Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Envisioning a Process Relational Theology

Richard Rummell's 1906 watercolor landscape view of Harvard University,
facing northeast. Alfred North Whitehead taught at Harvard from 1924 to 1937.


A Summary Review by R.E. Slater
of Robert Mesle's Introduction to AN Whitehead

As quoted in a previous article, "What would Bob say if you were riding in an elevator and he had 90 seconds to explain process-relational philosophy?"

  • broad vision of the nature of the world and reality
  • helps people address issues of evil
  • applies to other fields, not just Christianity or religion (e.g. why did the stock market crash?)
  • a way to say we are all in this together
  • we should be concerned with the common good, not just what’s best for us

Whitehead began his work of process philosophy in reaction to modernism's ascent in the 17th and 18 century. He had begun life as a scholar publishing a treatise on mathematics (Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell; cf. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). As he did so he became conversant with the early quantum physics of Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr, and other notables:

The foundations of quantum mechanics were established during the first half of the 20th century by Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Louis de Broglie, Arthur Compton, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Max Born, John von Neumann, Paul Dirac, Enrico Fermi, Wolfgang Pauli, Max von Laue, Freeman Dyson, David Hilbert, Wilhelm Wien, Satyendra Nath Bose, Arnold Sommerfeld, and others. The Copenhagen interpretation of Niels Bohr became widely accepted. - Wikipedia

While in discussion with several quantum physicists Whitehead began to explore the idea of a comprehensive metaphysic which blended philosophy with scientific research. Apparently he went through seven years of insomnia and used the time to read up on philosophical history and how it too was reflecting the science of mechanism and the material properties of nature, society, humans, and so forth, stipulated by axioms and orderly laws.

By approaching the world in a mechanistic fashion modern philosophy had isolated its discussions to the thing itself rather than to a world of things abounding around isolated things. This stood out in Whitehead's readings so much so he determined to write of a philosophy in a manner which would comprehend the wholeness of the universe - not as a mechanistic thing, but as an integrated, organic whole, alive to itself and all that was within, and without, its operations.

Further, what was especially important to Whitehead was whether there might be valuative issuances birthing from nature (or creation's) relational connectedness with itself. Valuative instances or experiences of morality, education, aesthetics, even beauty. At which point Whitehead began developing a "Philosophy of Organism" (what we know as "process relational philosophy") from age 63 to 68 (sic, Alfred North Whitehead Bio, Wikipedia):

"Alfred North Whitehead OM FRS FBA (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician and philosopher. He is best known as the defining figure of the philosophical school known as process philosophy, which today has found application to a wide variety of disciplines, including ecology, theology, education, physics, biology, economics, and psychology, among other areas.
"In his early career Whitehead wrote primarily on mathematics, logic, and physics. His most notable work in these fields is the three-volume Principia Mathematica (1910–1913), which he wrote with former student Bertrand Russell. Principia Mathematica is considered one of the twentieth century's most important works in mathematical logic, and placed 23rd in a list of the top 100 English-language nonfiction books of the twentieth century by Modern Library.
"Beginning in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Whitehead gradually turned his attention from mathematics to philosophy of science, and finally to metaphysics. He developed a comprehensive metaphysical system which radically departed from most of western philosophy. Whitehead argued that reality consists of processes rather than material objects, and that processes are best defined by their relations with other processes, thus rejecting the theory that reality is fundamentally constructed by bits of matter that exist independently of one another. Today Whitehead's philosophical works – particularly Process and Reality – are regarded as the foundational texts of process philosophy.
"Whitehead's process philosophy argues that "there is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have consequences for the world around us." For this reason, one of the most promising applications of Whitehead's thought in recent years has been in the area of ecological civilization and environmental ethics pioneered by John B. Cobb."

Of particular interest to Christian process philosophers - what later developed into Process Theology, and now Process Relational Theology - was Whitehead's last chapter on God in his book Process and Reality. Though Principia Mathematica "Principles of Logic" became a work of futility by quantum mathematical standards Process and Reality has survived the test of time and is now flourishing into a global movement across all religions, sciences, and business endeavors.

Amazon.com: Process and Reality (Gifford Lectures Delivered in the ...

