The Original Version Of Process And Reality, Part V. A Tentative Reconstruction

by Denis Hurtubise

Denis Hurtubise is Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Saint Paul University, 223 Main Street, Ottawa, Canada, K1S 1C4. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the concepts of God in Whitehead’s Process and Reality.

The following article appeared in Process Studies, pp. 1-12, Vol. 22, Number 1, Spring, 1993. 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.


This article is concerned with that original version of Part V of Whitehead’s Process and Reality. The author proposes a reconstruction of Part V before the numerous modifications Whitehead made of it.

1. Introductory Remarks

In The Emergence of Whitehead’s Metaphysics,1 Lewis S. Ford describes Process and Reality as the result of a complex redactional procedure in which an original manuscript from the summer of 19272 has been repeatedly supplemented by additions from renewed perspectives. As a matter of fact, Ford contends, Whitehead’s metaphysical outlook kept shifting during the very composition of Process and Reality. Various procedures would have been used by him in order to revise his text, the most important being the insertion, at various places in the original manuscript, of passages expressing his new vision, at times a few lines, at times even whole sections, with the intention of leading his eventual readers to interpret the whole context in the light of the point of view of the inserted materials.3 Ford proposes that Whitehead did modify his original manuscript accordingly a number of times before its publication in 1929, with the result that the final version of Process and Reality is actually the outcome of the superposition of texts from successive redactional strata over the original stratum made by the manuscript of the summer of l927.4

According to Ford, this original stratum included an original version of the now Part V of Process and Reality. As he says, it would have been most unusual if Whitehead had not written anything about God when the chapters he was preparing for his book on metaphysics were also destined to be presented the following June in Edinburgh as the 1928 Gifford Lectures, which are lectures on natural theology. Furthermore, Ford adds, there is in Part V enough materials consonant with the general viewpoint of the original stratum to advocate the existence of an original version of this Part of Process and Reality.5

In addition to these arguments by Ford, the existence of an original version of Part V of Process and Reality is also suggested by some peculiarities that characterize the text of that Part as it appears in its final version. I am here referring to the incongruities that riddle Part V of Process and Reality.

One such incongruity can be found in the radical shift of concern that happens at the end of section V.1.3. From the beginning of that section until 339.33a,6 Whitehead elaborated on the necessity of not disjoining order and novelty when all of the sudden, without even starting a new paragraph, he drops that concern in order to discuss in the next few lines a totally unrelated matter, namely a consequence of the transmutation of causal efficacy into presentational immediacy.

Another anomaly can be found in V.1.4, more specifically in 340.25-341.7. Indeed, we see evil being first presented there as loss of the past: "The ultimate evil in the temporal world is deeper than any specific evil. It lies in the fact that the past fades, that time is a ‘perpetual perishing’ (340.250. Then, in 340.34b-341.2, Whitehead proposes a solution to the problem of evil, that is, what he calls "the provision of intermediate elements introducing a complex structure of harmony" (340.41-42a). Finally, in 341.3-7, he comes back to a statement on the nature of evil as lost of the past. The anomaly in this case lies in the regression 341.3-7 introduces in the argumentation. As a matter of fact, one can wonder why Whitehead would conclude a discussion obviously meant to present a solution to evil with a stern restatement of the concept of evil he just transcended.

Those difficulties, to which other examples could be added, suggest that the text of Part V of Process and Reality has been reorganized by Whitehead, and, therefore, that there has been an original version of that Part V.

This article is concerned with that original version of Part V. My intention is to propose a reconstruction of it, that is, a reconstruction of the text of Part V as It stood before the numerous modifications Whitehead made to it.

That reconstruction is, to be sure, the result of a careful scrutiny of the text of the final version of Process and Reality. It aims, basically, at recovering the original component textual units of Part V of that book and rearranging those textual units in what is felt to be their right original sequence. Still, this scrutiny is only based on textual evidence, that is, on discontinuity and continuity between various textual units. There is no external evidence that is apt to confirm the adequacy of the reconstruction. This entails, therefore, that the reconstruction proposed is necessarily tentative. The most that can be done is to propose it and try to defend its plausibility. Accordingly, the article will consist in an exposition of the reconstructed original Part V, with footnotes in which the plausibility of the reconstruction is advocated.

But before getting to the texts, I think it is appropriate to warn that the original version of Part V as reconstructed below, is quite different from the final version available in Griffin and Sherburne’s corrected edition of Process and Reality.7 This can be explained by the fact that Whitehead did continue to revise the original version a number of times and according to the rather unusual procedure I discussed in the introduction, that is, mainly, by adding new materials. Indeed, he revised his text by following two general patterns. At times he would add new passages, generally inserting them in between original materials. At other times, he would remove passages from the original version in order to reinsert them in other parts of the book. Both procedures have been extensively used in the progressive revision made by Whitehead of the original Part V with the result that the early versions below are only partly similar to the final version.

