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The Power of the Past

by Nancy Frankenberry

Nancy Frankenberry is Assistant Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. The following article appeared in Process Studies, pp. 132-142, Vol.13, Number 2, Summer, 1983. Process Studies is published quarterly by the Center for Process Studies, 1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711. Used by permission. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


As process thought continues to be preoccupied with the category of the future, even to the point of identifying "God" with "the activity of the future" (PS 11:169-79), it seems important to recall Whitehead’s own texts which give an equal analytic balance to the power of the past. A focus on the future which ignores the active causal influx of the past upon the becoming of the future runs the risk of the meddling intellect which "murders to dissect." In this essay I mean to call attention to the way in which Whitehead’s account of the nature of experience places great emphasis on the power of the past, the primacy of physical feelings, and the literal transmission of energy as creative causal influx. In a forthcoming essay (PS 13/3), I will argue that there are religious reasons for utilizing this account in connection with a neo-Whiteheadian theory of the mode of God’s causally efficacious presence to a subject. Although the theological use I will later make of Whitehead’s doctrine of causal efficacy may be a matter of some controversy, its philosophical foundation, as presented here, is clearly Whitehead’s own.

It comes as a surprise, therefore, to see how frequently Whitehead’s theory of causal objectification is misinterpreted. One recent critic has sized up Whitehead’s principles to mean that

there is no active causal influx of one actual entity on another in the present and not even strictly from past to present, since, as is well known, the traditional properties of efficient cause and effect are reversed in Whitehead. It is the effect that actively lays hold of the cause, which offers itself passively, as it were, to be assimilated, more in the manner of an Aristotelian material cause. (PAG 78)

This extreme interpretation of Whitehead’s doctrine is upheld even by several process philosophers. Lewis Ford, for instance, formulates the following impasse between Thomistic and Whiteheadian concepts of efficient causality:

For Thomas efficient causes actively produce passive results. Activity is on the side of the cause, not the effect. Whitehead’s whole theory of prehension reverses this. Each occasion is the present active reception of objective causal factors. Instead of being produced by its causes, each occasion produces itself out of its causes . . . Rather than the past donating the creativity to the present, the present creativity incorporates the past multiplicity within its own receptive activity of unification. (SSC 4Sf.)

Such a picture of antecedent occasions as entirely passive states of affairs out of which an emerging occasion constitutes itself is seriously at odds with Whitehead’s own doctrine of objectification. And yet, despite the reiterated stress Whitehead gives throughout his writings to the idea of causal objectification as literal transmission of active influence, this feature of his thought continues to elude many of his commentators.2 A detailed examination of the textual evidence therefore seems in order for the sake of making clear precisely what is involved, on Whitehead’s analysis, in a subject’s experience of an object. Only when this is clear can we begin to assess the possibilities for a neo-Whiteheadian account of the nature of religious experience, in which it is God who is the object of a subject’s experience.

II

Whitehead himself was at pains to guard against any underestimation of the seriousness with which he maintained that actual entities, though they perish in their subjective immediacy, not only influence but are immanent in other, later actual entities. In one of his rare letters, written to Dorothy Emmet, whose book, Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism, he had read, Whitehead commented:

You seem to me at various points to forget my doctrine of ‘immanence,’ which governs the whole treatment of objectification. Thus at times you write as tho’ the connection between past and present is merely that of a transfer of character. Then there arises [sic] all the perplexities of ‘correspondence’ in epistemology, of causality, and of memory. The doctrine of immanence is fundamental. (WPO xxii-xxiii).

To see just how fundamental Whitehead’s doctrine of immanence is to his overall philosophy, one must turn to the technical vocabulary developed in Part III of Process and Reality. However, it is first possible to find a more synthetic, but precise, account of "the power of the past" in the chapter on "Objects and Subjects" in Adventures of Ideas. The language Whitehead uses there makes it clear that the creativity of the past is far from being passive or static as though only inertly ‘given’ to the present. Rather, Whitehead speaks of "the throbbing emotion of the past hurling itself into a new transcendent fact," "a flying dart hurled at the future," "provoking some special activity of the occasion in question," "energizing in the present," "imposing" on the novel particular in process of creation" (AI 227, 227, 226, 241, 242). In discussing "objects," which he also terms "data" for an occasion, Whitehead describes the process of experiencing as "constituted by the reception of objects into the unity of that complex occasion which is the process itself" (AI 229f.). But lest it appear that all the activity is on the side of the subject, he immediately suggests that there is something defective about this choice of terms: "Both words [‘objects’ and ‘data’] suffer from the defect of suggesting that an occasion of experiencing arises out of a passive situation which is a mere welter of many data. The exact contrary is the case. The initial situation includes a factor of activity which is the reason for the origin of that occasion of experience. This factor of activity is what I have called ‘creativity’" (AI 230). He concludes: "Thus viewed in abstraction objects are passive, but viewed in conjunction they carry the creativity which drives the world" (AI 230f.).

