Notes on Bergson, H. (1971) [1910] Time and Free Will. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Dave Harris

Chapter one.  The intensity of psychic states.

[There is an ambiguity in this chapter, noted by Deleuze, about whether it is just psychic intensity that is being critiqued, or intensity as such.  Deleuze sees the more general concept as involving differences of degree and not kind.  He also notes that this chapter denies that quantification of intensity itself is possible, but it does say that intensity provides certain qualities which can be apprehended by experience, and this is a kind of implicit quantification.  I'm going to take rather brief notes of this chapter, because, like a lot of Bergson, it involves interrogation of current psychological work as well.  This dialogue between social sciences and philosophy is a great strength of Bergson, as he claims himself, and, for Deleuze, it just shows that the Absolute consists of material that can be studied both by science and by Bergson's intuition. In layman terms, after many a detour into the confusions introduced by considering qualitative differences as only quantitative ones, it gets to the notion of a multiplicity of intensive states which are NOT arranged along the spatial dimension]

It is common to talk about quantitative differences of 'sensations, feelings, passions, efforts' (1), but this involves philosophical difficulties.  It is not the same as quantitative differences in space or extensity, where the higher number includes or contains the lower.  This is not possible with intensities.  It looks as if both intensity and extensity display the different forms of magnitude, butts we must not assume that these magnitudes are common, although this is assumed in common sense and in some philosophy.  There is sometimes an image of something that rolled up, contracted and is then left to unwind for the future, but this needs much more investigation.

One sort of attempted the for the nine intensity is to measure the number of courses which have given rise to it, say a larger number of lights producing a more intense sensation of light.  However, in practice the deduction often works the other way around, that an intense sensation leads to a search for multiple causes.  There are also some internal causes at work.  Commonsense cheerfully ignores the difficulties and makes judgments about intensities, say of pain or effort. However, in some areas, intensive differences of qualities might well result from extensive differences of background changes – a sound might vary in intensity according to the number of vibrations at work, acting on the brain, perhaps.  However, it is the sensation that appears in consciousness not the mechanical causes themselves.

Intensities seem to commonly refer to different things, such as feelings, sensations and efforts.  There are certain feelings which appear to be 'self sufficient, such as deep joy or sorrow...or an aesthetic emotion' (7).  For Bergson, this shows how a quality can spread over a number of psychical states, as when 'an obscure desire' deepen into a major passion, and must change is an entire outlook.  Again this is not a simple increase in quantity, but rather a a spreading effect on perception and memory.  A similar argument is going to be made about the number of muscular contractions that are involved.  The problem is that the psychic states often coexist in a 'confused heap' (9).  The so-called inner intensities are not isolated.  At first they orient themselves to the future, and this in turn enables us to speculate and connect ideas and sensations.  We might experience the initial and final states as differences in magnitude, but it is not the same feeling which is changing. 

The same might be said for the aesthetic.  Take the 'feeling of grace', which begins with limited perceptions of facility or ease, which is then extended to more a more cases, changing as it develops: ease in mastering motion develops into ease in controlling time.  Music has the effect of enabling even more predictability and foresight, so that we 'believe that we now control' (12) the movements of a dancer [or singer].  The rhythm establishes 'a kind of communication' between us and the performer: it has 'taken complete possession of our thought and will'.  This in turn suggests some notion of moral sympathy.  The whole effect explains the appeal of the aesthetic.  Again, it is a matter of perceiving and then connecting connecting more and more different feelings, 'qualitative progress which we interpret as a change of magnitude'(13) because that is more in accord with common sense and common language use.

The mistake extends to a view of art where the artist just express the existing beauties of nature.  However, it makes more sense to start with the work of arts and the effort needed to produce it and then to work back to nature as itself an artist.  We would also notes that's the object of art is to suppress active elements of our personality and make us perfectly responsive so that we can fully sympathize with the feelings that are expressed.  It is like hypnosis.  That affects music as well: music suggests more feelings than nature itself.  The same goes for poetry [and Bergson here sees the importance of rhythm in poetry as well].  Architecture has analogies rhythms and forms.  Art and liberates us from ordinary consciousness, sometimes even from the consciousness of mundane changes, said of that it appears eternal.  The duties of nature are conveyed from the experience of nature, and again it can soothe normal perceptions in favor of harmony and sympathy.  It follows that experiencing the beautiful follows from suggestions not causes [in other words involving a certain amount of participation]: the suggestions can conform to our existing feelings, or highlight them, or even context them.  We are talking about differences of state or nature rather than differences in degree.

[However, we must not equate art with they provision of inferior sensations].  There are also a degrees 'of depth or elevation', making us aware of complexity, including the unique nature of a different feelings or ideas.  We are not required to understand art but just to experience it, communicating with viewers through choosing specific 'outward signs of his emotions' (18) which can be imitated at first as an entry into the psychological state which produced them.  The more complex the art work, the more beauty we find.

Moral feelings can be analyzed in the same way.  Pity involves putting ourselves in the place of others, but there is a higher feeling as well in the desire to help.  It may take a 'lower form'as a wish to avoid future evil for ourselves, but 'true pity' desires suffering (19), even if we do not wish to see it realized.  It makes us feel superior to mere 'sensuous goods'with which we are normally engaged.  Overall, there is 'a qualitative progress...from repugnant stuff here, from fear to sympathy, and from sympathy itself to humility'.

These examples are unusual, and most sensations are clearly connected to external causes, so there is some linked with extensity.  We can start by analyzing muscular effort, which sometimes appears to be necessary to control or channel psychic forces.  Some scientific accounts see muscular movement as necessarily connected to streams of nervous energy, sometimes in a pathological way [hysterical paralysis?].  William James is cited here in opposition.  Effort is not just concentrated in immediate movement, and features, for example, activity of the muscles of the chest or face.  James has some even stranger examples, where efforts to move a [paralyzed]  right eye can still produce moving objects.  But this is not an effort of volition itself, but rather an effect of what is going on in the other eye, where the effort is being registered.  This led James to propose that effort is 'cenripetal', where contracted muscles and other physical changes on the periphery go inwards to produce a sensation of effort.

Bergson draws from this to argue that the apparent increase in effort is really the result of a 'the number of muscles which contract in sympathy with it' (24), or the size of the 'surface of the body being affected'(24).  If you concentrate, you can become aware that all sorts of muscles are contracting in all areas of the body as a part of the apparently localized effort.  It is not just the quantity of muscles or bodily surfaces which produce a feeling of intensity, but rather qualitative changes occurring in them, including an increase in complexity.  Our consciousness is still oriented towards literal space and simple categories [expressed in single words] and fails to perceive these qualities.  Sometimes, the complexity of the elements is 'coordinated by a purely speculative idea, sometimes by an idea of a practical order' (27).  The first gives us a sensation of effort or attention, the second gives violent or acute emotions.

Attention is usually accompanied by movements itself as a part of it—like tingling sensations in the scalp or pressure in the scale, facial muscles, and it is the spread of these muscular efforts which provided the apparent 'immaterial effort' (28), just as with the psychic tensions above.  The same goes for the violent emotions, which are even less reflective.  This is not to reduce emotions like and rage to the bodily, since there is always 'an irreducible psychic element' (29).  The accompanying muscular movements are simply ignored [and there is an interesting example here of those who would strip emotions of all bodily responses, which leaves them unable to explain different degrees of intensity, and reduces emotions to intellectual ideas].  There is a tendency for peripheral movements to become internalized, as they get affected by memories or ideas.