Reconstructing the original version of Part V requires that we bring together textual units that are now separated in the final version. Consequently, and in order to make it easier for the reader to recognize those textual units, I will identify each of them by bracketed capital letters. Those letters will facilitate further reference to the textual units they identify. In addition, I will use bracketed small letters to point out places in Part V where Whitehead inserted new materials in the course of his several revisions. These insertions are discussed in footnotes.

2. The Original Version of Process and Reality, Part V

Section 1

[Unchanged from original until final version: corresponds exactly with V.1.1 in the final version]

Section 28

[A: 338.l8-26]9 The four symbolic figures in the Medici chapel in Florence -- Michelangelo’s masterpieces of statuary, Day and Night, Evening and Dawn -- exhibit the everlasting elements in the passage of fact. The figures stay there, reclining in their recurring sequence, forever showing the essences in the nature of things. The perfect realization is not merely the exemplification of what in abstraction is timeless. It does more: it implants timelessness on what in its essence is passing. The perfect moment is fadeless in the lapse of time. Time has then lost its character of ‘perpetual perishing’; it becomes the ‘moving image of eternity’.

[B: 208.4-209,7a]10 That ‘all things flow’ is the first vague generalization which the unsystematized, barely analyzed, intuition of men has produced. It is the theme of some of the best Hebrew poetry in the Psalms; it appears as one of the first generalizations of Greek philosophy in the form of the saying of Heraclitus; amid the later barbarism of Anglo-Saxon thought it reappears in the story of the sparrow flitting through the banqueting hall of the Northumbrian king; and in all stages of civilization its recollection lends its pathos to poetry. Without doubt, if we are to go back to that ultimate, integral experience, unwarped by the sophistications of theory, that experience whose elucidation is the final aim of philosophy, the flux of things is one ultimate generalization around which we must weave our philosophical system.

At this point we have transformed the phrase, ‘all things flow’, into the alternative phrase, ‘the flux of things.’ In so doing, the notion of the ‘flux’ has been held up before our thoughts as one primary notion for further analysis. But in the sentence ‘all things flow,’ there are three words -- and we have started by isolating the last word of the three. We move backward to the next word ‘all’ and ask, what is the meaning of the ‘many’ things engaged in this common flux, and in what sense, if any, can the word ‘all’ refer to a definitely indicated set of these many things?

The elucidation of meaning involved in the phrase ‘all things flow’ is one chief task of metaphysics.

But there is a rival notion, antithetical to the former. I cannot at the moment recall one immortal phrase which expresses it with the same completeness as that with which the alternative notion has been rendered by Heraclitus. This other notion dwells on the permanence of things -- the solid earth, the mountains, the stones, the Egyptian Pyramids, the spirit of man, God.

The best rendering of integral experience, expressing its general form divested of irrelevant details, is often to be found in the utterances of religious aspiration. One of the reasons of the thinness of so much modern metaphysics is its neglect of this wealth of expression of ultimate feeling. Accordingly we find in the first two lines of a famous hymn a full expression of the union of the two notions in one integral experience:

Abide with me;

Fast falls the eventide.

Here the first line expresses the permanence, ‘abide’, ‘me’ and the ‘Being’ addressed; and the second line sets these permanences amid the inescapable flux.

[a]11 [C:338.11b-17] Ideals fashion themselves round these two notions, permanence and flux. In the inescapable flux, there is something that abides; in the overwhelming permanence, there is an element that escapes into flux. Permanence can be snatched only out of flux: and the passing moment can find its adequate intensity only by its submission to permanence. Those who would disjoin the two elements can find no expression of patent facts.

[D: 346.37-347.2] 12 The vicious separation of the flux from the permanence leads to the concept of an entirely static God, with eminent reality, in relation to an entirely fluent world, with deficient reality. But if the opposites, static and fluent, have once been so explained as separately to characterize diverse actualities, the interplay between the thing which is static and the things which are fluent involves contradiction at every step in its explanation. Such philosophies must include the notion of ‘illusion’ as a fundamental principle -- the notion of ‘mere appearance.’ This is the final Platonic problem.

[E: 342.17-343.19]13 The notion of God as the ‘unmoved mover’ is derived from Aristotle, at least so far as Western thought is concerned. The notion of God as ‘eminently real’ is a favorite doctrine of Christian theology. The combination of the two into the doctrine of an aboriginal, eminently real, transcendent creator, at whose fiat the world came into being, and whose imposed will it obeys, is the fallacy which has infused tragedy into the histories of Christianity and of Mahomedanism.

