“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
–Alfred North Whitehead

The Integral Stage Authors Series (interview by Layman Pascal about “Crossing the Threshold”)

I’ve pasted the transcript below with timestamps (this is autogenerated from YouTube and so has some errors, but it is readable!).

0:34 welcome back to the author series on guess what The Integral Stage. I’m Layman Pascal on behalf of myself, Bruce

0:41 Alderman, and the Unspeakable future of life on Earth. And today we’re taking a deep dive into a new work called

0:46 Crossing the Threshold. This is a philosophical text that highlights the role of imagination along with a new

0:53 appreciation of Nature and the ontology of feeling in an attempt to grow beyond the Kantian gap between subject and

0:59 object with the help of our pals Schelling and Whitehead, if that’s what sounds like fun to you–

1:04 and I will attempt to blend the ultra abstract and the quite silly in a deliberate attempt to make this fun–then

1:09 you’re in luck and I love you because today’s guest is someone I consider a legit philosopher and it’s also the guy

1:15 I’d most like to see fist fight Jeremy Johnson in the parking lot outside a Rowdy Cowboy Bar: it’s Matt Segall, hi Matt

1:22 Great to be with you Layman, I really appreciate that uh intro to the book it’s perfect and uh Jeremy and I have I

1:30 guess not had enough drinks yet to uh actually get in a fist fight but we’ll see what happens yeah I think I think

1:37 maybe you could take him. we’re similarly sized we’re in I think

1:42 we’re in the same weight class um but uh I haven’t seen him throw down yet so I can’t really prejudge the

1:48 situation. The first thing I want to do having read this book is to thank you and and

1:55 not for the nuanced way that you handle Nietzsche which is good and I think reflects some of the conversations you

2:01 and I have explored about the affinity between Nietzsche and Whiteheadian thought the thing I actually want to thank you

2:06 for is a bit more elusive than that uh it seemed to me reading this that it’s partly a a complex confession and

2:13 apologetic for Matt Seagall as shaman that the text takes a careful analysis and cross-reading of European

2:19 philosophers and uses that to justify the fact that you’re focused on etheric imagination inversions the subtle

2:27 perceptual possibilities of the senses embodiment within and as vegetal ecology

2:32 descending currents of spiritual energy and the ways in which god-like entities holds sway at a cosmic level over

2:39 Reality permeated by quasi-animistic communicative subjectivities and Powers

2:44 but for me that’s actually not just a Matt Seagall confession it’s also

2:49 something that’s needed by the broader emerging community of shamans both ancient and new the intellectual labor

2:56 that you’ve undertaken I think works to secure and encourage the validity of those modes of being from out of a

3:02 well-reasoned analysis of the of the dead white European philosophers and I think that’s that’s part of what we need

3:09 in order to legitimize this kind of Enterprise and these kinds of people in the Contemporary world so for that I

3:16 thank you. You’re very welcome and I thank you for for seeing me or and hearing me because

3:23 that’s exactly that’s exactly right I think um I wanted to look at my own lineage

3:30 and inheritance and uh obviously I’ve been influenced by um other thinkers and

3:38 practitioners who aren’t just dead white guys there’s a few living white guys and gals that I cite as well in this book

3:45 but it’s mostly dead white guys that I’m engaged in an exegesis and application

3:50 of but you know for me to make sense of my own

3:56 perspective on reality I think I really did need to go deep into that particular

4:01 lineage and show that there are resources here uh to do the sort of spiritual and embodied

4:09 transformative work that many people who are you know white guys like myself

4:15 might feel like they have to look elsewhere for and again there’s uh riches to be to be found in so many

4:23 different lineages and traditions but you know I’ve I’ve found it uh right at

4:29 home so thanks for for noticing that and and I hope it’s a fresh reading of these

4:34 thinkers there’s no doubt lots of ink has been spilled on Kant and Nietzsche and Schelling though most of it in German so

4:42 this is you know bringing him more into the English language uh and Whitehead is we’re still waiting I think we’re in the

4:48 midst of a Whitehead Renaissance and maybe much more ink or whatever we use to write in the rest of the 21st century

4:54 uh will be devoted to Whitehead we’ll see okay so there are these people who have

5:00 proposed a transcendental approach to reality and these people are pointing at a highly valuable

5:06 mode of transcendental freedom and transcendental knowledge anchored in a sense of a fundamental split between

5:11 mind and body between humanity and nature and you’re proposing in contrast

5:16 a descendental approach that situates philosophy within an organismic ecological and imaginal context so I

5:23 guess the obvious question is why do you hate trans people

5:29 well in a way um we all have to become trans

5:35 in the sense that we’re throwing off an artificial uh not just understanding

5:43 an artificial habitus like an artificial way of experiencing ourselves

5:51 that you could say is culturally constructed but the whole point of you know the methodology of this book is

5:57 that culture and nature are so thoroughly entangled with each other that you have to be crazy to think you

6:04 could Purify one side or the other of that dichotomy and so yeah the descendental is an

6:10 attempt to recover all that had been obscured repressed

6:17 and um and buried in the rationalistic but

6:22 even also the the modern empiricist approach um which though you know empiricists

6:28 would say oh we’re just really trying to pay attention to what the senses uh reveal to us the information the data

6:34 provided to the senses and so you could think that that’s embodied but it turns out that this construal of sense

6:41 experience as solely about uh sort of

6:47 um qualia delivered by the external world as a sort of just like uh

6:54 assemblage of disconnected parts uh it was kind of the way that Hume would talk

6:59 about sense impressions right um that this is a really um abstract way of construing our

7:08 perceptual uh embeddedness in in the surrounding world and so um empiricists

7:14 just as much as rationalists in the modern Western philosophical tradition and I mean we could go back to the

7:20 Ancients as well though um I don’t think they’re quite as disembodied as the modern Western

7:27 philosophers from Descartes through Hume and Kant and so on and so by by

7:33 inverting this transcendental uh maneuver uh where you know things sort

7:38 of culminate in Kant with his his transcendental approach to to philosophy that

7:45 there are there are certain cracks in the Kantian edifice that I try to sneak through here particularly his treatment

7:51 of um his thesis or or perception in his transcendental aesthetic but the

7:58 descendental approach is to say hey wait a minute perception this might sound obvious is

8:03 an embodied process and the body is not limited by the skin boundary

8:09 um if we’re to take a strictly scientific and even fully materialistic if you want

8:15 approach to that question what is the body it’s the entirety of the universe in

8:20 space and time right and so I would think

8:25 once you’ve understood that and we you know we can go more into why I would make the claim

8:31 that our our actual body is the entirety of cosmogenesis um

8:37 then perception you know the the limits of perception

8:42 becomes that question becomes totally reconfigured and

8:48 what etheric imagination means is really an effort that I fully admit is nascent

