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Bergson's Theory Of Deep-seated And Superficial States


Bergson's psychology throws further light on a central doctrine of
catholic Christology. It not only makes conceivable, as we have shown
above, the co-existence of the two natures, but it lends support to the
belief in the independent reality of His personality. Person and
nature of Christology find their modern equivalents in the Bergsonian
"deep-seated" and "superficial" states of consciousness. Bergson draws
a sharp line of distinction between these two. The deep-seated states
constitute the kernel of being. They are the man's existence turned
inwards. They are independent, free, creative. They are a unifying
force. Always present, they only rarely make their presence felt.
Only at moments of deep experience do they interfere with the surface
self. The superficial states form the outward-regarding existence of
man. They represent consciousness relaxed into moments of clock-time,
moments more or less external to one another. They are not truly free.
They are conditioned by the material environment. Whatever be thought
of the metaphysic of this system, recognition cannot be refused to that
part of it which rests on the solid foundation of psychological fact.
Self-analysis discloses a two-fold experience in man. The stream of
his life contains both current and undercurrent. The current is
nature, the under-current personality.

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