What is the connection between the quantitative and qualitative elements?  We need to distinguish affect and representation.  If we analyze affect, we can certainly see signs of an 'organic disturbance'arising from some external cause, but these are not directly connected to the consciousness of the sensation and therefore cannot transmit 'anything of their own magnitude'[which follows from the first decision to deny any quantitative external dimension to intensity].  It is possible to retain physical impressions, but certainly not molecular movements.  However, intensities, say of pleasure and pain do have a use in nature.  It is also the as we developed from automatic to free movements, affective sensations arise to fill the interval between external action and volitional reaction.  Here, pleasure and painmight help us to resist automatic reactions, as a form of 'nascent freedom' (34).  That is because affect does not only respond to the action, but also prepares us for the reaction. 

We can now argue that things like molecular disturbances are necessarily unconscious and do not appear themselves in sensations.  However, automatic movements do become conscious movements.  Perhaps affect expresses the awareness of automatic movement and how we are able to alter it as conscious beings.  If they do act like this, it is because they are able to represent a number of possible movements.  It is like the way we register the intensity of pain in terms of the number of muscular activities or parts of the organism which are involved [the example is the sensation of disgust which deepens as it spreads to more a more parts of the body].  Darwin says that great pain into sees animals to forget everything else but escape from the cause of suffering, and this is found in our experience as well: there may be different quantities of stimulation of nerves, but they still have to be interpreted by consciousness and connected with a reaction, and this is how we estimate the quantity in the first place.

The same sort of mechanism explains why we prefer one pleasure to another [rendered in terms of quantitative differences—a useful critique of utilitarianism here, and all those who talk about greater or lesser amounts of joy, including Spinoza?].  Our body itself goes forward to meet pleasure, overcoming its own inertia, and we can gain some estimate of quantity by the amount of resistance with which we reject distraction from pleasure.  It is the same with morals where again  'attraction serves to define movement rather than to produce it' (39).

Affect is connected with the 'representive sensations' as well, so we are dazzled as the light increases.  Other representative sensations like 'taste, smell and temperature'are also perceived as pleasant or unpleasant, and this in turn gets interpreted as differences of quantity because their differences produce different levels of affect and subsequent movements of reaction.  We have to attend differently to these different sensations, or in other words make different degrees of effort.  Particularly strong sensations are indicated by an automatic reaction. 

With less intense sensations, we hardly react at all, and yet still estimate the magnitude of the sensation—but this might involve unconscious muscular reactions.  However there is something else—the persistence of the sensation over time, as 'constant experience' (42).  Again, it is qualitatively distinct sensations that are being linked together and misunderstood as quantitative increase.  Memory of past sensations has the same effect—we repeat the sensation.

Even differences like differences in pitch in the sound, intervals between notes of the scale, are often pictured as quantitative, but see this reflects the greater or less effort required to produce them [by singers].  It is the intervals between stages of effort that the are representing.  It is true that physicists can quantify these intervals by referring to the number of vibrations involved, but we still do not perceive quantitative difference directly.  The same can be said for sensations of heat, which produce different levels of reaction Moscow raiding as quantitative differences.  The same can be said of pressure or weight.  This is a specially the case in repetitions such as lifting a heavy weight off to a lighter one that the same philosophy and duration: the consciousness can only grasp differences as differences in magnitude.  But consciousness produces the differences first and waits for analysis to resolve it into magnitudes.  Light can be seen in the same way, so that increases or decreases in light are noticed by the consciousness in terms of different perceptions or sensations and are grasped afterwards by scientific definitions affecting the understanding.  In practice, these differences result from measurements using a photometer, which are sometimes seem to be paralleled by physical properties of the eye [particular approaches challenged, page 53f] [here and throughout, commonsense seems superior to science—for example commonsense perceives the grid a shun between the colors of the spectrum which artificially separated by science].

Then we get on to'psychophysics'[positivist psychology?].  Apparently, there have been attempts to establish constants in laws about the relation of stimuli to response.  The flaw arises from a 'several different artifices' (61) intervening between experimental observations and laws (62f, in some detail].  We just have to assume that the intervals between the levels of stimuli are constant, for example, and we have to go from the observed differences to assume there are infinitely small differences [so we can then predict a smooth curve of the relationship].  However, these assumptions have been questioned [problems asserted from Bergson's own position really], so that equal states are assumed to be identical, effectively ignoring qualitative difference, or at least representing it by a quantitative one.  This is normally done by convention.  Apparently, psychophysics tried to insist that there were no physical mechanical relations, but this would leave only qualitative differences.  Apparently the solution was attempted that refer to minimum differences, the smallest perceptible increase in a stimulus, and this would act as some common property with which we could equate sensations [by setting benchmarks as it were between two minimum differences in sensation and then establishing a relation of addition between them]. 

However, Bergson was to deny that the differences in sensation are arithmetical ones, and if we consider perception only, we would have to become aware of something that is added.  But we do not perceive additions like this, and to suggest them is a departure from reality.  The different levels of sensation are simple states, and therefore can have nothing to explain an interval between them, except by imposing one.  Either we stick to consciousness and perception, or we add conventional arithmetic notions of representation.  If we stick with consciousness we do not find intervals of magnitude, but rather transitions, and we can only make them arithmetical differences by convention.  There is no sensation of a sum, no additive sensations to explain the differences between states of sensation, nothing equivalent to being able to calibrate differences in temperature on a scale.  Commonsense also tends to change contrasts into arithmetical difference [so psychophysics incorporates common sense?].  There is a vicious circle here in that experimental data depends on a theoretical postulate, but that postulate must be granted first.

Commonsense offers similar forms of reasoning, because speech dominates over thought and thus subjective differences become objectified in the interests of communication.  Similarly, we have a definite interest and object defying states of consciousness, and to search for causes and quantities.  Physics simply ignores the subjective qualities of states and deliberately confuses them with their causes, and this has added to the floored procedure of things like psychophysics.  It is difficult to avoid these common sense notions, and, for example, we often find [weak quantification] statements that say one sensation is stronger than another, inviting the question by how much.  It might help to distinguish two sorts of quantity [as in ordinal vs. ratio measurement], but even this does not seem to be possible.

Overall, intensity has a double aspect, a state of consciousness affected either by an external calls all by some self sufficient factor.  In the former, there's a notion of intensity as a magnitude which is really a difference in quality: it is 'an acquired perception'(73).  There is also confused perception where different psychic phenomena are somehow lumped together.  We normally find these composites, with a multiplicity of representatives states and elementary psychic phenomena: this is 'the image of an inner multiplicity'.  This requires further discussion, and involves and unfolding in duration.  We go on to discuss what would happen if we eliminate the spatial dimension.  The inclusion of that dimension has led to the confusions of quality with quantity, and we can now perceive it as a general problem.  There are implications for the notion of free will if we do not distinguish outer and inner change, movement and freedom.

Chapter two. The multiplicity of conscious states. The idea of duration
[This is very phenomenological, with a central role played by consciousness in creating the objective world via actualization, almost reification. In its denial of external relations it could cause problems for Deleuze,but these are empirical external relations. Deleuze's summary (Bergsonism) admits this could be phenomenology,but says ultimately that metaphysics has to be involved]

The concept of number implies a synthesis of the one and the many.  We can grasp in intuition a single number with a name, but we're also aware that that number is a sum, 'a multiplicity of parts which can be considered separately' (76).  Not only that, but the units which make up a number must be identical with each other.  If we are counting real things, we neglect their individual differences in order to focus on what is common [their numerical value as single units].  If we focus on their particular features, we can no longer add them together.  Most of the time we do both, giving us 'the simple intuition of the multiplicity of parts or units which are absolutely alike', but as an idealization.  Even if things being counted are physically identical, they will still have different locations in space, so we have to form an image of them in an ideal space.  We can only put things next to each other by conceiving of a space.

