Catholic Dictionary




Philosophy of Henri Bergson (1859-1941), who conceived spiritual and material vitality as a unity. The phrase élan vital synthesizes his doctrine that there is in existence an original, all-pervading life force that has passed from one generation of living beings to the next by way of developed individual organisms. These organisms are the connecting links between successive generations. His evolutionary theories have deeply \affected modern Western thought, e.g., in the writings of Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955).