Bergson on Philosophic Images

Here, for the edification of all, is Bergson on the philosopher's image and how we might approach it — through imitating its style, embodying it. We don't seek understanding; we seek a certain sight. I love this passage:

"What is this intuition? If the philosopher has not been able to give the formula for it, we are certainly not able to do so. But what we shall manage to recapture and hold is a certain intermediary image between the simplicity of the concrete intuition and the complexity of the abstractions which translate it, a receding and vanishing image, which haunts, unperceived perhaps, the mind of the philosopher, which follows him like his shadow through the ins and outs of his thought and which, if it is not the intuition itself, approaches it much more closely than the conceptual expression, of necessity symbolical, to which the intuition must have recourse in order to furnish ʻexplanation.' Let us look closely at this shadow: by doing so we shall divine the attitude of the body which projects it. And if we try to imitate this attitude, or better still to assume it ourselves, we shall see as far as it is possible what the philosopher saw."  — Henri Bergson,  "Philosophical Intuition," in The Creative Mind, p, 109.

1 comment:

dustygravel said...

I like that you used "edification".
up untell the moment I read that I had only ever heard that word from religiones folks. But thats oddly appropriate, after all Bergson is a Metaphysics - a Metaphysics that demands a change of behavior. And yes just as ol' preach useta say it's a sweet demand- One irresistible! When the Image of Time calls you home.. when sight and action are trully one. Now you can walk by sight because seeing is beliving! and seeing is walking too! Hallelujah!

Then theres that 'philosopher' guy. Where'd he come from? Who's intuition fallows him always imploreing to be furnished with ʻexplanation.'

It seems that the only way to see the world from which this intuitionis cast is to imitate the attitude of the philosopher from which the vision came through. Alright, I see.