We also develop abstract senses of number as we move from counting [to, say, algebra].  Here we are operating with symbols which express number, and this permits rapid calculation without thinking what the numbers actually mean. Actual calculations seem to take place in time rather than space, and counting up to 50 is indeed an indication of duration.  But addition also implies a particular kind of succession of different terms which are nevertheless retained, unlike instance of duration.  And they can 'wait' only in space: we are not dealing with moments in time themselves, which 'have vanished for ever' that only with the traces left in space.  We are not always conscious of these visual images in space, of course.

When we think of individual numbers, we develop an intuitive 'unity of a whole' (80), something 'pure, simple, irreducible'.  But we are also aware that such numbers can be multiple, with their unity imposed by intuition.  This gives numbers a certain independence, even from space.  We 'objectify' number.  However, multiples like this must be composed of smaller units, so numbers also become 'provisional units'.  Again this involves seeing number as something extended, 'multiple in space'.  There is always convention involved in knowing where to stop subdivision—with whole numbers, with a limited number of fractions?  So numbers are therefore only 'provisionally indivisible for the purpose of compounding them up with one another' (82).

This process of compounding implies discontinuity as we pass 'abruptly' from the units we have conventionally defined, 'by jerks, by sudden jumps'.  We tend to see numbers as mathematical points separated from their neighboring points by an interval of space, although we are aware that each point can turn into lines extending in either direction.  When we think of whole numbers, the boundaries are completed, but we can go back and divide this unity entirely as we wish.  Whole numbers are objectified and it is this that seems to give them objective qualities: 'we apply the term subjective to what seems to be completely and adequately known, and the term objective to what is known in such a way that are constantly increasing number of new impressions could be substituted for the idea which we actually have of it' (83-4).  We note these differences when we analyze, and we can think of them as implicit in the mental image of a body 'although they are not realized'(84).  So both subjective and objective processes are involved, the first to concentrate attention on a particular object in space, and the second to pursue projects to break them up.  In each case it is space that is the appropriate material and medium.  We see this in the differences between commonsense grasps of number and arithmetic ones, the latter involving a greater attention to the material involved.  Once we have localize numbers in space, science can then develop to transfer the qualities of number.

We get to a conception of number first by counting material objects, and this requires no particular inventiveness all symbolic representations.  It is otherwise with mental images derived from psychic states.  We need symbolic representation if we attempt to count those.  If we hear footsteps in the street, we deal with those with a confused intuitive notion, then tend to localize each sound and then count the sensations.  It looks like this accounting involves duration again, since the sounds of each event occur in succession.  However, we must distinguish the qualitative impression produced by the whole series from the operation of just counting sounds.  If we just count, we can only do this by reducing the individual qualities of the sound.  The intervals between the sounds become more important than the sounds themselves.  But intervals do not remain in duration, only in space.  In the actual operations of consciousness, these separate activities get confused into, say, 'a confused multiplicity of sensations and feelings' (87).  This means there must be two kinds of multiplicity, one involving material objects which can be numbered immediately, and a multiplicity of states of consciousness which are not immediately numerical.  However the second one can have a number applied to it through symbolic representations, 'in which a necessary element is space'.

We see the same if we think of bodies or matter as having separate impenetrable qualities, but also qualities that can be combined and mixed.  Again there is a common spatial metaphor available here, that sees one body filling up the 'interstices of the other'(88).  But logic insists that two bodies cannot occupy the same place at the same time.  This is a contradiction, but it can be solved by realizing that we are working here with numbers that imply locations in space: numbers cannot occupy the same place, but matter can.  We are more familiar with the idea of feelings and sensations permeating one another in an overall notion of the soul, but we cannot count the sensations [separately] if we do.  Counting implies 'homogeneous units which occupy separate positions in space and consequently no longer permeate one another' (89).  Impenetrability appears at the same time as number, and this shows how the concept of number is only you really applicable to extended objects.  If we move toward states of consciousness, we have to think of a way to represent them 'symbolically in space'(90).

Sensation considered in itself is 'pure quality', but we can conceive of it as distributed in extensity and this quantifies it and means we can measure intensity of sensation.  This new form helps us reflect more than immediate perception would.  We can see the same process is operating with our consciousness of time.  Normally we think of conscious states being ranged alongside each other in a homogeneous medium—but this is just like space, a useful sign or symbol 'absolutely distinct from true duration'.  We can see this if we consider states of consciousness isolated from the external world [as in dreams], and here power sensations are not at all like the regular and quantifiable divisions of number.  It is common but wrong to see time as a form of space, the same sort of medium, but what we are doing is borrowing images from space.  This is different from pure duration.

The philosophical task is to think about space and extensity: the former added to the latter for Bergson.  Space is not just extracted from extensity as a generalization of elements found in sensations, but a separate and solid reality.  Kant argued that space was independent of its content, that extensity was not just an abstraction, and this is close to the commonsense notion.  It has been little challenged since [with reference to various positivist or nativist psychologists 93f].  The argument usually is that our sensations are themselves not extended but 'simply qualitative', and that extensity is produced by combining the sensations, and this is how space acquires a content.  But this still requires some 'active intervention of the mind' (94), if only to establish the relation between the sensations: it is not just a process like chemical combination.  Consciousness is crucial if sensations are to give rise to a notion of space, taking them all together and putting them in juxtaposition.  It involves intuition, leading to the conception of an 'empty homogeneous medium' (95).

This conception explains how space distinguishes identical and simultaneous sensations from one another, as 'a principle of differentiation other than that of qualitative differentiation'.  Space offers a reality with no quality.  The mind itself uses this concept to establish 'qualitative heterogeneity'  in the middle of what looks like extensive homogeneity—two sensations occupy particular locations in space and it is assumed that that must result [only] from different qualities.

The 'independent idea of a homogeneous space' is probably not shared with animals (96).  They have different conceptions probably with qualities of space unknown to us [which enables them to navigate for example].  We can see this in human affairs if we consider the way we divide space into left and right, for example, as if differences in quality were involved.  Subtle qualitative differences are widespread, but the human notion of homogeneous emerges as 'a kind of reaction against that heterogeneity'.  This is not a matter of abstraction, because that already implies a homogeneous medium.  Instead it is a matter of two kinds of reality, one given to us by the senses which is heterogeneous, and the other which is homogeneous, constructed by the intellect.  This second construction has enabled us to count, to abstract, and 'perhaps also to speak'(97).

It might be tempting to conclude that time, which is also homogeneous and unbounded, is the same as space, but we're talking here about two kinds of homogeneity.  We commonly do think of time and abstracted way, abstracted from duration, and this really involves falling back into the spatial.  We can also see that material objects are constituted in a homogeneous medium which put intervals between them to give them distinct outlines, but states of consciousness are not like this.  The concept of time as a homogeneous medium is therefore 'some spurious concept'(98) derived from contamination from the idea of space. 

In space, externality [boundaries] distinguishes objects, but not states of consciousness, unless we spread them out.  It looks like this means that space is the more fundamental of the two conceptions.  One school of thought joins time and space by saying that we can deduce the qualities of material objects by seeing them as resulting from the order of a series of sensations [like running your hands along a surface].  This operation is reversible.  However the concept of time is not the same as duration.  Duration is living, and involves a succession of conscious states which are not separated, not in terms of the present and the past either.  It is not absorbed only in the present either forgetting its former states, because then 'it would no longer endure'.  The past and the present form an organic whole, just as happens when we recall the sequential notes of a tune which produce a melodic whole: if we disturb this sequence, we see a qualitative change.  Duration offers 'succession without distinction'(101), where each element represents the whole and is only separated from it by abstract thought.  However, we try to grasp it by introducing the spatial dimension to think of succession.  Duration becomes seen in terms of extensity, and succession becomes the progress of separate points on a continuous line.  Here, there is no simultaneity of before and after.