8:54 and remains to be developed and just I haven’t fully explored the potential of etheric imagination in this book

9:01 whatsoever I’m more just saying hey this is possible for us to perceive as Cosmic

9:08 beings right that our capacity to experience is not limited to just the

9:14 nervous system that we think ends at the tip of our fingers right it

9:19 it penetrates far deeper into space and time so that’s basically what I’m going

9:25 for with this idea of descendental philosophy yeah yeah we like it it’s much tidier than my

9:32 terms ciscendental philosophy

9:37 um before we dive a little bit more into Theory there are some I want to call them linguistic housekeeping things that

9:43 came up for me during the book uh partly because I listened to it read by the balaboka software how do you

9:51 pronounce the word which means of or pertaining to the work of Schelling

9:56 uh I would say Schellingian yeah okay okay how did it how did it say

10:03 that in your software it did it’s shilingian is what it came I mean that’s a little more elegant actually yeah I

10:10 kind of like Celine I might start using that okay okay second linguistic housekeeping

10:16 question why on Earth would someone write the word categoreal instead of categorical

10:23 really good question Whitehead doesn’t tell us why he calls it in Process and Reality his categoreal scheme but

10:31 um I think I suggest in this book somewhere that um he the difference between uh categorical

10:38 and categoreal I think has something to do with the way that Whitehead’s trying to uh re-embed mind and its categories

10:47 in real nature right um

10:52 categories are ideal, Whitehead’s categories are real right what does that

10:58 mean well one thing that’s different about how uh Whitehead discusses

11:03 um the role of of categories is that uh well first of all new ones are being

11:09 created all the time for Kant no they’re just this this fixed

11:14 table of categories um I mean there’s four big ones and then 12 minor ones if you unfold them each

11:21 dialectically uh and that’s it there’s just that table of categories once and

11:27 for all to interpret and determine all of our experience nothing about experience is ever going to lead us to

11:33 need to change or update these content categories. it’s very different for Whitehead he does have his table of

11:39 categories uh things like actual entities and eternal objects and so on but one of his

11:45 categories is um what he calls them contrasts and every occasion of experience is

11:52 achieving realizing new contrasts and so he says about this category of contrasts

11:58 um there are indefinitely many new categories that would be brought forth

12:04 as a result of contrasts achieved aesthetically in any given moment of

12:09 experience right and so categories are proliferating spilling out of this text Process and Reality

12:16 um even after you finished reading it he would Whitehead would say keep going you know and so categoreal I think is his

12:22 way of suggesting that uh yeah categories are part of and produced by

12:27 encounters with the real. Nice distinction thank you

12:35 um how would you how do you summarize what Kant is best known for and and

12:40 relative to that where do you think his thought was starting to go at the end of his life

12:47 well he lived uh long enough to go through at least three phases I’m not a

12:53 Kant scholar necessarily but I think I can detect three phases I mean his

12:58 earlier phase his pre-critical phase we could say he was very interested in

13:05 uh cosmology and um he wrote this great text uh Universal

13:11 Natural History and Theory of the Heavens in 1755 which is

13:17 um pretty close to a kind of evolutionary cosmology and he’s he’s

13:24 really in that text he has to do a lot of work to say to the theologians like look look I’m not

13:30 saying God’s not real I’m just saying maybe God’s method of creation is a little different than you’ve been

13:36 suggesting so far uh maybe God’s so perfect and Powerful that God created

13:43 um mechanistic rules for dead matter and

13:48 set it in motion and all by itself it gave rise to all of these

13:53 um spinning orbs and stars and creatures like us and so he goes through you know

13:59 drawing a lot on on Newton uh Newton’s understanding of universal gravitation to say hey all I need is

14:05 this law and maybe one or two others and I can give you the entirety of of what we observe

14:12 um and he even was one of the earliest to suggest this might seem obvious to us nowadays but in

14:18 seeing the Milky Way right this band of stars that runs across the sky sort of

14:24 crisscrossing with the ecliptic of you know or the Sun and the Moon and the planets uh move through

14:31 um this guy he suggested that this might be a

14:37 Galaxy he didn’t use the term Galaxy yet but there were astronomers had known about

14:42 um what they called uh nebulae at the time which were these little fuzzy disc shaped things in the sky and they’re

14:49 like what is that um and Kant was like where inside of one of those and there’s lots more of these

14:57 milky ways so he used Milky Way in the plural like to refer to the fact that the universe is pretty vast in other words

15:03 there are these huge star systems everywhere um and so you know he’s he was quite a

15:10 talented um insightful imaginative natural scientist and cosmologist right but then

15:18 he reads David Hume who had been freshly translated into

15:23 um into English or sorry into German um not long before and he says famously

15:30 that he was awakened from his dogmatic slumber and what he means by that is con

15:37 um is that Kant had been assuming this sort of naive realism that’s

15:43 baked into the Newtonian perspective on nature that we can sort of look out there and see

15:49 causation and necessary connection between the bodies that whose motion

15:54 we’re measuring right and David Hume the empiricists did a uh just

16:00 you know really precise analysis of his his sensory experience and said look when when that billiard ball hits the

16:06 other billiard ball I don’t see causation I don’t see necessity in the connection uh which unfolds as forces

16:15 transferred from one ball to the other all that I see is uh what he he called

16:20 constant conjunction and So based on my past experience he said yeah it seems like this ball will do that when it hits

16:27 that ball but uh that’s not a law I have no basis for the formation of laws which

16:32 would be necessary and Universal and Kant took this in and said yeah you know

16:38 what you’re right and he set to work developing what became called critical or transcendental philosophy and in

16:45 order to respond to Hume’s criticism which it might not be immediately apparent but for Kant this like

16:53 um this this Insight of Humes that causality is is not necessary connection

16:59 for Kant was potentially going to topple the entirety of Natural Science

17:05 and so Kant’s maneuver into this transcendental form of philosophy is basically to say

17:12 well Hume um you’ve taken space and time for granted as just sort of out there and

17:20 that you know you come to know about space and time through your experience but actually space and time are these a priori

17:26 structures they precede our experience and provide for the possibility of our

17:32 experience of any objects and similarly causality is not something we learn about through experience it’s it’s this

17:40 necessary structure uh that’s pre-installed in our mind

17:47 which provides for the very possibility of any experience at all if we didn’t have this category of causality

17:54 um we could make sense of our perceptions and so transcendental maneuver is basically to say that

18:02 the subject doesn’t conform to objects in its environment the objects have to conform to the subject’s way of sensing

18:09 and knowing those objects right so we have space and time as what he called

