also a role in physical laws: shift-symmetry in conservation of impulse (collisions), turn-symmetry in conservation of impulse-moment (pirouettes), mirror-symmetry in conservation of parity. Natural laws and elementary particles were until 1956 regarded as mirror-symmetrical, but by that time only left-handed neutrino’s could be found, which violates the conservation of parity. Other symmetries: time-reversal-symmetry, matter-anti-matter-symmetry.
Howto interpret measurements in a changing system, if I know that my measuring devices are changing together with the changing system without knowing how exactly these changes take place?
Howto interpret measurements of which I know that my way of measuring is influencing the process I measure without knowing how exactly my way of measuring influences the measured process?
Howto interpret different measurements of one eventity by different observers? Measure the distances a dropping ball covers as observed within the moving train and as observed outside the moving train. How are these distances related?
Do faster muons live longer to prove STR to be right? Alternative explanation: faster muons cannot be captured as easy as slower muons, so this could be a more simple reaon to explain the lifetime of muons.
Clock in satellite – clock on earth. Differences:
The clocks on the satellites are also affected by both special and general relativity, which causes them to run at a slightly slower rate than do clocks on the Earth's surface. This amounts to a discrepancy of around 38 microseconds per day, which is corrected by electronics on each satellite. This offset is a dramatic proof of the special theory of relativity in a real-world system, as it is exactly that predicted by the theory, within the limits of accuracy of measurement.
Force – push or pull. Force-fields represented by continuous functions in a four-dimensional continuum, field-variables (tensor-components) of four coordinates (RT).
Der Michelson-Morley-Versuch von 1887 soll ein Null-Ergebnis gehabt haben: darauf beruhen zentrale Annahmen der Theorie. Die Wahrheit ist jedoch, daß dieser Versuch keineswegs ein Null-Ergebnis gehabt hat. Michelson hat von der erwarteten Äther-Drift von ca. 30 km/sec ungefähr ein Viertel gemessen: 8 km/sec. Die Wiederholungen in den nächsten 30 Jahren haben folgende Werte ergeben (alle Zahlen nach Dayton C. Miller):
1902: 10 km/sec
1904: 7,5 km/sec.
1905: 8,7 km/sec
1913: Sagnac, rotierendes Interferometer,
deutliche Verschiebungen der Interferenzstreifen
1921: 10 km/sec
1924: 10 km/sec
1925/26: 9,3 / 10,1 / 11,2 / 9,6 km/sec.
Mueller: Immerhin hat Albert Einstein 1914 und 1916 selbst zugegeben, daß die Behauptung der Konstanz der Lichtgeschwindigkeit geändert werden muß; vgl. Post 1982 (Einstein's papers)
Einstein, 1920,
Andererseits läßt sich aber zugunsten der Ätherhypothese ein wichtiges Argument anführen. Den Äther leugnen, bedeutet letzten Endes annehmen, daß dem leeren Raume keinerlei physikalische Eigenschaften zukommen.
eindeutig festgestellten Laufzeitunterschiede aus den Versuchen von Dayton C. Miller 1925/27
1965 gefundene Hintergrundstrahlung (3-K-Strahlung) -Drift der Erde gegen die Hintergrundstrahlung? ein Kandidat für ein absolutes Bezugssystem für alle
Bewegungen im Kosmos?
OBW TODO What still asks for an explanation: based on which assumptions Michelson expected 30 km/sec [D.C. Miller, 1933: the earth’s orbital velocity] and howto explain the 10 km/sec in the light of the expected 30 km/sec?
e.g. :
The speed of light varies due to atmospheric conditions.
Frame dragging: A rotating object will drag the spacetime along with it
What are the consequences of a limit to the speed of the waves of the force-fields under ‘normal conditions’ (cf e.g. tunneling effects as ‘special conditions’)?
Starting in 1922, researchers found that cosmological solutions of the Einstein field equations call for an expanding universe. Einstein did not believe in an expanding universe, and so he added a cosmological constant to the field equations to permit the creation of static universe solutions. In 1929, Edwin Hubble found evidence that the universe is expanding. This resulted in Einstein dropping the cosmological constant, referring to it as "the biggest blunder in my career".
General relativity is inconsistent with quantum mechanics, and the singularities of black holes also raise some disconcerting issues.
RT mathematics:
Walton, G., Sapere Aude (links to sites and publications)
Incidentally, the original Lorentz-FitzGerald theory had introduced the novel but hardly defensible idea that we may 'solve' problems by assigning to one and the same 'thing' two different quantities: it is this (mathematically inadmissible!) 'idea' which opens the way to the 'new physics'. The mathematics (the so-called Lorentz Transformation, LT) was formulated already in 1887 by Voigt, a distinguished professor of mathematical physics in Göttingen. Voigt's argument is thought unobjectionable because he does not impose a weirdly impossible physical interpretation. (..) the invalidity of the argument, on purely geometric grounds and prior to any physical interpretation, is here already fully and easily evident (..) Voigt has confused two deceptively similar equations (..) mistaken the geometric problem for one of 'algebra' (..) Unfortunately, the 'algebraic' solution is not applicable to the geometric problem, namely the one presented by the case of physics. (..) LT , in its conventional form, reads x' = ß(x - vt), y' = y, z' = z, t' = ß(t - vx/c2), where ß = 1/(1 - v2/c2)1/2 (..) Poincaré's ambiguity in regard of x,y,z leads him to ignore their time-dependence, and to base his extensive formal evaluation on the time-independence of space-elements which may be electrons or more generally differentials. (..) Poincaré hoist by his own petard. For the substitution of the beautifully 'general' e for the ugly particular -v leads him into a mistake exactly like the one often made in conjunction with percentages. Equation [2] is exactly like concluding that, if A = B + e%, then B = A - e%. Here too, as in P.'s physics, the equation 'works' only if we introduce a factor k, such that A = k(B + e%), B = k(A - e%), where k = [1 - (e%)2]-1/2. (..) Einstein's 'Simple Derivation of the Lorentz Transformation' forms Appendix I to Relativity. First published in German in 1917, the book was written for the amateur reader; the English translation was published in 1920 by Methuen. (..)
Free motion in curved spacetime along geodesics.
Einstein’s GRT equations Gmn = -(8pG/c2)Tmn connect matter and energy (the right-hand side) with the geometry of spacetime (the left-hand side). Each superscript stands for one of the 4 coordinates of spacetime; so what looks like one equation is actually 4 x 4 = 16 equations. But since some are repeated there are really 10 equations.
GRT mathematics - tensor basics.
Rank x – the number of indices of a tensor:
Scalar – rank zero tensor (represented by a single number, e.g. mass, speed, temperature)
Vector – rank one tensor (like force)
Matrix – rank two tensor ( )
Tensor – rank three+
Arrow of time & entropy.
A huge number of microstates can be compatible with one macrostate of an isolated system in equilibrium. Macroscopic values (e.g. thermodymanical variables like Energy, Pressure, Volume, Temperature, Entropy). Entropy: in an isolated system disorder tends to increase. The Earth is not an isolated system, because it receives contstantly energy in the form of sunlight. Uncountable number of microstates. Ground state: zero entropy at zero temperature in many systems. Once a system reaches its maximum-entropy state, no part of the system can perform work on any other part. It is in this sense that entropy is a measure of the energy in a system that "cannot be used to do work. Entropy is the only quantity in the physical sciences that "picks" a particular direction for time, sometimes called an arrow of time. If the thermodynamic arrow of time is indeed the only arrow of time, then the ultimate reason for a preferred time direction is that the universe as a whole was in a highly ordered state at the Big Bang. The question of why this highly ordered state existed, and how to describe it, remains an area of research. (..) Black holes as likely end points of all entropy-increasing processes. (..) Although entropy does increase in an expanding universe, the maximum possible entropy rises much more rapidly and leads to an "entropy gap," thus pushing the system further away from equilibrium with each time increment. Complicating factors, such as the energy density of the vacuum and macroscopic quantum effects, are difficult to reconcile with thermodynamical models, making any predictions of large-scale thermodynamics extremely difficult.
The development of a self-organizing system is first of all determined by its initial conditions and build-in rules. The developing behavior of most very simple self-organizing systems (only some initial conditions and very simple rules), is already irreducible and unpredictable: there is no mathematical shortcut-relation between the initial conditions + rules and the system-behavior (sc no ‘formula’ that matches the system-behavior at staten) (cf Stephen Wolfram, A New Kind of Science, 2002).
Morphological dynamics. Interesting tresholds for pattern-formation (complex behavior). E.g. some ants show random behavior. Above a specific number of ants their behavior becomes organized (patterns of activity and rest in one rhythm, Blaine Cole video). E.g. a "growing" cell – above a specific size a cell just has to be divided, due to the forces that stablize the cell.
OBW Dynamic pattern-formations at spacetime specific resolutions:
? – force-fields – elementary particles – atoms – molecules – [ cells – organisms – societies – eco-systems ] – cosmological units - ?
pattern-formation in neurological networks
In human organism the brain contains 1012-1014 neurons, each with 5.000-90.000 connections. These neurons and their connections are abundantly formed during the embryonal stage. After that they are reinforced or inhibited by electrochemical signals, during which selective processes a lot of both connections and neurons as well are removed. Neurological patterns (also called: functional modules) develop through the interaction of: 1. genome/proteome (mostly internal information), 2. experience (mostly external information) and 3. self-organization (autonomeous pattern-formation). During this development several functional specific neurological patterns stabilize, e.g. over 30 neural sub-networks of the visual system, as complementary sub-systems, working together to process a functionally complete visual image (including remarkable optimalizations like e.g. colour constancy). This neural organization is pretty flexible – if necessary (e.g. due to brain-damage) sub-functions can be taken over by other sub-functions or can be moved to other locations. Interesting is e.g. the ‘location’ of different languages in neighbouring brain-area’s. Experiments (mostly related to brain-damage) show also that functionally different neural networks are associated and capable of cross-transferring information (e.g. Sperry’s spoon). W.B. Cannon came up with the concept of homeostasis = optimal balance. Older vital functions are reflexive (vital homeostatic processes like e.g. temperature- or energy-balancing, often inforced by direct connections between sensoric and motoric neurons), recent functions are reflective (e.g. the neo-cortical integrating narrative function). Remarkable is also the asymmetry in the number-of-connections between the neurons in the amygdala and those in the neo-cortex (sc emotion having a stronger impact on reasoning). The neo-cortex (being the most recent part of the brain) contains the less fixed patterns of connectivity. This neo-cortical flexibility generates functional creativity and disfunctional nonsensicality. Perhaps some neo-cortical reflective functions will evolve in the long run into something like reflexive rationality. The brain is a manifold of homeostatic neural networks (functional modules). So the idea of ‘central control’ doesn’t match this factual diversity of simultaneous and largely autonomeous processes. The narrative brainfunction integrates along the timeline of shifting attention a selection of internal and external information, leading to different states of consciousness (e.g. self-consciousness as a sense of "I" or "me"). This is not an "illusion", it’s another pattern.