The unmistakable meaning which Whitehead gives in these passages to the creativity of objects is characteristic of his insistence that "the present moment is constituted by the influx of the other into that self-identity which is the continued life of the immediate past within the immediacy of the present" (AI 233). There can be no doubt either that "the influx of the other" entails efficient causality or the literal transmission of energy from past to present. Whitehead explicitly intends an analogy between the transference of energy from particular occasion to particular occasion in physical nature and the transference of affective tone, with its emotional energy, from one occasion to another in the human person: "The object-to-subject structure of human experience is reproduced in physical nature by this vector relation of particular to particular" (AI 242). Furthermore, he claims that "it was the defect of the Greek analysis of generation that it conceived it in terms of the bare incoming of novel abstract form" (AI 242). Having criticized the Greek analysis for failing to grasp the real operation of the antecedent particulars, Whitehead can hardly be expected to claim for his doctrine of immanence no more than the mere repetition of formal structures as reenacted in the present. On the contrary, he asserts flatly: "Energy passes from particular occasion to particular occasion. At each point there is a flux, with a quantitative flow and a definite direction . . . The physical flux corresponds to the conformal inheritance at the base of each occasion of experience" (AI 238f.). The qualitative differences among occasions in the present can therefore be understood as "entirely constituted by the flux of energy, that is to say, by the way in which the occasions have inherited their energy from the past of nature, and in which they are about to transmit their energy to the future" (AI 238). Thus, the very constitution of an immediate subject, according to Whitehead, "involves that its own activity in self-formation passes into its activity of other-formation" (AI 248). More generally, it would also be correct to describe an actual occasion as being "other-caused, self-caused, and other-causing." 2

But how, one might ask, is it possible to view the self-same subject as simultaneously other-caused, self-caused, and other-causing? The passages already cited are sufficient to demonstrate that Whitehead plainly asserted the power of the past as an active causal influx on the present, but what explanatory mechanism is provided for explicating this contention? How is it possible for objective powers to provoke or energize subjective experiencing without becoming completely determinative of it? Given such an emphasis on the causal efficacy of the past, how is freedom or genuine novelty in the present at all meaningful? Or, conversely, given an emphasis on the intrinsic self-creativity of the nascent subject, what role does causal inheritance play? Whitehead’s answer to this problem is elaborated with a wealth of technical detail in Part III of Process and Reality. There the uniquely Whiteheadian "doctrine of immanence" is explicated chiefly in terms of the notion of objectification and the role of physical prehensions.

The role of physical prehensions in the philosophy of organism is absolutely basic to an understanding of the nature of causal experience. In the first place, physical prehensions are the fundamental avenues through which individuals meet and absorb the elemental forces of their existence. They are the principal mode for experiencing the processive and relational as well as the qualitative affective and evaluative dimensions of life. In human life the transformative energies of creativity are known first of all through these bodily feelings. Secondly, physical feelings are the category by means of which Whitehead attempts to convey how nature is a system of interrelated organisms, how the past is effectively immanent in the present, and how the various actualities of the world enter into the very constitution of one another. Without a proper appreciation of the power of the past as immanent in the initial conformal phase of concrescence, the causa sui character of the concrescence is apt to be exaggerated, and the notion of emergence will seem to be ex nihilo.

