Plotinus (204/5-270), Anonymous, white marble, Ostiense Museum, Ostia Antica, Rome
Comment for The Philosopher’s Zone 21.06.15
Jimena Canales said in your interview of her that she looked at the entry in the SEP on time and was ‘astounded’ and ‘very shocked’ to see that Bergson was not even mentioned.
Yet at that entry it points to another on temporal consciousness where Bergson, appropriately, appears.
Canales dated the beginning of Bergson’s philosophical fall towards disappearance to 06.04.22, describing her subject as ‘an incredible, untold story’.
A dramatic sales-pitch from one who herself continues to ‘overlook’ one of the greatest influences on Western philosophy and culture.
What has ‘disappeared’ – been suppressed – has not simply been Bergson’s philosophy but a philosophy for which he was the primary vehicle into the twentieth century – Neoplatonism – the pornography of academic philosophers, assiduously studied and drawn upon in private while its influence was and is not acknowledged or was and is lied about in public.
Your astounded and shocked guest asked ‘Why, given the evidence, did Bergson not agree with what Einstein was saying?’ failing to answer that it was because his view of time was Neoplatonic – a concept neither you nor she used once. Neither once mentioned the name ‘Plotinus’.
Your guest referred to Bergson’s ‘élan vital’ which came straight and unadulterated from The Enneads. Did she make that basic point? No.
She said she ‘paid a lot of attention’ to what Bergson and Einstein were citing in their argument and twice spoke of her ‘care’ on this matter. Her fundamental failures counter that assertion.
You asked who was right, Einstein or Bergson. Canales said she wanted to move past this but one can’t move past that question which underlies all others and which can be expressed another way – Which is prior to or the product of the other – objective reality or consciousness and its products? The former subsumes the latter, irrespective of how rich and rewarding the latter is.
In her book, she gave Plotinus one mention and not one to Neoplatonism. The Enneads are not cited in her bibliography.
Bergson tried to hook his ancient philosophy to Einstein’s revolution, just as Kant attempted to do with his in relation to scientific knowledge with his carefully worded ‘turn’ inspired by the hypothesis of Copernicus.
In Australia’s authoritarian and anti-intellectual culture I have sought since 1982 to understand and publicise the profound impact of mysticism and its primary Western form Neoplatonism on Western culture.
Much of my effort has been counter to time-serving academics who have built their careers aboard the ideological caravans of modernism and pomo – themselves suffused with mysticism.
There has never been a greater dishonesty and failure of scholarship and a more prolonged pandering to Western supremacism on the back of a claim to be the bearers of ‘reason’ than in regard to this matter.
My proposals to run courses on this since 1999 have been rejected at the University of Sydney, UNSW and the WEA.
In an essay ‘Henri Bergson, Neoplatonist, and the Cubist Aesthetic’ at my blog philipstanfield.com I explicate Bergson’s philosophy as it is – Neoplatonist.
This philosophy via the consummate Neoplatonist Hegel, having been stood on its feet by Marx, is the philosophy and epistemology of science and the future.