Gaston Bachelard

Gaston Bachelard nsIn existographies, Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962) (CR:7) was a French philosopher noted for his 1938 book The Psychoanalysis of Fire in which he analyzes the existence of fire (as well as heat and light), both as a real presence throughout the history of humankind and more importantly a literary, symbolic presence, such as discussed in the fields of literature chemistry and literature thermodynamics. [1] Bachelard, in short, seems to address the subject of the psychoanalysis or critique of the use of thermal words (or thermal phrases), such as the fire of passion, the heat of love, the light of my life, etc.

Bachelard seems to have been one of the first to digress into the subject of relation of love or sexual value, in literature, to fire, heat (e.g. sexual heat, sexual temperature, sexual energy, etc.), or light . He cites the following passage of German philosopher Gotthilf Schubert’s passage as a example of the fire or heat as a psychoanalytic tool:

“Just as friendship prepares us for love, so by rubbing together of similar bodies, nostalgia (heat) is created and love (flame) spurts forth.”

He goes on to cite, what seems to be about two dozen or so, other various usages of heat or fire as a metaphor, analogy, or model for the intricacies of human romance, relationships, and love; one example being Bohemian–Austrian poet Rainer Rilke:

“To be loved means to be consumed in the flame; to love is to shine with an inexhaustible light.”


In studying these various passages, in modern human chemistry and human thermodynamics terms, one is quickly led into a deep analysis. How, for example, does the last passage scale down from the human chemical reaction of love, such as in the pair bonding male-female reaction:

Mx + Fy → MxFy

or from the human reproduction reaction scale:

Mx + Fy → MxFy + Bc

where the reactants Mx (male human molecule) and Fy (female human molecule) are “consumed” in the human chemical reaction, to the level of a smaller sized (easier to study) hydrocarbon combustion reaction, such as methane reacting with oxygen, giving off heat and light:

CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O

In comparing the two reactions, hydrocarbon combustion and human romantic combustion, one is quickly led into a very deep and involved subject. The mention of "light", by Rilke, for example, leads one into the question of how light functions in human chemical reactions, of which topics including the metaphor (or non-metaphorical) term "bright", which is then related to the social nebular hypothesis theories of light, heat, or energy, hypothesized to be created by human gravitational contractions (social gravitation); as well as the exchange force and primary field particle theories, among others.

Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Bachelard:

“Although very difficult to escape concepts and a vocabulary dedicated by usage, i.e. the ‘epistemological obstacle’ (Ѻ) of Bachelard (1938), the effort is certainly worthwhile.”
Ernest Schoffeniels (1973), Anti-Chance (pg. 4)

1. Bachelard, Gaston. (1938). The Psychoanalysis of Fire (La Psychanalyse du Feu) (Schubert, pg 38; Rilke, pg. 106; love, 27+ pgs.). Librairie Gallimard.

Further reading
● Pratt-Smith, Stella. (2011). “Call for papers: Literature and Chemistry: Elective Affinities”, The British Society for Literature and Science, Interdisciplinary conference organized by the research group Literature and Science, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, The University of Bergen 27-28 October 2011.

External links
Gaston Bachelard – Wikipedia.

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