Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Bergson on Intuition

Let it be said, in conclusion, that there is nothing mysterious about this faculty. Whoever has worked successfully at literary composition well knows that when the subject has been studied at great length, all the documents gathered together, all notes taken, something more is necessary to get down to the work of composition itself: an effort, often painful, immediately to place oneself in the very heart of the subject and to seek as deeply as possible an impulsion which, as soon as found, carries one forward of itself. This impulsion, once received, sets the mind off on a road where it finds both the information it had gathered and other details as well; it develops, analyzes itself in terms whose enumeration follows on without limit; the farther one goes the more is disclosed about it; never will one manage to say everything: and yet, if one turns around suddenly to seize the impulsion felt, it slips away; for it was not a thing but an urge to movement, and although indefinitely extensible, it is simplicity itself.
(from: Introduction to Metaphysics)


Anonymous said...


ombhurbhuva said...

Bachelard’s explicit motive was to undo the dogma of duration, that molasses-like mass of time construed by Bergson as an ultimate reality.
In relation to durée réelle, the instant in the form of the ‘now’ is merely an artificial abstraction, a “spurious concept.” 1 As Bergson put it in Time and Free Will:
[When] “we project time into space, we express duration in terms of
extensity, and succession thus takes the form of a continuous line or a
chain, the parts of which touch without penetrating one another. [Thus
we create a distinction between] before and after [separated] by one
and the same instant. “

There are no wholly unattached or isolated instants, as Bachelard is
tempted to say in his flight from Bergsonian duration.

Bachelard seems to me to have put his Bergson on back to front. The position expressed by Bergson in the first citation is one which he impugns not holds. The second citation confirms my view. Bergson did not hold to the notion of unattached or isolated instants. Everything is compounded in duration, ‘rolled up in it’.