When the Western world accepted Christianity, Caesar conquered; and the received text of Western theology was edited by his lawyers. The code of Justinian and the theology of Justinian are two volumes expressing one movement of the human spirit. The brief Galilean vision of humility flickered throughout the ages, uncertainly. In the official formulation of the religion it has assumed the trivial form of the mere attribution to the Jews that they cherished a misconception about their Messiah. But the deeper idolatry, of the fashioning of God in the image of the Egyptian, Persian, and Roman imperial rulers, was retained. The Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar.

In the great formative period of theistic philosophy which ended with the rise of Mahometanism, after a continuance coeval with civilization, three strains of thought emerge which, amid many variations in detail, respectively fashion God in the image of an imperial ruler, God in the image of a personification of moral energy, God in the image of an ultimate philosophical principle. Hume’s Dialogues criticize unanswerably these modes of explaining the system of the world.

The three schools of thought can be associated respectively with the divine Caesars, the Hebrew prophets, and Aristotle. But Aristotle was antedated by Indian, and Buddhist, thought; the Hebrew prophets can be paralleled in traces of earlier thought; Mahometanism and the divine Caesars merely represent the most natural, obvious, idolatrous theistic symbolism, at all epochs and places.

The history of theistic philosophy exhibits various stages of combination of these three diverse ways of entertaining the problem. There is, however, in the Galilean origin of Christianity, yet another suggestion which does not fit very well with any of the three main strands of thought. It does not emphasize the ruling Caesar, or the ruthless moralist, or the unmoved mover. It dwells upon the tender elements in the world, which slowly and in quietness operate by love; and it finds purpose in the present immediacy of a kingdom not of this world. Love neither rules, nor is it unmoved; also it is a little oblivious as to morals. It does not look to the future; for it finds its own reward in the immediate present.

[F: 347.3-l6]14 Undoubtedly, the intuition of Greek, Hebrew, and Christian thought have alike embodied the notions of a static God condescending to the world, and of a world either thoroughly fluent, or accidentally static, but finally fluent -- ’heaven and earth shall pass away.’ In some schools of thought, the fluency of the world is mitigated by the assumption that selected components in the world are exempt from this final fluency, and achieve a static survival. Such components are not separated by any decisive line from analogous components for which the assumption is not made. Further, the survival is construed in terms of a final pair of opposites, happiness for some, torture for others.

Such systems have the common character of starting with a fundamental Intuition which we do mean to express, and of entangling themselves in verbal expressions, which carry consequences at variance with the initial intuition of permanence in fluency and of fluency in permanence.

Section 315

[G: 338.28-339.33a]16 Another contrast is equally essential for the understanding of ideals -- the contrast between order as the condition for excellence, and order as stifling the freshness of living, This contrast is met with in the theory of education. The condition for excellence is a thorough training in technique. Sheer skill must pass out of the sphere of conscious exercise, and must have assumed the character of unconscious habit. The first, the second, and the third condition for high achievement is scholarship in that enlarged sense including knowledge and acquired instinct controlling action.

The paradox which wrecks so many promising theories of education is that the training which produces skill is so very apt to stifle imaginative zest. Skill demands repetition, and imaginative zest is tinged with impulse. Up to a certain point each gain in skill opens new paths for the imagination. But in each individual formal training has its limit of usefulness. Beyond that limit there is degeneration: ‘The lilies of the field toil not, neither do they spin.’

The social history of mankind exhibits great organizations in their alternating functions of conditions for progress, and of contrivances for stunting humanity, The history of the Mediterranean lands, and of western Europe, is the history of the blessing and the curse of political organizations, of religious organizations, of schemes of thought, of social agencies for large purposes. The moment of dominance, prayed for, worked for, sacrificed for, by generations of the noblest spirits, marks the turning point where the blessing passes into the curse. Some new principle of refreshment is required. The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order, Life refuses to be embalmed alive. The more prolonged the halt in some unrelieved system of order, the greater the crash of the dead society.

The same principle is exhibited by the tedium arising from the unrelieved dominance of a fashion in art. Europe, having covered itself with treasures of Gothic architecture, entered upon generations of satiation. These jaded epochs seem to have lost all sense of that particular form of loveliness. It seems as though the last delicacies of feeling require some element of novelty to relieve their massive inheritance from bygone systems. Order is not sufficient. What is required, is something much more complex. It is order entering upon novelty; so that the massiveness of order does not degenerate into mere repetition; and so that the novelty is always reflected upon a background of system.