18:15 forms of our intuition and we have um the categories I spoke of earlier as

18:20 the the concepts that we that we use to determine to organize uh to

18:28 um to logically relate uh what comes to us through our sensory perceptions that

18:33 are pre-formed by space and time and so in this way

18:38 um Kant’s able to re-establish The Logical foundations

18:44 and the the metaphysical possibility of science but the problem is after this Kantian move

18:50 scientific knowledge of nature is merely apparent merely phenomenal right we know

18:58 nature as it appears to us in this lawful way that Newton and other mathematical physicists were describing

19:05 what nature is in itself Kant said we can’t know

19:11 he said that this realm of things in themselves or noumena as opposed to the phenomenal

19:18 realm uh we could mark with a mere X like an algebraic symbol as a

19:24 placeholder just to say we know that it exists but we know absolutely nothing about what it is

19:31 and the problem though for Kant was that um he contradicts himself on this point because he says that this X this this

19:40 noumenal realm of things in themselves beyond the phenomenal or apparent uh

19:45 domain that science can know things about he says it causes our sensory experience now

19:52 it might not be immediately obvious why this is a contradiction but the category of causality is only supposed to apply

19:57 to the phenomenal realm in Kant’s scheme but here he is saying uh that the numeral realm is causing

20:04 our sense experience and that’s uh one of those cracks in the Kantian edifice and I’m not the first to

20:10 notice it Kantians might say oh well that’s not really what he means and they try to

20:17 um you know make amends for this apparent contradiction but

20:22 the German idealists who followed in Kant’s wake, Fichte foremost among them really made a big deal about this this

20:29 contradiction and it broke open Kant’s critical philosophy into a far more speculative form of idealism that

20:36 followed in his wake and Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel um were all the

20:43 explorers of the domain which opened through this crack right and um I I

20:49 chose Schelling in particular to build on uh for specific reasons I mean they’re

20:55 all called German idealists but I would say that uh Fichte over emphasizes the role of the

21:01 ego and Hegel over emphasizes the role of abstract

21:08 Concepts and Schelling was known for his natural philosophy which uh

21:16 he carries forward this this Kantian evolutionary perspective but he does so

21:22 in a way that doesn’t evacuate nature of mind right but that sees nature as

21:29 to varying degrees ensouled and intelligent and that whatever evolution

21:36 is is the in a way the potentization of Nature and that the human form is the

21:43 flowering of this this process of unfolding potencies through different stages of

21:50 self-organization right and so um Schelling is a precursor to Whitehead in

21:55 the sense that he’s he’s going through the Kantian threshold

22:00 like taking this new transcendental method very seriously but then seeing how in Kant’s own philosophy certain

22:08 cracks open up and that we need to go further than Kant right we can’t go back before Kant

22:14 but we need to go further than Kant something I find uh

22:20 almost Charming about the way in which the attempt to say we don’t know

22:26 anything about the objective World actually forces us to presume a few

22:31 things about the objective world so that we’re never in a position where we don’t think we know something about it that’s

22:39 kind of a it gives me joy to think of that fact but um can’t whatever it is seems to me

22:47 was extremely empowering for people because he sort of asks us to undertake a difficult skill building task which is

22:55 to pause at this threshold of knowing and not assume that our obvious types of cognition and perception are necessarily

23:02 evidence of the nature of the world beyond our minds there’s an extraordinary epistemic humility and a

23:08 beautiful discipline to that which has been very productive for modern science

23:13 but it also seems like it represents or contributed to a grave doubt maybe even

23:18 a depression about the human capacity to see and touch the world

23:24 um that that’s maybe one of the generators of the meaning crisis so to speak but what I think I’m hearing lately what

23:30 I’m hearing in your book what I’m hearing in my conversations with John Vervaeke is what I would describe as a

23:36 new kind of optimism uh complex intellectual renewal of the confidence that there really is a reality and we

23:44 really can’t engage with it because we’re part of it and that our inner knowings are reflective of the structure

23:50 in which we are embedded rather than being some weird solipsistic anthropocentric Twilight Zone isolated

23:56 from the rest of reality do you do you sense that there’s a new confidence about knowing among Leading Edge

24:02 thinkers today absolutely um

24:08 you know there was a lot of um

24:13 in a sense is doing in a German way what the French were doing in a in a in a

24:19 French way with the political revolution which had occurred uh 1789

24:24 um Kant is liberating Philosophy from certain

24:31 um dogmatic forms of knowing which were too quick to project

24:37 our own habits and our own um uh culturally inherited modes of

24:44 understanding onto the real and say well this is just how it is because that’s how my dad told me it is and that’s how

24:49 his dad told him it was and Kant didn’t actually see himself as

24:55 um building a wall between um the human mind and reality he wasn’t

25:01 trying to say you we just can’t do metaphysics he was trying to inaugurate a new method of metaphysics that would

25:08 be scientific um and so

25:13 he didn’t intend to lead to this cynical form of postmodern uh

25:21 pessimism about what we can know and what’s real and the reduction of all knowledge claims to uh

25:28 the imposition of some power structure or what have you but that’s that’s that’s what the effect

25:34 has largely been and so I do think yeah of late that um

25:41 various thought movements are saying um no we can know the real but not in

25:48 the way that we thought one of the things that happens in the in

25:53 the the wake of Kant and Fichte who I who I brought up is

26:00 um that uh you know this dichotomy that’s in Kant between practical philosophy and theoretical philosophies

26:07 it’s important to understand theoretical knowledge would be more of this sort of

26:12 passive observation of what’s going on practical philosophy is more about what we do in the world

26:19 um our action and one of the ways to interpret what

26:24 Kant did and Fichte really makes this quite quite plain uh is the theoretical

26:30 philosophy becomes um somewhat derivative of practical philosophy and so in other words

26:38 um knowledge is a constructive act it’s a it’s something we do right it’s not

26:43 just something we have it’s something we bring about and so for Fichte for us to know nature

26:52 recognizing kant’s whole project to show how nature as it appears to us is a kind

26:57 of construction of our mind uh Fichte said well to get over this boundary between the realm of phenomena

27:04 how things appear to us and what’s real um we’re not going to do it just by contemplating appearances we’re going to

27:12 actually have to actively transform nature into mind

27:18 right and there’s some ways in which the techno-industrial

27:23 um remaking of the planet that has accelerated geologists refer to

27:30 it as the anthropocene and whatnot um this discourse is widespread today you could see it as the Fichtean approach

27:37 having kind of won out right the human being has gone about uh transforming the earth into

27:45 something artificial right and so it’s as if we’ve stamped our freedom onto the world and

27:51 and and and uh claimed ownership over it and and in so doing we’ve known it but

27:56 we’ve known it in a very instrumental way what what Schelling does and Schelling was

28:04 a student not only of Kant’s but of Fichte’s is he he points out the way and he says this