OBW Visual illusion or functional perspective (relative length-of-lines a and b):

This Müller-Lyer picture has often been used to illustrate the erroneous illusion that line a is longer compared to line b. Even if one knows that a and b have the same length, one still isn’t able to see it that way.
I think the idea that this "illusion" is a nice example of "wrong thinking", is besides the point. Two correct impressions are derived from the pictures as a whole: 1. the left picture is taller compared to the right picture 2. the 3-dimensional perspective interpretation puts the left picture in the foreground (close, e.g. the corner of a room) and the right picture in the background (far, e.g. the corner of a buidling). These impressions show that our visual system provides contextual answers to the question: "What do you see?", which are more functional in real life and don’t deserve to be degraded as "illusionary wrong thinking".
OBW Reductionism in visual art.
Mondriaan’s Composition III in Red, Yellow and Blue 1937

Imagination of the One in primary forms and primary colours.
Result of Mondriaan’s search for basics (like physicists).
Universal harmony and balance in the right proportions.
Theosophist inspiration.
No depth, no perspective.
Flat Space.
[OBW Did Mondriaan miss the profound transformations of his time?
Who painted by that time the open curve?
Pitch-dark background, curve in white.
What defines this curve analogous to the golden section?
Pretty conceptual art..]
OBW Decay of an aggregate: if the aggregate of all atoms decays statistically regular and the decay of each one is unpredictable, there could be a specific cause, determining the decay: a continuous ‘force’ with a regular amount of energy that has an irregular spacetime spread, which causes the aggregate to decay in a probabilistic regular way. What is know about what causes decay of atoms and about decay-times? Shortest and longest decay-times known?
OBW SpaceTimeEnergyMass coming in from outside the signal-speed-borders > unpredictability of eventities that also will be determined by that STEM as part of unknown (unknowable) initial conditions.
OBW Even if randomizers seem to make eventities contingent, those randomizers themselves could be determined completely. Patterns of decay in aggregates?
Arithmetically: e.g. the rule 30 CA of Stephen Wolfram.
Physically: e.g. background noise as cosmic randomizer? All information coming from the elsewhere, from outside the signal-speed-border.
OBW Free to feel determined to feel free - patternizers and randomizers.
Pattern-disturbed > pattern-restore loops.
Within certain limits everything can make a difference for me. With certain limits I can make a difference for everything.
Louis de Broglie did a kind of wave, moving from determinism (-1928) to indeterminism (1928-1953) and back to determinism again (1953-, due to his distrust in the idealistic tendencies in the probabilistic interpretations of quantum phisics)
If we look twice, nothing is the same. But most of it is similar.
True believers
Using light as metrics for time seems to leave time in the dark.
In 1348 Nicolas d’ Autrecourt was forced to recant his view that light moves with a finite velocity.
goed schrijven is een kunst
precies schrijven een wetenschap
wie de illusie van beiden kunnen combineren
gaan door voor geniaal
in de ban van de val door de appel (religion)
gefascineerd door de val van de appel (science)
duration and science - continuity and discontinuity
Vergelijking van H. Bergson met de historisch fenomenoloog Jan Hendrik van den Berg (hieronder vdB) die de
verbinding duration-continuity viz science-discontinuity lijkt om te keren.
Bespreking van vdB’s methode: Hub Zwart, Boude bewoordingen. De historische fenomenologie (‘metabletica’) van Jan Hendrik van den Berg, Kampen 2002. Daaruit: vdB beschouwt het continuïteitsbeginsel als constituerend voor de moderne wetenschap als zodanig. Descartes 1609: eerste termen reeks > volgende termen; Leibniz 1704: het continuïteitsbeginsel, Darwin: evolutie als continu proces (71) > causaliteit en voorspelbaarheid. Metabletica als intellectuele veldtocht tegen het continuïteitsbeginsel (72).
Net als de fenomenoloog Gaston Bachelard en de partiëel anti-fenomenoloog Michel Foucault, onderzoekt vdB opmerkelijke historische veranderingen, die door de eerstgenoemden getypeerd werden als ‘rupture épistémologique’ (GB) of ‘epistemologische transformatie’ (MF). VdB’s wetenschapsfilosofie spitst zich niet alleen toe op de ‘context of discovery’ van keerpunten in de ontwikkeling van de wetenschappen, maar ziet deze ook nadrukkelijk samenhangen met gelijktijdige veranderingen in de natuur (de ‘materie’) en in het menselijk voelen, denken en handelen op diverse gebieden, zoals bv socio-politiek, kunst, sexualiteit, mode, spirituatliteit, architectuur, literatuur, e.a. vdB onderscheidt de ‘eerste structuur’ (de wereld van de alledaagse, sugjectieve ervaring) van de ‘tweede structuur’ (de geobjectiveerde werkelijkheid van de wetenschappen). Wie de samenhang van beide structuren uit het oog verliest, gaat het ontbreken aan zin (sc de betekenis van wetenschap voor ervaring).
Natuur&cultuur-omslag-momenten volgens vdB’s metabletisch onderzoek dat gegevens selecteert en ordent rond bepaalde jaartallen (snel en onvolledig overzichtje mee op basis van het boek van HZ):
rond het jaar wetenschap
socio-politiek kunst sexualiteit spiritualiteit architectuur
        pagane wereld hypersexueel;
Christendom: anti-sexuele omwenteling
cultivering lichaam  
500         obsessie met de ziel; Benedictus’ monastieke grondregel, arbeid en contemplatie, matige askese Basiliek (rug naar de wereld)
1000 Arabische cijfers, astrolabe, aarde als bol gezien > homogenisering van het aardoppervlak     de taille;
hervormingen van Cluny arbeid > liturgisch leven, verinnerlijking,individualisering, strengere askese, dagelijkse geseling, wereld-verachting, Maria-verering Romaans (gebogen onder zwaarte)
1130 vertalingen Ptolemeus’ Geometrie en Euclides’ Elementen > nieuwe cartografie     hoofdse liefde;
Maria: feest van de onbevlekte ontvangenis
hervormingen van Citeaux (Bernhard v Clairvaux)
nog strengere askese,
gevoelsmystiek (subjectivering), rozenkransgebed,
elevatie hostie, transsubstantiatie, celibaat, zwijgplicht
hoogste kerk
(spitsboog: reiken naar de hemel)
overspannen verhoging
1306 lichaam geopend     decolleté    
1429 mathematisering;
van hermeneutiek naar semiotiek;
  natuur als boek;
centraal perspectief in de schilderkunst
misogynie (Thomas) en Maria als courtisane (Fouquet) Thomas a Kempis: Imitatio Christi, exercitia spirituatlia (concentratie op het innerlijk) Renaissance (cirkel, symmetrie)
1540 van tekstualiteit naar discernerend zien
Vesalius: anatomische atlas
Vives: zien is ontvangen;
Stifel: vermeningvuldigen = optellen van exponenten (>logaritme);
Copernicus’ De revolutionibus caelestium
    versluiering van het naakt, verhulde erotiek,
quietisme (niet willen, niet handelen, niet spreken),
emblemenboek (innerlijke waarneming, visualisering, imaginatie) maar ook activisme;
Barok (naar buiten gericht, onrust, indruk van zwaarte naar buiten, licht binnen, illusionaire hoogte);
afbraak oude numineuze St Pieter, bouw nieuwe praalkerk
Descartes: voortzetting reeksen getallen als natuur-principe > determinisme;
Algebraïsche meetkunde > homogenisering ruimte;
Galilei: heliocentrisch wereldbeeld;
Harvey: bloedsomloop – hart als pomp
  Venus van Rubens   devoot humanisme;
cultus van het Heilig Hart
1666 Newton:
absolute time and space;
arithmetisering van het heliocentrisch systeem;
1672 Römer: licht eindige snelheid
1687 Newton: Principa;
Locke: tabula rase, anti-traditie, anti-autoriteit – gelijkheid;
Leibniz: continuïteitsprincipe;
ondermijning gezag;
begin animalisering;
Perrault: progrès (tov de antieken);
Richardson: Pamela (gevoelens van dienstmeisje: individualisme en sentimentaliteit);
muziek: temperieren ivm moduleren (onzuiverheid tbv gelijkheid);
    Roccoco: schelpen camoufleren overgangen (ontkennen grenzen en sprongen)
verloren eenvoud
verknippen en verdelen (> vermenigvuldigen): poliep, de eerste machines;
de eerste neuroticus: Hume; aanzetten tot de niet-euklidische meetkunde
inzet grote toename bevolkingsgroei gedeelde gevoelens, ruïnes, niet-euklidische eindige onbegrensde ruimte (Piranesi: carceri);
mechanisme eend;
perfide moraaltheologie (Alhponsus van Liguori)
Neostijlen (scrupulositeit en probabilisme, oneigenlijk en onecht)
1789 industriële revolutie: mens en machines;
Kant: kennis-grenzen;
water wordt H2O;
klinische geneeskunde (aandacht voor het individuele);
mens en koning gelijk: rechten van de mens;
boek over etiquette;    
1859 Omslag romantiek > realisme en naturalisme;
Darwin, The origin of species – ander besef van tijd;
strijd, egalisering,
slag bij Solferino
Marx: Die Ware
  grootste afmeting van de hoepelrok (crinoline);
sexualisering en masculiniwering;
Maria: dogma van de onbevlekte ontvangenis
1854 Maria: dogma van de onbevlekte ontvangenis  
1874 kniepeesreflex (einde vitalisme, subject-vijandigheid)
Intentionaliteit (begin fenomenologie)
psychologisch laboratorium
Parijse commune (monarchie-vijandigheid) impressionisme   1870 dogma van de pauselijke onfeilbaarheid  
1906 W.James: bewustzijn bestaat niet;
Cantor: deelverzamelingen;
Einstein: relativiteitstheorie [space-time covariance];
Planck: quantumtheorie;
De Vries: mutatietheorie;
Fysiologie: alles-of-niets-contracties;
linguistiek: fonemen;
einde continuïteitsbeginsel
Heidegger leest de diss van Brentano;
Fenomenologie: intentioneel zien;
geloof in gelijkheid bekrachtigd, geradicaliseerd;
Picasso: val van Icarus
Willink: pilaarheilige
Gide: acte gratuit
Wells: the time machine;
Jugendstil (<Roccoco) vs expressionisme;
Schönberg: atonaliteit;
Freud: medisch-technische sexualiering van de relaties Péguy: nieuwe spiritualiteit Fabriekshalstijl (Wright),
1960 eerste bemande ruimtereis afwijzing kolonialisme en imperialisme;
universitaire infantilisering;
media (tv)
pop-art (collages);
aleatorische muziek
Maria: lichamelijke tenhemelopneming
1950 dogma van de ten-hemel-opneming van Maria;
tweede vaticaanse concilie
bouwvalstijl (Corbusier)
Na 2000 dissipatie? rassenstrijd?
    terugkeer van de Geest?
