Notes on: Bergson, H (2002) The Creative Mind.  An introduction to metaphysics.  New York: Citadel Press

Dave Harris.

Introduction one.  Retrograde movement of the true growth of truth.

Philosophies are not precisely fitted to reality.  They are normally too general and abstract, but we require 'one which fits the object only and to which alone the object lends itself' (11), as in science.  Spencer seemed to fit the bill at first.  The point is to see how philosophies treat real time.  In real time, there is a flow so that 'not one of its parts is still there when another part comes along'.  This makes measurement, which involves a superposition of one scheme on another, difficult: any superposition implies non duration [more on this below].  The usual way of measuring duration is to take a body in motion but impose on it an immobile line.  Measurements of time like this involve a series of moments, 'virtual halts in time'(12).  Moments can also be seen as simultaneities.  Between these moments, 'anything you like may happen' (13), and although mathematicians might ignore this, there could be major differences for consciousness, as we see when the same interval can take on quite different subjective implications. 

Science can ignore these effects of waiting, since it focuses on that which can be repeated and calculated, which is not 'in a state of flow'.  It conforms to common sense from which it springs.  Both think of the measurement of duration instead of duration itself.  The big question was whether this duration could be grasped after all in consciousness.

This led first to some investigations of psychology and critiques of the dominant conceptions there [in Matter and Memory], including associationism.  Rejection of the usual conceptions led to a notion of real duration, 'continuity which was neither unity nor multiplicity' (14) and which did not fit conventional categories.  Returning to Spencer, it was clear that his notion of evolution did not express duration, but rather a spatialized notion of time.  Science pursues this idea for good reasons, but metaphysics should've been different.  Language seemed to blame in that 'the terms which designate time are borrowed from the language of space'.  Again, common sense and language might require a particular form of time, one which masks duration.

Transition between the immobile points is the issue.  Both science and common sense attempt to deal with it by interposing more and more immobile points.   Action requires that we halt a mobile process, and then link it with a simultaneous halt of time.  Instead, we should try to get to movement directly, perhaps by studying the real movements which we produce ourselves [the old example of the movement of an arm which should be seen as a piece]: common sense would think that the movement has been made to fit exactly onto a particular space, traveling along points of a line, breaking duration up into moments again. These are only snapshots, however, practical substitutes for movement which conform to conventional language.  Similarly, we normally understand change as progression of different states, but this ignores the changes going on within each state, as a matter of constant flow rather than in an increasingly small number of states.  Change is real, and it is indivisible, but we normally try to grasp it 'as a series of adjacent states'(17).  This produces an artificial [quantitative, spatialized] multiplicity with an artificial unity.

Lots of early metaphysics produced and amplified these errors.  The difficulties of grasping movement and change was a challenge for the early classical philosophers, and they solved it by producing the notion of 'the reality of things above time, beyond what moves and what changes, and consequently outside what our senses and consciousness perceive'—the origins of metaphysics.  However, this could only be represented by 'a more or less artificial arrangement of concepts'.  It was this abstract system that was studied rather than full experience.  If we return to experience and its fluidity, we can dispose of many of the problems of classic philosophy.  We will replace metaphysics with experience, and see that duration is 'unceasing creation, the uninterrupted upsurge of novelty' (18).

The normal representation of movement and change is a cinematographic one, with a fixed sequence of images.  We could vary the speed at which we project the film, and the sequence would not change.  Therefore 'succession thus understood...  adds nothing' to our understanding, and prevents us grasping movement properly.  We see time confused with space again, with images occupying points on a line, making it impossible to grasp them 'in a single perception'.  We have added an obstacle to understanding duration.

The positive attributes of time have been classically neglected in this approach, and this has prevented philosophers from 'conceiving the radically new and unforeseeable'.  Instead, the future must be regulated by the present, either by a strict determinism, or by a notion of free will as simply a choice between two possible alternatives.  In either account, 'everything is given' (19) already.  It is impossible to think of an entirely new act, which is what a free act is.  It's difficult to realize this in normal consciousness, but if we think of a future act, we can realize that it can never be known fully in the present, 'because your state tomorrow would include all the life you will have lived up until that moment, with whatever that particular moment is to add to it'.  Psychological life cannot be shortened [transitions between points ignored], any more than can a melody without altering its nature.  If you could pin down all the events that will take place between now and the future, it would not be a future activity but a present one, and not an act of free will either.

We can see these alternatives at work in theories of evolution, one of which sees evolution as internal growth and unfurling, where parts juxtapose.  However, 'a real entirely modified within...  Its content and its duration are one and the same thing' (20).  There are material systems in science which are calculable and where possibilities are already known, but science is wrong to extend this understanding to everything. The development of human consciousness is crucial as an element in the material world [and then a rather strange argument that given that films can be projected at any speed, it is necessary to make their speed conform to a 'duration of our inner life', and this shows how the unrolling film is 'therefore in all probability attached to consciousness which has duration and which regulates its movement'.  This is where the example of waiting for a glass water to dissolve the sugar appears—the necessity for waiting means that systems which include human beings cannot be ignored unless we are to get a reduced universe.  In practice, the universe is 'inorganic but interwoven with organic beings' (21) and this means that 'we should see it ceaselessly taking on forms as new, as original, as unforeseeable as our states of consciousness'—I must say I don't find this terribly plausible. Useful against scientism, of course].

So really evolution involves not just a rearrangement of the pre existing, but something radically new, like the difference between creation and choice.  In duration, we see 'perpetual creation of possibility and not only of reality'.  We have to investigate what's meant by possibility here.  Things might be possible in principle, but a more positive use of the turn raises problems if it means that 'everything which occurs could have been foreseen'.  This ignores [emergence] the real development of something like a work of art, which may or may not be seen as possible in principle by the artist.  The existence of conscious and living beings in the universe also adds novelty and radical unforeseeability. [Made me think of Deleuze on the multiplicity again, and how its actualizations differenCiate themselves overtime {see Diff and Rep}  - -this would solve the problem of assuming that all possibilities are already contained in the multiplicity? This would restore becoming to more than an unfurling?]

We still tend to think of possibilities as involving something existing before realization, but this is an illusion, developed [post hoc].  We can see it after the event that something has ocurred, but because we think in terms of eternal truths, we think that it must have existed by right before the existing in fact: if our judgment is true now, it must always have been so.  This is the retroactive effect or retrograde movement (22).  In practice, that judgment could not have pre existed the emergence of the components.  In reality, the thing and the idea of the thing are both 'created at one stroke when a truly new form, invented by art or nature, is concerned'. [Getting close to Barad here on entanglement!]

Nevertheless, the retrospective character of judgement persists.  When something is accomplished, we can detect a 'shadow' extending into the past, and we call this a possible.  This is integral to the whole business of predicting the future in terms of a predictable evolution.  In practice, 'an entirely different reality (not just any reality, it is true)'(23) could have produced the circumstances and events in question.  Could we add these in as further possibilities?  The problem again is that we can only do this once something has actually materialized and revealed its aspects, and only when the attention selects and  cuts out its forms: in this sense, it is impossible to get at the totality of circumstances [THIS is the heart of the measurement problems in quantum physics?].  Aspects of the past can have no more reality than is apparent in the present [the analogy is with purely imagined symphonies].  Thus we can identify aspects of classicism as containing elements that were to lead to romanticism, but this is only because we have decided that these aspects feature a material reality, we have focused on 'a certain aspect'of classical work, a slice or cut [an example goes on to consider identifying early signs of democracy in classical civilizations].  In this way, analysis of the present can 'create its own prefiguration in the past'(24) [so really a denunciation of post hoc ergo propter hoc].  It is similarly difficult to identify something in the present which will be of interest in the future: what is interesting in the future will be affected by duration.  [Another example ensues, debating whether the original classifications of colors represent something that has always been there in nature, page 26].  Again, habitual logic is to blame and its inability to grasp something that has genuinely been created as new, as a result of the passage of time.

[This is why we tend to see multiplicity as a quantitative matter] 'multiplicity resolves itself into a definite number of unities...  [Instead of being able to grasp.]..  The idea of an indistinct and even undivided multiplicity, purely intensive or qualitative, which, while remaining what it is, will comprise an indefinitely increasing number of elements, as the new points of view for considering it appear in the world' [looks definitely phenomenological here].

Pursuing these questions into the area of liberty, it seemed that novelists and moralists have got further than philosophers, even if they have had not operated systematically [Proust gets a mention!].  However, the interest in liberty can be seen as emerging from the earlier publications, advocating 'direct, immediate observation of oneself by oneself' (27), taking care to control the affects of habits which confuse duration with extension.  Other pseudo problems were identified too, as in the discussion of moods and intensities [in the book on the origins of religion?], where just because language is fixed and discontinuous, so we imagine the states we attach them to as being the same.  We have to realize the origins of this state of common sense and its spatiality, and its need to communicate socially.

Associationism has to be overturned, but so does Kantianism, especially its notion that the thing itself cannot be understood: the argument was that at least our own person could be, even though it was a part of nature [actually 'reality'(28)].  We can grasp ourselves just as we are, so that it might be possible to do this for other realities too, so that apparent relativity is just another habit of intelligence adjusted to practical life [the inaccessibility of the material at the time?].  In practice, we can undo these conceptions of reality and go ahead, investigating inner life then life in general and noting how the artificial concepts had arisen.  The aim was to develop greater precision, especially not including things into too broad a  category, often induced by using pre existing words and 'readymade concepts'.  Instead we have to attempt a direct vision of reality complete with its own subdivisions, and then new concepts will arise that are adequate to the object: we must take care not to extend those concepts to other objects in the form of unwarranted generalization, but to study them in themselves.

Introduction two.  The stating of problems.

[A big issue for Deleuze, and good on the methods of intuition]

Thinking about duration led to the notion of intuition as a philosophical method.  Earlier versions of that term saw intuition as something beyond intelligence, something outside of space and time, but that is because they did not see that intellectual activity is necessarily tied to scientific notions of space and time.  We are already outside of time.  For earlier philosophers, intuition meant projecting ourselves into the eternal, but they still retained concepts from the intelligence: normally, a single concept was posited that included all the empirical ones—'Substance, Ego, Idea, Will'(31).  We could then explain everything as deductions from these general concepts to get back to the real, but this would be too abstract, and need not particular reflect this world at all.  By contrast, 'a truly intuitive metaphysics...would follow the undulations of the real', being adequate to each thing, without starting with some apparent systematic unity of the world.  Proceeding in this way might well produce a notion of the unity of reality at the end of its enquiries, but it would be 'rich, full' rather than abstract and empty.  In particular, 'no solution will be geometrically deduced from another.  No important truth will be achieved by the prolongation of an already acquired truth' (32). [transcendental empiricism?]

A proper intuition would grasp internal duration, succession, growth, 'the uninterrupted prolongation of the past into a present which is already blending
into the future'.  It depends on immediate consciousness, 'a vision which is scarcely distinguishable from the object seen, and knowledge which is contact and even coincidence'.  We extend this consciousness, and when we do, we will also encounter the unconscious, which constantly gives way and regains itself.  Is this to argue that, we can only have intuition of ourselves?  There is a problem with dealing with other bodies which are separated from us by space, but possibly there is 'psychological endosmosis' [and we know that he argued that telepathy and all those other powers might be real].  By pursuing intuition still further, we might see that life itself exists in duration, as a cause of the organization of matter, 'the vital impetus within us' (33).  Here there's something behind the systems of organized matter, 'the material universe in its entirety' which 'keeps our consciousness waiting'.  It may endure itself, or it might be connected to our duration 'by its function', but intuition is the only way to find out.  Such an intuition lay behind earlier attempts to acknowledge difference and flux.  In any event, 'real duration is a thing spiritual or impregnated with spirituality', and intuition helps us grasp this spirit or participation in spirituality.  We will not use the term divine because there is clearly a strong human element involved as well, necessary for intuitional effort.