But the two elements must not really be disjoined. It belongs to the goodness of the world, that its settled order should deal tenderly with the faint discordant light of the dawn of another age. Also order, as it sinks into the background before new conditions, has its requirements. The old dominance should be transformed into the firm foundations, upon which new feelings arise, drawing their intensities from delicacies of contrast between system and freshness. In either alternative of excess, whether the past be lost, or be dominant, the present is enfeebled. This is only an application of Aristotle’s doctrine of the ‘golden mean.’ [b][c]17

[H:340.2-16a]18 The world is thus faced by the paradox that, at least in its highest actualities, it craves for novelty and yet is haunted by terror at the loss of the past, with its familiarities and its loved ones. It seeks escape from time in its character of ‘perpetually perishing’. Part of the joy of the new years is the hope of the old round of seasons, with their stable facts -- of friendship, and love, and old association. Yet conjointly with this terror, the present as mere unrelieved preservation of the past assumes the character of a horror of the past, rejection of it, revolt:

To die be given, or attain,

Fierce work it were to do again.

Each new epoch enters upon its career by waging unrelenting war upon the aesthetic gods of its immediate predecessor. Yet the culminating fact of conscious, rational life refuses to conceive itself as transient enjoyment, transiently useful. In the order of the physical world its role is defined by its introduction of novelty.[d]19

This is the problem which gradually shapes itself as religion reaches its higher phases in civilized communities. The most general formulation of the religious problem is the question whether the process of the temporal world passes into the formation of other actualities, bound together in an order in which novelty does not mean loss.[e][f][g][h]20

[I: 350,8-13]21 Thus the universe is to be conceived as attaining the active self-expression of its own variety of opposites -- of its own freedom and its own necessity, of its own multiplicity and its own unity, of its own imperfection and its own perfection. All the ‘opposites’ are elements in the nature of things, and are incorrigibly there. The concept of ‘God’ is the way in which we understand this incredible fact -- that what cannot be, yet is.



1. Lewis S. Ford, The Emergence of Whiteheads Metaphysics (Albany: Slate University of New York Press, 1985). Henceforth referred to as EWM.

2. External evidence points to the summer of 1927 as the moment when the original manuscript, or at least parts of it, was written. In a letter sent to his son North on August 22, 1927, Whitehead talks about the book which would become Process and Reality: "It seems years and years since I wrote to you. But I have written nearly half a book on Metaphysics this summer, and have not wanted to break my thoughts in any way. Anyhow I have now got nearly 9 1/2 out of a projected plan of 20 or 25 chapters..."(EWM 179).

3. On Whitehead’s compositional method, see, for example, pages xi and 177 in EWM.

4. Ford isolates thirteen successive redactional strata in Process and Reality, and refers to them with capitals from A to M. Those strata are themselves sometimes divided in substrata, as it is the case, for example, with strata C and F, due to some minor shifts that, though introducing new features, are still closer conceptually to the stratum to which they are related than to the next one. As Ford himself mentions (see EWM 179), the compositional analysis of Process and Reality is not yet complete. New redactional strata could be found, entailing that the "A to M’ classification of redactional strata could be modified by such new findings in the text.

5. See EWM 186f.

6. References to passages in Process and Reality will be made by following the customary model adopted in Griffin and Sherburne’s edition, that is by page(s) then line(s). Thus, 339.32a means page 339, first part of line 22. As for the sections, they will be referred to the same way Whitehead himself used to, that is by Part, then Chapter. then Section. As an example, II.10.1 means Part II, Chapter 10, Section 1.

7. Process and Reality. An Essay in Cosmology. Corrected Edition by David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne (New York: Free Press, 1978).

8. The second section in Part V’s original version is the ancestor of section V.1.2 in the final version. As it will become obvious, the bulk of section V.1.2 was already present in original section 2. However, that original section 2 may have included other textual units that would have been moved to other places in Process and Reality during the various revisions Whitehead made of the book. Here are, listed according to the order in which we propose they appeared, the textual units that would have composed Part Vs original section 2:

