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Henri Bergson

( French philosopher, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1927)

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Biography Henri Bergson
photo Henri Bergson


October 18, 1859, Mr.. - January 4, 1941
The French philosopher Henri Bergson was born in Paris, the son of Jewish cosmopolitans. His father, Michel Bergson, a wonderful musician, which, according to family legend, he taught himself Chopin had left Warsaw, where he was born, and then traveled through Europe and eventually settled in England. Here, he took British citizenship and married Catherine Levinson, a woman of Irish-Jewish. Childhood B. held in London, where he became acquainted with British culture. When the boy turns eight years old, the family returned to France, and in the age of 21 B. a citizen of France.
From 1868 to 1878. B. studying in Paris LycцLe Condorcet, giving great hope in the human sciences and in mathematics. In the 19-year old boy managed to solve a complicated math problem, for which he was awarded the Award. With bright prospects in the natural sciences, B. nonetheless chose to study philosophy at the Ecole normal syuperer, which fascinated seemingly incompatible teachings of John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer.
After graduation in 1881. B. teaches at the LycцLe d'Anzher, a year later transferred to the LycцLe Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand. In the Auvergne B. wrote his first fundamental work 'immediate data of consciousness' ( "Essai sur les donnees immediates de la conscience", 1889) For this work, as well as for a small degree in Latin on Aristotle B. in 1889. receives a degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of Paris.
In the 'immediate data of consciousness' B. introduces the basic concepts of his metaphysics of the dynamic nature of time. Under the influence of Newtonian physics, time was perceived as a constant, . sequence of discrete moments, . like points on a line or second marks on the clock B., . opposite, . proves, . that time, . perceived by a living organism, . a dynamic, . volatile and quality,
. Lived through the time that B. calls 'duration' ( "duree"), could only be perceived intuitively, and its effects are too subtle and volume to measure it using the analytical methods of positivism. In addition, scientists believed that philosophers like Herbert Spencer determinists do not take into account the unpredictable, new and creative elements in the decision, which are products of a living time and history. According to B., a free will and thinking that, like any other temporary categories, can be grasped only intuitively - are rare, but crucial elements in the development of human consciousness.
In 1891, Mr.. B. returned to Paris, and the following year to marry Louise Neuberger, who bore him a daughter. Over the next eight years, B. teaches at the LycцLe Henri IV and wrote his second fundamental work 'Matter and memory' ( "Mattier et memoire"), which was published in 1896. Reflecting on the ratio of the physiology of the brain to consciousness, B. comes to the conclusion that consciousness - is something more than the correlation between mental imagery and physical stimuli. The brain functions not only as a passive recording instrument, but as an exceptionally fine sifting device, which aims to direct attention to life. Neurophysiology explains only the action of conventional memory as a process of mechanical Psychological same approach is required for entry into the memories, to comprehend the living memory.
In 1900, Mr.. B. gets the chair of Greek philosophy at the Collц¬ge de France, an educational institution, is second on the intellectual level only Sorbonne. Another work of the philosopher became 'Laughter' ( "Rire", 1900), a small but sharp essay on the nature of funny. According to BA, laughter is any mechanical habit of mind or body, which prevents the flow of life. Revealing the mechanism of funny, comedy, like any art, the advancement of society and the individual.
In 1903, Mr.. Next comes B. 'Introduction to metaphysics' ( "Introduction a la metaphysique"). By showing what the main difference between the natural sciences and philosophy, B. stresses that the scientific mind seeks to control nature, 'freezing the flow of time', reducing the whole to discrete, analyzable elements. But philosophy penetrates into the essence of things through intuition and empathy. According to the BA, for human development are equally necessary and natural sciences, and philosophy, but only the philosophy of a truly creative and viable.
Third, which has become a seminal book B. 'Creative Evolution' ( "L'Evolution creatrice", 1907) has had an enormous impact not only on academics but also on a broad reading public. 'Even in a conservative professorial environment where innovative ideas B. success not used, his talent spoke with bated breath - wrote the American philosopher William James, an ardent admirer of Boris, and students walked behind him with opened mouths'. According to James, readers bribe not only the content of books BV, but their style. 'Clarity of presentation - he wrote - is the first thing that strikes the reader B. grabs you so that immediately there is a desire to become his disciple. It's just a miracle, he is a magician '
