The Abacus and the Rainbow: Bergson, Proust, and the Digital-Analogic Opposition

By Donald R. Maxwell | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

The Origins of the Common Themes

Plus tard on croira découvrir partout son influence sur notre époque, simplement parce que lui-même est de son époque et qu'il cède sans cesse au mouvement. D'où son importance représentative.

André Gide 1

Mais j'ai assez lu de Bergson, et la parabole de sa pensée étant déjà assez décrivable après une seule génération pour que quelque Évolution créatrice qui ait suivi, je ne puisse quand vous dites Bergson, savoir ce que vous voulez dire...

Marcel Proust 2

We are all, to a greater extent than perhaps we care to admit, the product of the age in which we live. Each age and each epoch often appears to have a spokesperson who seems to be representative of that period, and the words and thoughts of this person are in part a reflection, echo and articulation of the general current of thought characteristic of that age and period in time. This was the situation in France towards the end of the 19th century when Henri Bergson began to expound his philosophy of intuition against materialistic and deterministic science. As Victor Hugo put it: “nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come, ” and in the latter part of the ninteenth century, the time for the revolt against materialism had come, and Floris Delattre said: “C'est le cri de révolte poussé contre la philosophie matérialiste qui régnait alors presque sans conteste, selon laquelle la réalité, bornée aux phénomènes, était entièrement connaissable, et par les seules facultés rationnelles.” 3

The unifying themes of this study are the common elements running through the philosophical works of Henri Bergson and the great novel of Marcel Proust, in spite of their very different styles, methodology and purpose. This final chapter will examine some possible

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