Henri Bergson((1859-1941)

French Philosopher and Evolutionist.

Bergsons chief achievement was to assert that there are different kinds of time, and that that scientifically measured time was `abstract' in relation to the time that we all feel ourselves inhabiting, which Bergson call `duree' or duration.

Duration and the Elan Vital.

Duration is a direct predecessor of Deleuze and Guatarri's `becoming' and stresses the subjectivity of time and memory, and imparts the subject with a strong sense of direction. He liked this direction to evolutionary development, though he rejected Darwin's `blind' evolution in favour of a `elan vital', an uplifting but unpredictable force innate in any evolving body. To an extent his ideas anticipate the phase-shifts in chaos theory, and the `punctuated equilibria' of systems development.

Bergson's influence

Bergson was hugely influential in his day, his lectures in Paris being la mode for twenty years; his ideas had particular accord with the arts, perhaps Bergsons most famous follower was Marcel Proust, whose evocation of memory is very Bergonsonian, the perfect expression of complete `duree'

Important Works:

1896 `Matiere et Memoroire' (`Matter and Memory')
1909 `L'Evolution creatrice' (`Creative Evolution')

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