There is no 'simple and geometrical definition of intuition' (34), since there are several autonomous meanings.  It grasps something 'which has not been cut out of the whole of reality' by conventional understandings in common sense or language.  Philosophers like Spinoza have explored some of its meanings.  This complexity of the whole guarantees that it cannot be delivered by some mathematical essence or formula.  The fundamental meaning relates to being in duration and not starting with the immobile: it starts with movement which it sees as reality itself.  Change is essential.  The static object is only 'a cutting which is been made out of the becoming', which our intelligence sees as a substitute for the whole.  Normally, the new is only 'an arrangement of pre existing elements'(35), but intuitions sees 'an uninterrupted continuity of unforeseeable novelty', impregnated with spirituality, creation itself.  Intuition is difficult to prolong, however, because it is forced to use ordinary language and to reduce itself to concepts, including duration or multiplicity. 

The ideas in intuition are customarily obscure.  But there are two kinds of clarity.  One relates to conventional ideas of order and the new, and amounts to 'finding only the old in the new', which it takes for understanding.  We are usually grateful for such clarity.  The other kind involves the radically new and 'absolutely simple idea' which just catches on.  It cannot be reconstructed.  It can only be understood with effort to recompose the new.  Although difficult to accept at first, it will eventually dissipate obscurities by rethinking the problems which have appeared insoluble.  It will benefit from solving these problems, by becoming at least partly intellectualized and therefore applicable to new problems.  However, we should not reject those ideas that begin in obscurity, lit only locally, before they are able to project and reflect on to more and more problems. 

This requires time, and it is tempting to precede with conventional ideas instead.  These ideas have cut out reality in order to operate on it effectively, and have tended to group together objects and facts in accordance with the interest in action.  If we can react identically to different perceptions, we can conclude that we see objects of the same kind, and if our actions are different, we can claim that we have found opposite kinds.  [So a further notion of useful action means being able to generate useful generalizations].  Anything which does not proceed in this way tends to be seen as obscure.  Positivists normally seem to offer better answers than speculative philosophers.

We need to focus metaphysics on spirit and intuition, and leave science to a separate area.  Both are of equal value, both will grasp reality [so we have both dualism and monism!].  Positive science has proceeded with systematic observation generalized by intelligence, drawing upon mathematics and extending itself to more and more domains.  It still tends to see the living objects in biology with less ease, and with a possibly reductionist stance.  It struggles to understand the mind, however: it can see it as a form of matter, but as it gets closer to mind, it is forced to use metaphor.  This shows the origins of science in human senses and in needing to take an instrumental approach towards matter [as before].  That still guides even the most speculative science [still?  Lyotard would say that performativity has now been abandoned in some areas at least].  This means we can be confident about science already. 

Philosophy is different and soon meets 'insoluble difficulties' (39) for conventional intelligence, such as contradictions.  There is much more of a symmetry and agreement between intellect and matter.  We see this best with the precision of mathematical forms of the sciences, which is also an area where the intellect can 'function with an absolute precision'.  Mathematics offers difficulties at first because it works with particular symbols, but once we have achieved a facility with them, the notion of evidence, for example, becomes immediately graspable.  In any other field, thought must mature, and this means that it also 'essentially fills up duration', proceeding beyond superficial impression, revealing inner structure.  This also conforms to the way in which our intellect works.  There is no reason why 'the science of matter should not reach an absolute' (40), and it is happy to take appearance for reality as long as it is not demonstrably illusory.  [Bergson has no time for those who insist that science is relative, or that in some way it deforms or constructs it object]. 

The flexibility of the intellect also fits our understandings of matter, and our minds do reveal certain 'superficial adaptations of matter', which take the form of sensations.  The mind must also 'descend...toward matter' when it acts on the body.  So certain aspects of our internal life can be revealed, but we should not extend these efforts into a physics of the mind—a metaphysics which offers a complete system of reality.  This must ignore the spiritual in the mind.  It must apply intellectual forms used in studying matter which can only study 'superficial phenomena of the soul'(41).  The resulting knowledge will be necessarily 'almost empty and in any case vague', superficial when it comes to mental life, and inferior to science when it comes to matter.

We need to set metaphysics side by side with science, leave science to its work, and focus on mind.  We may have to depart from natural forms of learning.  A 'certain ignorance of self' has actually been helpful in the past to permit action: it is even a 'necessity of life'.  Acting effectively requires intellectual understanding, with only a glancing reference to our inner selves.  'Thus nature turns mind away from mind, turns mind toward matter' (42).  We must extend our vision away from this spatialised form of intellect and from materiality, to achieve a  'direct vision of the mind by the mind' - intuition.

Intuition can only be communicated by the intelligence, however.  Its ideas will always 'retain an outer fringe of images': we normally use metaphors to increase our powers of expression.  This is still more profitable than an abstract scientific language, which would reduce mind to matter.  Imagery in language can already express meaning, while abstract knowledge can sometimes proceed only figuratively.

Science based on experience can eventually grasp  reality absolutely.  But this is only a part of reality.  Knowledge of 'the other half of reality'(43) also starts from experience and can also attain the absolute, and this is metaphysics properly speaking.  It is equal to, not superior to science.  Metaphysics can never produce relative sciences based on particular positions, because metaphysics is always 'hypothetical and vague'.  Metaphysics can be equally precise and addresses reality as well.  It is only a convention to call one approach science and the other metaphysics.  They should act with 'mutual aid and reciprocal verification'(44).  They have different objects, matter and mind: but just as matter and mind are joined, so will science and metaphysics be brought into contact.  They will influence each other.  Metaphysics as much a science will embrace reality, and not speculate about all possible worlds, for example.

Both will attempt to make more rigorous concepts and words.  Classical philosophy was limited by having to use ordinary language concepts like 'low 'and 'high'.  The turn toward observation of actual things still remained limited by having to connect them with these privileged concepts.  However, proper metaphysics must start to question language and its concepts, since inner experience is different.  It must still use ordinary language, but can enlarge concepts and make them more flexible.  It can also indicate that concepts do not contain the whole of experience.

This sort of metaphysics will not be able to produce 'simple conclusions or radical solutions'(45), because it is not just a game played with concepts.  Focusing on experience will mean it is necessarily incomplete and provisional, possibly achieving increasing probability.  As an example, traditional metaphysics addressed questions such as whether the soul survived the body and provided answers based on definitions [for Plato, that the soul is defined by being part of the body but is immaterial and therefore immortal].  Bergson prefers to work from experience and experiments that reveal that the brain produces only a small part of conscious life, so conscious life can persist even if the brain is suppressed.  At least this is testable, he thinks, but it is incomplete, and would need to be supplemented by some sort of reasons drawn from religion.  But at least we have moved from speculation and definition to probability.

We need to clear away a lot of arguments to get to experience.  We all possess the faculty of intuition, although it is often minimized in favor of action.  Classical philosophers worked only with these minimal products, 'on concepts already fixed in language' which seemed absolute.  More modern philosophy tends to see metaphysics as a kind of mathematics, content to operate with 'geometrical unity and simplicity'(47), which set soluble problems.  There is a dogmatism implied in both approaches.  Classical metaphysicians saw the origin of absolute concepts in divinity and justified their judgements in terms of revelation [as a consequence of needing to develop a universal concept].  Aristotle in particular wanted to fuse all the concepts into a single one,  '"thought of thought"', [and thus began the connection of metaphysics and science].  However, a god which wanted to intervene in human suffering, but whose workings remain obscure leads to the confusion between 'an explanatory idea and an active principle'.  There's also an unexplained dualism between concrete concepts found in language, which are openly utilitarian and convenient, and abstract principles to describe the otherworldly.  This necessarily limits meanings as soon as the absolute concept gets applied [discussing Schopenhauer]—if Will is everywhere, it must be vague because there is nothing to define it against, and it is both everywhere and nowhere: everything is identically the product of Will.  We do not understand the absolute simply by giving it a name, especially one which is separated from its own definite meaning.  The more we extend a concept, the less it explains, and 'when finally the word arrives at the point where it designate everything that exists, it means no more than existence'(49).  However, associating general concepts with the god of religion is also  'the source of the dogmatism of modern philosophy'. 

Experience is the only thing that can contact existence.  When it relates to the mind it can be called intuition.  It can proceed gradually.  Some of the great mystics have extended metaphysical experience to such an extent that they have grasped the truth, but this is not necessary to demonstrate the value of intuition.  It helps us dispel speculation for example, and to sort out the correct application of concepts, many of which arise from ordinary language which is not suitable.  The real is articulated into that which is cut out by action and that which is cut out by intuition.  Philosophy is wrong to favor the first cut.  It implies that there is nothing more to be discovered and that philosophy is only a game.

The role of philosophy is to find the problem in the first place, to posit it correctly.  Doing so will already solve many speculative problems.  For many of those, it is a matter of uncovering the hidden solution.  When we state the problem properly we invent one.  We very often state the solution as well.  In a mundane example, we might consider an old philosophical issue about pleasure, and whether it is happiness or not.  Usually, the discussion simply assumes the ordinary meaning of these terms, and it becomes a question of vocabulary or use.  Clarifying definitions like this can be helpful, but they have not grasped reality.  Ordinary terms are probably artificial.  If we examined actual states they may have something in common or not, and some might've been classified as pleasure because they had a practical interest.  Proceeding to analysis like this shows where the solution lies, and a new problems are set out, including where general ideas come from.  No doubt this will also involve discussion of whether human activity can be seen as a natural category or not. [sociology of knowledge?]   However, 'this disarticulation of the real according to its own tendencies'(52) is the real issue.  [I think]. The question of the origin and value of ideas haunts any philosophical problem [see Bourdieu on Kant!].  A particular solution is required in each case.  Sometimes there are general discussions, but again we can be skeptical about whether these 'do really constitute a genus'.  Again the issue is to know what the reasons are for grouping particular items, and how this corresponds to a 'structure of the real'. 

[we are nearly doing sociology here, but at the last minute we veer off into psychology].  It is biological need that governs the working of consciousness that, among other things, perceives generalities.  They started as something necessary to life.  Psychological categories are not eternal.  One way to see this is to look at living beings other than humans.  All living beings generalize and classify, if only in the sense that they know what counts as food.  They experience abstraction and generalization rather than thinking them, but lead to develop representations of a kind.  Human beings also have these animal forms that help them droll resemblance is between differing objects, classifications, general ideas.  These are 'automatically extracted'(54) as well.  These automatic generalities are still found in the more conscious and reflective kinds, which feature not only abstractions but a range of 'tendencies, habits, gestures and attitudes...  complexes of movements'(55).  Human interest was first based in the need to survive.  The ideas generated like this will appear in general abstract ideas as well.  Words have a role here to 'furnish a representation with a frame in which it can fit'.  In many ways, we need to remember that 'generalization [is] originally little else than habit'. 

We still have to see how the general ideas of pure thought emerge.  Experience presents us with resemblance is and some are fundamental.  These will produce general ideas which can be detached relatively from individual action to become 'a more or less approximate vision of some aspects of reality' (56).  These will be few.  They will also generate simplifications and deformations, but there will be a fundamental resemblance or objective generality as their origin.

Resemblances are of three kinds:
(1) biological, showing how life would work according to its structural plans, as if it had some purpose;
(2) inert matter also has some qualities which will produce general resemblances.  Some of them can be understood as identity [the example is the wavelength of particular colors or sounds].  Resemblance is more partial.  We can add that's identity is 'something geometrical and resemblance something vital' (58), to do with measure or art or some aesthetic grasp of similarity respectively.  We can think of identities as necessarily produced.  As signs progress is, it will be able to measure, quantify, existing distinctions of quality, and thus expand the category of identity.  We might still wish to inquire why human perception tends to notice particular things like frequencies, and the uncertainty is that it relates to their powers to act, including virtual action: this is how humans 'condense' the trillions of events taking place into useful information [discussed in terms of differences of tension again, as in Matter and Memory].  This is what prevents humans from being completely determined.  If the emergence of human life 'is the raison d'être of life on our planet' (59), all categories of perception, in humans and non humans can be graded in terms of how far they exhibit this condensation.  [The example also illustrates that some condensation is essential for human life to prevent them being overwhelmed by the immensity of the universe.  It follows that all life results from being able to condense to some extent in order to permit action]
(3) general ideas created by human speculation and action, inventions, based on human intelligence.  There's always a model, however, based in reality, and these gain an objectivity that has provided the basis for all human civilizations.  Intelligence can then elaborate away from ideas that have the most immediate utility, but 'the immense majority of general ideas, it is the interest of society with that of individuals, it is the exigencies of conversation and action, which preside at their birth' (61) [a kind of Primitive Classifications?]