28:10 that all modern philosophy lacks a living ground because real nature is not

28:15 available to it right and it became modern philosophy became so obsessed

28:20 with the the freedom and the power of the Mind uh that it neglected the life of of

28:28 Nature and which is its own life ultimately and so mind became kind of ossified

28:36 um and what Schelling does is is inverts this

28:41 kantian uh picture not to deny our freedom not to deny the

28:47 power of the mind but to say instead of um what must the mind be such that

28:52 nature can appear to us in the way that it does which is the kantian and the Fichtean question

28:57 Schelling says well what must nature be such that mind could have emerged from

29:04 it such that our consciousness could have emerged from it in this evolutionary process

29:10 and this this reconfigures the whole uh philosophical Arena and lets us lets us

29:16 play a very different game whereby we recognize

29:22 um that you know nature is this uh living process and indeed for schelling a

29:28 Divine process and that rather than imagining um God as uh or the the ultimate being

29:37 as Kant did as a kind of idea of reason that we can’t know but

29:43 that we’re justified in believing in for different moral reasons um and theoretical reasons

29:49 um for schelling God rather than just an ideal becomes something real that’s actually present

29:57 in our experience all the time we just either um

30:02 well it’s so terrifying and and awesome in in the sense of terrifying that

30:08 our habit is to is to cover that perception of the Divine ground over

30:16 um but schelling says no no um we need to dive into that and recognize that um

30:23 you know God’s not an old man in the sky God is a living process that we are

30:31 um participants Within finite participants within though um were only finite because we’re caught

30:40 up in a process that from God’s perspective is eternal but for us is is not

30:45 um right for us um there appears to be time and space uh and and I don’t deny that time and

30:52 space are appearances in in my book um I rather suggest that

30:59 um time and space rather than being forms of intuition that human Minds come

31:04 pre-installed with, time and space are more like um the fabric of relationship that binds

31:11 All Creatures together right uh and so who am I in that process

31:19 I become a a Nexus of relations and while relatively speaking you know I

31:26 am me and you are you, we’re constantly passing into and out of one another through space and time

31:33 and so space and time become the tissue of our shared organismic

31:39 feeling as one one body and and in fact

31:45 ultimately that is God’s body and The evolutionary process Cosmic evolution is the Incarnation of of this of this deity

31:54 and um you know schelling allows us to think

31:59 thoughts like this but it’s it’s it’s more an invitation to feel

32:04 this as a reality right and so there’s a there’s a deep spiritual practice in here and I think

32:12 the optimistic uh the upside of all of this is that um human life has purpose

32:19 and meaning again uh we have a role to play in

32:24 furthering the Incarnation of God if you want and what that what that what that means I

32:33 think is um I would hope open to a plurality of of different

32:39 um approaches but for me you know it means continuing the philosophical quest to

32:47 to understand but to recognize that we will never have knowledge we will just continue to learn

32:54 um so you could say descendental philosophy rather than as Kant had it with

33:01transcendental philosophy where it was about the conditions of knowledge the the

33:07 categorical conditions that make knowledge possible, descendental philosophy is more about the conditions

33:13 of learning, what makes learning possible right and this is the the perceptual

33:18 dimension of descendental philosophy but it’s also the the aesthetic Dimension

33:23 and it’s the spiritual Dimension because in effect God is learning through us

33:30 and you know it it I think opens life up again to be an adventure that really

33:35 matters it has ultimate significance uh what we do what we think what we feel

33:41 because we’re contributing to the growth of this this organism that we ourselves within

33:48 and so yeah I hope it’s I hope people find it inspiring and A Renewed source of

33:54 purpose and meaning in a world in a culture that in so many ways tells us

33:59 that um all that matters are uh material sources of of pleasure

34:07 money sex power Etc um nothing wrong with those things but

34:13 uh there’s a there’s a larger event unfolding and and we’re participants in that

34:20 I’m hearing you say words like us and we a lot and when I was reading the first

34:26 half of the book especially which I mostly listen to while shoveling snow in the backyard

34:32 one of the thoughts that kept coming up for me is oh Matt’s trying to introduce

34:37 intersubjectivity where Kant’s just focused on subjectivity does that sound reasonable yes

34:43 mm-hmm yes now one other thing that came up for me is

34:50 so effective Schelling Hegel are standing before Kant and trying to figure out Pathways that move on from the event of

34:58 his thoughts where is Schopenhauer in all of this because he doesn’t seem to be mentioned

35:03 in the volume yeah he’s not you know I’ve I’ve read The World as

35:09 Will and Representation and when I read it I was myself I was

35:15 going around calling myself a Buddhist for all the wrong reasons

35:20 um and I think Schopenhauer is he was a troubled soul and that he

35:26 was um a pessimist and also he was brilliant and his challenge to

35:34 um all of these fancy idealist professors and he didn’t like any I mean he especially hated Hegel he was he was

35:41 more uh amenable to Kant and in fact you know he kind of takes Kant and reads uh

35:48 through Buddhism and gives a one of the earliest sort of

35:53 um Western inflections of Buddhism it’s not Buddhism it’s it’s a western inflection

36:00 just like Alan Watts is not really Buddhism not that there’s anything wrong I mean not really Buddhism Buddhism can

36:07 be whatever it wants to be wherever uh and whenever it wants to be it’s a living tradition right and

36:14 I can’t really answer why Schopenhauer is not in this text other than to say

36:19 um I went with Nietzsche instead uh and I think Nietzsche might be a

36:26 slightly more well way more optimistic thinker in the sense that you know for

36:31 Schopenhauer um all of reality is just this sort of

36:38 accumulation of of will or desire and there’s

36:45 nothing we can do except

36:50 you know release ourselves from the striving to know because there’s nothing to know and it it it’s it ends in a kind

36:57of nihilism and there I’m sure people who would defend Schopenhauer from from this but

37:03 uh I preferred to think with Nietzsche just because he is very clearly striving

37:09 for a post nihilist um relationship to the real

37:15 and that’s what I’m striving for too and so I didn’t mean to slight

37:20 Schopenhaur again I think he’s brilliant it just um he wasn’t uh a thinking partner that I

37:26 wanted to dance with in this particular round

37:34 Matt what is Imagination

37:41 well most people would say um just to start with the sort of common definition that it’s this

37:48 faculty or this power that that we have to um take sensory Impressions that we’ve

37:58 that we’ve gathered up from past experience and um rearrange them we can like take this

38:07 color of red that we really like and um you know sort of detach it from the

38:12 stop signs that usually display it to us and we can in our imagination paste it

