by Henri Bergson read in 2016 (Numbers are Kindle Locations)
72 "A theory of life that is not accompanied by a criticism of knowledge is obliged to accept, as they stand, the concepts which the understanding puts at its disposal: it can but enclose the facts, willing or not, in pre-existing frames which it regards as ultimate. It thus obtains a symbolism which is convenient, perhaps even necessary to positive science, but not a direct vision of its object."
Yes. There is much in the JTB theory of knowledge that requires criticism. We need a new lexicon. We need one that can accommodate a Transcendent world.
75 "It is necessary that these two inquiries, theory of knowledge and theory of life, should join each other, and, by a circular process, push each other on unceasingly"
My TDB theory does exactly that.
482 "That life is a kind of mechanism I cordially agree. But is it the mechanism of parts artificially isolated within the whole of the universe, or is it the mechanism of the real whole? The real whole might well be, we conceive, an indivisible continuity. The systems we cut out within it would, properly speaking, not then be parts at all; they would be partial views of the whole. And, with these partial views put end to end, you will not make even a beginning of the reconstruction of the whole, any more than, by multiplying photographs of an object in a thousand different aspects, you will reproduce the object itself. So of life and of the physico-chemical phenomena to which you endeavor to reduce it."
Compare this to Abbott's A. Square contemplating the structure and nature of a 3D cube
534 "a physico-chemical explanation of the motions of the amoeba, and a fortiori of the behavior of the Infusoria, seems impossible to many of those who have closely observed these rudimentary organisms. Even in these humblest manifestations of life they discover traces of an effective psychological activity."
Since the advent of modern molecular biology, the question now is whether those traces are more or less mysterious. I think the mystery is more profound.
538 "“The study of the cell has, on the whole, seemed to widen rather than to narrow the enormous gap that separates even the lowest forms of life from the inorganic world.“"
Quoted from a book by E. B. Wilson.
561 "The essence of mechanical explanation, in fact, is to regard the future and the past as calculable functions of the present, and thus to claim that all is given."
D-backs this position up by extensive quotes from LaPlace, Du-Bois Reymond, and Huxley.
577 "Radical mechanism implies a metaphysic in which the totality of the real is postulated complete in eternity, and in which the apparent duration of things expresses merely the infirmity of a mind that cannot know everything at once."
In my opinion, the two fundamental errors in this position are the assumptions of completeness and eternity. I also believe that the idea of the "mere" infirmity is profound.
579 "But duration is something very different from this for our consciousness, that is to say, for that which is most indisputable in our experience. We perceive duration as a stream against which we cannot go. It is the foundation of our being, and, as we feel, the very substance of the world in which we live."
Yes! And I believe that the most straightforward model for this is John's "stylus guy".
652 "Whether nature be conceived as an immense machine regulated by mathematical laws, or as the realization of a plan, these two ways of regarding it are only the consummation of two tendencies of mind which are complementary to each other, and which have their origin in the same vital necessities."
The Rover analogy provides a perfect model for this dualistic view. From the parochial rover's point of view, it is an immense machine subject to mathematical laws and the constraints of the physical Martian environment. From the JPL point of view the rover is an instrument for the realization of the plan set out by the JPL scientists.
662 "In short, the strict application of the principle of finality, like that of the principle of mechanical causality, leads to the conclusion that “all is given.” Both principles say the same thing in their respective languages, because they respond to the same need."
This is a useful observation, but it opens up some important questions: What exactly is meant by "all"? To whom and by whom is this "all" given? And exactly who has this "need"? Was Leopold Kronecker right in declaring that God "gave" us "all" the integers, meaning an infinite set of them, because we "need" them?
670 "intellect turns away from the vision of time. It dislikes what is fluid, and solidifies everything it touches. We do not think real time. But we live it, because life transcends intellect. The feeling we have of our evolution and of the evolution of all things in pure duration is there, forming around the intellectual concept properly so-called an indistinct fringe that fades off into darkness. Mechanism and finalism agree in taking account only of the bright nucleus shining in the centre."
I think Bergson's intuitive "feeling" is close to the truth, but, like all the rest of us, he is limited by his imagination. He has not imagined the possibilities that are opened up by the acceptance of higher dimensions. In the scenario developed from my TDB (Transcendent Designer/Builder) hypothesis, intellect transcends life. So the appearance (or illusion) of time is explained as follows: The intellect (the TDB itself), which is resident in a higher dimension, designs and constructs a 4-D manifold by instituting certain laws of physics along with (highly improbable) initial conditions. This is done in a higher dimension of time in which the TDB operates. The familiar dimension of time. along which our human activities, as well as the unfolding of the Big Bang universe, takes place, appears as just another spatial dimension to the TDB. This is consistent with the view given by Einstein's General Relativity (Brian Green's "loaf of bread"). The illusion of time flowing occurs when the "intellect" (i.e. the TDB) willfully directs its attention to the structures in the manifold (the 4-D BB universe) and follows those structures in the direction of the timelike axis (John's "Stylus Guy"). That is, along the fourth of our familiar dimensions (directions) which we usually consider to be a temporal dimension. The information available to the TDB comes from specialized structures in the manifold that can respond to certain environmental features by encoding and storing that information in a form that can be transmitted out of the manifold to be received by the intellect (TDB) in the higher dimensional space. The typical "specialized structures in the manifold" consist of patterns in an Electro-Magnetic field, the forming of images of some of those patterns on the retinas of eyeballs in living organisms, and the nervous systems in the organisms which transmit the information up to the TDB. The fact that the channel of information available to the TDB is so narrow causes the illusion (to the TDB) that its intellect is resident in that particular organism and that there are many distinct "conscious" animals existing simultaneously in the manifold. Intellect thus transcends life, not the other way around. Intellect experiences real time by following and attending to the Einsteinian world-line of a particular organism. Of course, for all we know, there may be many other ways, in addition even to other senses, in which the TDB can acquire information about the structures within the manifold but experiencing the universe via eyesight is typical.
688 "A conduct that is truly our own, on the contrary, is that of a will which does not try to counterfeit intellect, and which, remaining itself—that is to say, evolving—ripens gradually into acts which the intellect will be able to resolve indefinitely into intelligible elements without ever reaching its goal."
This is an elegant description of how free will is possible and how it works if you assume the TDB hypothesis and connote the terms accordingly.
691 "The free act is incommensurable with the idea, and its “rationality” must be defined by this very incommensurability, which admits the discovery of as much intelligibility within it as we will. Such is the character of our own evolution; and such also, without doubt, that of the evolution of life."
725 "Like radical finalism, although in a vaguer form, our philosophy represents the organized world as a harmonious whole. But this harmony is far from being as perfect as it has been claimed to be."
So far, Bergson's proposal is consistent with TDB.
744 "intellect, such at least as we find it in ourselves, has been fashioned by evolution during the course of progress;"
Not true in TDB. In TDB intellect precedes and transcends biological evolution.
746 "it is cut out of something larger, or, rather, it is only the projection, necessarily on a plane, of a reality that possesses both relief and depth. It is this more comprehensive reality that true finalism ought to reconstruct, or, rather, if possible, embrace in one view."
