Bergsonism (book review) Gilles Deleuze,

Hugh Tomlinson (Translator),

Barbara Habberjam (Translator)


161117 this is a much much later later addition (5 years total): i have read a lot of philosophy since this first time, and it is not too much a surprise that i had first rejected it, as i was not then educated enough in various other philosophy- primarily phenomenonology, and now i am enthused to change the rating to five. i had the idea to search out the meaning/term of the 'virtual', but found myself reading the whole (short) book. what is the 'virtual' and how is it significant in deleuze? 'real but not actual, ideal but not abstract' quote from proust, is the motto of this term, in conceiving this, always in 'memory' and not 'matter'...


page 96 on gives some idea, though by now you have read some concepts such as 'duration' that are particularly deployed by bergson, 'intuition', 'multiplicity', 'possible' vs 'actual', but it is still a hard word to grasp. in deleuze the a) 'virtual' is contrasted with the b) 'possible', in that b) is actually imposed after the fact from the completed, projected backwards from the real, which is what it lacks, manifest only by adding it to the possible, whereas a) is completed, subsumed, identified with the 'actual' and through this 'diversified' on 'lines of flight', is essentially 'generative', and not just something less 'real', has its own being through which it propagates... i am in fact elaborating this term from much reading, not simply here, yet again, i must wrestle the meaning down: the possible must be 'realized' and in this there is resemblance, the a) virtual need not be realized but already 'real' in its way, yet to be 'actualized' and there is no necessary heritage, resemblance, limitations, how it works as potentials, not already there in the future, enabling the present, in the present... the present that always 'was' (now gone as soon as sensed) and the past that always 'is' (because it is always there as past...)...


evolutionism is an example, and this text refers to b's work 'creative evolution', where the changes, the adaptations, that lead through various states is not external, not given as possible but virtual. that is, it is 'internal' and 'virtual', so when the organism is stimulated it does not have a preset goal but reacts, adapts through the mechanism of natural selection, in this book illustrated by a great diagram showing the evolution of life, original divide between life and matter, the early schism between plant and animal, the branches into sort of animals that relies on instinct or intelligence, the human exteriorization of dominating matter (intellect) and understanding of life (intuition)... but we are looking this in one image as though it is already planned. in fact it is all virtual. and virtual never completely leaves us: we humans are the self-understanding of life and matter though we disregard the first in order to work with the other... i like to believe i now understand the virtual, but i am trying to create my own metaphors. one metaphor i read (Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy) as an example was the operation of a modern computer: that it has a graphic interface, desktop, windows, files, this is just 'surface effect' and nowhere 'actual', can be interacted with it in changes, actions, structure of this on the level of hardware/software, that it is indeed 'real' but not 'actual'... for in the moment it is 'actualized' the 'virtual' is no more...


this is a much later later review: now having read more deleuze, read more bergson through deleuze... i have to up the rating, as i understand him much better. this convinces me that i should not read philosophers 'cold', but only after some preliminary, introductory, secondary texts- as i am not studying phil, these other works that i do rank immediately high, are as if i am listening to a prof... as with husserl i am finding that if i cultivate the right accepting and patient and different style- he is not so difficult! go figure...


this is a much later review: i have now read more bergson, have now a better understanding of deleuze, have decided to read him again through the lens of other work, possibly revise the rating, but still must affirm how difficult such is. even now, when reading more on the differences between virtual possibilities and actual duration, and how time reality surpasses russell's mathematical logical assumptions, which seems only to deny reality of time...


211012 first review: this is probably what analytic philosophers hate: words, words, words, describing a complex metaphorical terrain with no clear familiar ordering of logic. i decided to write reviews for all the bergson even if i do not like it much, hence this review…


i have not really enjoyed what i have read of deleuze, so should not be surprised as this is more deleuze’s than bergson’s ideas. hard to follow, nowhere near as good as the man himself. but... occasional sharp insight convinces me having not read enough. i think i understand a bit on virtual, possible, actual, real, and this was interesting, but i would need a prof to tell me if i am right... there are so many books to read and so little time...

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