May 1990


Creativity is a fundamental component of Whitehead's metaphysics,
and creativity can be considered as descriptive and prescriptive. It
is descriptive when it reveals the essential fact of the universe.
The universe is in the process of change. In fact, there is only
process and this IS creativity. The prescriptive element of
creativity is concerned with the value of creativity and the attempt
to unfold it. Whitehead mostly describes creativity by describing the
fundamental laws and elements of the universe-in-process. And in
describing this creativity he reveals the essential aim of all
entities, which is the creative process of unifying diversity and the
consequential making of greater diversity. Thus, the descriptive and
the prescriptive are embedded in each other. This essay will
primarily focus on the aim and inner process of creativity, but since
the system is so tightly integrated I must first present the general
aspects of creativity.

The creative process must be understood from two perspectives: an
inner, microcosmic process, and an outer, macrocosmic process. The
inner process takes place within actual occasions as concrescence.
The outer process is the transition of the completion of each
concrescence as objective datum into the conformal feeling of other
concrescences. The inner process has an outer, transitional effect
upon other inner processes. The inner process is the creativity of
the concrescence of actual entities. The present moment of
creativity, or the actual moment of creativity, occurs within the
process of microcosmic entities concrescing towards their
satisfaction. In actuality there really is nothing happening in the
world but concrescence and the transitions that are both the effect
and cause of all concrescence.

As the microcosmic process unfolds, so does the macrocosmic. The
subject concrescenses the disjunctive data of its past or environment,
making a unique unity, and this united satisfaction becomes a
superject for latter actual entities. But since the satisfaction is a
new synthesis of the data, which was synthesized before it, it becomes
another unique novelty available in the world. This new unity may
become one of the datum for another new concrescence, which is the
process that Whitehead calls `transition.' The many become the one and
this becomes the many. Whitehead states, "The creative action is the
universe always becoming one in a particular unity of self-experience,
and thereby adding to the multiplicity which is the universe as many"
(PR 89).

This is the ultimate metaphysical principle, "the advance
from disjunction to conjunction, creating a novel entity other than
the entities given in disjunction," and this novel entity "is at once
the togetherness of the `many' which it finds, and also it is one
among the disjunctive `many' which it leaves" (PR 32). So as the
actual entities unify some of the novelty, the whole macrocosm grows
in novelty.

The process of concrescence is a synthesis of many subjective,
conceptual feelings into one complete contrast, or a unity of
subjective feeling, which is the satisfaction of finally establishing
one complex identity based upon the many prehensions of data.
Concrescence is from the many to the one, from the disjunctively
diverse to the conjunctive contrast. Here, the word contrast is used
to denote the unity of feeling many components together as a
conjunctive whole. Creativity is the process of the disjunctively
diverse concrescing into a new complex unity. The greater the
contrast, or complexity of the unity, the greater the intensity of
feeling, which is, according to Whitehead, the ultimate aim of God,
and thus the essential aim of all actual entities.

Creativity presents two fundamental sets of "ideal opposites,"
which are order and novelty, and permanence and flux. I will briefly
introduce both of these opposites, in order to set the background for
this essay. Unity creates order. It is the unification of the many
that is order, as we can see in the example of any society. Since the
unity comes out of a novel concrescence, we can also say that order
comes out of novelty. Conversely, novelty comes out of order, since
it has used the various [novel] orders of its past, and also because
novelty needs some degree of an ordered environment from which to
develop itself. Order and novelty are fundamental themes in the
creative process.

Cobb states that "order is an essential ingredient in the
maximization of enjoyment" (Cobb 59), but "no type of social order is
to be maintained if it no longer tends to maximize the enjoyment of
the members of the society." Thus, "it is impossible for any form of
social order to continue indefinitely to be instrumentally good" (Cobb
60). Time and change are necessary components to realizing the
creative possibilities of God's Primordial Nature, because "not all
ideal possibilities can be realized simultaneously" (MT 53). Change is
needed, and old ways may have to die away, so that new possibilities
may come into being. God is the "source of some of the chaos in the
world" (Cobb 60), because unrest, change, and novelty are necessary to
the process, so this aspect of God could be seen as anti-conservative.
The conservative in society, or the conservative nature within
ourselves, wishes that all remain the same, that all things remain
stable. The conservative is comfortable with what is and doesn't want
to lose this state of comfort, while the radical or the adventurer
seeks to make change and risk the possible pain of having to adapt to
new ways.

