Mission, Philosophy, Naturalism
The mission of Process Community is inspire the commitment of all humanity to creative transformation. We help by providing habits and symbols for renewing commitment, activities of self examination, connecting people to reinforce unifying goals, provide continued inquiry and instruction, and to help hold us accountable for breaking our commitments.
We all inherit the habits, beliefs, and assumptions from our family, our friends, our culture, our history.
Some of these are conscious, but most are unconscious. We are all unconsciously programmed. We encourage you dig deep into your mind and rethink your assumptions. To adopt a creative synthesis of worldviews, an informed way of seeing the world, of thinking, of being and becoming.
Founded first on Nature, then on Science which studies Nature, then Philosophy which integrates the special sciences into a coherent and applicable cosmology, then Religion which asks the perennial human questions on how to live in terms of that cosmology, and then the Community which communicates, inspires and promotes that way of life which has the most creative transforming power for YOU.
Your way of thinking affects your decisions. Your decisions create your actions. You actions create your habits. You habits create your character. You character creates your future.
Process thinking will change your life. If your not a process thinker than you are bought into the default unconscious tradition of substance thinking which goes back over two thousand years before Jesus and Plato. We now know with the new physics the old substance view is dead. It will take a very long time to transform how humans think. We hope to speed up that process for the sake of humanity and nature.
Philosophy studies and improves the concepts and methods in the abstract to make them more clear, more consistent, and more fully developed for their application. Philosophy develops the equipment to be used by Religion for the experimental process of human life.
It's not about the destination it's about the journey. Reality is not eternal and timeless, or made up of permanent substances or beings. Reality is change and growth, made up of creative events or becomings.
Process philosophy identifies metaphysical reality with change and development. Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, philosophers have posited true reality as "timeless", based on permanent substances, while processes are denied or subordinated to timeless substances. If Socrates changes, becoming sick, Socrates is still the same (the substance of Socrates being the same), and change (his sickness) only glides over his substance: change is accidental, whereas the substance is essential. Therefore, classic ontology denies any full reality to change, which is conceived as only accidental and not essential. This classical ontology is what made knowledge and a theory of knowledge possible, as it was thought that a science of something in becoming was an impossible feat to achieve.
In opposition to the classical model of change as accidental (as argued by Aristotle) or illusory, process philosophy regards change as the cornerstone of reality—the cornerstone of Being thought of as Becoming. Philosophers who appeal to process rather than substance include Heraclitus, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, Charles Sanders Peirce, Alfred North Whitehead, William James, R. G. Collingwood, Alan Watts, Robert M. Pirsig, Charles Hartshorne, Arran Gare, Nicholas Rescher, Colin Wilson, and Gilles Deleuze. In physics Ilya Prigogine distinguishes between the "physics of being" and the "physics of becoming". Process philosophy covers not just scientific intuitions and experiences, but can be used as a conceptual bridge to facilitate discussions among religion, philosophy, and science.
Thoughts are tools whose value is found in their practical application tested against experience.
Pragmatism considers thought an instrument or tool for prediction, problem solving and action, and rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality. Pragmatists contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes. The philosophy of pragmatism “emphasizes the practical application of ideas by acting on them to actually test them in human experiences”.
Rather than belief in a unity of one underlying substance such as spirit, mind or matter. Pluralism is a belief in a multiplicity of events.
In metaphysics, pluralism is a doctrine that there is more than one reality, while monism holds that there is but one reality, that may have single objective ontology or plural ontology. In one form, it is a doctrine that many substances exist, in contrast with monism which holds existence to be a single substance, often either matter (materialism) or mind (idealism), and dualism believes two substances, such as matter and mind, to be necessary.
There is no one absolute perspective, there are many perspectives each with different contexts. Truth is a pragmatic hypothesis based on a process of continually integrating perspectives.
Perspectivism is the philosophical view that all ideations take place from particular perspectives, and that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made. This is often taken to imply that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively "true", but does not necessarily entail that all perspectives are equally valid. The term was coined by 19th century Friedrich Nietzsche.
Experience does not emerge out of matter or come from a cosmic being. Like evolution, experience goes all the way down in varying levels of intensity.
Panexperientialism is the view that if evolution of humans goes all the way down to subatomic particles, then human ‘experience’ by deduction must have originated at the subatomic level, which implies that not just humans but individual cells, individual molecules, individual atoms, and even individual subatomic particles, such as photons or electrons, incorporate a capacity for ‘feeling’ or degree of subjective interiority.
The term panexperientialism is one of the theory varieties that philosophers use to debate or explain how mind evolved from matter, along with dualism (mind and matter remain separate, a Rene Descartes theory), emergentism (mind ‘emerged’, over time, or at some point, in the process of evolution), materialism (nothing exists but mechanical matter and forces), and idealism (that mind, matter, and spirit are somehow mixed or only spirit exists).
We are all inevitably religious. Our religion is our way of life. The only question is whether it is thoughtful or inane, deep or superficial, good or evil. Religion is our awareness of the realm of unattained possibility and the behavior that makes the adjustments to bring them into reality. Religion is the name we give to solving the most complex and profound problems of life where the experiments and the solution are actually lived.
Even with our general disillusionment with traditional Christian language and symbols, we see the power of using them to express our relationship with the divine. Although we can also do this with every other religion. We are coming out of a strong christian tradition and see the value in continuing the tradition of clarifying our answers to the traditional theological questions and topics.
