Creator Creates Creation
I can only hope I don't sound like the latter, but I can well imagine a stranger to these parts thinking my blah-blah-blogging is no different from theirs -- as if I am trying to imitate the tenured rather than distinguish mysoph therefrom.
Yesterday I linked to a bleat in which Lileks serves up some examples of postmodern pneumababble (scroll down past the first break). The writer in question "elucidates the slippery, gendered in-betweenness of everyday ritual in a manner reminiscent of Derrida’s disquisition on the chora -- that most mysterious and mundane of spaces, not unlike the anonymous corridor of a hotel."
You can't just say that staying in a hotel is different from being at home. No, that would be too banal. Rather, "The hotel becomes a kind of disorienting counterfeit to the authentic shelter of the home, which is the dominant space of traditional Western values because it’s a place of permanent or rooted dwelling -- in the Heideggerian sense of the word."
Then again, "Homes have a lot of blank spaces. It’s easy to get lost there," so you're Heideggered if you do, Heideggered if you don't. Which I think is the point: verbal mystagoguery masquerding as intellectual depth.
The good news? "If we could shift our traditional notions of 'placeness' from the home to the hotel, we could find a new way of considering modern space."
Notice what a trivial project this is compared to a Christian metaphysic in which we shift the space of the entire cosmos. Nor is doing so a matter of will ("if we could shift..."), because whatever we merely will will merely be more whatever. Rather, the opposite movement is required, surrender to, and cooperation with, a power that transcends and contains us.
Anyway, my point is that Whitehead can at times sound like he is depaking the chopra with the worst of them (especially in Process and Reality), but he's really just trying to say something new and difficult with the limited arsenal of existing language. Sometimes you have to invent new terms -- that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it -- or use the old ones in a novel way in order to shock or annoy the reader out of the familiar.
We've discussed this many times over the past decade, the problem of saturation. A word or concept becomes saturated when it can no longer... how to put it... attract the unknown. This is especially problematic in religion, where we can imagine we know what we're talking about merely because we have a word for it.
Even (or especially) "God" -- literally the most unsaturate-able word imaginable -- routinely loses its depthless unKnowability in the mouths of fundamentalists -- both the religious and atheistic kinds, who speak of a God in whom I cannot believe.
The first and surest thing we can say of God is that while he is nameable, he is not knowable. Thus, we can name the mystery, but that is hardly the same as knowing the mystery. I have a name for Alaska, but it doesn't mean I've ever been there or know much about it.
Indeed, the more I learn about it, the more I will realize there is to know. Often when we know little, we assume that's all there is to know. But the little we know is superimposed on vast stretches of ignorance. But enough about Obama.
If the postmodern bullshit artist cited above (above Obama) really wants to rock her own crock, she should try unsaturating what she thinks she knows. This will plunge her into a very different space -- the space of reality -- irrespective of whether she is at home or in a hotel.
Regarding early Christians, Whitehead writes that "A gracious, simple mode of life, combined with fortunate ignorance, endowed mankind with its most precious instrument of progress -- the impracticable ethics of Christianity."
A better word would be "non-utilitarian" ethics, or one always converging upon the absolute instead of the everyday; or better, the everyday seen through the prism of the absolute. Lileks for example, is a connoisseur of the everyday. What is the bleat but the mundane under the aspect of a jehovial witness?
I think the unknowability of God goes to the creative novelty of the world; they are two ways of approaching the same reality. I agree with Hartshorne that God couldn't "wish not to go on experiencing novel content," if only because "his ideals are incapable of final exhaustive realization." Again, God is the ultimate instance -- the very source -- of unsaturatability.
The divine inexhaustibility goes to "the intrinsic nature of his own primordial essence," which is to say, ceaseless creativity. This is reconciled with his changelessness in that creation is "his eternal and unchangeable purpose."
Think about it: God's creativity must be his alphOmega, for how could creativity ever be created without a creative act?
So, creativity is prior to, or at least coequal with, any other branch of the Ultimate Principle. Love, truth, beauty, freedom, and oneness are all bound up with it. Each of these must also be uncreated, in that how could one create freedom if not in freedom? How could one honestly speak truth without it? How could the many ever become one without oneness? Etc.
Again: In The Beginning, Creator Creates Creation. These three are one, and the one is always now. But not in the Heideggerian sense.