TDB is completely consistent with this, and in fact the references to geometrical projection apply better to TDB than to Bergson's proposal.
748 "But, on the other hand, just because it goes beyond intellect—the faculty of connecting the same with the same, of perceiving and also of producing repetitions—this reality is undoubtedly creative, i.e. productive of effects in which it expands and transcends its own being."
Yes! This is consistent with the notion in TDB of the diminution of the powers of consciousness as you ascend the hierarchy, culminating in an ultimately simple NI at the top which is devoid of consciousness. It is also suggestive of my old notion of "transfer of omniscience".
751 "the theory of final causes does not go far enough when it confines itself to ascribing some intelligence to nature, and it goes too far when it supposes a pre-existence of the future in the present in the form of idea."
This is also the case in TDB.
755 "Our intellect has a right to consider the future abstractly from its habitual point of view, being itself an abstract view of the cause of its own being."
Yes, just as in TDB or a coral reef.
760 "We must now show that if mechanism is insufficient to account for evolution, the way of proving this insufficiency is not to stop at the classic conception of finality, still less to contract or attenuate it, but, on the contrary, to go further."
Yes exactly. And that is exactly what TDB does.
829 "I grant indeed that adaptation so understood explains why different evolutionary processes result in similar forms: the same problem, of course, calls for the same solution. But it is necessary then to introduce, as for the solution of a problem of geometry, an intelligent activity, or at least a cause which behaves in the same way. This is to bring in finality again, and a finality this time more than ever charged with anthropomorphic elements."
I think Bergson would classify TDB as "finalistic". That would be fair. But I don't think we should shy away from anthropomorphic elements.
1061 "Neo-Lamarckism is therefore, of all the later forms of evolutionism, the only one capable of admitting an internal and psychological principle of development, although it is not bound to do so."
1182 "Certain neo-Lamarckians do indeed resort to a cause of a psychological nature. There, to our thinking, is one of the most solid positions of neo-Lamarckism. But if this cause is nothing but the conscious effort of the individual, it cannot operate in more than a restricted number of cases—at most in the animal world, and not at all in the vegetable kingdom."
So then it must transcend the individual just as I propose.
1183 "Even in animals, it will act only on points which are under the direct or indirect control of the will."
Yes. This is extremely important. It means that there must be some kind of antenna/transmitter/receiver structure in the organism which provides a data path between mind and body. It is the most essential part of TDB theory.
1184 "And even where it does act, it is not clear how it could compass a change so profound as an increase of complexity:"
First of all, no laws of physics can be broken in the manifold. That means that the communication signaling must remain below the HUP threshold. From there, Penrose and Hameroff have explained how a cascade of amplification events could produce, e.g., deliberate muscle action, or chemical changes influencing physiological events involved in development or other processes.
1186 "A hereditary change in a definite direction, which continues to accumulate and add to itself so as to build up a more and more complex machine, must certainly be related to some sort of effort, but to an effort of far greater depth"
Yes indeed. We need to greatly expand the scope of our thinking. We need to accept the reality of higher dimensions.
1200 "The mechanism of the eye is, in short, composed of an infinity of mechanisms,"
A typical glib erroneous use of the term 'infinity'.
1276 "we may compare the process by which nature constructs an eye to the simple act by which we raise the hand."
In discussing these two examples, Bergson ignores the will. Raising the hand is a deliberate willful action so the will is a necessary component of our understanding but of it. Completing the comparison, then, implies willful action as a component of the construction of the eye.
1481 "the humblest organism is conscious in proportion to its power to move freely."
I agree that free will is an important component of consciousness. The idea here of proportionality is interesting
1527 "Suppose, as we suggested in the preceding chapter, that at the root of life there is an effort to engraft on to the necessity of physical forces the largest possible amount of indetermination."
It is hard for me to cut through this philosopher-speak. Who exactly exerts this "effort" if no designer is involved? If there is a designer involved, as I believe there is, then I agree that some indeterminate mechanism is required in order to connect the will of the mind to the physical body without breaking the laws of physics. The uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics fills the bill.
1529 "This effort cannot result in the creation of energy, or, if it does, the quantity created does not belong to the order of magnitude apprehended by our senses and instruments of measurement, our experience and science."
Yes, exactly. QM and the HUP nicely meet this need.
1548 "if, from the very first, in making the explosive, nature had for object the explosion, then it is the evolution of the animal, rather than that of the vegetable, that indicates, on the whole, the fundamental direction of life."
The explosive/explosion characterization of plants/animals is interesting.
1690 "The most living thought becomes frigid in the formula that expresses it. The word turns against the idea. The letter kills the spirit. And our most ardent enthusiasm, as soon as it is externalized into action, is so naturally congealed into the cold calculation of interest or vanity, the one takes so easily the shape of the other, that we might confuse them together, doubt our own sincerity, deny goodness and love, if we did not know that the dead retain for a time the features of the living."
I'm sure Bergson had something completely different in mind when he wrote this, but it seems to express my feelings about my recent decision to abandon my plans to write a book about my ideas.
1780 "The cardinal error which, from Aristotle onwards, has vitiated most of the philosophies of nature, is to see in vegetative, instinctive and rational life, three successive degrees of the development of one and the same tendency, whereas they are three divergent directions of an activity that has split up as it grew. The difference between them is not a difference of intensity, nor, more generally, of degree, but of kind."
1847 "instinct perfected is a faculty of using and even of constructing organized instruments; intelligence perfected is the faculty of making and using unorganized instruments."
Nice distinction. Compare, for example, spider silk to rope.
1866 "If the force immanent in life were an unlimited force, it might perhaps have developed instinct and intelligence together, and to any extent, in the same organisms. But everything seems to indicate that this force is limited,"
Most true. In fact I am convinced that this idea is far more profound than Bergson could have imagined.
1883 "Instinct and intelligence therefore represent two divergent solutions, equally fitting, of one and the same problem."
Yes! For example spider silk and rope solve the same problem: providing structural tension members for artifacts like webs and sailing ships.
1884 "There ensue, it is true, profound differences of internal structure between instinct and intelligence"
I agree, but I maintain that there is also a profound similarity, indeed identity, between the originators of these two.
1885 "instinct and intelligence imply two radically different kinds of knowledge."
This should be interesting.
1888 "It has been asked how far instinct is conscious. Our reply is that there are a vast number of differences and degrees, that instinct is more or less conscious in certain cases, unconscious in others. The plant, as we shall see, has instincts; it is not likely that these are accompanied by feeling."
This is an excellent question. But I think Bergson is considering far too limited a context. It is pretty clear that he considers consciousness to be seated in the biological organism. IMHO it makes far more sense to consider consciousness to be seated in the TDB
1900 "If we examine this point more closely, we shall find that consciousness is the light that plays around the zone of possible actions or potential activity which surrounds the action really performed by the living being. It signifies hesitation or choice."
IMHO this is a meaningless word salad.
1906 "From this point of view, the consciousness of a living being may be defined as an arithmetical difference between potential and real activity. It measures the interval between representation and action."
