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

Sunday, September 4, 2022

The Rings of Power - NO SPOILERS - Thoughts and Links to the Second Age of Middle-Earth

* * * * * * *

The Rings of Power - NO SPOILERS -
Thoughts and Links to the Second Age of Middle-Earth 
This posting will attempt to not have any spoilers which might ruin viewer's enjoyment of the Prime Video Series, The Rings of Power.

To help with the lore and history of this new Tolkien Series the link here below will direct the reader to an Index of Tolkien's Middle-Earth Ages and Characters primarily of the First and Second Ages of Middle-Earth.

I am just now beginning to watch the new series and may post the Prime Video series after it's full episodic showings along with perhaps spoiler videos. Having watched the first two episodes and only one trailer (the one further below) I believe the Ring's setting is sometime in the Second Age after having had the luxury of peace for a long while since the first defeat of the mighty dark Lord Sauron.

Enjoy the Series and don't forget to link to the index immediately below to read about Middle-Earth's First and Second Ages!

R.E. Slater
September 4, 2022

PS-Since this is a process website I will introduce this relatively "new" philosophic / theologic metaphysic ahead of the index of subjects itself. Feel free to skip it until you're ready to digest the Tolkien which lies sublimely behind the page. Pages which we live out every day of our lives though we know it not. 
Here, I will introduce a few simple concepts and academic terms by relevant word pictures to help the novice grasp a subject not typically thought about and only recently coming to light though it lies all about us. 
Thus, my site. And thus, it's perspective. Filled with lands of resplendant vistas and hallowed glens by trying to reconcile past experiences with the new as we journey between worlds of dark and light like the elvish wanders of old rebuilding from the ruins of creation time-and-time again.
re slater

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Official Trailer | Prime Video
Jul 14, 2022
The legend begins. #TheRingsOfPower

The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth's history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.
Beginning in a time of relative peace [beginning of Middle-Earth's Second Age], the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Official Trailer | Prime Video
Aug 23, 2022

The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth's history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.
Beginning in a time of relative peace [beginning of Middle-Earth's Second Age], the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.





Author, Poet, Hobbit JRR Tolkien

Process Relational Ecological Civilizations Topics and Discussions

I wish to expand a bit on my last posting re i) "Whitehead's Contribution to Thinking Cosmologically in an Ecological civilization" and, ii) "How the integration of the sciences, humanity, and the universal (aka, spiritual) in Whiteheadian Process Thought."

Based on Matt Segall's book, "Physics of the World Soul," he will address in brief three main themes of conversation before the John Cobb forum panel in cross examination with John Eastman. Those three topics will concern i) the integration of evolution with ii) the quantum sciences and iii) Complexity theory utilizing the Whiteheadian process philosophy of cosmological metaphysics.

R.E. Slater
September 4, 2022

Thinking Cosmologically in an Ecological Civilization:
Whitehead's Contribution
October 21, 2020

Presenter: Matt Segall
Respondent: Timothy Eastman
Recording Date: September 15, 2020

*Unfortunately the Q&A was not included :(


What is ecological thinking?

One of the critical lessons that ecology is teaching us is that humans are not separate from nature, but are members of the web of life (Hes and Du Plessis 2014).

Ecoscenography 1.2

The first step to integrating ecological thinking into scenographic practice, involves grasping the fundamentals of ecology and living systems. Ecology demonstrates how eco-systems are not just a collection of species, but are also relational systems that connect humans, as organic systems, with animals and plants – It stimulates an increased understanding that the world is fundamentally interconnected and interdependent (Hes and Du Plessis 2014). From an ecological perspective, humans are not separate from nature but are deeply embedded in the ‘web of life’ (Capra 1994). As Naess (1989) suggests, “A human is not a thing…but a juncture in a relational system without determined boundaries in space and time” (1989: 79). Thus, humans are an integral part of the processes of co-creation and co-evolution that shape the living world (Hes and Du Plessis 2014).

