NEW  The Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages | Introduction to Cosmogonic Reflections | Aphorisms 1-100 | Aphorisms 101-200 | Aphorisms 201-300 | Aphorisms 301-400 | Aphorisms 401-515 | A Letter On Ethics and Imagination and the Images | The Problem of Socrates and Images and their Messages | Reflections on "Psychoanalysis" | Man and Earth | Soul and Spirit | Selected Poetry | Consciousness and Life | Rosenberg contra Klages | Webmaster: Kevin Alfred Strom | Kevin Alfred Strom Historical Archive

Translated by Joe Pryce

Consciousness and Life. The word "consciousness" is customarily understood as having a double-meaning: (a) the substance, or content, of experience; and (b) the critical empiricism which observes that experience. In experience, we occupy a station within consciousness, whereas during the process of empirical apprehension, we stand outside experience. The first state possesses actuality for itself (fürsich), whilst the second state can be said to approach actuality only insofar as it remains connected to the first. Life has no need for the process of comprehension in order to exist, although spiritual comprehension does require the presence of a living "event" (Geschehen) in order to commence its operations. Bearing these reflections in mind, it is of fundamental importance for the theory of consciousness that we indicate precisely which of the dual meanings is under examination. Ordinarily the word seems to suggest—for instance, as it is employed in the substantival infinitive of the declaration: "I am conscious of myself" (as of an object)—that it actually refers not to an object, but, rather, to an observation, and it certainly piques our interest to discover that current scientific terminology, in heart-warming conformity with popular usage, has endorsed the latter interpretation exclusively. Unfortunately, this approach excluded consciousness itself from consideration so thoroughly that the whole structure of psychology almost seems to have been established upon a  [false fundamental principle], a procedure that would certainly entail ominous consequences for such derivations as had been drawn from it. But before we continue to develop our exposition, it is necessary that we now interpolate a brief digression. 

Even if consciousness should be equated with spiritual comprehension, there would still be two distinct modes of non-consciousness: utilizing the terminology of contemporary thought in the narrow sense, these modes are the unconscious and the unobserved. Several instances, among the dozens that are available for our perusal in the relevant literature, may enable the reader to appreciate certain distinctions. No one possesses an instantaneous (immediate) consciousness of everything that he has ever learned, although certain items exist "unconsciously" in a state of readiness until, in response to a suitable question, they "enter into consciousness." This provides the conclusive explanation of one of the inherently fascinating phenomena in the field of characterology, viz., our undergoing an experience that is apparently of the "unconscious" variety, only thereupon discovering that it has been, as it were, "deposited" in consciousness in a procedure analogous to a routine cash transaction at a banking institution. It is a somewhat different case when we have an instantaneous, or immediate, experience, although, paradoxically, we are unable simultaneously to observe that which we have just, in fact, experienced. Example: in reading a suspenseful novel, a person may, so to speak, "turn a deaf ear" to the clock’s striking of the hour even though the clock is in the near vicinity; with the reader’s consciousness focused so intently upon the story, he has had no time to observe that whilst he was reading this novel his feet became ice-cold. Nevertheless, he has certainly undergone both experiences. It might happen that our reader subsequently discovers that he can recall the clock’s striking of the hour. He thereby achieves some comprehension of an experience that he has hitherto attempted to explain to himself in vain. Let us glance at another paradox: the more an event moves us emotionally, the less are we competent to observe our condition as it is in itself; for one "forgets oneself," to use a profound turn of phrase, out of concern, out of dread, or out of an excess of stormy bliss. With this brief survey, we are now sufficiently prepared to ponder one more puzzle, but this time we will draw our material from the area of world-history, in order to demonstrate precisely the extent to which the concept of consciousness itself has served as the source of an endless proliferation of erroneous doctrines.

