An Introduction to the Process Understanding of Science, Society and the Self
by Leslie A. Muray
This book is written, in the field of process thought, for a general, non-specific audience. Consequently, unlike those in more scholarly works, some fine points are not as carefully argued as they might have been, nor does this work have the typical scholarly apparatus of footnotes. Instead, at the end of each chapter, I have included a Section "for further reading."
While much of the work in process thought has been carried on by theologians and the field of the author of the book is theological ethics, the sometimes lengthy discussions of a theological nature serve to illustrate the comprehensiveness of the process-relational vision. I am much more concerned to bring out its broader implications. Thus, I have set out to explore the major tenets of process thought and its applicability in its understanding of the self, society, politics, psychology, the natural sciences, and education.
I would like to acknowledge some very special people to whom I owe special gratitude. First of all to my parents, my father, Remus Muray, and my mother, Marianna Muray, for their part in bringing me into the world, and their love, understanding, and encouragement throughout my life; to John Cobb, my theological ‘godfather’ who first introduced me to process thought, and to whose friendship, inspiration, encouragement, and intellectual stimulation I am more grateful than I could ever express; to David Griffin, who taught me how to think critically; to Jay McDaniel and Kevin Clark for their enduring friendship since our student days and perpetually intellectual stimulating conversations; Nancy Howell, without whose encouragement this project may not have been undertaken; William Dean, whose work has proved to be so liberating; to David and Rosanne Keller, for their friendship, the opportunity to work and play with them, and for their living relationally; Josephine Bates, for her friendship, encouragement, and support in this endeavor; the Rt. Rev. Joseph T. Heistand, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, for his friendship and modeling of the relational vision; the Rt. Rev. Wesley Frensdorff, Assistant Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, for the same; the Rt. Rev. H. Coleman McGehee, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, in appreciation for his commitment to peace and eco-justice.
At the risk of sounding "flaky" and "corny" and although process thinkers and readers once they have finished this book will understand, I need to mention three very special creatures in my life: Buksi, my eighteen year old cat who died Easter Sunday, 1987; Csibi, my two year old cat; his mother, Whiskers, now four. Each of them, in their obvious delight in life, taught me in very concrete ways the meaning of the process-relational vision. As that eminent thinker, Radar O’Reilly of M*A*S*H once said, "Animals are people too!"
I need to acknowledge some great thinkers, now deceased, whose thought has had a great impact on me and is very much a part of me: Alfred North Whitehead, Nicholas Berdyaev, Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, Henry Nelson Wieman, Daniel Day Williams, and Bernard Loomer; and, very much among the living, Charles Hartshorne and Bernard Meland, whom I have met briefly.
I want to express a special note of thanks to my publisher, Professor Herbert Richardson of the Edwin Mellen Press for his confidence in me and asking me to write this book; to Maureen Muncaster, also of the Edwin Mellen Press, for her support and facilitating the process of publication; Lois Holden, Production Manager; and Marguerite Rupnow of Lewiston Business Services, for her understanding and making the arrangements for the final typing possible.
In an undertaking such as this, ones typists often go underacknowledged. I want to express my profound gratitude to Lucille Lewsader, who went way beyond the call of duty" with her patience, longsuffering, helpful comments, and gentle suggestions that made many a sentence less awkward. I also want to thank Shirley J. House of Lewiston Business Services who did the final typing for the style in which it is printed.
East Lansing, Michigan
August 15, 1987