De veranderingen zijn niet voorspelbaar, maar evenmin toevallig, ze treden gelijktijdig samenhangend op volgens het grondpatroon: evenwicht > crisis > nieuw evenwicht.

Vd Berg’s medische macht en medische ethiek (1969) metabletisch significant: levens redden waar mogelijk > zinvol (Mag alles wat kan?). Morele anomalieën van medisch-technische interventies die zowel succesvol als desastreus zijn. Daarmee samenhangend ontwikkelt de ‘rol-houding’ van de patiënt zich van gelatenheid naar dankbaarheid naar mondigheid. Metabletische grondwet: natuur en mens zijn veranderlijk. Het continuïteitsbeginsel is constituerend voor de moderne wetenschap als zodanig. Descartes 1609: eerste termen reeks > volgende termen; Leibniz 1704: het continuïteitsbeginsel, Darwin: evolutie als continu proces (71) > causaliteit en voorspelbaarheid. Metabletica als intellectuele veldtocht tegen het continuïteitsbeginsel (72).
Fenomenologie: waarneming gekenmerkt door intentionaliteit (Brentano, 81). Terug naar de oorspronkelijke fenomenen: het subject als oorsprong van het object (Husserl, 81v). vdB: historische wending door zijn interesse te volgen voor de historische materialiteit van de dingen die veranderlijk zijn, de beslissende eerste voorvallen die exemplarisch zijn voor een plotselinge verandering, en de gelijktijdigheid van eerste voorvallen op verschillende gebieden (94,95).
VdB met Pascal voor de esprit de finesse in evenwicht met de esprit de géométrie. Niet tellen maar zien, echter (HZ) vdB telt zelf ook wel degelijk (120). HZ: metabletica als overgang tussen fenomenologie en structuralisme (121). Subjectiviteit en objectiviteit als aspecten van één interactief gebeuren (121).
Metabletische wet: Gelijktijdige feiten vormen een zinvol samenhangend patroon, een beeld (169). HZ: vdB stelt wel erg veel vertrouwen in zijn onmiddelijke indruk en zijn klinische blik (190). Metabletica van God (1995): de grote synchronisator verandert en ziedaar, alles verschuift (276). Tussen 1700 en 2000 is de verticaliteit geërodeerd (280). De wereld is echter een betekenisvol geheel, ’n Verweisungszusammenhang (284) die zich uit in een oorspronkelijke gerichtheid op de toekomst (285). Berekenend denken is geïnteresseerd in de effecten van ons handelen, bezinnend denken in de zin ervan (286). Minder technisch, meer poëtisch in-de-wereld-zijn (287).
Fenomenologie: de waarneming, vdB: waarneming van historische gelijktijdigheden, structuralisme: de taal, het vertoog (291).
VdB: gelijktijdigheid van plotselinge veranderingen, verlangen naar herstel van verticaliteit.
Typeringen van vdB’s methode door liefhebbers en critici: anekdotisch, narratief (vs feiten-relazen), exemplarisch, collage-achtig, (willekeurig) selectief, speculatief, oncontroleerbaar (Linschoten, 1957, cf Idolen van de psycholoog, 1964), manipulatief, niet te falsifiëren, privé-wetenschap, elitair, rechts (niet politiek-correct vs linkse heilige huisjes zoals ’t gelijkheidsbeginsel, egalitarisme, uitgestelde volwassenheid, hooliganisme, rassengelijkheid, ontwikkelingshulp), contrast-overdrijvend, sterotyperend, imaginair, spaarzaam gedocumenteerd, inconsistent (bv onmetabletische terughoudendheid tav de veranderlijkheid van etniciteits-kenmerken; vdB gaat uit van onvoorspelbaarheid van veranderingen, maar toch voorspelt vdB een bloedbad dat de periode 1700-2000 zal afsluiten), (…)
HZ Voldoen zijn werken aan de behoefte van de auteur? Uit een ordening van de selecties moet een bevredigend ‘Gesamtbild’ oprijzen. De auteur zelf blijft echter twijfelen aan de overtuigingskracht ervan. Door veel herhaling probeert hij zichzelf en zijn lezers te dwingen om te zien. Maar wat betekent dit zien? [OBW Publiceerde vdB de in zijn ogen voornaamste werken in jaren waarvan hij dacht dat ze metabletisch zouden zijn?] [OBW Metabletica meer precies: historisch fenomenologisch realisme, omdat vdB itt de (semi-)idealistische fenomenologie de waargenomen veranderingen beschouwt als concrete werkelijkheid, cf Metabletica van de Materie, dl 1, 103 vv.]
De eerste keer lezen om het boek van de auteur te begrijpen, daarna herlezen om de auteur zelf beter te begrijpen dan hij zichzelf begreep.
Jan Hendrik van den Berg’s historisch-fenomenologische benadering heeft raakpunten met de ideeën-historische benadering van Isaiah Berlin (e.g. The crooked timer of humanity: chapters in the history of ideas, 1990, NL vertaling Het kromme hout waaruit de mens gemaakt is: episoden uit de ideeëngeschiedenis, 1994).
Universalisme. Het Platoons ideaalbeeld is samen te vatten in drie punten: 1. Op elke echte vraag is er maar één juist antwoord; 2. Een betrouwbare methode voert naar de ontdekking van die antwoorden; 3. De juiste antwoorden zijn met elkaar verenigbaar.
De (universele) waarheden zijn in principe voor iedereen toegankelijk (heilige teksten, rationaliteit van de wetenschappers, zuiver boerenhart (Tolstoj).
Ook fundamentele behoeften zoals eten, drinken, onderdak, veiligheid, voortplanting, sociaal verkeer, gerechtigheid, een zekere mate van vrijheid, middelen tot zelfexpresssie zijn universeel.
Deze gedachten zijn het uitgangspunt voor utopieën: bv Plato’s hiërarchisch georganiseerde Republiek, Zeno’s anarchistische samenleving, de tijdens de Renaissance herleefde utopieën van More, Bacon, Campanella, Fénelon e.a.
Men achtte de fundamentele vragen over feiten en waarden in principe beantwoordbaar tot halverwege de achttiende eeuw, ook al werden er voor die tijd oorlogen gevoerd over de antagonistische aanspraken op de ware antwoorden omtrent deze fundamentele vragen. Conflict en tragedie zijn dan niet inherent aan het menselijk leven, want in principe vermijdbaar.
Het grote succes van de natuurwetenschappen lijkt het universalisme krachtig te ondersteunen. De Verlichting stelt dat met een coherent, wetenschappelijk systeem alle problemen zijn aan te pakken. Voltaire oriënteert zich daarbij aan de hoogtepunten uit de geschiedenis van het rationalistisch universalisme. Een en ander leidde tot een culturele bloeiperiode in de zeventiende eeuw in Frankrijk, Engeland, Spanje en de Lage Landen. In de eeuwen daarna ontwikkelt zich daaruit zoiets als een kosmopolitische cultuur, internationale instituties en internationaal recht.
Reacties op het rationalistisch universalisme.
In dezelfde tijd (die zeventiende-eeuwse bloeiperiode in Frankrijk, Engeland, Spanje en de Lage Landen) is in Duitsland sprake van economisch verval en politieke verdeeldheid. Uit een gevoel van vernedering en ressentiment ontspringt een krachtige reactie tegen het rationalistisch universalisme. Zo bv de Sturm und Drang beweging vs Franse rationalistische arrogantie en domme en wrede Duitse vorsten en hun ambtenaren. Eerst nog naast, maar later tegenover de universele ratio wordt een krachtige wil geplaatst. Kant vatte met zijn pleidooi voor de morele autonomie (vs de fysieke heteronomie) de wil nog op als handelende rede (vs irrationalisme en subjectivisme). Bij Schiller begint de vrijheidsgedachte de grenzen van de rede te overschrijden: hij ziet de natuur als verwoestende en scheppende kracht. Johann Gottfried Herder stelt ronduit dat waarden niet universeel geldig zijn. Elke samenleving heeft haar eigen waarden, elke cultuur (natie, volk, staat) is anders (niet superieur, maar anders), waaruit de idee ontspringt van verscheidenheid als zelfstandige waarde. Herder en zijn volgelingen geloofden in de vreedzame coëxistentie van een rijke hoeveelheid van en verscheidenheid aan nationale levenswijzen. [OBW voorvader van de multiculturalisten?]. Door het schokeffect van de Franse revolutionaire en napoleontische invasies sloeg de culturele of geestelijke autonomie waarvoor Herder aanvankelijk had gepleit om in verbitterde en aggressieve nationalistische geldingsdrang. Fichte pleit voor een verheerlijking van de wil boven het bezonken discursieve denken; begrijpen door te handelen; de dynamische rede (voluntarisme en subjectivisme). Zo laat de Duitse Romantiek een verschuiving zien van het universele en tijdloze naar het individuele, nationale en historische, van ‘wissen’ naar ‘verstehen’, van rationeel ontdekken naar het scheppend vermogen van de sterke wil (eerst als de persoonlijkheid van de creatieve kunstenaar, de heroïsche eenling, de romantische held, daarna als (romantisch) idealisme, daarna (van het persoonlijke overborrelend naar het maatschappelijke en politieke) als extreem nationalisme, agressief chauvinisme en fascisme (de leider als scheppende held), nationaal-socialisme, communisme).