But the subject does not emerge out of nothing. Rather, the creativity which is internal to epochal occasions is partially inherited from the antecedent determining conditions, and partially spontaneous. The self-creativity of the nascent occasion, its spontaneous features, consist in "how" it responds to "what" it receives through physical prehensions from its past actual world. Whitehead’s genetic analysis of prehensions in terms of the various phases of concrescence highlights what he calls the "initial" conformal or responsive phase and a "later" supplemental phase. But his description of the particular configuration appropriate to each phase is not a portrayal of a series of separate prehensions, e.g., a transmutation, a conceptual valuation or reversion, a simple comparative feeling, etc., as though the only unifying thread running throughout the whole concrescence is the subjective aim. A prehension, it should be recalled, is technically defined as a transition effecting a concrescence" (PR 221/ 337). Although Whitehead does not specifically state that this definition refers only to physical feelings, it is clear that this is its meaning. In no instance does he suggest that simple conceptual feelings or their complex forms of integration function as "a transition effecting a concrescence." The physical feelings which originate in the initial phase contribute their objective data to the final satisfaction. They thus endure throughout concrescence as the basis for conceptual origination and as the physical roots with which all the higher, complex feelings are integrated. Transmutation, physical purposes, propositional feelings, and the intellectual feelings must all initially be supplied with the content of the conformal physical feelings of the initial phase of concrescence. As Whitehead explains, "in synthesis there must always be aground of identity and an aim at contrast" (PR 249/ 381). This ground of identity is furnished by the physical pole of the actual entity, which serves as a limiting factor to the intensities of contrasts which can be entertained. But by providing the limitations of a ground of identity, the physical pole at the same time makes possible the aim at contrast.

One could thus argue for a certain primacy of physical feelings in Whitehead’s conception both of the process of transition and of the process of concrescence. Within the process of concrescence, the primacy of the physical is due to two facts. In the first place, the complex process of synthetic unification is always a physical process. The integration of physical and conceptual feelings that occurs within the concrescence is itself a physical integration. Although fused, physical and conceptual feelings are somewhat asymmetrical, in the sense that the physical can originate the conceptual, but the conceptual cannot originate the physical. Likewise, physical feelings can "contain" or "carry" the conceptual feelings with which they are integrated, but conceptual feelings do not "carry" or "contain" physical feelings. Secondly, mentality derives, in the first instance, from physical experience. The conceptual reproduction which occurs in the primary phase of concrescence is derived from the conceptual form already carried in and by the objectified physical feelings. As Whitehead writes, Mental and physical operations are incurably intertwined; and both issue into publicity, and are derived from publicity. The vector character of prehension is fundamental" (PR 317/ 483). Although Whitehead does not specify here whether the prehension in question is physical or conceptual (his point is that they are, in fact, intertwined) it seems reasonable to interpret this passage to mean that objectification of past feelings is in terms of physical prehensions which have been fused with conceptual feelings in the satisfaction of the objectified occasion.

With respect to the process of transition, the primacy of physical feelings is due to two important subjective forms of physical prehensions, neither of which characterizes conceptual feelings. As efficient causes, physical prehensions are "vectorial," designating transmission of energy with direction (from then-there to here-now) as well as magnitude. By contrast, conceptual feelings, which are nontemporal and nonspatial, lack the basis for the physical transfer of energy. As efficient causes, physical feelings are also characterized by a conformal" quality. When the datum occasion is felt conformally, the subjective form of the physical feeling of the prehending subject conforms to that of the datum feeling. Whitehead’s discussion of "conformation" or "reproduction" or "reenaction" stresses the basic fact that a subject not only derives from but also conforms to objects which are given for it, which themselves become constitutive (tinder a perspective) of present subjective experience. By contrast, the subjective forms of conceptual feelings are autonomous, i.e., not determined by the character of the datum.

In general, it is in his discussion of the difficult notion of objectification that Whitehead elaborates the most detailed understanding of the vectorial and conformal transmission of feelings. The doctrine of causal objectification is the fulcrum of Whitehead’s philosophy. Broader than "causal interaction" and more complex than "stimulus-response," objectification is a genuine reenactment of the feelings of one actual entity in another. It is the experienced reality of transition of feeling. Among the factors expressing that transition, Whitehead introduces several technical details which serve to illuminate more specifically the doctrine of immanence. These chiefly concern the perspectival nature of objectification; the interpretation of the perishing of the past; the role of the subject-superject; the analysis of subjective form; and the mediation of eternal objects.

