Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 November 2019
The chapter presents Bergson’s conception of philosophy as a way of life, as a thinking that seeks to make contact with the creativity of life as a whole. This endeavor to alter our vision of the world, and ultimately, our action and sense of being in the world, seeks to operate a “conversion of attention.” For Bergson, such a conversion is tied in with what he calls the “true empiricism” that allows us to experience and think change as that which makes up living reality as a whole. Bergson conceptualizes this move beyond the human in terms of sympathy, a term employed both descriptively, to develop the notion of a sympathetic whole of life in which philosophy as a way of life resituates the self, and prescriptively, as urging us to overcome our estrangement from “the ocean of life” to which we owe our existence. This effort of sympathy takes the form of a spiritual exercise. Not limited to mere contemplation of the world, it transforms the manner in which we perceive the reality of duration and thus opens the path for a different way of living.