Gaston Bachelard

Gaston
Bachelard
1884
1962

French Philosopher

Author Quotes

Thus the dream house must possess every virtue. How? ever spacious, it must also be a cottage, a dove-cote, a nest, a chrysalis. Intimacy needs the heart of a nest. Erasmus, his biographer tells us, was long in finding a nook in his fine

We must listen to poets.

Words are little houses, each with its cellar and garret. Common-sense lives on the ground floor, always ready to engage in foreign commerce on the same level as the others, as the passers-by, who are never dreamers. To go upstairs in the word house, is to withdraw, step by step; while to go down to the cellar is to dream, it is losing oneself in the distant corridors of an obscure etymology, looking for treasures that cannot be found in words. To mount and descend in the words themselves - this is a poet's life. To mount too high or descend too low, is allowed in the case of poets, who bring earth and sky together.

Reverie is commonly classified among the phenomena of psychic detente. It is lived out in a relaxed time which has no linking force. Since it functions with inattention, it is often without memory. It is a flight from out of the real that does not always find a consistent unreal world.

The human being taken in his profound reality as well as in his great tension of becoming is a divided being, a being which divides again, having permitted himself the illusion of unity for barely an instant. He divides and then reunites.

The reverie would not last if it were not nourished by the images of the sweetness of living, by the illusions of happiness.

To disappear into deep water or to disappear toward a far horizon, to become part of depth of infinity, such is the destiny of man that finds its image in the destiny of water.

We suffer through dreams. We heal by dreams.

Words, in their distant past, have the past of my reveries.

Reverie is not a mind vacuum. It is rather the gift of an hour which knows the plenitude of the soul.

The image can only be studied through the image, by dreaming images as they gather in reverie. It is a non-sense to claim to study imagination objectively since one really receives the image only if he admires it. Already in comparing one image to another, one runs the risk of losing participation in its individuality.

The reveries of two solitary souls prepare the sweetness of loving.

To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.

We understand nature by resisting it.

Written language must be considered as a particular psychic reality. The book is permanent; it is an object in your field of vision. It speaks to you with a monotonous authority which even its author would not have. You are fairly obliged to read what is written.

A book is a human fact; a great book like Seraphita gathers together numerous psychological elements. These elements become coherent through a sort of psychological beauty. It does the reader a service.

Any work of science, no matter what its point of departure, cannot become fully convincing until it crosses the boundary between the theoretical and the experimental: Experimentation must give way to argument, and argument must have recourse to experimentation.

Far from the immensities of sea and land, merely through memory, we can recapture, by means of meditation, the resonances of this contemplation of grandeur. But is this really memory? Isn?t imagination alone able to enlarge indefinitely the images of immensity? In point of face, daydreaming, from the very first second, is an entirely constituted state. We do not see it start, and yet it always starts the same way, that is, it flees the object nearby and right away it is far off, elsewhere, in the space of elsewhere.

If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.

Indeed, it is not in the least surprising that metaphors can be found that illustrate time if we make them the single connecting factor in the most varied of domains, in life, music, thought, emotion, and history. We think that by superimposing all these more or less empty, more or less blank images, we can make contact with the fullness of time and the reality of time; from a blank, abstract duration in which just the possibilities of being would be found, lined up one after the other, we think that we can move on to duration that is lived, felt, loved, sung, and written about it literature.

Of course, a psychologist would find it more direct to study the inspired poet. He would make concrete studies of inspiration in individual geniuses. But for all that, would he experience the phenomena of inspiration? His human documentation gathered from inspired poets could hardly be related, except from the exterior, in an ideal of objective observations. Comparison of inspired poets would soon make us lose sight of inspiration.

A book is always an emergence above everyday life. A book is expressed life and thus is an addition to life.

Baudelaire writes: In certain almost supernatural inner states, the depth of life is entirely revealed in the spectacle, however ordinary, that we have before our eyes, and which becomes the symbol of it." Here we have a passage that designates the phenomenological direction I myself pursue. The exterior spectacle helps intimate grandeur unfold.

For a knowledge of intimacy, localization in the spaces of our intimacy is more urgent than determination of dates.

If there is any realm where distinction is especially difficult, it is the realm of childhood memories, the realm of beloved images harbored in memory since childhood. These memories which live by the image and in virtue of the image become, at certain times of our lives and particularly during the quiet age, the origin and matter of a complex reverie: the memory dreams, and reverie remembers.

Author Picture
First Name
Gaston
Last Name
Bachelard
Birth Date
1884
Death Date
1962
Bio

French Philosopher