Ecoscenography 1.3

Ecological thinking requires a broadening of identity in how we see ourselves in relationship to the world around us. Hes and Du Plessis explain that “as one’s identity expands, so does one’s view of the world. With these changed perceptions also come a change in values, behaviours and possible leverage points” (2014). Sean Esbjörn-Hargens (2010) describes this ‘widening of identity’ as a transition from ‘me’ (egocentric) to ‘my group ‘(ethnocentric) to ‘my country’ (sociocentric) to ‘all of us’ (worldcentric) to ‘all beings’ (planetcentric) to finally ‘all of reality’ (Kosmoscentric). In performance practice, this could be interpreted as a widening in identity from ‘me’ as the artist to considering how I might create work that actively engages with communities as well as the ‘living world’.

This notion of ‘creative expansion’ inspired by Esbjörn-Hargen’s ‘widening identity’, asks the performance maker and scenographer to engage with the work on multiple levels – it challenges the theatre artist to look beyond usual anthropocentric values (such as egocentric, ethnocentric, sociocentric and worldcentric perspectives) often adopted in the theatre practice to also incorporate planetcentric and kosmoscentric views.

The challenge of ecological thinking requires altering our assumptions, attitudes, to understand that we are participating in, and co-evolving with nature (Eisenberg and Reed, 2003: 3). In other words, in order to engage with the world from an ecological perspective, we need to see ourselves as part of (rather than above) nature – to engage with the ‘human’ aspects of our context in relationship to the [cosmo]biophysical context (Hes and Du Plessis 2014). This implies making a conscious effort to contemplate how our work as theatre practitioners might connect to broader communities and ‘living systems’.

Ecology incorporates principles of wholeness, interdependence, diversity, partnership, energy flows, flexibility, cycles and sustainability (DeKay 2011: 65). These themes of interconnection, relationship and co-existence underpin the value system of ecological thinking or what Dominique Hes and Chrisna du Plessis (2014) also describe as the ‘ecological worldview’. The ecological worldview presents a universe that consists of dynamic relationships and processes – It is a “globally integrated view, acknowledging and integrating diversity and previous levels of development, focusing on the long-term future of the world system” (Hes and Du Plessis 2014). In summary, the ecological worldview asks theatre artists and scenographers to think beyond the transient qualities of the theatre or site, to also understand how their work affects wider communities and living systems.

Ecological thinking is profoundly about understanding that ecology is not just about non-human things, it has to do with the way we imagine ourselves as part of nature (Morton 2010). Adopting an ecological perspective entails altering the lens through which we perceive the world and ourselves (Kegan 1982). At the core of this shift is a change in focus, a moving away from egocentric and anthropocentric thought (separateness) to include concepts of integration, awareness and holistic perception (interconnectedness). Mark DeKay explains that this is no easy cognitive task, but rather part of a transition in our developing capacity as humans (2011: 60). Despite this challenge, ecological thinking is crucial to designers of any discipline engaging with sustainability and offers a holistic approach to the possibilities of producing positive benefits as well as remediating past environmental damage (Zari and Jenkin 2010).

* * * * * * *

A Short Observation

This next section is a short review of a forum held at CIIS hosted by Matt Segall. It is of note that the term and practicum of cosmoecological civilization began in Communist Russia in the 1970s (although I would argue with native aboriginal tribal fellowships); was picked up and heightened by post-Maoist/Socialist China in the 1990s; and later, by the Western nations (Europe, America) in the 2000s.

Moreover, Process Thought (both in it's philosophy, theology, and touchstones in science et al.) speak across all socio-political economies and ethno-religious civilizations. It's why process thought works so well. Because it is so identifiable with the kind of reality we seem to live in and experience across all human studies and historical flow and event.

So don't let the word "Marxism" throw you off. I once took a class with the world renown French Maoist philosopher Alain Baidou who taught a class on Being and Event. One side of it approached process thought (my word, certainly not Alain's!) from Being and the other side approaches it from Event. In Whiteheadian terms we describe this process-like philosophy as "Being and Becoming."

Alain's work in this area is very like process thought but with important distinctions and if the Christian idea of the Gospel of Jesus had been inserted into Baidou's thought one couldn't have told the difference between the two. However, Alain is not a Christian, and was not teaching a Christian perspective. It is his own philosophy from a lifetime of experiencing and observing the cruelty of German Naziism and even crueler post-colonial French-Muslim class struggle in North Africa from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Though Alain sought a world of mutuality even so did Jesus in his time of Jewish-Roman unrest. Jesus called it "love." Today's ecologists might rethink these terms today when approaching new societal paradigms for integrative fellowships between-and-with all present relationships unfolding and enfolding into a future of present presences.


