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

Friday, August 7, 2020

Capitalism & Economics - A Process-Based Ecological Society

Fulfill Your Dreams
by Peter Rollins, May 18, 2020

In 2018 I joined Rob Bell on his Holy Shift tour. This is a recording from one of the stops. In my talk I explored the idea that the Holy can be approached as a wholly other dimension that cuts across our being. A dimension that we attempt to hide from and ignore. Yet the more we ignore it, the more this wholly other dimension creates unholy hell in our lives. In contrast, if we are able to turn our attention towards it, and orient ourselves to its tremor, it can bring new life to us.

Listen to the full talk here


Capitalism & Economics As Process-based

Before exploring the subject of A Process-Based Ecological Society we must introduce the subject of Process Philosophy to those unacquainted with it. For a fuller discussion go to this index here - Index - Process Philosophy & Theology. You will find many articles exploring Alfred North Whitehead's Process Philosophy.

And don't worry, I've made it simple and instructive and have approached it from many different angles. However, this index is in no way definite. As you will quickly tell it will want for many more approaches and degrees of depth. Let us just say that the year 2020 is but the beginning of this nascent subject on constructive postmodernism for the 21st Century.

Relevancy22: Contemporary Christianity: Post-Evangelic Topics and ...

Know too that a subset of Process Philosophy where it concerns Christianity alone may be known as Process Theology even though we must consider Christianity as but a subset of a larger set we'll generally denote as Religion. Hence, a more formal field of study for Process Theology would include all subsets of religion under the primary set of Religion. Let us call all those points of commonality between all religions as the set of Interfaith Relational Elements.

Since 2011 Relevancy22 has been dedicated to developing a Contemporary Christian Theology. Hence, the website here will always be primarily concerned with how to integrate Westernized (creedal) Christianity into the lattice work of larger ideas such as Process Theology among other main themes considered foundational to the Christian faith, bible reading, and the practice of said faith within the context of the world.

Figure 1.1. The Ruah YHWH and Her Creative Activities

Specifically, in regards to capitalism and economics, I would like to introduce the new idea of a process-driven world into the science, practice, organization, politilization, and governance of a temporal society whether it be capitalist, socialist, marxist, communist, or some version of  of these or others pertaining to society, materialism and metaphysics.

And with respect to an evolving American democracy, how to integrate a process-driven economy within an evolving open democracy based upon the principles of Christian humanism (known today as social justice) utilizing process philosophy as a foundation.


Above is a photo asking the question how to piece together the missing link. Open Theism tells of an undetermined, open future. One that may be chaotic and yet fully imaged in God and necessarily abundantly flowing with God's Self. Process Theism we have briefly covered while indicating that creation has necessary (freewill) agency and with agency has come conflict Christianity calls sin and evil.

So what's the missing link? Relational Theism. As process theology has indicated, all things are connected to all things. The are deeply connected. And being in God's Image of His Being or Self, it is conflicted in its drive to find fellowship, wholeness, and completion. We might say that these elements are part of its teleology, or end game. Relational Theology is but a fuller statement of this part of process theology.

Bottom line. Process Theology is the basis for Open and Relational Theology. These latter derive their activity from the former. As such, the proper description of God's creation is one that is an open and relational process theology. They go together. Inseparably. And it is this kind of process an economic principle should strive to emulate through its many cultural, ethnic, temporal, and geographic forms. One that is open, relational, and process driven.

One last thought. Since we live in the 21st Century we should then be talking about postmodernism and how it has become the end game to modernism's death. (I might make the argument that post-postmodernism of the post-truth era is actually modernism's death knell, but the principle is the same.)

However, what we might expect next is one of two things: Either more authoritarian-driven world economies (e.g., Trumpian economies of oppression which will not be good thing) or perhaps more participatory world economies wishing to work with one another (I rooting for this later!). Time will tell.

Coupling Open and Relational Process-based Economics with Postmodernism we might look at the following set of statements in summarizing a "Constructive" form of Postmodernism from a "Process" viewpoint:


"Process theologians and philosophers sometimes speak of themselves as "constructive" postmodernists. They are postmodern in their rejection of many of the canons of western modernity:

  • The idea that the self is an isolated subject cut off from the world by the boundaries of the skin. In contrast, we are not alone but are connected to everyone and everything;
  • The idea that the many forms of life on earth are but resources for human use. In contrast, both the earth and its people are more than mere sources for utilitarian purposes to be used and cast off;
  • The idea that Western Models of development are normative for all. In contrast, yes, there is more to life than the American or Western view of the Universe and of its ages past or yet to come;
  • The idea that the universe itself is a collection of objects not a community of co-evolving subjects. In contrast, process thinking states all entities are evolving in community together, not alone, and certainly not desperately alone;
  • And finally, constructive postmodernists simultaneously affirm an alternative and more holistic view of human life and the world. Some Westernized Christians (also Jews, Muslims, and Oriental thinkers) turn to the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead as a source of this alternative vision." The ultimate identity of ourselves or of anything is not simply that of "being" but "beings in process of 'being' or 'becoming'.


