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HENRI BERGSON QUOTES

To perceive means to immobilize ... we seize, in the act of perception, something which outruns perception itself.

HENRI BERGSON, Matter and Memory

However spontaneous it seems, laughter always implies a kind of secret freemasonry, or even complicity, with other laughers, real or imaginary.

HENRI BERGSON, Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

Laughter is, above all, a corrective. Being intended to humiliate, it must make a painful impression on the person against whom it is directed. By laughter, society avenges itself for the liberties taken with it. It would fail in its object if it bore the stamp of sympathy or kindness.

HENRI BERGSON, Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

Laughter appears to stand in need of an echo, Listen to it carefully: it is not an articulate, clear, well-defined sound; it is something which would fain be prolonged by reverberating from one to another, something beginning with a crash, to continue in successive rumblings, like thunder in a mountain.

HENRI BERGSON, Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

The universe is a machine for making gods.

HENRI BERGSON, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

On the other hand, the pleasure caused by laughter, even on the stage, is not an unadulterated enjoyment; it is not a pleasure that is exclusively esthetic or altogether disinterested. It always implies a secret or unconscious intent, if not of each one of us, at all events of society as a whole. In laughter we always find an unavowed intention to humiliate, and consequently to correct our neighbour, if not in his will, at least in his deed.

HENRI BERGSON, Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic


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