4. Whitehead and Ecological Civilization: Ecology, Ethics, Economics, and Law
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Section heads: Herman Greene, Kurian Kachappilly
Speculating Futures and Dialoguing with Nonhumans: Contributions of Process Philosophy to an Adaptive Environmental Management
Denise P. Agustinho
With the life sciences’ image, the philosophy of the process suggests new potentialities of thinking and making economy, politics and management. The concepts of Creative Evolution in Henri Bergson and of Creative Advance and Cosmic Evolution in Alfred N. Whitehead have emerged from the natural sciences but have integrated the Theories of Action of these philosophers. This paper, therefore, seeks to systematize the contributions of these theories to criticize the Rational Action Theory that is presupposed by neoclassical economics, political theories and also underlies certain ways of managing, for example, natural resources.
It is notable that in ecological economics, a critical approach to neoclassical economics, we can track Whitehead's philosophy among its foundations, rejecting the mechanistic and reductionist model of the individual behavior of the economic actor. In the political sphere, the emphasis in the process has been gaining strength and urgency, once an ontology that reflects on change and novelty allows us to conceive the political process as a happening, an event in becoming. This emphasis on the movement goes beyond the traditional dichotomy of political action theories, sometimes with the strict focus on structures, and sometimes on human agency.
The influence of the process (or organism) philosophy in these two cited scopes is already well recognized in the literature reviewed in this paper. In addition, it is defended in this work the influence of the process approach also in the scope of management, particularly, in the approach known as adaptive environmental governance. Adaptive management and planning assume that it is impossible to control a natural resources system in the context of uncertainty, but rather to adapt to emerging conditions. Therefore, this strategy requires much of experimentation and social learning, as well as strives to project multiple future scenarios of the complex socio-technical-environmental system that it seeks to govern.
As an exemplification of this approach in the public management, an experience is exposed, that is the building of Future Scenarios about the Waters of the Federal District of Brazil. The experience consisted of a workshop carried out by a methodology called Politics of Nature, in which managers assume the perspectives of human collectives and nonhuman entities in their future actions. The realization of this experimentation was inspired by Bergson's method of intuition and Whitehead's speculative method. Finally, it is argued that the revival of the procedural approach can contribute to what Chakrabarty points out as urgent in the current epoch: new modes of thought in global governance that includes with equal force the dimension of cosmological temporality alongside human temporality.
Static and Process Thinking: A Tool for Introducing and Applying Process Philosophy and Moving Toward Ecological Civilization
Climate change is symptomatic of a global systemic crisis—inseparable from population growth, poverty, consumption, technology and the world’s political economic system. Process philosophy intervenes in this complex system, challenging its static epistemic and ontological roots and offering an alternative. Yet process philosophy is in the margins of academic philosophy and rarely known even by those it has influenced. This paper explicates a simple conceptual tool for introducing process philosophy to interdisciplinary scholars, applying it to help unite process-oriented traditions and clarify their integrative path toward ecological civilization. This “static-process framework” distinguishes two modes of thought—static thinking and process thinking—according to five “basic orientations”: context/abstractions, open/closed, relational/ isolating; generativity/passivity; multi/one-dimensionality. These basic orientations are derived from a synthesis of process philosophy and contemporary theoretical propositions in neuroscience regarding the differentiation of brain hemisphere functions. In terms of this framework, process philosophy critiques a static-bias in mainstream approaches to economics and metaphysics, which give primacy to abstract measures (such as GDP growth, share price, monetary wealth, “the economy” and quantifiable aspects of life) over concrete real-world experiences, events and processes (such as non-quantifiable aspects of life, feelings, experiences, well-being and ecological sustainability). Correcting this static-bias is at the roots of the crisis, and the framework presented in this paper helps to clarify that bias and draw new connections to elucidate the process alternative.