R.E. Slater
September 4, 2020

Fifth annual conference of the World-
Ecology Research Network

“Planetary Utopias, Capitalist Dystopias: Justice, Nature,
and the Liberation of Life”

California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA
May 30-June 1, 2019

Whitehead and Marx:
A Cosmopolitical Approach to Ecological Civilization

May 31, 2019

Below is a recording of my talk (a video first, then audio only that includes the discussion afterwards). I’ve also included an extended draft of some notes I took to prepare my talk. Finally, I’ve included my notes taken while listening to Jason Moore during yesterday’s opening lecture.

A few words about the words in the title:

Cosmopolitics” is an effort on the part of thinkers like Isabelle Stengers, Bruno Latour, and Donna Haraway to think beyond the modern human/nature and fact/value divides, or what Whitehead called the “bifurcation of nature.”

Civilization“?!? This phrase, “ecological civilization,” comes from China’s Communist Party. Achieving ecological civilization is one of their stated goals for the 21st century. In China there are now about 35 graduate programs and research centers devoted to Whitehead’s thought and process studies.

What does it mean, to Whitehead, to be “civilized”? He does not use the term in an exclusivist sense and is even willing to consider that some animals some of the time (e.g., squirrels) may be capable of it (see Modes of Thought). But usually not. It means a conscious recognition of and participation in the creative power of ideas–like freedom or love–to shape history.

“We find ourselves in a buzzing world, amid a democracy of fellow creatures.” -Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality).

Whitehead is not an idealist, however. Ideas only have power when the material and historical conditions are ripe, when a particular habitat can support their ingression.

Many moderns, Marx included, have too anthropocentric an idea of ideas. Ideas were already active in evolutionary processes long before conscious human beings emerged on the scene. Ideas are not just conjured up in human heads or scratched onto paper pages by human hands. Whitehead invites us to expand our conception so that we can sense that the idea of the Good generates the light and warmth of the Sun no less than the nuclear reactions and electromagnetic radiation known to physicists, that the idea of Beauty is at work in the evolution of peacocks and butterflies and roses and not just in Beethoven’s 9th or the Mona Lisa. Ideas don’t just shape history, they shape geohistory and indeed cosmic history.

“The basis of democracy is the common fact of value-experience, as constituting the essential nature of each pulsation of actuality. Everything has some value for itself, for others, and for the whole.” -Alfred North Whitehead (Modes of Thought 151).

Every bacterium enriching the soil, every bumble bee making honey in the hive, every human being participating in society, every star spiraling in the galaxy has value for itself, for others, and for the whole. Nonhumans not only have value, they are agents of value creation.

Whitehead (in a conversation with his wife Evelyn and the journalist Lucien Price in 1944) was asked if the prior half-century or so had any political thinkers as daring as those who inaugurated the new relativistic and quantum physics, he answered “There is Marx, of course; though I cannot speak of him with any confidence.” But he goes on to describe Marx as “the prophet of proletarian revolt” and marks the singular relevance of the fact that the first practical effectuation of his ideas [Soviet Russia under Lenin] occurred in a society dominated by farmers. Here we see Whitehead was ahead of his time in recognizing the importance of food sovereignty. Any serious resistance to capitalism must begin with soil and seeds.

What is value? We can discuss the differences between use v. exchange value, objective v. subjective value, but ultimately Marx says value is a social relation determined by the amount of labor time it requires to produce a commodity. Humans create value by working on raw material or dead nature.

Is all value really produced by human labor alone? Is there nothing extrahuman that supplies value? In Whitehead’s cosmos there is no mere matter or dead nature, no inert or raw material to be appropriated by something called Man.

Whitehead: “We have no right to deface the value-experience which is the very essence of the universe” (Modes of Thought 111).

We can link value to agency. Moderns, whether Locke, or Marx, or Hayak, limit agency and thus value-creation to human beings.

According to Latour, the abstract, idealistic materialism of classical Marxism misses the activity/agency of the world.

Latour: “We have never been modern in the very simple sense that while we emancipated ourselves, each day we also more tightly entangled ourselves in the fabric of nature.”

