Science and Beauty in a Kalogenic Universe

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The answer is that beauty and value is a more potent ingredient in the structure of things than modern reductionism allows.

The Great Pioneers. The Great Hellenes. The Great Transition. The Prevalence of Matter. The Primacy of Mind. The birds splash in the little bird bath. The humming birds buzz around the flowers. And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know. Well, many people know that I love Broadway musicals and live theater. What they might not know is that I acted in several plays in high school and college — including as Audrey the country wench in As You Like It.

I find acting thrilling, and would happily return to it if possible. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Check out this fabulous guide to fun days out in the North East of England. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Sign me up! Now take a sip of that lovely cuppa as we catch up with Joyce Strand… Hi Joyce and welcome!

Whitehead chooses to illustrate the way in which the modal character works with the abstract example of spaces A, B, and C. This aspect of B from A is the essence of A. They are only entities as within the totality; you cannot extract them from their environment without destruction of their very essence. The honeycomb is made up of many hexagons, each one creating the others around it. Each of the six walls of one hexagon are simultaneously one of the six walls of each hexagon next to it, and so forth.

No single hexagon can be isolated, otherwise all semblance of structure is lost and one is left only with a small globule of wax and honey. Furthermore, if hexagon C shared a wall with hexagon B, but not hexagon A, then the modal character between A and C would be different than between A and B but they would be in relationship nonetheless. Thus the modal character can best be understood as the relational character.

One hexagon cannot exist, it will have no essence, without the presence of all the other hexagons. Unlike the previous example of negative painting, no space is in the background while another in the foreground. All spaces are in the foreground and simultaneously dependent on each other.

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Metered Peotry, the Brain, and Time

A better of example of how to visualize this would be the trick image of two facial silhouettes in profile looking at each other see Figure 3. Viewed one way the faces are apparent. Viewed in another the space between the faces becomes visible, revealing the silhouette of a vase. Both the faces and the vase are present simultaneously and they each define each other, however, they cannot be described except by abstracting one from the other alternatively.

It almost seems odd that what Whitehead has termed the modal character, what I am calling the relational character, in his initial definition is that which, when isolated from the separative and prehensive characters, is the abstraction known as simple location. It is merely the concept of relationality with no participants.


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This is not likely how scientists of the 18 th century might have defined simple location, which would be more along the lines of the participant without the relationship. Applying these three characters of separation, prehension, and mode to time is both simpler and more complex than applying them to space.

Simpler because it is easy to understand that a moment in time cannot be separated from the moments on either side of it. Time continues to flow whether someone pauses to think about it or not. Time can never be stopped.

On the other hand, it is more complicated to understand the character of time back in our realm because time cannot be visualized; our usual way of imagining something requires the introduction of space. So even the separation of space and time from each other are false abstractions, or misplaced concreteness. This tri-part relationality of all things can also be applied to how the thinking mind relates to anything that it contemplates.

To study any one object, time, place, being, or anything else is to have the mind in relationship to that thing. The object and the mind are each defining the essence of each other. Whitehead quotes Bishop Berkeley on this point:. When we do our utmost to conceive the existence of external bodies, we are all the while only contemplating our own ideas. But the mind taking no notice of itself , is deluded to think it can and does conceive bodies existing unthought of or without the mind, though at the same time they are apprehended by or exist in itself.

As Whitehead writes more on this concept of interrelationality he begins to use the term prehension , which was initially introduced as one of three characters of space-time, to refer to the entire concept of essence defining essence. What keeps the leaf separate from its background, or environment, is what brings the leaf together with its environment. The leaf cannot exist as a leaf without its branch, its tree, its forest, its soil and so forth, and they each would not be branch, tree, forest, or soil without the existence of that and all other leaves.

As we pull away from viewing reality as an abstraction all abstractive descriptors blend one into the others. Reality, the entire universe, begins to pour in to our experience.


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The concept of prehension expands when considering a perceiver in relationship to the universe. The prehensive character is no longer merely a volume defined by all other volumes, it is all the senses in relationship to every stimulus. Yet it is also more than this, for sense is too specific a word for prehension. Prehension occurs without either sense or cognition. Stimulus is too simple a term as well, because what are referred to as stimuli are also each in their own acts of prehension of the universe. If every part of the cosmos is prehending every other part, and they each create the essence of the other, no fundamental separation exists that can justify causing harm to another being without it also affecting oneself in an essential way.