Keywords: process thinking, static thinking, balanced thinking, process philosophy, modes of thought, climate change, sustainable futures, peace with justice, ecological civilization
Whitehead and a Theory of Criminal Procedure
This paper will argue that criminal procedure is not only a formal and rational legal institution but a morphosis, which is born with an act and dies as a verdict. The inquisitorial model of criminal procedure prevalent in the Continental European legal systems is interpreted as a macro-level organism in terms of the Hegelian dialectic as a threefold structure: The thesis which the prosecutor conveys, the anti-thesis which the defendant sets forth and lastly the synthesis which the judge reaches. This interpretation sets that the ultimate task of the criminal procedure as finding out the truth (veritas). Nevertheless, given the nature of legal authority as understood in the Continent, this same view unfortunately follows the Hobbesian dictum of-“Auctoritas, non veritas facit legem”. A natural implication of this belief is that the morphosis of criminal proceedings must be understood only in terms of the formality and rational normativity of the procedure .This approach fails to explain and justify criminal procedure given its increasingly global evisceration in favor of authoritarian tendencies. Therefore, a new theory of criminal procedure is called for. I argue that such a theory can be based on Whitehead’s account of the process.
I claimed that the criminal procedure contains two processes: The macroscopic and the microscopic. In the macroscopic level, there are three transitions: The transition (i) from uncertainty to certainty, (ii) from the past to present, and (iii) from objectification to subjectification. In the microscopic level, the criminal process begins with the subjective form arising out of perpetrator and the act. Then it proceeds into a consideration of a variety of possibilities regarding the perpetrator and their act. In the last phase, the verdict is created with the concrescence. This Whiteheadian rendering of the theory of the criminal procedure will support four arguments: 1. The criminal process is not a mere instrument or tool. Hence, veritas aimed by criminal proceedings is actually constructed by the process itself. 2. The criminal procedure is not a judicial machine that functions on the dichotomy of inputs and outputs. 3. The criminal process is significantly dependent on interactions and feelings. 4. The verdict cannot be separated from the process. The value-which the verdict contains-is determined by the process. Hence, any deficiency in the process will affect the verdict and its value.
Keywords: Whitehead, criminal procedure, Whiteheadian account of process, process dialectics, criminal theory
Bio-Regionalism and Whiteheadian Metaphysics: Concern and Creativity in Rethinking Local Communities
Jeremy Fackenthal, Institute for Ecological Civilization, director of the Common Good International Film Festival in Claremont, CA
Bio-regionalism provides a conceptual means to consider the interconnection among eco-systems, humans, plants, animals, and human-made structures within a particular geographical area. In this paper I suggest that using Whitehead’s metaphysical principles as the speculative scheme undergirding bio-regionalism allows us to see the very real way in which these interconnections occur, and it leads us away from substantialist claims that undermine the good intentions within bio-regional thinking. This paper will be presented in two stages. Stage one will explain bio-regionalism as a conceptual framework via Whitehead’s ontological principle and the principle of creativity. The ontological principle reminds us that we can look no further than actual entities as the basic units of reality and, therefore, as the basic units constitutive of interconnection. Viewing interconnection as basic to the underlying structures of reality raises our awareness of the ways in which interconnection then permeates all reality. Similarly, the principle of creativity, descriptive of the means by which all entities become, bears on interconnection inasmuch as the relationships between and among entities (either actual entities or larger groupings of entities such as components of a given geographic region) are not static, but creatively in flux. Stage two will move toward larger generalities in order to examine how we might envision local communities differently by employing bio-regionalism in a Whiteheadian framework. Both concern and creativity manifest themselves in this process as one attempts to maintain a high level of concern for other entities (human and non-human) in one’s environs vis-à-vis their inherent interconnection, and creativity propels us to think beyond the settled past toward a future in which greater degrees of concern may take hold. The methodology behind this paper is Whitehead’s flight of the aeroplane—we first reconceive bio-regionalism through Whiteheadian metaphysics, and then we test this scheme among the larger generalities involved in rethinking local communities toward an ecological civilization.
