The Poles of Idea and Reality

(and the De-futurising of Art and Humanity)


  • Nat Trimarchi Swinburne University PhD Candidate


Aesthetics, Art, Expressionism, Future, Idealism, Image, Impressionism, Metaphor, Modern, Mythology, Symbolic, Realism, Utopia


Fred Polak’s futurology takes up where F. W. Schelling’s claims about the ‘modern mythology’ leaves off.  Linking these, I argue Art and humanity’s joint meaning crisis originates in ‘symbolic idealism’, de-futurising both and crippling humanity’s attempts to develop a proper internal ‘narrative order of goods’ needed for our survival.  Polak’s tracing of how various forms of Expressionism emerged from Impressionism in later modernism, transforming our images of reality and the future, vindicates Schelling’s earlier claims that our symbolic mode of ‘worlding’ creates a materially positivistic idea of progress.  And our modern repurposing of art has produced what Polak calls a disorienting ‘false and deluded realism’ partly responsible for the counter-utopian, post-humanist tendencies prevalent today in both the East and West.


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How to Cite

Trimarchi, N. (2023). The Poles of Idea and Reality: (and the De-futurising of Art and Humanity). Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 19(1), 426–457. Retrieved from