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On Vectopia in Georg Forster, Alexander von Humboldt, and Adelbert von Chamisso

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Welterleben and Weiterleben are what determine the second globalization (of four previously explored) whose constantly accelerating dynamic, vectorization, this essay explores. On the basis of selected writings of Georg Forster, Alexander von Humboldt, and Adelbert von Chamisso, the author highlights the increasing speed with which knowledge, especially in the experiential sciences, is produced and disseminated following the routes of ever-widening trade speeded along by globalization. The notion of ‘vectopia’ stands for the connection of utopia and uchronia in space and time in such a way that the experience of the world, expanded worldwide, contains within it a Weiter-Leben, a ‘living-further’ that is to be understood first in a spatial, and not yet temporal, sense, of what Forster called Erfahrungswissen, or ‘experiential knowledge.’ Vectopia, as elaborated here, has a material dimension that relates to the physical person, the body, the experience of the world that cannot occur without the constant changing of place, without a journeying that is again and again recommenced. Vectopia develops the projection of a life not from space or from time alone, but by their combination. Vectopia is more than a concept, it is a thought-figure: it is vitally connected to life, and thus a life-figure. It opens itself to a type of knowledge that stands almost at the threshold of a further life, indeed, of a Weiterleben that, opening itself to a ‘living-onward,’ resides beyond space, time, and movement.

Affiliations: 1: Universität Potsdam, Deutschland,


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