According to my interpretation of these features of causal objectification, a consistent analysis must hold that "perishing" refers to the fact that, in the transition of the present to the future, the individual subject-superject, having achieved its fully determinate satisfaction, loses its subjectivity or immediacy of becoming. Since its process of becoming has terminated, once it has become something determinate, it "perishes" as a subject. It is now an object of the past. However, the energy of this process has been transformed into the energy of a fully formed object that will play its causal role in the creating of later occasions of experience. Satisfaction spells the death of the process of unification but not the end of the creative energy involved.

Still, the fully determinate subject-superject (the initial datum to be felt) cannot be, or at least is not, thrust forward or objectified in its fullness. Past actual occasions superject themselves by means of their projected perspectival feelings (the objective datum). These perspectives, possible because of the divisible character of the satisfaction, are abstractions from the full unity of the subject. They constitute the objective immortality of the past actual entities as they enter into the formation of present processes of becoming.

It is most important to note that the perspective is nothing separate from the past occasion which is objectified. The perspective ~s that past occasion’s objectification of itself. When a past occasion is felt through one of its perspectival feelings, that feeling reflects the totality of the satisfaction which enjoys a certain "temporal thickness" or duration sufficient to explain its superjective role. Another way of viewing the satisfaction is as a complex, unified "subjective form." Despite the possibly misleading connotations of the terminology of "subjective form," this Whiteheadian category provides the key for expressing the unique emergent configuration of any actual entity. Subjective forms refer to the particular energized synthesis of qualitative attainment. They are processive, qualitative "hows" of feeling. Divested of energy, subjective forms of feeling are nothing but a species of the category of eternal objects. Much of the difficulty surrounding Whitehead’s doctrine of eternal objects might be eliminated once it is clear that every reference to the subjective species of eternal objects in Process and Reality can in principle be translated into statements about "felt qualities of experience." Process and Reality is an abstract, analytic version of concrete process, in accordance with Whitehead’s view that philosophy’s job is to find the forms in the facts. But as found in fact in lived experience, these forms are processive, qualitative "hows" of feeling. The whole of Process and Reality is one long discussion of the forms of process. It is a necessarily abstract statement and is therefore enunciated in terms of the category of eternal objects.

Nevertheless, the role of eternal objects in the complex process of causal objectification is frequently misunderstood. There are several ambiguous passages where Whitehead almost seems to assert that the eternal object common to both the initial datum and the concrescent subject is the sole bond between successive actual entities. For instance, Whitehead states that "an eternal object when it has ingression through its function of objectifying the actual world, so as to present the datum for prehension, is functioning ‘datively’. . . . The eternal objects function by introducing the multiplicity of actual entities as constitutive of the actual entity in question" (PB 164/ 249). This has led some commentators to assume that the core of Whitehead’s doctrine of objectification is the notion of conformity of subjective form as effected by eternal objects, as though all that is objectified is the form of definiteness.3 Such an interpretation seriously undermines Whitehead’s assertion of the literal immanence of antecedent actual occasions in new occasions.

The ambiguous passages in which Whitehead discusses objectification in terms of eternal objects need to be considered in light of the thematic distinction between the concrete and the abstract. Concretely, the discussion of objectification concerns the literal transfer of feelings. Abstractly, this is explained in terms of forms of definiteness which function relationally. But conformation should not be understood simply in terms of the repetition of eternal objects. Physical prehension refers to a genuine transfer of concrete content: Eternal objects are not the only element objectified in the new occasion. It is the quantitative as well as the qualitative dimension of the datum which is carried over into the concrescence by the objectification, as Whitehead makes plain in the following passage:

An actual occasion P, belonging to M’s causal past, is objectified for M by a perspective representation of its own (i.e., P’s) qualities of feeling and intensities of feeling, There is a quantitative and qualitative vector flow of feeling from P to M; and in this way, what P is subjectively belongs to M objectively. (PR 319/ 486)

In a physical prehension, it is a particular actuality (or a nexus of actual entities) which is the datum of the prehension, not universals. The physical prehension is mediated by eternal objects which have entered into this prehension as forms of definiteness of the data, but it cannot be analyzed exhaustively in those terms. Again, the distinction between the concrete and the abstract, and the primacy of process over form, must be kept in mind in dealing with passages such as the following:

The organic philosophy does not hold that the ‘particular existents’ are prehended apart from universals; on the contrary, it holds that they are prehended by the mediation of universals. In other words, each actuality is prehended by means of some element of its own definiteness. This is the doctrine of the ‘objectification’ of actual entities. (PR 152/ 230)

The point here is simply that the forms mediate objectivity, but what is being objectified is the concrete actuality of past feelings, not just the forms. For Whitehead the only intelligible doctrine of causation is thus founded on a doctrine of immanence whereby each occasion presupposes the antecedent world as active in its own nature" (MT 226). This is the reason, Whitehead says, "why the qualitative energies of the past are combined into a pattern of qualitative energies in each present occasion (MT 226f.).

