Life as the Inversion of Materiality
Relying on Bergson’s arguments against nothingness and his restriction of negative judgments to practical significance, this chapter shows how the notion of élan vital understands consciousness, life, and materiality as different levels of durational tension, thereby providing an integrative ontology transcending both dualism and the idealist and materialist schools of monism. Where dualism sees an opposition and where monism argues for reductionism, intuition obtains the vision of an élan, precisely by grasping life as an effort to surpass itself. Living beings are divergent and creative outcomes of this striving, otherwise called evolution. The striving nature of life means that the élan is limited but that it is also an unending process of self-overcoming.