Bergson and the Metaphysics of Media by S. Crocker

By S. Crocker

What's a medium? Why is there always a center? Can media produce 'immediacy'? Henri Bergson well-known mediation because the principal philosophical challenge of modernity. This booklet lines his impact at the 'media philosophies' of Gilles Deleuze, Marshall McLuhan, Walter Benjamin and Michel Serres.

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Bergson’s effort to give science the metaphysics it requires leads us to an image of modernity as depth, implication and complexity. What we shall do here in the next several chapters, then, is first to try to see what the evolution of the plane in the history of the film image teaches us about the productive nature of intervals and connections. We will then follow this idea of the generative medium in two different directions: back to McLuhan and his interest in flatness and depth as figures for understanding the emergence of new media forms, and from there on to Michel Serres’ work on the noise of the productive medium.

Radio, television – which electricity makes possible. ’35 The message or effect of electric technology is acoustic even when it appears as print. In a later chapter, we will focus more precisely on McLuhan’s theory of the multidimensional and ‘intervallic’ quality of sound. For the moment, we continue with the properties of electric media and the Catholic image of common sense that McLuhan finds in it. Electric media, McLuhan argues, represent a novel moment in the history of media. Electricity does not externalize any one sense.

The process by which we count units and make them into a discrete multiplicity has two sides. On the one hand, we must assume that the counted things are identical in some way, since they can be measured together. This mutual identity is, however, only conceivable if the units can be placed alongside one another in a homogenous medium. On the other hand, when we add two elements together, it is in order to obtain a third. The third unit is then the result of an interpenetration of the first two.

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