de Naturae Natura
A Study of Idealistic Conceptions of Nature and the Unconsciousness
By Alexander Jacob
Review: Gwendolyn Taunton
As the title of the book suggests, the primary focus here is on Nature and the Unconscious, and also the value of epistemological methods in the study of these concepts. This is clearly stated at the beginning of the book where we find that,
“The inevitable consequence of the empirical approaches to philosophy is a false dichotomy between science and philosophy. Nature is divested of its metaphysical reality and transformed into physical science, while philosophy is divested of its vital, natural aspect and reduced to epistemology and methodology.”
This is an interesting opening premise, as epistemology itself has the potential to lapse into recursive logic over whether knowledge is primarily a priori or a posteriori. Essentially, the empirical elements of philosophy create a false dichotomy between science and philosophy. At first sight, this seems somewhat similar to the other false dichotomy between science and religion that is perpetuated and constantly lauded by the ‘High Priests of Scientism’ such as Richard Dawkins and his ilk. Accordingly, the rest of the book discusses the oppositions, parallels and evolution of different aspects of philosophy for which no form of empirical measurement is entirely appropriate, and therefore conclusions cannot be derived from a purely a posteriori approach.
de Naturae Natura is organised in a chronological sequence, with chapters devoted to specific phases of thought in history, presenting a study of philosophical concepts from Hellenic times leading towards modernity. Chapters are provided on the Greek Idealists, Renaissance Idealists, German Vitalists, German Idealists and the Philosophers of the Unconscious. The initial chapters progress though classical philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Plotinus. For those readers with an interest in alchemy and the Hermetic Tradition, the chapter on Giordano Bruno and Jakob Böhme will be of special importance. The book then proceeds to discuss the theories of the English Idealists (Henry More, Ralph Cudworth and George Berkeley), which is an interesting area as admittedly I’m not too familiar with some of this material. This is followed by the German Idealists, such as Hegel.
Friedrich Nietzsche also makes an appearance in a later chapter, where the more esoteric aspects behind his proselytizing on behalf of Dionysus (including those connected to zoë) are described, along with other facets of Nietzsche’s philosophy. The book also speculates upon the nature of the Will, and as to whether it is subconscious or conscious. This is followed by material on Ludwig Klages and Jung, whose presence heralds the advent of “psychology” as a subject in its own right. Thankfully, Sigmund Freud has been omitted, as his absence from philosophical and psychological dissertations is always a blessing. The section on Jung is composed particularly well, and contains themes which reference Psychologie und Alchemie, referring to the self as being “a pure borderline concept similar to Kant’s Ding an Sich.” Jung’s ideas are still being studied today in archetypal psychology via the work of James Hillman, which now places itself in direct opposition to contemporary trends in mainstream psychological research.
Following this chapter the book draws to a conclusion, with appendices on the biological implications of different translations of the rules of Nature and consciousness being inscribed in different forms by the macrocosmic order onto the microcosm of the ethnos, as well as an explanation on the differences between the Indo-European Traditions and certain proponents of the Abrahamic Traditions. Despite the existence of the Primordial Tradition or Sophia Perennis, varied translations of symbols arise creating opposing religious genus’ which consequently parse doctrinal differences in the basic substratum of the interpretation itself; or more precisely, multiple perceptual interpretations occur based on observations of the same infinite natural phenomenon due to differences in comprehension and limitations in finite human conscious.
In conclusion this book is suited to people with a sound knowledge of philosophical and metaphysical subjects, but at the same time it provides an introduction to a myriad of different philosophical interpretations. The only problems with the book are minor typographical issues – the general font is a little small, and the font size for citations is smaller still. Nonetheless, this is one of the finest works in the publisher’s catalogue and we look forward to reading further titles by the author from Arktos.
 Jacob, A., de Naturae of Natura: A Study of Idealistic Conceptions of Nature and the Unconscious (UK: Arktos Media Ltd, 2011), 5.