Despite his recognition of metabolic rift, Marx was fully modern in his commitment to what Latour calls the “double task of emancipation and domination” (We Have Never Been Modern 10). The emancipatory task was political: to end exploitation of humans by humans. The task of domination was technoscientific: to become masters of nature.

“The fabric of our collectives has had to be radically transformed to absorb the citizen of the 18th century and the worker of the 19th century. We need a similar transformation now to make space for non-humans created by sciences and techniques.” -Latour (We Have Never Been Modern 185-6).

Latour’s Gifford lectures on Gaia invite us to transform our imagination of the earth as modern globe by turning it inside out, such that we come to see that we are in a crucial sense surrounded by the earth, we are enclosed within it, trapped, earthbound. We cannot escape to a beyond, Musk and Bezos’ extra-terrestrial utopianism notwithstanding.

How are we to think human freedom and human-earth relations after modernity? Humans are not as free and teleological as moderns have imagined; nor is nature as dumb and deterministic as moderns have imagined. Marx says that what distinguishes the worst human architect from the best honey bee is that the former designs his building ideally before constructing it materially. Man has a plan. Bees, apparently, are simply automatons obeying blind instinct. But is this really how human creativity works? Is this really how bee creativity works? Architect Christopher Alexander discusses how medieval cathedrals were generated over generations in a purposeful but not centrally planned way. This is akin to the way insects build their nests, following a simple organizational patterning language out of which emerges enduring forms of order and beauty. Buildings that are designed and built in the way Marx imagined tend to be dead structures meant for money-making rather than living. Consciousness of the power of ideas does not mean mastery over ideas. Ideas possess us, purpose us; we participate in their power, co-workers and not free inventors.

Donna Haraway: “in so far as the Capitalocene is told in the idiom of fundamentalist Marxism, with all its trappings of Modernity, Progress, and History, that term is subject to the same or fiercer criticisms. The stories of both the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene teeter constantly on the brink of becoming much Too Big. Marx did better than that, as did Darwin. We can inherit their bravery and capacity to tell big-enough stories without determinism, teleology, and plan” (Staying With the Trouble, 50).

What does Haraway propose we do instead? In place of deterministic teleology, she proposes process-relational creativity; and in place of a Big Plan from on high she proposes playful communal kin-making with the ecological beings we breath, kill, eat, love, and otherwise communicate with on the daily down here on planet Earth. She credits James Clifford (Return) with the notion of a “big enough” story, a story that remains “ontologically unfinished” and situated in zones of contact, struggle, and dialogue” (Return 85-86).

How do we become sensitive to the values of nonhumans? We need new practices of aestheticization, new stories, new rituals (or perhaps we need to recover “old” practices, stories, and rituals) to help us become sensitive to the values of nonhumans. Indigenous peoples can help us develop these. I think something like this is going on even in major documentary films like the new Attenborough film “Our Planet” (problematic as its title is, and as Attenborough’s ecological politics are): e.g., the images of a mass suicide of walruses in northeastern Russia.

Becoming sensitive to the values of nonhumans doesn’t mean we don’t still have a hierarchy of values that in many cases puts humans at the top. As Whitehead says, “life is robbery.” But, he continues, “the robber needs justification.” What is the human, anyway? Are we one species among many? In an obvious sense, of course we are; and we ignore our dependence upon and embeddedness within wider ecological networks to our own peril. In another sense, we are not just another species. We have become, for better or worse, a planetary presence, a geological force. How are we just justify our presence on Earth? What does ecological justice look like when the idea of justice is expanded beyond just human society?

There are a number of ongoing polemics among anti-capitalist scholars, particularly metabolic rift theorists and world-ecology researchers (e.g., John Bellamy Foster and Jason Moore; incidentally, Foster seems to get Latour all wrong), regarding the proper way to understand the relation between human beings and the rest of the natural world. I would want to approach these disputes in a diplomatic manner. I am not here to choose sides, and anyway I don’t even know the whole story. But at this catastrophic moment in geohistory, those of us resisting the mitosis of capital might do well to focus less on widening abstract semantic divisions and more on imagining and materializing the shared future we hope we one day achieve on this Human-Earth.