I don't consider this to be a useful definition at all. The point of view is distorted by error.
1908 "It may be inferred from this that intelligence is likely to point towards consciousness, and instinct towards unconsciousness. For, where the implement to be used is organized by nature, the material furnished by nature, and the result to be obtained willed by nature,"
But IMHO the premise is false so the inference is meaningless. And, what exactly does he mean by "nature"? In my TDB proposal, nature is clearly the TDB itself which is also the seat of consciousness. It all makes sense in this context by thinking about the Mars rover analogy.
1962 "Let us adopt then words sanctioned by usage, and give the distinction between intelligence and instinct this more precise formula: Intelligence, in so far as it is innate, is the knowledge of a form; instinct implies the knowledge of a matter."
Adopting words sanctioned by usage is a laudable choice, but when the context needs to be expanded, the definitions need to be extended to match. In the expanded context of TDB, I would define intelligence to be the use of knowledge held by the TDB, and instinct to be the use of knowledge implanted in the biological organism by the TDB. The organism thus makes use of the knowledge without further contact with the TDB. Habitual skillful actions written into the cerebellum are examples.
1965 "the force immanent in life in general appears to us again as a limited principle, in which originally two different and even divergent modes of knowing coexisted and intermingled. The first gets at definite objects immediately, in their materiality itself. It says, “This is what is.” The second gets at no object in particular; it is only a natural power of relating an object to an object, or a part to a part, or an aspect to an aspect—"
Bergson's instincts here are excellent. His description is nicely consistent with TDB. I have identified his "immanent force" as the TDB. The TDB is indeed limited. His two types of knowledge are what I have called the reception of "downward information" and of "upward information" respectively.
1979 "Such, then, are the two divergent modes of knowledge by which intelligence and instinct must be defined, from the standpoint of knowledge rather than that of action. But knowledge and action are here only two aspects of one and the same faculty."
This all makes sense in TDB. Intelligence and consciousness reside in hyperspace as the TDB while the material, along with downward information, is located in and confined to the manifold.
1990 "What is innate in intellect, therefore, is the tendency to establish relations, and this tendency implies the natural knowledge of certain very general relations, a kind of stuff that the activity of each particular intellect will cut up into more special relations. Where activity is directed toward manufacture, therefore, knowledge necessarily bears on relations. But this entirely formal knowledge of intelligence has an immense advantage over the material knowledge of instinct. A form, just because it is empty, may be filled at will with any number of things in turn, even with those that are of no use."
What Bergson calls "formal knowledge" I say is upward information resident in the Platonic and Mental worlds. What he calls "material knowledge" I say is downward information resident in the Physical world.
1991 "An intelligent being bears within himself the means to transcend his own nature."
A very astute observation. Now, take it literally, especially the transcendence part (the "T" in TDB.)
1992 "He transcends himself, however, less than he wishes, less also than he imagines himself to do."
Here Bergson is speaking for himself. His imagination is indeed limited. If he would follow Abbott's suggestion, his imagination could expand to include higher dimensions and he could see the elegant explanation he has been seeking.
1997 "There are things that intelligence alone is able to seek, but which, by itself, it will never find. These things instinct alone could find; but it will never seek them."
1998 "We have said that the function of intelligence is to establish relations."
2001 "The understanding must have fallen from heaven with its form,"
Yes, just as any understanding that might be present in a Mars rover either fell from the sky in the form of the rover hardware, or it "fell" later on from JPL in the form of electro-magnetic signals.
2002 "that is all; there is no asking why it is what it is rather than anything else."
This is too pessimistic. We can easily understand why the rover is built the way it is and why it operates the way it does. It is because of the intentions of the JPL scientists. To understand Bergson's scenario, we only need to apply the JPL example to a hierarchically vertical pair of NIs.
2017 "we reserve for the next chapter the question up to what point and with what method philosophy can attempt a real genesis of the intellect at the same time as of matter."
I can hardly wait.
2036 "Of the discontinuous alone does the intellect form a clear idea."
2070 "the intellect is characterized by the unlimited power of decomposing according to any law and of recomposing into any system."
2103 "From the moment that the intellect, reflecting upon its own doings, perceives itself as a creator of ideas, as a faculty of representation in general, there is no object of which it may not wish to have the idea,"
In these pages Bergson presents an excellent discussion which I think could be useful in speculating how the TDB could have evolved from nothing to having the capability of designing and building the mechanisms of life.
2107 "By what means, what instruments, in short by what method it will approach these problems, we can easily guess. Originally, it was fashioned to the form of matter."
I think this guess is presumptuous and wrong. Matter is a complex 4-D construct. I think the intellect grew out of a simpler system: maybe a 1-D system containing only a repetitious production of bits (of something simple).
2138 "The more science advances, the more it sees the number grow of heterogeneous elements which are placed together, outside each other, to make up a living being. Does science thus get any nearer to life? Does it not, on the contrary, find that what is really life in the living seems to recede with every step by which it pushes further the detail of the parts combined?"
Yes. It seems obvious that life transcends the physical world. My TDB proposal seems to offer a reasonable explanation.
2141 "The truth is that this continuity cannot be thought by the intellect while it follows its natural movement."
The greater truth is that continuity implies infinity, and infinity implies inconsistency. Therefore there is no Infinity in reality either in concept or in fact.
2176 "The intellect is characterized by a natural inability to comprehend life."
2203 "Is it not plain that life goes to work here exactly like consciousness, exactly like memory? We trail behind us, unawares, the whole of our past; but our memory pours into the present only the odd recollection or two that in some way complete our present situation. Thus the instinctive knowledge which one species possesses of another on a certain particular point has its root in the very unity of life,"
2342 "How theory of knowledge must take account of these two faculties, intellect and intuition, and how also, for want of establishing a sufficiently clear distinction between them, it becomes involved in inextricable difficulties, creating phantoms of ideas to which there cling phantoms of problems,"
2379 "We have shown on what self-contradictory postulate, on what confusion of two mutually incompatible symbolisms, the hypothesis of equivalence between the cerebral state and the psychic state rests."
2399 "A noteworthy fact is the extraordinary disproportion between the consequences of an invention and the invention itself."
2417 "The difference must therefore be more radical than a superficial examination would lead us to suppose. It is the difference between a mechanism which engages the attention and a mechanism from which it can be diverted. The primitive steam-engine, as Newcomen conceived it, required the presence of a person exclusively employed to turn on and off the taps,"
2442 "instinct and intelligence, we have also said, stand out from the same background, which, for want of a better name, we may call consciousness in general, and which must be coextensive with universal life. In this way, we have disclosed the possibility of showing the genesis of intelligence in setting out from general consciousness, which embraces it."
2445 "Intellectuality and materiality have been constituted, in detail, by reciprocal adaptation."
My Transfer of Omniscience.
2446 "Both are derived from a wider and higher form of existence."
2465 "A priori and apart from any hypothesis on the nature of the matter, it is evident that the materiality of a body does not stop at the point at which we touch it: a body is present wherever its influence is felt; its attractive force, to speak only of that, is exerted on the sun, on the planets, perhaps on the entire universe."