This is how human beings introduce an order [in the external world] by distinguishing units, and setting them up in space.  This is the only way that simultaneity can be managed, [as rapid succession].  Any notion of a correct order of succession or reversability 'itself implies the representation of space'(102).  If we imagine a conscious point moving along the line, it could only explain change and succession by comparing its movements at several points in juxtaposition, which itself involves a perception of simultaneity [presumably this would include the observer in Einstein thought experiments?].  This in turn involves the idea of space which has been smuggled in: in general, we can only see a line as a line if we take up a position outside it, to think a space of three dimensions.  Normal consciousness does not operate like this at all, but it can once it is organized.  In its purest state, duration can be understood as 'nothing but a succession of qualitative changes', with no need at all to be externalized.

Time seems to be measurable just like space, but we still think of its units in this double way as above, as both simple units and as divisible.  There is a different notion of succession which requires again the preservation in the mind of earlier moments.  If I see these moments as separated, in a spatial way, I'd get the notion of quantitative time, but if I saw them as penetrating each other, I would be unable to grasp duration, but as 'a qualitative multiplicity with no resemblance to number' (105).  We experience duration very commonly in our consciousness, as when the cumulative effect of a ticking clock is to make us fall sleep [it is not an effect of individual ticks or their sum, but a qualitative effect].  Again the analogy is the combination of slight sensations into a musical phrase, whose quality varies as new notes are added.  We commonly deal with qualitative change by spatializing it, and this it includes attempts to assign causes [which again it assumes it is the same qualities found in individual notes].  We can only grasp pure duration through an 'intensive magnitude', and these are not strictly quantities.

We can be misled by thinking of external objects as also enduring, apparently in homogeneous time.  We use homogeneous time in mechanics or astronomy, say when we calculate velocities.  That this is measurable means that we often think that so is inner duration, but it is really a matter of counting simultaneities [identical positions, oscillations, of the pendulum, say]: these look simultaneous because space does not preserve past occasions.  However, within ourselves, there is interpenetration of different conscious states, so I can perceive past oscillations at the same time as perceiving the present one.  We can conceive of such a duration persisting even after the pendulum ceases to oscillate, without any external moments.  In external conditions, in pure space, there can be no  succession [since the past state is not preserved]: the spectator is essential.  However, ordinary consciousness often combines these two states.  We commonly associate phases of our consciousness with external measures of time, and as those are separated strictly, so we think are the phases of consciousness, giving us a mistaken homogeneous inner duration.  The confusion also helps us provide a kind of duration for external events: 'we create for them or fourth dimension of space, which we call homogeneous time' (109). Both space and duration are real states, and when we compare the two, we get a 'a symbolic or representation of duration, derived from space'(110).  The thing that connects these two process is simultaneity.

We can see this when analyzing motion.  The common way of understanding it is that movement takes place in space and this makes it homogeneous and divisible.  However, although we can specify different positions of the moving body in space, we cannot understand the process without the conscious spectator.  It is the difference between an object and its progress.  Motion is 'a mental synthesis, a psychic and therefore unextended process' (111).  This synthesis is a qualitative one, involve me organize a nation of perceptions and sensations, just like the phrases in a melody.  We commonly separate the motion or act from the path that it takes, which indicates the space traversed.  However, it is equally common to confuse the two, thinking that the motion can also be divided just as can the space: we have projected onto space an act, seeing it as covering the whole line, 'solidifying it'[if we had properly solidified it, the argument seems to be, we would be suggesting that the past really does coexist with the present].

This explains the Greek paradoxes of movement, where acts are confused with the homogeneous space in which they take place.  [113f].  Space can be subdivided in whatever way we wish [including breaking it down into the size of step taken by the tortoise, hence Achilles can never a overtake the tortoise if he just takes steps that size—this involves introducing a particular 'metaphysical hypothesis'].  Mathematics can determine simultaneous positions, but cannot grasp what goes on in the interval except by seeing that as an endless series of new simultaneities arising in the traversed space.

The same goes with measurements of velocity, which assume or anticipate a simultaneity.  The same reduction has to take place of the essential qualitative element.  Most science is modest in claiming only to equate two durations, two identical intervals of time when two identical bodies traverse the same space.  We note the exact moment where the motion starts and where it ends, and these operations inevitably involve  'the coincidence of an external change with one of our psychic states' (116).  [This coincidence persists as we take frequent observations during the movement] We can properly measure the amount of space traversed: this leaves us only with space and simultaneities.  Consciousness is dealing with the duration, not the object itself.  We could not even grasp succession without comparing the present with the past.  Scientists can arbitrarily shorten intervals of duration when they predict things as a succession of simultaneities.

The specific notion of velocity derives from first building up the notion of uniform motion along a particular path.  We then imagine a physical object moving along the path and compare the intervals between specified marks.  Velocity is then defined as a particular unit of duration defined in this way.  We can then imagine a number of moving bodies all moving uniformly but with different velocities for the [a rather complex example is worked through pages 118-9.  Basically, you do away with measurements of time by having a fixed unit, say the time it takes for a stone to  fall from a given height—when it hits the ground you stop the moving objects at particular points.  The method seems to involve comparing objects moving at different velocities and then averaging them.  The point is that we can work out variable velocity only using simultaneities and measurements at an immobile point].  We can see this by the tendency of mechanics to deal with equations, expressing  'something already done', while duration refers to 'something that is unceasingly being done' (119).  We can specify more and more simultaneities and positions, and even use differentials instead of actual differences to approach infinite intervals—but all these examples show that mathematics measures intervals at the extreme.  Duration must be left of the equation because it is a mental synthesis.  So is motion, which is not reducible to passages through points on a line.  Finally, there are no identical or external moments in duration, they are 'essentially heterogeneous, continuous, and with no analogies to number' (120).

Only space is homogeneous, and only space produces discrete multiplicities through 'a process of unfolding in space'.  If we take the sensations of consciousness, it is clear that there is no identity between states of the world.  Discrete multiplicities require an act of consciousness to isolate states and then find external relations between them.  If we replace one state with another, we can only do this through using homogeneous time. 

It follows that there is another multiplicity, not a discrete one but a qualitative one.  This provides another notion off qualitative difference between same and other.  Number is only potentially possible.  Normally, consciousness works with qualitative discriminations without counting or even separating.  Here we have 'multiplicity without quantity'(122).  Quite often, we operational eyes this multiplicity by setting it out in space and it becomes hard to distinguish between the two or to express the distinction in words.  Even the discussion earlier that talks about assembling several states in consciousness shows the danger of introducing 'the deeply ingrained habit of setting out time in space'.  Once we have done this, we can then borrow terms from the spatial dimension, and this is so common that it becomes hard to grasp qualitative multiplicities through common sense.

However, a discrete multiplicity actually presumes a qualitative multiplicity, lying behind the apparently neutral operations of the counting of identical terms.  There are for example 'emotional equivalents' to numbers, and shopkeepers know this by pricing items one unit below a round number.  This shows that counting of identical numbers sometimes crosses a qualitative threshold which alters the process.  Without this 'no addition will be possible' [I don't see how this follows].  We are always aware of the 'quality of quantity'[perhaps this means sometimes seeing it as a neutral and sometimes seeing it as a value laden?]—but this is essential it so that we can 'form the idea of quantity without quality'[I still don't see why].

We have to express our understanding of time through 'a symbolical substitute' (124), and if we did not, we could never see time as a homogeneous medium.  We arrive at this representation by disregarding the differences between moments or terms.  This is particularly evident in discussions of motion: on the one hand, we see it is the same body that moves, but on the other we compare actual positions with remembered positions to complete the idea.  We apply this understanding of motion to try to grasp duration and that in turn becomes a homogeneous medium, with a special notion of time projected onto space.  We often do this with repetitions as well, such as a series of blows of the hammer: we can cut this series into apparently identical phases and that is used as a way to conceive the overall dynamic effect [I'm not sure if this is the same or a further example of the discussion about melody]. 

