Crossing the Threshold:
Etheric Imagination in the Post-Kantian Process Philosophy of Schelling and Whitehead

by Matthew David Segall

262 pages / 22 April 2023 / 9781947544482


This book is a philosophical experiment in thinking, feeling, and willing beyond the transcendental threshold of Immanuel Kant’s critical philosophy. It draws inspiration from the organic process philosophies of F. W. J. Schelling and A. N. Whitehead to articulate a descendental aesthetic ontology showing the way across the epistemological chasm that Kant’s critiques hewed between knowledge and reality. This descendental inversion of Kantian transcendentalism aims to bridge the chasm-not by resolving the structure of reality into clear and distinct concepts-but by replanting cognition in the aesthetic processes that power it. The key to this reconnection is found in a new etheric power of imagination, which if consciously cultivated can grant the process philosopher direct experience of the cosmic creativity expressing itself in both the depths of the soul and throughout the physical world. With human knowing no longer conceived of as a transcendental onlooker but rather rooted again in cosmogenesis, the ancient hermetic maxim that we are microcosmic participants in the Life of the Whole is reaffirmed.

This title will ship on April 22, 2023.


Praise for Crossing the Threshold:

“Segall’s new book is a sustained blissful effort to re-infuse 21st century thought with the courage, generosity, and imagination that he himself incarnates. In trying to re-solve the ‘imagicide’ of modern philosophy, Segall acts both as a detective and as a shaman, re-establishing the marriage between cosmos and consciousness. A timely invitation to a genuine metaphysical experience whereby one re-discovers the world as living and divine.”

–Alex Gomez-Marin, Associate Professor, Instituto de Neurosciencias in Alicante, Spain

“Speculative courage and ethical seriousness pervade this exciting work on the contemporary importance of the process philosophies of Friedrich Schelling and Alfred North Whitehead. With due attention to the Romantic and spiritual influences upon both philosophers, Segall’s Crossing the Threshold breaks new ground by demonstrating the extraordinary ecological relevance of process philosophy as itself a participation in cosmogenesis. Beyond merely critiquing the modern bifurcation of nature and culture, Segall’s creative development of Scheliing and Whitehead shows how we can find a way out of this shuttle through a practice of philosophical and scientific thinking that is itself an event of ecological and cosmological solidarity, a rediscovery of the mind’s kinship with the life that courses alike through human minds and the more-than-human worlds into which we are born.

–Jacob Holsinger Sherman, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Religion at California Institute of Integral Studies and author of Partakers of the Divine: Contemplation and the Practice of Philosophy (2014)

“Matt Segall is one of the most interesting philosophers to emerge in recent years in the study of Whitehead, and, perhaps even more excitingly, of Schelling. Segall’s integrative study of these two philosophers makes yet another contribution to the burgeoning project of revitalizing an alternative organic approach to natural science and theology. While in no sense sacrificing intellectual rigour, he moves beyond the limitations of a purely analytical approach to demonstrate the importance of embodied experience and imagination in the effort to understand the nature of the world and of ourselves.”

–Iain McGilchrist, psychiatrist and author of The Master and His Emissary (2009) and The Matter with Things (2021)

“Matt Segall is a leading voice in the rebirth of Naturphilosophie—that is, the project to rescue both science and philosophy from the death-grip of a reductionistic and disenchanted materialism. His visionary proposal for the etheric imagination as the creative and radically participatory nexus of nature, the human, and the divine opens generative pathways for an integral metaphysics where truth and beauty, reason and intuition, can once again delight in each other’s company.”

–Sean Kelly, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies and author of Becoming Gaia: On the Threshold of Planetary Initiation (2022) and of Coming Home: The Birth and Transformation of the Planetary Era (2012)

“Crossing the Threshold is the electrifying story of the real advances philosophy has made in answering the question, ‘Why are we here?’ This investigation has been a tortuous journey involving lifetimes of thought from Plato, Kant, Schelling, Nietzsche, Whitehead and other titans of the intellect. Each has taken steps forward before handing the baton to the next generation. The latest in this lineage is Matthew Segall who, with profound respect for his ancestors, provides a new narrative of this metaphysical epic. As you allow yourself to be drawn into his work, a moment will come when you will have this thought: ‘If only everyone knew this, we would move beyond the catastrophes plaguing us today.’ Segall has delivered on the ancient promise of philosophy, that it provide a spiritual practice for aligning our common sense with the divine patterns of our everyday worlds. Take in this work and feel the rejuvenation of both life and faith.”

–Brian Thomas Swimme, Professor of Cosmology, California Institute of Integral Studies and author of Cosmogenesis: An Unveiling of the Expanding Universe (2022) and The Universe is a Green Dragon (1984)

About the Author

Matthew David Segall is a transdisciplinary researcher and teacher applying process philosophy across the natural and social sciences, including the study of consciousness. I am Assistant Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA.


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