Corrington, Robert S.: Deep Pantheism: Toward a New Transcendentalism

By Rohr, David | The Review of Metaphysics, December 2017 | Go to article overview

Corrington, Robert S.: Deep Pantheism: Toward a New Transcendentalism


Rohr, David, The Review of Metaphysics


CORRINGTON, Robert S. Deep Pantheism: Toward a New Transcendentalism. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2016. xxiv + 116 pp. Cloth $79.00; paper $39.99--Robert Corrington describes this book as "the culmination" of decades spent developing "a metaphysics of nature." Corrington has offered various labels for his ever-evolving philosophical system, including "ecstatic naturalism," "aesthetic naturalism," and now "deep pantheism." At the heart of Corrington's metaphysics, in all its permutations, is a "most basic and primordial distinction" within nature between natura naturans, or nature naturing, and natura naturata, or nature natured. Nature naturing is "[njature perennially creating itself out of itself alone" and a "deep pulsation that operates perennially by 'publishing' itself in and as the innumerable orders of nature." The published result of nature naturing is nature natured or "the innumerable orders of the World." He describes this ontological publishing as "the primordial ecstasy of nature" whereby "[t]he orders of nature unfold into their plenitude with the perennial pulsation of nature naturing." In short, nature naturing is the primordial, fecund ontological spawning ground that generates nature natured as its ordered and determinate spawn. Chapter 1 develops this distinction and sketches its history from Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Emerson, and Justus Buchler to Corrington himself.

The remaining chapters each develop Corrington's metaphysics in conversation with his deepest influences. Corrington's explicative discussions are typically faithful to each thinker, insightful, and helpful to the reader. However, Corrington's goal is constructive; after being introduced, each idea is swiftly assimilated and correlated with nature naturing and nature natured.

Chapter 2 discusses the ideas of several psychoanalytic theorists: Freud, Jung, Wilhelm Reich, Heinz Kohut, and Otto Rank. Incorporating these ideas, Corrington construes nature naturing as "the underconscious of nature" and asserts that "[t]he personal and collective imconscious are rooted in the unconscious of nature"; that Jungian "archetypes are potencies that are ejected from the uncanny depths of nature naturing and enter into the world of nature natured (consciousness and the ego)"; that Otto Rank's "birth trauma" "serves as the ultimate breach between nature naturing and nature natured as the infant is almost hurled from its dreaming innocence." Freudian sexual desire for one's parent is similarly cosmologized, becoming a longing for nature naturing: "the psyche struggles to return to the womb of the gnostic Great Mother who gathers up and surrounds the womb of the biological mother." Corrington even transforms the psyche itself into a bridge between natura naturans and natura naturata: "the human psyche . …

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