[A] 338.18-26

[B] 208.4-209.7a

[C] 338.11b-l7

[D] 346.37-347.2

[El 342.17-343.19

[F] 347.3-16

9. It is plausible to conceive the second section of Part V’s original version as opening with [AI on the basis of the relation between [AI and the textual unit that follows it immediately, that is, [B], for one part, but also on the basis of the relation between [A] and the rest of the section. As a matter of fact in [A], Whitehead does basically two things. First, through the image of the Medici Chapel, he discusses two aspects of reality, namely permanence (‘everlasting elements,’ ‘timelessness’) and fluency (‘passage of fact,’ ‘what in its essence is passing’). Secondly, he presents the symbolic statuary figures as exemplifying the dual and simultaneous presence of permanence and fluency in a same moment of reality. Now, if we consider that [B] is a discussion of permanence and fluency, and that from [B] to [F], Whitehead demonstrates, though briefly, how the history of thought has always separated permanence and flux, the relation between [AI and [B] but also between [A] and the rest of the section can be seen as a relation of continuity. Indeed. [A] can be seen as providing a first general introduction of the two notions Whitehead is going to discuss in a more formal manner in [B], those notions being flux and permanence. And in a parallel introductory role, [AI can be understood as a statement made by Whitehead of his view of the way flux and permanence should be dealt with, that is, jointly, as a contrasting background for the presentation he is about to make of the separation that the history of thought has perpetuated between the same two ideals. In both cases, thus, Whitehead can be understood as stating in [A] the notional and ideological background upon which he elaborates the discussion that follows from [B] to [F].

That [A] stood as the opening paragraph in the second section of the original version of Part V means that somehow in revising his manuscript Whitehead brought that paragraph from the opening to the concluding position, [A] being the concluding paragraph of section V.1.2 in the final version. I suspect that this transfer from opening to conclusion has been effectuated this way; [A] has probably been moved from section 2 of the original version to 11.10.1 together with [B] (see note 10) in order to serve as an introduction for the latter section. Then, after Whitehead removed [C], [D] and [E] from section 2 (see notes 10, 12 and 13 below), he probably realized how little material remained in that section, namely the introduction he added in order to replace [A] and [B], and [C]. In view of this, and considering that [B] could constitute an adequate introduction to 11.10 on its own, he brought [A] back to section 2, but at its end, another introduction having been added when [A] and [81 had been moved to 11.10.1, namely [a] (on the latter, see note II below).

It should be noted that another possible position for [A] in the original version would be immediately after [F]. In this case, there is also continuity between [B] to [Fl, on one hand, and [A], on the other, the latter following the former. As a matter of fact, [B] to [F] can be seen as forming the background Whitehead sets up in order to state his own opposite opinion in [A]. Indeed, the discussion as a whole deals with the separation between flux and permanence, and how the history of thought shows that such a separation has been perpetuated. Such an historical survey sets the stage adequately for Whitehead’s own stance on the same matters, especially in view of the contrast between his position and the ones surveyed.

10. That [B] preceded [C] in the original version is plausible considering the continuity that exists in the dynamics of the discussion of the whole made by the juxtaposition of the now two separated passages. [B] introduces the two notions, ‘flux’ and ‘permanence’ while [C] affirms the importance of those two notions for the formation of ideals. Alternatively, [C] presupposes that the concepts it is discussing have been previously introduced, and such an introduction of the concepts of ‘flux’ and ‘permanence’ are to be found in [B]. Actually, the very formulation of [C] refers to a previous discussion of ‘flux’ and ‘permanence’ by means of the demonstrative pronoun ‘these’: "Ideals fashion themselves round these [italics mine] two notions, permanence and flux" (338.11b-12a)

Another indication favoring the original location of [B] before [C] is the use of ‘notion’ as referring to ‘flux’ and ‘permanence’ in both [B] and [C]; in the introduction of ‘flux’ and ‘permanence’ made in [B], Whitehead rigorously refers to those two objects as ‘notions’, and he does the same in [C]. This is an argument for continuity insofar as we recognize that Whitehead had not adopted a constant or standard referent for objects that are said to be essential for the understanding of ideals, that is, besides ‘flux’ and permanence’, ‘order’ and ‘novelty.’ As a matter of fact, Whitehead refers to ‘order’ and ‘novelty’ as ‘elements’ in the very next section (section 3). This should indicate that for Whitehead, flux and permanence are not necessarily to be referred to as notions, and, as a consequence, that the recurrent reference to them as notions in [B] and [C] could well indicate that both texts were written consecutively.

11. The original position of [A] as preceding [B] entails that [a] (338.7-Il in the final version) should be considered as not belonging to the original version of part V of Process and Reality. Indeed, the presence of[A] as the introduction of the notions of flux and permanence would make [a] quite redundant, although it is very much needed once [A] and [B] were removed.

[a] is made of the following sentences:

There are various contrasted qualities of temperament, which control the formation of the mentalities of different epochs. In a previous section (Part II, Ch. X) attention has already been drawn to the sense of permanence dominating the invocation ‘Abide with me,’ and the sense of flux dominating the sequel ‘Fast Falls the Eventide.’

