Lives Journal 8

Rajko Shushtarshich

 

 

ENDOPHASIA III

 

From metareality – immediate data of consciousness

and our everyday reality 

 

»If freedom was completely lost,

outside this world,

these people would revive it in their notions,

they would feel it in their spirit and would carry on enjoying it.

Slavery by no means suits their tastes,

not even when it is embellished! ...«

Étienne de La Boétie 1

 

 

And as every dance comes to some kind of an end for every dancer, is what I would say at the end of my conversation (in Endophasia II) 2 added Henri (thought Shus):

 

HENRI

So you attach great importance to Étienne’s concluding motto; does this not show rather your faith and hope than the immediate data of your consciousness?

SHUS

I began my conversation with Étienne already in the first issue of Revija SRP 1/2; with his instructions I wish to adorn Revija SRP 111/112. I did not need to believe anything, to presume anything or to prove anything because the immediate data of consciousness, of which he speaks, can be directly verified by anyone.

HENRI

(jokes) Let us hope it is so. But there are few that are verified.

SHUS

Otherwise everything is only a dance of shadows – when the shadows dance their final dance?

HENRI

No, no, leave that, the real answer is personal.

SHUS

My dance, more accurately – the dancing of my shadow, ends as everyone’s dance does; the way I lived...

HENRI

I will pose the question in a different way, was this dance meaningful for you, did you enjoy it?

SHUS

It made me happy that we remaining collaborators, together with the new ones, have fulfilled the review’s twenty-year program.

HENRI

In the essays that you labelled utopias, you nevertheless indicated a somewhat more definite framework.

SHUS

All sorts of things have gathered in this web.

HENRI

For example?

SHUS

For example: global bilingualism, i.e. that every nation would have its own speech, language and alphabet, that no other language-speech would try to oust it because all the people on the planet would at the same time have a common global language;

and a Slovenian alphabet for the Slovenians, an alphabet that is based on Latin signs as we used to have – nowadays at least for those that would want it;

to this I would also add my utopian desire that the see sown through SRP would one day sprout.

 

HENRI

No-one is depriving you of the freedom to think and to write, Revija SRP is being issued regularly and besides there is also the Slovenian-English Lives Journal … Is that not enough, you cannot simply dismiss all this.

SHUS

I sincerely hope that not, but nowadays all this is being systematically overlooked.

HENRI

That means you care more for the institutional acknowledgement of the superficial ego than you are prepared to admit to yourself.

SHUS

(visibly uneasy, mumbling) You say that a deeper self forms one and the same personality with the superficial ego. Sometimes I am tempted to go in that direction, especially when it is a case of our togetherness.

HENRI

(roguishly) For example, in your Letters to patriotic Slovenians. In them you nevertheless express a certain goal, and yet you do not like goals. Shall we rather stick to the journal’s field of activity. What did you actually want?

SHUS

We were looking for shades of soul and sparks of spirit.

HENRI

And how much of this have you collected?

SHUS

That will be for future readers-recorders to say; it is worth waiting a few decades, at least until the system passes away. It would be pointless to expect anything before then, it would all be caught in the obscuring discussions of the system’s role interpreters. I personally would need no more than one reader-recorder.

HENRI

(roguishly) You already have one.

SHUS

(looks for excuses) Just in case. Sometimes I read what I have written, I repeat the odd thing, sometimes I rewrite something. It has been so since time immemorial:

From one recorder

to another,

interlocutors outside time,

for him;

that is how she lived,

was preserved;

and lived longer than many coats-of-arms,

flags and countries,

and all manner of crosses —

symbols of power.

 

 

HENRI

(adds) In the world of shadows!

SHUS

And in the in-between world – in the world of parallel reality – also!

(Parallel reality meant everything to Shus in the game the Parallel administrative or record-keeping para-reality: everything that is essential, that can by no means be left out or kept secret without at the same time disfiguring the truth in ordinary reality.)

HENRI

Let it be so for you have really made a good start. So explain it once more, but as briefly as possible – this Parallel reality – for you have already made exhaustive reports on it in two of your essays.

SHUS

(thinks, then, albeit with difficulty, decides to present it from the game)

Parallel reality, which playfully follows real reality and uncovers it, only serves as an aid to dramaturgical teams for an easier dissection and staging or non-staging of delicate adventures that befall the performers.

Otherwise there are for me only two players in the game of Parallel reality. One is an individual of free will and the other is the game of fate. The game consists in the individual constantly playing around with his freedom, mainly at the expense of his glory; he gives up his freedom and sometimes evades it for the benefit of the (determinism) of the role. That is why fate sometimes plays a nasty trick on it. For in Parallel reality (essential) events occur simultaneously. It is only through a mistake of transcendence, in some strange loop of time that the individual can see. If he goes deep enough, becomes spiritual enough or succeeds in assuming the role as much as possible, he can see what will happen in ordinary reality because it has already happened in parallel reality, or is happening precisely at that moment. The reproach that women’s roles are neglected in the game and are not important enough, is superficial. For fate, even when it is understood to be politics, is of female gender.

HENRI

(teases him but not in an offensive tone) This is not an unexpected choice for your presentation of intermediate reality for it already exists in both previous essays on it.

SHUS

Any other presentation would be longer; it could drag on into ordinary reality.

HENRI

(replies) That’s actually not bad as an argument for this choice...

Now you tell me what moved you so much in my essay? But briefly, in a few words.

SHUS

(no longer properly differentiates between the two interlocutors, who is asking who,

who is explaining to whom, he to Henri or Henri to Shus, but he knows that such permeation of thoughts is not unusual for endophasia)

I was particularly moved by the idea of freedom – freedom as immediate data of consciousness and the idea of permeating the data of consciousness – the word permeating. Can I recapitulate your words and my commentary?

