about this blog
This is my third attempt, maybe 4th at a blog. I have maintained them for some time, but the last one I removed due to realizing that maybe I had nothing to say of significance. That is until a lengthy discussion with a colleague spurred me to once again tackle this space on the web.
I believe that one of my issues in the past has been that instead of footnotes to thinkers, I stood behind them. Let me explain. In Alfred North Whitehead's Process and Reality, he writes
The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.[^1]
This is not to mean that they are footnoting the systematic thought of Plato, but rather something much more important: they are grasping ideas that arise from his thought and thinking on it. This is much more profound. They are looking at the text, and instead of the same repetitive systematic thought, they are seeing novel things. These are footnotes to Plato.
For me, however, I stood behind the repetitive portion of thinkers such as Alfred North Whitehead, Gilles Deleuze, Roland Faber, and not looked for the novel in their work. I have stood behind them instead of using them as footnotes. Thus, this is the task that lays before me in this blog, not to shy away and stand behind these great thinkers, but rather to think something new by understanding their work, by making them my dialogue partners, developing an image of thought for the problems I am encountering. In that way I develop my own work, using them as steps, honoring them in every step used.
Process Imagining comes from my own work, which is actually a dissertation I am working on. It is my contention that truth is basically poetic truth, a harmonization between logic and coherence, adequacy and applicability. It holds to a speculative philosophy that says that the metaphysics that we use must begin with the most concrete form of experience, and not from the general ideas.[^n] Thus, truth is not the ground where we begin but part of a process for a lure for feeling. In the process of this lure for feeling, what is pertinent is free imaginative generalization, which is the removal of truth so possibilities can have their way. Without imagination, it becomes difficult to move beyond repetition, repetition in choosing between options. Imagination shows us how many different worlds can harmonize and create something that is novel.
I argue against a truth that is primarily logical for all things, thus forming a transcultural style of truth.[^n] Rather I argue a truth that is informed at all times by the imagination. Truth, therefore, becomes applicable to a specific event, but not for all events.
Without giving away all of my dissertation, if life is not about truth but rather lure for feeling (we are feeling entities), what is important are propositions, inquiries, adventure, imagination. Thus process imagining.
As the subheading states, rethinking philosophy, culture, and religion. If I understand thinkers such as William James, Alfred North Whitehead, Herny Bergson, Gottfried Liebniz and Gilles Deleuze correctly, or at least in their trajectory, all of life is a process, about relations, relationality. Thus, every category of our existence comes into question since the world around us (and by world I mean the virtual world that begins with economics, capitalism, etc) is based on a substance based metaphysic.
The systems that are established and “make the world turn” are not the systems we use in our more concrete lives, and by concrete lives I mean the real lives we live in our most intimate of spaces. Each system (philosophy, religion, economics, sociology, etc.) tries to generalize and at the same time try to contain a “perfect dictionary” in how to describe the way the world works. But we cannot contain all the ideas applicable to experience because each new experience breaks down prior ideas as containing all of experience.[^n] Process forces and enforces a new analyzation of experience, thus creating a whole new world of possibilities. Complexity at its greatest. Thus what needs to be done to marginalize, nor alienate other experiences, but learn from them, grow, and expand on the ideas. There can never be a general set of ideas so as to cover the basis of all experience, thus the categories of philosophy, religion economics, etc., will burst at its seams. They too need to be rethought, expounded upon, expanded. The rethinking I am doing is to break from this notion that humanity has a firm grasp as to all ideas surrounding us. I believe that the enlightenment agenda has failed. The idea I am hoping to get at as well as instill is the novelty of ideas. This falls in line with Gilles Deleuze in his work on What Is Philosophy? as well as in Whithead's Modes of Thought. I will quote Whitehead here:
The use of philosophy is to maintain an active novelty of fundamental ideas illuminating the social system. It reverses the slow descent of accepted thought towards the inactive commonplace. If you like to phrase it so, philosophy is mystical. For mysticism is direct insight into depths as yet unspoken. But the purpose of philosophy is to rationalize mysticism: not by explaining it away, but by the introduction of novel verbal charactertizations, rationally coordinated.
Philosophy is akin to poetry, and both of them seek to express that ultimate good sense which we term civilization. In each case there is reference to form beyond the direct meanings of words. Poetry allies itself to metre, philosophy to mathematic pattern.[^n]
The goal for both Whitehead and Deleuze in philosophy are the maintenance of ideas, and not in the argument If/then P (logic), but rather in the formation of possibilities that utilize the truth of logic for lure for feeling, thus the use of mysticism, poetry to express “civilization.” It goes beyond the fact to value, to get lost in that which lures us.
I use philosophy as a center for discussing the other two facets, culture and religion. If philosophy undergoes change, then it will be of interest as to how religion changes in light of the philosophical work of process and poststructuralist thought.
who i am
I am a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont School of Theology. I was born and raised in Queensbridge projects in New York. I am the son of two parents who worked very hard to care for their three children. I am the spouse of a wonderful woman who is on this journey with me. I am father to three energetic and inquisitive boys.
My fascination with philosophy and religion comes from religions effectiveness at shaping peoples lives, because religion affects are most important decisions when it comes to larger issues, such as marriage in the U.S., the notion of family, sexuality, economy, education, etc. That is why I study philosophy and religion, and am lured more towards process thought difference and harmony, as well as continental thought's move towards differentiation and harmony (Deleuze for the most part). It opens up and makes known the dysfunctions of current society; if flips it on its head.
All in all, this blog will be a space for my own thoughts and ideas of how I see the world, how I have been shaped by past actual occasions, how I prehend them to form the present and future.
Welcome to processimagining.com!
[^1]: Whitehead, Alfred North, David Ray Griffin, and Donald W. Sherburne. Process and Reality : An Essay in Cosmology. New York: Free Press, 1978. [^n]: Ibid., p. 4. [^n]: Transcultural truth is a term used by the late Mortimer Adler who rejected pluralism for the logic of truth. I argue for its opposite. See Adler, Mortimer Jerome. Truth in Religion : The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth : An Essay in the Philosophy of Religion. New York Toronto New York: Macmillan Pub. Co. Collier Macmillan Cananda Maxwell Macmillan International, 1990. [^n]: See Whitehead, Alfred North. Modes of Thought. New York: The Macmillan company, 1938., pp. 171-174. [^n]: Ibid., p. 174.