Whiteheadian Relationality and Earth Law
Law proscribes anti-social behavior in an effort to keep it within acceptable bounds. The Anthropocene has removed the division between humans and nature. A civilization fails when it cannot preserve the natural resources and systems on which human life depends. Modern environmental law was an attempt to deal with the negative side effects of industrial civilization by limiting pollution, remediating environmental degradation, and preserving natural resources. It has however failed to stop climate change and other severe environmental decay. The emerging field of Earth law begins where environmental law ends. It recognizes the laws of nature as the great laws to which human law must conform. It asks what kinds of human laws are needed to live within planetary boundaries and what kinds of laws are needed to prospectively maintain the health of nature. Various legal theories have been advanced including the Rights of Nature, the Public Trust and the Law of the Commons. Whitehead sought to overcome the bifurcation of nature and developed a relational, event-based ontology/cosmology. Whitehead provides a philosophical basis for advancing these legal theories.
Whitehead’s Cosmology and Ecological Civilization
Prof. Yang Fubin, Beijing Institute of Technology, Zhuai College
The aim of this paper is to probe the internal relation between Whitehead’s cosmology and the idea of ecological civilization in China. The main points of view in this paper are the following. Firstly, the main difference of ecological civilization and environmental protection is that the ecological civilization requires the re-organization of human society and the basic transformation of human’s mode of production and life. This will be involved the transformation of some basic systems of human society, and finally the transformation of the mode of civilization in some extent. Therefore we have to look for some sound philosophical basis for the construction of ecological civilization. And the organic cosmology of Whitehead is exactly such philosophical basis. Without such a reliable philosophical basis, the idea of ecological civilization can hardly be truly accepted by people. Up to now, many scholars in Europe and America have kept silent about ecological civilization, and their reasons are very complicated. One of the reasons is that the philosophical basis of ecological civilization has not yet be explained clearly. In my opinion apart from the Historical Materialism by Karl Marx, Whitehead’s cosmology is exactly the philosophical basis of ecological civilization construction in China and in this world. Secondly, many other philosophical points of view also can provide some primary justification for the idea and strategy of ecological civilization construction, but they can do that only in some aspects and in some extent. So far only the organic cosmology of Whitehead can provide a sophisticated demonstration to the idea and strategy of ecological civilization construction. Thirdly and lastly, if we want to truly realize ecological civilization in China and in this world, we must truly adhere to Whitehead’s cosmology of organism, to take the world as a process, an inter-related organism, and take this basic idea of cosmology as the guiding ideology to engage in scientific and technological research and other social construction. The construction of ecological civilization, as the millennium plan for the sustainable development of the Chinese nation, must be understood in a broad sense. It includes not only the harmonious symbiosis relationship between human and nature, but also the harmonious symbiosis relationship between people and people, people and society, and human’s body and mind.
In conclusion, in the process of building an ecological civilization throughout China, it is of great significance to correctly understand the relationship between Whitehead’s Organic Cosmology and Civilization. At the same time, it is of great significance for people all over the world to fully understand China’s ecological civilization construction strategy.
Reconstruction of the Systems Paradigm: A Study of Green
Development in China from the perspective of Process Philosophy
Liu Yiyu, Dong Chunyu
The development of contemporary China is in a unique situation in which nonlinear system behaviors stem from complex interactions among elements, structure, function and environment of the Chinese social system. One of the important features of this complex situation is the unpredictability of system evolution at the edge of chaos. A fundamental dilemma for the Chinese social system in transition is how to build an appropriate management paradigm to adapt to this complex situation. Endeavors to transplant the “linear ideal model” from Western society failed, and the “Simple Development Paradigm” which once dominated Chinese society, is now in deep crisis. The serious environmental problems derived from these endeavors force China to build a new approach related to “green” development. In this paper, process philosophy will be shown to provide us with tools for enlightening thought in building a paradigm to adapt to this complex situation. First, ontologically speaking, process philosophy helps us to understand interactions between human activity systems and natural systems from the perspective of time-space-matter relationship. Second, epistemologically speaking, process philosophy emphasizes the construction of “organismic” knowledge at the level of a living community. Third, methodologically speaking, process philosophy attempts to rebuild a co-existence relationship between human activity systems and natural systems with a “prehension” methodology.