12. V.1.2, being shrunk to two paragraphs in the final version of Process and Reality, may have originally had as many as fifteen paragraphs, which are now found not only in 11.10.1, but V.2.1 and V.2.5. One of these now displaced passages is [D], now located in V.2.5. In the original version of Part V. it may have immediately followed [C], though in a new paragraph.

The proposed sequence ‘[C] then [D]’ is plausible if one considers the continuity that links the boundary sentences. At the end of [C], Whitehead states: "Those who would disjoin the two elements [flux and permanence] can find no interpretation of patent facts." At the outset of [D], he indicates an instance where reality is interpreted from the standpoint of the same disjunction: "The vicious separation of the flux from the permanence leads to the concept of an entirely static God..." Having concluded the discussion on flux and permanence in [C] by stating the problem caused by their disjunction, Whitehead, in [D], turns to an instance of this problem.

13. Another passage that through revising his manuscript Whitehead may have transferred from the second section of Part V’s original version to another place in Process and Reality is [E]. now located in V.2.1.

The possible original position of [E] after [D] is plausible on the basis of the continuity that exists between those two passages at the level of the dynamics of the discussion that takes place in the broader unit made by both [D] and the first paragraph (actually, the whole) of [E]. In [D], Whitehead had stated that the separation of flux from permanence leads to a concept of a static God and a fluent world. Then, in [E], he focuses on the notion of God as static in order to situate its historical origins and its historical development. [E], thus, can be perceived as continuous with [D] insofar it develops one of the two elements that are discussed in [D], namely, the notion of God as static.

There is also continuity in the correspondence between the qualifiers used for God in both [D] and [E]: ‘unmoved mover’ in 342.17 ([El) recovers, in a formulation that is peculiar to some philosophical systems, the general idea of staticity in God (346.38, in [D]), whereas ‘eminently real’ (342.18-19, in [E]) is identical to ‘eminent reality’ (346.38, In [D]). [E] discusses the same very precise subject as [D], namely God as static and eminently real.

Moreover, [D] introduces the concepts [E] seems to presuppose. Starting a discussion as it does ("The notion of God as the ‘unmoved mover’ is derived from Aristotle, at least so far as Western thought is concerned. The notion of God as ‘eminently real’ is a favorite doctrine of Christian theology."), without any anterior mention of this notion of God, is possible, even though abrupt. But it is also plausible, because of this abruptness of the sentence as a discussion opener, to understand this sentence as presupposing an introductory discussion of this special notion of God. [D] provides such a required introduction or discussion of the notion of God mentioned in [E].

14, Originally, [E] was possibly followed by [F], now located in V.2.5. This original location is plausible if we consider the dynamics of the discussion taking place in [E] and [F] as together constituting a whole. In this case, the continuity revolves around the first sentence of [F]: "Undoubtedly, the intuitions of Greek, Hebrew, and Christian thought have alike embodied the notions of a static God condescending to the world, and of a world either thoroughly fluent, or accidentally static, but finally fluent – ‘heaven and earth shall pass away.’"

This sentence is a double statement, with a first statement on God and a second statement on the world. Of those two statements, the one on God is the most important Insofar it can be seen as grounded by the preceding developments, that is, by [E]. Indeed in [E], the history of ancient thought is overviewed and perceived as having presented God in the image of an imperial ruler (Christian theology), a personification of moral energy (Hebrew thought) and an ultimate philosophical principle (Greek thought). It is thus seen as having presented God as static. Now, the statement above on God opens the paragraph that follows that overview of ancient thought by asserting that Greek, Hebrew and Christian thought embody the notion of God as static. That statement, then, simply repeats, in an abridged form, the overview. Therefore, as the first part of the double statement on God and the world that follows immediately the overview of ancient thought, the statement on God can be seen as grounded by the overview, and on this ground as acting as transition between [E] and [F].

15. In the same way in which the original V.1.2, as tentatively reconstructed, was the forerunner of the final V.1.2, sections V.1.3 and V.1.4 of the final version appear to be the result of the progressive revision made by Whitehead of the third and last section of the original version of Part V. That third section would have been made of materials now scattered in sections V.1.3 and V.1.4, but also in section V.2.6 in the final version. Those materials would have consisted in the following textual units listed below in order of appearance in the original V.1.3:

[G] 338.28-339.33a

[H] 340.2-23 (minus insertion at 340.16b-19)

[I] 350.8-13

16. The third section of the original version of Part V probably began with what is now section V.1.3 in the final version, with the exception of the last lines of that section V.1.3, that is 339.33b-44, that could have been added later by Whitehead. The sudden and unprepared mention of ‘causal efficacy’ and ‘presentational immediacy’ in the discussion (lines 33b-36a), combined with a second passage of the same sort a few lines further concerning the body and bodily life (lines 36b.44), suggest that 339.33b-44 were not part of the original discussion, and that they have been added later. In fact, we propose that this added material consists of two successive insertions, a first one at 33b-36a (or [b]), and a second one at 36b-44 (or [c]). These two insertion are quoted in note 17 below.