[OBW: De wil maakt zich meester van het individu (19e eeuw), de natie (20e eeuw), de wetenschap (21e eeuw)?]
Machiavelli stelt dat de Romeinse en christelijke moraal onverenigbaar zijn. Giambattista Vico (La scienza nuova – met fantasia het verleden doen herleven): de elkaar opvolgende menselijke culturen zijn onverenigbaar. Cf de homerische verbeeldingskracht met de latere ontwikkeling van het filosofische denkvermogen. Johann Gottfried Herder: elke samenleving heeft haar eigen ‘levensstijl’. Vico en Herder: historistisch pluralisme, niet relativisme. Berlin: waarden kunnen botsen (bv vrijheid en gelijkheid), daarom zijn beschavingen onverenigbaar (incommensurabel). Wel bestaat er zoiets als een minimum aan zo goed als universele waarden (slavernij, (rituele) moord, martelen, e.d.). Maar omdat waarden kunnen botsen, is de idee van uiteindelijke volmaakte eenheid niet alleen onhaalbaar, maar ook conceptueel incoherent. [OBW gegronde sprong van botsing van waarden naar onverenigbaarheid van waarden?] Oplossingen van oude problemen zorgen steeds weer voor nieuwe problemen. Deze ideeën zijn in te zetten tegen utopisch denken (het postuleren van een gouden tijdperk in verleden of toekomst).
Historisch pluralisme: waardenpatronen gelden binnen beschavingen, maar de waardensystemen van verschillende beschavingen zijn onverenigbaar. Het gedrag binnen een samenleving is alleen begrijpelijk in het licht van haar waardensysteem.
Relativisme: er bestaan geen objectieve, laat staan universele waarden.
Wortels van het relativisme: de sofisten, Aristoteles (‘wat rechtvaardig wordt geacht, verandert voor onze eigen ogen’), sceptici, Montaigne, Pascal, De Sade, Deschamps, het Duitse romantische irrationalisme, de metafysica van Schopenhauer en Nietzsche, stromingen in de culturele antropologie, Sumner, Westermarck, (..).
Op een ‘schaal’ van universeel naar particulier: waarden, gebruiken, conventies, manieren, smaak, etikette – van morele grondslagen naar culturele variaties. Spanningen kosmopolitisme – provincialisme, openbare orde – individuele vrijheid. Winst van de romantiek: de persoonlijke wil vormt de particuliere moraal; doelen worden niet ontdekt, maar geschapen vs een met geweld te vestigen vredesrijk volgens universele principes.
Mondiaal protest tegen de basis-doctrines van het negentiende-eeuwse liberale rationalisme, tegen technocratie, tegen mondiaal calculeren, vanuit het besef van geschonden menselijke waardigheid door de horigheid die het wetenschappelijk rationalisme de mens heeft opgelegd, na hem eerst bevrijd te hebben van bijgeloof en onwetendheid.
Het Westen heeft haar honger naar erkenning gestild – het ontbreken daarvan in culturen die (nog) niet echt mee-tellen, lijkt meer dan wat ook tot nationalistische excessen te leiden.
Joseph de Maistre (JdM: exponent van het anti-rationalisme)
Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821 christianisme de la Terreur (Rocheblave over JdM)), absolutist en theocraat; JdM nam stelling tegen de Franse Revolutie, rationalisme, empirisme, liberalisme, natuurwetenschap, technocratie, egalitaristische democratie, secularisme, vooruitgangsoptimisme. JdM had een preoccupatie met bloed en dood. De mens kan alleen worden verlost wanneer de angst voor het gezag hem intoomt. Meedogenloze verdelging van de vijanden (te weten: protestanten, jansenisten, deïsten, atheïsten, vrijmetselaars, joden, natuurwetenschappers, democraten, jakobijnen, liberalen, utilitaristen, antikerkelijken, egalitaristen, perfectibilisten, materialisten, idealisten, juristen, journalisten, wereldlijke hervormers en intellectuelen, hervormers en revolutionairen) >> JdM als vader van een contrarevolutionaire beweging die in het fascisme haar hoogtepunt bereikt. Alleen wat irrationeel is, kan beklijven (zoals bv erfelijk koningschap, oorlog, huwelijk en gezin, zelfovergave en zelfverloochening). Wat de mens nodig heeft, is het tweekoppig juk van Kerk en Staat. Kern van alle totalitarisme met de doctrine van geweld, bloed en zelfopoffering als kern van alles. De natuur is wreed, evenals de zogenaamd ‘edele wilde’. Invloed van JdM op Tolstoj’s Oorlog en Vrede. Opvatting over taal: denken is symbolen gebruiken – kracht van de taal van de Kerk en de Romeinse Staat is dat ze niet duidelijk is en daarom ongevoelig voor het desintegratieproces van de rede. Het gaat niet om rede maar om macht (als het goddelijke principe dat de wereld regeert >> wie weten te beslissen, hebben recht op gehoorzaamheid). De Maistre vijftien jaar in Rusland – vs sceptisch onderzoek, vs het protestantisme en vs afschaffing lijfeigenschap, pro Kerk en adel. Invloed op de onderwijsminister Oevarov (bekend van de trits ‘orthodoxie, autocratie, volkseigene’). Bij de Maistre al veel te ontwaren van de sterke onderstroom van nihilisme die alle totalitarisme kenmerkt. Irrationalistisch en dogmatisch: het irrationele instinct tegenover de rationele rede, blootleggen en benadrukken van destructieve tendensen. De Maistre zag de samenlevingen als heen en weer geslingerd door onbeheersbare krachten, zo destructief dat geen enkele gerieflijke rationalistische formule ze kon rechtvaardigen.
Berlin (1994, p 27): een groot Amerikaans filosoof heeft eens gezegd: ‘Er bestaat geen reden a priori om de denken dat de waarheid, wanneer ze eenmaal is ontdekt, ook per se interessant zal blijken.’ Wie is de geciteerde Amerikaan? Volgens Charles Larmore: Berlin quotes approvingly Harvard philosopher C. I. Lewis, who wrote: "there is no a priori reason for supposing that the truth, when it is discovered, will necessarily prove interesting." (zie: Charles Larmore: Berlin's own version of pluralism is therefore not so alien to Romantic thought as he supposes. At the end of the essay on Romanticism in The Sense of Reality, he admits that we are all heirs to the Romantics, to the extent that we feel drawn by the idea that we are the authors of our ends. That may be true. But we--and Berlin, too--are Romantics in a deeper and more valuable sense. Our respect for the limits of critical reflection and the importance of belonging, our distrust of simple conceptions of the good and of the imagination, too, are enduring parts of the Romantic legacy.)
Roger Scruton, An intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern culture, 1998 (NL Moderne Cultuur, een gids voor kritische mensen, 2003) maakt onderscheid tussen algemene cultuur (wat de antropoloog beschrijft als algemene kenmerken van de concrete, lokale gemeenschap), hogere cultuur (als een vorm van kennis van een literaire en kunstzinnige traditie, universalistisch, elitair) en populaire cultuur (vroegere volksculturen, anti-elitair, commercieel).
Tegenstelling klassieke universalisten (van Humboldt: iets wat niet vanzelf groeit, maar is te cultiveren) en het Duitse romantisch particularisme (Herder: gemeenschappelijke geestelijke kracht van een volk).
RS beschouwt religie als de kern van de ‘algemene cultuur’: mythen en riten (> rites de passage) rond geboorte, opname in volwassenheid, huwelijk, dood, welke de leden wijden aan het verleden en de toekomst van de gemeenschap. De Verlichting stelt de samenleving echter voor als een contract (ogv de fictie (valse aanname) dat het lidmaatschap ervan een vrije keus is). Kennis en bezit bewaren en doorgeven van de vroegere naar de toekomstige generaties, of (laten) plunderen. RS ziet het oordeel als de kern van de religie – de ethische visie op de mens die (ook op langere termijn) verantwoordelijk is voor zijn daden. Deze ethische visie is van binnenuit gezien een zichzelf steeds vernieuwend motief voor actie, beschermt het sociaal kapitaal en maakt ons leven zinvol.
Leven alsof ons leven er voor eeuwig toe doet.
Drie soorten kennis: dat (informatie, feiten), hoe (vaardigheid, middelen), wat (deugd, doelen). Morele opvoeding vergroot het repertoire van onze emotie (gevoel dat gebaseerd is op begrip). Volgens RS is de hogere cultuur geen bron van wetenschappelijke (dat) of technische (hoe) kennis, maar van praktische wijsheid (wat je moet voelen).
