Rating= ♥♥∑ƒ∞√ ( a bit involved ) !
Yesterday, Thrusday January 26th, Catherine was reading Bergson in her bath. At 19 :35 (Paris time), she had a moment of understanding, a small ah ! ah ! that she would like to share with the Kosmos … The book she is reading is Matter and memory, the second major opus of Bergson. Reading it a bit arduous, difficult at times, and usually after a few pages, she has to stop. Sometimes she has to come back, because she realizes that she didn’t understand a notion, or that she forgot a step in the reasoning. But well, all in all, Catherine fell in love with this book, and with the philosophical and spiritual journey that it invites the reader to. Matter an Memory treats of the theory of perception and about what we call “reality”. Bergson has a very interesting approach to this eternal question, which relates to his understanding of Time in terms of both duration and simultaneity.
Here is below the excerpt that produced the ah ! ah! First in French and with an attempt of translation in English, and then the content of the ah! ah !…
p163 French Edition Quadriges “ Nous touchons là au problème capital de l’existence, problème que nous ne pouvons qu’effleurer sous peine d’être conduits, de question en question, au coeur même de la métaphysique. Disons simplement qu’en ce qui concerne les choses de l’expérience, l’existence paraît impliquer deux conditions réunies 1) la présentation à la conscience; 2) la connexion logique ou causale de ce qui est ainsi présenté avec ce qui précède et ce qui suit.(…) Ainsi dans le cas des états internes actuels la connexion est moins étroite et la détermination du présent par le passé n’a pas le caractère d une dérivation mathématique; – en revanche la présentation à la conscience est parfaite. Au contraire s’il s’agit d’objets extérieurs, c’est la connexion qui est parfaite, puisque ces objets obéissent à des lois nécessaires; mais alors l’autre condition, la présentation à la conscience, n’est que partiellement remplie ,car l’objet matériel, justement en raison de la multiplicité des éléments inaperçus qui le rattachent à tous les autres objets, nous paraît renfermer en lui et cacher derrière lui infiniment plus que ce qu’il nous laisse voir.”
English version ( translation by Catherine so be clement) : “ We touch here the most important problem of Existence, problem that we can only skim about unless we will be lead, from question to question, at the very heart of metaphysics. Let’s simply say that in all that we can experiment, Existence seems to imply two united conditions 1) the presentation to Consciousness 2) the logical connection,or causal connection of what is presented to Consciousness with what precedes and what follows.(…) Indeed, in the case of internal states of consciousness, the connection is less tight and the determination of the present by the past doesn’t have the character of a mathematical proof;- on the other hand the presentation to consciousness is perfect. On the contrary if we talk about external objects, it is the connection which is perfect, since those objects obey to necessary laws; but then the other condition, the presentation to consciousness is only partially fulfilled, because the material object, precisely because of the multiplicity of all the unseen elements which attach it to all other objects, seems to contain in itself and hide behind itself infinitely more than what we can see”.
I have included below a little diagram to illustrate how I understand this very inspiring idea.
Bergson here makes a fundamental distinction between the interior and the exterior, as far as our perception goes. There is a graduation; the more exterior is an object from Consciousness, the more this object belongs to the world of causal determination, the world of science we would say; the world where physics laws of causality do operate. This external object,on the other hand looses its direct impact on consciousness : we see it only partially. Now if we consider objects which are internal, like Thoughts, Inspirations, Intuitions etc… their impact on consciousness is “perfect” while their relation to causality is very weak. As an example of this second case, let’s consider what happens when one has a spiritual experience. Usually when a spiritual experience is strong enough, one always remembers it. It leaves an impact on memory which is almost impossible to erase. That’s how I understand Bergson’s idea of a perfect “presentation to consciousness”. A spiritual experience is dealing with internal objects, and as such it does impact our Soul much more than simply seeing a car in the street or the chair in front of me. On the other hand the more profound is the spiritual experience, the looser are its tights with the world of causation.
We get here a sort of Quantum Uncertainty principle between the External world ( causation, sequential time) and the Internal world ( deep memory, presence of the Soul). The more we experience the external world the less the impact on the Soul is important. The more we experience the internal world, the less the causality is important.
so we could almost say, more than 100 years after Bergson , that
External. Internal ≥ h / ( 4 Π )
a kind of metaphysical Heisenberg uncertainty … ?
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