HENRI

(does not say anything)

SHUS

(takes this to be consent, so summarises his first attempt to affirm the direct facts of consciousness according to Henri Bergson from the Essay on the directs facts of consciousness.) 3a

 

 

 

 

Rajko Shushtarshich

 

ON THE IMMEDIATE DATA OF CONSCIOUSNESS

 

(Attempt to affirm the direct facts of consciousness according to Henri Bergson

from the “Essay on the immediate data of consciousness”)

 

it is not a question of time but of data of consciousness,

where there is no time there is only duration,

common values are immediate data of consciousness,

that can be understood and checked by everyone,

no-one can give them or take them away from anyone,

no system, no institution, no propaganda, not even cultural,

only, if he himself wants will he find them in himself alone.

 

I do not like to refer to authorities on the subject as is the custom in academic circles, however, in this case the subject we are dealing with is so important and at the same time so inappropriate in our time and space that I will place the greater part of the burden on the shoulders of my interlocutor: Henri Bergson. In this way I will perhaps enter into communication with some individuals that would otherwise be inaccessible without his help. The subject of the conversation between yourself, Henri Bergson and me, if the communication is to be as satisfactory as possible, must affect us, we must study it in depth, the idea of freedom, which is essential for values. Usually in such a situation the reader is faced with the following questions:

Is the reader, his ego, prepared to delve into Henri Bergson’s idea, his ego, his self, his uniqueness?

Did I, my ego, do that? Put more simply, did I actually understand him?

Have we set up a form of communication that is deeper than a purely formal one – the one that is behind symbols and is only symbolised by symbols?

However, readers very much like to withhold from themselves and from others the fundamental question of communication which is:

Is it really so? But this question of scepticism, whether it is pronounced or not, is constantly present in communication. No, is it really so in relation to ideas of those involved in the dialogue and to some extent also other possible authors, which associative thinking always makes us consider, but is it really so with certainty, i.e. in relation to his own aprioristic consciousness. He already knows that a priori. For the more sceptical readers I would say that they are aware of this at least as a possibility. The human mind cannot understand anything that it does not already know. Intuitive comprehension is like the arousal of the primeval memory. And this is therefore the case with the human ethical intuition, the “categorical imperative”. Man cannot value any behaviour deeper than if he has not himself actually experienced it. But for a sceptic I would say that the evaluation of an act is possible only after he has felt the behaviour of someone else, as though it were his own behaviour. As in communication we are for the most part mediating, exchanging ideas, thoughts and feelings via media (intermediaries), we quickly forget that we are fundamentally tied to the mediation of our superficial ego and that we are transmitting data of consciousness via dead symbols, the language in our case. In that case it is not too much if we say a few dead words regarding language and the way these facts are translated into living data of consciousness.

My guiding principle in translating dead symbols is as follows:

What I want to catch is the entire thought and the depth of the idea. When it comes to the language style, which is undoubtedly important despite its lethargy, I am not particularly talented; I could not contradict any linguist. Even Henri Bergson’s translation can be considered controversial, especially as it is not a translation of the original but is a translation of a translation. I maintain that this is not essential. It is additionally marred by brackets and underlined sections which are my fault and are more for sceptics and analysts; the translation is better read without them. I could not substantiate the changes in the translation any other way than that I do it by feeling and perhaps I would be even find support in this from some generous linguist.

But if I nevertheless wanted to analyse this feeling I would say:

Individual symbols, a word, even more than one word at a time, can be exchanged without the composed symbol or sentence, which expresses a complete thought, idea, or value being damaged, if we stick to some principles. Before I list these principles let me emphasise that for the intuition this is one and the same principle, which we call feeling. But this can be so only if what is fundamental is the living thought and not the dead sentence.

The aesthetics of the thought, which comes before the aesthetics of the symbol and the latter only tries to express, can dictate the modification of the symbol. This is the aesthetic reason for the modification of symbols.

Recognising the idea comes before the formal clarity of the symbol or the composed symbol, for example the sentence.

The ethics of the intention of the symbol is the arbitrariness of the symbol, more precisely: the habit. The template of the language cannot dictate thoughts, ideas, values, that which is its inner essence, which gives birth to it. The ethics of the thought comes before the intention of the symbol.

However, these three principles supplement each other wonderfully and help us express our thoughts, ideas, feelings. However, this is dangerous when it comes to translation but it cannot be avoided. We must know that no-one thinks the same thought twice and that no-one could express it twice in the same way. But if we already strive for something, then we are already the casualties of the template of our own expression in our own language.

If into the solidarity of three principles on a horizontal level, this is important, we also introduce their even combinations, then things, symbols and rules become terribly entwined: we tend towards the principle of the ethos of recognition and recognition of what is ethical (which is not the same), towards the beauty of ethos and ethical beauty, towards the recognition of beauty and the beauty of telling things apart. So much about the horizontal axis of communication.

But in order to set up communication, the vertical axis is more important in the structuring of the data of consciousness. We are delving into the deep strata of consciousness, delving into the deepest strata of our ego, but the delving of the ego into the super-conscious is completely different from delving into the subconscious and its formalised landing on the level of the everyday superficial consciousness of our ego.

In this way, following this analytical entanglement, we again arrive at the fact that integral communication cannot be set up, neither exactly nor analytically, because it is incomprehensible to reason, when it touches the sphere of synthetic reason and we again abandon ourselves solely to “feeling – intuition”.

If in contrast with us, linguists believe that the language is alive, then they are probably thinking of this transformation of dead symbols, which are revived by consciousness, the spirit. We can easily agree with such a thought as it is only symbolic. But we cannot agree with the thought that man, who is a being of reason, could think with words and sentences. It is not possible to think so slowly, nor to speak, write, sing, play or paint so fast. If such, completely formalised thinking were at all possible, it would be dead. Although thought is already the dying of consciousness (Plato in Symposium), it is nevertheless infinitely more alive than language, this world of dead symbols. An utterly formalised message would not communicate anything except a mountain of letters and heaps of paper and sounds devoid of meaning. It would appear that our civilisation wants to approach this state as far as is possible. Expressed symbolically, the language cannot establish a dictate to the spirit of language, nor can reason do the same for the mind.