To all those who find neo-Darwinism and positivism are too boring and tedious, B. offers a lively and inspiring alternative. In his view, evolution is not simply a passive, mechanical device organisms to the environment, but a focused and creative process. Life can not be understood solely through intellectual analysis, says the philosopher, because it is movable and changeable, and because the 'stream of consciousness' is in constant struggle with inert matter. True, skeptics, philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, poetic ardor style B. great enthusiasm did not cause. 'As a rule, - wrote Russell - B. not bother with proof of fairness of their judgments, relying on the grace of logical constructions and the beauty of the syllable '
. However, such disparate artists as Claude Debussy, Claude Monet, Marcel Proust, Paul Valery, Andre Maurois, Charles Pierre Peguy and Nicoya Kazantsakis, turned to B
. for inspiration and intellectual support. His work has also had a significant impact on such philosophers, . John Dewey, . Samuel Alexander and Alfred North Whitehead Bergson's ideas of time and consciousness of always appearing in Proust and Virginia Woolf, . as well as in Thomas Mann's novel 'Magic Mountain'.,
. In times of universal enthusiasm that swept Europe before the First World War, the popularity of B
. further increased, he was invited to give lectures in various countries, including in the United States of America. In 1914, Mr.. philosopher, was elected to the French Academy, became president of the Academy of moral and political sciences. His views have become so fashionable that liberal Catholics, and syndicalists tried to adjust his philosophy to its goals.
In 1914, Mr.. B. was invited to read lectures at Edinburgh University course 'Problem of Personality' ( "Problem of Personality"), calculated for the spring semester, he concluded, but the fall lecture because of the outbreak of World War I failed to renew. Instead, B. ostropolemicheskih written two articles 'The value of war' ( "The Meaning of War") and 'Evolution germanskogo imperialism' ( "The Evolution of German Imperialism"), . which proved, . what, . essentially, . war is a conflict between the self-life-force (represented by, . who, . like French, . protects the spiritual and political freedom) and self-destructive mechanism (as represented by, . who wants, . like the Germans and the Hegelian, . deify mass),
. Hoping that world war would lead 'to the rejuvenation of France and moral rebirth of Europe', B. represented his country in diplomatic missions to Spain and the U.S.. Later, the philosopher took an active part in the work of the League of Nations, when acting as President of the Commission on Intellectual Cooperation.
In 1920, Mr.. B. seriously ill with arthritis, by this time of optimism, which gave rise to his philosophy in the prewar years, began to be reversed. Nevertheless, in 1927. philosopher, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 'in recognition of his outstanding and life-affirming ideas, as well as for the exceptional skill with which these ideas were embodied'. The representative of the Swedish Academy Per Halstrem in his opening remarks described the main achievement of BS: 'Doing a breach in the wall of rationalism, . He unleashed enormous creative impulse, . opened access to the living waters of time, . to the atmosphere, . in which people can once again regain their freedom, . and therefore, . - Born again '.,
. B
. unable to attend personally in Stockholm at the award ceremony and sent a letter to the Swedish Academy, . which, . particularly, . said 'Historical experience has proved, . that the technological development of society does not provide the moral perfection of people living in it,
. Increased wealth may even be dangerous if it is not accompanied by corresponding spiritual effort. "
Representations B. religion found its fullest expression in his latest work 'The Two Sources of Morality and Religion' ( "Deux Sources de la morale et de la religion", 1932). Challenging the rationalism of German philosophy, B. argues that morality, like religion, has an emotional rather than logical framework. In most religious teachings attempt to conceal life-affirming epiphany of his great teachers to create a 'closed society', based on defense against a hostile world. Actively religious consciousness, according to B., distinguishes those who believe in the vitality and devotes himself to break down barriers both between individuals and between nations. God, according to B., is a process, not timeless substance. 'The function of the universe, says in conclusion - is to be the producer of the gods.
In his last years B. immersed in Christian mysticism and adopted Catholicism, which, however, did not prevent him, when the Second World War and the Nazis began to persecute the Jews, save, regardless of the consequences, loyalty to their national traditions. When the Vichy government, determined to make an exception for the famous philosopher, advised him that his anti-Jewish measure does not apply, B. from such a privileged position and refused, like all Jews, was a humiliating registration, despite his advanced age and illness. How to write E. Tomlin, 'this silent protest, unnoticed and almost anonymous in their humble greatness, to prejudge its end'. Shortly thereafter, B. died of pneumonia. Eulogy delivered by his friend Paul ValцLry.
. In 'Bergsonianskom Heritage' (1962) Thomas Hannah said, . that 'Bergsonianstvo not left in the philosophy of any noticeable trace, . can not be said about the B., . For BA-man brought to the philosophy of rhetoric, . imagination, . expansiveness, . care about the value and uniqueness of the human person, . unique and irreplaceable ',


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