Planet Earth: Crumbling Metaphysical Illusion

American Imago 77 (1):105-107 (2020)
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The author develops the claim that humans characteristically maintain a sense of protectedness by creating various forms of metaphysical illusion, replacing the tragic finitude and transience of human existence with a permanent and eternally changeless reality. One such illusion forms around planet earth itself, transformed into an indestructible metaphysical entity. It has become increasingly difficult, in the face of the ravages of climate change, to maintain the illusion of earth’s indestructibility, and with it, a sense of safety. The author refers to the feelings evoked by the crumbling of metaphysical illusion as Apocalyptic anxiety¬—the dread of the end of human civilization. This Apocalyptic dread needs to be confronted (not evaded) in a comportment of dwelling—with our vulnerable planet and with our vulnerable fellow human beings.

Author's Profile

Robert D. Stolorow
University of California, Riverside (PhD)


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