Yes. In TDB terms, the body contains and participates in the exchange of both upward and downward information.
2469 "Outlines and paths have declared themselves in the measure and proportion that consciousness has prepared for action on unorganized matter—"
Most true. But consider the place of humanity on the scale of size in the phenomenal world. We not only occupy a place on the scale of a meter, along with other animals and plants, but we also find ourself in the universe at astronomical scales and among the microbes at nanoscopic scales and even beyond to the Planck length scale. We should consider the obvious fact that intellect is also at home in higher dimensions. There should be the domain of our study.
2470 "that is to say, in the measure and proportion that intelligence has been formed."
I don't agree with this non sequitur. It makes more sense that intellect was involved from the beginning of the development of the phenomenal world.
2610 "An identical process must have cut out matter and the intellect, at the same time, from a stuff that contained both."
2627 "But, in the limit, we get a glimpse of an existence made of a present which recommences unceasingly—devoid of real duration, nothing but the instantaneous which dies and is born again endlessly."
John's Stylus Guy.
2636 "The more we succeed in making ourselves conscious of our progress in pure duration, the more we feel the different parts of our being enter into each other, and our whole personality concentrate itself in a point, or rather a sharp edge, pressed against the future and cutting into it unceasingly. It is in this that life and action are free."
2652 "No doubt we make only the first steps in the direction of the extended, even when we let ourselves go as much as we can."
Yes, we typically think only in three dimensions.
2660 "It is undeniable that if there be no entirely isolated system, yet science finds means of cutting up the universe into systems relatively independent of each other, and commits no appreciable error in doing so."
I haven't been able to parse this sentence.
2691 "there are three alternatives, and three only, among which to choose a theory of knowledge: either the mind is determined by things, or things are determined by the mind, or between mind and things we must suppose a mysterious agreement."
I favor the third alternative. And I suggest that we begin working on the mystery. I think it alternates between mind and matter in an increasingly complex series beginning with the ultimately simple and reaching this point of our existence so far. Each alternation results in a new Big Bang type of development or the addition of an additional dimension of space or time or some combination of the above.
2692 "But the truth is that there is a fourth, which does not seem to have occurred to Kant—"
2699 "intellect and matter have progressively adapted themselves one to the other in order to attain at last a common form. This adaptation has, moreover, been brought about quite naturally, because it is the same inversion of the same movement which creates at once the intellectuality of mind and the materiality of things."
Yes! Exactly! Bergson and I seem to think alike. He describes my TDB proposal nicely. His "inversion" is my "transfer of omniscience" in which mind and matter interchange roles. Modern futurists have predicted how this will proceed from here. Our computers will continue to gain competence and take over the intellectual function of human brains. This will allow "human", i.e. intellectual, societies to progress through the stages of type 1 2 and 3 civilizations eventually harnessing all of the energy in the galaxy. From there the intellectual capability of matter will be in a position to design and build even more complex material universes with additional dimensions and much more complex life-forms. I would bet on Plato's guess that our current situation is an eleven-dimensional universe in which we living organisms occupy only a four-dimensional embedded manifold.
2703 "For a scientific theory to be final, the mind would have to embrace the totality of things in block and place each thing in its exact relation to every other thing;"
But, of course, as Patrick Grim has clearly demonstrated, this is impossible. In the big TDB picture, this leaves us with no complete understanding of reality at all, and as you ascend the hierarchy of dimensions the understanding of reality actually diminishes. It is at its most acute here at our lowly four-dimensional level.
2708 "In principle, positive science bears on reality itself, provided it does not overstep the limits of its own domain, which is inert matter."
In other words our 4D manifold.
2709 "Scientific knowledge, thus regarded, rises to a higher plane. In return, the theory of knowledge becomes an infinitely difficult enterprise, and which passes the powers of the intellect alone."
"Impossibly difficult enterprise" would be more accurate.
2710 "It is not enough to determine, by careful analysis, the categories of thought; we must engender them."
2711 "As regards space, we must, by an effort of mind sui generis, follow the progression or rather the regression of the extra-spatial degrading itself into spatiality."
Yes! Exactly. And we should start by recognizing that the "extra-spatial" implies extra dimensions. The next step is to see the progression as being my "transfer of omniscience" with its alternating and reciprocal progression and degradation.
2720 "We must remember that philosophy, as we define it, has not yet become completely conscious of itself."
2725 "All that which seems positive to the physicist and to the geometrician would become, from this new point of view, an interruption or inversion of the true positivity, which would have to be defined in psychological terms."
2750 "words and letters have been invented by a positive effort of humanity, while space arises automatically, as the remainder of a subtraction arises once the two numbers are posited. But, in the one case as in the other, the infinite complexity of the parts and their perfect coördination among themselves are created at one and the same time by an inversion which is, at bottom, an interruption, that is to say, a diminution of positive reality."
Yes. This strongly suggests that a willful conscious act was responsible for both.
2776 "if space is the ultimate goal of the mind’s movement of detension, space cannot be given without positing also logic and geometry, which are along the course of the movement of which pure spatial intuition is the goal."
2829 "The movement at the end of which is spatiality lays down along its course the faculty of induction as well as that of deduction, in fact, intellectuality entire. It creates them in the mind. But it creates also, in things, the “order” which our induction, aided by deduction, finds there."
I'm sure Bergson considers this description and conclusion to be only a metaphor to inspire our attempts to come up with a comprehensive theory. And, for that purpose, I think it is excellent. Let's take him literally after we firm up his vague references to "the movement", "its course", "faculty", "intellectuality", "it", "mind", and "order". If we accept my TDB hypotheses, we can interpret Bergson's metaphor as follows: We define TDB as an evolving Transcendent Designer-Builder which began at some primordial original point as being ultimately simple. Some kind of dynamism exists at this original point to allow for movement and evolution. An oscillation or a propagating disturbance of some sort seems to be the most likely explanation. This would create some sort of temporal dimension along which the movement would take place. In order to "lay spatiality down along its course" some sort of fixation of a set of states is required along the way. The fixation of that set of states amounts to the construction of a spatial dimension. Since the TDB has no awareness, consciousness, or intellect at this point, the structure of the set of states must be determined by some ultimately simple logical rule. Such a set of rules was posited by George Spencer-Brown and further developed by Arma who showed that all logic systems from Aristotle's to Boole's are equivalent, the fundamental axiom being consistency. Dr. Dick has shown that consistency alone implies the laws of physics. In this fashion things are created which contain the order implied by the logic rules, viz. the laws of physics. If we then imagine that this one-dimensional set of things somehow closes on itself so that the sequence can be followed around the loop, by, say, John's "Stylus Guy", we would have the dim beginning of a memory system which could be accessed by the rudimentary precursor of the intellect. From there the evolution proceeds with spatiality increasing in dimensionality and complexity and the intellect growing from the dim beginning to the complex state that we find in human brains today with the conscious TDB counterpart existing in higher dimensions and connected to human brains via some sort of communication link.
2831 "beneath the visible causes and effects our science discovers an infinity of infinitesimal changes"
Not exactly. Since Goedel has proved that the notion of infinity necessarily leads to nonsense, the world is, at bottom, finite.
