processimagining

imagination and the dispossession of power

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.

For a Whiteheadian move of multiplicity and mutual immanence requires that there be a lateralization of things, that all things are found in some way within other actual occasions (a move away from substance or things, as this suggests that we are not made up of any other actual occasions). Mutual immanence, in short suggests that in order for me to speak of one thing, I must speak of other things, as the definition requires that I show some difference or relation to it. In other words, I am not me without you; Who I am at any one instance has a relation to every single thing within the cosmos, as in my becoming I take in the whole of the cosmos, prehending it for feeling.

Faber insists that the God as understood prior to discussions on multiplicity, love, mutual immanence, have taken the notion of God as a God of power, as a God who creates ex nihilo, which is not the case, especially as we are understanding our universe and how it was made. It holds to a more creatio ex profundis (Catherine Keller, Face of the Deep). God's power is not exclusive, as God is only the chief exemplification of process (Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality). If God is the chief example of this process, then creativity is not exclusive to God, but to all. God exemplifies this as a being able to, that all have the ability, that all can co-create. What's missing is the other side of God, the passive God, that God who allows “things” to be, to allow things to happen. It is a movement from action to passion (Faber, Manifold, 375).

There is a resistance to power as only active, as only giving, as one of strength, to one that is passive, one that depends, one that remains exposed. It changes one's understanding of God. This God who is love pushes back on any one understanding or notion of God. What does this mean for the imagination?

Whitehead moves toward an aesthetic understanding of the Divine, of the world, holding together all things as contrasts, a way of seeing things once unable to be seen, for its experience. Notice here that judgments or not right wrong, but rather more intensity or less intensity. Contrasts, whether subtle or deliberate become ways of seeing what was once unable to be seen. Enter the imagination, as a vital component for any form of aesthetics. Imagination, its force, its spacing, its ability to show, to represent, becomes an important component for feeling in the Whiteheadian framework, for deriving some form of beauty correlate with the actual occasion. For Whitehead, when one prehends the universe, one is taking in datum for feeling. But even feeling can be imaginative, due to the experiences of the past and the feelings exhibited from their, thus making something acceptable or not for feeling and becoming. Imagination takes in and represents things past and present as possibly present and future. Its a force that is not the thing itself, but the provision towards it.

The dispossesion of power is found in the multiplicity that is found within the imagination. Imagination, as Sallis writes in Force of Imagination and Logic of Imagination, creates a space for the event to take place. It allows one to gaze at the event and letting it be; but this event has within it an other aspect, the aspect of vision. It goes beyond the transition of the event; it adds to the event, it sees more than what is there, to what is possibly there. This, for Sallis, is the monstrous, the showing of what comes out of nature, the natural. So there is a dispossession of power in that all is revealed in the imagination. It is the khora, the receptacle in which all things show. But the showing requires a form of mutual immanence, all things engaging with one another, for that revelation to take place.