Keywords: process philosophy; social systems; green development; systems paradigm
This work was supported by the MOE (Ministry of Education in China) Youth Fund Project of Humanities and Social Sciences (Project No.14YJC720019). We are very grateful for the sincere support of Dr. John Kineman. We want to give our special thanks to Dr. John Kineman for his very constructive suggestions.
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Creative Advance of Geoenergy: from the ‘Disjunctive Diversity’ to ‘Novel Togetherness’
Kseniia Zhadiaieva, Roman Dychkovskiy et al - Dnipro University of Technology, Ukraine Human being is a creature of the nature and, in its turn, is the creator of meanings. Technology is the derivative element of the meanings produced by human being. However, sometimes that creature of the nature and creator of the meanings becomes dependent on those ‘derivative elements’ much more than on itself. We believe, that these events of misplaced values (simulacre) happen when human being is not concerned in primary meanings, when there is no proper revision of what is really important and what is secondary, and, when we forget that “it is a false dichotomy to think of Nature and Man” (Whitehead, 1933, 99).
On the threshold of Industry 4.0, there is no doubt for scientists that society and our common home – the Earth – is waiting complex, non-biased solutions. Process philosophy is a mode of thought which considers multiplicity in its entirety, avoiding any categorical solutions: “it lies in the nature of things that the many enter into complex unity” (Whitehead, 1978, 21). In line with this principle, we would like to demonstrate process philosophy’s applicability to geoenergy, where human being is both creature and creator in its searching for balance between its needs in energy and environment. In particular, thermochemical energy, as an eco-technology, can be constructed on the same principles, by means of which the very nature is functioning: a) closedness, b) gradation, and c) complexity.
We share believe, that the Whitehead, 1968, 57) but at this stage we follow the principle of gathering details within assigned pattern. So, our aim is to give an account of integral approach in contemporary energy production as a creative advance of technologies (coal energy, alternative coal energy, combined power systems, heat pump energy generation, wind energy sector, thermal energy sector).
When technology advances only in limited scopes, or its theoretical generalization is omitted, we can face misplaced meanings such as those we were warned by Whitehead, when for example, medicine advances only in order to support poverty or – like it happened in Romania, 1989 – when miners were kept and used not as labor force for energy production, but rather as numerous crowd for political matters (to thwart some public opinion on the square).
The corollary we would like to draw is that at this stage we have to invest in balanced mixture (many) of different technologies that can provide us with energy (one) not only in terms of human resources, but also in terms of economical profit and risks, safety, long term expectations.
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Gospel of Creation within the Womb of the Mother
I would like to refer and link my research with the thoughts and feelings of the plenary in Azores, 2017 with John Cobb, Hermann Green and Ignatio Castuera, which I found just amasing, first of all, because it took place within a sacred space of a religion, which needs to be transformed and we are the new content to fill that „new”quality of sacred space. For me it was like the womb of the Goddess, which emanates power and is a source of energy, but which was manipulated by misleading Jesuit man of age in formst of a maniscular priest were these divine energies of the womb manipulated within the space of the sacred womb itself, in kind of raping her. I felt also that enormous suffering, blood and pain which was just caused by that time, which needs to be transformed and to be healed within the womb. Our task is to pour new content into the sacred space, into the womb of the Goddess, to open it as a „gate”to emanate healing energies to heal MotherEarth, the great Mother. All the content of the plenary speech was just proper to achieve this aim. We whiteheadians just have the vocabulary, we have the answers to the problems of the global ecological crises and we need to take action before it turns to be too late.