Home Page

The Institute for Ecological Civilization works internationally to support systemic approaches to long-term sustainability by developing collaborations among government, business, and religious leaders and among scholars, activists, and policy makers. We build effective partnerships across social sectors through consultations, think-tank gatherings, and policy engagement. - IEC

Capitalism & Economics As An Ecological Civilization

The present trajectory of life on this planet is unsustainable, and the underlying causes of our environmental crisis are inseparable from our social and economic systems.

The massive inequality between the rich and the poor is not separate from our systems of unlimited growth, the depletion of natural resources, the extinction of species, or global warming. As climate predictions continue to exceed projections, it is clear that hopelessness is rapidly becoming our worst enemy.

What is needed—urgently—is a new vision for the flourishing of life on this planet, a vision the authors are calling an ecological civilization. Along the way they have learned that this term brings hope unlike any other. It reminds us that humans have gone through many civilizations in the past, and the end of a particular civilization does not necessarily mean the end of humanity, much less the end of all life on the planet.

It is not hard for us to conceive of a society after the fall of modernity, in which humans live in an equitable and sustainable way with one another and the planet. Let us then explore the idea of building ecological civilizations by asking eight key questions about it and drawing answers from relational philosophies, the ecological sciences, systems thinking and network theory, and the world’s religious and spiritual traditions.

Ultimately, a genuinely ecological civilization is not a utopian ideal, but a practical way to live. To recognize this, and to begin to take steps to establish it, is the foundation for realistic hope.


Where Do We Begin?

To begin with, the work of creating an ecological civilization can seem nebulous and is at times hard to describe. Therefore, the Institute for Ecological Civilization has created the following diagram to give you a visual representation and broad overview of our work and values. We’ve used a tree because we consider it a great model for how we see our work progressing and being sustained.

Ecociv’s method for cultivating change involves bringing people together from various sectors of society to do three things:

  • visioning exercises where they imagine how an ecological civilization could look;
  • backcasting – working backwards from that reality to identify a set of concrete steps needed to reach it; and,
  • roadmapping – identifying an action plan to begin taking these steps.

The tree’s roots represent what we consider to be the foundations of an ecological civilization – things that must happen for this new kind of civilization to dawn and flourish. Visioning and backcasting happen at this level.

The trunk of the tree is where we roadmap – thinking deeply and strategically about our next steps. What are our goals? Who do we need to reach out to? How do we envision addressing potential roadblocks? What series of actions will impart the greatest impact? Here we need to stand strong and tall, drawing wisdom and resources from our roots.

The branches and beautiful array of colored leaves are the fruits of our labor – qualities that define an ecological civilization. This part of the tree is also a symbol of hope. Just as leaves take in sunlight and create food through the process of photosynthesis, we draw hope from the vision of an ecological civilization and this gives us the nutrients and energy to sustain our “root and trunk” (visioning, backcasting, and roadmapping) work.

MEET ECOCIV - An Introduction to our work
by EcoCiv, Mar 20, 2020


What Is An Ecological Civilization?

Ecological Civilization describes a world in which human communities (our systems of economics, agriculture, education, production and consumption, etc.) are designed to promote the overall well-being of people and the planet. It's a vision for a more sustainable and just society; a world that works for all.

The transition toward ecological civilization will require transformation at a far deeper level than most people realize. Beyond important changes like adopting renewable energy, driving electric cars, and eating less meat, transitioning toward an ecological civilization requires a paradigm shift in which the fundamental systems and structures of our civilization are reorganized according to ecological values. This paradigm shift arises out of an awareness that our major social and environmental challenges are all interconnected, requiring integral solutions for the common good.

Authors Philip Clayton and William Andrew Schwartz give us a comprehensive look on what an ecological civilization could look like. It explores the idea of ecological civilization by asking eight key questions about it and drawing answers from relational philosophies, the ecological sciences, systems thinking and network theory, and the world’s religious and spiritual traditions.


