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for the next annual Whitehead Conference in Katowice From Organism to Society In this paper we will discuss a little about the cosmology of Plato’s later dialogues, focusing more on the Timaeus1. At the second part we will try to make an attempt to form an ideal community, to find the ideal laws and establish an ideal city, called Magnesia, which we find in the book of Laws of Plato2. At the end to sum up we compare these theories with Whitehead’s original thoughts forming on these issues in the Process and Reality, in the Adventures of ideas and elsewhere. We need to find connection between cosmology and social sciences. In my paper I make efforts to search possible answers to these questions, knowing that it is never possible to find ultimate answers to ultimate questions, just possible ones, and we need to take them like this - these answers just forming a new and fruitful base for the next uprising questions. Philosophy of Organism or Organic Realism is the way how Alfred North Whitehead understood and described his own metaphysics, it is now known as process philosophy. The central idea of that theory is the notion of concrescence. Concrescence means 'growing together' (com/con from Latin for "together", crescence from Latin crescere/cret- grow), the present is given by a consense of subjective forms. We are multiple individuals, but there are also multiple individual agents operant in the construction of the given. Marvin Minsky calls this the "society of mind" . Whitehead's "subjective forms" complement "eternal objects" in his metaphysical system; eternal objects being entities like Plato's archetypal Forms. In Process and Reality3, Whitehead proposes that his 'organic realism' be used in place of classical materialism. But what process leads us on the way from organism to society? Just take the example of the cell inside a living organism, how that living, pulsing, participating member is communicating with its circumstances inside-outside. If we stay with the whiteheadian terminology we could describe that factor as a grouping of occasions arising, developing itself in a special structure or pattern, getting more concrete and then be actualised as a form. This terminology and the philosophy of organism is optimal to be used on the field of social sciences and social antropology. It deals with structures, patterns, living and changing groupings of occasions forming societies. Whitehead himself is using the word 'Societies' in a very special meaning: it is a grouping of eternal objects plus datas in a special pattern or structure or conceptual matrix. So he has a wider usage of this notion, he expands that cathegory to unliving factors without consciousness, just recognising, focusing on the structure inside4. In this paper I am just searching possible cosmological and metaphysical concepts to built up a society, and on the reverse, i would like to transform these notions back to the religious thought. In the first section I research in Plato’s later dialogues -in the Timaeus, Laws and
Plato: Timaeus (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1999) 20 b, 21a, 28a – 30d, 90d, Plato: The Laws X.I., Books: VII- XII. (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard Univ.Press, 1984) 628c, 739be-c, 741a,b,, 745e- 746d, 757a-d, 962a,b, A.N.Whitehead: Process and Reality (Cambridge University Press, 1929) Whitehead: Modes of Thought, Science and the Modern World ( The Macmillan Company, 1926) The Concept of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1926)
Philebus5 texts - the patterns of the Word-creation, the meaning of the creation, and the possible relation between the creation with the greek word:’gignomai’ and being: ’einai’. After that I read on a little more from Leibniz: Monadology6 as a very clear exemplification of that how this functions as a virtuality within each and every cell and within the whole big organism, and how it is reflected on the nature of God and back. The cosmological model of the World-creation implies the creation of the World as an ideal community, so these are paralel patterns, which could be reflected or projected on each other – that’s what I am searching for: the way how could a divine pattern be realised on Earth and on the other hand how could a life and pattern of a society fit to the divine matrix or model? And in general if we take the sacred geometry, or a melody or some astronomical truth or belief how could that divine model be realised in a particular way? What is the role of the ’Demiurge’ in this greek-type creation theory, could it be eliminated? What is the role of the ’Paradeigm’, the model or pattern of creation? What is the possible causation, time-space or logical relation between the Paradeigm and the Creation or the Paradeigm and the matter of creation? These are paralel realities, or one of these factors are predecessors of the other, in terms of logic, or in space or in time a previous factor or phase in creation? What possible theological connotations it has? To be created after a divine model, ’eikon’ could be reflected on the incarnation or transformation of the Logos in different theologies? In this Demiurge-type creation theory, what creation theory motives we can find which could be related with other semita, middle-eastern mithologies? To compare Timaeus and