2832 "the further we push the analysis: so much so that, at the end of this analysis, matter becomes, it seems to us, geometry itself."
Again, not quite. The analysis shows that the world is grainy, or quantized. This means that matter, energy, space, time, and information become not geometry but numbers themselves. And finite numbers to boot.
2835 "It seems to us, then, that the complexity of the material elements and the mathematical order that binds them together must arise automatically when within the whole a partial interruption or inversion is produced."
It seems the same to me. In my TDB theory, during the inversion (my "transfer of omniscience") a lot of knowledge is transferred from the TDB to the complex material structures, like brains and the artifacts they have produced (computers, networks, robots, rovers, and ultimately to whatever complex system results from becoming a Type 3 civilization). The old TDB then recedes and the new TDB "emerges" and begins designing and building a new reality with one higher dimension, thus growing the hierarchy of TDBs (NIs). The "old TDBs" cannot and do not keep up with the new developments and thus cause the "Wizard of Oz effect" in which the top NI, or TDB has no conscious capability whatsoever.
2839 "But what is admirable in itself, what really deserves to provoke wonder, is the ever-renewed creation which reality, whole and undivided, accomplishes in advancing; for no complication of the mathematical order with itself, however elaborate we may suppose it, can introduce an atom of novelty into the world,"
We have to be clear here about the meaning of 'novelty'. Did Mandelbrot "introduce an atom of novelty" when he wrote down his simple algorithm? He certainly didn't deliberately design any of the complexity we discover in the Mandelbrot Set. In the same way the unfolding of the complexities of physical reality are strictly a consequence of consistency, as Dr. Dick has shown.
2909 "In a general way, reality is ordered exactly to the degree in which it satisfies our thought."
Most true - no mind, no order.
2912 "But the mind, we said, can go in two opposite ways. Sometimes it follows its natural direction: there is then progress in the form of tension, continuous creation, free activity. Sometimes it inverts it,"
This is my "upward" and "downward" information flow.
2925 "We may say then that this first kind of order is that of the vital or of the willed, in opposition to the second, which is that of the inert and the automatic."
Yes, my "upward and downward" again. Will is the vital component of mind.
2925 "Common sense instinctively distinguishes between the two kinds of order,"
Yes, one is observed, the other is desired.
2936 "Thus the vital order, such as it is offered to us piecemeal in experience, presents the same character and performs the same function as the physical order: both cause experience to repeat itself, both enable our mind to generalize. In reality, this character has entirely different origins in the two cases, and even opposite meanings."
Yes! The physical order is strictly the logical consequence of consistency while vital order is the willful consequence of Desire. Here Bergson launches into a lengthy and interesting discussion of the denotation and connotation of the terms 'genera', 'general', 'laws', and 'vitality'.
2994 "the law remains none the less a relation, and a relation is essentially a comparison; it has objective reality only for an intelligence that represents to itself several terms at the same time. This intelligence may be neither mine nor yours:"
2998 "an experience made of laws, that is, of terms related to other terms, is an experience made of comparisons, which, before we receive it, has already had to pass through an atmosphere of intellectuality."
3000 "this conception is the result of an arbitrary confusion between the generality of laws and that of genera."
But in order to have confusion is not a mind necessary?
3008 "it is the confusion of two kinds of order that lies behind the relativism of the moderns, as it lay behind the dogmatism of the ancients."
3019 "The physical order is “automatic;” the vital order is, I will not say voluntary, but analogous to the order “willed.”"
I would go further and say that it is more than an analogy. It is definitely a voluntary act of will.
3023 "That order exists is a fact. But, on the other hand, disorder, which appears to us to be less than order, is, it seems, of right."
What?? I don't understand what he is saying here.
3025 "when we undertake to found order, we regard it as contingent, if not in things, at least as viewed by the mind:"
3029 "Now, it is unquestionable that all order is contingent, and conceived as such. But contingent in relation to what?"
Before you answer your own rhetorical question, Henri, let me ask another one: by whom, exactly, is the "contingent order" conceived? My answer is that order can only be defined and conceived by consciousness, and that consciousness exists only outside our manifold. The objects conceived as "ordered", on the other hand, are confined to the physical world ( i.e. the manifold) or to the Ideal ( Platonic) world.
3049 "First we think of the physical universe as we know it, with effects and causes well proportioned to each other; then, by a series of arbitrary decrees, we augment, diminish, suppress, so as to obtain what we call disorder. In reality we have substituted will for the mechanism of nature; we have replaced the “automatic order” by a multitude of elementary wills, just to the extent that we imagine the apparition or vanishing of phenomena. No doubt, for all these little wills to constitute a “willed order,” they must have accepted the direction of a higher will. But, on looking closely at them, we see that that is just what they do: our own will is there, which objectifies itself in each of these capricious wills in turn, and takes good care not to connect the same with the same, nor to permit the effect to be proportional to the cause—in fact makes one simple intention hover over the whole of the elementary volitions. Thus, here again, the absence of one of the two orders consists in the presence of the other."
Excellent analysis. It deserves much further thought.
3075 "If there are two kinds of order, this contingency of order is explained: one of the forms is contingent in relation to the other. Where I find the geometrical order, the vital was possible; where the order is vital, it might have been geometrical."
My "transfer of omniscience" or double pendulum.
3088 "Either the incoherent is only a word, devoid of meaning, or, if I give it a meaning, it is on condition of putting incoherence midway between the two orders, and not below both of them. There is not first the incoherent, then the geometrical, then the vital; there is only the geometrical and the vital, and then, by a swaying of the mind between them, the idea of the incoherent. To speak of an uncoördinated diversity to which order is superadded is therefore to commit a veritable petitio principii; for in imagining the uncoördinated we really posit an order, or rather two."
This makes "perfect" sense in the context of TDB theory.
3193 "the physicist is obliged to attach energy to extended particles, and, even if he regards the particles only as reservoirs of energy, he remains in space: he would belie his rôle if he sought the origin of these energies in an extra-spatial process. It is there, however, in our opinion, that it must be sought."
3230 "In vital activity we see, then, that which subsists of the direct movement in the inverted movement, a reality which is making itself in a reality which is unmaking itself."
Like my double pendulum.
3241 "Creation, so conceived, is not a mystery; we experience it in ourselves when we act freely."
3244 "To speak of things creating themselves would therefore amount to saying that the understanding presents to itself more than it presents to itself—a self-contradictory affirmation, an empty and vain idea."
Yes, just as the notion of infinity amounts to saying that "there are more numbers than numbers" as Feynman noted.
3319 "each species behaves as if the general movement of life stopped at it instead of passing through it. It thinks only of itself, it lives only for itself. Hence the numberless struggles that we behold in nature. Hence a discord, striking and terrible, but for which the original principle of life must not be held responsible."
3324 "Two things only are necessary: (1) a gradual accumulation of energy; (2) an elastic canalization of this energy in variable and indeterminable directions, at the end of which are free acts."