38:19 onto a beautiful balloon uh and you know so imagination

38:25 can be can be thought of in this sort of really deflated way as as just uh

38:30 the capacity to um break down sense perceptions and

38:36 rearrange them into um Fantastical objects in our Mind’s Eye

38:42 that is a capacity that we have but I would I

38:48 would agree with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and and say that that’s not the full

38:53 extent of our imaginative capacity Coleridge would call what I’ve just described is fancy

39:01 and he would say that imagination as opposed to fancy is actually a creative

39:06 power it’s not just a merely reproductive power in other words it’s reproducing what we’ve

39:12 already experienced but more than that thinkers like Coleridge and here he’s cribbing

39:18 schelling actually literally um Coleridge would translate schelling from German

39:24 into English and uh pass it off as his own schelling later forgave Coleridge for

39:30 this just because he really appreciated the uh that he’d been understood by an English person

39:36 but Coleridge would say that at the in the depths of our imagination our

39:42 creative imagination we’re actually participating in a cosmic power and indeed a divine power so imagination in

39:49 this higher sense functions as a kind of portal through which we come into

39:55 contact with and participate in creation like uh Divine creation Cosmic creation

40:03 cosmogenesis uh if you want and so out of imagination

40:09 pours the future forms that that the world can and and and will take

40:16 and so it’s not merely reproductive right it’s productive it’s creative

40:23 um and it’s it’s the engine of evolution and so I I want to view imagination not

40:30 just as a faculty of the human mind uh but as the ground of existence in a

40:37 sense and we um partake of this ground of existence

40:43 this this Divine or Cosmic imagination to varying extents I think we can

40:48 cultivate uh our our connection uh to this to this ground of existence it’s

40:54 not like uh we all have um immediate access to its most profound

41:00 depths but there’s nothing to prevent us from going all the way to the creative

41:05 core by cultivating this imaginative capacity right and so

41:12 it is a uh it rather than thinking of it as fantasy that it disconnects us from

41:17 reality I think it’s only through imagination that we could contact the real

41:26 so later in this book you take a deep dive into these considerations of a like

41:33 the vegetal and organismic nature of reality and cognition and

41:39 what kept coming up for me personally was you know whether or not there’s a

41:45 like a normative Dimension to that and what do I mean like Heidegger famously

41:50 said we’re the beings who’s being is in question right we’re available to our own inquiry about our nature because we

41:55 have a certain freedom from what we see as the roles and constraints of other species

42:01 but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re at Liberty to do whatever we want like if our subjectivity has evolved within a

42:08 much older biospheric domain of subjectivity which in turn evolves within and mediates the potential

42:15 sensitive intelligence of the solar system then our inner life might have a function within those systems just as

42:22 our organs have a functions within our bodies the real agency might reside in

42:27 in the voluntary choice to fulfill a kind of ecological function rather than

42:32 to deviate from it and I’m curious how that lands with you do you suspect our species has a has like a unique role or

42:40 normative function within the ecosystem that we might or might not be successfully fulfilling

42:46 yeah yeah absolutely um I mean I I I’m not sure if this is part

42:53 of your question also but um you know that the human has a different role than animals and a

43:00 different role than plants and so why am I saying that that human imagination is

43:05 plant-like and what’s going on there

43:12 and then I’ll get back to the responsibility that I think human beings have to wake up to their ecological

43:17 function as it were so in the Timaeus which is Plato’s

43:24 cosmological dialogue uh he describes the human being as an upside down plant

43:30 um because just like plants most plants we we grow vertically whereas animals are horizontal right and so but we’re

43:37 inverted so um Our Roots uh our our heads are um in the sky

43:46 right and our branches our limbs grow down to the Earth and I think what Plato was suggesting

43:54 here is that um we are nourished by Divine ideas right

44:00 and we are um growing into the Earth and that we do

44:05 have a mission on the earth and so Plato is often read as a kind of Two World dualist who thought we would we should

44:11 escape from our bodies into the purity of of the Soul I think that’s a

44:17 misreading of of Plato uh all due respect to Nietzsche and many others who have read Plato in this way

44:23 I think this apparent dualism in Plato’s thought is more of a it serves a pedagogical

44:29 purpose um he’s trying to guide us Across the Threshold because until we’ve crossed

44:35 the threshold as it were we might think that we might have the wrong idea about what bodies are

44:40 thinking Plato wants to disconnect us from our body he wants to say uh that bodies

44:45 are incarnate ideas right so in any event we’re inverted

44:51 plants right okay but what is this what does this mean practically speaking uh for us as human beings and what I how I

44:58 would read this is it’s it’s an invitation to think about knowledge uh

45:04 differently than we have been prone to in the modern period which is as I said earlier kind

45:10 of instrumentalist approach to knowledge where it’s more about technologically

45:15 manipulating some we say we know something when we can reverse engineer it

45:20 um and build one right well I know we know what life is when we can build an organism

45:27 um and as opposed to the sort of instrumentalists understanding of of

45:33 knowledge Plato is is suggesting that we think of ourselves as um as plants and plants unlike animals

45:41 aren’t as good at um manipulating their environment uh they’re more they communicate uh with

45:48 their environment in in deep and Rich ways but if we were to plant the human being and

45:54 recognize that um yeah of course we’re mobile it makes us different from Plants but uh that

46:00 Mobility might be distracting us from this more rooted sense of of knowing whereby

46:07 we’re always already connected with that which we are attempting to know we don’t need to go get it over there

46:12 um we don’t need to manipulate something in order to turn it into knowledge um that in some sense

46:19 um we’re always already at the center of things everywhere we go

46:24 and this you know Whitehead’s understanding of concrescence and what an actual occasion of experience very much

46:29 speaks to this sense of um always being at the still center of a

46:35 universe which is nonetheless in constant process but then you know in terms of there’s more I could say about the whole

46:42 vegetable ontology that is at work in the book but I want to speak to the other part of

46:49 your question which is like the ecological function of the human I think

46:55 there’s a lot of there’s a tendency in contemporary environmental philosophy and

47:01 environmental ethics to really um rail against anthropocentrism

47:06 uh and rightly so I think there’s a certain kind of anthropocentrism that puts

47:12 a diminished sense of what the human being is at the center of everything as

47:17 though we’re the apex predator and so um all of the Earth’s resources and all of the Earth’s organisms should be

47:24 harvested for our pleasure that form of anthropocentrism does need

47:32 to be um challenged but I think there’s a a higher sense in which if that the human

47:39 being is is the consciousness of the Earth and that unless we

47:47 become responsible for the power that we have

47:53 and unless we live up to our potential as participants in Cosmic imagination

48:00 what makes the human unique I would say is that we can participate with full consciousness

48:08 because we have freely decided to whereas there’s no

48:15 freedom in the behavior of other organisms I’m not saying they’re not all

48:21 creative and wonderful uh and capable of novelty I think freedom is something

