The crystal-image may well have many distinct elements, but its irreducibility consists in the indivisible unity of an actual image and 'its' virtual image. But what is this virtual image in coalescence with the actual one? What is a mutual image? Bergson constantly posed the question and sought the reply in time's abyss. What is actual is always a present. But then, precisely, the present changes or passes. We can always say that it becomes past when it no longer

¡Si when a new present replaces it. But this is meaningless."1 It is clearly necessary for it to pass on for the new present to arrive, and it is clearly necessary for it to pass at the same time as it is present, at the moment that it is the present. Thus the image has to be present and past, still present and already past, at once and at the same time. If it was not already past at the same time as present, the present would never pass on. The past does not follow the present that it is no longer, it coexists with the present it was. The present is the actual image, and its contemporaneous past is the virtual image, the image in a mirror. According to Bergson, 'paramnesia' (the illusion of déjà-vu or already having been there) simply makes this obvious point perceptible: there is a recollection of the present, contemporaneous with the present itself, as closely coupled as a role to an actor. 'Our actual existence, then, whilst it is unrolled in time, duplicates itself along with a virtual existence, a mirror-image. Every moment of our life presents the two aspects, it is actual and virtual, perception on the one side apd recollection on the other . .. Whoever becomes conscious of the continual duplicating of his present into perception and recollection . . . will compare himself to an actor playing his part automatically, listening to himself and beholding himself playing.""

Bergson calls the virtual image 'pure recollection', the better to distinguish it from mental images - recollection-images, dream or dreaming - with which it might be readily confused. In fact, the latter are certainly virtual images, but actualized or in the course of actualization in consciousnesses or psychological states. And they are necessarily actualized in relation to a new present, in relation to a different present from the one that they have been: hence these more or less broad circuits, evoking mental images in accordance with the requirements of the new present which is defined as later than the former one, and which defines the former one as earlier according to a law of chronological succession (the recollection-image will thus be dated). In contrast, the virtual image in the pure state is defined, not in accordance with a new present in relation to which it would be (relatively) past, but in accordance with the actual present of which it is the past, absolutely and simultaneously: although it is specific it is none the less part of 'the past in general', in the sense that it has not yet received a date.2" As pure virtuality, it does not have to be actualized, since it is strictly correlative with the actual image with which it forms the smallest circuit which serves as base or point for all the others. It is the virtual image which corresponds to a particular actual image, instead of being actualized, of having to be actualized in a different actual image. It is an actual-virtual circuit on the spot, and not an actualization of the virtual in accordance with a shifting actual. It is a crystal-image, and not an organic image.

The virtual image (pure recollection) is not a psychological state or a consciousness: it exists outside of consciousness, in time, and we should have no more difficulty in admitting the virtual insistence of pure recollections in time than we do for the actual existence of non-perceived objects in space. What causes our mistake is that recollection-images, and even dream-images or dreaming, haunt a consciousness which necessarily accords them a capricious or intermittent allure, since they are actualized according to the momentary needs of this consciousness. But, if we ask where consciousness is going to look for these recollection-images and these dream-images or this reverie that it evokes, according to its states, we are led back to pure virtual images of which the latter are only modes or degrees of actualization. Just as we perceive things in the place where they are, and have to place ourselves among things in order to perceive them, we go to look for recollection in the place where it is, we have to place ourselves with a leap into the past in general, into these purely virtual images which have been constantly preserved through time. It is in the past as it is in itself, as it is preserved in itself, that we go to look for our dreams or our recollections, and not the opposite.21 It is only on this condition that the recollection-image will carry the sign of the past which distinguishes it from a different image, or the dream-image, the distinctive sign of a temporal perspective: they exhaust the sign in an 'original virtuality'. This is why, earlier, we were able to assimilate virtual images to mental images, recollection-images, dream or dreaming: these were so many incomplete solutions, but on the track of the right solution. The more or less broad, always relative, circuits, between the present and the past, refer back, on the one hand, to a small internal circuit between a present and its own past, between an actual image and its virtual image; on the other hand, they refer to deeper and deeper circuits which are themselves virtual, which each time mobilize the whole of the past, but in which the relative circuits bathe or plunge to trace an actual shape and bring in their provisional harvest.22 The crystal-image has these two aspects: internal limit of all the relative circuits, but also outer-most, variable and reshapable envelope, at the edges of the world, beyond even moments of world. The little crystalline seed and the vast crystallizable universe: everything is included in the capacity for expansion of the collection constituted by the seed and the universe. Memories, dreams, even worlds are only apparent relative circuits which depend on the variations of this Whole. They are degrees or modes of actualization which are spread out between these two extremes of the actual and the virtual: the actual and its virtual on the small circuit, expanding virtualities in the deep circuits. And it is from the inside that the small internal circuit makes contact with the deep ones, directly, through the merely relative circuits.

