INTUITION is defined in the Webster's
Third International Dictionary as follows (copied verbatim with comments added
in bold italics with yellow hilite):
- the act or process of coming to direct knowledge or certainty without
reasoning or inferring;
- immediate cognizance or conviction without rational thought;
- revelation by insight or innate knowledge;
- immediate apprehension or cognition;
- knowledge, perception, or conviction gained by intuition as in
trusting "to what are called intuitions rather than reasoned conclusions"-
- the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without
rational thought and inference;
- in Bergsonism (See below) : a form of knowing that is akin to instinct or a divining
empathy and that gives direct insight into reality as it is in itself and
- quick and ready insight as in "with one of her quick leaps of intuition
she had entered into the other's soul" by Edith Wharton;
- obsolete meaning (which is
interestingly what meaning in veD is): a) the act of looking
upon, regarding, examining, or inspecting; b) the act of contemplating
or considering : CONTEMPLATION, CONSIDERATION; c) a view, regard, or
consideration of something as an ulterior goal or acquisition
Bergsonism: the theories of the Henri
Bergson (October 18, 1859 –January 4, 1941) about perception of
LIFE, INTUITION, INTELLECT AND MEMORY IN
1UP.INFO.COM: ENCYCLOPEDIA: BERGSON;
Henri Bergson, [äNr´ brgsôN´] Pronunciation Key, became a
professor at the Collège de France in 1900, devoted some time to politics,
and, after World War I, took an interest in international affairs. He is well
known for his brilliant and imaginative philosophical works, which won him the
1927 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1914 all of Bergson's writings, but most
especially Creative Evolution, were placed upon the list of books devout
Catholics were forbidden to read. Among his works that have been translated
into English are :
- Time and Free Will (1889; trans. 1910), was published and
aroused great interest among philosophers. It presents his theories on the
freedom of the mind and on duration, which he regarded as the succession of
conscious states, intermingling and unmeasured.
Bergson aimed to show how pseudo-problems about the
will and its freedom have arisen from a false phenomenology of
mental states - essentially, a tendency to conceive and describe them in
spatial terms. Human experience does not perceive real life as
a succession of demarcated conscious states, progressing along some
imaginary line, but rather a continuous flow.
Bergson made the distinction between the concept and experience of
time. While the physicist observes
objects and events in succession, time is presented to consciousness as
duration - an endlessly flowing process. Bergson argued that the 'real
time' is experienced as duration and apprehended by
intuition, not through separate operations of
instinct and the intellect.
- Matter and Memory (1896; trans. 1911), emphasizing the
selectivity of the human brain. Bergson saw that the
intuition, the direct apprehension of
process, as the discoverer of truth
- intuition, not analysis, reveals the real world.
Bergson's treatment of intuition was not
coherent - sometimes it referred to getting bright ideas, which presupposes
intellectual hard work. Sometimes intuition
is the method of philosophy like intellect is of mathematics
- Laughter (1900; trans. 1901), an essay on the mechanistic basis
of comedy that is probably his most quoted work. Bergson defined
the comic as the result of the sense of relief we feel when we feel
ourselves from the mechanistic and materialistic.
His examples were the man-automaton, the puppet on strings, Jack-in-the Box,
etc. "A situation is always comic", he wrote, "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."
He saw laughter as the corrective punishment inflicted by society upon
the unsocial individual. "It seems that laughter needs an echo. Our
laughter is always the laughter of a group."
- Creative Evolution (1907; trans. 1911), probing the entire
problem of human existence and defining the mind as
pure energy, the élan vital, or vital force, responsible for all
organic evolution. His concept of élan vital, "creative impulse" or "living
energy", was developed in Creative Evolution, his most famous book.
His Creative Evolution (1907) and Matter and Memory (1896) attempted to:
- integrate the findings of biological science with a theory of
- challenged the mechanistic view of nature; and.
- is claimed to have anticipated features of relativity theory and
modern scientific theories of the mind.
Bergson placed intuition as the
highest human faculty.
In Creative Evolution Bergson argued that the
creative urge, not the Darwinian concept of natural selection,
is at the heart of evolution.
Man's intellect has developed in the
course of evolution as an instrument of survival.
Intellect comes to think inevitably in geometrical or
'spatializing' terms that are inadequate to lay hold of the ultimate living
But intuition goes to the
heart of reality, and enables us to find philosophic truth.
Élan vital (=
pRaaAN) is immaterial force, whose existence cannot be
scientifically verified, but it provides the vital impulse that continuously
shapes all life.
Bergson's philosophy is dualistic : the
world contains two opposing tendencies :
- the life force (élan vital) and
- the resistance of the material world against
Human beings know matter through their
intellect, with which they measure the world. They formulate the
doctrines of science and see things as entities set out as separate units
within space. In contrast with intellect is intuition,
which derives from the instinct of lower animals.
Intuition gives us an intimation of the
life force (élan vital = pRaaAN in
veD ) which pervades all becoming.
Intuition perceives the reality of time : that it is duration directed
in terms of life and not divisible or measurable. Duration is demonstrated by
the phenomena of memory.
Bergson emphasized the importance of intuition
over intellect, as he promoted the idea of two opposing currents:
inert matter in conflict with organic life as the vital urge (=
pRaaAN) strives toward free creative
In other words the above is interpreted as follows (From Webster's Third
- The world is a process of creative evolution in which the novelty of
successive phenomena rather than the constancy of natural law is the
- reality being regarded as time or
duration that is the same as free motion and that is the expression of a
vital impetus or creative force;
- while the space world of science and common sense is taken to be an
interpretation put upon sense images in the interest of practical activity
and as a falsification of free-moving reality so that a true
apprehension of reality is to be gained not by the analytic procedures of
mathematics and science but by that intuition
that can grasp wholes as such.
Bergson had following to say on life interpreted as a life force working
through intuition and not as a mechanical thing perceived by current science:
- "In laughter we always find an unavowed intention to humiliate and
consequently to correct our neighbour." (from Le Rire, 1900)
- "There is nothing in philosophy which could not be said in everyday
- "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."
Philosophers have pointed out that Bergson did not
satisfactorily show how intuition could work apart
from intellect. Albert Einstein found serious mistakes from
Bergson's DURÉE ET SIMULTANÉITÉ À PROPOS DE LA THÉORIE D'EINSTEIN (1921),
dealing with Einstein's theory of relativity. Bergson had opposed in 1911
Einstein's ideas, but then his view had changed. He is generally regarded as
having lost his public debate with Einstein, but some of the leading
physicists have devoted articles to his work.
The above on the understanding of INTUITION = antAR-GNaan is
presented as a comparative study of knowledge in veD and the current
The sNskrut equivalent of INTUITION = aNtAR-GNaan
or shj-GNaan or shjjaav-boDH......
(The sharing of the meanings of sNskrut
equivalent of INTUITION will be
continued in the next posting in the light of the science of