In the Spirit of “clever inventions and constellations”: the Mechanics of Romantic Systems

This essay offers a new perspective to German Romanticism's thinking about systems by exposing its indebtedness to a mechanical idea that pervades the organic model of systems and operates in the blind spot of organic discourse. Against the common point of view that to think “organically” is to think “non-mechanically,” this essay argues that these two perspectives can in fact co-exist, and it is precisely the particular dynamics of this co-existence that will put the Romantic concept of system in a new light.