Though Whitehead spoke of God in a rough framing outline related to his envisioning of God and early process theology, those who came after him succeeded in refining its ground breaking view of how God operates in the world and what God's relationship to the world is.

Philosophers and theologians who have published a monograph defending some variety of process theism informed by Whitehead or Charles Hartshorne include: Henry Nelson Wieman (1884–1975), Bernard Meland (1899–1993), Paul Weiss (1901–2002), Norman Pittenger (1905–1997), Daniel Day Williams (1910–1973), John Moskop, William L. Reese, John B. Cobb, Jr., Schubert Ogden, Edgar A. Towne, Eugene H. Peters (1929–1983), Bowman Clarke (1927–1996), Joseph Bracken, Burton Z. Cooper, Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, Gene A. Reeves, Lewis S. Ford, André Gounelle, Rem B. Edwards, Delwin Brown (1935–2009), David A. Pailin, Franklin I. Gamwell, Forrest Wood, David Ray Griffin, James A. Keller, Jorge Luis Nobo, Tyron Inbody, Carol P. Christ, George L. Goodwin, Barry Whitney, Santiago Sia, Jay McDaniel, George W. Shields, Donald Viney, Daniel A. Dombrowski, Anna Case-Winters, Kurian Kachappilly, Gregory A. Boyd, Roland Faber, Thomas Jay Oord, Donna Bowman, Derek Malone-France, and Julia Enxing; Williams, Reese, Cobb, Ogden, and Peters were Hartshorne’s students at Chicago; Clarke and Edwards studied with him at Emory; Nobo was Hartshorne’s student at Texas. - SEOP [*we should also add Catherine Keller - res]

Process Relational Philosophy/Theology

Within Part 5 Whitehead describes God in revelationally new ways under process relational thought. The remainder of these notes here will explore with Whitehead how God is perceived within a relational process construct.

Eckhart Hall at the University of Chicago. Beginning with the arrival of
Henry Nelson Wieman in 1927, Chicago's Divinity School become closely
associated with Whitehead's thought for about thirty years.

First, God is pictured as a persuasive, rather than coercive, ruling force. Yet these last two words ill fit Whitehead's description of God as God does not so much rule, nor rule by force, as to defeat the definition of a persuasive, guiding God in creation's affairs. To explore this further, is to ask the kind of action then that this kind of God utilizes. To say God is a guiding or luring presence must necessarily ask the "how" of God's non-coercive guidance.

This then links us with discussions of freewill, self-creativity, self-determination, and a whole host of other qualities asked of God in His relationship to the world, universe, creation, or nature (I will treat each description of the cosmos as equally reflective of the other in this discussion).

If God grants creation to be in His image then all that He is has been granted to creation - especially with respect to the quality of freewill. An agency which may love or not love, show generative value, or deny its course, a nurturing freedom or a debilitating power. Though God's image strives with His creation to produce valuative "feelings" or, generative panexperiential relationships, it may also be denuded, marred, denied, or refused by creation's own freewill agency. This is why freewill is the heaviest burden creation might bear. How it is used can mean everything. When not used well it is the greatest of burdens and griefs.

We might also ask the follow up question of whether God "granted" freewill or whether this issuance was part-and-parcel of His own being/essence. Thomas Oord describes freewill as that which came from God's love. It was never granted or allowed. It flowed naturally from God's very being. Again, the burden of a great gift is to the lack of its use in meaningful, valuative forms. 

By this gift creation and humanity became culpable to its misuse, known in Christian terms as sin and evil. It is not God who is culpable for the sufferings of this world but creation's own "nature" - or misused "divine agency" of God's image. Of note too, when describing non-sentient things such as nature, natural freewill might be referred to as "indeterminative agency or freewill"; which also describes humanity's agency quite well too).

Is God A Supreme Power or Kingly Ruler?

Whitehead goes on to ask the question of how do we understand God. In what terms do we ascribe to God His "Godness"? He notes the classical way of describing God has been of One who exhibits willful control over creation, doing what He wants and when He wants, at any time or any place. One who determines the future as to its results, whether good or bad. Whose dictates or fiats are to be obeyed, maybe strictly so, and that by the conduct of His unilateral rule it may be described as without affection for the world (the church doctrine of impassibilty).