We do not err in tracing the birth of our modern intellectual tradition to the renowned formula of Descartes: cogito ergo sum. It would surely violate the intentions of its originator were we to translate this proposition as "I think, therefore I am," without certain qualifications. We have, in fact, generally understood the Cartesian cogitare to comprise not merely the act of thinking, but also such activities as perceiving, feeling, willing, and even dreaming: in brief, we have come to regard the cogitare as the equivalent of consciousness in general. Still, there can be no doubt whatever that in this regard the philosopher had in mind not only perception, representation, and emotion, but also the perceived phenomenon, the represented image, and the empirically observed emotional state. However, the thinker who has seen the decisive act of consciousness in critical comprehension, will, of course, be quite prepared to champion the proposition: "mind is thinking substance" (mens est res cogitans). But Descartes (on grounds the comprehensive exposition of which would lead us deeply into the evolution of the human spirit) stumbles badly in his treatment of this line of thought due to his inability to study these discrete entities separately; as a result, he necessarily confuses our consciousness of experience with experience itself, and Descartes has thereby allowed himself as well as all succeeding posterity to get bogged down before a Cartesian roadblock. This impediment has, in effect, barred the approaches to a fresh, sense-oriented philosophy of life ever since.

We have always considered the most startling aspect of the Cartesian formula to be the precedence that it accords to the self before the object. The philosopher discusses consciousness as if he were analyzing the content of experience, whereas what he is really doing is formulating critical judgments about experience. Thus, the faculty of judgment usurps the place of experience, and the upshot is that Descartes has effectively sacrificed the entirety of man’s inner life to mere cognition. With that superb logical consistency that was ever the hallmark of his thought, Descartes explicitly announces the inescapable consequences of his philosophical meditations: the whole world is to be reduced to the status of a nexus of quantifiable physical forces; animals are to be regarded as nothing but soulless machines; and the stirring emotions that characterize the nature of man are to be dismissed as perturbationes animi! Such frank admissions could hardly have failed to rouse the ire of a host of passionate enemies. But even the most bitter foes of the Cartesian philosophy endorsed their antagonist’s pseudo-antithesis of cogitare and esse, and once they had made this false start, they merely contested the predominance of consciousness over being in a procedure as fruitless as any counter-claim that arrogates to being the predominant rank as the foundation of consciousness. Thus the bitter strife continues to deepen between the two ancient camps of metaphysicians, i.e., the "materialists" and the "idealists," behind whose inviolable fortress-walls, one might almost persuade oneself, an evil genius of deceit plots to imprison the scientific impulse, which is, in reality, neither cogitare nor esse, neither spirit nor matter, but rather that which for beings inhabiting the temporal realm is far more important than either: life!

Whether we elect to derive matter from spirit (or spirit from matter), or whether we should in the end seek to solve this relational conundrum by regarding both entities as aspects of some primordial system of polarities, as in the procedure adopted by our current proponents of the doctrine of "psycho-physical parallelism," all of these shifts will avail us nothing if from the very outset we have eliminated from our enquiries the actuality of life. Spirit knows and being is, but only life can live! Spirit and being dwell amidst generalities in a realm beyond time, whereas life participates in the temporal dimension that is also the realm of the individual. Without life, neither spirit nor matter could enable us to understand the nature of the temporal creation that is man. Now, however, we must avert our gaze from these somewhat academic disputes, in order that we may focus our attention more closely on the question as to the nature of consciousness.

Consciousness is not the stream of experience, for consciousness as such arises only when it has been stirred to activity by the lightning bolt of comprehension. We can derive definite empirical confirmation of this proposition from an examination of the forms in which life, even in its most minuscule incarnations, achieves phenomenal expression. We now come to the world of the plant. No age and no people has ever entertained the slightest doubt as to the propriety of attributing life to the plant, and indeed, both abstract thought and primitive speculation are as one in their inclination to see in the prolific and luxuriant primeval forest a far more suggestive image of the wealth of life than either abstract or primitive thought could perceive in the restless immobility that characterizes the animal kingdom. The prehistoric world’s almost universal reverence for trees has its roots in this very soil. For all that, no one who has managed to liberate himself from the false notions that we have dismissed supra, will attribute consciousness to the plant, for he is now equipped with the gift of comprehension, regardless of whether he chooses to focus that gift upon the ray of sunlight, or upon the light of his own experience. We must now proceed to another vantage point, viz., that at which cognition and life enter into palpable association with each other. 