Whitehead clearly asserts a literal meaning to the "felt flow of feeling." This is the core of his theory of causation and perception, and without it he has not really offered a reply to Hume or provided anything more than another variation on the theme of representative ideas. If conformation is explicable simply in terms of the repetition of abstract forms, and if the character of the datum is represented in the percipient subject merely by an identical eternal object, then Whitehead has, in effect, reintroduced the ‘subjectivist principle’ which he claims to have rejected, namely, the principle "that the datum in the act of experience can be adequately analyzed purely in terms of universals." And he has also fallen into the same defect which he attributes to the Greeks when he observes that "It was the defect of the Greek analysis of generation that it conceived it [the object-to-subject structure of experience] in terms of the bare incoming of novel abstract form" (AI 242).

On the contrary, Whitehead means to assert that "the object-to-subject structure of human experience is reproduced in physical nature by this vector relation of particular to particular" (AI 242). Analysis of this process in terms of eternal objects is possible and also important, but it is by no means sufficient, for unless there is also a literal flow of causal feeling from past object to present subject, and unless this real influence is an essential element in the analysis of objectification, Whitehead’s position amounts to no more than those he has criticized and rejected. For the compelling fact of causality is not the fact that present experience has certain formal characteristics in common with past experience, but that present experience is felt as the prolongation of intensities of responsive emotion and as the vectorial energizing of the immediate past. Whitehead’s doctrine of objectification recognizes that while we feel in terms of particulars, we can only conceive in terms of universals. The explanatory mechanism of eternal objects refers to the abstract structure of the process. It cannot, however, serve as an explanation of theconcrete flow of feeling. For process as process cannot be rationalized or reduced to its abstract structure.

III

This analysis directly challenges the contention of those Whiteheadian interpreters who hold that only concrescing subjects are active and that a new subject simply presents its object to itself in terms of forms the object exemplified. To be sure, subjects are active in self-creation, but objects are active in other-creation. The activity of subjects is teleological self-determination, while that of objects is efficient causation. Both activities are conjointly constitutive of the subject. Without the past creative energies, no new present self-creativity could come about; without the private creativity, no new public energy could come about. Each is for the sake of the other and neither has any meaning apart from their dialectical unity.

If this analysis is accurate, recognition of the pivotal importance of the power of the past should lead to a greater overall appreciation of the role of transitional creativity in Whitehead’s system. Not surprisingly, the misinterpretation of the doctrine of causal objectification has gone hand in hand with the mistaken assumption that creativity is confined to the process of concrescence and defined exclusively by Whitehead as self-creativity 4 But the process of transition itself is defined by Whitehead as "the creativity in virtue of which any relative complete world is, by the nature of things, the datum for a new concrescence" (PR 211/ 322). In that case, any discussion of concrescent creativity apart from transitional creativity results in an abstraction from the two-fold functioning of the subject-superject. For although the process of concrescence terminates with the attainment of a fully determinate satisfaction, "the creativity thereby passes over into the ‘given’ primary phase for the concrescence of other actual entities" (PR 85/ 130). Whitehead’s emphasis on transitional or macroscopic creativity is therefore significant for its use in accounting broadly for the origination or evocation of concrescent creativity.5 Far from being completely indeterminate, blind, and formless, creativity can even be credited with an ultimate explanatory role in the system (cf. UC). Whitehead notes, for example, that "the creative advance is the application of this ultimate principle of creativity to each novel situation which it originates (PR 21), and he also explains that "the initial situation includes a factor of activity which is the reason for the origin of that occasion of experience. This factor of activity is what I have called ‘Creativity’" (AI 230). Transitional creativity, as the power of the past, also provides an ultimate explanation of the relational tissues which bind past objects to present subjects in the creative advance.