This means then that God may do what He wants to do without being affected by our experiences. God is the Impassable Creator. An unaffected, determining force of creation. One who rules above the world, is transcendent to it, and unfeeling to its sufferings while executing within its providences determinative divine, or heavenly, results which He deems most necessary to the fulfillment of His ambitions. Creation then is simply His pawn to be used for a time then discarded like an old rag without value.

Of course, what Whitehead was noting was that early Israel and the church in the centuries afterwards came to identify God with the figures of Pharaoh of Egypt and Caesar of Rome. The bible describes such a claim as faith idolatry. A misplaced faith which wishes God to be other than He really is, as plainly told to us through the personage of Christ Jesus. He, who was Emmanuel, the suffering God of our experiences (sic, Isaiah 52.13 - 53.12)

The bible, as does process theology, rather focuses on God as a loving, suffering God who walks with us in all our ways, griefs, joys, pains, hopes, and outcomes. One who experiences with us the world as we feel and know it. He is the God of the here-and-now; the present as well as the past and future; the One who carries our burdens and cares; Who is affected by all the world's experiences at every single moment of every possible location wherever creation exists.

This is quite a different description of God than the classic Christian belief of a God of willful power and controller of outcomes. It doesn't see God's power as a unilateral or determinative force but as a guiding, persuading presence, granting generative freedom at every possible  moment. Helping and assisting as we go through life moment-by-moment. But when compared to the Pharaohs, Caesars, even "Presidents" of nations - God is unlike such beggardly rulers. He is more aptly described as the "Servant" King of creation.

One last, God is not in love with God's own power. He is not interested in waiting for us to praise Him, as it were, but much more interested in figuring out with us how to help us in our everyday lives, and creation generally, in its experience of itself towards goodness and light.

God, the Poet
R.E. Slater

God guides
productive, or
constructive, forces
with goodness
and energy
but not by
destructive forces
of any kind.

Nor does God

abandon a
self-creating world
of His own creation,
but redeems it
by atoning guidance,
renewing power,
held in the throes
of freewill agency.

God is the Poet

of worldly affairs,
by loving patience
kindly compassion,
leading the world
towards truth,
beauty, and

R.E. Slater
April 21, 2020

@copyright R.E. Slater Publications
all rights reserved

How Does God Guide?

Which leads us to yet another question... How is God's work "persuasive?"

Let's start off with this reflection by Whitehead again:

"Apart from the intervention of God in the world, there can be nothing new.
God does not control the world but inspires creativity, order, beauty." - ANW

In essence, God is safeguarding the past, the present, even all future presents, by allowing creation the opportunity to experience a range of creative possibilities within its processes of becoming.

God is the lure, the feeling, the call towards better, valuative possibilities and outcomes. He is not a ruling tyrant or even a benevolent tyrant; He is not a ruthless moralist; nor is God the "unmoved mover".

God dwells in the tender moments of the world. He is moved by love and compassion towards creation and people. Love does not rule but guides. Love does not usurp freewill but grants it. God presents the possibilities of love and goodness while also drawing creation to valuative possibilities. Possibilities for nurture, wellbeing, decision making and living. The love of God is always generative and generatively loving.

1 John 1  [New American Standard Bible (NASB)]
The Incarnate Word
1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
God Is Light
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
John 1 [New American Standard Bible (NASB)]
The Deity of Jesus Christ
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
The Witness John
6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

In both 1 John 1 and John 1 it is shown that creation as well as mankind may respond to God's love or ignore it. If we choose the latter than we choose to live in unloving, ungenerative lives of darkness and not light.

Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World (Lyrics) - YouTube

What Is God's Experience of the World?

From moment to moment across the expanse of creation God experiences the world and takes it all into Himself. When we experience God we are also experiencing God in what He has taken in from the world. His experience of it commits Him to us differently than He would have been in an earlier period of our lives. As we mature and experience the world so does God in a similar way. What we knew of ourselves and of life in an earlier youth we now know differently having lived life; having experienced life. So too with God.

