The Culture of Possibility
a gateway to the process tradition
Thinking an Alternative,
Practicing an Alternative,
Being an Alternative
"We are in the midst of seismic cultural change. In the old paradigm, priorities are shaped by a mechanistic worldview that privileges whatever can be numbered, measured, and weighed; human beings are pressured to adapt to the terms set by their own creations. Macroeconomics, geopolitics, and capital are glorified. .
In the new paradigm, culture is given its true value. The movements of money and armies may receive close attention from politicians and media voices, but at ground-level, we care most about human stories, one life at a time.”
---Arlene Goldbard, The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists, and the Future
If Arlene Goldbard is right, three things are needed. We need to think an alternative to the older mechanistic paradigm, practice an alternative to that paradigm, and become an alternative to that paradigm in our daily lives so that people see the new paradigm in how we listen, how we love, and who we are.
In so doing we might find ourselves more fully alive than we ever imagined. Our minds will be more open, our hearts wider, our capacity for living with enriching tensions stronger. In the words of Patricia Adams Farmer, we will have become fat souls.
Process philosophy can help. With its idea that we live in a universe of stories, human and more than human, it can help us live lightly on the earth, gently with others, with respect and care for the community of life....cont.
Want to learn more about the process thought? This website can help. There are others, too.
One is that of the Center for Process Studies based in Claremont, California. If your primary interest is in Thinking the Alternative, this is the best place to go. It features podcasts and videos of lecturers on a vast number of subjects related to philosophy and science, and it offers an excellent bibliography of works on Whitehead and other process philosophers. Click here.
Still another is the Whitehead Research Project. This project is especially helpful for those interested in academic philosophy and in the complicated relation of Whitehead's thought to American pragmatism, post-colonial thinking, continental philosophy, and analytic philosophy. Its inclination is to move beyond the parameters of western philosophical thought to other philosophical traditions, including Asian philosophy.
Another is the website of an organization called Process and Faith. If you are affiliated with a Christian faith community, this is an excellent place to begin. It offers lectionaries linking process thought and biblical materials, and it also offers an oft-used site of information about the perspective of a leading process theologian, John B. Cobb, Jr. For Ask Dr. Cobb, click here. For the lectionaries click here.
And still another is Jesus, Jazz, and Buddhism, the tagline for which process thinking for a more hospitable world. Most of the articles in this website have originated in JJB. This site is the tip of the JJB iceberg, and if you are interested in the full range of potential applications of process philosophy, we encourage you to check it out. Its articles are short and journalistic in style, accessible to the general reader.
Today, JJB is not only a website but also a transnational community of artists, scholars, and friends from over forty different countries. For some people in different parts of the world, JJB is a primary spiritual community because, in the absence of opportunities at home or in the workplace, it provides the best opportunity they have for reflecting on big questions and considering their relevance to daily life. And for many people it provides an introduction to the philosophy of Whitehead.
Want to Read Whitehead's
Process and Reality on your own?
Find a copy of Process and Reality, download John Cobb's Whitehead Wordbook or purchase Robert Mesle's Process-Relational Philosophy: An Introduction to Whitehead, and take the online course offered in Reading Whitehead.
And if you'd like to discuss process philosophy with others, join our Facebook discussion group: Process Philosophy for Everyone.
What is Process Theology?
The religious side of process philosophy is called process theology. Whitehead himself was a philosopher, not a theologian; but theologians made use of his philosophy.
Early on process theology referred primarily to Christian process theology and, perhaps even more decidedly, Protestant Christian process theology with a progressive spirit. Today there are many Protestant Christian process theologians, and it is influential in a grassroots movement called Homebrewed Christianity. You can learn a great deal about this style of Christianity from Process and Faith and from the website for Homebrewed Christianity.
But today, without leaving the Christians behind, process theology is rapidly evolving into a multi-faith movement that is articulated from many different faith perspective and that is open to many different kinds of spiritual experience: naturalistic and theistic, Buddhist and Jewish, Christian and Hindu, Taoist and Confucian, Muslim and Christian.
A good example of Jewish Process Theology would be Rabbi Bradley Artson's God of Becoming and Relationship, published in 2013 by Jewish Lights Publishing House. For a very short introduction to process theology see Constellation of Process Theology -- An Invitation by Rabbi Bradley Artson.
People from different religious traditions and people who are "spiritual but not religious" turn to Whitehead's philosophy as a springboard for creativity, a bridge between East and West, and a bridge toward a sustainable future. Glad you found your way to this page.