Intuition requires that we go beyond such conceptual thought, going behind the social forces involved, 'in the direction of the divine'.  Most thought just accepts social dimensions, but we need to go back to the 'vital impetus' that generated social life [somehow sidestep those social forces that have determined thought up to date?].  If we do so, we can sidestep some apparently insoluble problems, such as the origin of being, why anything exists in the first place, what caused existence, and so on.  These problems lead to the abyss.  The same goes with why we have order.  The questions are really addressed to 'what is not rather than to what is' (62), and seems to be based on the idea of an initial void [which is illogical, as before].  A different point of view would see that the 'divinely creative will or thought' would be full of reality, unable to think of a void or nothingness, any more than it could doubt its own existence.  Given this ever present force, the issue of certainty also disappears as a false problem [rendered in philosophy as being sure that an intended action has actually been made, 63—doubt seems to be something negative that is unnecessarily added again.  Once we overcome such doubt we realize that it is an illusion, which can be banished by an act of will].  Intuition will help us perceive the true, and the intellect can then precede to verify 'what has been the object of a synthetic and super intellectual vision'(64).  There's no need to warn of difficulties which will only reduce the will.  That purely negative consequences might arise assumes that nothing can take the place of something [in reality it will always be another something].  Negative possibilities are really to be understood as an indication of something that lies outside our interest, all that might inhibit our activity: 'it is our disappointment being expressed'.  The negative and nothingness arise because we can 'pronounce words void of meaning'.  Philosophy sometimes erects these words into abstract ideas, although they are practical in origin. 

We have to discard ideas that retard progress, including Kantian philosophy, which only tried to 'explain how a particular order is super added to supposedly incoherent materials'(65), but had the consequence of leaving only science as legitimate, with no independent access to reality.  But disorder does not precede order: Kant has systematized this natural illusion.  All the great philosophical systems should be discarded, especially if they include all that's possible or impossible: 'Let us be content with the real, mind and matter' (66), and to try and develop a theory that embraces it closely and adequately.  This will help us perfect philosophy just as science has been perfected.

This is not an attack on science.  Nor is it an unwarranted intrusion of pure philosophy into science—the point was to fully acknowledge the success of science and enable its progress further, in a complementary relationship.  Science can actually attain an absolute, which is more than even positivists claim.  It should not bother itself with metaphysics as in scientism, which is only served to reject intuition.  This set of beliefs even distorted obvious observations [and Bergson cites his own interventions in scientific discussions of aphasia, in Matter and Memory].  That discussion already accepted a lot of scientific practice.

Abstract speculation is easy, and 'metaphysical construction is only a game' (67).  Intuition is more difficult and can be painful, and gives limited results at first, but if we accept that this is a method to be developed, we should overcome obstacles and avoid 'subterfuge' [the example is the dialectic, which provides only 'the illusion of progress', 68].  There are no guaranteed results.  It might be necessary to fall back on accepted habits or theories, but we should commit to a long-term attempt to criticize these, and 'become a student once more'.  Some acceptance of the ideas has taken place, but any change away from habit is going to be difficult, especially the habit that sees immobility as natural with change as something added.  This is reflected in everyday logic and judgement, which 'operates by the attribution of a predicate to a subject', so the subject becomes 'invariable' with change as simply a diversity of states concerning it.  This is only natural because human beings are 'predestined to social life and work', which require a stable subject and world.  Social traditions develop which assume particular forms of knowledge and interests.  Even our perception works to cut out elements that can be treated as invariable ; any variability is explained in terms of a succession of immobile states.

The need for action fits exactly the characteristics of language and thought.  We can see this if we examine our own duration, which gets condensed as a synthesis of many contemporary oscillations, repeating events, the passage of history.  This is how we perceive objects that seem invariable and immobile, at least while we consider them, and persons in a similar way.  This is a highly successful way of operating, even though it produces certain philosophical problems in a backward state.  This led to the conclusion that our knowledge was limited and relative, and that in turn explains both positivism and Kantianism.  Actually, antinomies arose from 'an automatic transfer to speculation of habits contracted in action' (71), and some effort to undo intellectual habits like this is required: 'for the human mind that would be a liberation'.

A suitable example has to be chosen.  For human duration, the analogy of the melody is useful, 'with a past enters into the present and forms with it an undivided whole', no matter what additions are made, we can grasp this intuitively, but it is difficult to represent it intellectually except as a series of states linked together by something.  Only intuition 'gives us the thing' which has been represented like this.  When thinking of the duration of things and matter, recent advances in physics have questioned the issue of solidity and thingness of the atom.  Evolution similarly could not be seen as some quality deducible from its fragments [as in Creative Evolution].  The wave/particle debates have changed perceptions.  Further examples include the work on the relation between the psychic and the physiological, which emerged from studies of the data of consciousness, and the tension between free will and universal determinism.  Freedom was 'an undoubted fact', just assumed in Matter and Memory [in the interval between action and reaction and so on], but it had to be reshaped so that 'certain facts upon which direct observation could be based'(73) might be brought to bear.  That led to the issue of the relation of mind and body, and in particular the relation between brain and memory, in turn reduced to the issue of maladies of memory including aphasia.

The argument showed to his satisfaction that there was a particular relation [discovered not constructed a priori] between consciousness and the organism, which is neither parallelism nor epiphenomenalism.  The brain chose among memories those which would help understand action in progress.  The role of the brain was to help focus on action, to avoid 'becoming lost in dream', to pay attention.  It was inward experience that endured and constantly prolonged itself into the present, while preserving the past that replaced the idea of a physical preservation of memory.  The notion of duration would have saved a lot of research.  The argument did have some impact on psychology, including the work on schizophrenia, and the role of the past in Freud (75).

The converging issues arising from these examples are more metaphysical, addressing the issues of mind and matter and replacing the conflict between realism and idealism, subject and object.  The problem was restated.  Analysis of psychic phenomena had shown successive planes of consciousness, from the dream plane, the most extensive at the base of the pyramid, the whole past of the person, to the perception of the actual at the tip.  Adding physiological data challenged the view that the sensations were recorded and then projected outwards [that notion followed from cutting up reality in the conventional way].  That old idea assumes that reality was somehow represented in miniature in the brain, rendered fluid somehow are to be extended into consciousness, with an eventual reconstruction of the external world.  All these are illusory, and common sense conceptions triumph here -- objects do not only exist in the mind --  but they are also not exhausted by, and contain more qualities than particular perceptions.  This seems strange especially for idealists, and for those whose realism is an opposition to idealism.  Such an opposition built up habits of mind which seem to conclude that we could divide the objective and subjective in an agreed way.  The attempt to undo these habits [in M and M] appeared obscure, although the conventional terms are now less common.

Similarly, conventional intelligence is not being attacked, except when it attains the form of 'a dry rationalism made up for the most part of negations' (77-8).  Intelligence plays the same role as instinct in animals.  We use it to master and utilize the material.  It undertakes fabrications which will lead eventually to mechanics and to a particular pre scientific language.  That simple mechanics will eventually yield mathematics.  Intelligence might be vague, but it is always a matter of attention to the material.  Problems arise with the idea that intelligence can be applied to the mind itself: the usual solution is to split the intellect into two activities [the I and the me?].  Better to call the second activity intuition.  That can also be developed until eventually it produces 'a science of the mind': this will be metaphysical and stress the positive aspects of the mind.  Nothing will be taken from the intellect: in its right areas, it is powerful, but there is another faculty.  Scholastic fields can develop between the two 'the sciences of moral life, social life and even organic life' showing different combinations of intuition and intellect.

Critical approaches are less valuable.  They ignore the social roots of the use of words[ a sociology of knowledge would lead to explaining rather than criticising?] .  We have to replace instinct with constant invention, and even though language is conventional at one level, it is not just a cultural practice with no roots in nature.  Originally, language was developed to facilitate cooperation, sometimes to require immediate action, sometimes to inform industrial, commercial or military activities.  The terms used in language have been cut out from reality by human perception and intention.  The way in which we apply the same words to different objects also implies an advantage to be gained.  Neither words nor ideas of these days are entirely utilitarian, and we have developed a particular interest in language with esprit de finesse [apparently, says Wikipedia, the term used by Pascal to describe a non-geometrical intuitionist way of knowing].  It is this result of the penetration of intuition that has led to poetry, prose and the arts, moving from words which were originally only signals [so a theory of signs in here too?].  Early philosophy simply drew terms from language adapted to the dialectic [in the original sense, apparently both dialogue and distribution, 81], so people could both agree on things and classify them.

Science as it developed promised a complete understanding of the material, but had to go beyond ordinary language, to replace vagueness with exactness [ordinary language is necessarily vague because it needs to be adapted to a wide range of material things].  Similarly, the hope is that a philosophy will develop which will also 'shake itself free from the word', but in the opposite direction, emphasizing the intuitive.  Ordinary language will remain between intuition and intelligence, even though it is contaminated to some extent with both science and philosophy, 'thought in common, which was at first the whole of human thought'.  [So we have a theory of ideology here].  Language cannot become too precise or too intuitive because it needs stability, unlike philosophy.  It is normal to think of this conservative language as reason itself, because it 'governs thought in common' (82).  Technically, we should see this as applying only to 'things of the social life'.  Social life also needs fixity and immobility [permitting change as the rearrangement of elements]: 'Societies are just so many islands consolidated here and there in the ocean of becoming'.

The normal term 'intelligent' means that a person has the facility to work with the 'ordinary concepts' of everyday life.  Authoritative statements in science, however, require more precision.  However, such people are not told to confine themselves to everyday life, and 'it is agreed that the intelligent man is on this [general] point a competent man.  Against this I protest most vigorously'(83) and it is not enough to show ' talking about all things with a show of truth'.  However, the normal notion of intelligence refers to someone 'clever in speaking, prompt to criticize'.  More effort is needed to penetrate both the social and the natural domain, and when we do, we are soon surprised [sic] and realize the inadequacy of our a priori constructions.  Nevertheless, people are praised if they criticize these efforts, comparing specific arguments with current ideas, which are only 'the words which are the repository of social thought'.  The assumption is that vague knowledge will do, so that '"We know everything,"'.  This rebuke is directed particularly against philosophy, which can appear to be unreasonable: 'He who really seeks the truth should raise his voice in protest', and show how this sort of criticism involves denying the truth: the only proper criticism involves new studies 'of the thing itself'. 

Even philosophers occasionally have to judge or appreciate cases where ordinary reason is at stake.  It is tempting to adopt the 'common illusion', or to resort to arguments from authority.  Knowledge is apparently gained as a result of manipulating acceptable social concepts, and mental superiority is claimed to be demonstrated.  Any sort of 'vision which penetrates the veil of words' (84) is denied.  However these efforts should be as estimable as those of science and technology.

'Old time methods of teaching' tended to perfect the human being able to operate with ordinary language.  It is not that initiative of students is discouraged, especially in France, more that manual labour has an important role which tends to be ignored: it is natural that we should manipulate matter; our intellect will profit from it.  The child should try to construct things.  A 'bookish' learning alone which suppresses activities hold back inventiveness (85).  It is not a matter of drilling people, but developing rather a suitable sense of touch with the material, informing the manual with intelligence.  Generally though, teaching is 'too verbal', good only at producing 'a man of the world [who knows] how to converse on various subjects'.  Better to teach students about scientific methods and allow them to practice them.  This would tap into the inherent search for novelty, closeness to nature of the child.  The adult wants to reveal the already required results, and lack of student interest is often the result.  Education should 'cultivate a child's knowledge in the child' (86) instead.  The teaching of literature also needs reform.  It might be necessary initially to appropriate authors, as in 'learning to read the text aloud with the proper intonation and inflection', later adding shades of meaning.  What is more important is to understand the 'structure and rhythm' of the work, the relations in time between different sentences and different paragraphs, treating books as music [as before].  Overall, we have to encourage people to reinvent as the only useful form of understanding.