Human history is a geophysical event. Whether we date the history of this event to the emergence of symbolic consciousness 200,000 years ago, the Neolithic revolution 12,500 years ago, the capitalist revolution 500 years ago, the industrial revolution 250 years ago, the nuclear age 75 years ago, or the information age 20 years ago, it is clear that the Earth has by now at least entered a new phase of geohistorical development.

AP headline on May 6th, 2019 reads “UN report: Humanity accelerating extinction of other species.” The first line reads: “People are putting nature in more trouble now than at any other time in human history, with extinction looming over 1 million species of plants and animals, scientists said Monday.”

NY Magazine headline also on May 6th, 2019 by Eric Levitz: “Humanity is About to Kill 1 Million Species in a Globe-Spanning Murder-Suicide.”

He concludes: “Earth’s ecosystems did not evolve to thrive amid the conditions that a global, advanced capitalist civilization of 7 billion humans has created. And that civilization did not evolve to thrive on a planet without coral reefs, wetlands, or wild bees — and with global temperatures exceeding preindustrial levels by 1.5 degrees. Bringing our civilization’s ambitions and modes of operation into better alignment with the environment’s demands no act of altruism. It merely requires recognizing our own collective long-term self-interest, and changing the way we grow food, produce energy, deal with climate change and dispose of waste, on a global level, through international cooperation.”

Whether we call it the Anthropocene, the Capitalocene, the Plantationocene, the Chthulucene, the Entropocene, or the Ecozoic, diagnosing the metaphysical roots of the present ecological catastrophe is a necessary (though not sufficient) part of imagining and materializing a post-capitalist world.

Marx is not unaware of our dependence upon the natural world, writing that: “Nature is man’s inorganic body, that is to say, nature in so far as it is not the human body. Man lives from nature . . . and he must maintain a continuing dialogue with it if he is not to die. To say that man’s physical and mental life is linked to nature simply means that nature is linked to itself, for man is a part of nature.”

Marx also writes in Capital of labor as a process “by which man, through his own actions, mediates, regulates, and controls the metabolism between himself and nature. He confronts the materials of nature as a force of nature” (https://isreview.org/issue/109/marx-and-nature).

Marx is dialectical in his understanding of the human-earth relation, but he still treats nature as dead and awaiting the value-creating power of human consciousness.

With Whitehead, I have argued that value is not just a human social construct or free creation of human labor or desire (modern thinkers as diverse as Locke, Marx, and Hayek agree on this, as I noted above) but a cosmological or ecological power from which our human values, and our human power, derive.

Citations for the above:

  • Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead by Lucien Price, p. 220.

 * * * * * * *

Thursday, May 30th

Notes on Jason Moore’s opening talk

  • The planetary era began in 1492 (“the globe”) not in 1968 with earthrise photo
  • the end of the world has already happened, many times.
  • Man and Nature as “real abstractions” (non-European people and European women were considered part of nature); we must break down CP Snow’s two cultures, beyond “coupled systems” analysis, to a “flow fo flows” that integrates humans as earthlings
  • “civilization” as a dangerous, colonial word? What is this term meant to denote? The opposite of savagery and barbarism?
  • climate change as a “capitalogenic process” (what about Soviet and Chinese communist contributions?)
  • “Nature is a class struggle” – “Nature” is part of the capitalist project
  • we need more Marxist histories of climate change to avoid ceding the ground to neo-Malthusians
  • the Earth has always been a historical actor; the present ecological crisis is not novel in this respect (see William Connolly’s “Facing the Planetary” and “The Fragility of Things”)
  • climate is not exogenous to civilization and modes of production.
  • Marx on labor as metabolic mediation between man and nature (man transforms nature, nature transforms man).
  • from geology and history to geohistory
  • Capitalism emerged out of late 15th century geographic expansion; credit, conquest, and coerced labor were essential (“capitalism’s triple helix in formation”)
  • new world genocide led to regrowth of managed forests and CO2 dip, which led to little ice age; why didn’t this produce a terminal crisis in capitalism? Because of slavery frontier
  • why is cotton gin not considered as important as steam engine as impetus for industrial revolution?
  • “blue marble” photo of earth as “environmentalism of the rich”
  • Marx acknowledged that human labor is itself a force of nature (?)
  • alternative to collapse narrative (Jared Diamond)?