The structural element of both plant and animal is the cell. Life persists solely through the operations of the cellular body. However, life as such is now and forever completely excluded from the dimension of consciousness. In every one of the innumerable births and deaths endured by transient organisms, the life of the cell persists without the slightest interruption all the way back to the protoplasmic entities that flourished in the primordial terrestrial seas. In spite of the fact that our conscious memory can recollect nothing whatever of our embryonic development within the womb, the living cell silently preserves the accumulated experience of our remotest ancestors. Since the life within us at any given moment is the transitory façade atop an incessantly driving flood, which, without pause or hindrance, rushes back to the geological epoch during which such crystalline formations as the schists were deposited, we can see that the duration of consciousness, in comparison with such temporal immensities, is precisely equivalent to the minuscule life-span of an individual person. Still, could it not be the case that life and consciousness are interchangeable entities?

We do not require a second glance outside to discover a instructive analogy, for consciousness resembles nothing so much as the sheet-lightning that over and over again flashes and flames above the waters of life, and which, from time to time, ignites a tight, white circle that blazes briefly. And whilst the lightning relinquishes the distant horizon unto a darkness utterly alien to consciousness, we are liberated at last from the tedium of the quotidian round. The alleged psychology of today condescendingly dismisses the whole area of "the prophetic gift," from presentiment, dream, and instinct, all the way to telepathy, clairvoyance, and visionary somnambulism (upon all of these things the Romantics speculated quite brilliantly; these thinkers grouped such phenomena under the comprehensive heading of the "nocturnal pole" of consciousness). Our contemporary psychologists are convinced that they reject all consideration of these matters in part because of their putative associations with the "occult," and in part because of certain alleged associations with half-baked medical theories. This attitude is not merely the expression of a philosophical hollowness; such blindness can only have had its origins in an exaggeratedly intellectualistic misapprehension of life. In the first place, insight clearly indicates that it belongs to the very nature of consciousness that it subsists in a sort of subjugation to rhythmical alternations such as those that transpire between kindled blaze and dimming flame, between seizing and releasing, and between waking and sleeping. Indeed, although the life of man rushes by in an uninterrupted continuity, it too is subject to the same law, for the life of a man is fated to be but a brief moment in the rhythmical alternation between birth and death; on the other hand we do have an intimate companion by our side for one-third of every day, for even consciousness experiences exhaustion, as it were, and must participate in our nightly slumbers; it is only then that we are aware neither of the ego nor of the world outside. No more conclusive evidence could be gathered to bolster our case on behalf of the radical difference of essence that characterizes consciousness and life, for whoever lumps the two together must logically conclude that the sleeper is, in fact, dead, until he is resurrected from death in the morning light. So untenable is the familiar notion that sleep and death are bound together as if by some strange affinity, that the healing, restorative, and constitutional powers of life are never more effectively enhanced than when we resort to the simple remedy of deep sleep! This truth is clearly communicated in the images that have come down to us from the legendary lore of antiquity, for there we see characters drawing out of the dreams that came to them in the cavern of the earth-mother or in the temple of Asklepios the sigils and premonitory visions of an ecstatic life as well as the regulations governing the procedures whereby the sickly could be restored to a healthy life. We all recognize these truths, even if many of us today seem to have forgotten their significance amidst the turmoil and banality of day-to-day considerations. Any man, no matter how consistently sober in demeanor he may appear to be, can certainly recall a moment during his youthful years when he awoke from slumber, feeling as if his soul had slyly slipped out of the protective maternal arms only to find itself exposed to the harsh glare of an inexorable light. He may well recall a mysterious emotion that grew within him, until he was overwhelmed by a feeling of homesickness on the part of the soul for its lost nocturnal life. The profound revelation that is communicated to us in the experience of such moods recalls the fairy-tales (Märchen) that tell us of a lost paradise, and of those golden and silver ages during which, to employ an expression of Hesiod, men were like children or even like plants that sprout up from the soil. Afterwards, situated somewhat as Heracles was when confronted by the choice between life and spirit, mankind chose the road of thinking and willing, and, like Heracles, man has found naught upon that road but sorrow, hardship, and frightful adventures. 