This is parallel to the philosopher trying to develop intuition.  It attempts to recapture aspects of particular 'pages...  from the great book of the world' (87), in order to 'live again creative evolution by being one with it in sympathy'.  We should abandon other habits of mind, often found in schools, despite their principles.  We should not substitute concepts of things, nor deal only with 'the socialization of the truth': it's is no longer required in non-primitive societies.  'It has no business in the domain of pure knowledge, science or philosophy'.

We should not go for the easy option but court difficulty and effort.  Thus intuition is not just instinct or feeling, but reflection.  Seeing human attention as contracted in terms of tension does not mean that we can simply relax our minds.  Nor is change always the same as instability, and studying it is not the same is recommending it: indeed seeing mobility everywhere is a way of not having to recommend it, because it is inevitable.  The point is that we find both stability and change, and permanence is important and necessary. Social institutions stabilize things, but the trick is not to ignore 'the constant flow of things' (89).  Only the steady evolution of institutions might be the main role of the politician: after all, consciousness already stabilizes things [contracts oscillations and so on].

We are required to make 'for each new problem a completely new effort' (89) [he then describes the links between his own books, so that doing Matter and Memory first permitted a better notion of evolution in Creative Evolution, and a better understanding of consciousness in Time and Free Will.  Only then could he come to better conclusions about duration].  First we should overthrow verbal solutions which still dominate even in areas of experiment.  We should resist the understandable tendency to extend our ordinary understandings to other areas: that way lies philosophy only as dialectic, metaphysics as an elaboration of 'rudimentary knowledge'(90) found in language, especially when it generalizes to claim to find general principles applicable to everything.  However, more work remains to address specific questions [if he has the time and strength—otherwise he thinks he has done enough: 'One is never compelled to write a book'].

Chapter three. The possible and the real

[Quite a good summary of the arguments about duration, with some implications for the notion of the possible.  Possibly a bit obscure compared to earlier arguments about being and nothingness in Matter and Memory]

The universe seems to display 'the continuous creation of unforeseeable novelty' (91).  We can experience this in everyday life where our expectations or prior deliberations of events are never completely fulfilled.  However, although inert matter seems predictable ,it also shows this quality, partly because indeterminacy is appearing in science.  Anyway, the inert world is an abstraction since concrete reality always has living beings 'enframed in inorganic matter' (92).  All living things are 'conscious by right', although this consciousness has 'fallen asleep' in some regions, like the vegetable kingdom.  Even there, there is still evolution progress and aging.  We tend to wrongly prioritize the inert.  Better to think of some continuity of existence, 'a series of infinitely rapid repetitions or quasi repetitions which, when totaled, constitute visible and pre visible changes'.  Repetition in the inorganic world follows a certain rhythm, just like the rhythm of the pendulum marks the unwinding of the spring, and these measure the duration of conscious beings.

Living beings have duration, the continuous elaboration of what is new, itself the result of 'searching' and 'groping'(93).  Time is hesitation.  You can operate with an abstract version of the world as a series of successive states like images on a cinematographic film, but the question still remains—why do these images unroll, what does time do, 'why does reality unfurl?'.  Common sense tells us that time prevents everything from being given at once, and 'must, therefore, be elaboration'.  It follows that there will be creation, choice and indetermination revealed by time.  It is hard to see this because human intelligence operates the other way around. 

Our intelligence provides us with a view of ourselves as active, things that create or will.  We work continually with material furnished to us by the past and present to create unique and original figures.  We donot need to analyze this very far, although sculptors [say] have to develop techniques and they are aware that the material has its own demands.  Creative ability is little analyzed, however 'for nature desired action'(94), and it is difficult to push thought 'back up the slope of nature'.  Usually, we are far more interested in technique, itself based on recipes and rules, something stable and regular.  Perception acts to contract large numbers of vibrations into sensations.  General ideas follow as obstractions from varied and changing things.  Understanding extends to finding connections and stable relations.  All the functions are found in the intellect.  The intellect can approach the absolute, but there is another aspect of consciousness and the intellect makes mistakes when it is applied to it.

This has resulted in badly stated problems that have haunted metaphysics.  They arise from understanding creation as human fabrication.  In reality, we find 'global and undivided growth, progressive invention, duration...  unexpected forms'(95--6), but these are grasped as a rearrangement of parts which are already known, stable elements which can be combined differently.  Similarly, extension is misunderstood as concrete space, which is taken as some receptacle, filled up somehow by events. 

The implied view that there is a movement from emptiness to fullness has produced other pseudo problems.  [I think the earlier discussions are clearer here—in Matter and Memory?] The first one focuses on why there is being rather than nothingness, however being is conceived.  This problem is insoluble, 'but it should never have been raised' (97).  The problem is positing some nothingness, which is a mere word without substantial meaning except in terms of human fabrication and action.  Here it means the absence of what we're seeking or desiring.  'In reality there is no vacuum'—it is a matter of alternatives, where 'one thing disappears only because another replaces it'.  When we posit nothingness, we are turning our attention to an object which is now absent, away from the one that replaces it.  What exists does not interest us as much.  However, if we think of creation in general, suggesting nothingness leads to 'an absurdity' (98): if everything were to be suppressed, our understanding could not not grasp the nothingness that remains [we would have to think of it is not-matter, not-energy etc].  We can still talk about nothingness just as we can talk of a round square.  In practice,  we can systematically subtract all the parts of the whole we can think of, but by implication, we leave those parts that have replaced them: the notion of absolute emptiness really means universal fullness [ a list of not-s, as above] .  The idea of nothing implies the idea of the All, supplemented by a mental activity to systematically subtract parts.  The same points might be made of the concept of disorder, connected to the problem of knowledge.  Again disorder has a concrete meaning when we think in terms of human fabrication, but when we think about creation it simply means the order that we're not looking for or expecting [ we see disorder if there is no Parliamentary democracy etc] : as one order is suppressed by thought, another must spring into existence, one that we were not looking for.  Thus notions of will are coupled with those of mechanism or of finalism, each appearing as disorder from the point of view of the others.  Again there are two elements, the order outside and the representation connected to human interest, and these two cannot be divorced to arrive at some absolute disorder without contradiction.  Working with some original conception of absence of order and then adding order to it is absurd in these circumstances [we can never grasp complete disorder]

Both false problems assume that the empty is somehow less than the full, whereas it's is the other way around, since disorder requires more intellectual content, several orders or several existences, and a mental activity to operate with them.  The same sort of error applies when we consider possibilities: the possible is seen as something less than [but somehow as producing] the real, so a possibility precedes actual existence.  Again the reality is [the other way around] that we are working with something real and adding some act of mind which 'throws its image back into the past, once it has been enacted' (100).  [As an example he was once asked to predict the future of drama, and noted that this assumed there was some possible future detectable from the present.  At most, future events can only be seen as something that 'will have been possible'.  We only know things are possible if they actually become real, if some dramatist produces a work in this case, that it will have been possible today even if it does not exist until the future].  {Deleuze discusses these issues in the book on Leibniz, I think]. As reality is created as something genuinely new, 'its image is reflected behind it into the indefinite past', and only then do we realize that it must have been possible, at that moment in the past.  Possibilities do not precede reality until the reality actually appears: the possible is only 'the mirage of the present in the past'.  We misunderstand because we think that the future will finally constitute a present, and the present will become the past, so there is something we can grasp in the present to predict the future.  But that is illusion.  To say something is possible [ in any more than an entirely theoretical sense] implies that there must be some corresponding reality: once that reality emerges, we add an interpretation to it, tracing it back to the past.  It is not that the existence is to be acquired—that would be like arguing that the mirror image [is virtual is what he says -- gets materialized into a real person], whereas the mirror image requires both the reality and the mirror.

[I think there might be some critical implications for Deleuze on immanence here -- that does seem like abstract possibility?]

However, possibility sometimes means something more general, that there is no obvious obstacle to its realization, something that is not impossible, that has no barriers to its realization.  But this is not to say that a possibility is virtual, pre existent, since defining impossibility does not provide an indication of what will positively happen.  Specifying a state of no obstacles is not the same as saying that there is some '"pre existence under the form of an idea"' (102).  Sticking to the notion of no prior obstacles is only a truism, but the second more positive notion is an absurdity [and something reductive, implying that some simple idea has produced a complex reality, with all its implications fully thought out—but then it would be reality!].

We have discussed human activity, but the work of nature shows even more clearly that the future can never be outlined fully in advance.  Some systems, once abstracted, do allow for a predictable and calculable future, but the whole does not.  It is an error to try to explain events in terms of 'an arbitrary choice of antecedent events'[I think the argument here is that fully specific events cannot be explained like this, since we only know of the antecedent events in general, enough to predict a range of events but not specific ones].  We are always selecting or remodeling the past when we make these connections, including remodeling 'the cause by the effect'. 

With a different [positive and real] sense of the possible, evolution becomes much more than just the realization of a program, and 'freedom is offered an unlimited field'.  There is indetermination, which is more than just a choice of pre existing possibles.  'possibility [is] created by freedom itself' (104).  [Here, the existence of the genuinely new, or freedom, is assumed, and it is this that is taken as an argument for indetermination.  If the genuinely new is allowed] 'it is the real which makes itself possible and not the possible which becomes real'. [new possibilities from emergence, from differnetiaCation?]

This has always been resisted by conventional philosophy.  Platonists, for example proceed with a notion of complete and perfect being, with the real world as a degradation of it, showing itself as a mere shadow of some eternal Idea.  'Time...  spoiled everything' (105).  Modern thought restricts time 'to a simple appearance...the confused form of the rational', whereby the real is subject to eternal laws.  The 'facts' argued differently—'that there is effectively a flow of unforeseeable novelty'.

If we think this way, we will gain a 'greater joy and strength'.  We will perceive reality in a way which is open only to privileged artists at the moment, that beyond fixity and monotony, there is novelty, 'the moving originality of things'.  We shall feel we are participating in creation, and the faculty for acting will become 'intensified'. We shall no longer be slaves to apparent natural necessities.  In this way, proper philosophy addressing the possible and the real is not just a game but 'a preparation for the art of living'(106).

Chapter four.  Philosophical intuition

[A basic and simple intuition lies at the heart of organized philosophy, but it has to enter into some sort of dialectic with formal concepts.  We need to try to focus on this intuition.  The example is the philosophy of Bishop Berkeley, which I do not know, so I have had to skim.  Some good advice here about how to read philosophy]

Philosophy should not just be a [scholastic] matter of trying to synthesize existing doctrines—it also has an 'essentially spontaneous aspect' (107) which we should focus upon.  When we study philosophy it looks as if there are complete systems that can deal with all problems, and this gives some pleasure in managing complexity.  We can further analyze a particular philosophy in terms of the questions that were common at the time and how solutions emerged from a number of sources, producing 'a more or less original synthesis of the ideas among which the philosopher lived'. 

This might be a useful preliminary, but we risk missing the original insight, which can often be reduced to a simple point.  Expressing this point is not easy, and philosophers often have to arrive at formulations, then correct them, then correct those corrections, then add further complications and so on.  There is always an 'incommensurability'(109) between intuition and the ways in which it has to be expressed.

We cannot access this intuition directly, but what we can do is to construct 'a certain intermediary image' between the intuition and the formal abstractions in which it is expressed.  When we do this, we first see that a considerable negation is involved, where some courses are forbidden, certain currently accepted ideas are rejected.  Affirmation comes later, and itself depends only on immanent negation.  This sometimes surfaces to question consequences drawn by philosophers themselves using formal logic: the experience can deliver a feeling that philosophers are somehow exterior to themselves.  A return to the interior, to intuition, produces 'zigzaggings' of the doctrine.

We need to get back to the original image of the intuition.  Of course, problems and solutions themselves have an historical context, but the systems that they form are only means of expressing insights.  Working with those solutions to see how they fit together can be satisfying, but it is only 'a pretty piece of mosaic' (111).  We soon encounter inconsistencies or repetitions.  Another temptation is to see a new philosophical expression as evolving from the past.  This is helpful in that 'the philosophy resembles an organism rather than an assemblage', but we are still assuming some continuity in the history of thought and focusing on external form.