Behoefte aan een ethische gemeenschap als wortel van zowel de algemene als de hogere cultuur. Religie: heilige plaatsen, tijden en teksten. Na de Verlichting liggen de idee van het heilige en een cultuur die dat voedt niet meer voor de hand. Bevrijding uit onmodigheid zou moeten brengen tot universele rede, vrijheid en wetten (Kant), maar volgens Herder zou dat universalisme een bedreiging zijn van wat plaatselijk, loyaal en diep geworteld is. In de 18e eeuw ging men heilige teksten opvatten als metaforen. Scepticisme tav overgeërfd gezag. Uitsplitsing Gemeinschaft (liefde, verwantschap, historische banden) en Gesellschaft (contract, arbeid, handel) (Tönnies). In de 20e eeuw de verwoesting door zowel het particularistisch nationalisme als door het universalistisch, economisch determinisme (Marx). Reactie op beide: cynisme tav de gedachte van cultuur zelf: alleen macht als werkelijkheid en cultuur als het masker (postmodernisme). SR lijn Dilthey: Verstehen, zoeken naar redenen, betekenissen en waarden ipv naar oorzaken. Combinatie van het interne (stamlid) en externe (antropoloog) perspectief op de cultuur. De verlichte individualist is vervreemd van de binding van gemeenschappen aan plaats, geschiedenis, taal en cultuur. Verlichting: opkomst van de esthetiek (Baumgarten, Aesthetica 1750, Kant, Kritik der Urteilskraft ). Aestesis (gewaarwording, waarneming) van de dingen die om zichzelf de moeite waard zijn om te doen. [OBW het gewaardeerde (esthetisch) nastrevenswaardige (ethisch)] itt het geconsumeerde (wat ons met lege handen achter laat). Het belangeloos (Kant) gewaardeerde is niet te consumeren, maar wordt ‘beoefend’ uit hartstocht voor de zaak zelf (vgl [religie], spel, sport, kunst). SR: hogere cultuur heeft/geeft hetzelfde gevoel van diepgaand mysterie en onuitsprekelijke betekenis als religie. Hogere cultuur als gemeenschappelijke levenservaring van een sympathie-gemeenschap. Originaliteit wordt alleen zichtbaar tegen een achtergrond van traditie. Het werk van verbeelding onderhoudt en vernieuwt het morele leven. Sinds de Verlichting spanning binnen het individu: enerzijds vrijheid en universaliteit, anderzijds verbondenheid en plaatsgebondendheid. SR beschouwt de Romantiek als een in de Verlichting verborgen houding: voor de kunstenaar-held is de vrijheid zowel een absolute waarde als een ondraaglijke last. Rouw om de gemeenschap (volkscultuur, geworteld leven) die in de Verlichting verloren ging en hoop om in de voorstelling een gemeenschap te herscheppen, uitgewerkt in thema’s als pittoreske natuur, erotische liefde en paradijselijke oude wereld. Het religieuze is als bron van het zedelijke opgedroogd – de Romantiek is een poging om in het esthetische een nieuwe bron aan te boren. [OBW Romantiek als liefdesverdriet van de Verlichting].
In een wereld van handel en industrie zijn reclame en verkooptechnieken belangrijker dan kunst of meditatie. Oscar Wilde: ‘een cynicus weet van alles de prijs, maar van niets de waarde’ en ‘sentementaliteit is als de vrije dag van het cynisme’. Coleridge maakt onderscheid tussen fantasie (wat volkomen gerealiseerd en volkomen irreëel is, bv wassen beeld, pornografie (de-personalisering van het gelaat dat u bent naar de sex die iedereen is; portrettering van sex en geweld) en verbeelding (wat gerepresenteerd en reëel is, bv toneel, erotische kunst, veredelt onze gevoelens als toewijding aan ..). Sentimentaliteit is het masker waarmee de fantasie haar cynische zelfzucht verbergt. Voor de sentimentele mens is niet het voorwerp, maar het onderwerp van de emotie belangrijk. Sentimentaliteit en fantasie gaan hand in hand – ze vernietigt niet alleen ons vermogen om te voelen, maar ook ons vermogen om hulp te bieden waar nodig en om risico’s te nemen uit naam van hogere zaken. Wanneer de religie uitdooft, wordt de visie op de hogere natuur van de mens bewaard door kunst die zichzelf in de vorm van sympathie verspreidt.
Door de mythe begrijpen we (in verbeelding en sympathie) de krachten die ons verhinderen te bereiken waarnaar we streven. De voorlopers van het modernisme proberen van dat begrip nog te redden wat er te redden valt. Bijvoorbeeld: Wagner’s helden offeren zich op uit liefde alsof ze vrije wezens zijn, alsof het er toe doet, alsof zij er toe doen. Het modernisme is te beschouwen als een poging om de oude bedoelingen in stand te houden, weer contact te maken met onze ervaring, de menselijke waarden weer op te delven uit de wetenschappelijke waarheden die ze overwoekeren. Het modernisme breekt met de volkscultuur en wordt vervolgens ‘moeilijk’ (atonaal, abstract, constructivistisch, mechanisch, en al gauw ook weer cliché-matig (cliché van het onverwachte)). Daarna volgt de opkomst van de postmoderne imitatie-kitch (want de bedoeling om echte kitch te maken is net zo onmogelijk als de bedoeling om onbedoeld te handelen). De hogere cultuur heeft zich daarmee (gesubsidieerd en geïnstitutionaliseerd) ontwikkeld tot culturele ‘zelfspot’, schijnkunst met schijnwaardering en schijnkritiek.
populaire cultuur Portret: we zoeken het zichtbare verhaal van iemands karakter – foto als mechanische momentopname, schilderij als in de tijd uitgestrekt. [OBW cf Bergson’s duration] Film als fotografische opname van een drama. Deze kan de fantasie bedienen die uit is op sex en geweld. Maar waar dit soort realisme bloeit, verwelkt de verbeelding en daarmee ook de ethische visie op onze toestand. De films van de poëtische meesters (die het drama dienen in plaats van het te vermoorden) zijn zelden te zien. De populaire cultuur is in hoge mate een jeugdcultuur: machinale muziek met een groot gebrek aan muzikale argumentatie en aan muzikale gedachten, tv die het communicatievermogen uitdooft, sexuele revolutie die verbinding uit de weg gaat (>verlies van vertrouwen tussen de seksen), tribaliteit (hooligans, tienerbendes), fantasie-ervaringen (drugs), wegschuiven van verantwoordelijke volwassenheid, bezwering tegen het geschreven woord (graffiti). Een wereld van vreemd bijgeloof, voorbijgaande rages, fantasieën en bevliegingen die voorkomen uit het gemis van een algemene cultuur. Jongeren gaan op in een schijn van sociale samenhang zonder de inspanning van kostbare overgangsriten.
Er is een categorie ‘intellectuelen’ die dubbelspel spelen met de hogere en populaire cultuur. De wortels daarvan gaan terug in de geschiedenis. {Russische revolutie > Franse (communistische) intellectuelen + Nazisme > Duitse intellectuelen} > postmoderne intellectuelen, die zich keren tegen de burgerlijke maatschappij, ondanks dat deze ons bracht: rechten, vrijheden, huwelijk en familiebezit, universeel onderwijssysteem, welvaart en veiligheid geboden door wetenschap en markt. Zo laat het postmodernisme zich leiden door de ketterij van de ‘burgerlijke overheersing’. De 1986ers meenden dat alle macht een instrumentele overheersings-macht is, en erkenden niet de verlossende machten van liefde en oordeel. Wat rest is een wereld zonder heilige momenten en offers, waarin men zich niet langer de inspanning getroost om zich sociaal voort te planten.
Als de aannames (mogelijkheid om eerlijk te spreken en te redeneren van waarheid naar waarheid) niet houdbaar zijn, is discussie zinloos. Het deconstructivisme (Derrida) verliest zich dan ook in het stellen van vragen over vragen totdat de betekenis is weggeglipt. Het is een oefening in het ‘niets betekenen’. Volgens Derrida is filosofische argumentatie uiteindelijk afhankelijk van de metafoor, maar ‘beeldspraak draagt altijd haar dood in zich. En deze dood is ook de dood van de filosofie.’ (White Mythology, in: Margins of Philosophy, 1982, p 271). Dit ontwikkelt zich tot een cultuur van de negatie. Bestaande constructies legitimeren het overheerstende machtssysteem. De deconstructie daarvan zou een bevrijdingsdaad zijn. SR: schrift (in teksten en muziek-notaties) een blijvend teken van menselijke bedoelingen. Het postmodernisme verafgoodt echter de ‘tekst’: ‘différance’ als verschil en uitstel van betekenissen. RS oordeelt: uiteindelijk betekent de tekst alles en daarom niets. Deconstructie ziet RS als bezwering van dat niets. RS: als je met de postmodernen in de samenleving alleen maar macht ziet, is het enige dat rest de afwezigheid van liefde, wet, verplichting, vriendschap, verantwoordelijkheid en recht. [OBW verschil en uitstel van betekenis als voortdurend verschuivende limiet van begrip – teksten leggen geen betekenissen vast, maar brengen ze voort zonder dat je ze kunt ‘grijpen’: het ‘geheim’ van de tekst; vergelijk wat muziek met je doet; vergelijk de persoonlijkheid als het geheim van de mens].
Stelling van SR: de hogere cultuur zet de algemene cultuur voort, niet als religie, maar als kunst. De algemene cultuur kan niet worden losgemaakt van de sociale en politieke opvattingen die het leven van de gemeenschap bepalen. De hogere cultuur roept een historische gevoelsgemeenschap op, terwijl ze universele menselijke waarden verheerlijkt. Geleid door onverzadigbare nieuwsgierigheid bestudeerden onze voorouders zeer grondig vreemde culturen (SR dat is pas multiculturalisme). Een cultuur zonder oordeel is niet in staat de kennis door te geven waarvan het zedelijk leven afhangt > we moeten jongeren leren oordelen. RS versus geloof in de gelijkheid van culturen, de betrekkelijkheid van waarden en debilisering van het openbare leven. De hogere cultuur moet niet het leven bevuilen of de zinloosheid ervan te onderstrepen, maar met de middelen van de verbeelding de oude ervaring van thuis-zijn herstellen. Dat vraagt bv om toewijding van ouders aan kinderen en uitstel van behoeftebevrediging.
Liefde is daarbij niet het antwoord (dat is een Romantische illusie), maar de vraag, datgene wat ons ertoe brengt te gaan zoeken naar betekenis.
