There’s a book called The Essence of Christianity by Ludwig Feuerbach. It’s Marxist not religious. Feuerbach argues that nature exists independently of all philosophies. That’s an enormously significant idea. Nature is the foundation, he said, on which we are constructed. We are ourselves products of nature. Beyond man and nature nothing exists. The higher beings of religious fantasy are imagined reflections of individual existence.

I read in another book “the cord was broken (with Feuerbach), the prevailing intellectual situation scattered and destroyed, the contradiction – because it existed only in imagination – resolved” (Bryan Magee, Wagner and Philosophy) The imagination referred to is the subjective reasoning of religion. This seems rather like the outgrowing of superstition where we now say, quite unashamedly, that animism is silly. In more sophisticated terms we might say it is (was) no more than psychological projection. These remarks have a similar stature as you find with Emmanuel Kant and how he challenged and deconstructed the religious imaginary. It must be questioned, must be examined, and the extent to which we’re blocked from doing so is the extent to which it can’t be respected.

When I refer to nature, and consider nature, I do so partly in terms of symbolism and possibility whereby nature includes dark space and atomic depths which are currently only theories. What remains is the simple fact of your consciousness and, most importantly, what we do not know. This tree at Lyme Park, above a gully called Cluse Hey, is not something we really ‘know’. It has a living existence of its own separate from ours.

 

Peak District Snow Tree

Wednesday January 14, 2015