'A philosopher worthy of the name has never said more than a single thing: and even then it is something he has tried to say, rather than actually said' (112).  He has had a single vision which produced an impulse and movement.  The movement could equally have taken other forms, but usually it follows readymade ideas.

[Then we get onto actual examples] Spinoza seems to have built an overwhelming system of theorems, corollaries and scholia, with crushing effect on the reader, but there is also something else, an intuition, turning upon a felt 'coincidence between the act by which our mind knows truth perfectly, and the operation by which God engenders it', a single movement between thinking away from divinity and then returning to it.  The actual expression of this insight is burdened with Cartesian and Aristotelian concepts however.  [Berkeley is discussed in much more detail.  First there are four fundamental theses, 114, and then the argument is that these interpenetrate in such a way as to move away from commonsense notions, such as ordinary idealism.  If we take the theses separately, the whole approach seems impossible and difficult, 115 . Idealism is particularly well dealt with 116, and what it really means is that 'matter is co extensive with our representation of it'.  Descartes is rebuked for moving away from the perfectly unexceptionable linguistically valid statement that 'I have a perception' to the much more controversial 'this perception exists', 117.  Similarly, general ideas should not be taken as realities, but as groups or perceptions 'artificially constructed by us', so that any real movement must be divine]. 

So we have clarified how the system works despite apparent contradiction, but we still need to get to the mediating image in Berkeley's approach—'an image which is almost matter in that it still allows itself to be seen, and almost mind in that it no longer allows itself to be touched—a phantom'(118).  The image will show us which point of view to take.  It is possible that the mediating image of the interpreter is not the same as that of the actual writer, but this can still be of value.  Possibly, the writer himself only saw one possible image, or did not see it clearly.  Bergson sees two images in Berkeley, only one of which might be found in Berkeley himself.  This is the notion that matter is 'a thin transparent film situated between man and god' (119), transparent as long as metaphysicians do not meddle with it by attempting to conceptualize.  Berkeley actually only alludes vaguely to this image, but talks rather more about an allied one—'matter is a language which God speaks to us', and again addressing this language excessively, conceptualizing about it, prevents full understanding.  These images might only be derived from an original intuition, but we still need to work with them.

Can intuition be recaptured?  We know that concepts are used to develop the system.  We have images that express the contraction of the system, but to go beyond this image involves even more general concepts, and this will almost certainly make the original intuition 'insipid and uninteresting' (120) [the example is some version that says that the human soul is 'partially united with God and partly independent'].  We need to enliven such banalities with ideas scattered throughout the work, but we also need to return to the image and try to construct some 'abstract formula enlarged by its absorption of the image and ideas'.  We shall attempt to place all the ideas in the doctrine in a contracted form, a 'center of force' from which springs the impulse and intuition [it seems to be rather like the exercise that Berkeley had to undertake to incorporate contemporary ideas in his four theses: Bergson thinks the theses themselves could equally have been formulated differently while retaining the same philosophy]

This is how we should understand the effects of earlier and contemporary philosophical conceptions.  These are not just synthesized or combined with another idea.  Something much simpler unites pre existing ideas, and meaning, a movement of thought, 'less a movement than a direction' (121).  It is something like the way in which an embryo develops under some initial 'impulsion': thought takes more and more complicated and specific forms, or the way in which we eventually produce actual speech or sentences from the thought, although other sentences would equally be suitable.

Scientific knowledge available at the time is also formative.  Some philosophers still think that the whole product of sciences should be incorporated into philosophy.  This is the idea of the philosopher as someone who possesses a 'universal knowledge' (122).  It still persists even though the results of science could not now be accumulated entirely.  Some philosophers also feel that they should generalize from existing science, or condense it in order to unify it.  This is 'offensive to science', and implies that philosophers will be able to somehow complete science by thought alone.  There's nothing wrong with scientists themselves pushing on into philosophy specific to their own efforts, but this is still science.

Philosophy as unifying beyond the results of science itself for will only open it to the arbitrary or the hypothetical.  Scientific generalization stops at points which are suitable already.  Should philosophy speculate further?  Often what happens is that philosophy offers a simpler version of the objects of science.  Their real relation is given by the argument that there are two ways of knowing, one which deals with matter which does repeat and is predictable and measurable, operating with 'distinct multiplicity and spatiality' (124), while the other tries to grasp pure duration 'refractory to law and measurement'.  We have experience of both in our consciousness, but the first involves externalizing consciousness and the second internalizing.  It is not that we need to investigate the depths of our own consciousness in order to better understand matter or reality—this would imply a limited role for consciousness and limited experience of life, 'forces which work in all things'.  The more we investigate the depths of consciousness the more we will be able to grasp surface phenomena too. 

Philosophical intuition does this.  If we follow its impulse we will regain contact with science.  We must do this or end in 'pure fantasy' (125).  However, generalizations based on induction, obtained without philosophy will not offer a suitable way forward: philosophy does not arrive at unity but starts from it, at least from a partial unity, like the unity of the living being.  Philosophy does not just synthesize the results of positive science, but operates rather in the way in which it reassembles the fragments of earlier philosophies as above.  It offers therefore 'not a synthesis but an analysis'.

Science is ultimately based on action which is itself pragmatic.  It turns phenomena into a series of simultaneities, and neglects 'what happens in the interval' between them, except by providing still more simultaneities.  It works with the readymade and cannot 'follow the moving reality, adopt the becoming which is the life of things' (125-6).  Philosophers have to do that.  Science has to treat nature as an adversary, but philosophy treats it 'as a comrade' (126).  By being at one with nature, we contact the philosophical spirit which lies beneath subsequent complications.  Ultimately, 'the act of philosophizing is a simple one'.

This will help bring philosophy closer to life.  Commonsense is more akin to science, with less precision and range, and is forced similarly to abstract things and movements, immobility.  But common sense can be turned back toward philosophy.  If the mind can contact duration, it will  'be alive with intuitive life and its knowledge of things will already be philosophy' (127).  It will perceive the fluidity of time, seeing phenomena as produced by 'one identical change which keeps ever lengthening as in a melody'.  To get to this intuitive awareness we do not need to abandon the normal senses and consciousness, as Kant suggested.  We can experience 'the change we habitually have before us' (128), and we have to realize how common sense and consciousness tends to have 'reduced to dust' change and flow in order to manage them in action.  We have to undo this process, get back to origins.

Everyday life will profit as well.  The commonsense world is dead and cold, marooned in a constant present, and this is how we see ourselves.  We have to grasp ourselves differently 'in a present which is thick, and furthermore, elastic, which we can stretch indefinitely backward by pushing the screen which masks us from ourselves'.  We will see the world is it really is, in depth, with an active past.  This will awaken what is dormant, add new life.  We'll gain the satisfactions usually available only through art and on rare occasions.  Philosophy will breathe life into the 'phantoms which surround us', and give us joy (129). 

Chapter five.  The perception of change

[two lectures given at Oxford, 1911.  Lots of summary and fairly clear argument as before]

The correct grasp of change is fundamental to his entire philosophy.  Grasping it will also dissolve a number of philosophical difficulties, and generally lead to a more joyful life.  Our understanding of the moment is buried under a 'whole veil of prejudices...some of them artificial, created by philosophical speculation, the others natural to common sense' (131). 

We can start with points on which there is general agreement.  If we were able to grasp everything through our senses and consciousness, we would not need to conceive anything.  Conceiving is a makeshift in the absence of perception, and reasoning just helps fill up the gaps of perception or extend its scope.  Abstract and general ideas are valuable, but only in representing particular perceptions, including perceptions of order, truth or reality.  Conceptions are easily refuted by facts.  The inadequacies of perception have produced philosophy.  We see this in early Greek thought where concepts are close to perceptions, as in 'sensible elements' like earth and water.  It was the Eleatics who began the drift from sense data toward a supra-sensible world of ideas.  For modern philosophy, there are still essences but they appear as 'veritable substances' (132) behind epiphenomena.  Perceptions were extended by abstraction, generalization and reasoning.

These qualities mean there will be many philosophies, based on individual perceptions of philosophers.  These individual perceptions have been elaborated and generalized.  There's always something arbitrary in the choice of these particular perceptions.  While science focuses on quantity as an  'incontestably common' property of different things, philosophy chooses qualities, which are inevitably heterogeneous, and individual cases only represent general ones through a 'contestable if not arbitrary decree'(133), and other decrees can always be advanced instead.

We should therefore return to perception and attempt to expand it.  Working with concepts, as somehow representative of perceptions or of other concepts, only inevitably eliminates 'from the real a great number of qualitative differences' (134) which will inevitably reduce our 'concrete version of the universe'.  This is why philosophies arise to correct the limits of earlier ones.  We need to get back to perceptions and use our will to expand them.  This would avoid any substitution of one aspect of the world to represent the rest.  We would also gain consensus in philosophy because nothing will have been left out.  Doctrine would be unified, and differences reconciled 'in the same perception' (135) which would simply be extended by the efforts of new philosophers.

The best example of how this might be done is provided by artists, who not only clarify, but extend perception, and bring new things to our senses and consciousness.  When we read a poem or novel, we perceive new emotions and thoughts. The great painters have a new vision which they can provide for all people.  These are products of their imagination, but also truth [because everyone says so], a truth which we have already half grasped, and which will henceforth always affect our perception of reality.  Artists can do this because they are to some extent detached from reality in the first place, because reality intrudes, and the need for action limits the field of vision.  Most of our perception is 'cut... from a wider canvas'(137).  Practicality also makes us generalize.  We tend to think that the whole of our mental life is a matter of a combination of simple elements, requiring nothing more than what has been made available.

However, 'the facts' argue otherwise.  Normal psychological life shows a constant attempt to limit horizons, to select from available 'virtual knowledge', 'actual knowledge', which always turns on our actions upon things.  Understanding the memory shows this too—we constantly push it aside or select from it only that which is useful in the present: our brain 'actualizes the useful memories'.  We are scarcely able to look at the actual object before we have categorized it.  However 'by a lucky accident men arise whose senses or whose consciousness are less adherent to life' (138), who can perceive things as they are beyond their usefulness.  This detachment produces artists.  They produce 'a much more direct vision of reality'.  Philosophy might imitate art by turning our attention away from the practical.

Lots of philosophers have agreed that they needed to be detached from activity in order to speculate [the example is Plotinus].  However, this detachment meant entering another world, not the one we normally inhabit, requiring unusual faculties of vision. This was to lead to Kant and his belief and the need for some superior intuition for metaphysics to be possible, while ordinary vision would necessarily limit us.  He was to go on to argue that such superior intuition was impossible, as did many others.  A fundamental belief about movement underpinned this position. The argument was that we could actually perceive change, but that sense data and consciousness would produce 'insoluble contradictions' in the way in which change was grasped.  This meant that contradiction 'was inherent in change itself'(141), so we had to progress to another sphere, above time itself, and this will be impossible.

Zeno of Elea was also responsible in pointing to the apparent absurdity of movement and change in the actual world, and this led Plato and others to argue that the fundamental reality must be eternal and unchanging.  For Kant, the problem lay in the relativity of sense data and consciousness and the difficulty of grasping what he thought of as real time, persistent duration.  However, this notion of movement and change is flawed.  We do not have to get outside of time, nor to free ourselves from it.  Instead we have to understand change and duration 'in their original mobility'(142).

[second lecture].  The first step is to think that all change and all movement is 'absolutely indivisible'.  If we move our arm, it is a simple act.  Stopping it will divide it into two movements with an interval.  Keeping it as a continuous act means we  'must declare it to be indivisible' (143).  We can indeed describe the interval of time that has elapsed in terms of a sequence of particular points or stages, but it is clearly not possible to see each of these points as applied movement.  Moving objects pass through points, but if they stop at them they are no longer moving in a single movement.  We imagine that movements can be divided, because trajectories also take place in space and space is divisible.  There is a tendency to focus on these points in space—'we need immobility'.  However even this immobility is not real if it is just the absence of movements.  It is movement that is reality.  The apparent immobility is actually produced like the one that is generated by two trains moving at the same time in the same direction on parallel tracks—each train is immovable to the travelers. We need immobility like this to act upon things – as when passengers on the trains talk to each other.  But this notion only creates problems when we attempt to philosophize about time.