48:26 different um it’s in human beings that freedom and the capacity to love

48:33 become possible and unless we recognize this unique difference about the human being and

48:39 live up to this higher calling then we’ll continue to think of ourselves as just another animal

48:45 and if we’re just another animal then yeah we’re the apex predator this Earth belongs to us and we’re going to do whatever we want with it

48:51 but if if we’re able to become conscious of our power

48:57 and freely choose to be beings of love then

49:03 I think the Earth Community would would welcome our presence

49:11 and um this this is a you know a nuanced point

49:16 right because we’re de-centering a less developed understanding of what the human being is

49:22 absolutely but we’re re-centering our spiritual uh potential and saying that you know we

49:29 really do need to wake up and take responsibility for who and what we are the Earth actually wants and needs us to

49:36 do that and and stop with this sort of cynical like oh well everything would be

49:41 better if human beings just weren’t here because I don’t think that’s true

49:47 so yeah in an oversimplified way

49:54 if you if you take Kant and you add in schelling and relativity Theory and quantum mechanics then maybe get

50:01 something like Whitehead what does Deleuze bring in that isn’t

50:06 already in Whitehead so you know Whitehead is in so many ways

50:14 kind of a Victorian in his uh his the mood that comes through in

50:22 his writing whereas uh Deleuze is a bit of a Chaos Agent um

50:28 and I if Kant is the guardian of the threshold of

50:36 sort of representing modern philosophy Deleuze is the guardian of the threshold representing post-modern philosophy and

50:42 I think I’m really trying to not only go through kantian the kantian critical phase of

50:50 philosophy but also to go through the the post-modern phase of the development of philosophy and so it’s the same

50:57 reason I think with Nietzsche’s um at play when I think with Deleuze and

51:03 the benefit of Deleuze is that he himself inherited and digested both

51:10 schelling and Whitehead’s philosophies and I I treat him

51:17 um as a someone to think with because of just how damn creative he is and you know in

51:23 this text as someone who’s not a mathematician who’s not a physicist I’m

51:28 nonetheless trying to engage with um some of the the concepts at play in

51:36 um relativity quantum theory and the development of non-euclidean geometries

51:41 which allow us to gain a foothold in our scientific study of space and time and

51:47 whatnot and Deleuze has this wonderful notion that you know philosophy in some senses is a kind of science fiction

51:53 writing um and that you know Deleuze would engage with the history of mathematics and uh

52:00 with different scientific Concepts and um he had deep understanding of these

52:06 scientific Concepts but he’s trying to not and he’s not just using them as metaphors but he’s trying to get at the

52:13 um the metaphysical underbelly of these Concepts from physical science and I’m

52:21 trying to do something similar and so I couldn’t help um but um appropriate his methodology here right I

52:28 say in the beginning of the book that I’m engaged in a kind of Science Fiction and he also says that philosophy is a is

52:34 like a kind of detective novel which similarly you know in my attempt

52:40 to to follow the way that imagination has been treated and mistreated

52:46 um by modern philosophers uh it’s a I refer to it as a an attempt to

52:53 to to understand this murder mystery of imagicide uh why why did modern

53:00 philosophers feel the need to so violently restrain this this creative

53:06 power right and so um de loses is hip to all these things and so I couldn’t help

53:11 but um um emulate his method on the other hand

53:16 Deleuze is also um more prone to a kind of atheism or

53:23 pantheism uh I mean he’s he’s like Spinoza in that sense that

53:29 um you know even though Spinoza was clearly a pantheist he would often get called an atheist because

53:35 uh God and nature are the same thing right and I I try to think with and and

53:42 through but beyond Deleuze also because rather than an atheism or pantheism

53:48 um I really do try to articulate uh panentheism which is just a you know

53:53 higher Octave of the um the dialectical process here um but I I want to be able to without

54:01 embarrassment you know use the G word uh and and think about liturgy and ritual

54:06 uh and prayer and all these things that get packaged in in the suitcase of religion

54:13 and say hey this is all still relevant and to Deleuze or maybe more so Deleuzeans

54:19 nowadays might scoff at that whole project um so as much as I do draw upon him I

54:27 also try to do something a little bit differently than he might well speaking of Science Fiction

54:33 I know Roger Penrose has this really intriguing notion that like times definition in the physical Universe

54:39 ceases to apply under certain special entropy conditions at which point the universe can’t tell the beginning from

54:46 the end of time and it starts again with maybe some slight residual effects

54:51 on The Descendant universe and a bit like that you have this para

54:57 whiteheadian notion of different world-souls that might hold sway over different Cosmic epochs in which the

55:04 community of onological beings invents their common intelligence and common

55:10 divinized potential differently is that right

55:15 yes and yes so this is um actually a an amendment or a creative extension of

55:25 Whitehead’s idea of um what he calls Cosmic epochs

55:30 but in Whitehead’s philosophy so far as I can tell the way it’s written

55:35 different Cosmic epochs uh or sort of evolutionary phases of creation and

55:41 destruction where a totally new form of order displaces the old form of order so

55:48 it’s as if you’re in a different Universe um Whitehead would still say that God

55:53 the primordial nature of God has remains unchanged throughout this process of

55:59 different Cosmic epochs arising and and perishing and because I’m

56:07 in dialogue with you know like Deleuze and Nietzsche I wanted I needed to make some concessions somewhere about

56:14 Whitehead’s Theology and so I I play with this idea that okay maybe God does die

56:22 uh as each Cosmic Epoch or phase of cosmic order reaches its Climax and and

56:28 then begins to wither away God dies with it but um God is also reborn as this you know

56:36 Penrose refers to it as the um cyclic cosmology that there is this there are cycles of

56:42 death and rebirth and in a Dionysian way God’s going through this and is it many

56:48 gods or is it a lineage of Gods kind of God family is there kinship

56:54 some inheritance preserved as we move from one Cosmic Epoch to the next and I think

57:00 you know embedded within one of these Cosmic epochs such as we are there’s so

57:06 much Beauty and Order there seems to be something happening here and for all of that to just have

57:12 emerged from scratch at the Big Bang uh seems rather unlikely to me and so

57:20 I’m speculating in in this book that something like what Penrose is describing is going on

57:26 um Lee Smolin has a similar idea about black holes giving birth to new

57:32 universes when there’s a kind of evolutionary process whereby organizational

57:37 tricks that work in one Universe are preserved and advanced upon in the next universe and you know so I’m just trying

57:43 to expand a kind of evolutionary thinking to the cosmos as a whole

57:48 while retaining aspects of Whitehead’s process theology but just

57:53 um not allowing this primordial nature of God which is a key category in

58:00 whiteheads scheme to remain fixed and

58:07 Eternal as if disconnected from all of this Cosmic process that’s going on I want God to