Answering on the question of the plenary:
We need to make a fundamental transformation if we want to respond properly to the ecological question, to re-think the relation between the creation and the creator, to overcome the technocratic capitalism, plutocratism with that of an „ecological civilisation”- which notion I find more than contradictory on the one hand,. more on that later. We need to establish a spiritual society, a responsible one, an interrelated one, to give instead of getting back from it , or manipulating in in any ways. We Whiteheadians may write the Gospel of creation, which helps to understand „gowth” and „sustainability” within a divine, self-transforming, organic systhem of the divine Mother. We need to understand the World as a sacrament, as a divine, sacred Space, and establish a „theosis”, an apotheosis, in helping Nature to transform itself to the divine, and we define that possibility as the self-empting love of the Bodhisattwa, the compassionate being who seeks to reach enlightemnment to save others. That heart-centredness is Amida-as Tanaka puts it, being divine through that inner unity, through the self-emptying nature, and through the buddhist concept of emptiness, but also through the magic that creation contains that divine pattern already from within. we just need to empower it, in that celebrating the resurrection, that transformation from nature to the divine.
Towards a therapy of the cosmos
Ignatio refererd to early traditions from all over the world to learn from them and help Pacha Mama, the Earth Goddess to awake and heal herself. That tribal ritual actions, that natural religion came from another understanding of the nature, where she is understood as divine, organic, source of power and love, which brings beauty, music and joy. Herman talks about integral ecology as a quality of understanding the world in a new ecological era . We need to replant ourselves back in beauty,we need to take action before it turns too late, ok, but how to do that?there were a few ideas yesterday, and they more or less going in the same direction. My project I am working on would be an answer. I had a lot to say yesterday about that, since it is nothing else but a respond to that ecological problem, Cobb and others opened. And I am now here to tell you more about that.
I work on a huge project since 20 years, which I have to carry on as a message of a healer who passed by but left parts of a manuscript here. As far as I know I am attempting to elaborate a cosmo-therapy, along the proper understanding of the creation, of the process and along the divine pattern from inside is possible to make a transformation from the side of the creation back to its higher divine nature. I call it process-therapy-transformation, where „Process” refers to the bioenergetic principles of the space-time continuum which for me is a sacred space which opens through the religionus experience and identical with the subtle emptiness of enlightment ,along with the field or space of creation, frequencies, colours, containing the music of the spheres , the proper understanding of the creation in means of the creative fluidum, or prime matter as an informational field or morphogenetic field, the force-field, plasma as you like it, the creative fluidum, divine water or endurance.
The understanding of the chora, dancing in the circle belongs to the part of „Therapy”,which is about to establish in the form of astrosophic rituals a kind of universal cosmo-therapy supporting and to heal the womb of the Mother or to heal through the healing powers of the womb of the mother. The rites of an early star-religion or of a Goddess -or natural religion of indigenous people, the astrosophy need to be re-discorered and to be practiced at the „temples” of that religion, at the „gates” of the Womb. Activating the gates, healing energy will run through the energy body of planet Earth helping her to awake and to attune back to her appropriate frequency.
Within the phase of „Transformation”we use the method of „transformational kenosis” to show how that is possible for the content of divine creation to flow back to God’s Nature and then again back to divine Nature, keeping her sacred, supporting her in self-development within the sacred circle.
That is a Handbook of cosmo-therapy , which tries to restore the appropriate relation between creation and the creator through the Paradeigms and codes it contains within.
Synthesis of Creation and Creator on behalf of the creation
To make such a synthesis on behalf of the creation is more challenging for me as to make the theology of pure, white light of theology, which is the work of the higher priest, or white shaman, which contains the whole information, all the colours integrated within the crown: is universal, true, silent, easy to handle, humble, patient, spiritual, pure. That’s the theology of white light.
