Vibrant Matterings 2 – Intuiting Nature

25Oct10

The topography of becoming from the Bennett quote in the last post, is immediately hard to pull out of a temporal matrix. This is Whitehead’s solution via actual occasions where hardened experience effects crystalizations down the line – but the anthrocentrism of this solidification is questionable.

This brings us back to the problem of intuition in Bergson and Deleuze and Schelling. Formal separation of the subject or thought from process allows for a ideal carving up of the world from afar though, I want to argue, is different in Schelling. If we take Iain Grant’s ‘nature thinks’ seriously than Schellingian intuition is ungrounded. In the System of Transcendental Idealism intuition gets its broadest treatment. The kind of intuition relevant here is productive intuition and not intuition of the self, the sensuous or the aesthetic. Productive intuition arises from a contradiction from the thinking subject’s desire to want an identity between being and thinking and the productivity of the idea (from nature) moving through the subject as a subjectivity, as the necessary self activity of nature, of natura naturans thoroughly desubstantialized unlike Spinoza’s. Intuition repeats the stratifications that nature causes – that is sense intuition does not assume that the self needs intuiting but relies on the given of objects.

Intellectual intuition is the second phase where the self is seen as producing itself as producer and the last step (productive intuition) the limits of the real (nature, prius, etc) are seen hampering the naïve productivity of the self (the second phase can be seen as a Fichtean intuition). This is why, for Schelling, productive intuition comes from mutually restricting activities (Ideas, 177). Intuition is originally a self limiting activity (System, 40, 54) where the not-self (meaning nature as, at the time of the system, Schelling was still using Fichtean vocabulary while he was breaking away) affects the self allowing it to recognize the very concept of limitation.

The question becomes whether Schelling’s productive intuition evades anthrocentric carving of the process as well as an over zealous utilization of formalism. If the whole of Schelling is the dark absolute it is dark because of the difficulty of difference – but the one or absolute is not one substance but a plurality of substances and forces which forms some semi-stable entity called nature. It is the inhuman aspects of Deleuze’s thought which requires exploration and exacerbation and not the Nietzchean joy of his vitalism or wild conceptual play.

The problem of intuition is the problem of thought’s relation to nature. Land’s mad black Deleuzianism is part of this project but the collapse of material and noetic production is problematic. This is the central problematic of Hegel’s legacy –  of how nature becomes history, of how productivity becomes spirit.

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One Response to “Vibrant Matterings 2 – Intuiting Nature”


  1. 1 Post-Deleuze? or New Materialisms, Post-Humanism, and Speculative Realism « Naught Thought

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