58:13 die with the world but you know also to be reborn

58:18 but God going through the threshold of death I think is perfectly in line with various religious and Mythic Traditions

58:25 or Christianity obviously and so you know there’s a way in which even Nietzsche and his sense that God is dead

58:30 is just Nietzsche trying to really give more potency to this incarnational idea

58:37 yeah God died but um in some sense that that just means that

58:45 we God died into us and like now we are responsible for continuing this work of divine creation

58:51 right and so um yeah I don’t know I don’t know what cosmologists will think of this idea I

58:57 don’t know what theologians will think of this idea but I’ll probably upset everybody equally

59:03 I want to see my my least well-formulated question I’m not even

59:08 sure exactly what I’m trying to ask with this but I’m going to try to ask it anyway and see if anything happens

59:14 um there’s an apocryphal tale about Wittgenstein and that he asked the

59:19 scientist why people used to believe the sun went around the earth and the scientists said that’s the obvious

59:24 conclusion to draw because that’s how it looks and Wittgenstein said well how would it look if the Earth went around

59:30 the Sun so of course it would be the same we can’t just tell ourselves a story about

59:35 getting over naivete we have to interrogate our assumptions about what constitutes conventional knowledge

59:42 itself and this popped into my head reading the book because I began to wonder if the

59:49 etheric imagination vegetal thinking whether these things constitute a

59:54 reversal of how we normally see the world or whether they’re an articulation of how we normally see the world right

1:00:01 when is it valid to say descendental thinking is a shift Beyond something and when is it valid to say well that’s how

1:00:07 it looked all along regardless of what we were saying does that make any sense yeah it does

1:00:13 and I I think that’s not actually an apocryphal story that um that this is a conversation that one

1:00:19 of Wittenstein’s students Elizabeth Anscombe records and you know it’s it’s

1:00:26 a thought-provoking um response from and question from Wittgenstein and I think

1:00:33 what I’m trying to do in in this book is actually um

1:00:38 do justice to Common Sense like I’m not trying to affront common sense I’m not trying because

1:00:45 there’s so many ways in which the Kantian point of view and the whole idealist point of view is like

1:00:50 um saying everything you thought was real is is an appearance all right

1:00:56 um and and is a mirage and you need to adopt this very technical

1:01:02 form of um a critical reflection upon your experience to recognize that it’s a sham

1:01:08 and to begin the long arduous process to its really scientific way of of

1:01:14 experiencing and then understanding the world and you know it’s not that um there isn’t some importance to being

1:01:22 um attuned to the ways we can deceive ourselves but at the end of the day we don’t want to negate common sense

1:01:30 um we need to I mean Whitehead says the Philosopher’s job is to weld imagination

1:01:36 and Common Sense right and so there’s a speculative imagination that wants to go beyond

1:01:42 first appearances but we also need to at the end of the day return to our

1:01:47 everyday encounter with the world and and find it meaningful rather than denying that it is in

1:01:54 contact with uh with the ground of being of existence

1:02:00 and so yeah I think we want the world as it immediately appears to

1:02:07 us uh to contain within that appearance of profound meaning

1:02:14 right rather than it just being a veil uh that in some sense

1:02:19 you know the the elemental structure of our everyday experience while we uh we

1:02:25 we tend not to notice that Elemental structure because it’s um in a way it’s too obvious it’s it’s too close to our

1:02:33 eyes that we just see past it uh but there’s a there’s a profound meaning

1:02:41 just in the fact that up is up and down is down that this like that that we live

1:02:46 on the earth Beneath The Sky and to really take in

1:02:51 um it’s it’s a kind of Elemental phenomenology I draw on John Sallis

1:02:57 um in a short chapter in this text who has written some beautiful texts on the

1:03:02 phenomenology of our encounter with these what he calls elements the sky

1:03:07 the Earth The Horizon the sea the sort of natural powers that that

1:03:14 are present in every like air the things that are present in our everyday experience that we just don’t notice you

1:03:20 know Whitehead similarly says that it takes a rather unordinary mind to do

1:03:26 metaphysics because metaphysics is an analysis of the obvious right all the

1:03:31things that we take for granted and so rather than philosophy being this

1:03:36 uh esoteric pursuit of some hidden secret truths uh in so many ways it’s

1:03:42 really just about paying attention to what everybody already knows

1:03:49 I like this idea that the philosopher is trying to weld imagination with common sense I think you mentioned the book The

1:03:56 Whitehead also called the philosopher a Critic of cosmologies uh I sometimes call philosophers

1:04:02 difference workers who are like sex workers who specialize in determining whether a common distinction is unreal

1:04:08 or whether a seemingly singular concept conceals the need for an additional distinction uh Nietzsche kind of described the

1:04:15 philosopher as a commander of World Views who discovers new values by making

1:04:21 new arrangements and new orderings of the virtues um what’s the matter what’s a

1:04:27 philosopher man I mean I can’t do better than uh than

1:04:33 Plato here and even having created the term lover of wisdom

1:04:38 um because you know as I was saying earlier about this shift from philosophy being about knowledge to being about

1:04:44 learning I think it’s it’s contained in this idea that despite hegel’s claim you

1:04:50 know to have finally become wise and no longer just be loving uh wisdom he is

1:04:55 wise think that’s you know he’s claiming to be a sage um I wouldn’t I wouldn’t claim that I

1:05:02 would claim to be in love with wisdom and to be in love with wisdom is

1:05:08 um to be

1:05:13 engrossed in a in a process of learning uh and every

1:05:19 every conversation with other lovers of wisdom uh is an opportunity to deepen

1:05:25 learning and so I think yeah for me to be a philosopher is to never be satisfied

1:05:33 um with the knowledge I might think I I’ve collected in my in my backpack like

1:05:39 um it’s it’s rather to be perpetually open to surprise and to

1:05:46 uh the the novelty that comes through

1:05:52 um relationship uh the novelty that that comes through

1:05:57 being always open uh to to deep dialogue across difference and to recognize I

1:06:03 mean it’s kind of a faith I guess that I have that um differences can always be reconciled but

1:06:10 never once and for all there will always be new differences which arise that need to be reconciled but that they can be

1:06:17 reconciled I think as long as we are in love with wisdom

1:06:23 that reconciliation can be achieved

1:06:29 uh and it’s a philosophical Faith right that would um that I that I hold that leads me to

1:06:35 believe that but I definitely see the the the philosopher is not a Lone Ranger

1:06:41 um not only do we do I need my fellow philosophers other

1:06:47 human beings but um there’s something to be learned from every creature uh something to be

1:06:54 learned from plants there’s something to be learned from a specific species of plant I don’t want to just use a sort of

