Mid-West Quarterly, The (1913-1918)


Date of this Version



Published in THE MID-WEST QUARTERLY Vol. 1, No. 1 (October 1913).


Perhaps the greatness of a great character is best to be seen in the multitude of analogies which it evokes; at any rate, the quality of suggestiveness makes secure draft upon our garrulous human interest and certifies for its possessor some substantial credit. More than any other man Bergson is the butt of our contemporary curiosity; and since Bergson is by profession a thinker, and since a thinker, unlike your man of deeds, is by profession never obvious, it becomes a matter of moment to discover just why he so touches us to the quick. The answer is indicated, I think, by a countryman of Bergson's, Edouard Le Roy, who has put the names of Bergson and Socrates in suggestive collocation. Immediately we grasp the analogy and guess the source of Bergson's suggestive power; for we remember Socrates' own image of himself as a gadfly rousing the noble but somnolent steed to action. We have been long lost in admiration of the mighty thews, the glossy flanks, the high carriage of our intellectual Pegasus; it has remained for Bergson to show him lumbering and scant of breath.