Leading to a Type III civilization and from there to the next transfer of omniscience. In the following paragraphs Bergson essentially declares these two conditions to be the defining characteristics of life. But by this definition, the water cycle would be alive with the calving of glaciers being the "free acts".
3338 "The truth is that life is possible wherever energy descends the incline indicated by Carnot’s law and where a cause of inverse direction can retard the descent—that is to say, probably, in all the worlds suspended from all the stars."
See my previous note.
3418 "In reality, consciousness does not spring from the brain; but brain and consciousness correspond because equally they measure, the one by the complexity of its structure and the other by the intensity of its awareness, the quantity of choice that the living being has at its disposal."
TDB theory makes this sensible: structure is in our manifold; awareness and choice (free will) are in hyperspace.
3419 "It is precisely because a cerebral state expresses simply what there is of nascent action in the corresponding psychical state, that the psychical state tells us more than the cerebral state."
3420 "The consciousness of a living being, as we have tried to prove elsewhere, is inseparable from its brain in the sense in which a sharp knife is inseparable from its edge:"
This is a poor analogy; Plato's lyre would have been better. Too bad Bergson wasn't familiar with radio, which offers a very good analogy for the mind-body connection.
3454 "Life, we have said, transcends finality as it transcends the other categories. It is essentially a current sent through matter, drawing from it what it can. There has not, therefore, properly speaking, been any project or plan."
I beg to differ. TDB theory offers an understandable scenario in which life does proceed from, if not a plan, then at least an objective.
3502 "then no longer have to do with definite living beings."
3515 "consciousness is essentially free; it is freedom itself;"
3575 "I say to myself that there might be, that indeed there ought to be, nothing, and I then wonder that there is something."
3587 "If I ask myself why bodies or minds exist rather than nothing, I find no answer; but that a logical principle, such as A=A, should have the power of creating itself, triumphing over the nought throughout eternity, seems to me natural."
Of Penrose's three worlds, Bergson favors the Platonic one as the starting point rather than the Aristotelian or Cartesian one. I favor the Cartesian one, but I could change my mind.
3601 "Let us then see what we are thinking about when we speak of “Nothing.”"
3640 "the same character as that of a square circle: it is not an idea, it is only a word."
It's not that simple. It depends on your world-view and what you include in it. If your world-view is the materialist world consisting only of 4D space-time with its energy and information contents, then a square circle is indeed only a word for an impossible or nonsensical concept in the context of plane geometry. But if your world-view is bigger by one spatial dimension, then a square circle can make sense. Think about it one dimension lower. In Flatland the idea of a square circle is absurd, but one dimension up, say in our materialistic world, a right circular cylinder with height equal to diameter, is a perfectly reasonable idea. This figure, when observed by A. Square, can appear either as a square or a circle depending on its projection onto Flatland. So even in our world a square circle can exist if only you consider it to be a 3D object instead of a 2D object.
3641 "the object suppressed is either external or internal: it is a thing or it is a state of consciousness."
The attendant confusion here can again be cleared up simply by positing an extra higher dimension and agreeing that "things" exist only in our manifold and that "consciousness" resides wholly outside our manifold. Concepts like "all" or " nothing" or " thing" have meaning only inside the manifold and they have meaning only to consciousness that is outside the manifold.
3659 "The idea implies on the subjective side a preference, on the objective side a substitution, and is nothing else but a combination of, or rather an interference between, this feeling of preference and this idea of substitution."
This is an excellent observation. I especially like the term "interference": when the preference or expectation is in sync with the thing being substituted or not, the mind is satisfied. When they are out of sync, there is tension or dissatisfaction. The whole idea makes sense in the TDB context where the perception, the conception, the feeling, the preference, and all such subjectivity are found only outside the manifold while the thing, the substitution, the presence, the absence, and all other objectivity are found strictly inside the manifold.
3660 "Such is the mechanism of the operation by which our mind annihilates an object and succeeds in representing in the external world a partial nought. Let us now see how it represents it within itself."
Unfortunately this language is prejudicial against TDB theory. But it is only a semantic problem. If we accept the reality of higher dimensional space, then the term "external world" would seem to refer to the higher space outside our manifold. But in TDB theory, this "external world" is strictly inside the manifold while "our mind... within itself" is completely outside the manifold. This kind of confusion needs to be avoided.
3663 "I can, no doubt, interrupt by thought the course of my inner life;"
Yes! That is the fundamental basis of free will.
3675 "if, in short, annihilation signifies before anything else substitution, the idea of an “annihilation of everything” is as absurd as that of a square circle."
Most true. Both are absurd within the context of a manifold. Both make sense in the context of an embedded manifold along with its embedding space.
3679 "the suppression of absolutely everything implies a downright contradiction in terms, since the operation consists in destroying the very condition that makes the operation possible."
Yes. The contradiction arises because the term 'everything' is not well defined. As Professor Grim has proved, there is no coherent interpretation of the word 'everything' within the context of a manifold. The only sense is in the context of a manifold embedded in a higher-dimensional embedding space and it is only from the perspective of a higher space outside the manifold that the term 'everything' can be defined to include everything within the manifold and nothing more.
3691 "But we can free ourselves from these conditions; all that is necessary is that by an effort of abstraction we should call up the idea of the object A by itself, that we should agree first to consider it as existing, and then, by a stroke of the intellectual pen, blot out the clause. The object will then be, by our decree, non-existent.”"
Yes, and TDB theory provides a reasonable context for doing exactly that.
3695 "The idea of the object A, supposed existent, is the representation pure and simple of the object A, for we cannot represent an object without attributing to it, by the very fact of representing it, a certain reality."
This seems to declare the actual and real existence of the Ideal Platonic world. If you carefully follow the succeeding intricate paragraphs thinking of the example of a square and keeping straight exactly where the ideal perfect square exists and any physical representation such as one drawn on paper, this idea becomes clear. Then if you follow through the same paragraph carefully thinking of the Mandelbrot set instead of a square the idea becomes more clear yet. Questions like , Does the Mandelbrot set exist in time prior to its Discovery by Mandelbrot? In TDB Theory the ideal world is a fundamental part of reality, just as Penrose has declared, taking its place along with the physical world and the mental world these three being called by me the Platonic the Aristotelian and the Cartesian respectively.
3715 "there is more, and not less, in the idea of an object conceived as “not existing” than in the idea of this same object conceived as “existing”; for the idea of the object “not existing” is necessarily the idea of the object “existing” with, in addition, the representation of an exclusion of this object by the actual reality taken in block."
This makes sense in TDB theory if you consider the "actual reality taken in block" to consist only of the Aristotelian world.
3726 "By affirming one thing, and then another, and so on ad infinitum, I form the idea of “All;” so, by denying one thing and then other things, finally by denying All, I arrive at the idea of Nothing.—But it is just this assimilation which is arbitrary."
This is exactly the error pointed out by Professor Grim. No cogent definition of "all" can be made.
3879 "more concentrated and more gathered up in itself, it endures"
Most true. Psychological=mental=Cartesian; Mathematical=Ideal=Platonic; and Logical=physical=Aristotelian.
