Gaston Bachelard Quotes

Gaston Bachelard (French: [ba?la?]; 27 June 1884 – 16 October 1962) was a French philosopher. He made contributions in the fields of poetics and the philosophy of science. To the latter he introduced the concepts of epistemological obstacle and epistemological break (obstacle épistémologique and rupture épistémologique). He influenced many subsequent French philosophers, among them Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Dominique Lecourt and Jacques Derrida, as well as the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.

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Gaston Bachelard


Ideas are refined and multiplied in the commerce of minds. In their splendor, images effect a very simple communion of souls.

Gaston Bachelard


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Rilke wrote: 'These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased.

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By following "the path of reverie"-a constantly downhill path-consciousness relaxes and wanders-and consequently becomes clouded. So it is never the right time, when one is dreaming, to "do phenomenology."

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Thanks to his complex convictions, made strong with the forces of animus and anima, the alchemist believes he is seizing the soul of the world, participating in the soul of the world. Thus, from the world to the man, alchemy is a problem of souls.

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Baudelaire writes: In certain almost supernatural inner states, the depth of life is entirely revealed in the spectacle, however ordinary, that we have before our eyes, and which becomes the symbol of it." Here we have a passage that designates the phenomenological direction I myself pursue. The exterior spectacle helps intimate grandeur unfold.

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Ideas are invented only as correctives to the past. Through repeated rectification of this kind one may hope to disengage an idea that is valid.

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The psychology of the alchemist is that of reveries trying to constitute themselves in experiments on the exterior world. A double vocabulary must be established between reverie and experiment. The exaltation of the names of substances is the preamble to experiments on the "exalted" substances.

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We believe we can also show that words do not have exactly the same psychic "weight" depending on whether they belong to the language of reverie or to the language of daylight life-to rested language or language under surveillance-to the language of natural poetry or to the language hammered out by authoritarian prosodies.

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All the senses awaken and fall into harmony in poetic reverie. Poetic reverie listens to this polyphony of the senses, and the poetic consciousness must record it.

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Man is an imagining being.

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The spoken reverie of substances calls matter to birth, to life, to spirituality.

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The word chrysalis alone is an unmistakable indication that here two dreams are joined together, dreams that be-speak both the repose and flight of being, evening's crystallization and wings that open to the light.

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Even a minor event in the life of a child is an event of that child's world and thus a world event.

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Our whole childhood remains to be reimagined. In reimagining it, we have the possibility of recovering it in the very life of our reveries as a solitary child.

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It is a poor reverie which invites a nap. One must even wonder whether, in this "failing asleep", the subconscious itself does not undergo a decline in being.

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