Elan vital

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In hmolscience, elan vital (TR:14) (LH:1) (TL:15), from French elan meaning “momentum, impetus, impulse, burst, dash, rush” + Greek vital meaning “vis of Venus”, is a scientific god synonym code speak for a life "impulse".


In 1907, Henry Bergson, in his Creative Evolution, introduced the term "elan vital", generally translated as "vital impetus".[1] The term is a scientific god synonym, the vital part of the term code for the vis or "force" of the goddess Venus.


The following are quotes:

“To say that biological progress is explained by the élan vital is to say that the movement of the train is ‘explained’ by an élan locomotif of the engine.”
Julian Huxley (c.1950), Publication [2]
“It is undoubtedly life on the cell level, so far we can agree. But, at the same time, the automatism gives it more an aspect of the ‘chemical elan’ [elan chemique] than that of the vital elan [elan vital], which we thought we discerned in the cellular organization observed as an organism. The concept of life which seemed so self-evident, although indefinable, when we saw an organism in full activity appears during the course of the analysis to have ‘slipped through our fingers[3] when we begin to examine a cell in detail. There is an old formulation for chemical reactions in general that says quite unemotionally: if there are in a solution two components which under given conditions can form an insoluble compound, even though with difficulty, . ”
Gosta Ehrensvard (1960), Life: Origin and Development (pg. 6, 8) [4]

End matter


  1. Bergson, Henri. (1907). Creative Evolution (translator: Arthur Mitchell) (vital, 71+ pgs). Holt, 1913.
  2. (a) Huxley, Julian. (1923). Essays of a Biologist (pg. 33). Publisher.
    (b) Gillies, Mary Ann. (1996). Henri Bergson and British Modernism (pg. 31). McGill-Queen’s Press.
  3. Compare: Albert Gyorgyi: "Somewhere along the lines, life has run out through my fingers." (“What is Life”, 1972).
  4. Ehrensvard, Gosta. (1960). Life: Origin and Development (Liv: Ursprung och utformning) (pg. 6). University of Chicago Press, 1962.

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