If we take the example of Achilles and the tortoise, the problem ends if we consider the point of view of Achilles and ask him to comment on the race.  For him, his running will occupy a single movement, with each step as 'a series of indivisible acts'(145).  His movement can be seen as a number of normal steps, but it cannot be arbitrarily broken up into weird spaces which is what Zeno tries to do [the spaces between Achilles and the tortoise at each stage, ever smaller, which will mean that the tortoise is always one stage ahead]: Zeno then attempts to impose these units on the movement, 'making movement and immobility coincide'.

This is very common—to see movement as a succession of positions.  If we do, we have to add something else, to try and grasp the passage itself, although this usually involves imposing a series of positions again indefinitely.  Usually, speculation then stops in favor of practical interests.  Thinking of movement itself looks insuperably difficult.  The same goes for change.  'All real change is an indivisible change' (146).  Action requires immobility both of things and of ourselves, however.  Subjective perceptions condense changes [the example of color again], in ourselves as well as in things—'our own person is also mobility'.  It is like the two trains again.  We have to distinguish appearance from reality.

Change is self sufficient, requiring no support in some underlying mobility or thing that moves.  We tend to think the opposite because sight dominates our senses, and vision tends to construct relatively invariable figures which do not change form even when they change place.  Action also finds this very useful.  Hearing suggests another possibility, as when we listened to a melody, which appears to change on its own.  True we can subdivide a melody into different notes, but we usually do this in order to perform some action like singing it, or because of visual image of the score intrudes.  The ordinary visual configuration also affected physical science, although it has been challenged considerably there, with the detection of constant mobility and vibration, and the decomposition of apparently solid things.  If we think out visual perception we can arrive at a better notion of mobility, since when we see a thing we are actually seeing only a series of vibrations of light, 'only a movement of movements'(148).

Our inner life provides the best examples, however.  There are psychological approaches which see our inner life as a series of distinct psychological states, supported by a similarly invariable ego.  But one or other of them must demonstrate duration [as change or as the invariability of the ego].  A better approach is to see our inner life as displaying a continuous melody, indivisible, and making up the personality.  If we think of it this way, we will get to true duration, real duration which expresses the passing of an indivisible time.  True, it often appears as a distinct before and after, but this is not how it appears originally.  We can bring in spatial images as notions of simultaneity, and this is our ordinary sense of time. Universal mobility may produce a certain dizziness, as apparently fixed points disappear.  But change itself is substantial and durable.

It follows that we can see the past quite differently.  Usually it is seen as something that no longer exists except with the help of the present and the operation of the function of memory.  There is a notion that memories are stored somewhere in a box.  However, if we think of what the present instant is, it is an abstract point as before, incapable of producing a line of time, raising problems of the passage from the instant before it.  The concept of the present already involves duration, although normally, our attention misunderstands this, sometimes shortening it in the interests of action.  However, we can extend our attention indefinitely into the past, and thus extend the notion of the present.  Our attention will drop into the past when we cease to focus it in our interests.  As long as we maintain our attention, the past is always present.

It is possible in principle to think of attending to the whole past history of the person as something continually present and moving, a melody, a perpetual present, one which endures.  In exceptional cases, people can do this, as when they are drowning and their life flashes before them.  It does not require a special faculty of memory.  The past is always preserved even though we can abolish it from our attention.  It is this abolition that becomes of interest.  The brain itself channels our attention to the present and the future, and simplifies past experience in the form of memory.  The brain does not preserve memories in some box.  That conception depends on particular aspects of psychology, but it is mistaken: trying to preserve one visual memory, for example, would involve somehow storing thousands of images and perceptions, many of which will be useless.  Similarly, pathologies of the memory can show, for example, that memories are never permanently lost but can be recaptured.

These remarks extends not only to our own past but also to 'the past of any change whatsoever', as long as it is not compounded: we can never know whether it is or not since we can never get inside beings and things.  However, seeing change as constant means that lots of philosophical enigmas disappear, those concerning substance and change.  If we persist with seeing change as a multiplicity of states, we only have the problem of explaining the continuity between the states [and the immutability of the states].  Seeing change is indivisible means that it simply is 'the very substance of things'(156).  Notions of complete instability or complete immutability are only abstractions.  The classic problems of movement and substance disappear.

We can also back to discuss the notion of free will.  If we are in a 'concrete duration', there is no necessary determination, but a combination of past and present to produce a new possibilities.  We can extend the notion of the apparent immobility of the two trains to think again of the relation between human beings and the universe, the object and the subject [how human subjects see objects as fixed?].  If we turn to the notion of constant mobility, we will learn about both object and subject.  There were also be the benefits for everyday life in the form of satisfactions normally reserved for artists.  All things will acquire depth, 'something like a fourth dimension which permits anterior perceptions to remain bound up with present perceptions'(157).  Reality will be dynamic in its tendencies.  Everything will come to life—'a great impulse carries beings and things along'.  We conceive many philosophical problems as produced by an 'artificial weakening' of this vitality.  We can experience more and more duration and get back to the 'eternity of life' (158).

Chapter six.  Introduction to metaphysics.

[Usual resume of the differences between science and metaphysics. Discussion of the metaphysical concept as adequate to its object, not to the need for generalization -- very D & G. Also increasingly open to a Bourdieusian critique -- intuition is only the certainty produced by an elite aesthetic, established early, rendered habitual, constantly reinforced by present perceptions. THIS is the way memory affects perceptions, but the origins of intuition are of course never explored as with all philosophy. The insistence on the uniqueness of human duration also reminds me of deCerteau]

There's two basic distinctions at work concerning how we know a thing – we either try to gather characteristics of it, or we try to enter into it.  We can describe these two kinds of knowledge as relative and absolute respectively.  The first approach would involve, say, collecting different perceptions of an object and trying out different expressions of it using various symbols, including mathematical symbols.  This involves standing outside of the object, which is what makes it relative.  Absolute understanding involves some notion of an inner being, and an attempt to enter into harmony with it.  There is no problem with representation because the attempt is to grasp the original from within.

We can see this with the characters in a novel, which can be described variously, although full knowledge comes when we identify with the characters, so that their actions seem to be natural rather than accidental, and events would be seen as manifestations of the characters 'essence'(160).  An external view, relying on symbols and points of view provide only what characters have in common with others, the relative again.

The absolute can also be described as the perfect, not the same as a mere quantitative assemblage of all possible points of view, say of photos of the city or translations of a poem.  In this sense, the absolute is identical to the infinite—once we try to express our absolute knowledge, we find ourselves in infinite attempts at expression.  This external point of view is also found in scientific accounts of movement as before, with an infinite number of possible immobile points [this also refers to the strange analogy of the piece of gold which can never be turned exactly into its monetary components].  It follows that we only get to absolutes through intuition, while relatives are given through analysis.  Intuition here is like  'the sympathy by which one is transported into the interior of an object' (161), while analysis involves reducing the object to elements which are 'already known, that is, common to that object and to others' which really amounts to 'expressing a thing in terms of what is not it' (162) [you could say the same about the operation of memory] .  Analysis involves translation into symbols, a cumulative representation of points of view each of which makes certain contacts between a new object and those which are already known.  It is never complete, but intuition 'if it is possible, is a simple act'.  We can see that positivist science operates with analysis, visible forms, elements, comparisons between forms to produce a simple from the complex.  Metaphysics on the other hand should aim at 'a means of possessing a reality absolutely'.

We can at least grasp ourselves through intuition, via 'inner regard of my consciousness' (163).  I can list all the perceptions from the material world, grouped into objects.  Then I grasp memories which adhere to these perceptions and help to interpret them—but these are already drawn from somewhere else.  Finally, I can experience  'tendencies, motor habits, a crowd of virtual actions', connected variably to perceptions and memories. 

These remarks might be seen to describe the surface of a human subject, but we can also find something else, 'a continuity of flow comparable to no other flowing I have ever seen...a succession of states each one of which announces what follows and contains what precedes'.  They do not appear as multiple states at the time, but as something possessing a common life, each state dovetailed into the other, a continual winding and unwinding.  However these terms are inadequate representations, implying some sequential  connections between the stages.  Instead, 'no two moments are identical in a conscious being' (164), because memory is always being added to present consciousness.  We experience a feeling of flowing through 'a thousand shades', each of which tints its neighbor.  Even then we're trying to understand them as something external occupying space.

Instead, we might think of a small piece of elastic, concentrated to a single point.  We can draw it out into a line, as part of an indivisible action, although it would still lay down some motionless line in space.  Even this metaphor is limited, because as duration unrolls it can sometimes appear like a unified movement which progresses, or as an original multiplicity of states.  Any metaphor tends to favor one rather than the other, but the inner life itself, which can be both, 'cannot be represented by images'(165).  Nor can it be represented by concepts, abstract ideas.  Luckily, there is no need to try and express duration—we experience it or not [which opens up the whole thing to charges of elitism, of course].  Philosopher should try to get people to think beyond utilitarian habits of everyday life, so images at least can assist by staying in the concrete. 

Perhaps thinking of many different images will produce some convergence permitting consciousness to develop an intuition, especially if the images chosen are dissimilar but equally plausible.  We still require a suitable attitude to draw upon this experience to develop intuition, and we must take care that none of the images is taken as adequate symbol.  We need to stay alert to avoid symbols that take parts for the whole object, that draw out only what an object has compared to other objects, resemblances. 

An intellectual equivalent would be connecting concepts to other concepts to faithfully represent duration [and we are now going to discuss familiar concepts such as unity, multiplicity, continuity, divisibility].  Of these abstract ideas are useful in analysis and scientific study, but they cannot replace intuition.  When combined they offer only 'an artificial recomposition of the object', a combination of its partial aspects.  Concepts run this risk particularly, because when they symbolize, they necessarily generalize, making a property common to other things.  And extension like this 'distorts this property' (167).  Concepts extracted from objects surpass the object itself, in the form of larger circles drawn around the object, 'not one of which fits it exactly'[this is the test of adequacy for Bergson].  The junction between concepts and properties of the thing involves 'some artifice'.  We have to manipulate the concepts, so that our starting point of unity necessarily means something different from what we will find in duration, its 'multiple unity'.  We have to give our extracted concepts an arbitrary weight of their own.

This will inevitably produce different systems of explanation, as many as there are external viewpoints or extended explanations.  Philosophy is divided in two different schools, each with its arbitrary starting point, each therefore serving as 'this game of ideas'.  The only way to get past this game is to turn to intuition.  Intuition will still need concepts, but it must a 'transcend' them (168), since concepts are usually inflexible and ready made.  However, there might be new concepts available instead, 'flexible, mobile, almost fluid representations' ready to draw upon 'the fleeting forms of intuition' [pretty close to Deleuze and Guattari here].

If we try to break the notion of duration into parts, we might be able to see them as overlapping parts, but even here, we are working not on duration itself, but on the 'the fixed and memory of the duration, on the immobile track' left behind.  The multiplicity of duration 'resembles no other'.  But it is not a simple unity either, certainly not an 'abstract unity, empty and motionless' (169).  Perhaps we should see duration as both unity and multiplicity—but even here will never get the same sort of grasp of duration as is provided by simple intuition: 'I perceive immediately how it is unity, multiplicity and many other things besides', so that conventional concepts are at best only particular external points of view.