I believe the best test for the validity of a philosophical concept is an exploration of how that concept can serve the ways we behave in everyday life. Do they make a difference in our habits, thoughts, and personal relationships?

Divine Beauty: The Aesthetics of Charles Hartshorne

Whitehead is providing not only a way to overcome the fallacy of misplaced concreteness but also the fallacy of misplaced separation and independence. A relationship cannot be formed within a unity alone, but requires some sense of separation as well. Whitehead, Alfred North. Science and the Modern World. Bergson, Henri. New York, NY: Continuum. Keith Ansell Pearson and John Mullarkey, trans.

The Oversoul is a term used by Bache in his book Lifecycles to describe the larger soul overseeing, but also incorporating, each incarnating human life.

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It is simultaneously a single entity, but also a family of entities nested within each other, and ultimately nested within the larger and larger spheres of existence. This painting is one representation of the Oversoul, pictured as a nautilus, an image Bache provided in class.

The chambers of the nautilus each represent a human incarnation, yet the whole shell is the full soul.

Explorations in Alfred North Whitehead’s Late Thought

I have depicted a waiting fetus gestating within each chamber as a symbol of these lives. The life about to be born resides in the outermost chamber, with a diamond in potentia within his heart. The diamond represents the Diamond Soul being forged slowly over the course of each lifetime. A second diamond resides in the center of the nautilus representing the ultimate birth of the Diamond Soul at the end of the incarnational process.

The pantheon of planets within the nautilus and the zodiacal signs surrounding it indicate the archetypal influences on each life and upon the soul as a whole, each chamber of the nautilus having a different perspective and relationship to the signs and planets that characterize that particular life. The baby about to be born residing in the outermost chamber is within the realm of Pisces, both as a fetus in the aquatic realm of the womb, but also as a symbol of our current times since we are in the Age of Pisces.

Hyatt Carter (Author of Process Philosophy in Five Easy Pieces)

The vision of this painting came to me nearly in complete form when I began contemplating the nautilus as a metaphor for the Oversoul. To my delight, each of the zodiacal signs took on a life of their own as I painted them, as I had not pictured their exact form before drawing them in. I was particularly surprised by the form Sagittarius took, as a horseshoe doubling as a bow with an arrow.

The animals also each took on their own personality seemingly independent of my intentions for them. The real surprise came as the baby being born into the Age of Pisces, for it was pure synchronous chance that the nautilus opened into the sign of Pisces, yet it seemed to fit perfectly with the concept behind the painting. The core of the nebula, as can be seen in all the images captured of it, is a pure white space resembling a diamond.

I found in my attempts to paint this nebula with watercolor that portraying the light and darkness, the veiled colors of the celestial event, was much more difficult than I had previously expected and took more than one try. When one looks at a photograph of a nebula it is the qualities of the whole that are so compelling, but in painting it I had the experience of becoming intimately familiar with each part, trying to understand where the colors blend and where they do not, yet also attempting to capture the whole as well.

The only adjustment I made from the image as I painted it was emphasizing the diamond at the heart, forged in the layers upon layers of light and color. This painting of a drought-ridden desert with a single sapling growing in it is less an image of the Diamond Soul, but rather of the birth canal humanity seems to be entering before such soul transformation is possible. McKibben provides the data that clearly demonstrates that global warming is no longer a future threat, it is a current reality. On a personal level this understanding was reinforced by a road trip I took across the American Continent this July while creating the concepts for this gallery.

Fields were dry and often barren, and many cornfields showed yellowing leaves coated in a layer of dust. Yet oil wells continued to pump in these same fields by the roadside, and every building we entered was blasting arctic temperatures of air conditioning, all fueled by coal and oil burning power plants. In the painting a young woman is bending over an olive sapling, seemingly watering it with her tears. It is ambiguous if this is the last plant left growing in this barren desert, or if it is the first that has managed to survive.

I chose the olive as this single plant because of the great lineage of symbolism connected to the olive, particularly in the Western tradition.