[OBW Europa: verschuiving religiositeit > spiritualiteit; kern: vieren van het bestaan, de (incl onze) aanwezigheid; spirituality celebrates the presence]
Dennet, D.C., Het bewustzijn verklaard, 1991 [Consciousness Explained]
Uitgaande van een anti-dualistisch, conservatief, functionalistisch materialisme stelt Dennet een soort ‘metaphor-set-swap’ voor als beter gereedschap om na te denken over het bewustzijn. Hij contrasteert de volgende metaforen tav bewustzijn:



illusie van cartesiaans theater
(interactief dualisme)
bureaucratisch, hiërarchisch
gespecialiseerd circuits in parallelle pandemoniums (Selfridge, 1959)
illusie van de centrale waarnemer / centrale getuige / centrale bedoeler / centraal hoofdkwartier coalities van gespecialiseerde circuits in hersenen als informatieverwerkend systeem
illusie van
één functioneel centrum
de enkele bewustzijnsstroom
verspreide inhoudsbepalingen,
meervoudige narratieve versies,
scripts (Schank 1975),
scenario-weverij (Calvin, 1987)
res cogitans als toversubstantie ontwerp deels aangeboren, deels cultuurgoed, deels zelfontdekking
  memen (Dawkins) vormen de neigingen van het brein en maken er zo een bewustzijn van
illusie van één zelf meerdere zelven als centra van narratieve zwaartekracht
(cf MPD, split-brain, de Chaplin-twins, blindzien (hemianopsie, scotomen)),
het gesponnen web van woorden en daden met bewustzijn en zelf als biologisch product (Robyn)
(desnoods epifenomenale qualia)
qualia lijken te bestaan, het zijn echter
epistemische relaties, mechanisch teweeggebrachte reactieneigingen, stelsels van disposities.
eerste persoons perspectief
derde persoons perspectief
epifenomenologie heterofenomenologie van abstracta
(ook feiten over ficties)
  bewustzijn eerder een handelwijze van een subsysteem van het brein
  verspreide cognitie en sturing, daarom geen exact moment van een ‘bewuste gebeurtenis’ (tijdstippen van weergave <> weergave van tijdstippen)
gegeven evolutie van bewustzijn: begrenzing tot systemen met enkelvoudige elementen met meervoudige functies > korte termijn anticipatie (vriend, vijand of voedsel) > oriëntatieresponsie > adrenaline-alarm > exploratie (epistemische honger) > plasticiteit in zenuwstelsels (variabiliteit binnenwerk) > postnatale ontwerpwijzigingen > basale communicatie > zelfstimulering > memen (memorabele eenheden, bewustzijn als memennest) > ontwerpverbeteringen > neurofysiologische en genetische manipulatie
seriëel en onafhankelijk duaal seriële virtuele machine (software) geïmplementeerd op het parallelle brein (neuronale verbindingen)
  recente, relatief langzame, seriële, bewuste mentale activiteit als nieuwe functie van een snelle opeenvolging van parallelle coalities van oude gespecialiseerde breinarchitecturen
(meervoudige en gelaagde functionaliteit)
200 zeeschede gebruikt brein om zich te wortelen, heeft daarna z’n brein niet meer nodig en eet ’t op (D: net zoiets als een vaste aanstelling krijgen).
208 Baldwin-effect: selectieve bevoordeling van varianten met gunstig kunstje leidt tot relatief snelle verspreiding/overerving (bv tgv soorten met plasticiteit)
214 ijstijden – encefalisatie, ongeveer 150.000 jaar geleden voltooid, plasticiteit > taalvermogens bv een recent toevoegsel, nog recenter: mentale vermogens en culturele beschaving, kwalitatieve sprongen in representatievemogen (algemener en abstracter)
281 De meeste intentionele handelingen (bv doen van uitspraken) vloeien voort uit [parallelle] processen waar wij geen toegang toe hebben.
282 Filosofen grijpen alles [sc theorieën van vakwetenschappers] beet en waarschuwen tegen vergissingen die ze zelf hebben geïntroduceerd in een strijdperk waar nauwelijks data zijn en ook geen empirisch verifieerbare theorieën. Met zo veel idioten [sc briljante mensen met beperkte perspectieven] bij elkaar is het geen wonder dat het bewustzijn nog altijd een mysterie is.
Het bewustzijn voorstllen als een ‘sluitstuk’ is te vergelijken met de gedachte dat appels het eindresultaat van de appelboom zijn, ivp meer appelbomen.
306 David Marr, Vision (1982), 3 analyseniveau’s: calculaties (meest abstract, analyse van het probleem als een taak van informatieverwerking), algoritmes (feitelijke processen die de specifieke informatie-verwerkende taak uitvoeren), materie (hoe een [bv neuraal] apparaat [mechanisme] de algoritmes uitvoert (bv rekensom op telraam of rekenmachine).
313 Sommige mensen beweren dat ze het grootste priemgetal kunnen waarnemen of een driehoek die geen drie zijden heeft. Ze hebben het mis en hun beweringen mogen niet opgevat worden als een bewijs van wat mogelijk is.
326 Feynmann – voorbeelden van visualisering van onbegrijpelijke theorema’s (Surely You’re Joking, mr Feynmann, 1985).
329 [mentale] etiketten die ‘vertellen zonder het [gedetailleerd] te laten zien.
333 zinsstructuren als sporen waarover vervolgens ‘gedachten’ kunnen reizen.
334 natuurlijke taal is onze belangrijkste ‘programmeertaal’, uitvinding van de ‘universele computer’ [onze virtuele machine].
342 Rosenthal (1986, 1989, 1990): bewuste gedachten verschillen alleen van onbewuste mentale toestanden omdat er een begeleidende hogere orde-gedachte mee gepaard gaat die de mentale toestand als onderwerp heeft. DD (349) ons vermogen om te zeggen hoe het voor ons is, vormt de basis voor onze hogere-ordemeningen (vs omweg via cartesiaans theater). 352 reflexieve gevallen van hogere en lagere orde samenvoegen (alleen verbaal onderscheid, zoals Jan die er op uit was om met zijn verloofde te trouwen maar uiteindelijk met zijn vrouw trouwde).
353 verklaren waarom ons bewustzijn georganiseerd lijkt te zijn in een hiërarchie van representatieve toestanden op verschillende niveaus van logische ordening.
391 etikettering van ruimtelijke gaten (bv de blinde vlek) en van temporele gaten (bv tijdens de saccades van de oogbollen – fascinerende experiment met het ongemerkt wijzigen van gelezen tekst tijdens saccades). Eén van de opvallenste kenmerken van het bewustzijn is de discontinuïteit ervan, opvallend omdat het bewustzijn schijnbaar continu is. Minsky (1988, 263): ons continuïteitsbesef is meer het gevolg van onze wonderlijke ongevoeligheid voor de meeste soorten veranderingen [in/tijdens de ‘gaten’] dan van enig echt waarnemingsvermogen.
395 De aan/afwezigheid van representatie is niet hetzelfde als de representatie van aan/afwezigheid. Illusie van de intuïtie dat we rechtstreeks vertrouwd zijn met speciale eigenschappen/kenmerken van onze ervaring.
400 Er is geen verschil tussen ‘schijnen’ en ‘echt lijken’ – geen van beiden vereist een representatie in de hersenen [bv interferentie van verschillende inhoudsfixaties op verschillende plaatsen in het brein.
403 Het bewustzijn lijkt een continu plenum, maar ‘continu plenum’ is een abstractie, ’n nuttige fictie, net als het ‘zelf’.
419 De natuur bouwt overlevingsmachines, geen epistemische machines (Akins, 1989).
439 filosofensyndroom: het aanzien van je verbeelding voor een logisch noodzakelijk inzicht.
445 DD tav epifenomenale kabouters in iedere cilinder van een verbrandingsmotor: ik kan niet bewijzen dat deze kabouters niet bestaan; ik kan hoogstens aantonen dat er geen respectabele reden bestaat om erin te geloven.
450 Mijn bestaan [sc het bestaan van mijn bewustzijn] wordt verklaard door het feit dat er in dit lichaam dergelijke mogelijkheden [sc bv het vertellen van wat er in mijn hoofd omgaat] zijn.
484 DD vs Nagel : het is wel degelijk mogelijk om duidelijk te maken hoe het is om een vleermuis te zijn – beschrijving van de structuur van de waarneming en het gedrag van de vleermuis, cf Dawkins, 1986 over de hoefijzerneus. 488 gedrag als basis voor een beschrijving van hun heterofenomenologische wereld,
cf de cognitieve ethologie (Griffin).
489 Wittgenstein: als een leeuw kon praten, konden we hem niet verstaan.
DD: als een leeuw kon praten, zou zijn bewustzijn zo sterk afwijken van die van normale leeuwen, dat we weinig van hem zouden opsteken over niet-sprekende leeuwen.
492 De vraag is niet of andere dieren kunnen redeneren, maar of ze kunnen lijden (Bentham, 1789). Veel dieren beschikken over een aanzienlijk vermogen om te kunnen lijden. Belang van ‘overtuigingsomgeving’ en de vraag of deze aanvaardbaar en heilzaam is. Mythes over de heiligheid van het leven of van het bewustzijn – goede en slechte kanten (vergelijk de dure zorg voor coma-patiënten met het uitblijven van zorg voor armen).
498 Het bewustzijn verklaren in termen van onbewuste gebeurtenissen.
521 Nagel en Searle beweren dat het bewustzijn het fundament is, DD beweert dat fhankelijke inhouden (intentionaliteit) het fundament is.
523 DD identificeert bewuste ervaringen met informatieverwerkende gebeurtenissen in het brein, ‘want iets anders is er niet’.
524 DD min of meer een ‘teleofunctionalist’, stadsverificationist (526),
527 DD soort herhaling van Wittgensteins aanval op de ‘objecten’ van de bewuste ervaring. Eerst zien te achterhalen wat de ‘aard’ van mentale toestanden en processen is.
[computers: van getallenkrakers tot informatiebrakers]
Interessant om na te gaan in hoeverre Bergson’s ‘elan vital’ beïnvloed is door oosterse filosofie (taoïsme, boeddhisme, zen).
In dat verband:
Ulrich Libbrecht, Oooster Filosofie, Een inleiding, 2002
UL gaat uit van een driedimensioneel model van van mens en kosmos:
Mens Natuur Rationaliteit Emotionaliteit
Ontologisch Worden (tzu-jen: vanzelf zo – in het energetisch chi-veld ontstaan vanzelf de tienduizend dingen) Zijn Niet-zijn
Epistemologisch Meegaan in natuurlijke ritmes (wu-wei: niet-ingrijpen) Inzicht, beheersing Verlichting, mystiek
Postulaat Yin-yang-dynamiek Intelligibiliteit Ervaarbaarheid
Doel Harmonie Waarheid Beleving
Criterium Gezondheid (ho: gevoel van harmonie) Logica Authenticiteit
Systeem Tao Wetenschap Mystiek
Tijd Cyclisch Lineair Tijdloos
Ruimte Ecologisch Geometrisch Sacraal, numineus
Energie Gebonden (chi) Vrij, doelgericht Vrij, veld
Entropisch Alleen gebonden energie Negatief: warmte is verlies (dissipatie) Positief: warmte is winst (emotie) (tapas)
Causaliteit Reticulair (netwerk-causaliteit in open systeem) Binair (in gesloten systemen, vgl botsende biljardballen) Veld (het veld ‘richt’ alle fenomenen, vgl naald in magneetveld)
Beweging Transformatie (kua) Locomotie E-motie (er varen)
Sociaal Survival Legalisme Liefde
Taal Metaforisch Logisch Symbolisch/stilte
Jij leest een boek over zee, maar ik ga er varen (20).