3885 "The function of the intellect is to preside over actions. Now, in action, it is the result that interests us; the means matter little provided the end is attained. Thence it comes that we are altogether bent on the end to be realized, generally trusting ourselves to it in order that the idea may become an act; and thence it comes also that only the goal where our activity will rest is pictured explicitly to our mind: the movements constituting the action itself either elude our consciousness or reach it only confusedly. Let us consider a very simple act, like that of lifting the arm."
Free-will-deniers would do well to ponder this analysis.
3891 "our activity is carried by a series of leaps, during which our consciousness is turned away as much as possible from the movement going on, to regard only the anticipated image of the movement accomplished."
3942 "the mind derives, as we have just shown, three kinds of representations: (1) qualities, (2) forms of essences, (3) acts."
3975 "Whether we would think becoming, or express it, or even perceive it, we hardly do anything else than set going a kind of cinematograph inside us. We may therefore sum up what we have been saying in the conclusion that the mechanism of our ordinary knowledge is of a cinematographical kind."
4086 "The word ειδος, which we translate here by “Idea,” has, in fact, this threefold meaning. It denotes (1) the quality, (2) the form or essence, (3) the end or design (in the sense of intention) of the act being performed, that is to say, at bottom, the design (in the sense of drawing) of the act supposed accomplished. These three aspects are those of the adjective, substantive and verb, and correspond to the three essential categories of language."
It also nicely corresponds with Penrose's three worlds.
4109 "at the base of ancient philosophy lies necessarily this postulate: that there is more in the motionless than in the moving, and that we pass from immutability to becoming by way of diminution or attenuation."
4112 "In that consists the Platonic “non-being,” the Aristotelian “matter"—a metaphysical zero which, joined to the Idea, like the arithmetical zero to unity, multiplies it in space and time. By it the motionless and simple Idea is refracted into a movement spread out indefinitely."
4114 "It is an elusive nothing, that creeps between the Ideas and creates endless agitation, eternal disquiet,"
4117 "Degrade the immutable Ideas: you obtain, by that alone, the perpetual flux of things. The Ideas or Forms are the whole of intelligible reality, that is to say, of truth, in that they represent, all together, the theoretical equilibrium of Being. As to sensible reality, it is a perpetual oscillation from one side to the other of this point of equilibrium."
My "transfer of omniscience".
4119 "throughout the whole philosophy of Ideas there is a certain conception of duration, as also of the relation of time to eternity. He who installs himself in becoming sees in duration the very life of things, the fundamental reality. The Forms, which the mind isolates and stores up in concepts, are then only snapshots of the changing reality."
4124 "if we treat becoming by the cinematographical method, the Forms are no longer snapshots taken of the change, they are its constitutive elements, they represent all that is positive in Becoming. Eternity no longer hovers over time, as an abstraction; it underlies time, as a reality."
Bergson has fallen into a trap here. His analysis of the Form is good but he errs in using the term 'eternal'. In his cinematographical analogy, the film is finite: there is a first frame, and at any "current" moment there is a last frame. Time is not eternal. There are "always" a finite number of frames in the film.
4127 "It is this that Plato expresses in his magnificent language when he says that God, unable to make the world eternal, gave it Time, “a moving image of eternity.”"
4131 "Each successive state, each quality, each form, in short, will be seen by it as a mere cut made by thought in the universal becoming. It will be found that form is essentially extended, inseparable as it is from the extensity of the becoming which has materialized it in the course of its flow. Every form thus occupies space, as it occupies time."
Here Bergson either anticipates or adopts the Relativistic view with its merger of space and time: each "mere cut" in our manifold is a slice through Brian Greene's "loaf of bread".
4169 "Science is not, then, a human construction. It is prior to our intellect, independent of it, veritably the generator of Things"
Dr. Dick"s theorem makes sense of this.
4178 "the Form of Forms, the Idea of Ideas, or, to use his own words, the Thought of Thought. Such is the God of Aristotle—necessarily immutable and apart from what is happening in the world, since he is only the synthesis of all concepts in a single concept. It is true that no one of the manifold concepts could exist apart, such as it is in the divine unity: in vain should we look for the ideas of Plato within the God of Aristotle."
This is profound. It is especially interesting if you consider both the mathematical and the vernacular connotation of the word "manifold". Both work but the mathematical connotation suggests that we go beyond Bergson's thinking and consider my TDB hypothesis.
4181 "It is probably this possibility of an outpouring of Platonic Ideas from the Aristotelian God that is meant, in the philosophy of Aristotle, by the active intellect,"
Yes. Consider the question of whether or not the Mandelbrot set existed prior to its discovery by Mandelbrot, and the question of whether or not it even exists today. Applying my TDB hypothesis to Bergson's analysis of Aristotle, the set was produced in fragments by human thinkers who formed images of incomplete representations of the set that is presumed to be to exist complete in some Ideal World. It is by the actions of many such thinkers that produced the form that occupies the next higher level.
4200 "This conception, which more and more shows through the reasonings of the Greek philosophers as we go from Plato to Plotinus, we may formulate thus: The affirmation of a reality implies the simultaneous affirmation of all the degrees of reality intermediate between it and nothing."
Yes, and if you augment Bergson with Dr. Dick's theorem and my TDB hypothesis, you come to the same conclusion.
4205 "Let us then posit the God of Aristotle, thought of thought—that is, thought making a circle, transforming itself from subject to object and from object to subject by an instantaneous, or rather an eternal, circular process:"
Here I think Bergson is short-sighted. Instead of a circle, I propose my Single Helix structure where a new level is attained with each rotation rather than returning to the original starting point.
4225 "A perpetuity of mobility is possible only if it is backed by an eternity of immutability, which it unwinds in a chain without beginning or end."
Bergson makes a valiant effort here, but he points out how deep and unfathomable the mystery was to the ancient Greeks.
4281 "To know, that is to say, to foresee in order to act,"
Interesting definition of 'to know'. I think it is a good one--much better than JTB.
4365 "modern science must be defined pre-eminently by its aspiration to take time as an independent variable. But with what time has it to do?"
4491 "That metaphysics hesitated at first between the two paths seems to us unquestionable. The indecision is visible in Cartesianism. On the one hand, Descartes affirms universal mechanism: from this point of view movement would be relative, and, as time has just as much reality as movement, it would follow that past, present and future are given from all eternity."
4493 "on the other hand (and that is why the philosopher has not gone to these extreme consequences), Descartes believes in the free will of man. He superposes on the determinism of physical phenomena the indeterminism of human actions, and, consequently, on time-length a time in which there is invention, creation, true succession. This duration he supports on a God who is unceasingly renewing the creative act,"
I think Descartes was right.
4525 "But the temptation must have been great for the philosopher to hypostatize this hope, or rather this impetus, of the new science, and to convert a general rule of method into a fundamental law of things. So he transported himself at once to the limit; he supposed physics to have become complete and to embrace the whole of the sensible world."
Interesting. I think this especially applies to evolutionary biologists; they are too quick to ascribe Darwinian explanations to all biological phenomena.