We have indicated that life and apprehension are incommensurable entities, and we have likewise grasped the distinguishing criteria of consciousness. Let us now extend the scope of our enquiry in order to determine what implications these discoveries entail for the nature of life, and what modifications might be incorporated in the natural sciences as well should it ever become feasible to replace the current mechanistic scheme with a doctrine of life. Bearing this purpose in mind, we now proceed to refute the familiar dogma that proclaims that life is merely a mechanistic process, and that the living body in particular may be accurately described as an intricate machine. 

We attempted on one occasion to transport our self completely outside the sphere of active comprehension; we therefore chose the most simple as well as the most basic procedure: perception. Now what can we grasp as being really true? Of course, someone might well venture to object that there could scarcely be a satisfactory answer to such a question. Nevertheless, it is only to the extent that something impinges upon our senses that we will we able to achieve an act of perception. Thus, there are innumerable things that are accessible to us: in space, which contains all that exists as if within a reservoir, the illimitable manifold of objects, such as stones, plants, animals, men, houses, countries, mountains, clouds, seas, constellations, and finally the similarly multiform movements of these and other things. Now it seemed to us at the time that this answer, although we had not foreseen its implications, in turn raised a problem the solution to which seemed to us to promise very interesting results. Everything, in fact, that we have enumerated, along with everything that we could ever conceivably enumerate, can be described as a thing or object. We perceive things and the processes in which they become involved, viz., rest and self-motility, arriving and departing, coming and going, in such a manner that we cannot even begin to grasp how we are able to perceive one object in still another perspective.

For those who have already familiarized themselves somewhat with the relevant questions, we would like at this point to introduce one more parenthetical observation. Ever since the time of Locke, there have been discussions from time to time regarding something called "inner" perception; it is alleged that, more or less in the manner in which we deduce information from the actions of ghostly visitants, we receive knowledge of the world by piercing through the exterior aspect in order to comprehend the inner reality of perceived objects. We are in opposition to the viewpoint of the majority of contemporary psychologists who hold that it is not through perception but through self-scrutiny that we gain our knowledge of man’s inner life. If our psychologists could only prove the proposition in question conclusively, they would once more have reinforced their doctrine that the character of actuality inheres solely in things. However, is it not the case that this theory logically entails that its adherents ignore spaces, movements, and bodies and devote their time instead to investigating spirits and their acts of judgment, opinions, and volitions? The problem involved in this situation is identical to that involved in the case of the thing, in that spirits and their acts resemble things in that all of these entities "confront" us as fixed objects that somehow manage to remain unalterably the same even under the impress of the passage of time. So much for "inner" perception!

