Henri Bergson quotes

Henri Bergson photo
18   2

Henri Bergson

Birthdate: 18. October 1859
Date of death: 4. January 1941
Other names: Henri Louis Bergson

Henri-Louis Bergson was a French-Jewish philosopher who was influential in the tradition of continental philosophy, especially during the first half of the 20th century until the Second World War. Bergson is known for his arguments that processes of immediate experience and intuition are more significant than abstract rationalism and science for understanding reality.

He was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented". In 1930 France awarded him its highest honour, the Grand-Croix de la Legion d'honneur.

Bergson's great popularity created a controversy in France where his views were seen as opposing the secular and scientific attitude adopted by the Republic's officials. Wikipedia

Photo: Henri Manuel / Public domain

Works

Matter and Memory
Matter and Memory
Henri Bergson
Time and Free Will
Time and Free Will
Henri Bergson

„Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science.“

—  Henri Bergson, book The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

Source: The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932), Chapter III : Dynamic Religion
Context: Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science. What the mystic finds waiting for him, then, is a humanity which has been prepared to listen to his message by other mystics invisible and present in the religion which is actually taught. Indeed his mysticism itself is imbued with this religion, for such was its starting point. His theology will generally conform to that of the theologians. His intelligence and his imagination will use the teachings of the theologians to express in words what he experiences, and in material images what he sees spiritually. And this he can do easily, since theology has tapped that very current whose source is the mystical. Thus his mysticism is served by religion, against the day when religion becomes enriched by his mysticism. This explains the primary mission which he feels to be entrusted to him, that of an intensifier of religious faith.

„This explains the primary mission which he feels to be entrusted to him, that of an intensifier of religious faith.“

—  Henri Bergson, book The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

Source: The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932), Chapter III : Dynamic Religion
Context: Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science. What the mystic finds waiting for him, then, is a humanity which has been prepared to listen to his message by other mystics invisible and present in the religion which is actually taught. Indeed his mysticism itself is imbued with this religion, for such was its starting point. His theology will generally conform to that of the theologians. His intelligence and his imagination will use the teachings of the theologians to express in words what he experiences, and in material images what he sees spiritually. And this he can do easily, since theology has tapped that very current whose source is the mystical. Thus his mysticism is served by religion, against the day when religion becomes enriched by his mysticism. This explains the primary mission which he feels to be entrusted to him, that of an intensifier of religious faith.

„His intelligence and his imagination will use the teachings of the theologians to express in words what he experiences, and in material images what he sees spiritually.“

—  Henri Bergson, book The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

Source: The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932), Chapter III : Dynamic Religion
Context: Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science. What the mystic finds waiting for him, then, is a humanity which has been prepared to listen to his message by other mystics invisible and present in the religion which is actually taught. Indeed his mysticism itself is imbued with this religion, for such was its starting point. His theology will generally conform to that of the theologians. His intelligence and his imagination will use the teachings of the theologians to express in words what he experiences, and in material images what he sees spiritually. And this he can do easily, since theology has tapped that very current whose source is the mystical. Thus his mysticism is served by religion, against the day when religion becomes enriched by his mysticism. This explains the primary mission which he feels to be entrusted to him, that of an intensifier of religious faith.

„Men do not sufficiently realise that their future is in their own hands.“

—  Henri Bergson, book The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

Concluding sentences <!-- University of Notre Dame Press, 2002, p. 317 --> ; often just the last part of the last sentence is quoted, in the form: "The universe is a machine for making gods."
The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932)
Context: Men do not sufficiently realise that their future is in their own hands. Theirs is the task of determining first of all whether they want to go on living or not. Theirs is the responsibility, then, for deciding if they want merely to live, or intend to make just the extra effort required for fulfilling, even on their refractory planet, the essential function of the universe, which is a machine for the making of gods (la fonction essentielle de l'universe, qui est une machine à faire des dieux).

„I would say act like a man of thought and think like a man of action.“

—  Henri Bergson

Je dirais qu'il faut agir en homme de pensée et penser en homme d'action.
Speech at the Descartes Conference http://books.google.com/books?id=BynXAAAAMAAJ&q=%22Je+dirais+qu'il+faut+agir+en+homme+de+pens%C3%A9e+et+penser+en+homme+d'action%22&pg=PA1579#v=onepage in Paris (1937)
Quoted in The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life (1950), p. 442, as "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought."

„The open society is one that is deemed in principle to embrace all humanity.“

—  Henri Bergson, book The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

La société ouverte est celle qui embrasserait en principe l’humanité entière.
Source: The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932), Chapter IV

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„Sex-appeal is the keynote of our whole civilization.“

—  Henri Bergson, book The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

Toute notre civilisation est aphrodisiaque
Source: The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932), Chapter IV

„A philosopher worthy of the name has never said more than a single thing: and even then it is something he has tried to say, rather than actually said. And he has said only one thing because he has seen only one point: and at that it was not so much a vision as a contact…“

—  Henri Bergson, book An Introduction to Metaphysics

Un philosophe digne de ce nom n'a jamais dit qu'une seule chose : encore a-t-il plutôt cherché à la dire qu'il ne l'a dite véritablement. Et il n'a dit qu'une seule chose parce qu'il n'a su qu'un seul point : encore fut-ce moins une vision qu'un contact...
"L’intuition philosophique (Philosophical Intuition)" http://obvil.paris-sorbonne.fr/corpus/critique/bergson_pensee/body-5 (10 April 1911); translated by Mabelle L. Andison in: Henri Bergson, The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics, Courier Dover Publications, 2012, p. 91

„I cannot escape the objection that there is no state of mind, however simple, that does not change every moment.“

—  Henri Bergson, book An Introduction to Metaphysics

An Introduction to Metaphysics (1903), translated by T. E. Hulme. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1912, p. 44

„The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.“

—  Henri Bergson, book Creative Evolution

Creative Evolution (1907), Chapter I, as translated by Arthur Mitchell (1911), p. 14.; italicized in the original.

„The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.“

—  Henri Bergson

Robertson Davies as quoted in The White Bedouin‎ (2007) by George Potter, p. 241
Misattributed

Similar authors

Albert Camus photo
Albert Camus203
French author and journalist
Paul Valéry photo
Paul Valéry84
French poet, essayist, and philosopher
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin photo
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin63
French philosopher and Jesuit priest
Francois Mauriac photo
Francois Mauriac38
French author
Romain Rolland photo
Romain Rolland43
French author
Michel Foucault photo
Michel Foucault128
French philosopher
Jean Paul Sartre photo
Jean Paul Sartre315
French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, sc…
Simone de Beauvoir photo
Simone de Beauvoir152
French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, po…
André Gide photo
André Gide73
French novelist and essayist
Emil M. Cioran photo
Emil M. Cioran529
Romanian philosopher and essayist
Today anniversaries
Vladimir Lenin photo
Vladimir Lenin335
Russian politician, led the October Revolution 1870 - 1924
Vladimir Nabokov photo
Vladimir Nabokov193
Russian-American novelist, lepidopterist, professor 1899 - 1977
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin photo
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin63
French philosopher and Jesuit priest 1881 - 1955
Khalil Gibran photo
Khalil Gibran93
Lebanese artist, poet, and writer 1883 - 1931
Another 63 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Albert Camus photo
Albert Camus203
French author and journalist
Paul Valéry photo
Paul Valéry84
French poet, essayist, and philosopher
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin photo
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin63
French philosopher and Jesuit priest
Francois Mauriac photo
Francois Mauriac38
French author
Romain Rolland photo
Romain Rolland43
French author