This then removes God from the classic view of His experiencing all of creation from time immemorial to time everlasting. Though God has experienced time immemorial from the past to the present, He, like us, is experiencing the present tense of time with all its future possibilities of its present tense. As God does not determine the future nor does God know the future or has experienced the future. In this sense God is bound by future time even as His creation is, but with the important difference that He is immortal to our mortality.

Thus, God experiences all the past and all the present of every single moment everywhere in creation. As Whitehead says, God experiences the world, and our lives, even as the world and our lives become part of God's past and present tenses. He takes all our experiences into Himself and preserves it forever. God also takes all those experiences of us and the cosmos and re-weaves all His experiences received from it back into His interaction with the world.

Similarly, we do the same as we accumulate experiences in the world with each other and with creation. We then take the accumulation of those experiences and reweave them back into our lives as we respond to the world in our interactions with ourselves, each other, and nature. God is thus experiencing in this same fashion His creation from our experiences of ourselves and each other. From nature, the world, and the cosmos' experiences with itself and other processes.

As God has given Himself to us so we give back to God and to one another our essence and being as we share our experiences forward into the future present tenses of becoming. God then is our fellow companion and sufferer who walks with us, knows our griefs and sorrows, our joys and dreams, and takes all of our being into Himself even as He does with all of creation moment by moment in deep divine fellowship with all that has protruded from Him. In this Image all creation is born.

GOD   <-------------------------->  <---------------------> WORLD
Divine Tension  

God then brings the possibility of valuative becoming into the world even as he bears its non-valuative freewill actions upon this self-same world of possibilities. By this divine interaction God leaves God's Self vulnerable to the world even as He persuades it to become in the whispers of His being to be more than it is. God then is not the coercive power of the world but the "weak-and-strong" power of the world who imagines with us all that could be within the realms of our realities. The prayers of His people, wherever they are, whoever they are, and from whatever religion or culture they are, God hears and seeks to move with us in fellowship, and in answering our prayers, against sin and evil even as we imagine, and pray to create, generative living and life practices.

Is God the Unmoved Mover?

With the Greek philosopher Plato, and the early Church Father Aristotle studied in Platonism, the conception of God was one who was perfect. And by "perfect" they mean to convey the sense that God cannot be touched by His creation. That God is closed off from it; transcendent above it; unaffected by our experiences; unchanging in His eternal Being and Essence; and totally insulated or uninfluenced by creation in all of its portrayals. In classic doctrinal terms God is impassable (unfeeling), doing what He wants, when He wants, regardless of what results by His actions. We might call this a very Greek view of the Semitic God of the bible in its Greek mythologies of reality.

Conversely, if God is imperfect, then He is weak, powerless, touched adversely by humanity or creation. Who feels too much, who is too close to a sinful world of darkness and evil, who too readily changes within Himself to His experience of the world. Who can be influenced by petitions and prayers and pleas of mankind and nature. Whose actions demonstrate too much care, too much reaction to our plights, too much humanness or creatureliness within His experience of the world. In classic doctrinal terms God is passable (feeling), reacting to His experience of the world moment by moment but as an involved God of presence to its harms and ills.

So which view is right? Is God perfect or is God "imperfect"? Or, may God be perfect but in a different sense than the one given Him by theological classicists? Might God be perfect in an imperfect way? And might that imperfect way actually show to us the perfectness of His imperfection. Where God's weakness led Him to the agony of the cross. To the atonement for our ills and harms, sins and evils. To the redemption of our future presents. To the resurrection of our beings, our souls, our meaning. Yet each-and-all into the continually evolving process of becoming who we were meant to become? I think yes. God is all this and more.

Hindu/Buddhist/Taoist/Chinese  <-------  Parallels  -------> Semitic Christian
                  Process based religions                                            Processed based religion

The Constructive Nature of Postmodernism

The era of modernism arose in the 17th-18th Century under the early sciences under luminaries such as Galileo, Newton, and Descartes amongst others. This was the mechanistic world of calculated laws and machines which could be calibrated and directed to do precisely what they were expected to do. It affected market economies, societal community, and everyday pedestrian life.