Capitalism and the Lost Object
by Peter Rollins, Jul 29, 2020

This is a short clip from a pyroseminar called 'Losing the Lost Object'. In this clip I discuss a way of understanding what the Lost Object actually is... namely, a virtual object that exists only in its impossibility. Get full seminars, book studies and courses by joining my Patreon. Over 100 hours of material: https://pyrotheology.com

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References for further Reading
Process-based Capitalism & Economics

Amazon Link

Transformative Ecological Economics (Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics) 1st Edition, by Ove Jakobsen (Author), March 5, 2019
When we look at the state of the world today, what is most evident is the fact that the major problems of our time – energy, environment, economy, climate change and social justice – cannot be understood in isolation. They are interconnected problems, which means that they require corresponding systemic solutions. Today’s global economy has brought about critical distress for ecosystems and societies and we have to go to the very root of the problems to find a way out.
This volume develops a synthesized interpretation of ecological economics integrating different levels: (economic) system, (business) practice and the (economic) actor. It discusses how changes on a systems level are connected to changes in practice and development of individual consciousness. Transformative Ecological Economics delves into the insight and knowledge from different sources of inspiration (thermodynamics, Darwinism, anthroposophy and Buddhism) as well as into an integrated story describing and illustrating the core ideas, principles and values that characterize a utopian society anchored in ecological economics. Implementation of the deep changes demanded depends on our ability to write a new story, a utopian one for sure, but one which is in accordance with and based on the reality in which we live.
This book will be of interest to those who study ecological economics, political economy and environmental economics.

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Amazon Link

Marx and Whitehead: Process, Dialectics, and the Critique of Capitalism (SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences) Hardcover – January 29, 2004
A reading of Marx's critique of capitalism through the lens of process philosophy.
Marx and Whitehead boldly asks us to reconsider capitalism, not merely as an "economic system" but as a fundamentally self-destructive mode that, by its very nature and operation, undermines the cohesive fabric of human existence. Author Anne Fairchild Pomeroy asserts that it is impossible to appreciate fully the impact of Marx's critique of capitalism without understanding the philosophical system that underlies it. Alfred North Whitehead's work is used to forge a systematic link between process philosophy and dialectical materialism via the category of production. Whitehead's process thought brings Marx's philosophical vision into sharper focus. This union provides the grounds for Pomeroy's claim that the heart of Marx's critique of capitalism is fundamentally ontological, and that therefore the necessary condition for genuine human flourishing lies in overcoming the capitalist form of social relations.

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EcoCiv Podcast #17 - Matthew Segall:
Whitehead, Marx, and Ecological Civilization

Matt & Andrew Schwartz discussed Marx and Whitehead last week.

Footnotes2Plato Website

Download file | Play in new window | Duration: 43:28 | Recorded on July 17, 2019

EcoCiv podcast on Whitehead, Marx, and Ecological Civilization ...
Marx & Whitehead
I am Matthew T. Segall.Wisdom lover, soul-maker, star-gazer, and lifetime member of team human. By day I am Assistant Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA
Andrew Schwartz speaks with Matthew Segall, who is a philosopher at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a popular blogger at Footnotes2Plato.com. He is also the author of a number of books, including The Physics of the World-Soul: The Relevance of Alfred North Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism To Contemporary Scientific Cosmology. Throughout his work, Matthew consistently demonstrates an ability to clearly explain complex philosophical concepts, and to show how they are relevant to important matters of politics, science, and religion.
At a recent conference in San Francisco, he gave a talk called “Whitehead and Marx: A Cosmopolitical Approach to Ecological Civilization.” In short, Matthew argues that Whiteheadian process philosophy and Marx’s critique of capitalism must be brought together. Process philosophy, he suggests, not only helps to “diagnose the metaphysical roots of the present ecological catastrophe,” but also provides a corrective to Marx’s anthropocentric view of nature “as dead and awaiting the value-creating power of human consciousness.”
In this episode of the EcoCiv Podcast, Andrew and Matthew discuss the importance of thinking with Whitehead and Marx about an ecological civilization, imagining societies beyond capitalism, developing a non-anthropocentric politics, and why Matthew says we need to think and act locally. 
Music Credit: “lax” by Fascinating Earthbound ObjectsLicense//Song Link 

Amazon Link

Physics of the World-Soul: Whitehead's Adventure in CosmologyApril 29, 2019
Whitehead was among the first initiates into the 20th century's new cosmological story. This book bring's Whitehead's philosophy of organism into conversation with several components of contemporary scientific cosmology-including relativistic, quantum, evolutionary, and complexity theories-in order to both exemplify the inadequacy of the traditional materialistic-mechanistic metaphysical interpretation of them, and to display the relevance of Whitehead's cosmological scheme to the transdisciplinary project of integrating these theories and their data with the presuppositions of human civilization. This data is nearly crying aloud for a cosmologically ensouled interpretation, one in which, for example, physics and chemistry are no longer considered to be descriptions of the meaningless motion of molecules to which biology is ultimately reducible, but rather themselves become studies of living organization at ecological scales other than the biological.

