Feedback and discussion of process Thought
Welcome to our forum for the exploration of process metaphysics and ontology. I invite your feedback and questions arising from my "heads-up" letter to as many psychologists in the USA as I could contact by email.
Hi. I thought this was a very interesting letter and I am curious about how it was received by others. I am a psychologist as well as a practicing Zen Buddhist and there are many parallels to Buddhist philosophy. I wonder if this has been brought up by others.ReplyDelete
Meg, Thanks for the comment. Many others have noted the similarities between process philosophy and Buddhism. Do a you tube search of process philosophy and you'll see. Then give us another comment.Delete
Perhaps the most powerful thing about process philosophy is that it is very comprehensive and holistic. It fits into most theologies and Eastern philosophies rather well, except for those with rigid dogma.Delete
I also noticed the parallels to Buddhism. I have been exploring Buddhism in depth and will likely formally convert in the future.ReplyDelete
I am curious, Dan, about how you envision us helping to "propel the spread of this healing insight through the rest of the society." What would that look like?
Brittney, Thank you for your post, and for your provocative question. Process philosophy, as you can see, is not easy to explain/understand, and certainly not easy for those of our population who do not want to worry with things like philosophy and metaphysics. But, in the same way that heliocentrism was a fact to be reckoned with centuries ago in spite of the resistance of the church and the status quo, a profound change in our present view of reality is upon us whether we want to deal with it or not. It was forced on us by the advent of quantum mechanics, the weird nonrational behaviors of quanta, and the interaction between human consciousness and quantum phenomena. Never again will we be able to legitimately separate the physical world from the mental. However, most of the Western population is ignorant of this giant leap in science and philosophy. But we can be sure that eventually process view(s) of reality will become the norm of our society. The point I was trying to get over in my letter is that this change offers such powerful healing for our society that we should feel obligated to help get the ball rolling faster, rather than simply waiting for it to happen more slowly by default. In my understanding, changes of this kind start out slowly and eventually reach a tipping point where the rate of change increases radically, compounding itself to a fast completion. Perhaps my use of the word "propel" is overly optimistic, but my intention in writing the letter is to get as many psychologists as possible to model and teach process thought in every facet of their lives in order to pass it on, so maybe we can reach the tipping point sooner. A study in 2018 estimated that the tipping point is approx. 25%. We are obviously not there yet, but I have witnessed a lot of growth in the science sector over the last few years, and it has the support of the largest number of well-known scientists. But this is mind-stuff, and we psychologists will be the profession which is charged with prime responsibility for bearing and disseminating this knowledge. I believe we should be prepared. DanReplyDelete
ACCEPTING THE NEW REALITYDelete
I believe that the most difficult thing psychologically is accepting that the change is really real, that it is true. A whole lifetime of socialization and indoctrination touting the veracity of materialism as the scientific basis for reality can be formidable to overcome. Although the science is solid, proving that reality is actually much broader in scope than classical science and materialism, and that it includes non-rational, trans-rational, and trans-personal aspects which cannot be denied, it can be difficult to understand what this change in understanding implies for our behavior and how it actually changes our lives. It suggests that we somehow begin to focus on the interactions and connections between things rather than the things in and of themselves. Process philosophy (PP) directs our attention and energy toward the whole and away from the parts. Quantum mechanics proves that everything in the universe is connected, so it follows that there is a certain risk of distortion involved in reductionistic thinking. Therefore, PP encourages a radically empirical approach to life---we should first of all take phenomena at face value; analytic thinking should be reserved for protection and for understanding connections, not for reducing the world to pieces in order to manipulate or to gain advantage. Grasping reality in process terms implies that there are actually no empty gaps between things; all of life is a continuous flow of becoming. In this frame of mind, meaningfulness, connections both physical and mental (spiritual if you like), and essence of life exists in everything and in every moment. I have noticed that many of those in our society we think of as mystics seem to provide good models for living in process. They seem to look at life as an ongoing series of miracles and encounters with the divine; they often seem to have heightened aesthetic senses and see beauty everywhere. They are continually focused on connections rather than divisions. The attitude encouraged by PP is to view the universe as one holistic living organism, and to see the continuity of nature in all things and events. It is radically ecological. Also, as you can probably see, PP provides powerful indications for psychotherapy---indeed it is a philosophy of psychotherapy.