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Schelling on the Unconscious

In: Research in Phenomenology
Author: S. J. McGrath1
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  • 1 Memorial University of Newfoundland
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Abstract

The early Schelling and the romantics constructed the unconscious in order to overcome the modern split between subjectivity and nature, mind and body, a split legislated by Cartesian representationalism. Influenced by Boehme and Kabbalah, the later Schelling modified his notion of the unconscious to include the decision to be oneself, which must sink beneath consciousness so that it might serve as the ground of one’s creative and personal acts. Slavoj Zizek has read the later Schelling’s unconscious as a prototype of Lacan’s reactive unconscious, an unconscious that only exists as the excluded other of consciousness. This reading, though close to the text of Schelling, misses something essential: the unconscious for Schelling is not a repression but a condition of the possibility of life and love.

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