Georg Simmel’s Life and Form: a Generative Process

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Georg Simmel’s philosophy of life offers a useful contribution to social generativity. Life consists of opposing elements that are not contradictory per se: process and form. He defines the dynamism of the relation between process and form as the ‘transcendence’ of life, an essential movement within which life goes out of itself causing the existence of something other than itself – the form. It is through its relation with form that life avoids remaining imprisoned within the unlimited flow. And it is through its relation to life that forms remain alive. Life’s transcendence is not an abstract reality. Human existence is the space where the dynamic, fruitful relation between life and form takes place according to its dual unity: the Simmellian ‘whole man’ emerges through his capacity to adhere to life by going beyond himself and all dualisms. Furthermore, life’s transcendence is at the basis of a specific relational inclination and mode of action recognizable where relations and actions generate creativity and freedom, introducing a novelty in the context that is not merely functional, but rather existential and vital.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Generativity. A Relational Paradigm for Social Change
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • social generativity


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