As for the origins of those insertions, it seems that both have been brought in from another place in Process and Reality where they did belong when first written. The first one, that is, [b], could have been at one time located in section IV.4.l, page 314, between lines 25 and 40, thus at the place where 314.26-39, which did not exist then, is located in the final version. Whitehead would have brought [b] at the end of V.1.3 after he inserted 314.26-39 in order to replace it. As for 339.36b.44 (or [c]), it seems that it was for a while located at 109.9. When Whitehead rewrote 109.9-31 in terms of enduring objects, he could have moved [c] to V.1.3.

17. Insertion [b], that is, 339.33b-36a in the final version of Process and Reality, reads as follows:

The lesson of the transmutation of causal efficacy into presentational immediacy is that great ends are reached by life in the present; life novel and immediate, but deriving its richness by its full inheritance from the rightly organized animal body.

Insertion [c] is the following:

It is by reason of the body, with its miracle of order, that the treasures of the past environment are poured into the living occasion. The final percipient route of occasions is perhaps some thread of happenings wandering in ‘empty’ space amid the interstices of the brain. It toils not, neither does it spin. It receives from the past; it lives in the present. It is shaken by its intensities of private feeling, adversion or aversion. In its turn, this culmination of bodily life transmits itself as an element of novelty throughout the avenues of the body. Its sole use to the body is its vivid originality: it is the organ of novelty.

18. Part V’s original version probably did not include some materials that appear now in sections V.1.3 and V.1.4 of the final version (see the two preceding notes, also notes 19 and 20). Rather, [H] (now 340.2-16a) probably followed immediately after [G] without any break between the sections.

[H] can be understood as continuous with [G] insofar it presupposes a previous discussion of the concepts it deals with, namely order and novelty, and their importance for understanding the world. Indeed, the opening sentence in [H]. that is, "The world is thus [italics mine] faced by the paradox that, at least in its highest actualities, it craves for novelty and yet is haunted by terror at the loss of the past, with its familiarities and its loved ones," refers, because of the use of the word thus, to a previous argument that provides the grounds on which Whitehead bases his assertion that the world requires both novelty and order. Now, [C] is just such a discussion, with examples from history and art at hand. Consequently, the previous argument [H] refers to could very well be [C].

19. Whitehead probably inserted [d] (that is, 340.16b-19 in the final version) in [H] at some point in his revision of original Part V:

But just as physical feelings are haunted by the vague insistence of causality, so the higher intellectual feelings are haunted by the vague insistence of another order, where there is no unrest, no travel, no shipwreck: ‘There shall be no more sea.’

That [d] plausibly constituted an insertion can be seen on the basis of the continuity that links the lines surrounding it, that is, 340.12-16a and 340.20-24. The lines that precede [d] describe in general terms the tension between order and novelty, that is, the need the world is confronted with of both order and novelty. The lines that follow [d] formulate, also in general terms, the ‘religious problem’: the tension between emergence of novelty and loss of order. There is continuity here insofar as the religious problem is formulated in the terms of the tension between order and novelty that is discussed before [d]. As such, [d] only introduces a break in the dynamics of the argumentation by introducing, between the two moments of a discourse made in general terms, a repetitive reformulation done in technical terms of the first moment of the discourse. Indeed, [d] expresses the same tension between order and novelty that was already expressed in the lines that precede it, except that the tension is expressed, in [d], in a technical language (with terms such as physical feelings and intellectual feelings) that is not used in the immediate context. In other words, there is continuity in the discussion taking place in the textual whole made by the juxtaposition of 340,12-I 6a and 340.20-24, but also in the style used in this textual whole, that is a general style, to be opposed to the more technical style used in [d].

Another argument could be added about [d] as constituting an insertion, although it is based on considerations that cannot be developed here. [d] should be understood as an insertion because it includes late concepts, that is, ‘intellectual feelings’ and ‘physical feelings’, respectively from redactional strata H and D (on those concepts as belonging to later redactional strata, see chapter nine in EWM). That those concepts do not belong to Process and Reality’s original version, and thus to the original version of part V, implies that the passage they belong to. namely [d], has been inserted later by Whitehead in his revision.

