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Creative Process and Social Relations in the Metaphysics of Nature [s]

Whitehead on Creative Process

In Process and Reality (1929), Whitehead describes his method:
The true method of discovery is like the flight of an aeroplane. It starts from
the ground of particular observation; it makes a flight in the thin air of imaginative
generalization; and it again lands for renewed observation rendered
acute by rational interpretation. (PR, 5)
Whitehead starts by observing experience. Whitehead finds that every
occasion of experience is partly (largely) determined by previous occasions
of experience, and partly determined by the experiencing self.
Whitehead sees the process of occasions of experience contributing to
subsequent occasions of experience as a creative process wherein each
present occasion makes its own novel contribution to other future occasions.
Then, by imaginative generalization, Whitehead hypothesizes that
all reality consists of actual occasions experiencing inheritances from the

past in partly self-chosen (self-creative) ways, thereby making somewhat
novel-creative contributions to future occasions of experience.

In each
actual occasion of experience, “The many become one, and are increased
by one” (PR, 21). Whitehead holds that “creativity” is an ultimate category—“
the universal of universals” (PR, 1)—applicable to every actual
occasion in some measure, however slight. Although Whitehead’s own
designation for his philsophy was “philosophy of organism” (PR, 18), his
philosophy came to be called “process” because it emphasized the necessarily
creative “process of becoming” (PR, 24, 29).
Relative to “process,” Whitehead’s designation has the advantage
of more nearly explicating a metaphysical connection between reality
and experience. Individual organisms are experiencing entities. They
feel and interact with others. They are social beings in the creative
process of contributing to other becomings.

Thus, an organic conception
of reality denies the mechanical view of nature as mostly bits and
particles of inert matter.

Mothership Connections

Modernity in Postmodern and Black Atlantic Views [s]

Slavery is not a major theme in any of the essays in Spirituality and
Society, and therefore it does not appear in the index. But there is an
important mention of slavery where Griffin identifies it as one of the
“disastrous” and “destructive consequences” of modern dualistic thinking
about “the nature of nature” (SSPV, 146).

Griffin says that dualism’s
materialistic view of nature” was “a major cause of colonization
(including neocolonization), mass enslavement, and war in modern
times,” and that dualistic ideas were used “to justify the enslavement
and even decimation of ‘primitives,’ in order to allow the ‘fully human’
Europeans to populate the planet and develop it” (SSPV, 146–47).

Griffin is correct in noting that modern dualism had “destructive
consequences” that included justifying colonialism and mass enslavement.
Additionally, consider the temporal priority of early transatlantic
slavery. Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century slaveholders and slave
traders required a worldview that could reconcile their increasing
commitment to enslaving others with their increasing commitment to
liberty for themselves. This morally duplicitous requirement encouraged
the development of dualistic thinking. Then, in the seventeenth
century, dualistic worldviews were further developed and widely
embraced. And, as Griffin notes, seventeenth-century dualism encouraged
the continuation and expansion of slavery and colonialism.
When we analyze modernity without reference to early modern
slavery, it appears that modern theory was leading practice. And
indeed Ferré says that premodern theory “follows rather than leads
practical success,” but in the modern era “verifiable theory began to
lead technological practice” (SSPV, 135).

However, when our analysis
includes study of early modern slavery, then we see that early modern
practice was a major cause of modern dualistic theory.
Beyond Griffin’s brief mention, Spirituality and Society includes
almost nothing about slavery. Similarly, of ten contributors describing
modern society in Postmodern Politics for a Planet in Crisis (1993), only
Roger Wilkins discusses slavery and “the contemporary burden of its
legacies” (158).28

From among constructive postmodern scholars, Wilkins, Thandeka,
and Cobb are the most attentive to the formative influences of slavery
upon modern self-understandings. In Learning to Be White: Money, Race
and God in America (1999) Thandeka offers an analysis of the construction
of white identity that is fully attentive to the influences of slavery.
In Postmodernism and Public Policy: Reframing Religion, Culture, Education,
Sexuality, Class, Race, Politics, and the Economy (2002) Cobb draws
upon Thandeka’s work and his own heritage as “a Southern white
whose ancestors owned slaves” (PPP, 162) to offer a postmodern deliberation
on domestic race and class relations. Cobb says:

