Process and Reality

You know, I was thinking today about reality.

I was reading some Alfred Whitehead, the mentor to Bertrand Russell, and he had some interesting ideas about reality.

He posited that reality is a process, a continuum of events, which he called “occasions of experience”.

He shunned materialism because it treated entities as fixed or static abstractions, while Whitehead perceived reality as a flux of events [Heraclitus], not objects, and so the emphasis is on relations, not points, not matter.

I was thinking today of what this means exactly.

I was trying to conceive a continuum of events, a process of relations, in which there were no static points in time. I have a very difficult time doing this, of course. Because whenever I conceive relations, I conceive lines among points. Even an infinite line is hard to conceive without the notion of a point, because supposing infinite lines in every direction, there are infinite intersections, and therefore infinite points, although these points are infinitely changing.

I was thinking of these infinite lines in every direction, forming these infinite planes, constituting the volume of space, which is flowing through a volume of infinite time, events connected via an infinite tether of time.

It’s very hard to not conceive points.

It’s difficult to conceive a reality which is entirely process, entirely events, entirely a continually unfolding experience.

On the quantum level, particles do not exist as points, though we conceptualize them as such. Particles exist as events. [wave-particle duality/ wave collapse via observation]

This is a weird notion.

On the quantum level, matter does not exist, only energy, which can only be experienced as an event. [Schrodinger]

Energy exists as a force, and only manifests as matter when it is concentrated, but even still, it exists as energy that is eventualizing as a process. So the whole of reality is continuum of events which are connected via relations, and entities are merely the sum of relations with other entities, with reality being the synthesis of all these relations.

In sum, every “thing” is a relation.

This becomes most evident on psychedelics, and perhaps deep meditation. Specifically with the loss of subjective perspective constituting ego loss, which inspires a kind of monism [Leibniz], when you suddenly realize all is one, and one is all. That nothing is extricable from anything else.

This whole “process as reality” position seems counter to this contemporary push for digital reality with cellular automata [Wolfram], conceiving reality as infinite monads, or digital points, which can be treated computationally.

Process as reality seems like the analog position.

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