If this nevertheless keeps happening so frequently, it happens simply because the elephant, who is strong, teaches the sparrow to fly and on top of that the nightingale to sing. The elephant is joined by smaller animals that have a thicker skin.

The key to every form of communication is inner speech (endophasia). As children we began to grow ashamed of it and adults taught us polite and empty external speech, which means so very little. All the same, we now and again find ourselves secretly talking to ourselves and strangely – we then also hear other people.

In this way I can also translate Henri Bergson if I do not want to be just a mechanical translator, in relation to my structure of consciousness; its text is only a guide for me telling me which way to direct my thoughts, how I will deepen the ideas I understand or, in other words, along which corridors of consciousness I will walk, for the thoughts of every person go their own ways and if I nevertheless allow myself to be guided by someone, then that person is so close to me, and if I do not let someone guide me and when I do not let them guide me, that person is foreign to me. But we are always direct and genuine in relation to the structure of our consciousness, it is the only one we know. And this was Bergson’s situation, when he thought his essay, firstly in relation to the structure of his consciousness. And from there, from where he knows, we also know, and it is only for this reason that every communication is possible. But let us not forget – we are talking about the direct facts of consciousness.

The introduction to the attempt to present Bergson’s thought is a little lengthy because I want to use it to achieve communication which will surpass purely formal, logical deliberation. Above all I am not having a discussion with him but am agreeing with him, trying to harmonise with him. I would say that my approach to his thought is not critical or oppositional – something I am much more used to – but expressly affirmative. It is affirmative because I have nothing to refute, and again this is connected with what is essential, and I have chosen for the presentation that which is essential for me in Henri Bergson’s thought, and by no means do I believe that it must be essential for him or that it should be equally essential for anyone else. I must now try to present this briefly using his words, and before that with my own words:

The states of consciousness are finished reality that can be verified by everyone, they are a priori facts. That means they have a greater certainty and can be more directly verified than for example mediated data and information that we have not and cannot directly verify. There will be too many words said about such immediate data as it is. Although they are designated by the same words, their meaning and origin are completely different; and above all there is unverifiable data, there is data from conviction and also their certainty is certainty from conviction. Intuition penetrates deeper into states of consciousness than analytical reason can ever do.

Freedom is a key fact of consciousness, it is an idea, a concept, a value. Freedom cannot be defined. Values are states of consciousness that are essential for it, values orientate consciousness. Values are immediate states of consciousness, they are entities of the spirit, they are what the spirit is. We could say that they are the ethical component of ideas or the ethical component of “aesthetic values”. Their structure consists of two subjects: from our deeper ego – our self and our we, the effect of our I on our we being relatively small. It is the same in the inverse relation; we cannot accept our we if we do not pacify it with our personal I-ness. We accept our we in the individual variation as a personal value orientation. But the difference nevertheless remains. The values are structured by two subjects. They are structured by “my” I and “our” we. And this difference is fundamental for both. From self and one’s selfness, man cannot achieve individuality as far as he is an irreducible being. But there also remains the general validity of our values otherwise our I would not recognise them as such. It is another thing if I say that I structure values myself and they are structured for me by others because then I think about my own superficial, everyday I, the value system of this reduced I – the ego, and the institutional, socially valid value system (which I dealt with in the book Treatise on Freedom or the values of the system 4).

Out of all the values, orientations of the spirit or soul – I do not know why this symbol should be semantically devaluated and reduced – after all freedom has a special status. It is so difficult to express it with a symbol. It is so full or so empty a word: freedom. But we are certain that the deeper we penetrate into the state of consciousness, the fuller its meaning, the closer we are to its essence, and we know that it is connected with all values, ideas and that their depth changes their meaning, gives them colour and tone and meaning.

 

 

_______

Comment by Shus: Shus was not very satisfied with the above introduction; he would have things to add here and there, Henri would no doubt have even more to say, but he abstained from making any commentary. Especially because this should be followed by Shus’ résumé from Bergson’s Essay on Immediate Data of Consciousness 3.

(It would by no means be appropriate to shorten the résumé and it is too long to present in its entirety here; it will appear in the sequel to Endophasia III and it appeared in Revija SRP 39/40, 2000).

In it Henri speaks for himself!

http://www.revijasrp.si/knrevsrp/revsrp39/henbe39/onepo39.htm

 

 

 

(Of course Henri does not answer to résumés and Shus has the impression that something essential is missing; he must ask him about something that he keeps thinking about.)

 

HENRI

(as if he heard him) Why are you so agitated by the question of death – the mortality of the soul? (as if he heard him) Why are you so agitated by the question of death – the mortality of the soul?

SHUS

The closer it is, the more it agitates us.

HENRI

Is this because of fear – a lack of courage, or is it more curiosity? For if it is the former that predominates, then you are distancing yourself from knowledge, but if it is the latter then you may well fail to hit upon the meaning of your existence.

SHUS

It seems to me that it is both, sometimes one, sometimes the other; they permeate each other. I am really not sure regarding this.

HENRI

What are you not sure about? Be more precise!

SHUS

I mean regarding the question, does the soul retain its individuality after death?

HENRI

What else could it retain?

SHUS

It would really be hard for me to find anything else that could be more essential.

HENRI

Curiosity is generally a positive characteristic, that I must say. But I am surprised that you are so concerned about life after death and hardly concerned about what is within your reason’s reach and what is in fact the whole meaning of an individual’s existence.

SHUS

Yes, that is really strange, now I think it originates from curiosity. The desire for knowledge beyond what is within reach is greater than the desire for knowledge which is within reach, is so wonderful – and is in itself a miracle.

HENRI

Overtaking destroys knowledge.

SHUS

 I go astray – get completely lost, then I return to the correct idea: “the correct idea is like a medium level between knowledge and lack of knowledge.”

HENRI

You go back to Socrates and Plato and your interlocutors outside time. At the same time you have withheld or tried to conceal both interlocutors that were the most important for you.

