Friedrich Schelling (1775 – 1854 CE) was a student of Fichte’s, as well as Hegel’s roommate at the University of Jena. A child prodigy, he attended the university and roomed with Hegel at 16, where he studied Neo-Platonism and the work of Kant and Fichte, becoming a professor at Jena at 23 and writing his major philosophical work at 25. It was with Schelling’s help that Hegel joined him and Fichte as a lecturer at Jena. Originally Hegel sent Schelling the manuscript of his first major work, the Phenomenology of Spirit, and asked him to write an introduction, but after reading the work Schelling found that it dismissed his own philosophy as a precursor to Hegel’s own.
Influenced by Neo-Platonism like Hegel, Schelling argued that duality, polar opposition, is the expression of nature and essential to our reality, primarily the opposed forces of expansion and contraction, light expanding into darkness, life expanding into space and time. Recall that Fichte argued that existence is resistance. Nature is a progressive revealing of the absolute, the evolution and unfolding of the mind of God as life and the spirit of each successive culture. Human thought, for Schelling ‘Natural Philosophy’, is the height of the expression of nature.
Consciousness is a rupture of original unity, a splitting of the whole into self and others. The self is a synthetic act, a creation of both self and others, of the world outside of the self as well as the others one encounters. Identities are unstable, and battles lead continuously to further battles. Resistance, which Schelling identifies with negation, is followed by mediation and synthesis, a rebalancing and redrawing of the lines that constitutes the positive progress of history.