20. The rest of the final version of section V.1.4, that is, from 340.25 to 341.17, was not, it seems, in the original version. It is possibly made up of four passages that have apparently been added to the original version at some point in the revisory process. probably independently of one another. Those passages are referred to as [e], [f], [g] and [h]. and correspond, respectively, to 340.25-34a, 340.34b-341.2, 341.3-7, and 341.8-17:


The ultimate evil in the temporal world is deeper than any specific evil. It lies in the fact that the past fades, that time is a ‘perpetual perishing.’ Objectification involves elimination. The present fact has not the past fact with it in any full immediacy. The process of time veils the past below distinctive feeling. There is a unison of becoming among things in the present. Why should there not be novelty without loss of this direct unison of immediacy among things? In the temporal world, it is the empirical fact that process entails loss: the past is present under an abstraction. But there is no reason, of any ultimate metaphysical generality, why this should be the whole story.


The nature of evil is that the characters of things are mutually obstructive. Thus the depths of life require a process of selection. But the selection is elimination as the first step towards another temporal order seeking to minimize obstructive modes. Selection is at once the measure of evil, and the process of its evasion. It means discarding the element of obstructiveness in fact. No element in fact is ineffectual: thus the struggle with evil is a process of building up a mode of utilization by the provision of intermediate elements introducing a complex structure of harmony. The triviality in some initial reconstruction of order expresses the fact that actualities are being produced, which, trivial in their own proper character of immediate ‘ends.’ are proper ‘means’ for the emergence of a world at once lucid, and intrinsically of immediate worth.


The evil of the world is that those elements which are translucent so far as transmission is concerned, in themselves are of slight weight; and that those elements with individual weight, by their discord, impose upon vivid immediacy the obligation that it fade into night. ‘He giveth his beloved -- sleep.’


In our cosmological construction we are, therefore, left with the final opposites, joy and sorrow, good and evil, disjunction and conjunction -- that is to say, the many in one -- flux and permanence, greatness and triviality, freedom and necessity, God and the World. In this list, the pairs of opposites are in experience with a certain ultimate directness of intuition, except in the case of the last pair. God and the World introduce the note of interpretation. They embody the interpretation of the cosmological problem in terms of a fundamental metaphysical doctrine as to the quality of creative origination, namely, conceptual appetition and physical realization. This topic constitutes the last chapter of Cosmology.

As has been mentioned in the introductory remarks, a shift occurs in the discussion at 340.25. Up to that point, that is, in [G] and [H], Whitehead discussed order and novelty. After 340.25, he abruptly shifts to a discussion of evil in which order and novelty are never mentioned. Such an absence of continuity suggests that the discussion on evil has been added later.

I propose that this added material on evil is made of three different insertions, which are [c], [f] and [g], quoted above. Those insertions are distinguished from each other on the basis of the differences among their respective contents. Indeed, all of them are definitions of evil that are mutually coherent in respect to the basic nature of evil, but the definitions differ as to the way the nature of evil is expressed. In [e] evil is defined as "the fact that the past fades, that time is a ‘perpetual perishing’." In [f] evil "is that the characters of things are mutually obstructive," while in [g] "the evil of the world is that those elements which are translucent so far as transmission is concerned, in themselves are of slight weight; and that those elements with individual weight, by their discord, impose upon vivid immediacy the obligation that it fade into night." Although all three definitions are fundamentally similar in that in each one evil consists in the loss of the past, the particular expression of the nature of evil that is found in each (due to the equation between the nature of evil and one of its manifestations) suggests that Whitehead has elaborated each of those definitions from the standpoint of differing preoccupations or points of view. It suggests, thus, that Whitehead has composed them at different moments, and, consequently, that they are distinct textual units.

As for [h], I suggest that it is a late insertion. Like [a], (see note II), this passage may have replaced another passage. More precisely, the passage now located in 350.8-13 ([I]) probably once served as the conclusion for section 3 in the original version (see note 21 immediately below). Indeed, [h] as well as [I] are summary statements about the universe as exhibiting a variety of opposites, and, furthermore, some pairs of opposites are mentioned in both, such as ‘multiplicity and unity’ and ‘freedom and necessity.’ Such a repetition suggests that if [I] first concluded original section 3, [h] was inserted to conclude what would become the first chapter in the final version of Part V when [I] was transferred to its present location in section V.2.6.

21. In original Part V, [I] probably followed [H]. Indeed, [I] provides an appropriate conclusion for the original version of Part V. It summarizes the main idea of that version, that is, that the universe unfolds itself through opposites, among which flux and permanence, order and novelty have been discussed.