#WorldecologySF 2019 04
Jason Moore Climate of Crisis, 379 2019 a
May 31, 2019

#WorldecologySF 2019 04
Jason Moore Climate of Crisis, 379 2019 b
May 31, 2019

INDEX - History of Tolkien's Middle-Earth


~ this page contains spoilers across all ages of Middle-Earth.
Do not read from this point onwards ~

~ Further below will be found complete histories
of Tolkien's Lores and Legendariums after my
observations of Tolkien's processual writing ~

In Tolkien's lore and legendarium one finds all the stories, films, and experiences of the world bound into one. All the lies, all the divisions, all the hatred, the evil for ruin and destruction. Whatever had been planned for peace and beauty and song dissolve into chaos once touched by love turned inward, then outward in bitter distaste, lust, envy, disunity.
Whatever healing is started begins the same in doom and jealousy. The music of the world continually is overcome even as it strives to overcome the darkness of intent and evil. Into this struggle the ages of the world lengthen, groan, give up; strive again, confront, and are found in constant trial and intrigue for the hearts and souls of the earth.
Here then lies the all too familiar worlds of Tolkien. Worlds we cannot escape but can no less endure either. It requires commitment of will; discernment of mind; steadiness of heart; courage of soul; and a deep wisdom gained from the ages of agony and joy.
Each inhabitant, not only of Middle-earth, but across the seas and upon the lands surrounding Middle-earth, must teach and educate, warn and prepare, learn and secure the things which make life precious to the living and dead.
For without commitment to love, to solidarity with one another, to pursuing the welfare of one another, all fellowships can be too easily disbanded and ill-reformed in grievance and trial to the further agony of the present world and all ages beyond.
We stand together because we cannot stand apart. And when standing apart we will surely fall together.
- re slater

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click to enlarge

The Process History of JRR Tolkien

In JRR Tolkien one might find a processual history of Middle-Earth where the many ages of the past morph and tumble from event to event leading up to the popular LOTR's celebratory end where The Fellowship of the Ring had succeeded in its mission at the end of the Third Age of Middle-Earth that it might breathe again the free airs of life and living. This, in contrast to the end of Middle-Earth's Second Age (Prime Video's "The Rings of Power") which carried with it no such happy endings. Lands which were once enjoyed and beheld in their vibrancy of local color and culture had fallen, becoming inflicted with fell darkness, peril, and danger.

Years earlier, a British Mathematician and Philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, had envisioned a reality which tumbled about itself in its many permutations as witnessed in JRR Tolkien's vast lands that time forgot. A history which never stilled, ever adapting and continually interacting with past conditions to present histories (the prehension of past by the present) to its many future, evolving  consequences (*processual concresence). A future then, filled with never-ending possibilities for good and evil.

This kind of "quantum entanglement" of the processual cosmic organism with itself necessarily includes all ages past to all ages future. Importantly, Whitehead always sought to emphasize the presentness of the present where neither past nor future could evolve unless first preceded, and then enfolded, throughout its complex into a presentness of "cosmo-ecological" relationships.

*Used here, cosmo-ecological living is meant to cover all cosmic and earthly relationships from the atomic quark to the fellowship of the tree and water with the hill and lifeform. Though one may wish to mythologize these relationships - which is a kind of poetry to the world at large even as the ancients did in their time (sic, Hebrew Myths do not lessen the presentness of God; they simply spoke to people as they presently understood and believed) - it is better to stay within the realms of contemporary science coupled with Whitehead's processual worlds so real-world solutions might evolve in their present struggle when seeking to resolve more peaceful realms of ecological/societal living between nature and mankind working together in healthier forms of relational symbiosis of give and take. - re slater

Unlike the Platonic Age, and later, the Enlightenment's, pre-scientific Age beheld in a mechanistic cosmos (the universe et al) running like a well-oiled clock, a processual evolutionary ecology runs via ceaseless, restless, processes unfolding and enfolding cosmic history releasing its flow of energy and events through processual relational *concrescence apprehending the past to affect/effect the presence of the present.