Genesis is not task of the present issue. What is the relation between Paradeigm and eikon, they both refer to perfect patterns, but how they relate with the Logos theories? What relevance it has to the recent process theological thought? Or on the reverse: how this type of creation theory could be understood in the light of process philosophy and process theology? At the Timaeus 28a till 30d verses Timaeus cosmological speech begins with the distinction: „ what is that which is allways real (einai) and has no becoming and what is that which is allways becoming (gignomai) and is never real?” This distinction reveals that there is still a huge metaphysical-ontological and theological gap between ’becoming’, gignomai and ’existing’ einai. For the early greek thought ’becoming’ is less precious, then ’existing’, that belongs to the aeternum, to the divine existence. Since Parmenides we know that ’existence’, 'einai' in its pure meaning means every divinity, and ’non-existence’ fails behind to a non-real fiction. But in the philosophy of Parmenides the whole natural philosophy is dealed under that cathegory, except God, who stays in complete isolation from the allways changing world, in his transcendent completeness, unchangeable, static, divine space and eternal time. Since that presocratic period that is an ontological, metaphysical and also a theological distinction between ’existing’ and ’becoming’, which implies a further epistemological distinction, namely the ’doxa versus logos’ distinction. We all struggle to reach clear and undoubtable knowledge, similarly to Descartes's basic effort, a well-argued and safe knowledge, called ’logos’. This ’logos’ belongs and refers to the eternal and rational things, like geometrical or mathematical, astronomical truths, proportions, numbers. So the field of ’logos’ refers to the eternal things and ideas, meanwhile on the other hand the ’doxa’ is a slightly slim or weak opinion about the
Plato:Philebus (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2001) Leibniz G., The Monadology (translated by George MacDonald Ross, 1999)
changing values of wordly actual entities, which are ’allways becoming and never real’ – according to Parmenides and Plato in the Timaeus. Thats the root of the metaphysical distinction, why we handle the ’becoming’ less precious then the ’ever existing’ values in this classical greek ontological scheme. From a process philosophical and process theological point of view of course the situation changes and upside down turning : ’becoming’ seems more plausible then the final, ultimate facts themselves, as already objective immortal informations, comparing with the fresh and self-creative becomings. What is the notion or concept of nature in Plato or in Whitehead’s process philosophy? Why is it so important how to define the World we are living inside?: to define it with a static or with a dinamic notion of nature and creation?: to define it with a static or dinamic cosmology or creation theory? To understand it through different channels, it’s like looking through different lenses, the picture is changing. How can this world change to be a sacred and divine nature we need to protect and safe? How can this World be transformed to be divine and take it as a holy land again, as a body or sence organ of God? Why is it so important to take it like this from the aspect of eco philosophy? That religious viewpoint is not alien to the franciscan interpretation of the word, just refer to the Sun hymn of San Francesco d' Assisi about brother Sun and sister Moon.
man of archaic societies tends to live as much as possible in the sacred or in close proximity to consecrated objects. The tendency is perfectly understandable, because, for primitives as for the man of all premodern societies, the sacred is equivalent to a power, and, in the last analysis, to reality. The sacred is saturated with being...Religious man deeply desires to be, to participate in reality, to be saturated with power...The completely profane world, the wholly desacralized cosmos, is a recent discovery in the history of the human spirit...Desacralization pervades the entire experience of the nonreligious man of modern societies and that, in consequence, he finds it increasingly difficult to rediscover the existential dimensions of religious man in the archaic societies."7 According to professor Dominic O’Meara the cosmological theory is forming a possible theoretical matrix or conceptual scheme to understand Plato’s political philosophy and on the reverse: Plato’s political thought is forming an optimal model to understand his cosmology. This argument relies on an analogous argumentation and belief in the coherence of the philosophical system within the corpus. Behind the analogical mutual reference between heaven and earth we find the root of every mysticism: Because forming a community, occupying a land and establishing a city is allways an imitation of the ancient, original cosmogony, an imitation of the act of the Demiurge who created the world - according to Eliade. So we first need to understand the creation theory, the cosmological scheme, and then using that as a model we can find out how it is possible for a man, for a Legislator to find and establish an ideal state and give good laws and create a strong community. The city is an image of God, and soforth it is a holy place.