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Marx and Whitehead: A process reading of capitalism (1999)
by Anne Fairchild Pomeroy, Fordham University

Subject Area - Philosophy|Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Collection for Fordham University. AAI9926888

Bertell Ollman has argued that Marx's theory of alienation and his use of the dialectical method reveal the deep dependence of Marx's project upon a philosophy of internal relations. Marx and Whitehead: A Process Reading of Capitalism, is the extension and development of this claim. The philosophy of internal relations which implicitly underlies and provides the foundations for Marx's analysis and critique of capitalism is, I claim, a process philosophy, whose most complete and nuanced articulation is to be found in the work of Alfred North Whitehead. By explicitly recognizing such a foundation, we are able establish an absolute continuity between Marx's early and later writings; the early, “humanistic” writings present the philosophical foundations for the later political-economic critique. By identifying this coherence and by exploring its processive underpinnings, the critique of capitalism, as it is expressed by the labor theory of value and the critique of wage labor, is enhanced and intensified. By recognizing the processive claims underlying Marx's notion of production, we ultimately see that the critique of capitalism is a critique of the form of social relations in which the wage representative of necessary labor time merely reproduces human life in an ontological fashion reminiscent of inorganic forms of process which primarily reiterate their valuative patterns, and in which the creative novelty of surplus labor time is also objectified in inorganic commodity form. Therefore, wage labor is real alienation from our ontological essence—our creative-productive activity, and so it is also alienation from the natural world, our products, and one another. Within the practice of capitalism, the processive universe is genuinely commodified. Novel creative and valuative activity is transformed into commodity or money value. Since creativity is the very engine of process, capitalism is, quite literally, anti-processive, quite literally anti-humanistic, quite literally an economy of death. It is a lived form of misplaced concreteness. The most basic contradiction in capitalism is self-contradiction. Finally, a processive theory of human consciousness is examined in order to articulate the emergence of dialectical consciousness as radical and transformative consciousness from within the structure of capitalism itself.

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Marx and Whitehead: Process, Dialectics, and the Critique of Capitalism
Pomeroy, Anne Fairchild, Marx and Whitehead: Process, Dialectics, and the Critique of Capitalism, 
SUNY Press, 2004, 231pp, $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 0791459837.

Reviewed by Jeanne Schuler, Creighton University

Marx's texts are among the most demanding in modern thought, though they are often short-changed by scholars and sidelined in the curriculum. Marx's contributions are typically summed up in wooden ways that do not open up a line of thinking or research. Consequently, their impact on the practice of philosophy and the social sciences is negligible. Why study Marx? The vocabulary is not remarkable. But adequately reading the texts takes us beyond the familiar modes of analysis to a largely unknown mode of thinking. Few readers come prepared for the task. Marx's debt to Hegel is acknowledged without grasping the pervasive difference in how Marx understands knowledge and the modern world. His use of categories and understanding of reality are not comparable to his contemporaries; they are closer to Aristotle than to Kant. Marx is not a skeptic in the mold of modern thinkers who first separate thought from objectivity and then struggle to draw them together. Marx's skepticism is directed at capitalism, not at truth or the possibility of human understanding. With Marx, form is not contrasted with content--as the subjective isolated from the objective--but social form describes the specific purposes that characterize society in pervasive ways. How do we appreciate a thinker who is not bedeviled by the usual doubts and conundrums that hog-tie modern thought?