SHUS

I only had access to the writers of the two original gnostic gospels, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, via an unknown intermediary; I could only converse with an unknown recorder couldn’t I? So where did he get his knowledge from?

HENRI

Do you mean to say that for you this unknown recorder has understood the truth and even more than the truth: he has understood knowledge from gnosis or gnosis directly – two different words for the same miracle; he recorded it in such a way that you can say with certainty that this is a miracle for you.

SHUS

However, the message is ciphered, it is not easy to decipher his recording. What is even stranger – where did I get my previous knowledge from, without which I would have neither found, nor understood the meaning of the message, let alone that I could have understood it in its overall appearance. I will never unravel how I actually got to them.

HENRI

Did you try?

SHUS

Countless times. An ordinary explanation for how I happened upon John’s apocalypse (that is the Gospel according to John), would be enough for most people; there is a logic to the way the analyses, research reports, discussions, treatises and then “apocalypse” follow each other. But in truth there is no logical connection, or legality or urgency in this succession.

HENRI

And how was it in reality?

SHUS

In reality it was completely different. My sailing yacht Ariadne was moored in the town of Piran on the Adriatic coast. One evening before I went to sleep I said to myself: “Tonight I will ask myself. If They exist, then I will dream about Them tonight; I want to know Their value system.”

HENRI

And to this day you know neither who They are nor what is their “system”.

SHUS

I only know, and that with certainty, that this is not the system. It is something that is more than any system I know.

HENRI

And this knowledge is not exactly small, but do not neglect facts such as the brainwaves of the intuition of reason.

SHUS

Thank you, Henri, it is just that your advice does not in any way quench my curiosity regarding Them.

HENRI

By the way, you did not talk directly with Socrates either, you could only really talk with Plato; you do not converse directly with me either. You yourself are the intermediary, even if rather solitary. The answer to your question is: previous knowledge is not previous, more precisely, there is no such knowledge. Knowledge is in duration.

SHUS

It is difficult for me to understand. In that case I am not talking with interlocutors outside time? Am I only talking with their thoughts, ideas, values and also appear to touch upon their feelings? But there are too many of these strange coincidences that I could accept them just so as possible explanations.

HENRI

(roguishly) This “but” of yours is definitely not the appropriate phrase. So you accidentally opened my essay on page 102 and the letter accidentally on the Evangelist John. Also all the other important decisions in your life appear to you to be more or less coincidental.

(then more seriously) Regarding these coincidences and all the others that were truly important for you, I must say that there really are many of them and they really are enigmatic. Did they at least make you happy?

SHUS

They completely overcame me. And as I have already said, and what is funny – some of them have moved me to tears. It now sometimes seems to me that I could not do it alone... Without all these coincidences I could not hear you in my inner speech. I also hoped to be able to establish communication with at least some individuals in our we-ness, which I could not otherwise do.

HENRI

Of course it is not good to succumb to sentimental reminiscences but now and again it can be encouraging for the odd person. But my prior knowledge is neither a priori nor a posterior as they are both lasting. The real world is in duration – accessible with the intuition of reason:

“May it be enough if we say that the reckless violence with which we take sides (orientate ourselves) in certain questions, proves to a large extent that our reason has instincts: how could we otherwise imagine these instincts, if not with flight, which is common to all our ideas and values, i.e. with common permeation.” (64)

SHUS

The world of shadows only seems to be clearer and more understandable. By the way, Socrates’ death does not appear to me to be in accordance with my conception of him, it seems to me that it rather reflects Plato’s idea of the exaltation of the state. In my humble opinion Socrates would have met with death (drunk the hemlock) for completely different reasons.

HENRI

Which ones?

SHUS

The very opposite ones, out of disappointment with the world of shadows, especially the state (institution, system). Perhaps in order to have a more correct conception of his death it would be necessary to add that Socrates desire it out of curiosity, out of a strong desire to gain knowledge about the beyond.

HENRI

Individuality outside time is somewhat different from in the world of shadows; it is completely unique. Isn’t it?

SHUS

This doubt is really gnawing at me.

HENRI

Doubt is a good assistant, it is your defence against naivety and it would be difficult for anyone to reproach you for it. As for immediate data: it is not a matter of how or how much you have understood; what is important is have you lived them.

 

 

THERE IS NO END! WHERE THERE IS NO TIME THERE IS ONLY DURATION 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENDOPHASIA III

(continued)

 

An attempt to affirm immediate date of consciousness according to Henri Bergson

from the “Essay on immediate data of consciousness” 

 

May it suffice if we say that the reckless violence with which we take sides in certain matters proves to a large extent that our reason has instincts: how could we otherwise imagine these instincts if not with flight, which is common to all our ideas, values, i.e. with common permeation.

Henri Bergson

 

Translating titles is a sensitive affair that is subject to the most varied intentions. But we could for example quite easily replace an essay with a discussion for those that love discussions and already understand it as a discussion of the idea of duration and the idea of freedom. A somewhat freer variation of individual symbols of the title could be for example as follows: That which is denoted by the word "immediate", could be labelled as: genuine, simultaneous; the word "data" could be replaced with the words: information, facts or even foundations; and "consciousness" with psyche, soul, spirit, I-ness, self-ness, and so on. In so varied an important composed symbol as the title we could make up interesting titles by combining individual symbols. Well, reading the essay places things back in their place and with some titles the readers could be particularly disappointed, for example those who would like to know if man has a soul or not; or those who are looking for spirituality only in books; or those who see solely materialised, objectivised consciousness, only the one that exists in exterior symbols when it is not really even there yet, and so on. But we must be clear about one thing: what is forbidden for analytical experts is not forbidden for readers. Readers freely and automatically translate symbols into symbols that suit them and they also do this when they read in their own language, and no intelligent author will prevent them from doing this, instead feeling honoured by the variation and multitude of meanings; he knows that words in themselves are dead and wants to communicate with what they denote. /Introduction: Rajko Shushtarshich/

 

 

 

_______

Later note: Even in this introduction Shus abstained from making any comment.

