Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson
There is, beneath these sharply cut crystals and this frozen surface, a continuous flux which is not comparable to any flux I have ever seen. There is a succession of states, each of which announces that which follows and contains that which precedes it.
An absolute can only be given in an intuition, while all the rest has to do with analysis.
In reality, the past is preserved by itself automatically.
Spirit borrows from matter the perceptions on which it feeds and restores them to matter in the form of movements which it has stamped with its own freedom.
Thus to seek with ready-made concepts to penetrate into the inmost nature of things is to apply to the mobility of the real a method created in order to give stationary points of observation on it. . . .
And I also see how this body influences external images : it gives back movement to them.
In short, intelligence, considered in what seems to be its original feature, is the faculty of manufacturing artificial objects, especially tools to make tools, and of indefinitely urging the manufacture.
The body, by the place which at each moment it occupies in the universe, indicates the parts and the aspects of matter on which we can lay hold: our perception, which exactly measures our virtual action on things, thus limits itself to the objects which actually influence our organs and prepare our movements.
To perceive means to immobilize. We seize, in the act of perception, something which outruns perception itself.
There is no greater joy than that of feeling oneself a creator. The triumph of life is expressed by creation.
To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
The soul of the great mystic does not stop at ecstasy, as at the end of a journey. The ecstasy is indeed rest, if you like, but as though at a station, where the engine is still under steam, the onward movement becoming a vibration on one spot, until it is time to race forward again.
There is no happiness without security- I mean the prospect of being able to rely on the permanence of a state into which one has settled oneself. This assurance is to be found either in the mastering of things, or in the mastering of self which makes one independent of things.
Through religion all men get a little of what a few privileged souls possess in full.
True mystics open their souls to the oncoming wave.
We do not think in real time. But we live in it, because life is greater than intelligence.
What is found in the effect was already in the cause.
An innate knowledge, or rather an acquired ignorance, suggests to it straightaway the step to be taken, the decisive act, the unanswerable word. Yet effort remains indispensable, endurance and perseverance likewise. But they come of themselves, they develop of their own accord, in a soul acting and acted upon, whose liberty coincides with the divine activity.
In the religion which we shall call dynamic, prayer is independent of its verbal expression; it is an elevation of the soul that can dispense with speech.
It is the emotion which drives the intelligence forward in spite of obstacles.
It is… by the superiority of its morality that a religion wins over souls and reveals them to a certain conception of things.
Mysticism is undoubtedly at the origin of great moral transformations. And mankind seems to be as far away as ever from it. But who knows?
The great error of the doctrines on the spirit has been the idea that by isolating the spiritual life from all the rest, by suspending it in space as high as possible above the earth, they were placing it beyond attack, as if they were not thereby simply exposing it to be taken as an effect of mirage!