We can go further through intuition, and aim at 'an absolute internal knowledge of that duration of the self'.  Science will not need this, however, and we need a division between it and metaphysics.  But social sciences, like psychology, are still confused about their own procedures.  They sometimes adopt a scientific approach through analysis, so that the self can first a bull be resolved into separate elements, 'psychological facts' which are taken to be parts of the whole human personality.  However, psychological states are always connected to the rest of the personality, including the past.  Yet the development of psychology is a science requires such abstraction.  This is done by 'disregarding the person's special correlation' (170) in favor of expression using a 'common and known terms'.  This is obviously selective.  It is like an artist sketching key features of a city, and reassembling them under a comment title, the name of the city.  This 'substitutes for the real and the internal organization of the thing an external and schematic reconstitution'.  No such reconstitution can arrive at the insights provided by the original intuition of the whole of the artist.  He can travel from intuition to representations, but spectators cannot travel the other way.  The same goes with assembling particular words extracted from poems: the words are not just quantitative parts, but 'partial expressions' of a whole.  We can supply our own plausible interpretations, using our own intuition of the whole, but no one thinks we get there just by quantitative operations on symbols.

Yet this is what philosophical psychology offers, with that empiricist or rationalist.  'Both take the partial notions for real parts'(172).  Empiricist argue that psychological states can be uncovered by suitable analysis, and then presuppose some unity in an overall ego—but at best this term is a sign which helps us recall the original intuition.  It does not stand for the object, and we cannot find a thing behind this word directly.  Some psychologists [including JS Mill it seems] had to add some metaphysical components to the objects that they claim to have studied, and they did this through the odd procedure of negation—it is something that is not the same as the psychological states, something that always remains elusive, and therefore something that can be dismissed as irrelevant.  [Bergson points out that this would never be done with a work of literature, denying some overall meaning simply because it is not found in counting words].

Philosophical empiricism in general operates like this, confusing intuition with analysis, and trying to get back to the original by working with translations of properties of the individual.  The absent original is seen as a negative, although it is really indicating that 'analysis is not intuition'(173).  Science usually actually starts with an intuitive grasp of an object, but then proceeds to analysis: the many points of view that are produced have to be reconstituted to get back to the object, but this is never attainable.  Rationalism operates with the same illusion, while attempting to overcome the flaws of empiricism.  It also operates with psychological states as fragments of an ego, and then tries to reconstitute the unity of a person, but again this unity is elusive.  Instead of abandoning this notion of unity as pointless, rationalism continues to affirm it, this time as something of value, showing the 'absence of all determination'(174).  Since the psychological states are seen to be material, this unity can be nothing other than 'a form without matter', even more of a phantom, and even more distant from living, actual selves.  The unified ego becomes more and more detached from concrete humanity, and therefore something only for humanity as a whole, for God, all for general existence. 

This is about the only area in which rationalism differs from empiricism.  There is even much shared between empiricists and pantheists [I don't know the examples].  Again the point is to reason about the elements of the translation assuming they are parts of the original, but there is always an added metaphysics: empiricism attempts to claim that it can contact the real, but it has to go beyond the reasoning it has used, or to use some particular readymade conception, originally intended for daily action, such as unity and multiplicity.  A proper empiricism would 'make an absolutely new effort for each new object it studies [in order to produce] the concept appropriate to the object alone, a concept one can barely say is still a concept, since it applies only to that one thing'(175).  It would aim at 'a simple, unique representation' with no difficulty in locating in a larger frame such as unity or multiplicity.  It would not be a matter of choosing different starting points or schools: the correct unique intuition means we can 'easily come down again to the various concepts, because one has placed oneself above the divisions of the schools'(176).

Personalities do indeed have unities, but the problem is to explain the nature of this unity, the person.  Similarly, our self is multiple, but it is a particular multiplicity.  Dealing with these particulars is the proper task of philosophy—'what unity, what multiplicity, what reality superior to the abstract one(s)'.  We require the intuition of the self by the self as a kind of summit which will then descend to the ordinary concepts—but the reverse operation will never be fruitful.  We can see this with the example of the cone, with a mathematical point at one end and an increasing circle at the other: these two properties cannot be combined to produce the idea of the cone.

There's a common practice to use concepts to represent opposites, since it is easy to do this with any aspect of concrete reality.  We might be able to see that the emergence of these opposites from an object produces both opposition and reconciliation, as long as we go from things to concepts [not so if we take the dialectic as some a priori method].  Ordinarily, we know things by taking readymade concepts and attempting to arrive at a 'practical equivalent of the real' (177), and this is driven as usual by interests of various kinds.  Applying a concept is to suggest terms of engagement with the thing, even in the most complex cases.  We can even pursue several viewpoints, and a fully comprehensive knowledge of the object is seen as produced by several concepts [ nice forms of live and let live relativism?].  But this is refraining from philosophizing, or reducing it to competing viewpoints internally in competition with each other.

Normal concepts deal with immobile characteristics, but in our inner life, there is constant change, consciousness with memory which adds to it.  'Inner duration is the continuous life of the memory which prolongs the past into the present' (179), sometimes in the form of acquiring an 'increasingly heavy burden'.  Duration is implied in every analysis of psychological states, if only through the spreading of what looks like a homogeneous state over time.  In reality, psychological states change and endure: 'The state, taken in itself, is a perpetual becoming'.  Invariables are extracted from this state, but they can therefore only be schematic.  Inner time or becoming can only flow by changing quality.  Static invariables help us to compare the flowing of one duration to another, but this is something detached from the enduring ego, from the concrete: that act of detachment can then easily become forgotten in the name of analysis.  The real, the concrete, the actual always display variability, while elements are invariable by definition, acting as schema or symbols.

If we take movement in space, we can consider it in terms of possible halts, but combining these will not restore movement: the stationary points 'are so many views taken of [movement]; they are, we say only halt suppositions' (181):  the points are not in movement or under it, but projected by us as suppositions, views.  We deploy this approach whenever we try to reason about movement and time, because the habit of analysis is 'deeply rooted' in our mind.  We apply it by presupposing an infinite number of points [isn't this what calculus does? But see below].  We recompose movement by saying it is something obscure added to these points, but the obscurity has been produced by this form of analysis.  Is is just like recomposing separated linguistic parts of the poem.  Purely empty and immobile space is never actually perceived, but always conceived: these conceptions arise from our need to act on the world, and are more useful than the 'intuition of the thing itself'.  We go on to consider these useful conceptions as the 'clearest' ones.

The problems of grasping movement in early thought arose from this procedure.  The parts of a movement are not related [quantitatively]  to the whole of the movement.  Instead we should think of these connections as a result of 'the diversity of possible viewpoints to the real indivisibility of the object'(183).  The same flawed procedure affects any attempt to explain qualitative change in terms of manipulations of fixed qualities.  In each case, the conceptualizations of the quality should be seen as 'stable visions of the instability of the real'.  Normal thinking involves taking one or more of these static views, and this is responsible for acceptable practical knowledge.  But when we use the same concepts to try to get to 'the innermost nature of things' we cannot use concepts that rely on immobility.  We have to reascend the slope of normal thought and place ourselves immediately in the thing we are studying, 'through a dilation of the mind', seeing how the concepts follow.  It is not surprising that many philosophers see this intuitive grasp of the thing as ever receding.

Would this not involve just 'exclusive self contemplation'(184)?  Metaphysical intuition is 'essentially active', at least in dispelling obscurity is produced by analysis.  Intuition is 'an indefinite series of acts'.  The Max of analysis will lead to two opposing views of 'duration in general' which will then need to be recombined, but as a multiplicity, not a diversity of degrees or a variety of forms.  The components of this multiplicity will be bound together by a unity.  Duration is 'the "synthesis" of this unity and multiplicity"', but this is still a mysterious operation.  Analysis will offer the same flawed result as analysis of movement into components, working with an abstract multiplicity joined by some abstract unity [the points and the movement respectively].  Instead of analysis we must install ourselves in duration through intuition.  When we do we will experience a 'a certain well defined tension'  with definite characteristics.  This definiteness marks it out, which in turn implies 'any number of durations, all very different from one another' (185) except that they all combine the multiple and the one.

If duration is a multiplicity of moments, there must be an infinite number of them, just as we can always posit infinite numbers of mathematical points on a line.  If it is defined as a unity binding the moments together, this implies some direction for movement aimed at offering 'an account of the multiplicity'(186), and the unity in question will become some immobile substratum or an immobile eternity.  Opponents of the term have worked with one or the other of these approaches, stressing the multiple or the unified: both are abstract and based on concepts.  Both have other problems too, so that if we operate with either approach it is hard to explain the indefinite multiplicity of moments and how they arise, or how things coexist.  The principal problem is that a single duration is being assumed here, a flowing river which is subsequently rendered either as a solid sheet or as 'an infinity of crystallized needles', always involving an immobile thing.

Intuition gives different results.  We will not be able to find, logically, any reason for suggesting multiple and diverse durations, or indeed any other duration apart from our own.  We can only work with 'a presentiment' (187) of there being a range, just as we assume there is a range of colors even if we observe only one.  In this way, intuition effectively 'puts us in contact with the whole continuity of durations' which we can follow 'downwardly or upwardly', and thus dilate opurselves , transcend ourselves.  The downward path leads to a scattered duration, the dilution of quality into quantity, pure homogeneity and pure repetition, as in the normal understanding of materiality.  The upward path involves greater and greater intensity until we reach eternity, the eternity of life, a moving eternity which will include our own duration and would help us see all duration as materiality 'in its dispersion' (188).  Intuition moves between these two possibilities.

More implications follow, but we can summarize by spelling out certain principles, some of which only have 'a beginning of proof':

(1) There is an external reality and it is given immediately to our mind, as in common sense

(2) This reality is mobility, things in the making, not states but continual flowing, just as we discover with our own person.  'All reality is, therefore, tendency, if we agreed to call tendency a nascent change of direction'

(3) It is normal for our mind to imagine states and things, including sensations and ideas which arise from 'quasi instantaneous views of the undivided mobility of the real'.  This is how it substitutes the continuous for the discontinuous, stability for mobility, fixed points in processes and so on.  Common sense, practical life and language necessarily produce these effects, and positivist science depends on them to some extent.  Our intelligence operates like this and goes on to express itself in readymade concepts as snapshots.  It is not interested in the 'internal and metaphysical knowledge of the real' (189), but is utilitarian.  In doing this, it allows the real to escape.

(4) Applying this sort of intelligence and procedure to metaphysics produces endless difficulties and contradictions.  We place ourselves in something immobile to try and grasp moving reality, instead of putting ourselves straight into moving reality itself.  We attempt to reconstitute reality using 'percepts and concepts' derived from common sense.  Although these concepts can be extracted from mobile reality, they cannot reconstitute it, except through dogmatism.

(5) Such metaphysics is bound to fail as a number of critics have pointed out, especially those who note the relativity of metaphysical knowledge.  Again there is a kind of dogmatism involved in assuming that metaphysics must start from rigidly defined concepts in the first place.

(6) Our mind can grasp mobile reality intuitively although this looks like doing itself violence.  It should arrive at 'fluid concepts, capable of following reality' and grasping 'the very movement of the inner life of all things'.  This will end futile disputes between philosophical schools.

(7) Reversing intelligence in this way has never been systematically practiced so far, although it appears in certain great accomplishments in sciences.  'Infinitesimal calculus was born of that very reversal' (190), and much modern mathematics focuses on becoming rather than the readymade, 'the growth of magnitudes', movement from within, tendencies to change.  This effort has not gone far enough, and it still has to operate through the invention of symbols, which comes to supplant the original intuition.  Metaphysics can avoid that fate since it is 'exempt from the obligation of arriving at results useful from a practical standpoint' (191).  It will be less useful than science but will extend the scope and range of thought.  It can proceed by realizing that mathematical quantities can be understood instead as 'nascent quality', with quantity as 'it's limiting case'.  It will realize the limits of mathematics as it encounters 'objects less and less translatable into symbols'.  It will have contacted continuity and mobility, the real, and 'seen with a superior clarity' those processes and procedures that mathematics grasps, in that they will now be based on concrete reality, not mathematical methods as such.  Nevertheless, metaphysics too will 'operate differentiations and qualitative integrations'.

(8) Efforts in the past have been stalled by the attempt to make intuition and thought a suitable form of expression and application, or concepts, already operative in our habits of thought.  This habit mistakes the strictness precision and perfection of logic for the original 'generative act of the method' (192), the intuition with which much science began.  All the discussion about the relativity of scientific knowledge can be resolved by remembering this original intuition, which will attain the absolute, unlike knowledge expressed in symbols and concepts.  In this way, science and metaphysics will 'meet in intuition'.  Metaphysics will make positive sciences aware 'of their true bearing', and give them an understanding of their activities 'which is very often superior to what they suppose'.  It will also incorporate those occasional mysterious strokes of genius that are apparent in the history of science.

