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

Category: Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Integral Facticity podcast with Erik Haines: Varieties of Integral & the Next Left

    Integral Facticity podcast with Erik Haines: Varieties of Integral & the Next Left

    More info: https://medium.com/integral-facticity/matt-segall-on-the-varieties-of-integral-michael-brooks-the-next-left-af41e79a8a0e


  • The brain is not a computer, and thinking is not information-processing.

    The brain is not a computer, and thinking is not information-processing.

    Sharing an email response to a question I received about the possibility of explaining human consciousness computationally, and whether such explanations might be compatible with Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science. I do not think the computational paradigm has much to teach us about the sort of Sophianic consciousness Steiner attempted to unveil. I summarized my thoughts […]


  • “The Great American Trip,” dialogue on “Growing Down”

    “The Great American Trip,” dialogue on “Growing Down”

    I’m winding down a cross-country road trip and had the pleasure of talking about it in the context of America’s larger political predicament with Jeremy and Ryan on their “Growing Down” podcast.


  • Emersonian Ideas concerning Freedom

    Recorded about a year ago while I was composing a chapter to be included in a forthcoming volume called The Beacon of Mind: Reason and Intuition in the Ancient and Modern World:


  • Thinking with Emerson, Or how German Idealism Came to America

    The Beacon of Mind: Reason and Intuition in the Ancient and Modern World (forthcoming).  


  • [Final Draft] Worldly Religion in Deleuze and Whitehead: On the Possibility of a Secular Divinity

    Below I’ve written a paper using the ideas of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred North Whitehead to construct a secular divinity. For Deleuze, this is an especially serious act of buggery on my part. Deleuze of course approved of that method in his own projects, but I wonder if he would approve of the baby jesus […]


  • Disambiguating Spirit and Matter (reflections on scientific materialism)

    For several years now, I have from time to time engaged in philosophical debate with commenters over at Pharyngula (the atheist and biologist PZ Myers‘ well-traffic blog). It is often impossible to maintain a civil discussion or sympathetic reflection about the topic at hand (usually having to do with the ontology of life, the meaning of consciousness, […]


  • Emerson on being a scholar

    “A mechanic is driven by his work all day, but it ends at night; it has an end. But the scholar’s work has none. That which he has learned is that there is much more to be learned. He feels only his incompetence. A thousand years, tenfold, a hundredfold his faculties, would not suffice: the […]


  • Philosophy Blogging, OOO/SR, Nihilism, and God

    It is difficult to describe the effects of the blogosphere on consciousness, especially when the information communicated via blogs pretends to be philosophical. The blog, as a medium, has not yet been swallowed as radio by TV, or the printed word by the digital hyperlink, and so gaining perspective on its effects remains difficult. We’re […]


  • Emerson on Philosophical Inebriation

    From lecture 7- “Inspiration,” given on March 7, 1871: “Happy beyond the common lot if he learn the secret, that besides the energy of his conscious intellect, his intellect is capable of new energy by abandonment to a higher influence; or, besides his privacy of power as an individual man, there is a great Public […]


  • The Ideal Realism of Schelling and Emerson

    I have come across a copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1871 lectures at Harvard. They were his last lectures, a sort of summation and final testament of his life’s work. He titled these lectures “Natural History of the Intellect.” I wanted to draw attention to one lecture in particular, that on Imagination given on February […]


  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Archetypal Analysis

    The following is a short essay for a course on archetypal astrology that I took this semester with Richard Tarnas. For those unfamiliar with the general approach, this essay by Tarnas may be of service. Also see this introduction to planetary archetypes. Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Archetypal Analysis  Tonight I walked under the stars through […]


  • Nature as Spirit’s Symbol

    Emerson believed that Nature was emblematic of Spirit, that Her productivity and instinctuality were symbolic expressions of Its creative intelligence. If this be true, then the philosopher’s desire for a romantic partner is analgous to his or her desire for wisdom. The two are both erotic desires, though the one be for flesh and blood, […]


  • On the Matter of Life: Towards an Integral Biology of Economics

    On the Matter of Life: Towards an Integral Biology of Economics Table of Contents Preface Introduction: What is Life? I. The Irruption of Time II. Ancient Biology III. Modern Biology IV. Teleology as a Regulative Principle of Living Organization V. Autopoiesis: Teleology as Constitutive of Living Organization VI. Concrescence and Bodily Perception VII. Concrescence and Autopoiesis […]