1:07:00 generic category here um really there’s no such thing as plants and animals there’s like specific

1:07:07 individual beings that we categorize in these ways right it’s easier to come up

1:07:13 with a generic category for plants and animals and even the the idea

1:07:19 of a species is still an abstract categorization of individuals each one

1:07:24 unique but many thinkers from Teilhard de Chardin to Rudolf Steiner have said um

1:07:31 the human being isn’t just another species we’re like another kingdom of life right and so I think the philosophical

1:07:38 project is a uniquely human undertaking even if we human beings have much to learn from other

1:07:44 creatures there’s a sense in which um

1:07:49 there will always be a multitude of cosmologies and that I don’t expect to

1:07:55 have the final word on the right cosmology right because each of us is a walking cosmos A microcosm and it’s it’s

1:08:03 through dialogue that we come to come to overlap to some degree or another and

1:08:09 arrive at some common sense of or for what’s what’s going on here uh

1:08:15 but yeah it’s an endless process so that’s why I’m a process philosopher I guess

1:08:21 the possibility of deep differences amongst plants puts me in mind of plant

1:08:28 medicine and it leads me to a question that’s a bit like uh okay we’ve got this uh

1:08:37 dialogue network of philosophers we have these love driven or seduced followers

1:08:42 of wisdom trying to reconcile positions and elicit the forms

1:08:48 of knowing which have the force of being but it seems like most people are not capable of or interested in doing real

1:08:56 mind work in that sense what do you think the role of other other Technologies are

1:09:03 neurochemistry psychedelics participatory ritual in bringing many

1:09:08 people into the embodied relational contemplation of the real um

1:09:14 well I mean I think immediately if the um platonic Trinity the the true the good

1:09:19 and the Beautiful and those who do mind work who who fashion Concepts you know

1:09:26 we’re really oriented towards the truth you could say but the good and the Beautiful uh are

1:09:32 co-terminous with the absolute and so artists who

1:09:39 you know work with material uh to bring to bring new shapes

1:09:45 and sounds um textures into the world uh are are

1:09:50 engaging in Cosmic imagination just as much if if not in some likes more so

1:09:55 than those of us who work with with Concepts um and you know those who are oriented

1:10:01 toward compassionate work in in service uh of of sentient beings who suffer

1:10:10 um you know are aligning with the good and in this way also advancing the work

1:10:15 of cosmic imagination and so you know improper integral spirit I

1:10:22 think you know those of us who do have more facility or who are just more called to one or another

1:10:27 aspect of this Trinity really do we do need each other and we do need to

1:10:34 attempt to balance ourselves out you know and so

1:10:40 I can speak personally that uh I’m still seeking that balance

1:10:47 um I really do need to cultivate more

1:10:53 artisanal skills as a as a craft a Craftsman right

1:11:00 and I I kind of long for this because it’s a underdeveloped part of myself right and so you know for those for whom

1:11:07 um the conceptual realm and is not as as developed and for whom

1:11:13 um books of philosophy or the last thing that they’d ever want to to read whether

1:11:18 they just find it boring or um can’t make sense of it you know I would say

1:11:24 um you do have the capacity to think uh and

1:11:29 um you just need to let your eyes adjust to what might first appear to be darkness

1:11:35 and you’ll begin to see uh the Contours of these Concepts so you know we just we need to uh

1:11:44 recognize that inevitably there are differences in capacities across these domains of

1:11:49 human expression and uh and try to you know grow into those

1:11:55 areas where we’re underdeveloped right and so I certainly don’t think of the work of the philosopher uh as

1:12:06 as most important in any sense philosophers need art to provoke them the philosophers need uh virtuous people

1:12:15 to emulate um but you know at the end of the day I

1:12:21 hope that being a philosopher is is not um you know absent the pursuit of

1:12:27 excellence in these other domains as well so other than simply being done what are

1:12:35 you proudest about in regards to this book I’m proudest of um my complete lack of

1:12:45 respect for disciplinary boundaries it’s it’s a wild text that transgresses

1:12:53 the science and religion dichotomy that transgresses methodologies

1:13:02 um you know I try to be rigorous in my thinking but I also try to say hey you’re not going to understand this unless you’re willing to feel what I’m

1:13:10 talking about and most philosophical texts just stick

1:13:15 to conceptual argumentation and I say right at the beginning of the book this is not a logical argument I’m not going

1:13:21 to prove anything to you this is an experiment and

1:13:27 I think we need more philosophy like that and I hope that um this this can

1:13:33 serve as an example uh to be improved upon um but uh but yeah I think I’m committed

1:13:41 to transdisciplinary work and I’m proud of the way in which this book

1:13:47 cannot be at least easily um categorized

1:13:53 yeah there’s something in it for everybody and something in it that will I I I I don’t expect that any readers

1:14:00 even those who love a lot of it will agree with everything I think I tried to be

1:14:05 equally uh provocative both to academic

1:14:11 philosophers to scientists to yeah cult practitioners so

1:14:16 yeah is there uh is there next text on the

1:14:22 horizon is there a further reaches of the etheric imagination or what are you

1:14:28 looking forward to doing creatively it’s it’s hard to say

1:14:34 um what’s next because you know I have I can tell you about my

1:14:39 plans but knowing how things have unfolded in the past um what I plan to write is often not

1:14:45 when you end up writing um but you know I’ve I’ve been um deepening

1:14:51 into the work of Rudolf Steiner and I do

1:14:57 include some of his ideas in this text but I’m really interested in trying to

1:15:03 um write a book about something like the the place of the human being in Cosmic

1:15:11 evolution and I think the title I’m playing with is the cosmological context of human

1:15:18 evolution and to try to um integrate the very esoteric and often

1:15:26 um mind-blowing crazy sounding ideas that Steiner comes

1:15:32 up with with Whitehead who is more grounded in

1:15:38 um Natural Science not that Steiner’s not grounded in in the Sciences but

1:15:43 um I think Whitehead’s cosmology provides some helpful ways of elucidating

1:15:49 what in Steiner remains somewhat esoteric and obscure and so I’m I’m hoping to be

1:15:55 able to unpack some of the connections I see between their thoughts and really bring two very different

1:16:01 communities together um anthroposophists and uh academic

1:16:07 philosophers um though you know those interested in Whitehead among the academic philosophers are a strange enough breed

1:16:13 that they might be open to this sort of uh attempted synthesis so that’s what I’m planning to move towards in terms of

1:16:20 a next book but uh don’t hold me to it we’ll see what happens great this has been uh

1:16:27 lovely and fun and um intellectually challenging thanks very

1:16:33 much for having this conversation with us Matt my pleasure Layman you’re very good at what you do and it’s always

1:16:41 wonderful to be in dialogue with you so thank you



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