It was also in this era that bodies and minds were considered separate entities. The body was compared to a machine in all its parts, routines, maintenance, needs, and regularities. Whereas the mind was quite free of these atomistic attitudes and might free-range across non-spatial expanses independent of any physical restrictions (even including those whose minds might be sick physically or psychologically; yet those minds might range wherever they wished to go from hallucinations to psychic experiences).

Here was a dualistic, binary view of the universe. The earlier Greeks had posited such a world as three: body, mind, soul. Though curiously, the Hebrew view was always one, not two, and not three. For Whitehead, having observed in his philosophical studies the atomistic, mechanical worlds of apartness and separation he found he wasn't impressed. That he yearned for another world. A world of wholeness integrated and integrating.

Whitehead lived in the early stages of postmodernism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was the age of early quantum physics. It was from modernism's incomplete world Whitehead wished to examine process-based experience "all the way down".

Whitehead then asked whether Descartes was wrong in his binary approach to a universal comprehension of metaphysics. Whether if the human mind was the exception to nature or whether it was an extension of material things such as the body and its connection to the environment around it. Whether humans were the exception to nature as "special" beings or whether they were no different than anything else. Thus, began Whitehead's exploration for a greater, overarching, more integrated, explanation for everything.

Whitehead observed that the human body does have experiences, feelings, and casual reactions to the mind as did the mind to the body (cf. early neurosciences and psychoanalysis). That rather than being separate dualistic entities both body and mind acted as one. That the human condition was that of a holistic experience as a unified relational being. He noticed this through such incidental addresses as injuries, mockery, stress, scorn, pressure, exhaustion, love, anger, even the scratches and bruises a body gets from its experience of the outside world. To him, both body and mind responded as one holistic unit. That they were integral to each other and not two separate things.

To this Whitehead then directed his attention to the animals and nature around him. Even to the inorganic, non-sentient things such as rocks in their experience of time and evolution to the environment around such seemingly "static and impassable" states of their composition. He noticed the animals exhibited like us this body-mind unity. That mountains become hills, rocks became soil, and then he asked whether the experience of life, a process-based life, "goes all the way down"?

To this question Whitehead looked at the quantum world as to whether it was actively moving, changing, integrating, dissolving, flying apart, and flying together. Again, yes. What we as humans experience of a process-based world "all the way up" also occurred on the quantum level of string theory (not known then) "all the way down". That creation was not unlike itself from beginning to end - but completely like itself within its composition and apprehension of a processed-based cosmos.

Creation sings at dawn,
The hills clap their hands,
The heavens dance for joy,
The Lord, our Maker,
Rejoices in His work,
Compassion runneth
over all, through all
Amen and Amen.

R.E. Slater
April 21, 2020

@copyright R.E. Slater Publications
all rights reserved

The Relational Web of Becoming

                 EXPERIENCES                           Prehensive Actualities                     BECOMING

Even as postmodernism questions modernism by deconstructive thought, so postmodernism might also be a constructive form of evalution leading to greater holism of activity and experience. A comprehensive universe is an interactive, engaging process of the parts to the whole and the whole to its parts. It teaches us to listen to the world around us as well as to be intentional in all the ways we might create valuative constructs into the world around us.

Regardless as to whether these are socio-economic views, or ecological views of social justice, equality, and earthcare, the world is not simply a place of cruel labor or raw resources to be greedily used, stockpiled, and thrown away. Process Thought affirms the value we must place on the world beyond ourselves. Even as the bird and deer might enjoy their own lives, having value for what they are, so too we must recognize the value of compassionate living for all things and people around us. If one is to speak of becoming, then one must always be speaking of compassion as the central component to process philosophy and process theology; of process religion, economics, governance, science, sports, community, church, and every facet of life. 

We live in a process world. Part of its becoming is its striving towards compassion. Even as the God of love birthed the world out of His love, so this world is filled with His love looking to magnify and implode across our many worlds of unloving, uncompassionate attitudes and behavior. We call this generative living. Where every action leads to the welfare of other creatures and entities. To permeate nature and civilizations with compassion. Ourselves with compassion. And those around us with compassion. It is how a processed-based world operates underneath all its freewill agency. Should the two someday join up, the Ying and the Yang of its throes, then with Louis Armstrong we might sing, "What a Wonderful World that would Be."

Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World (1967)

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