That which holds true for perceptive apprehension, likewise governs the process of apprehension in general; it links itself to objects and to nothing else. Therefore we must insist that through mere apprehension we can never obtain the slightest understanding of life. Were we to place ourselves before a spirit that is nothing but spirit, e.g., the god about whom the Christians inform us that he is omniscient, in that this god possesses the ability to predict the entire future, we should realize that this god is, in fact, subject to one significant limitation. Although this "spirit" sees and understands "all things," he is and will remain completely ignorant of life. Now, such a spirit would indeed be able accurately to gauge the positions of bodies as well as their internal processes; he would also be endowed with the ability to penetrate with his sharp eye into the very core of such physical structures as atoms and fluids, substances whose exhaustive analysis would require centuries of diligent labor on the part of our scientists; but even when that much has been conceded, this spirit could never participate in the stormy agitation at the heart of the living substance. The hither and thither mobility of creeping, running, and flying animals would to him be utterly indistinguishable from such phenomena as the fall of the stone, the moaning of the wind, and the turbulent movements of the waves upon the ocean. To such a spirit, the structural transformations undergone by a growing plant would appear to be identical in essence to the alterations that subtly alter the contours of a gradually eroding mountain peak. Both living and non-living entities reveal to him only the existential alterations in form that occur in mechanically driven things and molecules. To be sure, other spirits might appear before his penetrating gaze, spirits who are candid even in communicating their most cherished secrets and their as yet unborn impulses. Nevertheless, he would never stake his all on any belief that such spirits were in any way intimately bound up with living, physical bodies. Outside of space and without location as they are, they are everywhere—and nowhere. The spiritual appears neither as a living expression of a bodily substrate, nor, conversely, does the bodily substance appear as the radius of action of the spiritual entity. The world thus collapses, falling into two completely alienated halves: a bodiless spiritual half and an embodied mechanistic half. All that we seem to lack, to paraphrase Goethe’s poem, is "the living bond"!

The "divorce" to which we have just referred is not some idle fantasy, but rather a shabby rehash of a doctrine whose theoretical presentation was first formulated during Plato’s lifetime. Nevertheless, the most flagrant and dogmatic revival of this style of thought began at the Renaissance. On one side, there is "matter"; on the other, we have "spirit." Now matter is spatial and embodied, whilst spirit is non-spatial and bodiless; matter obeys every law promulgated by our mechanistic science; spirit functions on the basis of an autonomous "freedom." We are confronted here by the self-same splitting of the world-image that we encountered earlier in our discussion of the Cartesian cogitare and esse, which we appropriated as our starting point on the road that has conducted us to our demonstration of the following truth: we can never formulate a concept of life if we insist on confusing life and concept. Let us now proceed by insisting that it belongs to the very nature of comprehension that it relates solely to the sphere of objects and mechanisms. Not only is thinking consciousness incapable of discovering life: it also possesses the ability to murder life. And whatever has been pierced by the searchlight of the intellect is instantaneously transformed into a mere thing, a quantifiable object for our thought that is henceforth only mechanically related to other objects. The paradoxical expression of a modern sage, "we perceive only that which is dead," is a lapidary formulation of a deep truth. 

However, even if the terms "mechanistic" and "lifeless" should come to be regarded as interchangeable, we would still refuse to endorse the views of certain well-intentioned contemporary biologists who compound the reigning foolishness in their field by attempting to locate in certain processes occurring in physical bodies the definitive proof that the living body is not a machine. It is a machine, to the extent that we endeavor to comprehend its workings, just as it will remain perpetually inconceivable to the extent that it is alive. Those who announce that dead matter actually possesses the capacity to generate life are not simply committing an insignificant error of empirical observation, for theirs is an error whose sheer idiocy can in no way be regarded as inferior to that of the crackpot who has managed to convince himself that the meters, kilograms, and atomic weights with whose assistance we are able to quantify various natural processes, are in fact the very causative agents that bring about the manifold transformations in nature that they had been designed for the express purpose of measuring! Just as the longitudinal oscillation is certainly not the tone itself, but merely the quantifiable substratum underlying the tone, so too is the chemical-physical process transpiring in the living physical cell certainly not its life, but rather precisely that which is relevant to the condition, governed by strict enforcement of natural law, of its "material" (dinglichen) bearer. Does it not then appear to be the case that we must renounce our quest to formulate a science of life?

