Some people ask: why is my capacity to grow so related to the experience of becoming imprisoned in loops of enthusiasm followed by deception? It seems like a rollercoaster or a golden prison of over-confidence and collapse.
Our capacity to grow is conditioned by the very way in which we formulate and verbalise our decisions to change.
For example, if I say that I want to be a better human in a way or another, I am assuming that I want to remain a human, that I am such thing as a 21stcentury human in a given society. We might be so obsessed by our personal change that we don’t think about questioning the very idea of being a human being, a given person in a given society, an individual.
“I am a human”: we take this for granted. And inevitably we might fall, sooner or later, into the trap of de-compensation, loss of direction or faith in this given human that we took for granted, or in the world that we have partly built for us. Even the construct “human” involves many limitations: it is an object of belief, a historical construct.
The construct “better human” might negate the idea of “bad or weak human”, but it confirms the construct “human” and might be like adding decorative plants or increasing the size of the window of our prison cell.
In Process-Oriented philosophy we start with one only assumption, which is not a thing but a welcoming of the feeling of becoming. Not becoming this or that. Simply becoming. Flowing. Creating and being created by life.
The belief in a creative flow is not a belief in something immediately real in the way society recognizes things as real: houses, contracts, legal persons, citizens, bills. The ultimate given of process-oriented philosophies is a creative real, what I call a Creal, what Whitehead calls “creativity”, what Bergson calls “creative evolution” or “life”, an ever-changing infra-reality of flowing potentials, waves of infinite possibility, subatomic infra-structures in constant reconfiguration. The idea of infinite probability is impossible mathematically, but it might be an inspiring way of talking about the Creal.
This is the tabula rasa of process philosophy. This is where we start: the feeling of pure becoming without destination. The feeling that becoming is a divine common ground, a Creal with a capital C.
I am crealing. You are crealing. We are crealing.
I can forget for a while that I have a name, that I am supposed to be a human, that I have a given body, a given family and a job, or an absence of family, an absence of job. I can move closer to the creative flow and its desire without object.
How? By feeling it.
Whitehead speaks of “the ontological principle”. It is the principle that every actualised reality is interconnected in the cosmological creative field, and that things, institutions, statuses, names, ideas like being human, being a salesman or a philosopher, are perhaps perceived as more actual, but are less real that the invisible metamorphic field that underlies them. “The universe is solidarity”, writes Whitehead in Process and Reality. He adds: “Creativity is the universal of universals characterizing the ultimate matter of fact.”
My subjectivity and my living power emerge afresh via this meditative feeling. Whitehead adds: “Feelings are variously specialized operations, effecting a transition into subjectivity. They replace the ‘neutral stuff’ of certain realistic philosophers. An actual entity is a process. […] This use of the term ‘feeling’ has a close analogy to [the] use of the term ‘enjoyment’; and also some kinship with Bergson’s use of the term ‘intuition’.”
We enjoy the Creal as immanent universal enjoyment, we feel it as desire-without-object. It is exploding slowly and confidently in all possible directions. There is no right direction prior to the subjective feeling of “right direction”. There is no definite formula for being a better human. Of course, there are criteria of excellence in a given social game, such as playing classical music. But even the most skilled pianist will be a mere technical boring machine if he or she does not connect to the Creal when playing.
We are all — or we should all be — familiar with the Cartesian cogito: every time I doubt, every time I question the reality of this world, it is I who questions it, said Descartes, and therefore I am.
The process-oriented cogito is somewhat different, or more precisely considers the question from a different angle. It says: I feel the creative flow passing through me, therefore I am a participative perspective on the cosmic becoming.
Once familiar with the Creal and its modus operandi, its crealectics, we might be able to actualise such and such reality in a more fruitful way. It will take some time, some work, some discipline, some faith, many battles against the zombies of individualistic and prosaic realism, fights against the automated beliefs and codes of a given society. But no matter what my desire for excellence is, if I lose the connection to the Creal, I will become a mere social machine and I will eventually stop working properly. Out of flow, out of order.