Because we contact the external world at its surface, we tend to regard to our sensations as something external to us, and having objective causes.  We then form an idea of our psychic life as occupying homogenous time.  However there is a deeper self where this would involve distortion.  This deeper self is combined with the 'superficial ego', and the latter tends to dominate the former, producing apparently distinct segments in 'our more personal conscious states' (126).  We can see this contaminating effect when we consider psychic states which are separated from the external world, as in dreams.  Here there are no measures and no separate quantities.  Even our waking states sometimes reveal the notion of duration as quality, grasped immediately [the example here is when we disattend to the earlier elements in a series, say a striking clock, but manage to recover them in consciousness, feeling them as something producing an effect— the example of a musical phrase is used again].  Here, early elements are used to understand qualities not quantities.

So there are two distinct forms of multiplicity, ways of seeing duration, and aspects of conscious life, with the qualitative elements 'below' the quantitative ones.  The quantitative multiplicity tends to dominate partly because consciousness has a 'an insatiable desire to separate'(128), and a tendency to take the symbol for the reality.  In this way, we are 'better adapted to the requirements of social life in general and language in particular', and the qualitative aspects tend to disappear.  Social life is more important to us than our inner selves, and to express feelings we have to solidify them first and then represent them in language.  As a result, 'we confuse the feeling itself, which is in a perpetual state of becoming, with its permanent external object and especially with the word that expresses this object'.  (130).

 We require 'a vigorous effort of analysis' to recover them, focused on grasping 'this fundamental self' (129), and also seeing how there is always a tendency to head for precision in language or perception which in turn requires operating with the discrete multiplicity rather than the confused one.  One exercise is to look again at the familiar and focus on qualitative changes that are normally overlooked, or tried to dwell upon fleeting sensations without solidifying them, say into discrete tastes.  In reality, 'every sensation is altered by repetition'(131), although words are fixed.  We can even affects sensations by labeling them in different ways: words 'impose...their own stability'(132).

An even better case is to think of feelings like love or melancholy which permeate the whole  soul and overwhelm apparently distinctive elements.  Feelings like this cannot be expressed in words, or rather a distorted as soon as we attempt to do so.  Even if we do externalize them, they remain underneath 'the juxtaposition of lifeless states which can be translated into words' (133).  It would require a clever novelist to show that the apparently separated lifeless states conceal  'an infinite permeation of a thousand different impressions', although most novelists are content to attempt to express feelings in words.  Even so, sometimes a contradictory element remains.

We could attempt to explore our own selves, to break up the elements of an idea, to try to recapture the 'genuine threads with which the concrete idea was woven'(134).  However, we must avoid the dangers of 'associationism'.  Sometimes excessive zeal in addressing questions shows that 'our intellect has its instincts', an impetus common to all our ideas, the source of strong beliefs which have often been adopted 'without any reason' but rather that they can form to all our other ideas.  Such ideas can fill the whole of our self, although many others 'float on the surface' and appears external to the mind.  Examples here include readymade ideas which have never been properly assimilated, or old ideas which have withered.

We only move to the surface of the self by making our ideas external and impersonal, with no inner connections.  Beneath that surface, we can find blendings of ideas which can even be contradictory.  A gain dreams can sometimes indicate this.  Thus there are two aspects of the self, only the deepest level being able to grasp quality and duration in a non numerical way.  Sensations at this level cannot be separated.  It is the need to lead a social life and use language that stops us grasping this level [so you need an époche, mate?].  Humans seem to need this idea of a homogeneous space external to themselves and shared by others.  We get to this notion by increasingly solidifying or objectifying inner states.  In the process we create a second self which dominates [not in the sense of a split, he insists—a bit like the I and me?].  There is no real incentive to reintroduce confusion between terms [or becoming?—Is this conservatism or realism?].  It is no surprise that psychology tends to describe the second self, but it cannot understand processes.  The next chapter goes on to explain the contradictions that result when this sort of approach discusses causality or freedom and proposes a return to 'the real and concrete self' (139) to resolve them.

Chapter three.  The organization of conscious states.  Free will

[Long discussion about psychological determinism, much of which is repeated in Matter and Memory, which is where I have noted it.  One of the people criticized this time is JS Mill, which I have noted in more detail.  Overall—highlights only]

We can either start with seeing systems as dynamic from the beginning, which then suffer from inertia, or argue the other way round, as does mechanism.  Those approaches in turn offer different into sees on facts compared to laws, and the status of these laws as either symbol or reality.  That will depend on what is taken to be the most simple [or given] category.  For those who take the dynamic routes, even these simple notions have often been obtained by combining other notions, and that leads to the suggestion that spontaneity is simpler than inertia, and can be grasped immediately.

The different approaches also appealed to different facts, especially those that seem to limit free will: these facts might turn on the constraints of conscious states or more fundamental properties of matter, including law of the conservation of energy.  For Bergson, the first notion is prior and the second reducible to it  [that is our consciousness imposes these constraints].  Physical determinism has a picture of the universe that suggests that particles unceasingly move and interact producing sensible qualities, but they obey universal laws, including the particles that make up about brains and nervous system: sensations and feelings are merely 'mechanical resultants' (144). So-called free actions are included [they arise from compounds of sensations].  The law of conservation of energy underpins the whole argument, once we extend it to all processes in all living bodies.  Even if the argument were true, however, we would still have to show that particular psychic states correspond to definite cerebral states: this is usually a generalization from noticing that some do.  The underlying view that psychological and physiological series are always parallel has been justified by further argument: Leibniz assume some preestablished harmony, Spinoza saw the two series expressing some underlying 'eternal truth' (147).  Few modern determinists bother with such implications, though, and are content to see the emergence of consciousness as something unknown.

We can explain actions by reference to motives, but this is not to be taken as absolute as in 'associationist determinism' (148).  Nor is it to be linked to physical mechanism in general.  Again, some simple psychic states can be seen as 'accessories'(149) to physical phenomena, and to generalize the argument itself must imply general psychological determination, not a real connection, but only an appeal to science more generally.  There may be a form of weak determinism, with freewill active only to a certain extent.  But this itself involves a psychological theory and a certain 'prejudice against human freedom'.  There is no doubt that the law of conservation of energy has played a major part in natural sciences, and it underpins every mathematical operation.  But that only works with what is given and with the law of non contradiction: there's no guidance as to what should be taken as given.  There is a judgement involved in deciding what counts for something and what counts for nothing when we say that something cannot come from nothing.  There's also an assumption that the system itself remains behind the combinations of the series, and again this involves judgement [experience].  We can see this when we realize that early physicists did not operate with the law of conservation of motion.  As our studies of psychology progress, we may uncover a new kind of potential energy.  There is an ambiguity if we say that mechanical theories allow for epiphenomena appearing as consciousness—this consciousness could in turn create other things such as movement from nothing.

Upholding the law of conservation involves thinking of systems as reversible, and therefore as immune from time: this may be based on our common sense perceptions of apparently inert matter.  However, in real life there is always duration, and it produces irreversible changes.  This could be explained by emergent complexity of systems and the role of chance, but it still does not explain the events such as prolonged sensations which are clearly reinforced by the past.  For living beings, 'the past is a reality' (153), and it can amplify present activity.  There's at least a possibility that consciousness and free will, by storing up duration, can do the same and escape the law of conservation.

The attempt to establish links between the psychological and the natural can be understood as a  'psychological mistake'(154) where we equate duration with perceived objective time, with no difference between outer and inner worlds.  Those wishing to extend the law of conservation build on this common sense tendency which becomes 'a metaphysical prepossession'(155).  It is in this way that psychological determinism seems to be prior.

