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In any case, the problem has been posed, rigorously.  It requires a solution that will satisfy both the need for freedom and the need for order which are both fundamental to the nature of man.  Is it impossible that we might catch a glimpse of it simply by changing the attitude of the observer?  if we give up the human attitude that is passive in favour of that which is active, that of the man-in-his-act, whose reason sets to work BEFORE experience, experience that radiates out from him as from a centre in expansion?  

First, some remarks which will show that the active attitude has begun to be assumed by the mere force of events.  In the ‘hypothesis’ which comes before observation, can we not see the return of reason, by devious means once again assuming its own place, guiding experience by provoking it?  Might not the intellectual, without knowing it, be on the way towards becoming a true experimenter, a man-in-act?  And then - travelling by tortuous paths in which the senses are still, in the last analysis, the basis on which the work of induction and deduction takes place - could the change in the scale of man not end up by achieving a reconciliation between, on the one hand,  the image that has been formed within us and, on the other, the essential nature of the senses, which, we still imagine, have no role to play other than that of simply observing it?  Finally, summing up, if at the present time light commands the attention of the physicist as well as that of the philosopher and of the artist, is it not because SIGHT is, for us, the intellectual sense par excellence? 

Wave theory - a mechanical synthesis that is not in contradiction with the old classical habits of mind - manages, once its postulates are granted, to be coherent.  But that isn’t sufficient for it to be of the nature of life. It might rather be sufficient to prove that the most wonderful of scientific constructions is outside life. 

Because of its postulate, it falls into machinism, which is a putting together on the same level of reality of two natures that are different and that belong to different levels of reality.  It is like the action of concave elements on convex elements or vice versa.  To a material state, an immaterial state reacts;  and it in turn acts on a material state, and so on.  The tooth wheel of a machine gives a good enough notion of a wave system.  The teeth represent matter, the spaces between them, energy.  So that the reaction, as smooth as it may appear to be, occurs in a series of ratchets.  Which permits us to say that the system is discontinuous. 

But all that that gives us is a clever, and practically useful, transposition of a living action.  Nothing more.  The living action itself is very different.  It takes place on two levels, SUCCESSIVELY; but at each of the levels, within its own nature, the system is continuous. (3) The living action is everywhere the same and its principle remains faithful to itself, whatever may happen to be accidentally accessible to the senses, whatever the experience that is being lived.  It is to that that we must constantly return.

(3)  Ocular TRANSLATION - cause of the alteration in the magnitude of the particle - is CONTINUOUS in its nature. Ocular ROTATION - cause of the VARIATIONS IN THE FREQUENCY of the waves is CONTINUOUS in its nature.  The DISCONTINUOUS is nothing more than a result of the mechanisation of these two natures.  We have, for the needs of analysis and of our practical applications, placed a PARTICLE before an INSTANT OF UNDULATION, and we’ve continued in the same way. We have finished, because of the practical results that have thus been obtained, by confusing this transposition with the living order.  Hence the confusion and negligence into which we have fallen with regard to man and to his natures.  

To say that light is propagated by particles, or by vibrations, or by emission, or by waves does not at all change the nature and solution of the problem, the same as we have shown it to be in the case of mural painting.  It is always, under all its different names, the ascension of colour towards light.  By the intermediary, we must immediately add, of the vibration, of the wave.  It is this vibration or wave which now performs the intermediary role which, in the means used by the mural painter, was occupied by the chromatic circle, the rainbow. 

What we have to call the synthesis of emission and of vibration can be nothing more than a sort of mechanical juxtaposition of the particle, standing for matter, and of the wave which represents the action of energy.  For, whatever anyone says, THE PARTICLE is static, immobile, and this despite the wonderful property that has been discovered in it - entirely similar to the Seven League Boots of the ogre in the Tale of Tom Thumb - by which it can, as it wishes, following its own needs and aspirations, shrink or increase in size.  ENERGY, on the other hand, is the mobile factor which seems to disturb THE PARTICLE and permits us to explain, not movement, which is absolute, but a certain kind of agitation which, if it is ordered, will give an impression of movement.  The attempt to establish a synthesis between this particle and this energy ought to produce, not any mechanical theory, but a living understanding of light, as ineffable for the physicist as it is for the artist.