Until whites recognize how deep is their self-identification as whites, they will
not understand the problems they create both for themselves and for those
whom they define as not white. The racial problem in the United States must
be redefined as that of the social construction of the white race. Until that is
deconstructed, there is no possibility for those who have been excluded from
whiteness to have equal opportunity. (PPP, 155–56)

Mothership Connections

preservation of the past [s]

Through the desire of Renaissance artists reading Pliny to emulate Apelles, and, if possible, to outdo him, Venus Anadyomene was taken up again in the 15th century: besides Botticelli‘s famous Birth of Venus (Uffizi Gallery, Florence), another early Venus Anadyomene is the bas-relief by Antonio Lombardo from Wilton House (Victoria and Albert Museum, London).

Titian‘s Venus Anadyomene, c. 1520, formerly a long-term loan by the Duke of Sutherland, was 2003’s acquisition of the year at the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. It depicts Venus standing in the sea, wringing out her hair. The scallop shell is merely symbolic, as it does not interact with Venus.

The Birth of Venus, executed by William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1879, reimagines Botticelli’s composition, and is another testament to the theme’s continuing popularity among the academic painters of the late 19th century. It was shown at the Paris Salon of 1879, and was bought for the Musée du Luxembourg. Venus’ nude figure takes up the center of the composition, with many admirers gathered around her.

Alexandre Cabanel’s painting of the same name reworking the then recently discovered Pompeii fresco, was shown at the Paris Salon in 1863, and bought by Napoleon III for his own personal collection. Venus lies naked on the waves ambiguously, with putti flying above her. Robert Rosenblum, comment on Cabanel’s painting is that “This Venus hovers somewhere between an ancient deity and a modern dream… and the ambiguity of her eyes, that seem to be closed but that a close look reveals that she is awake… A nude who could be asleep or awake is specially formidable for a male viewer”[5]

Such a highly conventionalized theme, with undertones of eroticism justified by its mythological context, was ripe for modernist deconstruction; in 1870 Arthur Rimbaud evoked the image of a portly Clara Venus (“famous Venus”) with all-too-human blemishes (déficits) in a sardonic poem that introduced cellulite to high literature: La graisse sous la peau paraît en feuilles plates (the fat under the skin appears in slabs).

Pablo Picasso recast the image of Venus Anadyomene in the central figure of his seminal painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), a modernist deconstruction of the icon, and one of the foundation stones of Cubism.

Venus Anadyomene offered a natural subject for a fountain: the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC has a lifesize bronze plumbed so that water drips from Venus’ hair, modelled by a close follower of Giambologna, late sixteenth century. Rococo sculptures of the subject were modestly draped across the hips, but bolder nudes appealed to male nineteenth-century patrons: Théodore Chassériau executed the subject in 1835 and Jean-Auguste-Dominique IngresVenus Anadyomene, completed after many years in 1848, is one of the painter’s most celebrated works (Musée Condé, Chantilly, France).

A Brief Introduction to the Concept of Panoptic Space / Autonomous Space

human existence defined as two spaces


“The Panoptic Space”;

the physical world and the human cultures that manifest within ;

Histories; Earth; Science; Bodies; Nature; […]

that which can be proven to exist in physical form, with very few interpretations that cannot be proven — that which surrounds Society


“The Autonomous Space”;

the even greater world that exists within a realm of concepts within the mind ;

Fictions / Mythologies; Ideas; Spirituality; Gender / Epicenism; […]

that which may or may not be real, yet drives and motivates the human, with no “true” definition or physical form — that which surrounds Us

these two spaces interface with each other in various ways, harmonically, disorderly, or neutrally;

such as the AUTONOMOUS SPACE offering Ideas,

the PANOPTIC SPACE offering Sound,

their offerings fusing together to create Music,

which exists between a third, perfect utopian space, with which the PANOPTIC and the AUTONOMOUS are always in harmony…