> Author Index > B - Authors > Henri Bergson Quotes

Henri Bergson Quotes


A major French philosopher, influential especially in the first half of the 20th century.
(1859 - 1941)

Pages: 12Next

A situation is always comic if it participates simultaneously in two series of events which are absolutely independent of each other, and if it can be interpreted in two quite different meanings.
 

An absolute can only be given in an intuition, while all the rest has to do with analysis.
 

And I also see how this body influences external images: it gives back movement to them.
 

Art has no other object than to set aside the symbols of practical utility, the generalities that are conventionally and socially accepted, everything in fact which masks reality from us, in order to set us face to face with reality itself.
 

For life is tendency, and the essence of a tendency is to develop in the form of a sheaf, creating, by its very growth, divergent directions among which its impetus is divided.
 

Genius is that which forces the inertia of humanity to learn.
 

Homo sapiens, the only creature endowed with reason, is also the only creature to pin its existence on things unreasonable.
 

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

I see plainly how external images influence the image that I call my body: they transmit movement to it.
 

In its entirety, probably, it follows us at every instant; all that we have felt, thought and willed from our earliest infancy is there, leaning over the present which is about to join it, pressing against the portals of consciousness that would fain leave it outside.
 

In just the same way the thousands of successive positions of a runner are contracted into one sole symbolic attitude, which our eye perceives, which art reproduces, and which becomes for everyone the image of a man who runs.
 

In laughter we always find an unavowed intention to humiliate and consequently to correct our neighbour.
 

In reality, the past is preserved by itself automatically.
 

Instinct perfected is a faculty of using and even constructing organized instruments; intelligence perfected is the faculty of making and using unorganized instruments.
 

Intelligence is the faculty of making artificial objects, especially tools to make tools.
 

It seems that laughter needs an echo.
 

Life does not proceed by the association and addition of elements, but by dissociation and division.
 

Our laughter is always the laughter of a group.
 

Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science.
 

Sex appeal is the keynote of our civilization.
 


Pages: 12Next