Als de ruimte leeg zou zijn [container-visie], dan vraagt de inbreng van energie/informatie om een verklaring. Deze verklaring kan achterwege blijven als je er (zoals ’t taoïsme) van uitgaat dat de energie/informatie als krachtveld altijd al aanwezig is (31). Gebonden energie werkt entropisch, vrije energie werkt anti-entropisch (32).
Boeddhisme: levensimpuls trsna, netwerk-wereld als spel van dharma’s (flitsen van bestaan en verdwijnen) (101). Skanda’s als bundels van dharma’s. Grieks denken: S(a,b,c,d,e) subject met eigenschappen – ook als de eigenschappen wegvallen (dood), blijft het subject substantieel bestaand. Boeddhisme: S=a+b+c+d+e, subject als som van eigenschappen – vallen de eigenschappen weg, dan bestaat de som ook niet meer (111).
Metafoor: golven : oceaan = verschijnselen : universeel krachtveld.
Boeddhisme als therapie om van de ziekte van het bestaan te genezen door moreel gedrag, geestelijke discipline en verlichting (115). De boeddhanatuur is een zuiver, ongedifferentieerd bewustzijn (de oceaan in de golf die ik ben) (117). Boeddhisme vs de dualiteit van zijn en niet-zijn, eenheid en tweeheid, van blijvend zijn en vergaan (124).
Zen als procédé om ‘worden’ om te zetten in ‘niet-zijn’: transitvorm (55) van taoïstische aandacht voor de natuur en boeddhistische mystiek (133). Non-dualisme als hoofdkenmerk van Zen (135). Versus leerstellige druk van (canonieke) geschriften (145), [ vs druk-werk]. Heen en weer tussen productieve arbeid en verlichting (147).
Uitgebreider: Ulrich Libbrecht, Comparatieve Filosofie (in drie delen, 1996 e.v.)
Taoïstische teksten:
Er is een grens aan ons leven,
Maar de kennis heeft geen grens.
Met iets dat begrensd is
iets willen achterhalen dat onbegrensd is,
is een gevaarlijke onderneming.
Drie schatten: liefde, beperking, bescheidenheid.
Het woord dient om de gedachte te vangen.
Als de gedachte gevangen is,
vergeet dan het woord.
Zen teksten:
Het uiteindelijke doel der dingen,
Waaraan zijn niet voorbij kunnen,
Is niet gebonden aan wetten en metingen.
In de geest die in harmonie is [met de Weg]
Vinden we het identiteitsbeginsel,
Waarin alle actie tot rust komt.
Alles is leeg, helder en zelfverlichtend,
Er is geen inspanning en geen verkwisting van energie.
Dit is iets waar het denken nooit komt,
En waar de verbeelding ontoereikend is.
Het absolutisme bevestigt zichzelf.
Het relativisme weerlegt zichzelf.
vrije wil / free will
De experimenten van Benjamin Libet suggereren dat we ons pas achteraf bewust worden van handelingen waarin ons lichaam al eerder is betrokken. Vrije wil zou dan opgevat kunnen worden als een soort ervarings-feedback van bv spieractiviteit. Echter ook zonder spieractiviteit kunnen mensen het gevoel hebben dat ze iets willen terwijl ze daarbij ook denken dat ze al doen wat ze willen, terwijl dat feitelijk niet het geval is. Dat blijkt uit experimenten met prikkeling van de pariëtale achterkwab. Blijkbaar bevindt zich daar een hersengebied dat betrokken is bij het plannen van handelingen. Bij sterke prikkeling van dat gebied verspreidt zich de boodschap dat een handeling niet alleen gepland (sc gewild), maar ook uitgevoerd is/wordt.
Zijn op grond van dit soort experimenten ‘causal chains’ van ‘handelingen > gevoelens > gedachten’ of ‘gevoelens > handelingen > gedachten’ of ‘gedachten > handelingen > gevoelens’ etc te construeren? Wel als je uitgaat van enige vorm van reductionisme (bv uiteindelijk is altijd de handeling bepalend voor gevoelens en gedachten). Niet als je er van uitgaat dat gedachten, gevoelens en handelingen (of: het conceptuele, het mentale en het fysieke) onherleidbare domeinen zijn die functioneren op verschillende inzoom-niveau’s/-lokaties. Gedeeltelijk als je ‘onherleidbare domeinen’ onderkent als abstracties – causaliteit kan zich dan afspelen (of geforceerd worden) tussen bv verschillende functioneel gespecialeerde hersengebieden die elkaar prikkelen. Wat uit de verschillende experimenten blijkt, is dat niet één bepaald hersengebied het primaat heeft (vs de homunculus-theorie). Vrije wil ontstaat dan ook beperkt als één van de mogelijke functies van een bepaalde samenwerking van verschillende hersengebieden met als volgorde doorgaans gesteld: denken > voelen > handelen (waarbij ‘vrije wil dan een geconcentreerde (focused) combinatie zou zijn van denken en voelen). Wat niet wegneemt dat wij in de verklaring van ons gedrag vaak achteraf een gerationaliseerde reconstructie maken alsof er sprake zou zijn van ‘vrije wil’. Dat roept de interessante vraag op: waarom maken wij de verzameling van gedachte en gevoelde vrije-wil-handelingen groter dan die van de feitelijke vrije-wil-handelingen?
if matter does not count
and counting does not matter
(...) words (..) chatter
RT when a clock moves away from you, it not only looks smaller, it is (a bit) smaller and it runs (a bit) slower as well. The dispute about Bergson’s dwarfs can be avoided by having the clock move around you, e.g. atomic / biological clocks earth – sattelites. Atomic clocks in sattelites run slower, compared to atomic clocks on earth. What exactly happens when with accellerating atoms/molecules?
One-Many problem
Bergson: to manifacture is to work from the many to the one. Organization works from the centre to the periphery (from the one to the many. (1907)
OBW Any ‘isolated’ system seems to be encapsulated by other systems. Is it possible to find properties of an ‘one’ or are all properties properties of a ‘manifold’? Compare temperature (property of a manyfold of atoms/molecules) and consciousness (property of a manyfold of cells – or as well a property of a manyfold of atoms/molecules – or even a property of STEM – or even a property of what encapsulates STEM?). Take the one-many problem at first as a problem of the relation of a property and what it refers to. Wittgenstein analyzed the linguistic aspect of this one-many problem by investigating the relations between language-games and propositions.
Our brain-algorithms tend to process from the many to the few. The idea of a one (unity, whole) to be reached is an extrapolation (if not overexertion) of that tendency.
Stephen D. Brown (
Bergson claimed that Kant’s error was to found epistemics in the transcendent rather than the unfolding of life itself. As a consequence, a theory of knowledge is ‘inseparable’ from a theory of life. (..) More recent commentators (e.g. Durie, 1999; Murphy, 1999) have judged that Bergson’s critical evaluation does not hold for relativity as a whole (e.g. for the General Theory) and that Bergson’s technical arguments are, in part, flawed. (..) Briefly put, Bergson’s argument is that there can be no ‘real’ simultaneity for physical events, since such simultaneity crucially depends upon the powers of living being to synthesize the recording of these events in such a way that simultaneity can be constructed. This critical point returns Bergson to his lifelong concern with illustrating a conception of time which is irreducible to spatiality i.e. duration. However, Einstein’s response was to dismiss Bergson’s grounds for questioning simultaneity, in particular to frame his intervention as erroneously seeking to introduce the human observer as the lynchpin around which multiple frames of reference are organised. And since Bergson had the science wrong, his metaphysics was uninteresting. [OBW If that were the view of Einstein, why did Einstein still refer to Bergson, even in the last preface he wrote?] There is no philosophical conception of time worthy of consideration alongside the multiple times of relativity. Bergson then lost both ‘home’ and ‘away’. It is arguable that his reputation was effectively shredded as a result (see Durie, 1999).
Did Bergson defeat idealism and materialism/realism?
Bergson opposed idealism and materialism/realism as both being dualistic in contrasting perception and conception and in their assumption to be able to point to ‘pure knowledge’. B states that our body and consciousness are not about ‘pure knowledge’, but about action: perception is the function that prepares action (not subjective nor relative (vs idealism)) and conception is the function that knows action. When considering the extensity of the body and the duration of perception, it shows that no snapshot cerebral state is the equivalent of a perception (vs epiphenomenal consciousness). There is not a difference of degree between perception and conception (recollection) (vs idealism), but a difference of kind (cf auditive, visual, motor brain-functions ). B describes an actual perception as a present materialization of ‘virtual states’ which are lead, step by step, through a series of [thousands of] different planes of consciousness up to what makes us act. B regards action and dream as two extreme planes of consciousness. Where is action and images [of action], there is consciousness. The material universe itself is a kind of consciousness. (1896)
Did Bergson overcome dualism?
B speaks of ‘pure recollection already being spirit and pure perception as still being in a sense matter’, and as synthesis: ‘reciprocal action of spirit and matter (..) of mind and matter (..) the inextended and the extended, quality and quantity, freedom and necessity’ (..) ‘That which is given, that which is real, is something intermediate between divided extension and pure inextension (..) It is what we have termed the extensive.’ (..) By the idea of tension we have striven to overcome the opposition between quality and quantity, as by the idea of extension that between the inextended and the extended.’ B holds the ‘contingency of the course nature’, but ‘Freedom always seems to have its roots deep in necessity and to be intimately organized with it.’ (1896)?