Psychological determination takes an associationist form rather than a strictly causal or 'geometric' one.  One psychological state cannot be predicted fully from its predecessors, but the transition can be explained in terms of conventional reasoning such as causality or teleology.  Relations between psychic states do exist, but are not of this kind.  We can see this if we think of the ways in which two people associate a conversation with different new ideas or at different points with the same idea.  Hypnosis also shows that causal explanations are not sufficient: a causal chain has been imposed post hoc.  Human acts show a mixture of free will and determination.  We are quite capable of rationalizing the affect of motives on our actions, and explaining freewill as a sudden intervention.

JS Mill can be criticized here.  He argues that of the collected psychic states, the strongest will prevail [and this bumps into the first sort of argument about the difficulty of quantifying them, as I noticed at the time].  This assumes you can distinguish these states, such as 'desire, aversion, fear, temptation' (159).  Mill even posits an inner conflict where the self can grasp clear distinctions.  Some other philosophers have even argued that the idea of freedom can provide a dominant motive.  Here, we can attribute the confusion to language which is not capable of conveying 'all the delicate shades of inner states'[which was my problem when discussing recent work on the emotions].  We can change the relation between motives and actions, but motives can still color actions even though language is not capable of discerning that.  Actions that looks similar can be quite 'different to consciousness from the inside' (161).  Associationism can only work with external similarities, 'rendered colorless', and it is observers who establish the association.  They can still divide qualities into common properties and personal impressions, but this is still categorization. 

We are left with a choice discussed above, in terms of whether we locate separate impressions or actions in a quantitative or qualitative multiplicity, as a matter of juxtaposition or fusion and interpenetration.  Both are capable of explaining plurality.  Associationists spread out plural occurrences in a homogeneous medium: they might call it duration, but it is 'in reality space' (163).  The terms have been symbolized, sometimes only by expressing them in words.  The homogeneous medium is a common assumption in much thought.  The occurrences are seen as impersonal and external to each other, and again naming them with words [as a category] assume some relation.  In practice, the elements might well have melted into one another before this 'artificial reconstruction'.  The explanation has generated the facts.

Commonsense reproduces the same practices as we contact the external world at its surface, and perceive aspects of it in terms of contiguity, simple and impersonal connections.  When we look beneath the surface [sic] we see that states of consciousness permeate each other to produce our personalities.  Language still persists in attributing properties to objects which are named in the same way, and so itself can 'only fix the objective and impersonal aspect of love and hate and the thousand emotions'(164).  Novelists can explore feelings and ideas with words, but this is still not the same as showing how states permeate each other.  'There is no common measure between mind and language' (165).

Only [positivist] psychology, 'misled by language' can show us the affects of various feelings acting as separate forces: but each feeling 'makes up the whole soul', as a form of self determination.  The self is not just an aggregate of conscious states, since each feeling can contaminate the personality.  This is free action in the sense that it is the self alone that acts to express the whole of itself.  This is freedom as relative not absolute, since sometimes the self can produce what looks like external 'independent growths' as well, and these can take on a life of their own and act back on the whole personality—violent anger, 'hereditary vice' can act like hypnotic suggestions.  As well as these, some complex series are never smoothly blended with the whole of the self, and these include those feelings and ideas not properly assimilated in education.  They helped provide 'a parasitic self' which encroaches on the real self.  But none of these passions or indoctrinations [my word, but I think that's what he means] can curtail all freedom—the dynamic series of the 'fundamental self' can remain.

Free acts are exceptional.  We usually constrain ourselves with spatialized thinking, or a reliance on words.  The need to promote social relations is another factor.  Habit and routine show the effects, where feelings are 'solidified on the surface' (168).  It is something like conscious automatism.  These acts are solidified in memory as well and produce further examples of purely reflex activity.  Associationism explains these quite well [compare with Weber constructing the ideal type rational action], but they should really be seen as a substratum, like the organic functions.  It is also true that we can resign our freedom to external forces including those of persuasion, although even then the self might revolt and we can realize that they have been imposed.  This can sometimes look irrational, but it is sometimes  for 'the best of reasons', to do with happiness or honour.  In any events, it is wrong just to examine routine acts and some motives, and instead we should look at examples of  'the great and solemn crisis'(170).

There's another form of determinism which locates free will at this stage of making decisions between two opposing feelings.  However, if these really are equally possible options, it is difficult to see how the self makes a decision: in practice, they are not regarded as equal by the self, which constantly modifies its feelings until an action is possible.  Inner dynamism is responsible, underneath symbolic representation.  This occurs when the self properly appropriates its experience.  This would make the self alone responsible for decisions and free will would become a 'fact'(173). 

JS Mill returns here in emphasizing decision-making as central to consciousness and free will. But he thinks that acting otherwise implies knowing something about the options and their antecedents: determinism is rescued by seeing the ego as a determining cause itself.  However, there is a metaphysical issue involved here, turning on how things can be seen as equally possible.  We can represent two possible actions as points symbolized by X and Y, and in an attempt to be rigorous, we can use these terms to suggest different directions.  This is already different from a conception of the developing self where 'free action drops from it like an overripe fruit' (176).  In mechanism, including common sense versions of it, the self is seen as tracing a path through various conscious states before opting for either X or Y at a particular point in the path.  The paths have become things and the self only chooses between them.  This choice is what the self does, separately from the paths, as 'an impartially active ego' (177).  Since the paths are independent, they must trace different possibilities.  The very depiction of a fork in the path suggests a notion of opposite motives, hesitation and choice as a way of symbolizing conscious activity.

This is an abstract conception, but it runs into difficulties.  If X is chosen at a point, the self has ceased to be neutral, despite some 'oscillations' towards Y (178).  The choice is only part of a more continuous psychological activity which has already distinguished the two outcomes.  What looks like contingency is actually already 'absolute necessity' (179).  The outcome has already played a part in the decision.  Consciousness has already followed both paths [in imagination] and it is restricting to confine its activity to a point before the divergence.  Mechanism traces back the process from what has already been done.  Here, there are contradictions for mechanists: if either path could be chosen as equally possible, the self could never decide; if one path is preordained in some way there can be no real free will [which means they would have to deny experience --or Christianity?] 

The use of a path as a symbol already represents time by space and a 'succession by a simultaneity'(180).  The diagram at best operates as a stereotyped memory, and can never capture dynamic processes of deliberation.  Paths can be retraced, like roads marked on a map, but they are misleading as a representation of time which is passing.  This is misleading and 'clumsy symbolism' (182), essential to determinism.  It cannot explain free will, since 'freedom must be sought in a certain shade or quality of the action itself', and not in relation to abstract possibilities.  The clumsy symbolism ignores that the self is undergoing a dynamic progress, 'in which the self and its motives...are in a constant state of becoming'.  By adopting this symbolism, the self ironically is unable to explain the sense of freedom which it grasps in immediate experience.

Predictions suffers from the same problems.  Probable outcomes amount to 'a judgment on... [a person's] present character, that is to say on [the] past' (184) [so some characteristics remain despite constant becoming].  This is not the same as saying that prediction is possible in principle if we could know all the conditions.  But knowing all the conditions that prompted another to act is impossible, since intensities of feeling are particularly difficult to represent and share because they are felt.  The options seem to remain as attempting to experience the life of another, or finding adequate images or symbols for their ideas.  Again, it is almost impossible to experience intensity.  In practice, knowing the final action is used in building a mental image of successive states, in effect ceasing to be a spectator at all, but attempting to act out in detail the life of another in its totality—literally becoming the other except for bodily differences.  It is impossible to remove all differences, including those provided by different locations in time.  [The implication is that final states are used in a circular manner to reconstruct earlier ones].

