Conspiracy of Life, The
Meditations on Schelling and His Time
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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In Alan Loehle’s remarkable painting “Dark Room” (1998),mutton hangs from a meat hook while a large dog, toys at its feet, muscles rippling through its body, hunches over, surveying the territory. At first glance, the painting appears to contrast the vitality of the dog with the once living meat of a sheep. Upon closer examination, this is an unconvincing contrast. Everything in the painting, right...
1. The Nameless Good
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In a striking passage in the Freedom essay, Schelling argued that the human is “formed in the mother’s love” and that “the light of thought first grows out of the darkness of the incomprehensible (out of feeling, Sehnsucht, the sovereign mother of knowledge)” (I/7, 361). In this dark longing, in the paradoxically object-free striving of Sehnsucht, one finds, as the dark, concealed origin of the...
2. Theos Kai Pan
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Right from the beginning, Spinoza was a decisive philosopher for Schelling. This may now sound like yet another dusty little truth in the museums and archives of philosophy, but in Schelling’s day, to embrace Spinoza was to dance with the devil and pantheism was the witches’ brew served at this demonic party....
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The Pantheism Controversy had created a sensation, and in its heat other philosophers emerged either to take sides or to dismiss both participants. The young Pietist, fideist, and friend of Jacobi, Thomas Wizenman, for example, defended Jacobi (through arguments independent of Jacobi) in his Die Resultate der Jacobi’schen und Mendelssohn’schen Philosophie, kritisch untersucht von...
4. Direct Experience
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In speaking of his system of transcendental idealism, Schelling argued that not only would it solve problems that had so far proven insoluble, but that it would also produce entirely new problems (TI, 3/1). It was not enough that certain traditionally vexing questions would be answered, but in so answering them, we would learn that we had more pressing, more fundamental questions...
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How can painting having the character of disclosure when it is a creation? Does this not confuse Finden and Erfinden, discovery and creation? Does this not blur the lines between art (supposedly subjective activity) and science (supposedly objective activity)? Is not objectivity perceiving facts as they are and creativity the elaboration of things from a subjective point of view? How...
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Rumor has it that in 1791, while Schelling was a precocious sixteen-year-old student at the Stift, the Swabian despot Duke Karl Eugen accused him of being a clandestine translator of the Marseillaise.6 Indeed, the young Schelling and his comrades were almost drunk on a kind of Dionysian intimation of freedom. The French Revolution and its promise of Republicanism was in the...
7. The Haunting
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When one reads the Freedom essay, with its analogy between sickness and evil, it is sometimes hard not to think of Schelling’s wife, Caroline, who died shortly after the essay appeared. As we saw briefly in the first chapter, Schelling was utterly devastated. In Schelling’s diary for the year 1810, one finds a moving entry written on Schelling’s birthday, “the first without Caroline...
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In Mumbai near the Gateway of India, which once welcomed the English to one of the crown jewels of its empire, for a few rupees, a person can catch an old boat that travels into the harbor. The Gateway arch is near one of the grandest historic hotels in India, built in retaliation by the wealthy Parsi J. N. Tata for allegedly being denied entrance into one of Europe’s premier lodgings. Mumbai...
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Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2003