(9) The classical way of understanding the relation between science and metaphysics implied that 'variation can only express and develop invariabilities'[so the eternal and absolute were expressed in things like action and duration—action is 'weakened contemplation', duration a 'deceptive image of immobile eternity', 'the Soul the fall of the Idea'].  The immutable was seen as more important than the mobile, and the unstable as something less than the stable.  Modern science was able to generate a notion of mobility as independent, when Galileo rolled the ball down the plane and saw the movement as important, not the starting and ending states as in Aristotle.  We might see lots of other discoveries as following the same path into 'pure duration'(193).  However these initial intuitions were rapidly solidified and congealed into immobile concepts, as human understanding always tries to achieve.  The concepts have then attracted the attention of scholars, and their residual symbols: science became symbolic, this was extended to confuse intuitive data and the subsequent operation of analysis.  This led to relativity [I am not at all clear about this.  I assume Bergson is not discussing relativism in terms of subjective relativism, but rather in terms of an acknowledgement of the partial nature of scientific approaches and the need to add them together somehow, or at least stop worrying about whether they fit into one overall approach or not --and see below for a particular Kantian take].  Why did so many philosophers abandon their feelings about 'the mobile continuity of the real'?  (194).  It played more of a part in their work than they thought.  There might even be a kind of 'latent thought', a converging line of scientific intuitions.  However, the practical concerns of life have continued to dominate, as a result of 'an invisible current'.  [You need sociology to investigate these invisible currents].

Metaphysics has also developed symbols, although it should really be breaking with them, and again the ordinary understanding has been at work, this time to emphasize either relations or things.  Emphasizing relations leads to relational concepts and scientific symbolism, emphasizing things leads to metaphysical symbolism, with both derived from utilitarian intelligence, and with both leading to 'an artificial arrangement of symbols' (195).  Neither approach grasps 'the moving river of things'.  Kant pursued particular lines of criticism here, and pushed both metaphysics and science to the 'utmost possible limit of symbolism', where they were leading anyway, and was able to show that science is relative and metaphysics artificial, in both cases only by abandoning the '"intellectual intuitions"'which they claimed and which gave them some inner plausibility.  His criticisms are still reverberating, and have led to the common view that science is always relative, and metaphysics only 'an empty speculation', although Kant was really criticizing the classics.  The critique would be applicable if metaphysics was to claim to provide us with 'a unique and readymade system of things', to complement the science which offered a 'a unique system of relations' (196), or to be offering some perfect architecture of concepts.  This would ignore all the efforts to go beyond actual ideas and even beyond simple logic if that is confined to verifying clear ideas, and remain with conventional concepts and representations rather than 'multiple and varied intuitions' which do not always fit together neatly.  The result is to think of knowledge as 'purely relative to the human understanding' [so a special knowledge of relative here, not quite the one I had in mind above].

Thus Kant saw science as a kind of universal mathematics, with metaphysics still dominated by Plato.  Universal mathematics involves accepting the detachment of concepts from things.  Kant attempted to lay down the foundations for such a mathematics, rendering all possible experience in terms of the existing frameworks of our understanding.  In this way, understanding is seen as something that organizes nature and is reflected by it, and this in turn is seen as the justification for the possibility of science.  Metaphysics is left with the 'phantoms of things', or tidying up the structure of concepts provided by science.  The whole approach assumes that we can never do anything with our thought except for 'pouring the whole of possible experience into pre existing molds' (197).  The role for science is simply to find the 'logic immanent in things'; metaphysics is left with a series of antinomies, 'irreducible oppositions' derived from 'two opposed attitudes of mind toward all the great problems'.

By contrast, 'modern science is neither one nor simple'.  Its ideas seem clear ultimately, but this clarity arises from use, 'the facts and applications to which they have led'(198), the facility with which concepts can be manipulated.  All of them probably began as obscure or absurd, even though science claims to proceed through the 'regular nesting of concepts' which fit neatly together.  This shows that they once made contact with currents of reality which are not convergent.  Compromise is usually achieved 'by reciprocal friction...makeshift'.  Modern metaphysics by contrast is not so haunted by irreducible oppositions, especially if it places itself inside reality and sees the outside as representing the opposing views [the example is grasping the notion of grey and then understanding it as composed of opposites black and white].  Intuition will escape inevitable antinomies, as long as we do not congeal intuition in the first place.  Again the differences and oppositions arise from subsequent work to develop philosophical schools, and an outside critic can see what they have in common beneath the surface.  Disciples pursue analysis, while masters can celebrate the 'simple acts which sets analysis in motion and which hides behind analysis' (199).

There is 'nothing mysterious' about intuition.  Literary composition shows it very well and critics know that they have to grasp the work by placing themselves in it, 'to seek as deeply as possible an impulsion which, as soon as found, 'carries one forward of itself', and this impulse leads to the mind to further understanding, seek further disclosures.  This impulsion is not grasped as a thing, because it is 'an urge to movement' and 'simplicity itself'.  Metaphysical intuition is like this, working on collections of observations and experiences gathered by science and by reflection on the human mind.  These 'superficial manifestations' (200) are important and they are not just be assimilated but rather 'it is necessary to accumulate and fuse' of them.  There is a need to neutralize earlier ideas which have affected observations in order to get at 'the raw material of the known facts'.  This extends even to attempts to contact oneself—it is impossible without grasping 'a very great number of psychological analyses'.  The best philosophers have always gathered the material provided by science, and this provides considerable difficulties these days because science is scattered.  Again it is not just a summary or synthesis, not a generalization of experience but something distinct, and like the 'motor impulsion' discussed above.  As a results, metaphysics ranges across the whole of experience.

[The book then ends with appreciative essays on Bernard, W Kames and Ravaisson. I summarize only the one on James]

Chapter eight.  On the pragmatism of William James.  Truth and reality

James is often misunderstood, because reality is misunderstood as well, as 'a possible unification of things' (209), built on one or two simple principles.  This is the work of intelligence in simplifying and providing us with 'the exact minimum of elements and principles' which we need to manage objects and events.

We should think instead about what is given to us by experience.  We would notice that, for example, there is more put into the natural causes than is strictly required as to produce an effect: 'nature's motto is More than is necessary' (210).  For James, reality was both redundant and superabundant, and he saw the difference between commonsense reality and actual reality as like the difference between a play and full everyday life, where a 'a multitude of useless things are said...  Nothing happens is simply or is completely or as nicely as we should like; the scenes overlap'.

 Our experience does provide us not only with things and facts but with relationships between them, and these are as observable as things themselves.  However, there is far more fluctuation and fluidity, unlike the dry and rational universe constructed by most philosophers.  This is what he meant by pluralism, that pure experience or '"radical empiricism"' (211) offers a picture of reality which is indefinite, not even infinite, flowing but not necessarily in a single direction and in the same way.  Human reason is insufficient to grasp this reality, although if we engage 'the whole of man's will and sensibility', we will make progress.

The universe 'extends infinitely beyond human experience', while reason has to operate with generalizing from a more limited set of data [as in conception standing in for perception].  Extending our intellect also means reducing our will, and reducing reality itself to aspects of thought, pure ideas, with only a limited role given to sensibility in general, feeling and will.  For James, it is important to 'accept experience wholly' (212), including our feelings. 

Indeed, human beings as whole people create a whole human world, sufficient for us [apparently, James's dalliance with the notion of the earth as an independent being was a way of symbolizing this].  This human world has us as an integral part, of its things, events, and also the feelings which affect us, which are as real as any other component.  The spiritual currents affect people differently, however, the mystical people perhaps most of all.  Mystics are not just to be understood, but treated as inspiration, routes to further experience.  It is this enhanced experience that plays a role in pragmatism: 'those truths it is most important for us to know, are truths which have been felt and experienced before being thought'(213).  These include truths that are based on feeling as well as reason, and truths that emerge as a consequence of our will.  All of them combine to produce a general theory of truth.

If an affirmation agrees with reality, 'we say that it is true'.  The usual way of thinking about this is to see a thought as like the portrait or a model, something that copies reality.  However we can copy reality 'only in rare and exceptional cases', because the real is constantly changing.  Our generalizations assume stability on the part of an object.  Thus when we say something like heat expands bodies, it might be based on copying a specific body, but when it is generalized is applied to all bodies, so nothing is actually copied in those cases.

It is not surprising that the classic philosophers assume that there was some world above time and space which contained all possible truths, and human truth meant copying those eternal truths.  Modern philosophy still sees truth as something 'pre existent to our affirmations' (214), something inherent in things and facts, to be uncovered by science.  Thus there is a law that heat expands bodies which exists above facts, or at least within them so that we can extract it.  Kant also insisted that scientific truth is based on the activities of the human mind, which is given in advance in human experience.  Science is an attempt to extract the truth from 'the resisting envelope of the facts'.

This is a natural conception of truth that confirms with our need to see reality as coherent and systematized, governed by logic.  But experience does not confirm this picture.  Instead it offers us a flow of phenomena.  If we can extract enough information to control or predict phenomena which follow, 'we say of this affirmation that it is true'.  Noticing that heat expands a particular body helps us predict how other bodies will behave.  We are guided through moving reality, and given 'more favorable conditions for acting' (215).  In this, James is defining the truth as involving something that will happen, that is going to be.  His approach 'looks ahead'.

Usually, the truth is seen as something preceding the deliberate acts of human beings who formulate it.  Something hides the truth, and individuals can uncover it.  For James, reality is not totally dependent on us, but nevertheless 'the truth, which can be attached only to what we affirm about reality, is, for him, created by our affirmation'.  The truth is invented to help us utilize reality.  For pragmatism, truth is an invention not a discovery.  It does not follow that truth is arbitrary, since we are interested in increasing our mastery, and not all affirmations help us do this.  Nevertheless, the truth involves the creative efforts of an individual mind and did not pre exist those efforts, any more than did the phonograph pre existed Edison.  That example shows that inventions have to be based on reality, in this case the properties of sound, but that reality is only 'the ground in which that truth grows, and other flowers could just as well have grown there' (216).

The truth arises from the individual contributions of large number of inventors, and a different number of inventors would have produced a different body of truths.  Reality itself would've stayed as it is, but we would have traced different paths in it.  This applies not only to scientific truths, but to developments like those in language, which contain their own general definitions, and which produce upon things in particular the status of being an independent object, something invariable.  It is conceivable that we could have invented quite different languages.

For pragmatists, the main idea is that 'the structure of our mind is therefore to a great extent of our work, or at least the work of some of us' (217).  In this, there's a continuity with Kant, adding that the general structures of the human mind are actually produced by 'the free initiative of a certain number of individual minds'.  It is not that the truth depends on each one of us, but that of the various kinds of truth, scientific, commonsense, or other intellectual kinds, the point is to coincide as much as possible with the object.  There are notions of truth that could easily have been different if we had oriented our attention in a different way.  However, some truths follow the directions of reality itself, which 'correspond to currents of reality'.  We are free to go with these currents or oppose them, or even sometimes divert them, but we did not create the currents.

For pragmatists, the truths of feeling penetrate most into reality.   We can see how James comes to elevate the truth of feeding, since it has experienced one of those currents of reality, feeling it even before it is being conceived [and thereby reduced] , which makes it 'more capable of seizing and storing up reality than truth merely thought' (218). 
However, if we are to avoid the consequences of being forced to argue that all truth is an invention, we will have to establish a special status for scientific truth.  Science is also a human invention, but it develops a whole 'artificial mechanism' that harnesses forces and give them a particular direction

This theory of reality is at the heart of pragmatism.  It has been condemned as a form of skepticism, putting truth behind material utility, and opposing disinterested scientific research, but all of these reveal inadequate reading of James.  He sought the truth.  He pursued a number of studies including scientific ones, and constantly 'observed, experimented, meditated' (219).

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