What constitutes the crystal-image is the most fundamental operation of time: since the past is constituted not after the present that it was but at the same time, time has to split itself in two at each moment as present and past, which differ from each other in nature, or, what amounts to the same thing, it has to split the present in two heterogeneous directions, one of which is launched towards the future while the other falls into the past.2* Time has to split at the same time as it sets itself out or unrolls itself: it splits in two dissymmetrical jets, one of which makes all the present pass on, while the other preserves all the past. Time consists of this split, and it is this, it is time, that we see in the crystal. The crystal-image was not time, but we see time in the crystal. We see in the crystal the perpetual foundation of time, non-chronological time, Cronos and not Chronos. This is the powerful, non-organic Life which grips the world. The visionary, the seer, is the one who sees in the crystal, and what he sees is the gushing of time as dividing in two, as splitting. Except, Bergson adds, this splitting never goes right to the end. In fact the crystal constantly exchanges the two distinct images which constitute it, the actual image of the present which passes and the virtual image of the past which is preserved: distinct and yet indiscernible, and all the more indiscernible because distinct, because we do not know which is one and which is the other. This is unequal exchange, or the point of indiscernibility, the mutual image. The crystal always lives at the limit, it is itself the 'vanishing limit between the immediate past which is already no longer and the •nimediate future which is not yet.. . mobile mirror which endlessly reflects perception in recollection'. What we see in the crystal is therefore a dividing in two that the crystal itself constantly causes to turn on itself, that it prevents from reaching completion, because it is a perpetual self-distinguishing, a distinction in the process of being produced; which always resumes the distinct terms in itself, in order constantly to relaunch them. 'The putting into abyss [mise-en-abyme] does not redouble the unit, as an external reflection might do; in so far as it is an internal mirroring, it can only ever split it in two', and subject it 'to the infinite relaunch of endlessly new splitting'.2'1 The crystal-image is, then, the point of indiscernibility of the two distinct images, the actual and the virtual, while what we see in the crystal is time itself, a bit of time in the pure state, the very distinction between the two images which keeps on reconstituting itself. So there will be different states of the crystal, depending on the acts of its formation and the figures of what we see in it. We analysed earlier the elements of the crystal, but not the crystalline states; each of these states we can now call crystal of time."

Bergson's major theses on time are as follows: the past coexists with the present that it has been; the past is preserved in itself, as past in general (non-chronological); at each moment time splits itself into present and past, present that passes and past which is preserved. Bergsonism has often been reduced to the following idea: duration is subjective, and constitutes our internal life. And it is true that Bergson had to express himself in this way, at least at the outset. But, increasingly, he came to say something quite different: the only subjectivity is time, non-chronological time grasped in its foundation, and it is we who are internal to time, not the other way round. That we are in time looks like a commonplace, yet it is the highest paradox. Time is not the interior in us, but just the opposite, the interiority in which we are, in which we move, live and change. Bergson is much closer to Kant than he himself thinks: Kant defined time as the form of interiority, in the sense that we are internal to time (but Bergson conceives this form quite differently from Kant). In the novel, it is Proust who says that time is not internal to us, but that we are internal to time, which divides itself in two, which loses itself and discovers itself in itself, which makes the present pass and the past be preserved. In the cinema, there are perhaps three films which show how we inhabit time, how we move in it, in this form which carries us away, picks us up and enlarges us: Dovzhenko's Zvenigora, Hitchock's Vertigo and Resnais'y<> t'aime je t'aime. In Resnais' film, the opaque hyper-sphere is one of the most beautiful crystal-images, while what we see in the crystal is time itself, the gushing forth of time. Subjectivity is never ours, it is time, that is, the soul or the spirit, the virtual. The actual is always objective, but the virtual is subjective: it was initially the affect, that which we experience in time; then time itself, pure virtuality which divides itself in two as affector and affected, 'the affection of self by self as definition of time.

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