Importantly, this processual cosmic organism of Whitehead's might be further described as a cosmo-ecological organism both locally, globally and, by extension, including the entirety of the universe. We might understand it then as an evolving universal cosmic "ecology" with its many subtending derivations in suns, and planets, seas and oceans (whether of salty brine or methane seas), cosmic atmospheres of any composition, molten or rocky geological formations, and thereby perhaps resulting in cosmic biological life forms such as evidence here on planet Earth. We, in our present day (non-ecological) societies are beginning to realize seeing ourselves in terms of a greater ecological presence which is both local and universal.

And in an industrial age where today's non-fictional worlds of humanity continues its struggle of societal identity tumbling out from its past regional, geographic, and temporal histories, we might learn to lean into the elvish worlds of living in balance and symmetry with the evolving ages of the Earth. Sometimes grown too cold, or too hot, or too overrun with our careless anthropocene ages of misuse, pollution, war, and devastation.

Whitehead envisaged cosmo-ecological civilizations which could heal the many careworn lives fraught within history's many ecological and societal epochs; which could give birth to the many possible worlds of redeeming archetype; which would strive to emulate love in its highest forms of social justice generating healthy socio-politico-economic relationships between ecological communities of fellowships which could adjust, or adapt, their eco-societies to the many futures of a processually evolving universe.

And to the many futures humanity might envisage itself in, one of our most pressing enterprises must be to think in terms of the quantum sciences of evolution, biology, physics, and science in general such as technology, neurology, psychology, and sociology, as all being a part of Whitehead's larger, more integral equation of an expanding ethno-religious and relational complex of organism leaning into organic vitues of generative living.

To think of the universe as we do the Earth. That the universe's cosmos is an extension of Earth's ecology even as the Earth is a consequence and extension of the cosmos' ecology. In this case, we are expanding our idea of the world to include all possible worlds of all possible dimensions of all possible possibilities. Thus and thus, Whiteheadian Process Thought can be described as a cosmo-centric ecological realm rather than only a cosmos-centric universe. A universe which lives and breathes through its many relational parts of hope and blessing.

As participants in an ever evolving cosmoecological fellowship between humanity and the world and universe we must concede that we live in continually responding and evolving cosmic/ecological societies beheld in constituent processual relationships. Humanity might think upon its many past historical ages as being enfolded around both the Earth and the Universe's Ages/Cycles of birth, life, and death.

Process Thought agrees with this assessment of reality and states that it may positively or negatively affect the CosmoEcological Ages to come for good or for ill. JRR Tolkien spoke to this in his fictional worlds of good and evil, of fellowship and fear, leaving with his readers a healthy understanding of how our actions require wisdom, love, and kinship of spirit. To Whitehead, this is the process of being becoming even as the God of the bible once state, "I AM Who I AM," (Ex 3.14) referring even to God's own Self moving with creation itself as a timeless, eternal Being evolving not in character but in relationality with an evolving ecological cosmos.


R.E. Slater
September 4, 2022

~ this page contains spoilers across all ages of Middle-Earth.
Do not read from this point onwards ~

~ Also, further below will be found complete histories
of Tolkien's Lores and Legendariums ~

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to continue exploring process Christianity
use the indexes below

*what is "processual concresence"https://www.openhorizons.org/concrescence.html

Indexes to Process Philosophy and Theology:

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Prime Video's New Series: The Second Age of Middle-Earth

The Rings of Power - NO SPOILERS
Thoughts and Links to the Second Age of Middle Earth

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(a very helpful NON-Video list + summaries of Tolkien's titles)

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Poet and Author William Morris' Inspiration

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(a very helpful list + summaries of Tolkien's titles)

How To Read Tolkien in Order - Three Lists

Middle-Earth: Lore, Legends, Symbols & Maps  <--- more maps of middle-earth

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The Man, the Mythology, and Middle-Earth

Tolkien's Tropes and Listings

Tolkien - The Ainur and Maiar of Middle-earth with Maps

Tolkien - The Elves of Middle-earth and Valar of Vala

Tolkien - LOTR: The Rings of Power

Tolkien - The History and Ages of Arda

Cosmology of Tolkien's Legendarium

THE RINGS OF POWER - Episode by Episode Breakdown & Interviews

A Complete Video History of Middle-earth - by Nerd of the Rings

The Rings of Power - NO SPOILERS - Thoughts and Links to the Second Age of Middle-Earth