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(2010) Bergson and phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer.

Bergson on the driven force of consciousness and life

Rudolf Bernet

pp. 42-62

Bergson is known as being a thinker of movement. That is, according to him, the being of consciousness, life and spirit are all characterized by an incessant creative surpassing of previous accomplishments. Bergson is also the thinker of an ontological difference understood as transcendence. That is, he never confuses consciousness with distinct experiences or psychological states, life with the (species of) living beings or the spirit with its expressions. In its incessant becoming, being transcends all beings and never remains what it is. One would thus expect to find in Bergson a great sympathy for the idea of a non-being or a nothingness, and yet, this is not the case. According to Bergson — just as in the image of the athlete evoked by DeLillo — being can count on inexhaustible forces and it only knows the negativity of external obstacles that it is certain to overcome, making it even stronger. While being never remains what it is, it does, however, always already carry virtually in itself a sketch of everything that it can become.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9780230282995_3

Full citation:

Bernet, R. (2010)., Bergson on the driven force of consciousness and life, in M. Kelly (ed.), Bergson and phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 42-62.

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