IV

For Whitehead an important part of the question "Whence comes becoming?" is answered quite intelligibly in terms of the vectorial structure of prehension as from-object-to-subject. By emphasizing this dative "from" and "to," as a both-at-once quality of experience, we can better understand the way in which transitional creativity gives rise to concrescent creativity, and how the immanence of the past "in" the present is a transitive relation. The past as given to is active or else there would be no concrescence, but the past as so given is also given with the present concrescence in the transitive unity of vectorial from-object-to-subject. To sunder this indissoluable unity of feeling is to be left, as Hume was, with presentational immediacy, an inert, contemporary acausal present and its inactive past.

Once creativity is understood as both internal and external to epochal occasions, that is, as partially spontaneous and emergent as well as partially fomented or evoked through the organization of massive inheritance, does rational explication still demand a more complete answer to the question "whence comes becoming?" I think not. As posed in recent discussions by Lewis Ford and Father Clarke, the question "whence comes becoming?" presupposes a sharp distinction between "prehending" and "the power of prehending." The problem of accounting for the source of creativity is then solved either by appealing (with Ford) to the creativity of the future as the immediate source of prehension, or by affirming (with Clarke) a single unitary divine source from whom all creativity flows. But both solutions seem to rely upon an extremely abstracted intellectual analysis whereby causal efficacy is artificially dismembered into "cause" and "effect," with the resulting puzzle as to how cause exerts an effect or how prehension is able to prehend.

William James, exasperated with those who reify the concept of causal power, advised that "the healthy thing for philosophy is to leave off grubbing underground for what effects effectuation, or what makes action act, and try to solve the concrete questions of where effectuation in this world is located, of which things are the true causal agents there, and of what the more remote effects consist (ERE 185f.). Whitehead himself, I suggest, heeded this advice.

 

References

ERE -- William James. Essays in Radical Empiricism and a Pluralistic Universe, edited by Ralph B. Perry. New York: Longsman, Green and Co., 1947.

PAG -- W. Norris Clarke, S.J. The Philosophical Approach to God: A Neo-Thomist Perspective. Winston-Salem: Wake Forest University, 1979.

SSC -- Lewis S. Ford. "The Search for the Source of Creativity." Logos 1 (1980), 45-52.

UC -- William J. Garland. "The Ultimacy of Creativity." The Southern Journal of Philosophy 7/4 (1969-70), 361-76.

WPO -- Dorothy Emmet. Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism. Second edition. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1966.

 

Notes

1The most notable examples occur in the following: William A. Christian, An 1nterpretation of Whitehead’s Metaphysics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), especially chapters 6-9, 11; Ivor Leclerc, Whitehead’s Metaphysics (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1958), especially Chapters VII, VIII, XII, XIII; Donald W. Sherburne, A Whiteheadian Aesthetic (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), pp. 9, 27f., 47f.; and George L. Kline, "Form, Concrescence and Concretum: A Neo-Whiteheadian Analysis," The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 7/4 (1969-70). 351-60.

2Jorge Luis Nobo presents a systematic argument in favor of this formula in "Transition in Whitehead: A Creative Process Distinct from Concrescence," International Philosophical Quarterly, 19 (1979), p. 273.

3 See William A. Christian, An Interpretation of Whitehead’s Metaphysics, pp. 131f., 141f.; Paul F. Schmidt, Perception and Cosmology in Whitehead’s Philosophy (New Brunswick, N Rutgers University Press, 1967). pp. 1241.; A. H. Johnson, Whitehead’s Theory of Reality (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1962), pp. 30f.; Ivor Leclerc, Whitehead’s Metaphysics, pp. 158f.

4The fact that Whitehead devotes the bulk of his attention to this aspect may he due to his adopting, in the systematic analysis of Part III of PR, the point of view of the genetic analysis of concrescence. Since there is no surveying the universe except from an actual entity which unifies it (PB 232/ 354), the genetic analysis of concrescent creativity focuses on the creativity which, is internal to epochal occasions. But this aspect is already understood ‘as partially inherited from the antecedent world of the concrescing occasion, the perspective which Whitehead emphasizes in Chapter XI of AI.

5 Marjorie Suchocki has used the fine term "evocation" in calling attention to this feature of Whitehead’s thought. I am in essential agreement with her clams that "the completion of concrescent creativity is at the same time the transmission of creativity -- each, completed occasion acts as an impulse of energy forcing a new concrescence into being" (quoted in PAG 77).


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