First, consider the obstacles to reading Marx. The standpoint of conceptual polarity often frames debates about Marx. Is Marx an idealist inspired by justice or a materialist who dismisses norms in favor of empirical science? If Marx is a materialist, can he account for a critical theory, such as his own? Are humans free to revolt or determined by burdensome social conditions? If the present is shaped by the past, how will non-capitalist social forms emerge from capitalist society? How can negation arise within a totalizing form of society? A major roadblock concerns the legend of the "two Marxes": the young humanistic critic of capitalism and the older systematic theorist of capitalism. Supposedly, the moral passion of the young thinker disappears into the scientific mindedness of the author of Capital. The later critique then fails to appreciate the human agency and political life that generate social change. Norms disappear as the intricate system of categories unfolds. Marx delivers a theory but no longer clearly addresses exactly what is unjust about capitalism or even how we could address this question. Is labor the problem or does labor hold the key to human liberation? Lurking behind the present neglect of Marx is the suspicion that these texts primarily focus on communism and are thus refuted by history, since communism is thoroughly discredited. As we see, the path to engaging Marx's texts is obstructed from numerous directions.

Anne Pomeroy tackles these obstacles boldly by turning to Whitehead's metaphysics in order to open up Marx's critique of capitalism. Her proposal is striking on several grounds. Whitehead is not fabled for accessibility; how can the arcane ideas of process philosophy shed light on Marx's texts? Furthermore, Whitehead was not shaped by an encounter with Marx's texts, and he pled ignorance concerning Hegel's legacy. One thinker focuses on historically specific social forms; the other identifies the encompassing dimensions of all reality. How can such disparate projects be fruitfully joined?

Pomeroy reconceives the disparity between social critique and metaphysics as a source of illumination, "a clash of doctrines . . is an opportunity" (3). Marx and Whitehead are only apparently at cross-purposes; actually both are "deeply innovative" in kindred ways. With such notions as misplaced concreteness and dialectic, Whitehead can clarify Marx's meanings. Confusion concerning Marx's theory sets in when abstractions necessary for analysis are mistaken for the concrete or the phenomenon. With the help of process thought, readers of Marx can pay better attention to the "degrees of abstraction" or "levels of specificity" that make up a critique, thereby distinguishing the general abstractions that are applicable to every society (such as use values) from the abstractions specific to capitalism (exchange value).

The affinity between Marx and Whitehead that Pomeroy recognizes exists on several levels: both thinkers situate ideas in experience and history as fallible generalizations. Both begin with experience and return to it; both identify the false dichotomies and abstractions that mystify thought; both develop concepts that could be described as dialectical. Both are said to rely upon internal relations in their analyses: Marx at the level of "macrocosmic empirical analysis of social production" (69) and Whitehead at the microcosmic or metaphysical level of actual entities. Marx's category of production is the functional equivalent of process in Whitehead's thought. Both process and production share these features: "Productive ability as the driving force behind world process (creativity), creative dependence on the given as its source and product (actuality), and thus deep interdependence of all elements of reality on all others as mutually constituting (being as fully relational)" (61). Persons--like the actual entities of metaphysics--transform the given data in producing their world as new (66). With the notion of internal relations--appropriated from Leibniz by Whitehead--Pomeroy endeavors to dissolve intractable standoffs, such as freedom/determinism, physical/conceptual, one/many, or possibility/necessity, by showing how both dimensions constitute each entity. Being determined by the past does not exclude the emergence of possibilities in the present. Creativity is fundamental to the emergence of things from prior conditions. What ordinary habits of thought separate, process thought discloses as inseparable. The basic ideas of Whitehead, in Pomeroy's hands, allow us to get past the sterile readings of Marx and show the continuity between the early and later texts. "Whitehead's metaphysics will present us with new language … of feeling and relation … mutual constitution and creativity … organicism and materialism … language … rich with developmental possibilities" (14).

By appealing to process thought, Pomeroy locates normativity within the most fundamental features of all things. To read Marx adequately requires upheaval at the level of metaphysics. "The metaphysical is itself the indictment" (195). Norms are not "outside reality." They do not arise from feelings projected by subjects onto objects; norms are not constructed; they are not planted on the subjective side of a subjective/object divide. The normative dimension goes to the core of reality; the critique of capital is generated by the tension between the dialectical process that underlies all reality and the undialectical form of capitalist production that impoverishes and distorts basic features of reality.

For example, to understand what's wrong with wage labor is to grasp the tension between the process of production--whereby individuals constitute both self and their world--and the fixed quantity or wage which is said to be the equal to this process. What is dead--the wage--in principle cannot measure living labor. "The exchange of a determination that is past for the human activity that is present(ed) is absolutely illegitimate" (120). Pomeroy calls this the "first injustice from which all the further injustices flow" (121). Capitalism violates the "original ontological incommensurability of persons and things" (122). To treat persons as objects exemplifies injustice.

