Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

Henri
Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson
1859
1941

French Philosopher

Author Quotes

Art has no other object than to set aside the symbols of practical utility, the generalities that are conventionally and socially accepted, everything in fact which masks reality from us, in order to set us face to face with reality itself.

Instinct perfected is a faculty of using and even constructing organized instruments; intelligence perfected is the faculty of making and using unorganized instruments.

The brain's function is to choose from the past, to diminish it, to simplify it, but not to preserve it.

We regard intelligence as man's main characteristic and we know that there is no superiority which intelligence cannot confer on us, no inferiority for which it cannot compensate.

But, then, I cannot escape the objection that there is no state of mind, however simple, which does not change every moment, since there is no consciousness without memory, and no continuation of a state without the addition, to the present feeling, of the memory of past moments. It is this which constitutes duration. Inner duration is the continuous life of a memory which prolongs the past into the present, the present either containing within it in a distinct form the ceaselessly growing image of the past, or, more profoundly, showing by its continual change of quality the heavier and still heavier load we drag behind us as we grow older. Without this survival of the past into the present there would be no duration, but only instantaneity.

Intelligence is the faculty of making artificial objects, especially tools to make tools.

The essential function of the universe, which is a machine for making gods.

When it is said that an object occupies a large space in the soul or even that it fills it entirely, we ought to understand by this simply that its image has altered the shade of a thousand perceptions or memories, and that in this sense it pervades them, although it does not itself come into view.

Europe is overpopulated, the world will soon be in the same condition, and if the self-reproduction of man is not rationalized... we shall have war.

Intuition is a method of feeling one's way intellectually into the inner heart of a thing to locate what is unique and inexpressible in it.

The idea of the future, pregnant with an infinity of possibilities, is thus more fruitful than the future itself, and this is why we find more charm in hope than in possession, in dreams than in reality.

When we make the cerebral state the beginning of an action, and in no sense the condition of a perception, we place the perceived images of things outside the image of our body, and thus replace perception within the things themselves.

For life is tendency, and the essence of a tendency is to develop in the form of a sheaf, creating, by its very growth, divergent directions among which its impetus is divided.

Is it astonishing that, like children trying to catch smoke by closing their hands, philosophers so often see the object they would grasp fly before them?

The major task of the twentieth century will be to explore the unconscious, to investigate the subsoil of the mind.

Wherever anything lives, there is, open somewhere, a register in which time is being inscribed.

Fortunately, some are born with spiritual immune systems that sooner or later give rejection to the illusory worldview grafted upon them from birth through social conditioning. They begin sensing that something is amiss, and start looking for answers. Inner knowledge and anomalous outer experiences show them a side of reality others are oblivious to, and so begins their journey of awakening. Each step of the journey is made by following the heart instead of following the crowd and by choosing knowledge over the veils of ignorance.

It seems that laughter needs an echo.

The motive power of democracy is love

You will obtain a vision of matter that is perhaps fatiguing for your imagination, but pure and stripped of what the requirements of life make you add to it in external perception.

Genius is that which forces the inertia of humanity to learn.

Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks.

The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that is laughable is vanity.

Homo sapiens, the only creature endowed with reason, is also the only creature to pin it's existence on things unreasonable

Life does not proceed by the association and addition of elements, but by dissociation and division.

Author Picture
First Name
Henri
Last Name
Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson
Birth Date
1859
Death Date
1941
Bio

French Philosopher