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Schelling’s Dark Nature and the Prospects of Ecological Civilisation

An abstract for my CPRG talk on 2 May.

Gord Barentsen
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Hi all,

Incredibly late, but nevertheless (barely) on time - my abstract for the 2 May talk at the meeting of the Complex Processes Research Group, Swinburne University, Melbourne.

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Friedrich Schelling’s importance to current philosophical debates is often watermarked by the importance of his Naturphilosophie, as (in his words) a speculative physics which aims to articulate Nature’s infinite productivity and the ways in which it generates natural products in the world.  In this regard, Schelling’s theories of life and emergence merit him a place as one of the foremost process philosophers.

But Schelling’s conception of Nature is also protopsychoanalytic (in the broadest, non-Freudian sense), and in ways which underscore this Nature’s dark nature.  In his First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature (1799) he is already describing Nature in terms of derangement, drive, and compulsion which later become fundamental to Freudian psychoanalysis and, more importantly, Carl Jung’s analytical psychology.  The Idealist trajectory in the Naturphilosophie which frames Nature in a graduated series of stages culminating in humanity is unworked by Nature’s dark indeterminacy and ambivalence toward its own products.

This darkness compels us to ask: to what extent can we ground an “ecological civilisation” on such a Nature?  Can we feasibly underwrite a new social contract with a Nature that is in itself deranged and schizophrenic toward its own products?  In this spirit, this paper aims for a productive interrogation of the idea of “global ecological civilisation” and the Nature it implies – not to jettison this crucial idea, but to explore the implications of its (un)grounding in and by Schelling’s dark Nature.

 

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When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book? -- Lichtenberg

 

 

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On 5/1/2018 at 2:35 PM, Gord Barentsen said:

Can we feasibly underwrite a new social contract with a Nature that is in itself deranged and schizophrenic toward its own products?

this would be my question...how do you have a relationship with something that at best only indirectly speaks your language of symbols (if we assume it speaks at all)?

We need to teach children how to think rather than what to think. – Margaret Mead

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/11/2018 at 11:11 AM, NotWithoutMyOntic said:

this would be my question...how do you have a relationship with something that at best only indirectly speaks your language of symbols (if we assume it speaks at all)?

Well you can't can you?  Or you agree to disagree

'That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.'  - George Carlin

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