thoughts on religion and philosophy in process and post-structural perspective

quote from alfred north whitehead, process and reality

we must investigate dispassionately what the metaphysical principles, here developed, require on these points, as to the nature of God. There is nothing here in the nature of proof. There is merely the confrontation of the theoretic system with a certain rendering of the facts...Any cogency of argument entirely depends upon elucidation of somewhat exceptional elements in our conscious experience—those elements which may roughly be classed together as religious and moral intuitions. ~343.

#metaphysicalprinciples #god #imaginativegeneralization #imagination #reason #alfrednorthwhitehead

Link: The Cruelest Storm: A Statement for Puerto Rico

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Great ideas enter into reality with evil associates and with disgusting alliances. But the greatness remains, nerving the race in its slow ascent. ~pg 18

#ideas #reality

The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself.

#imagination #williamblake #humanexistence #quote #movement #mobility

Been writing on Whitehead today, primarily on the subject of the Bifurcation of Nature in his The Concept of Nature. In one of the text he writes that the problem is not that there is a spiritual world of unrealized ideals and an world of unspiritual facts. Rather, it is the common sense coupled with limiited knowledge put together by the imagination.

This is really interesting. He resists any form of bifurcation (spirit/matter), by relegating the issue to the limit of knowledge. But one would think he is also belittling the imagination, when he, in my opinion, is not. In Process and Reality he states we need an imaginative leap. Hardly a removal or problem of the imagination. And yet I think he is not talking about the imagination that is commonly understood in the Kantian sense.

The Kantian concept of the imagination, at least in his anthropological understanding of it, is that there are two forms of the imagination: the first the reproductive imagination, the second the productive imagination. He also writes that the productive requires the reproductive in some way because we can never create without images to work with. But the productive seems a sort of postmodern rehashing, in where we are creating from what is already there, and therefore not really new, but the same in a different way. Not that I find that an issue.

The reproductive imagination just brings back from memory what is desired, the productive makes what is desired. Whitehead doesn't want to bifurcate anything, but show the relations of all things. So, the imagination should not be disconnected from one another, but rather be an imagination with relations of things. There can be no reproductive with a productive imagination, and there can be no productive without some form of reproductive (I'm thinking creatio ex profundis) imagination. The imagination is like the receptacle, a space by which things become. A holding place, a place of becoming.

And yet, this is not solely a mental conceptual thing going on. The images are not, so to speak, like the representations as gone against by Foucault or Derrida. Even Deleuze shows the limits of a certain imagination in the image of thought. Imagination is the faculty, the space, of the becoming, and is not held by an image of thought, but emerges from the process itself. It hides and shows when necessary, it creates and disappears in the blink of an eye, and yet one cannot, in some way function without it.

The imagination must be processual, that is, it comes from the relations of things and thus the necessity of an emergence, a possibility. It can be neither productive, nor reproductive, but must be both. In its reproductive sense, it lures one into productivity; in its productive sense, it lures one into reproductive rememberance. It is the integration, gazing, and emergence of the thing. Nature, for Whitehead, should not be bifurcated between matter and spirit, neither should the function of the imagination, which feels and relates the connectivity of things into us, a prehension of things, for feeling.

#whitehead #imagination #kant #productiveimagination #reproductiveimagination #processimagination

Reading Amy Kind and Peter Kung's magnificent edited work Knowledge Through Imagination, and am thinking through it's implications. For Kind/Kung, their goal in the text is to lift up the instructive implications of the imagination over and beyond the transcendent capabilities.

The problem with the transcendent capabilities of the imagination is its ability to disengage with the limitations of this worldly experience. That is, there are no constraints in the transcendent imagination (fantasy). This poses problems for both Kind/Kung because knowledge formation cannot find its derivation in the imagination. Kind/Kung look to find compatibility within the two forms of imagination by turning the faculty of imagination into a constrained imagination, limited by the ideas and things that the self gives into it. This allows for a focused thought for possibility in accessing new knowledge.

Although I am fond of it, and do not neglect it (I think this is necessary!), I see that what is missing is a relational approach to the imagination that is more known in the works of John Sallis, and hidden within Alfred North Whitehead's work. It is a relational imagination which blurs the boundary between transcendent and instructive, and allows for the connections of other actual occasions, entities, to dictate and develop knowledge. For instance, Sallis calls for a form of gazing at a space, which is the entrance to the imagination, as gazing provides the space for in depth viewing of the entity down to the elementals, the most basic of all things. And even then we are not seeing the origins, but rather the manifestations of the entity realized, the thing in itself.

Alfred North Whitehead offers a similar response in the concrescing of actual occasions, in which they become possibilities seeking a response. Instead of beings, we are becomings, always in process, and thus always being introduced into possibilities. Experiences therefore become important for our becoming, to be prehended and felt for a form of analysis towards satisfaction. But in our becoming we are just possibilities waiting to become. And when we become, we become actual, a datum for every other becoming. This is the imaginative generalization of actual occasions Whitehead is trying to get at: we are imaginative becomings, not repetitions, but becoming new at each moment because we are not the exact same things pertaining to time and space. The facts that we categorize are “bare facts” to Whitehead, and thus have a facticity because of the evaluation we give to it. It becomes valuable. And thus what we value is because of an imaginative undertaking of imaginative feeling, one that is not untrue, but is not yet fully realized. This makes it both transcendent and instructive, as we have not yet been (becoming, transcendent), and yet is instructive for the future of the actual occasion as a datum for feeling (the superjective feeling of the actual occasion as actualized). So for Whitehead imagination is integral for any becoming for without it, the act of becoming is mere repetition.

#AmyKind #PeterKung #JohnSallis #AlfredNorthWhitehead #imagination #repetition #actualoccasion #transcendentimagination #instructiveimagination #nonbifurcationofimagination

#Life is long if you know how to use it.

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This will be short, but a thought as I am reading Dr. Faber's book The Divine Manifold. In his chapter “Dispossessing God: The Antinomy of Love and Power,” Faber begins to “dispossess” power from the understanding of God.


My dissertation is on the imagination and its necessity in discussions within religious pluralism. So one of my walking partners is john sallis, who writes within the field of continental thought and phenomenology. His work on Imagination is wonderful, specifically on the tension the imagination introduces in #logic so as to not conform to its “desires.” And yet, for Sallis, this too introduces another breaking, one of metaphysics.

Now, I am a Whiteheadian thinker, which begins with the understanding that all is process, that we all are always forming from events, occasions within a specific space and time at each moment. These events make up who we are, and we ultimately become actual objects, a datum for feeling in the immediate future. For Whitehead, the possibilities are endless, but we still require a metaphysics, something that brings us all together. However, at every moment our metaphysics gets entangled with the experiential reality of relations, events, etc., which iconoclast what we once believed was true.

How do I couple the two together, an imagination that breaks logic and metaphysics, yet at the same time returns to it? That is the question I am working on.