His intermediate commentaries in presenting Bergson’s thoughts are purely parallel brainwaves of the intuition of the mind, the plan of many later endophasal conversations with him. What is essential is what Henri says about himself!

 

 

 

 

Henri Bergson

 

»ESSAY ON THE IMMEDIATE DATA OF CONSCIOUSNESS«

 

 

CONCERNING THE IDEA OF FREEDOM

 

"We can now formulate our understanding of freedom.

We name freedom the relationship of the concrete I and the act carried out by the same I. This relationship cannot be defined precisely because we are free. It is the thing that is analysed not the growth: it is the dimension that is dissected and not the duration. Or alternatively, if there is no way you can stop the analysis, you can subconsciously turn growth into the thing and duration into dimension. Except by dissecting concrete time you are already unfolding its moments into homogenous space; instead of the fact, which is being created, you are setting the completed fact which you have already begun by in some way freezing the activity of our I, spontaneity is in some way transformed into inertia and freedom into necessity before your very eyes. – That is why every definition of freedom will in the end corroborate determinism." (102)

The key thought is a priori knowledge, the affirmation: "we are free". You cannot reach it through analysis, nor can it be proven. But if our reason persists in doing this, it must end in some form of determinism, it will be corroborated and its lack of freedom will be proven. However, our reason is not analytical; it is integrally synthetic and cannot be satisfied with this dictate of reason. It makes it possible for us to directly check the state of consciousness and in the deepest states of our consciousness it understands freedom to be an inevitable fact.

If we play with our reason and claim the opposite: we are not free; everyday life, social practise keep proving this to us. As we can see, there are no problems, our reason puts up with this a priori claim as well as the first one. We have relinquished freedom in favour of others, we will have all the support of the others. Social systems are value-based on the fiction of social determinism. There remains only the question of your ego: have you personally been able to accept this relinquishment? This is a question of your mind and not your reason. There remains a suspicious question: why are the activities of social systems so unpredictable, where does their freedom come from?

Instead of my I there is our societal we. And again we can only wonder at the universality of Bergson’s comprehension of freedom. May it not bother you if in my illustration or generalisation of the comprehension of freedom I will pass more freely from the I to the we (i.e. social freedom). Now we can formulate the conception of our freedom.

We name our freedom the relationship of the concrete we and the acts which we carry out (which our we carries out). And this relationship of our we-dom, this social freedom cannot be defined in free societies because we are free. In unfree societies it can be defined of course. You will say: "Every society says for itself that it is the freest." However, we will say: "Any yet there are significant differences between them – societies and us – individuals." A free individual can comprehend it directly while an unfree individual comprehends it indirectly, as it is passed on to him by dominant propaganda systems. We therefore analyse social relationships, objectivised and reduced roles and not free people who cannot be analysed. As we have seen in previous chapters, we analyse social achievements, and not social growth; its institutionalisation and not liberation.

And if we simply cannot stop with real social analyses of human development in which the man is an object, we subconsciously turn growth into social achievements and our free future into illusory utopia. When we want to dissect concrete time we unfold its living moments in a limited space. Instead of life, which is being created, you are setting us completed ideals, finally achieved targets as facts. When you began with this you in some way froze the activities of our we; the spontaneity of the nation, the people, was converted before your very eyes into the inertia of mass and social freedom into social constraint, necessity. That is why every definition of social freedom would affirm and serve social determinism. Planned freedom will end in some form of integralism, totalitarianism, in any case in some –ism.

And if there is no way we can stop with real social analyses – we analyse the quantity of life and not its quality, in which the man is not a free being but is a thing, an object of an alienated we –, we subconsciously convert social growth into social development, spontaneous unification into institutional hierarchy, into expansion and domination of the effective, achievement oriented, reduced man. By wanting to dissect man into a group of partial roles, you determine him into an object appropriate for statistical and computer processing. Or you can do this so that you raise these articles to the level of human values, the computer to the level of human reason. Institutions and their central register do not need man, they only use his part, the one that the computer can register, the one with which the institution can manipulate. Instead of life, which is being created, you are setting up a value society, its values, goals as facts without which civilisation cannot exist. When you began with this, you froze the creativity of our we, spontaneity turned before your very eyes into unstoppable inertia, freedom into unreflected, meaningless efficiency, the discipline of robots. Such a definition of freedom will end in false freedom, which will be replaced by the dangerous and lazy comfort of some socio-political and economic order which contains everything: all the more artificial and imposed and false, as false freedom, and this smells of stagnation, the death of all that is alive.

 

In Bergson’s conception of freedom there is exceptional capacity for multiple meaning; one of the meanings also reflects the answer to the unsolved question of all those who proclaimed the value (idea) of freedom for the realisation of great goals, except that they forgot the unfinished, lasting liberation of our I and our we. You can see social movements and their end in institutional spontaneity. You can see George Orwell, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Aldous Huxley. You can see, I doubt that it can be overlooked, how early Edvard Kocbek saw this – a concrete participant in our movement for the freedom of a concrete we; how it was in vain that he drew attention to institutional spontaneity, you can see the cost of this failure to see. Is not this same thought about the idea of freedom a guide to Kocbek’s warnings when he so quickly began to have serious concerns about our we, the spontaneity of the people accompanying the transformation of the movement into an organisation, the bureaucratisation of power, its alienation, the rift and stratification of our concrete we. Are these not the same worries which so early on disturbed Yevgeny Zamyatin in his novel "We" and George Orwell in his vision of our year "1984".

What allows Bergson’s thought such a broad filling up with meaning, with meanings? Its universality? Its depth? Its vivacity? Does it contain a symbolic representation of the true essence of freedom? I could of course continue with questions but it is not necessary. Our reason is not analytic but synthetic. Without intuition or at least without limiting thinking, this interpretation of mine will seem just like a play on words and a construct.