We have revealed 'fundamental illusions of reflective consciousness'(190).  One includes trying to mathematically symbolize psychic states and their intensity.  The other works back from the act to retrace the path that led to it, as above.  We are left with a list of antecedents, but we still do not know their value [in prediction specifically].  Once more, a completed action produces the diagram of action with a fork, as above, and this is taken as action itself in progression.  The fundamental problem once more is that time is taken as space.  Conscious states are set out as points on a line to be traced by a moving body in space.  In prediction, we continue the curve into the future, but this already constrains future paths.  It is no solution to imagine oneself on a similar path.

It is true that science has succeeded in successful prediction as in planetary motions.  In effect, time has been compressed in these predictions.  But this is not the same as anticipating a voluntary act.  We can see that the equations in astronomy take some standard time as the fundamental unit, and this can actually vary: the point is that standard time does not represent actual duration but rather the relation between particular units of time, 'in short, for a certain number of simultaneities'(193), coincidences separated by intervals.  The intervals themselves do not have a role in the calculation.  But in consciousness with real duration they do, and any change in the normal units would soon be noticed [why should experience dominate though?] .  Astronomers reduce the intervals in their calculations, covering centuries of astronomical time in a few minutes.  Consciousness lives through the intervals, however, not the points at the end of them.  Of course, sometimes it can grasp movement in a single perception, as when a shooting star becomes a single line.  In effect, this is what astronomers do too, compressing time in order to predict, and then expanding it again to produce the event in the future.

Lived experience might be relevant to science, but it is not to [phenomenological] psychology.  Pure consciousness does not even measure time, but compares feelings over time elapsed.  Sometimes these feelings are named and treated as thing-like, denoted by a single word, but they're always processes.  They cannot be subdivided without changing their qualities, since they are compounds produced by experiencing a number of phases.  It is not possible to retrace the others back from a definitive action since the whole of the life story is involved.  We can as observers collapse the time intervals between successive states, but we will impoverish [NB] consciousness.  We still think of prediction in terms of the operations of science, reducing duration to numbers.  It is possible to recall the past in a shortened form without distorting the event in consciousness which interest to us, because we know it already, we have turned into a thing.  This is similar to astronomical predictions, but we must still see psychological antecedents in a dynamic way, exerting influence, and prediction involves tracing that influence forward, living it in duration: future duration cannot be shortened.  With psychic states, foreseeing and acting, even seeing, become the same.

It is still possible to work with a weak form of determinism that says that acts are determined by psychic antecedents, even if those psychic states cannot be adequately symbolized: they might still be subject to causal laws.  Indeed, if they are not, psychic life offers 'an incomprehensible exception' (199).  However, it is doubtful whether the same event recurs a second time [denying predictable causality in other words], especially if duration produces a radical heterogeneity of psychic states, quite unlike external objects: 'the same moment does not occur twice' (200) [shades of Heraclitus here?].  Of course, apparently unique events might be resolved into more general standard elements, but again this denies psychic events 'a life of their own'.  Every time a feeling is repeated this is a new feeling, so there is no real warrant for using the same name, which only rarely expresses similarities.  In psychic life, 'a deep seated inner cause produces its effect once for all [sic]'(201)—but that has already been discussed under the impossibility of prediction.

Opting for determinism reveals 'a misapprehension and [an] obstinate ...prejudice'(202) so the very concepts of cause has to be shown to be ambiguous.  En route, we will come across a more positive notion of freedom.  Physical phenomena obey laws, so sequences repeat themselves, and phenomena only emerge after particular conditions have been met.  This implies that experience is involved in noting regular succession.  In consciousness, however it is different, and experience does not show us regular succession.  If experience is appealed to in the first case, it must be in the second as well.  Empiricism does not just rely on subjectively perceived perceptions, however, but must assume that somehow effects are already contained within causes.  Mathematics suggests one case in which this happens, when we draw a circle complete with all its mathematical properties which can then be deduced into several subsequent equations or theorems.  This is a purely quantitative notion, that has difficulties in explaining successions of physical phenomena which change qualities: someone has to decide whether they are still equivalent, especially if our sense organs suggest differences.  A number of concrete qualities have to be ignored, and processes of abstraction pursued until they lead to the notion of homogeneous extensity beneath all particular characteristics.  We can then impose figures in this space which follow mathematical laws.  However, this notion of space is still 'a mental image' (205), although it is seen as 'a concrete and therefore irreducible quality of matter'.  This can be remedied by replacing mental images with abstract forms, algebraic relations still 'entangled'[fashionable term] with each other and becoming objective. 

Many scientists do not have to abstract this far, although Kelvin did [with his notion that space is filled with a fluid with vortices, with atoms as movements].  Even so, this fluid has to be seen as perfectly homogeneous, or in other words, without intervals between the parts, in other words, offering a state 'equivalent to absolute immobility' (206).  This provides us with the strange idea of movement which can only be a mental picture, 'a relation between relations'.  It can be acknowledged that motion has something to do with consciousness, while space has only simultaneities related together at any particular moment.  This conception represents the peak of assumptions already in physics with Descartes.  However, abstracting this far, so that even atoms have no 'sensible qualities', makes it difficult to explain 'the concrete existence of the phenomena of nature' (207). [I think Deleuze has the same problem with actualization]

Causality in this way approaches relations of identity.  This is also found in our consciousness as 'an absolute law', so that what is thought is thought at the moment we think of it.  It is a way of establishing the notion of the present, as an 'absolute necessity', and gives consciousness its confidence.  But causality is different in that it binds the future to the present and this can not have the same necessity, since we can never agree that what has been will continue to be.  Descartes had to invoke Providence here, Spinoza referred to divine unity at the absolute level where duration became eternity.  All these can be seen as efforts to 'do away with active duration'(209) and to see in causality 'a fundamental identity'.  For common sense, it is more a matter of assuming we can perceive mathematical mechanism behind the scenes.  We know that we ourselves change in duration, but it is really 'absurd' to imagine that external objects do as well.  We assume that these objects do not endure, but that there is still some mechanism to regulate this succession, since the external objects do not all appear at once.  We tend to regard duration as merely a subjective form of consciousness, and accept differences between physical and psychical series. Seeing mathematical mechanisms regulating external objects should lead us to a notion of free will, as we shall see.

We also model succession in the external world from successive states of consciousness, starting with ideas which eventually become realized in action, through some underlying form, usually thought of as 'the feeling of effort' (211).  Since the stages are not clear, it looks like the present prefigures the future: we know that some future action is potentially realizable and we move to realize it.  If we apply this to causality, however, necessary determination of effects no longer apply, but remain as pure possibilities.  However, the commonsense version of causality is good enough for ordinary purposes, based on a simple analogy between outer and inner worlds.  It is a matter of extending objectification, so that qualities become actual states, the material universe seems to be 'a vague personality', possibly even the conscious one (213) with its own kind of efforts.  This was developed in 'ancient hylozoism' with a notion of a deus ex machina and critiqued by Leibniz, who argued that succession should be understood as a series of perceptions of an unextended nomad.  Some preestablished harmony explains the link between inner and outer states as above, and this was necessary for Leibniz who had started with monads only in the first place, to overcome mechanism.

Overall, we get contradictory conceptions of the duration of external things, sometimes the same as psychic duration, sometimes limited only to conscious states and thus inapplicable to external things, regulated only by mathematical laws which unfold.  Both in fact imply human freedom.  In the first case, even the phenomena of nature are contingent, and in the second, we distinguish a free self from a determined nature.  Human freedom is a consequence of both.  However, it is common to confuse the two conceptions of causality, one which favors the imagination, and the other mathematical reasoning: we think of both succession and becoming, of perceived regularity becoming absolute regularity.  Neither is ever rejected decisively but used in the interests of science [ I think this was his beef with Einstein]

However, serious problems arise if we try and see conscious states as subject to causality.  We tend to confuse the concepts of force and necessity, although the former denies the latter.  We know about forces through consciousness, but it gets mixed with the scientific notion of force which operates with strict necessity to produce effects.  We are not looking at consciousness itself here, but with a 'a kind of refraction through the forms which it has lent to external perception' (217).  It makes common sense to amalgamate the two notions because we can then communicate with each other using the same words, and we can break duration down into objectified moments [the better to accomplish action]. Scientists themselves see no need to mix the two conceptions, and never actually define what a force is [whose effort it is].