Mircea Eliade: The Saint and The Profane (Harvest HBJ, 1959), 8. page
Whitehead's book, the Adventures of ideas8 is a good example here, just take a look on the table of contents: Sociological, Cosmological, Philosophical, Civilization, we see how these fields of knowledge, viewpoints of world-explanations are mutually interwowen and built up by each other, can't be taken and understand separately. We need to have a humanitarian ideal, a free subject to create such a civilization, which will be characterised by the ultimate cathegories of Truth, Beauty, Adventure and Peace. To create such a civilization we need to change our cosmological views, make a new reformation in the field of sciences, learn more from ancient cosmologies, and on that wider scheme we can establish a special metaphysics, where subject and object not differ from each other but mutually dependent and interwowen, create the philosophy of process and the philosophy of organism, see becomings as occasions and as groupings of occasions, take the circumstances as an organic belonging and pulsing background which can't be teared off from a living entity, have a new aspect of creation and self creation and just after that will humanity be able to create another type of society, another type of communication, another type of culture and religion, which based more on tolerance, social emotivism, sensitivity and empathy. So: this just underlines the original thesis: cosmology and cultural or social antropology is somehow connected. These viewpoints are just different articulating channels to express the same universal content, what they share. We need to live in divine space and divine time, therefore we need a divine nature which surrounds us. If we take the world around us as such, we can take it as a hierophany or as a theophany and it can form a ground to a cosmotheological argument to proove God’s existence. The God, the Demiurge is good and the nature of creation is pretty because he is the best of all the possible causes and he needs to create after an ideal pattern, a Paradeigm, and this ideal pattern is pretty, because it contains ideal geometrical proportion, justice and harmony in number. The universe is well-organised and every living entity is harmonised, synchronised universally with each other and within each other in micro- and macro cosmical way, and stays in communication with each other like between the cells inside the body of an organism. The Monadology of Leibniz could be a very good example as well to this universal harmonising of the monads with each other, within themselves and within the whole if we take the monads with windows on each other – whiteheadian. Leibniz: Monadology citation
A.N.Whitehead: Adventures of ideas( Cambridge University Press, 1933)
Now we just need to project all these metaphysical concepts on each other, just as an attempt. First let's take the Timaeus version of Plato: The Demiurge-God creates a World after a Paradeigm or ideal pattern or model, then creates the eikon, the resemble factor and after that transform his quality through these ideal channels or filters to the reality. Let's give windows to the monads of Leibniz, to be able to reflect themselves, reflect the others around and reflect the whole universe. Lets give this ability through the Godchannel, or expand the God-channel through the function of the mirrors and virtual reflection, but somehow open and change the angle of the mirrors to see each other and themselves, and project reality full vision. In Whitehead's Metaphysics, - what he held in the Process and Reality Ideal Opposites section, God and the World chapter - these three active factors in creation also exists dressed in new names. We have the 'primordial nature' of God, the ideal or conceptual field with eternal objects and their constellations, then after that model or Paradeigm we have the eikon, the special structure or pattern or matrix within which the eternal objects or bunches of them take place in a special order, which is already translated to be adoptable for the new becomings, so as a transient factor, as a subjective aim, as a pattern, as an eikon this constellation exist, and as a third pole we got the 'consequent nature' of God with the fresh becomings, actual entities forming the other reality part, called: World. But the main thing is the connection between, the mutual reflection, as we saw in the Monadology, how the universe of eternal objects refers to wordly actual entities, and backwords: how the universe of actual entities refers to eternal objects? How they are interrelated? Through subjective aim, through realisation and as objective immortal information, and inside the constellations or 'societies' they are a data beside an eternal object.The main thing is the process between and the reflection, the projection, how they function as a mirror, how they may contain the whole universe from a special aspect within their data from which they built up. If the process is fundamental, we need to have a process version of the Timaeus creation myth what Plato tends to have in the notion of the time, in the notion of the Worldsoul and in the moving in circles what divine planets and the whole universe is dancing eternally. In the light of the whiteheadian metaphysics we need to re-think the distinctional hierarchy between gignomai, 'to be in a creative process' and einai, 'to be', 'to exist as a static, ready entity'. We need both poles according to Whitehead: permanence and change both necessary, permancence comes form God's nature toward the World and change comes form the World to God's nature, thats why we still keep God and the World distinction, as we still need to talk in a subject-predicate form, we need to use the self and the other distinction, because our language is built upon these logical cathegories, but meanwhile we are talking like this and using their names and keep them in ontological difference from each other we mean something unnamed flow between, which is the real meaning, the real quality of the connection, which realised between, which is created by the connection between the two poles and on the reverse the two poles – god and the world – are just aspects of this third constituted quality. And this connection is a self-transforming one, is identical with the progress or process and the real functioning of the Creativity itself.
Dominic O’Meara: Cosmology and politics in Plato’s later dialogues, (extended abstract for the phd course he ran at the Eötvös Lóránd University, 2010) Plato: Timaeus (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1999) 20 b, 21a, 28a – 30d, 90d, Plato: The Laws X.I., Books: VII- XII. (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard Univ.Press, 1984) 628c, 739be-c, 741a,b,, 745e- 746d, 757a-d, 962a,b, A.N.Whitehead: Process and Reality (Cambridge University Press, 1929) Whitehead: Modes of Thought, Science and the Modern World (The Macmillan Company, 1926) The Concept of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1926) Plato:Philebus (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2001) Leibniz G., The Monadology (translated by George MacDonald Ross, 1999) Mircea Eliade: The Saint and The Profane (Harvest HBJ, 1959), 8. page A.N.Whitehead: Adventures of ideas (Cambridge University Press, 1933)
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