Bergson (1907): The logic of solids (..) makes our intellect triumph in geometry. [OBW Einstein freed in 1905 space and time from it’s ‘solidity’] (..) Bergson: Life made geometricians. (..) Life as transcending teleology as well as mechanism. (..) continuous change/transition/progress/transformation/maturation/evolution (..) Consciousness cannot go through the same state twice. (..) That is why our duration is irreversible. (..) In the universe two opposite movements: "descent" and "ascent." (..) B vs the idea that aspects of the present are calculable as functions of the past (e.g. as differential equations). [OBW S.Wolfram,2002: complex present behavior is not calculable/predictable, but changing behavior is self-organizing calculation: computational equivalence] (..) Bergson: The most complex has been able to issue from the most simple by way of evolution. (..) but ‘Anything that is irreducible (..) and irreversible in the successive moments of a history eludes science.’ (..) e.g. ‘life is no more made of physico-chemical elements than a curve is composed of straight lines’ (..) Bergson vs radical mechanism (the real is complete – the only problem is that our mind just doesn’t know that). (..) B vs radical finalism (realization of a previousle\y arranged programme - as inverted mechanism) (..) Finding a trace of spontaneity will refute radical mechanism, but not radical finalism. (..) Philosophy of life (..) claims to transcend both mechanism and finalism. (..) [OBW what kind of movement is this ‘transcend’?] Bergson refers to ‘curious facts of regeneration’ in order to postulate an ‘appeal to some inner directing principle in order to account for this convergence of effects’ which may also ‘imply consciousness and will (..) admitting an internal and psychological principle of development’. Darwinian, neo-Darwinian nor neo-Lamarckism delivers an explanation of it. An original impetus of life is the fundamental cause of variations, that accumulate and create new species. (..) Two points are equally striking in an organ like the eye: the complexity of its structure and the simplicity of its function. (..) failure seems the rule, success exceptional and always imperfect (..) intelligence (manifacturing) and instinct (organizing): two different methods of action on inert matter (..) both involve knowledge that is acted (..) matter: elementary vibrations, the shortest of which are of very slight duration, almost vanishing, but not nothing. (..) there is no material point that does not act on every other material point (..) all the atoms interpenetrate and that each of them fills the world (..) Deduction, then, does not work unless there be spatial intuition behind it. (..) Induction rests on the belief that there are causes and effects, and that the same effects follow the same causes. (..)For the (..) system of to-day actually to be superimposed on that of yesterday, the latter must have waited for the former, time must have halted, and everything become simultaneous: that happens in geometry, but in geometry alone. (..) Induction therefore implies first that, in the world of the physicist as in that of the geometrician, time does not count. But it implies also that qualities can be superposed on each other like magnitudes. (..) matter becomes, it seems to us, geometry itself. (..) science is contingent, relative to the variables it has chosen, relative to the order in which it has successively put the problems (..) the order of the vital or the willed (impetus, impulsion) vs the order of the inert and the automatic (..) universe as being made continually (..) growing by the addition of new worlds (..) energies in an extraspatial process (..) In vital activity (..) a reality which is making itself in a reality which is unmaking itself [ref. entropy] (..) organization as a modus vivendi between life and matter (..) each species behaves as if the general movement of life stopped at it instead of passing through it. It thinks only of itself, it lives only for itself. (..)Two things only are necessary: (1) a gradual accumulation of energy; (2) an elastic canalization of this energy in variable and indeterminable directions, at the end of which are free acts. (..) unity and multiplicity are only views of [x] taken by an understanding that directs its categories at [x] (..) mutual interpenetration and continuity at the base of [x] (..) Matter divides actually what was but potentially manifold. (..) the vital impetus is neither pure unity nor pure multiplicity (..) it is consciousness, or rather supra-consciousness, that is at the origin of life. (..) brain and consciousness correspond because equally they measure, the one by the complexity of its structure and the other by the intensity of its awareness, the quantity of choice (..) the psychical state tells us more than the cerebral state (..) consciousness is synonymous with invention and with freedom (..) our brain, our society, and our language are only the external and various signs of one and the same internal superiority (..)Everywhere but in man, consciousness has had to come to a stand; in man alone it has kept on its way. (..) Intuition and intellect represent two opposite directions of the work of consciousness: intuition goes in the very direction of life, intellect goes in the inverse direction, and thus finds itself naturally in accordance with the movement of matter. (..) consciousness includes potentialities without number which interpenetrate and to which consequently neither the category of unity nor that of multiplicity is appropriate, made as they both are for inert matter. (..) death for the greater progress of life (..) intellects views [snapshots of] the made, consciousness only feels confusedly the making (..) two illusions consist in supposing that we can think the unstable by means of the stable, the moving by means of the immobile (..) The idea of Nothing is self-destructive and reduced to a mere word; and if, on the contrary, it is truly an idea, then we find in it as much matter as in the idea of All. (..) leaps – continuity of sensible qualities (..) There are three kinds of representations: (1) qualities, (2) forms of essences, (3) acts. (..) To these three ways of seeing correspond three categories of words: adjectives, substantives, and verbs, which are the primordial elements of language. (..) cinematograph[ical illusion]: snapshot views of transitions/change (..) The movement is in the apparatus. (..) the mechanism of our ordinary knowledge is of a cinematographical kind (..) Action is discontinuous, like every pulsation of life; discontinuous, therefore, is knowledge. (..) Idea is (1) the quality, (2) the form or essence, (3) the end or design (in the sense of intention) of the act being performed. (..) Time is not divided objectively in one way or another by the matter that fills it. (..) Ancient science applied to concepts, while modern science seeks laws-constant relations between variable magnitudes. (..) Modern science must be defined pre-eminently by its aspiration to take time as an independent variable. But with what time has it to do? (..) We do not count extremities of intervals, we feel and live the intervals themselves. (..) While the duration of the phenomenon is relative for the physicist (..) this duration is an absolute for my consciousness. (..) succession or continuity of interpenetration in time is irreducible to a mere instantaneous juxtaposition in space [OBW sc (non-)simultaneities] (..) science and metaphysics as complementary ways of knowing (..) Reality as given in eternity (ancient and modern philosophy) vs reality that creates itself gradually as absolute/concrete duration (..) in which a radical recasting of the whole is always going on. (..) Mix the reflex and the voluntary. (..) fluid reality shares in both without being either (..) Matter (the reality that descends) endures only by its connection with life and consciousness (the reality that ascends).
Bergson a (romantic) voluntarist?
B: The free act is incommensurable with the idea, and its "rationality" must be defined by this very incommensurability, which admits the discovery of as much intelligibility within it as we will. (1907)
Kant: the thing as such cannot be known
Bergson: change as such cannot be known
OBW Geodesic movement as such does not ask for an explanation, (sudden) change of specific properties of movement (like e.g. speed or direction) does. And what since RT also asks for an explanation is the difference between differently moving frames of reference like the different speed of their internal clocks. But those clocks (would Bergson say, even after admitting this fact he previously declared to be only a virtuality) still would be contemporaneous. [OBW But what is the content of contemporaneity outside the signal-speed-borders? Besides timelike and spacelike something like lawlike?]
SRT: het electrisch veld en het magnetisch veld zijn niet twee naast elkaar bestaande velden maar maken deel uit van één electromagnetisch veld dat op verschillende manieren uiteenvalt in een electrische en een magnetische component al naar gelang de bewegingstoestand van de waarnemer ("relativiteit van het electromagnetisch veld ")
SRT vlakke Minkowsky ruimte-tijd
ART: het inertiële veld (verantwoordelijk voor de effecten van versnelling)en het gravitatieveld zijn niet twee naast elkaar bestaande velden maar maken deel uit van één inertio-gravitationeel veld dat op verschillende manieren uiteenvalt in een inertiële en een gravitationele component al naar gelang de bewegingstoestand van de waarnemer ("relativiteit van het inertio-gravitationele veld ")
ART gekromde ruiimte-tijd
De beschrijving van 4D gekromde ruimte-tijd is volledig analoog aan de beschrijving van een gekromd 2D oppervlak (vergelijk de omrekenings-metriek met de gmv waarden van de projectie van een aardbol op een cilinder).
Ruimtelijke geometrie zowel voor SRT als ART niet-Euklidisch vanwege lengtecontractie en tijddilatie.
Algemene covariantie: 4D gekromde ruimte-tijd kan worden beschreven in willekeurige coordinaten en de bijbehorende waarden van het metrisch tensorveld (voor de omrekening van coordinaten afstanden naar intrinsieke afstanden).Een beschrijving die hetzelfde is in ieder coordinaten stelsel heet algemeen covariant.Pas in september 1916, in discussies met De Sitter,ziet Einstein in dat algemene covariantie nog niet betekent dat alle beweging —versneld of eenparig —nu relatief is.
1917 Einstein elimineert het oneindige door een ruimtelijk gesloten, cylindrisch heelal voor te stellen, waarbij het metrisch veld alleen een oplossing voor de veldvergelijkingen biedt door toevoeving van de ‘kosmologische constante’, wat impliceert dat het heelal tjokvol massa en statisch is. Einstein: "Ob das Schema,das ich mir bildete,der Wirklichkeit entspricht,ist eine andere Frage."
De Sitter stelt een hyperboloïde heelal voor dat leeg is, waartegen Einstein bezwaar heeft (een denkbaar heelal zonder materie is ‘nicht befriedigend’). Daarna concludeert hij dat het hyperboloïde heelal helemaal niet leeg is, maar dat de materie ervan samengebald is op de equator, wat de Sitter weer beschouwt als ‘materia ex machina’ om het dogma van Mach te redden.
Felix Klein maakt duidelijk dat vreemd gedrag van een punt een artefact is van de ruimte-tijd-kaart (vergelijk de afbeelding van de noordpool of de zuidpool als een reeks punten op een standaard-kaart van de aarde), waarna Einstein Mach’s principe opgeeft en het introduceren van de kosmologische constante als een blunder beschouwt.
Later duikt de kosmologische constante weer op als onderdeel van een goede fenomenologische beschrijving van het anti-zwaartekacht effect van de ‘dark energy’ die verantwoordelijk zou zijn voor het versnellen van het uitdijen van het heelal.
[Als de aarde algemeen gezien wordt als eindig (bol), durven we ‘m rond te reizen (na 1000); als de ruimte algemeen gezien wordt als eindig (gekromde ruimte-tijd), durven we er in te gaan reizen (na 1950)]
OBW Does unique behavior ask for an explanation or is this phenomenon as basic as e.g. geodesic movement? If a complex system, showing unique behavior, cannot show anything else but this behavior, it’s questionable whether this kind of selforganizational behavior could be called a ‘conscious’ process.
OBW Epistemics should not be founded in numbers (e.g. Pythagoras), transcendence (e.g. Kant), life/duration (e.g. Bergson), logic (e.g. Russell), physics (e.g. Einstein), or (..), but be left unfounded. The reductionists mentioned seem to experience reality as a puppet that at first sight is moved by several strings, but at second thought hangs on one super-string. For the time being I only see a plurality of strings, each with its own vanishing point at an horizon that’s around me.