Inner causality is dynamic, as we have argued.  We can now define freedom as 'the relation of the concrete self to the act which it performs'(219).  This relation is indefinable any further, incapable of further analysis, because we would then transform this relation into something concrete in homogeneous space again, and freedom would become necessity.  It is misleading to think of a free act as something that might have been left undone because of the problem with symbolized possibilities above, which imply determinism [or inability to act].  It is equally misleading to define freedom as something going against all known conditions, because we cannot conceive of these conditions except symbolically, using homogeneous time and space.  Nor is a free act something that is not necessarily determined by its cause, because these conceptions do not apply to inner processes, and antecedents cannot be repeated.  [All of these seem to me to be circular, starting with the notion that we must accept freedom of action and thus reject any approach that would permit determinism.  There are good reasons to reject determinism, as above, but this seems to imply that freedom is something residual?]

The whole debate turns on whether time can be adequately represented by space.  If we are thinking of accomplished time, it can be, but not if we are thinking of flowing time.  Freedom takes place in flowing time and is 'therefore a fact' (221) and is clearly observable.  We only get difficulties if we tried to equate duration with extensity, succession with simultaneity, and use words which are not actually translatable between external and inner worlds.


We must avoid Kantian distinctions between time and space consciousness and external perception.  Nor should we fall for empiricism that attempts to turn duration into space and internal states into external ones.  We must apply positivist principles to avoid all impressions and see 'sensations as signs of reality, not as reality itself'(223).  We need to reverse the issue.  It seems that psychic states have been understood through borrowed forms from the external world.  This is because normally we are interested in forms fitting material objects, so it is tempting to apply them back to knowledge of ourselves.  The forms with which we understand matter are compromised by matter: matter leaves its mark on them.  These must be cleared away.

When we see psychic states as isolated events, they seem to be more or less intense.  They seem to be unfolded in [spatialized] time, and they seem to be linked causally.  Instead, we have to see psychic phenomena as 'pure quality or qualitative multiplicity'(224), unlike external phenomena which are quantitative.  When we talk of intensity, we are confusing the two, taking quality as the sign of quantity: intensity is really a 'qualitative sign'.  There is a compromise between pure quality in consciousness and pure quantity in space [in common sense].  We're happy to leave aside consciousness when we study external things, say by ignoring the notion of what a force is and concentrating only on its measurable effects.  The hybrid state must also be rejected when we look at consciousness: external magnitude is never intensive, intensity is never quantitative.  If we do not distinguish these two, we are forced to rely on words like 'increase' which actually mean different things.  The confusion has led to the growth of psychophysics. 

The same goes when we consider multiplicities.  The very concept of numbers as multiples implies a homogeneous medium in space so that we can set distinct terms on a line and then add them together.  However, there's a second notion of multiplicity which involves dynamic adding of units which permeate each other—qualitative multiplicity.  It is not uncommon to confuse the two and think of qualities being added, and again science proceeds by avoiding hybridity, and so must studies of consciousness.  Failing to do so explains the errors of associationism, especially when assuming that we can just add distinct states of consciousness [for example in terms of their importance as in Mill].

After such clarity we can precede to understand duration and 'voluntary determination' (226).  Duration in our consciousness is  a qualitative multiplicity, unlike constitutive ones.  It offers organic evolution rather than simple additions, and heterogeneity rather than distinct qualities: there is thus no external relation between the moments.  Duration in externality is different, and occupies the present only, or simultaneity.  There may be change but not succession, or if there is, it is the consciousness that provides it.  Points in space do not retain anything that has preceded them.  Any notion of endurance is provided by us, although there may be something in external things which makes us see them that way, 'some inexpressible reason' (227).  However, this attribute is then projected so that it seems that things endure as we do ourselves [much of this is revised in the later works].  At the same time, externality is projected into consciousness, through 'endosmosis'.  A 'mixed idea' results.

However, science distinguishes extensity and duration, abandoning the latter.  It follows that we must do the reverse when we study inner phenomena in their original state, before they are developed and externalized.  Once we have done this, duration appears as a qualitative multiplicity, 'an absolute heterogeneity of elements which pass into one another' (229).  Without separating the two, we cannot grasp freedom: determinists deny it, while advocates define it in externalized terms, as in logical trees.  As we saw, we have to deny the universality of the law of conservation of energy, and refuse to identify time with space.  We can use our experience to deny determinism, but we must equally refuse to deny any external definition of freedom. Separating duration and extensity is a move that arouses 'repugnance'(230), partly because we cannot predict events with the authority of science, and we cannot measure the units.  We gain by externalizing our inner consciousness, because we can then achieve some fixity and stability, we can  'objectify them, to throw them out into the current of social life'(231).

We have to fully recognize that there are two different selves, one specialized and socially represented, and another which is a fully living thing, 'constantly becoming', not open to measurement.  Grasping this notion of the self is rare, however, since most of the time we live in externality, operating with 'our own ghost, a colorless shadow which pure duration projects into homogeneous space'.  We live for the external world, we speak rather than think, and allow ourselves to be acted upon rather than acting freely.

Kant was mistaken to think of time as a homogeneous medium in itself and not as a projection of consciousness.  The distinction he makes between space and time actually confuses the two.  He sees psychic states as juxtaposed in space, and applied the understanding of the recurrence of same states in externality to consciousness.  Thus there is a single notion of causality, and this naturally causes problems for freedom.  Nevertheless Kant believed in freedom, so it had to be raised to 'the sphere of noumena'(232] and this is the only location for genuine freedom, outside of space and duration.  But we can experience this free moment at times [by introspection].  For Kant, there are things in themselves which are arranged in a homogeneous time and space, complete with a phenomenal self.  Time and space are purely external and this permits empirical understandings.  However, we can never get to things in themselves, especially where we use practical reason. The scientific conception of time causes problems [as seen above, not everything can be rendered as mathematics.  Time itself depends on sequences of immobile points and so on].  Kant was aware that a source of freedom is in the impossibility of conscious states recurring again, but has to locate this outside of any kind of time, including duration. However, an  'attentive consciousness'(235) can grasp moments of duration and the underlying heterogeneity of psychic processes.  This will point to freedom.  It will also redirect our attention to phenomena [sounds a bit like Husserl's claim that a proper attention to phenomena will solve some of the crises of science], and rescue them from reduction to mathematical reason.

We do intuit a homogeneous space as well, as we argued, and this permits us to see things as objective and to develop a suitable language.  We can explain the temptation to introduce the same sort of objectivity into discussing inner states as well.  This is a form of symbolic representation, but it is one that tends to take over so that psychic states are solidified or crystallized, and apparently permanent associations are established.  This will lead to automatism rather than freedom, and opens the door to determinism again, with freedom remaining only in some 'supratemporal domain'(238).  If we intuit duration instead, we can see that we have made decisions at unique moments, that past states can never be adequately expressed in words since they have dynamic unity.  Our actions cannot be expressed by laws, and we can see there's no necessary determination or any possibility of accurate prediction.  We might also be able to trace the stages in which free will get externalized and represented symbolically. 

However we do not always will to be free, and it is not easy to reason about actions without externalizing them, so it is no mystery that freedom is misunderstood, in the equivalent of the paradoxes of motion of the Greeks.

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