4555 "So of quality and quantity, of soul and body. It is for having cut all connection between the two terms that philosophers have been led to establish between them a rigorous parallelism, of which the ancients had not dreamed, to regard them as translations and not as inversions of each other; in short, to posit a fundamental identity as a substratum to their duality."
4565 "For Leibniz, on the contrary, extension is indeed still a translation, but it is thought that is the original, and thought might dispense with translation, the translation being made only for us. In positing God, we necessarily posit also all the possible views of God, that is to say, the monads. But we can always imagine that a view has been taken from a point of view, and it is natural for an imperfect mind like ours to class views, qualitatively different, according to the order and position of points of view, qualitatively identical, from which the views might have been taken."
We should take this suggestion seriously and investigate the real possibility that some of those "points of view" occur along hyper-dimensional axes that are outside our manifold and thus inaccessible.
4567 "In reality the points of view do not exist, for there are only views, each given in an indivisible block and representing in its own way the whole of reality, which is God."
I think that in reality those points of view DO exist; they are just inaccessible.
4571 "That is what Leibniz means when he says that space is the order of coexistents, that the perception of extension is a confused perception (that is to say, a perception relative to an imperfect mind),"
I agree with Leibnitz up to this point, but when he introduces his monads, he joins the confusion of imperfect minds, which is all there are.
4575 "is equivalent to the whole set of stereoscopic views taken of it from all points, so that, instead of seeing in the relief a juxtaposition of solid parts, we might quite as well look upon it as made of the reciprocal complementarity of these whole views, each given in block, each indivisible, each different from all the others and yet representative of the same thing."
"The visible relief of an object" Excellent observation! Now just enlarge the scope by admitting extra dimensions and drawing similar conclusions.
4579 "Leibniz differs from Spinoza in this, that he looks upon the universal mechanism as an aspect which reality takes for us, whereas, Spinoza makes of it an aspect which reality takes for itself."
4602 "To sum up, the resemblances of this new metaphysic to that of the ancients arise from the fact that both suppose ready-made—the former above the sensible, the latter within the sensible—a science one and complete, with which any reality that the sensible may contain is believed to coincide. For both, reality as well as truth are integrally given in eternity. Both are opposed to the idea of a reality that creates itself gradually, that is, at bottom, to an absolute duration."
Very interesting! First, this seems consistent with Dr. Dick's Theorem: truth is consistency--the only assumption in the theorem, and reality is the logical consequences of consistency (George Spencer-Brown has proposed an approach to explain how that works). The Mandelbrot set provides a simple model: Truth is represented as the generating algorithm. Reality is represented by the entirety of the set and its complex boundary. But without a sentient experiencer of portions of this complexity, the essence of our human existence is missing. What is missing is Stylus Guy inspecting and marveling at some specific regions and features of the structure. In so doing, time unfolds as well as the illusion of the unfolding of space. Second, the difference between the science being above or within the sensible is merely a semantic difference. It depends on the meanings of 'above' and 'within' with respect to our manifold and the higher-dimensional space in which it is embedded. If you accept my TDB hypothesis, then Stylus Guy (SG) (i.e. our consciousness (God Himself)) is smeared across the manifold boundary. It actually exists in the higher dimensional space but experiences the illusion that it resides in the brain to which it is temporarily connected, just like the JPL operator of a Mars rover might seem to actually be on Mars. Third, my TDB-SG theory is also opposed to the idea of a reality that creates itself gradually. The Mandelbrot Set does not create itself. It does not exist as a complete whole, ever. It exists in part when and only when SG deliberately and consciously inspects part of it. This is consistent with the idea of the "existence" of a star being established when it is observed. Fourth, in TDB-SG theory, both reality (logical consequences) and truth (consistency) are "integrally given in eternity" whatever that means. Fifth, TDB-SG theory is also opposed to the idea of an absolute duration. As an example, any duration associated with the Mandelbrot Set can only make sense in connection with SG, not with the set itself nor with its defining algorithm. Unless, that is, you say that consistency is eternal, which I guess you could say if that's what is meant by being "integrally given in eternity".
4638 "modern science turns on laws, that is, on relations. Now, a relation is a bond established by a mind between two or more terms. A relation is nothing outside of the intellect that relates. The universe, therefore, can only be a system of laws if phenomena have passed beforehand through the filter of an intellect. Of course, this intellect might be that of a being infinitely superior to man,"
4640 "But it is not necessary to go so far, and, for the effect we have here to obtain, the human intellect is enough: such is precisely the Kantian solution."
Exactly. But let's not be too hasty in supposing exactly what human intellect entails.
4647 "when he speaks of the human intellect, he means neither yours nor mine: the unity of nature comes indeed from the human understanding that unifies, but the unifying function that operates here is impersonal. It imparts itself to our individual consciousnesses, but it transcends them. It is much less than a substantial God; it is, however, a little more than the isolated work of a man or even than the collective work of humanity. It does not exactly lie within man; rather, man lies within it,"
[he, Kant] I agree with Kant here.
4651 "From this point of view, the criticism of Kant consisted chiefly in limiting the dogmatism of his predecessors, accepting their conception of science and reducing to a minimum the metaphysic it implied."
Yes, I agree with Kant.
4658 "might not consciousness, by two efforts of opposite direction, raising itself and lowering itself by turns, become able to grasp from within, and no longer perceive only from without, the two forms of reality, body and mind?"
Yes, I certainly think so but I'm less clear about Bergson's method.
4813 "The philosopher must go further than the scientist. Making a clean sweep of everything that is only an imaginative symbol, he will see the material world melt back into a simple flux, a continuity of flowing, a becoming. And he will thus be prepared to discover real duration there where it is still more useful to find it, in the realm of life and of consciousness. For, so far as inert matter is concerned, we may neglect the flowing without committing a serious error: matter, we have said, is weighted with geometry; and matter, the reality which descends, endures only by its connection with that which ascends. But life and consciousness are this very ascension. When once we have grasped them in their essence by adopting their movement, we understand how the rest of reality is derived from them. Evolution appears and, within this evolution, the progressive determination of materiality and intellectuality by the gradual consolidation of the one and of the other. But, then, it is within the evolutionary movement that we place ourselves, in order to follow it to its present results, instead of recomposing these results artificially with fragments of themselves. Such seems to us to be the true function of philosophy. So understood, philosophy is not only the turning of the mind homeward, the coincidence of human consciousness with the living principle whence it emanates, a contact with the creative effort: it is the study of becoming in general, it is true evolutionism and consequently the true continuation of science—provided that we understand by this word a set of truths either experienced or demonstrated, and not a certain new scholasticism that has grown up during the latter half of the nineteenth century around the physics of Galileo, as the old scholasticism grew up around Aristotle."
This is a wonderful grand finale to Bergson's book. It is worth re-reading many times. It makes "perfect" sense to interpret it in the context of my TDB-SG hypotheses and its consequences, which I have begun calling TDB-SG Theory. In particular Bergson's finale fits nicely on the frameworks of my "single helix" as well as Rosenberg's NI Hierarchy. It all makes sense to me. Maybe I should write up an explanation.
©2017 Paul R. Martin, All rights reserved.