In a similar way, the expropriation of surplus value separates persons from the newness or excess that marks their activity as "truly human." Pomeroy identifies the capitalist notion of "surplus" with the metaphysical category of "novelty." Human labor is treated as an object when stripped of this excess. The push to reduce necessary labor in order to expropriate a larger surplus robs persons of their inherent nature as creative. What constitutes the self and its world must belong to the self. Capitalism unleashes human creativity on a massive scale, but does not allow genuinely new possibilities to arise. "Present creativity sparked by future envisionment has been reduced to the abstract monetary expression of the generalized past labor of my brothers and sisters. Their creative lives have paid my wage and mine has paid theirs. We are the price of … one another's enslavement" (124). The necessity under capitalism to measure living labor in terms of the abstractions of value violates our fundamental human character. The category of value in the later Marx conveys with more precision the injustice expressed in the young Marx's account of alienation. Capitalism does not acknowledge human beings as free and creative, but simply compels labor to pump out surplus value. Persons--the origins of value--come to exist at the mercy of their products. "Value is really congealed labor--that is the life blood, the potential and real creativity of the human being hardened into mere physicality--into the not-human. Subjective creativity is the absolutely unique and free … activity of the individual, and capitalism requires that it be treated as what it is essentially not and traded off for this absolute other" (124).

Through Whitehead's lens, Pomeroy shows that capitalism is subject to critique because it is metaphysically deficient. Though capitalism cannot squelch metaphysical reality, a system founded on private property diminishes the "relational solidarity" of this world. The universe exists as process that constitutes each individual as unique. But capitalism harnesses creativity to sameness, the ongoing expansion of surplus value. Humans produce what is genuinely new, but "as capitalism operates, the world grinds toward stagnation" (146). Reality is dialectical--a whole constituted by interacting parts each of which matters--but under capitalism, reduction, separation, and abstraction take precedence over organic relations. Solidarity and relational continuity describe how things are. When capitalism splits apart nature, producers, owners, and consumers, it does not keep faith with what is. "Capitalism is a disaster for processive reality" (164). The volatility of capitalism originates in metaphysical disruption and leads continually to economic crisis and destruction of nature.

Understanding the differences between the thinkers is as important as appreciating their similarities. Overall, Pomeroy respects the distinctiveness of each thinker even as she coaxes real illumination from this unusual encounter of minds. She is rightfully uneasy with the duality that pervades Whitehead's thought. His dialectic situates opposed factors as simultaneous and belonging together; this philosophy of internal relations breaks through conceptual standoffs by stipulating unity. This "binding together into unity" differs from producing reconciliation through a process of thought. Neither Hegel nor Marx says much about the meaning of dialectic, except to reject any method that is treated as separable from the material. But in practice, their initial accounts develop from empty abstractions to more determinate or concrete concepts. The difference between Whitehead's philosophy of internal relations and Marx's immanent critique needs to be addressed more fully. For example, how does a philosophy of internal relations convey external relations, such as the externality of non-commodified human goods from market relations?

Pomeroy is most persuasive in showing how Whitehead's metaphysics corrects the rigid demarcations that distort our reading of Marx's texts; however, mapping metaphysical categories, such as creativity, on to capitalist forms, such as surplus labor, itself runs the risk of "misplaced concreteness." Necessary labor is no less creative than the labor designated for the expansion of surplus value. The differences between metaphysical generality and the specific forms of capitalism cannot always be bridged directly. Pomeroy responds well to the challenge of tailoring metaphysical categories to the specific focus of a critical theory of capitalism in identifying what is unique about human activity. Basic features of reality--such as the conceptual and physical poles or the creative decisions of actual entities--pertain to all entities. Pomeroy must adapt these general features of the world to the specific labor of persons. The differences between persons and the non-human world--such as reflection or freedom--are matters of degree but are suffused with importance.

One might wonder: can Whitehead succeed, where studies of Hegel failed, to elucidate the deep structure of Marx's thought? Does Whitehead's metaphysics improve our understanding of Marx's critical theory? Under Pomeroy's hand, these texts are engaged in a fruitful encounter. She moves between these demanding thinkers with persuasive readings that reveal the politics implicit in process thought and the sterility avoided by a conceptually richer approach to Marx. Pomeroy writes with passion and clarity. Her analysis doesn't disappear into the thicket of Whitehead's categories but stays focused on their political and economic implications. She argues in a splendid way how process thought anticipates new social relations. Her boldness is rewarded with a well-written text that sheds light on both thinkers, while addressing the tough issues raised by Marx's critique of capitalism.