F. W. J. Schelling’s thought is undergoing an exciting renaissance and reawakening today, which has caused a reconsideration of German Idealism and his influence on the thought of Marx, Freud, Bergson, Whitehead, Derrida, Lacan, and others. Beginning Heidegger’s lectures (1936, 41, 43) Schelling’s Treatise on Freedom, is the acknowledgement that many criticize Schelling’s “inconsistent” philosophical orientations. Heidegger rightly states “Schelling had to give up everything again and again, and again and again, bring it back to a new ground. Schelling says once: “He who wishes to place himself in the beginning of a truly free philosophy must abandon even God. Here we say: who wishes to maintain it, he will lose it; and who gives it up, he will find it. Only he has come to the ground of himself and has known the whole depth of life who has once abandoned everything and has himself been abandoned by everything. He for whom everything disappeared and who saw himself alone with the infinite: a great step which Plato compared to death”” (1985, 6-7).
In his excellent study, The Conspiracy of Life, Jason Wirth presents Schelling’s dynamic thought where everything “does not hang together as smoothly and simply as one thinks.” Freedom is groundless such that paradox and contradiction through ironic relations is “the venom of life.” Schelling wrote in second version of Ages of the World that “[w]ithout contradiction there would be no life, no movement, no progress; a deadly slumber of all forces. Only contradiction drives us—indeed, forces us—to action. Contradiction is in fact the venom of all life, and all vital motion is nothing but the attempt to overcome this poisoning.” In the economy of inspiration and expiration life occurs in the midst of the “conspiracy of life and death,” through a metaphysics of not only presence but “absence.” I refer to this “consistent” sentiment and temperament of Schelling’s as a “philosophy of hauntedness.” How can Schelling’s philosophy as a whole be characterized or labeled when all affiliations seem deficient? Given the robust reexaminations of his impact and legacy it seems relevant that the task lies at hand to find ways that capture the uniqueness which lies therein.