By becoming the Creal, identifying with it, letting it grow on me, I become conscious of my active role of creator of realities. This is done by forgetting temporarily who we are as a tagged human, with all the labels that stick to us or that we believe stick to us when we meet someone or find ourselves in a new situation where we are expected to perform. Even supposedly pleasant labels, like honorific titles or money are superficial, convenient at some point, but potentially obstacles to the full development of your highest destiny, if any, and sustainable gratitude. Failure and success are not always easy to distinguish.
Being a human does not fully define me. I am only partly a human, from a certain perspective and in a given society and ideology. Being a man does not fully define me. I am only partly a man, from a certain perspective and under a given society and ideology. Your age does not define you, nor does your past, because feeling the Creal and diving into it is a constant — at least partial — rebirth, for the simple reason that ultimate creativity is constant renewal.
The process-oriented philosophy cogito is: I feel the cosmic essence of becoming, therefore I am. I think about how the Creal gives way to given realities, therefore I am.
Because I am not only the Creal, I am also the way the Creal is actualised into realities. This way is crealetics. And I am likely to be also the points of contact between the Creal connectome, its moving constellations, and reality. These fecund nodes of crealisation, these microcosmic points, crealia rather than realia. We might look closer, later, at how certain “analytic philosophy”, which historically has developed in part as a reaction against process philosophies (against Hegel and Whitehead for example, and against British idealism), how this analytic disenchantment has debated over and over about realia, things, but not, as far as I know, about crealia.
The creative flow is not just a name. The Creal is a feeling. A feeling is a fact, even if it cannot be measured.
A constellation is both a reality and a convention. We can combine stars (starts?) the way we desire and see different patterns in the sea of crealia.
This is the tabula rasa that we must start with on our journey to understand process philosophy. It is not a table, of course. And it is not empty. It is a ground of fluxing abundance that can be felt to begin with, even if somewhat confusedly, vaguely. It can be felt as curiosity, as gratitude. It can be felt as nourishment, as enjoyment. It can be felt as creative desire. Philosophy is also a feeling and an art of intuition. Crealectics can also be the reading of our futures.
Creative desire without object, prior to a goal, is not a weakness. Creative desire is our common sense of the divine.
If we focus on becoming a better or stronger human, without questioning what human means and if and how we are humans, we might eventually become a competitive commodity without soul, and eventually break or dysfunction. If we focus on being this or that, more this or more that, we will fail because we will become a function, even if it is a super-function. We are not nothing, but we are no thing.
In process-orirented philosophy, our source is a Creal, a warm flow of pure becomings. This is the divinity that we co-create together whilst welcoming it. The Creal is the energy, the field behind the actualisations humans and non-humans bring into the world.
Does the Creal have a function? We will think about it.
Manifesting, producing, proposing, elaborating realities and roles is fine. But this is secondary and can become soulless, de-spirited. What comes first is an active surrendering to the flowing immanent Spirit, to become the Creal that is our feeling soul, the universal — and multiversal — common desiring soul. Infinite moving potentialities. A grace of abundance and freedom. This is the ontological principle, the solidarity between all that is and all that is not yet and that will never be. This connects us as a common field, and to connect in Latin is religare, a term that gave, etymologically, religion. Hence the connection between process-philosophies and a form of religiosity, an immanent faith. We will explore this sense of the divine, slowly, without rushing into pre-defined conclusions. The concept of Creal is also a way of avoiding the complicated term “God”.
For the moment we can say: the Creal is our holy Grail. We are the knights of Creal. The Creal is not a giant Jacuzzi for indolent post-adolescents. The Creal is our crusade. We bring peace, freedom, joy, self-discipline and non-forceful mastery. We wish not to kill but to win our battles simply through spreading the gratitude of natural spiritual and immanent growth.
The Creal of process-oriented philosophy is a non-objectal “giveness”. Whitehead writes: “Potentiality is the correlative of giveness”.
Giveness gives itself to those who connect to the flowing present by welcoming it, by — at least partly — becoming it.
We are becoming the becoming. Crealing is healing.