What we are aiming to do here is more challenging, to make the synthesis between God and Nature on behalf of the creation, through all the colours, all the levels and frequencies to harmonise them along a divine patter, is much more chaotic, colourful and complex. We work through all the colours, all the levels of reality towards enlightenment. On bealf of the divine in form of defining a process theology on behalf ogf God you are working from the direction of the crown integrating the information inside the white light, through a pure channel, with the same aim and purpose towards the same enlightenment.
House of Venus
That project, as you see is just too huge to carry alone, and I am mostly isolated in researching-also in writing my PhD thesis without supervisor and I would need myself a supportive network to elaborate and finish that project. So if you feel the call, please contact me afterwards and I will add you to that supportive network through the house of venus, here we aim to hold sacred space celebrating the divine feminine and healing Mother Earth, which I wish now to open as a form of a virtual red tent templel, as a forum, as a virtual space to share research, and as a broadcasting, online teaching. I wish to build a sacred virtual space as a network of good people, who would like to make a difference to help Mother Earth to heal herself.
Cosmic Pattern or Paradeigm
The investigation of the cosmic pattern itself – which no doubt follows the model of Worldsoul as it was described in the Timaeus of Plato, its arithmetic, geometrical and musical proportions inside , the music of the spheres, and the planetary frequencies, the appropriate tuning, the perfect rhythm, harmony and synchronicity, in form of colours, the sacred dances and sacred circle dances of Plato’s age, and the study of ancient rites and origins of sacred theather are all part of this presentation. Parts of it is to be found in the Timaeus-code I started to write, others in the Manuscript of the Process-Therapy-Transformation. it is a prelude to a huge endevour, which needs perhaps my all lifetime to run through it .
Virtual Red Tent Temple
I am about to establish a healing network, as an expansion of my Red Tent Temple for women, a virtual forum, which would be there to share, it is a healing space a sacred space, a supportive network. I would invite you all to partake in that, and I could send you all who interested in collaborating parts of the manuscripts through that network, held through my website, www.venushaus.org
The principles of transformation
Transformation is possible through the basic principle of – egyptian- magic: as above, so belove.. since we HAVE the divine pattern in us, we participate in both „worlds” and are able to attune with it, towards a higher state, to get the appropriate rthym, and harmony, to get healthy, to be one with the universe, with the other, with the nature, with the society, with the globe with the nature, with god through the elaboration of that inner, divine pattern..
thats the core of my work: Process-therapy-transformation.
Process because it deals with the creation as a creative, self-developing, evolutionary, organic process emanated from both the philosophies of Timaeus and A. N. Whitehead, therapy, because that information which we gather is there to be adapted and used, on a personal and on a global level, and Transformation, because our aim is not less, then to heal the creation how we understand that through that code we discover, it be transformed in the nature of God, or transform the nature of God in ourself and in our societies and networks on the planet on every possible level.
Code of creation
All that is possible.
It’s not enought to „understand” the code of creation, with our heads, mentally, we need to feel it with our hearts and with our whole body. We need to open it, we need to practice it. We know a tiny bit about ancient rites- but do we practice them in Eleusys or Delphi? In the Pyramids or at Stonehenge? These places of high energy, these „temples „of the early star religion and natural religion, are „gates”, holy temples of the mother earth goddess need to be opened. Through these „gates” self-healing energy will flow through the Earth to heal her. Through the Earth Chore-koré- through the celebration of the cereal, through the celebration of stones, and trees, water and fire, forest and planetdeities we arrive to a sacred universe and we have the chance, perhaps, but just perhaps to save mother earth, - before it turns to be late.. through that gates it is possible to activate the energetical field of Earth and to make healing and make a difference.
That „shift” is more than necessary. If you feel resemble to, support me on my journey
I wish all of you keep on researching and sharing that information with the globe. Herman is right in stating that is or it has to be a Whiteheadian centrury. That philosophy makes a difference, and give proper answers to actually painful ecological questions. we as a community form a healing network and we have to support each other and dance that circle dance around the globe, making her, the Mother happy.