The value of freedom is not anything when you touch it and when it touches you and when we touch it, use it, and it eludes us, takes its revenge on us, shows us that it can neither be possessed, determined, distributed or defined.

This thought of Bergson’s is a hermeneutical circle which brings us back to our starting-point – to freedom. And so every limitation of freedom leads back to its definition. So the definition of freedom is not an innocent thing, it is the original act which leads us to determinism and from it to integralism, totalitarianism, liberalism, –isms, which man, who is a free being and a being of reason, resists from the depths of his consciousness. Are we even surprised that the ideology whose name shows that it is based on the value of freedom, with the "liberal definition of freedom", with the definition of our freedom has led to what is the most perverted form of government so far: "voluntary slavery". This is liberalism or neoliberalism, whatever you want to call it.

"Freedom is therefore a fact and amongst the facts we are discovering there is no clearer more certain fact. All the difficulties of this problem and the problem itself stem from there where because the idea of freedom cannot be expressed in a language into which it evidently cannot be translated." (103)

Freedom is inexpressible. We cannot relinquish it. To abandon it to political speech, the language, we cannot do this. If our ego relinquishes it in favour of our we, it has therefore deprived us of it. Our we is faced with the same problem as our I faced earlier. /Interpretation/commentary: Rajko Shushtarshich/

 

 

CONCERNING FACTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS THAT DIE

as soon as our consciousness utters them:

 

CONCERNING PURE DURATION

 

Completely pure duration is a form (of consciousness),

which is taken by the succession of our states of consciousness,

when our ego abandons itself to life,

when it no longer wishes to separate present and past states.

That is why it does not feel the need to

completely drown (lose itself) in sensuality

or in the idea pervades us,

because then it would stop lasting.

It does not even feel the need,

to forget past states (souls, selfs):

it is enough when it remembers them,

it does not connect these states to the present state like a point to point,

but only pervades them with it,

as happens when we remember the notes of a melody,

one would say melted together in harmony.

Could we not say that these notes, when they change,

we feel them all, each next one in all the others,

that their entirety is like some living being,

who integral parts, although separated,

are pervaded with the very activity of their solidarity? (49)

Such is, I do not doubt it, the presentation,

which some being would create for itself regarding duration,

in itself identical and changing at the same time,

a being which would have no idea about space. (50)

 

 

ABOUT THE EGO

 

In one word: our ego touches the outside world with its surface;

our feelings, which follow each other,

although they drown in each other,

retain something of the mutuality of the outside world,

which materially marks their causes;

that is why our superficial spiritual life

unravels in a uniform environment,

without this manner of submission causing some considerable effort.

Meanwhile the symbolic meaning of this notion is becoming all the clearer,

the more we delve into the depth of consciousness:

the inner I - self,

that which feels and is enthusiastic,

which considers and decides,

that I is power,

its states change and authentically pervade each other,

but they suffer deep changes when we separate them from each other,

in order to array them in space.

Well, as this deeper self together with the superficial ego creates

one and the same personality,

it seems that both unavoidably last in the same way. (60)

 

 

ABOUT THE DYING OF THE DEEPER EGO ON THE SURFACE OF CONSCIOUSNESS

 

Little by little our feelings become distinct

like the external causes that have aroused them,

and with them emotions and thoughts and feelings,

that are simultaneous with them. (60)

 

 

ABOUT THE TRIVIAL ERROR OR OUR EVERYDAY (SUPERFICIAL) CONSCIOUSNESS

 

Consciousness, tortured by the insatiable desire to differentiate (to define),

replace reality with the symbol,

now only perceives reality indirectly through the symbol.

As the ego that is broken and divided in this way much better

meets the demands of social life and especially language,

consciousness gives such an ego an advantage and gradually loses

the essence of the ego (the essential self). (61)

 

 

CONCERNING THE POWER AND POWERLESSNESS OF THE SYMBOL

 

For this fundamental self to return, in the form that the pure consciousness would recognise, it needs a strong analytical effort with which the internal and living facts of consciousness separate from their image (the symbol), first broken and then objectivised in a uniform (homogenous) space.

In other words, our perceptions, observations, feelings, emotions and thoughts appear to us in a dual light: in one they are clear, precise, but shapeless (impersonal); in the other they are mixed up, confused, extremely, unendingly changing, inconstant and unutterable (not from matter).

Language could not even name them without in this way fixing their changeability, nor could language conform them to its banal form, if it had not beforehand led them into an area that is common to all.

As though the objects that I was constantly observing – they could not stop forming images in my soul –, at last took something of me, my conscious being. Like me, they too lived and grew old with me. No, this is not a simple hallucination...

It is this way because our external and social life is for us practically more important than our inner and individual being. We instinctively desire to unite and condense our impressions, in order to be able to express them in language.

What happens then is that we mix feeling, which is in lasting being, with its interior but constant object and especially with the word, which expresses this object. As the transitional duration of our ego stabilises with its projection in a uniform space, in the same way our ever-changing impressions wind themselves around the external object that has produced them, appropriating its outline and immobility. (61)

 

 

CONCERNING THE GROWTH OF THE SPIRIT, BRUTAL WORDS, THE DEAD LANGUAGE

 

Actually there are neither identical feelings nor multiple tastes; feelings and tastes appear to me like things, as soon as I discharge them and name them, while the human soul contains hardly anything but growth.

Language not only convinces us about the changelessness of feelings, but now and again it deludes us as regards the characteristic of the felt emotion.