We must in fact abandon any such attempt so long as we remain stuck fast in the empty cogitare, since in lieu of this there is only the esse. No type of insight can be considered feasible under such circumstances other than that which can be rigidly fixed in "exact" concepts. An individual student may even relinquish every one of these options if that which is still referred to as "science" should in the final analysis seem in his eyes to be more like an initiation into some mystery cult; the only requirement in such a case is that he must not confuse his unpretentious thirst for knowledge with ignorance or uncertainty. When we summon up a recollection that effects us personally, the revived memory immeasurably enriches our living substance; indeed, we may be so compelled by the alluring charm of our recollected vision that we can only feel pity for the conventional scientist who must surely be tormented to distraction when he must attempt satisfactorily to account for the phenomenon! Life is not "observed," but it is felt with all of our darkest powers. And we are only able to achieve access to this feeling of living actuality with complete certainty in our deepest inwardness; beyond that, nothing can be definitely asserted. Whether we judge, assert, will or wish, dream, fantasize, each and every one of these activities is supported and penetrated by the self-same stream of elementary emotional life, which is incomparable, irreducible, and beyond the reach of rationalization or coercion, for we are apodictically certain that life can never, ever be "grasped" (begriffen). And since we feel ourselves to be filled with this vitality, we therefore bring ourselves into that most intimate bond with the substance of life: the image of the world. Briefly put: we experience the personal and participate in the experience of a stranger. From that standpoint, it surely follows that we can know of life only that which our vitality allows us to know based solely on how deeply we are able to immerse our being in the vital substrate; a profound immersion in the substance of life will endow us with the ability to revive a living memory even within an enfeebled consciousness. It is not in the objectivity of outer and inner percepts, with their endless inventory of categories (of things, forces, causes, effects, and movements), but solely and utterly in an orientation toward the realm of experience, that we can establish an anchorage for the science of life. But now asymptotic formulæ have banished the science of life from the living depths of the national spirit until at last, like a growing plant that vainly seeks for nourishment on a deforested continent, the national spirit is likewise stunted and deformed due to the relentless pressure of a leveling age. 

We now must explore a world whose philosophy regards mechanistic, quantifying thought as having no independent existence whatsoever, and which regards the results achieved by such formalistic modes of thought as merely the conceptual precipitate that has been prescinded from a living entity. No living cell could ever have arisen upon the earth if the earth itself, as well as the entire universe, were not, in fact, a phenomenal manifestation of life. Likewise, the fall of the stone, the formation of the clouds, the torrential downpour of the rain, are outward expressions of life, and surely in the first rank of such expressions is the earth, just as in the second rank we find the grander modes of interconnected cosmic life. The planetary systems, the firmament of the fixed stars, and the other astral phenomena richly proclaim the presence of a vital unity whose temporal duration so far exceeds the scope of human judgment that its very longevity makes it appear as if the cosmos receded from our gaze, leaving behind the impression of an ostensibly unchanging state, the characteristics of which are preserved in the crude expositions of our mechanistic empiricism. Every truly profound system of metaphysics must perforce valorize the primal actuality of life, just as every system of mathematics must valorize its own fundamental truths. The mechanical forces can be comprehended from the side of the living substance in the analytic process of mere understanding, but there is no reverse direction of apprehension by which an authentic comprehension of the substance of life can be derived from an analysis of mechanical forces. The core-questions will remain: what sort of event transpired that enabled the planetary mode of life to culminate in cellular life; what potential transformations are still in store for life; what does the vital and eternally rhythmical pulse-pattern of "coming-to-be" and "passing-away" mean to the planetary life; what is the meaning of death and life to the living organism; and how, finally, does the "macrocosm" effect changes within the "microcosm"? 

