Guido Cusinato


The thesis of this paper is that – in order to avoid trivializations – a Philosophy of Birth needs to elaborate a precise concept of transformation and distinguish it carefully from that of adaptation. While transformation goes beyond the limited self-referential perspective of an individual and, on the social level, of the gregarious identity, adaptation aims at strengthening or preserving the old self-referential equilibrium. Transformation is driven by what Zambrano has called, with an exceptionally happy expression, the “hunger to be born completely”. Such a hunger pushes one to continue one’s own birth through the encounter with the Other. Transformation has a creative feature that is made possible by two factors: the surplus of the effect over the cause, and the priority of the real over the possible. These premises lead to a radical questioning of the primacy of the possible on the real, at least as it has been conceived so far in mainstream Western philosophy, with few exceptions, such as Schelling, Bergson and Scheler. In the first part of this text, I shall consider a new Philosophy of Birth in the light of the concept of transformation and in this regard deal with several core themes such as the hunger to be born completely, the new beginning, creative time, the priority of the real over the possible, the limits of finalism, the surplus of effect over cause, and the creative force that expresses itself in the act of ideation. In the second part, I shall analyze the relation between birth and death and focus especially on their intimate and reciprocal connection by referring to the image of the seed that, after falling on the ground, germinates and breaks its own integument.


Philosophy of Birth; Transformation; Evolutionism; the Possible and the Real; Ideation; Cause and Effect; Finalism; Creativity; Expressivity; Hunger for Being Born; Spinoza; Bergson; Arendt; Scheler; Zambrano.

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