In brief, the clearly outlined word is a brutal word that gathers everything that exists. Especially when we consider this formlessness in the impressions of human beings, it destroys or at least hides the most gentle and never same impressions of our individual consciousness. In order to reply with the same measure, we should express ourselves with precise words; but these words, hardly yet formed, always turn against the feelings to which they owe their existence. Invented in order to testify that feeling does not last, they force upon it their own durability. (62)

 

 

CONCERNING LIVING EMOTIONS

 

Nowhere is this disastrous destruction of direct consciousness as visible as in the phenomena of emotions. Passionate love, deep melancholy flood our soul: there are thousands of different states, which blend together, pervade each other without any clear outlines, without the smallest tendency to repeat itself; that is the cost of their originality. They already become disfigured when in their chaotic mass we develop a numbered multitude: and what will happen mutually divided we develop them in a uniform milieu, which we will now call space or time, as you wish? A moment ago each of them was borrowing an indefinable colour from its surroundings: now we have it colourless, and ready to accept a name. (63)

 

 

CONCERNING CONFRONTATION WITH THE SELF, THE REDUCTIONISM OF LOGIC, THE POWER OF POETRY

 

The feeling itself is a being which lives and develops and is therefore constantly changing; otherwise how could it gradually lead us to form a resolution? Our resolution would be immediately taken. But it lives because the duration in which it develops is a duration whose moments, permeate one another. By separating these moments from each other, by spreading out time in space, we have caused this feeling to lose its life and its colour. Hence, we are now standing before our own shadow: we believe that we have analysed our feeling, while we have really replaced it by a juxtaposition of lifeless states which can be translated into words, and each of which constitutes the common element, the impersonal residue, of the impressions felt in a given case by the whole of society. And this is why we reason about these states and apply our simple logic to them: having set them up as genera by the mere fact of having isolated them from one another, we have prepared them for use in some future deduction. Now, if some bold

novelist, tearing aside the cleverly woven curtain of our conventional ego, shows us under this appearance of logic a fundamental absurdity, under this juxtaposition of simple states an infinite permeation of a thousand different impressions which have already ceased to exist the instant they are named, we commend him for having known us better than we knew ourselves. Encouraged by him, we have put aside for an instant the veil which we interposed between our consciousness and ourselves. (63)

 

 

CONCERNING THE INSTINCT OF REASON, THE INTUITION OF THE MIND

 

Let it be enough to say that the impulsive zeal with which we take sides on certain questions shows how our intellect has its instincts and what can an instinct of this kind be if not an impetus common to all our ideas, i.e. their very interpenetration? (64)

 

 

CONCERNING THE THOUGHTS WE TAKE SERIOUSLY

 

The beliefs to which we most strongly adhere are those of which we should find it most difficult to give an account, and the reasons by which we justify them are seldom those which have led us to adopt them. In a certain sense we have adopted them without any reason, for what makes them valuable in our eyes is that they match the colour of all our other ideas, and that from the very first we have seen in them something of ourselves. Hence they do not take in our minds that common looking form which they will assume as soon as we try to give expression to them in words; and, although they bear the same name in other minds, they are by no means the same thing. (64)

 

 

CONCERNING THOUGHTS WE ADOPT

 

Not all our ideas, however, are thus incorporated in the fluid mass of our conscious states.

Many float on the surface, like dead leaves on the water of a pond: the mind, when it thinks

them over and over again, finds them ever the same, as if they were external to it. Among these are the ideas which we receive ready made, and which remain in us without ever being properly assimilated, or again the ideas which we have omitted to cherish and which have withered

in neglect. If, in proportion as we get away from the deeper strata of the self, our conscious

states tend more and more to assume the form of a numerical multiplicity, and to spread out in a

homogeneous space, it is just because these conscious states tend to become more and more

lifeless, more and more impersonal. Hence we need not be surprised if only those ideas which least belong to us can be adequately expressed in words: only to these, as we shall see, does the

associationist theory apply. (64)

I will end here my selection of Bergson’s thoughts. If I refer to his thought then it is pointless for me to substantiate or explain this choice too much because the more I did it, the more I would prove that I took his thoughts to be perfected facts, i.e. dead thoughts that I am merely recapitulating. I will have to take at least some risk.

 

 

THE NOOSE OF TIME

 

Oh, I don’t have time, what time is it?

What day is it today?

I must hand in the report by 24:00h…

Institutions – systems govern us with the reductionism of the role – man is narrowed down to a role in an institution, a basic entity in the system. Common values are defined, narrowed in this way they change into institutional values – value systems. Instead of value systems we are dominated by systems of social stratification; the legitimacy of the system is dominated by the economic value orientation, liberalism or neoliberalism is now the ideology that rules the planet. But the value symbols remain the same, only their meaning has been turned around and twisted.

It is true, we cannot even imagine human development, the development of civilisation – systems without these value changes. But time is a universal system or invention of civilisation, which fascinates us even more. The counting of time — governing! One year, one month, one day: 24 hours, 0.00 minutes, 0.00 seconds…, on the other side of the continuum: decades, centuries, millennia… When the individual accepts the system time into his consciousness he can be measurably controlled and his regulation, including human development, is predictable as far as the level of fascination, or the level of our conviction. However, there is no time in the consciousness of the individual, there is only duration! (Further down I will mention some reasons for measuring time.)

In the unencumbered consciousness of the individual, the noose of time is completely different. From no time – its self-awareness until the infinity of time – eternity (0 — ?). The latter can neither prove nor deny, nor define it as death. However, the latter manipulation is very important for the system (sub-system) engineers of souls – death merchants. The individual does not remember the most important events, experiences, findings in his life according to chronological or spatial classification; this is done by "his" convinced trivial consciousness. I will repeat In other words:

"By wanting to dissect concrete time, we unfold its living moments in a restricted space. Instead of life, which is realised, you set us accomplished ideals, finally reached targets as facts. When you began with this, you in some way froze the activity of our we; the spontaneity of the nation, the people turned before your very eyes into an inertia of mass and social freedom into social constraint, urgency.

When you began with this, you froze the creativity of our we; spontaneity turned before your very eyes into unstoppable inertia, freedom into unreflected, meaningless effectiveness, the discipline of robots. Fake freedom has replaced the dangerous and lazy comfort of some socio political and economic order which contains everything: increasingly artificial and imposed and this smells of death, the death of everything that is alive."