In spite of all the chatter of yesterday and today on the topic of "progress," there have been prophetic souls who have drawn our attention to the implications of the indubitable increase of man’s mastery (alas! along with man’s destruction) of nature. But even these prophets have not devoted sufficient attention to the equally blatant assaults on the values of the soul; and some even attempt to introduce a certain balance into their meditations by insisting that at the very least our increased scientific knowledge will eventually enable us to recover our health and dispel the shadows that loom over our future. But it is only when we ignore the profound truth that man can indeed increase his store of knowledge without increasing his wisdom, and that he can likewise establish order without experiencing a concomitant yearning for beauty, that we feel compelled to oppose with all of our power the unthinking respect that has been accorded to modern science as well as to the course that it has set for itself. Contemporary science has, in effect, erected a hypertrophic "world-mechanism" (in the broadest sense of the word), which, we freely admit, no earlier age could ever have approximated. But science has also blinded itself to the point of hopelessness before the incomparably greater and more widely-ramified question: the question of life. And surely the world has never before witnessed the spectacle of individuals who have become so wounded by their experience of the modern world that they would actively seek to establish connections with an earlier wisdom and with their ancestors, as if their greatest hope was that they might somehow successfully reverse the ominous course that the world has for so long seemed intent on pursuing! And indeed, from out of the vanished 19th century, and in spite of all of its technology and positivism, we must hail—for the creative work of these men of the last century has somehow survived the years, like splendid oases resisting the onslaught of the spreading wasteland known as "progress"—we must hail, I say, the dream-rich doctrine of life formulated by the German Romantics as well as the mighty religion of life devised by Friedrich Nietzsche. Nevertheless, even though these participants in the Romantic movement had been favored with a far more rigorous training than any scholar had ever received before their time, and although they were additionally equipped with a far more sophisticated inventory of technical implements than any of their forerunners could ever have envisaged, those superb resurrections of past modes of life, which comprise the loftiest achievements of the Romantics, had long ago been completely surpassed by a similar group of inquisitive students, viz., the pre-Socratics, those semi-mythical trailblazers of European thought, whose system of thought culminated in the so-called "Hylozoism." The student who immerses himself, lovingly and wisely, in the symbolic language of the pre-Socratics, must unfailingly conclude that no succeeding age—and especially not that of the pretentious twin-peaks of Hellenic wisdom, Plato and Aristotle!—has matched, in sheer profundity and panoramic scope, those dazzling philosophical ruins that we continually visit in our quest for wisdom: Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Empedokles, and Pythagoras are their names. The least that we say of these giants is that they were well on the way to the epochal discovery that an authentic interpretation of the world must entail a doctrine of life. They also understood full well that the mechanistic aspect of reality should be reduced to the status of an insignificant by-product of the living world. Precisely what experimental tools, methodological advances, and theoretical frameworks may be developed to assist researchers in devising a reformed doctrine of life we are in no position to be able to predict. Perhaps it will be possible on some future occasion to delve more deeply into some of these matters, and to examine as well the treasure-trove of fresh ideas discovered by the great scientific visionaries who, even now, seek to establish the foundations of a more profound doctrine, a true science of life, which may ultimately render today’s narrow-minded biological teaching obsolete.

Translated by Joe Pryce from the original sources. For reference, notes refer to the more easily obtainable texts:

AC=Klages, L. Zur Ausdruckslehre und Charakterkunde. Heidelberg. 1926. 

AG=Klages, L. Ausdrucksbewegung und Gestaltungskraft. Munich. 1968.

LK GL=Schroeder, H. E. Ludwig Klages Die Geschichte Seines Lebens. Bonn. 1966-1992. 

PEN=Klages, L. Die psychologischen Errungenschaften Nietzsches. Leipzig. 1926

RR=Klages, L. Rhythmen und Runen. Leipzig. 1944. 

SW=Klages, L. Sämtliche Werke. Bonn. 1965-92.

NEW  The Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages | Introduction to Cosmogonic Reflections | Aphorisms 1-100 | Aphorisms 101-200 | Aphorisms 201-300 | Aphorisms 301-400 | Aphorisms 401-515 | A Letter On Ethics and Imagination and the Images | The Problem of Socrates and Images and their Messages | Reflections on "Psychoanalysis" | Man and Earth | Soul and Spirit | Selected Poetry | Consciousness and Life | Rosenberg contra Klages | Webmaster: Kevin Alfred Strom | Kevin Alfred Strom Historical Archive

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