(The Following is Based on the Works of Henry Nelson Wieman)
Authority, Revelation, and God
Knowledge doesn’t come from dogma derived from tradition but from a generous empirical method. A method which is an ongoing process of collecting evidence and detecting errors. Truth is a tentative hypothesis continually tested against experience in concrete events, it is not final.
Knowledge may follow a revelation but the revelation itself, while profound and life changing, is not knowledge until it goes through a rigorous intellectual process. Revelation is untested intuition, while knowledge must serve and guide our transforming experiences.
For practical purposes we need some way to clarify and practice our commitments in order to guide our lives. We first experience God and then later acquire the knowledge to recognize what was always with us. God is not an idea or a being who creates but is the actual creative process in concrete experiential events.
“Look upon your idea of God as a very poor, very unsatisfactory, extremely inadequate instrument, to be used only because you have nothing better for the time being, to be discarded just as soon as you can find a better”
Nature of God
- God is not a person or mind.
- God is beyond human but not beyond nature or history.
- God is the source of good and growth of value but is not all powerful.
- God needs us for the co-creation of human value.
- God is a part of nature but is not to be identified with nature.
- God works in time through history.
- God is love and creates community.
“Wieman has looked to the experienceable world to discover, if possible, an empirically given, objective, concrete reality upon which all are ultimately dependant for their fulfillment, a reality directly experienceable, and known as all other concrete realities are known, a reality efficaciously at work in our midst to redeem us, a reality forever beyond our control, a reality know with such certainty that its existence is beyond debate or doubt, a reality of such value that it is worthy of our deepest trust and loyalty under all circumstances and times and places, a reality of such inexhaustible and transcending goodness that we kneel in awe and reverence, and in relation to whose holiness we recognize our sinful ways. The term ‘God’ is to be attributed to whatever experienceable and empirical reality meets these criteria.”
Humanity, Sin, Evil, and Hope
Humans use imagination to create symbols to communicate and appreciate the world. We have a unique creative potential which gives us power to reshape the world through the creative process. “Our greatest need is to love and be loved.”
We are limited in our abilities to appreciate the richness of the world. Our selfishness is a clinging to our created self and so distorting our original creative self. We resist change or passively accept it never taking the time to allow it to creatively integrate. We block creative communication through manipulation, deception, and superficial communication. We tolerate private perspectives so much that it leads to a relativism that cancels out all directions into an aimless drift.
We inherit the resistances, fears and inadequacies of others. By accepting our limits and learning to live with the painful realities in nature, we enable the creative process to continue. Sin is “any resistance to creativity in which a person is responsible”.
Evil manifest itself by acts against creativity. Our inner conflict dominating our actions in resisting creativity. Our distorting of ourselves and others consciously and unconsciously. Narrow Minded inherited from our community and culture that leads to destructive conflict. Our lack of ability to make complete and accurate choices. In evading our responsibility and hiding our creative self.
Humanity is not without hope because there is creative potential at work within each of us that drives us towards striving to be organically united with something greater than ourselves. If we give ourselves in commitment to creative power we can do good and make a difference.
Salvation: Conditions, Fruits, and Kingdom
Because of the unconscious tradition we inherit we require radical transformation. Salvation is making creativity your ruling commitment so that life can be lived with a continually growing richness of appreciable felt quality. We must “act in every situation in such a way as to provide the conditions most favorable for creative communication and appreciative understanding among all parties concerned.”
- Accept our need of creative transformation.
- Believe in the creative process.
- Commit to habits that unify us in creative action.
Fruits of Commitment
Commitment transforms us at the conscious and unconscious levels.
- Dominates over destructively realities.
- Enables action under the guidance of reliable intuitions.
- Unifies the self so that all our life can be brought into action.
- Satisfies the wholeness of our being.
The Kingdom of God is a world so transformed that every part responds with rich delivery of meaning to every other part into the beauty of the world.
“The greatest fulfillment of anyone's life comes after one's death in the loves of one's children or friends and associates, or in some institution one has serves or in some other development of life which one has promoted.”
Jesus the man embodied the creative process so fully as to be the catalyst for the Christ event. While the Creative Event is greater than the Christ event, it is a powerful illustrative example. The Christ event is the community of love and fellowship that grew after the man Jesus’ death so that we can come to know creative transformation ourselves.
End of Time
It goes against our empirical method, our philosophy, and our understanding of physics to speculate about the end of time, beyond time, or ultimate final things. We find meaning in history, in time.
We believe there has been progress made in history. Through the widening of social hierarchy, the increase of diverse intercommunication, apprehending more meaning that others have communicated, and us integrating these meanings into our own lives and personalities.
Not all meaning will be preserved, creativity will not always succeed and may come to an end. But we will increase value and meaning on earth as much as we can to the highest degree. We will create the most beautiful moment possible and like a flower it will perish. Life is about the journey not the destination. Lets focus on our creative activity in the living moment. Hope lies in cooperating with Creativity.
The Church is a transforming community that functions to inspire commitment to creative transformation. It plays a crucial role in the transformation of society and can save our freedom and democracy. The Church helps provide habits and symbols favorable for renewing commitment, activities of self examination, connects people to reinforce a unifying commitment, continued inquiry and instruction,and helps hold us accountable for breaking our commitments. The Church must assume its responsibility for the universal ultimate commitment of all of humanity.
“The mission of the church is to lead us to the full and free acceptance of human destiny with its hazards, its sufferings, and its glory; also, it must lead us to strive to shape social institutions and the conduct of personal life in such a way that creativity can operate more effectively through the entire range of human existence.”
Henry Nelson Wieman