The deepest states of consciousness are in common permeation and are in duration. When consciousness is in duration it is permeated with eternity. Duration is the present in synchronicity – the eternity of the soul to put it in different words. For Bergson "permeation" is a strong, the fullest symbol. As though matter were only permeated by ether; this is roughly how the spirit or spirituality permeates the entire consciousness – the soul. We could also say: consciousness is the permeation, the growing together of our thoughts, ideas, values – basically all the facts of consciousness together with all our being. When Henri Bergson talks to us about the unutterable, some thorough philosophers believe he is contradiction with himself. How is it possible to talk about the unutterable? And yet this is what he talks about most beautifully, and when he talks he is more a poet than a philosopher and that is why I have chosen some of his poems.

Someone could ask me what this choice has to do with values, value orientations and value systems? Then in the previous seven chapters perhaps I did not set out clearly enough the fundamental dilemmas of our consciousness: either the tractate on freedom or the value system of strong institutions. In brief: freedom is a value which is particularly important for the value system. If we have understood freedom to be an immediate data of consciousness, we will do the same for all other common human values. Values orientate us in our deepest decisions, and on the surface of consciousness they substantiate our convictions, which all of society has accepted at a certain moment in time; in other words, they orientate us with socially valid orientations. In both cases the words and symbols for the values are the same, only the same words have meanings that are more different than almost anywhere else.

If you still insist that Bergson is not a poet, you cannot however deny that he did not know how poesis penetrates from the world of shadows into the depth of the soul. For admirers of clear analytic logic and explanatory methods in discussions this thought will seem excessive. But it is the interaction of poets, novelists, discussants and essayists (in one journal for example) that acknowledges the power of poetry, surpasses the reductionism of logic and enables an encounter with one’s own self.

For an individual it is therefore essential to differentiate the thoughts (feelings, evaluations) that we think (feel, value), from those that we summarise or are forced upon us by dominant propagandas in the system of "impersonal sediments of impressions that all of society has taken on in a given example". This is therefore the difference between the poetry of reason and the trivial superficial awareness of practical reason. What can the party do (in Orwell’s "1984")? It prohibits individual love, thereby opening the doors to the hatred of the masses. They love only him, the one and only, we can say that he consumed all our love. The present-day dominant ideology of liberalism frees us of loving our "big brother", but also love for wisdom in the name of one’s "liberal freedom", which is actually "voluntary slavery". At the outset, i.e. in the first socialising or educational institutions with accelerated differentiated education, education is used to suppress the actual freedom of the individual, free thought must be converted into stratified slogans – the moulds of their status expression. "Individual training" and education now mean the categorical – stratified socialisation of individuals. "Free time" means increasingly typified – stratified free time activities: hobbies, holidays, weekends, etc, to suit the system, its agencies and institutions. Perhaps the entrapment of individuals in the noose of time is nowhere more visible than in this very dimension – "free time slavery to the system". The ruling ideology is with increasing speed pushing down individuals into precisely classified masses – strata. How absurd: a mass of individuals. Even the word individual has given way to its antipode. That is why I prefer the word individuum. A multitude of individua? It does not work. At least not yet.

When Bergson talks about the instinct of reason – the key marker for value definition –, this symbol is as important for him as the categorical imperative (of practical reason) is for Kant. If we were to look for an analogon for the instinct of reason we could replace it with the categorical imperative or the intuition of reason or with a completely random premonition of the conscience; and we would not change anything fundamental in the revived thought of the intuitive philosopher and poet Henri Bergson. If we at least complied with that – of everything that speaks to us in favour of immediate data of consciousness, that what is essential is the meaning of the idea, the value and not the symbol – only a marker, that it is therefore pointless to extol the term, which in itself is dead. Considering the emphasis of the meaning in the vertical axis, I would prefer to call it the intuition of reason, after all Bergson is above all an intuitive thinker and speaks to us about the deepest states of our consciousness, spirit and soul. His thoughts and emotions are alive and are developing: "they live and develop because the endlessness in which they develop, the duration whose moments permeate each other: dividing up these moments amongst themselves with the unwinding of time in space, we have deprived this sensation of its vividness and colour. Now, see, we are faced with our own shadow: we think we have analysed our emotions, feelings, but actually we have only replaced them with a succession of inert states that can be translated into words. These are states of which each one means (forms) a common element, an impersonal deposit of impressions that have in a given example been accepted by all of society. " (63)

"We have in some way accepted them without reason because their value in our eyes makes their spilling over suit the general colour of all our thoughts; the fact that we have immediately seen in them something of our own. That is why thoughts in our spirit do not have that banal tone they usually pick up as soon as we say them in words, even though others call them with the same name, these thoughts are not the same thoughts." (64)

We can check his thoughts directly – in comparison with the thoughts of many other amateurs of wisdom – we need not believe anything, we need not suppose anything for immediate data of consciousness can be directly verified by anyone.

 

 

Translated from Slovenian by Marko Petrovich

 

 

 

__________________

Previous publications:

1 Étienne de La Boétie, Prostovoljno suzhenjstvo /Propagandni dodatek – Étienneja de La Boétiea/, Revija SRP 1/2, 1993

2 Rajko Shushtarshich, Endofazija II – O narodu iz metastvarnosti, Revija SRP 29/30, 1999; 2a Rajko Shushtarshich, Endofazija I, Revija SRP 11/12 1995)

3 Henri Bergson, Esej o neposrednih dejstvih zavesti; /3a Rajko Shushtarshich, Poizkus afirmacije neposrednih dejstev zavesti po Henriju Bergsonu iz “Eseja o neposrednih dejstvih zavesti”/, Revija SRP 39/40, 2000

[Naslov originala: Henri Bergson: ESSAI SUR LES DONNÉES IMMÉDIATES DE LA CONSCIENCE uporabljen prevod: Henri Bergson: Ogled o neposrednim chinjenicama svesti; prevedel Feliks Pashiæ, Beograd 1978]

4 Rajko Shushtarshich, Traktat o Svobodi ali vrednote sistema, Ljubljana (1992, 2001, 2006)

 

 

Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)