29 March 2013

Being v. Becoming, Pt. 11: Taking Stock

I've been working from the premise that Being just is Becoming. That flux—emergence, growth, decay, and demise—is foundational to everything that is. I've looked at A.N. Whitehead's systematic analysis of Reality and the processes that describe it. In the last few posts, I've considered the notion of Minkowski world lines and its depiction of entities as spacetime travelers.

As I noted, though, this reductionist approach implies both materialism and determinism. And, of course, realism in that it is grounded in the belief that there is some reality out there that can be accurately known and described (even if we can't necessarily do it now given the current state of our knowledge).

I pointed out how Whitehead's notion of feelings (generally, what he calls the processes of prehension and concrescence) leaves room for some degree of self-determination. This is due to the internal, subjective aspects of actual entities.

It is this latter aspect where I am mostly concerned in this series of posts. For it is in this space of feelings (again, in Whitehead's sense) where we should be able to make some sense of consciousness, identity, creativity, and the like—the sorts of things traditional metaphysics and scientistic approaches tend to want to gloss over.

And, what's more, it is in this space where we might be able to make some headway in grounding these "soft" facts in Reality—and not in supernature or transcendence.

So, I'm asking questions such as: How is it that such features as life and consciousness and even self-consciousness and identity can be explained consistently with the known laws of the physical world? How is it conceivable that Life, as we know it, can emerge from rocks and light?

And then I'd like to bring it all closer to home by posing such further questions as: Where am I? Who am I? What, specifically, is the locus of my identity? Is it, say, somewhere behind my eyes? And, who acts when this "I" performs some act such as, say, raising my hand to scratch my nose, reciting a Shakespeare soliloquy, running a marathon, drafting a blogpost, revising my novel, plotting long-term revenge on my enemy?

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Is it, say, somewhere behind my eyes?

I think that is the case. Especially when you have a headache, or the sun is too bright. You know it's true.