The quotes from Gastón Bachelard that we have selected resemble the style of his other oeuvres: They are enigmatic and beautiful. If anything made this author unclassifiable, it was his ability to magically play with words and ideas that in the end, even the crudest truths seemed to have wings. Such was this French thinker: a man endowed with a vivid imagination and perfectly rational thoughts.
It can be discussed whether Gastón Bachelard’s quotes should be classified in the field of philosophy or poetry, whether what is most striking about them is the content or the form. For Bachelard it was inconceivable to speak of the truth without manifesting it through his particular style, and in return to create poetry without providing it with the truth. It was this quality that gave him his very own position in the society of French thinkers.
If there could be anything significant to the work of this philosopher, poet, and physicist, it would have to be originality. However, it cannot be inscribed in a particular train of thought. To be able to understand this better, five fabulous quotes from Gastón Bachelard are now mentioned.
“Man is a creation of desire, not a creation of necessity.”
1. One of Gastón Bachelard’s quotes about action
“Our life is so full that if we do nothing, it acts.”
This is one of those lovely quotes from Gastón Bachelard, in which he plays with paradoxical terms. In this case with the full and the empty as well as with the active and the passive. The quote shows that these are not mutually exclusive or contradicting concepts, but on the contrary are mutually dependent dimensions.
When he said that life was full, he was referring to the multitude of contents that make up it, rather than the amount of people, goods, or situations contained in it. Bachelard showed that this accumulation is always expressed, especially when we stop acting. In moments when we are not doing anything, all this latent content comes out.
2. The night and the dream
“The dream of the night is not ours. It is not our property. For us he is a kidnapper, the most disturbing of all kidnappers: he takes our being. “
This beautiful statement poetically describes the nature of the Oneiric. The dream does not belong to us, we belong to the dream. Once we are immersed in him, in him who rules, the logics of what we dream are not what our will dictates, but what the dream dictates to us.
That is why Bachelard said that sleep takes us away. It is a kind of kidnapping of our consciousness that surrenders us to our own dream. We stop being what we are and imagine what we could be while we are awake.
3. The task of the poet
“The first task of the poet is to discover in us what wants to dream.”
This is one of the many quotations from Gastón Bachelard dealing with poetry and poetry. As he said, the true poet knows something that is hidden in our being and awakens it according to the poetic word.
Bachelard does not give the “awakening” an exact name. He calls it “what wants to dream” . And it is the poet who liberates that faculty that is anchored or stagnant in the human mind. So the aim of a poet is not to imitate or to sigh, but to awaken and guide people so that they can dream.
4. What is in the subconscious
“The subconscious murmurs incessantly, and whoever listens to this murmur listens to the truth.”
Although there is debate about the meanings of the “subconscious” and that of the “unconscious”, it is true that Bachelard always preferred to speak of the subconscious rather than the unconscious. It was important to him to give everything a place in the room, and the room was part of his meaning for him.
As he rightly said, that which is outside of consciousness whispers to us. It doesn’t speak, it whispers. Doing it in a crazy, absurd, and seemingly incoherent way. However, if we stop to listen, it is there that we will find the great truths of our being.
5. Deprive yourself of unreality
“A being who is deprived of the function of the unreal is a neurotic, just like a being who is deprived of the function of the real.”
This is one of the most beautiful quotes from Gastón Bachelard and also one of the ones that best defines his thinking. In contrast to what is promoted in our culture , this philosopher valued both the irrational and the rational. The unreal as well as the real.
He pointed out that if a person deprived himself of the unreal, he would become just as sick as someone deprived of the real. Because for the human mind, perception is just as fundamental as imagination, and thinking is just as necessary as it is to create.
Gastón Bachelard exerted a considerable influence on important philosophers who followed him, such as Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault. Many say that there is nothing better than reading a page of a Bachelard book so that we can taste the infinite again when we feel like raw reality is overwhelming us.