The social order should maximize the enjoyment of its members, and
should be rated "according to their success in magnifying the
individual actualities, that is to say, in promoting strength of
experience" (AI 376). Actually though, this sounds too utilitarian,
because it promotes an end goal which cannot be specifically defined,
ie. enjoyment; so I will suggest that the social order maximize
opportunities and possibilities for novelty and enjoyment, which is a
less manipulative and more indirect statement of society's intention,
because a society should only support and allow for novelty and
enjoyment, not attempt to direct it. An order is only a structure for
the possibility of novelty; it is an effect of novelty, but not the
creator of it, because novelty is a response from within the entity,
not a directive from without.

Novelty and creativity require a certain amount of order and
stability in the environment of that change. This is more easily seen
in a democratic society, where the personal right to freedom is highly
valued, but this freedom would be diminished without the general order
or structure of laws that protect those rights. Order is essentially
a stable state of cooperation and harmony between various entities,
which is in fact a definition of societies. A society is essentially
an order, whereby there exists cooperation and agreement amongst the
members. There is some sense of a common aim, which may vary from
survival to ideas of common enjoyments. If we can agree to the right
of freedom within the order, and cooperate to this end, then we have a
state of order which is nourishing to novelty and creativity.

Order emerges out of novelty, and yet novelty can only be created
within order. Whitehead says, "The art of progress is to preserve
order amid change, and to preserve change amid order" (PR 515).
Novelty may temporarily create some disorder, due to the changes it
incurs upon the existing order, but this novelty is at the same time
causal to a new order, as in a revolution of ideas or in the political
structure of a society. Thus, novelty may be the beginning of a new
order emerging, or we could say that the process of an emerging order
necessarily involves novelty, especially at the beginning of the
process. Order is the consequential state of any creative process,
and at any stage of this process there is some state of order, as well
as emerging novelty,

Both order and novelty are functions of a greater aim, which is
the enjoyment of intensity, since "God's purpose in the creative
advance is the evocation of intensities" (PR 161). This evocation of
intensities is the ultimate criteria of value in order and novelty.
Unless order and novelty serve this greater purpose, they cannot be
seen as good in and of themselves. Therefore, mere novelty or mere
order is not the real aim. Each must instrumentally serve the other,
because only in conjunction can they serve the higher aim. Those who
assert their creativity without due respect to the overall order, or
those who maintain the order without due respect to each member's need
for novelty, do not promote good or God's enjoyment.

Each entity must hold two basic values in mind. One is the value
of asserting the creative urge, which is the freedom to be and do
whatever is of greatest enjoyment to that being; and two, is the value
of preserving the order of society in which this freedom must live,
and this value may require a certain amount of adaption from the other
value. In other words, the value of asserting creativity must not
impinge upon the same rights of others, nor be destructive to the
overall order or common aim that maintains the rights in the first
place. The same principle can be noted in any organism, in that each
organism lives within and is somewhat dependent upon its special
environment, and the organism could not live if that environment were
not at least somewhat stable, so it would not want to assert itself in
an overly radical way that might produce a total colapse of the
sustaining environment. This is an intelligent ecological approach to
life, and we can see the need for human beings to respect the given
order of the natural world and cooperate within it. The human/divine
impulse is to be creative, which means bringing novelty into the
world, as well as transforming the given order into that which is more
enjoyable to our senses, but we must not assert ourselves too far in a
way that would endanger the sustaining environment in which we live.

Everything and everyone is in a creative process of flux. Instead
of defining the human being as a something or a mixture of somethings,
process thought defines the human being as in process. Nothing is
static and there is no unchanging entity. There are enduring objects,
which last, so to speak, for a certain duration, but even these are
`somethings' only by abstraction from the actual process of change.
Even time itself is a measurement of duration abstracted from the
process. So the actual world of events (all `objects' are actually
events) is characterized by change, and permanence is only an
abstraction from the process of change. Permanence is merely a
relative perception of endurance amidst greater changes in the
environment. For example, my house is permanent relative to my
movements within it, but of course it is not completely unchanging,
and in fact it is moving at a great speed through the universe.

Then, there is the real permanence of the Primordial Nature of God
and the eternal objects composing it. This is not the same as being
permanent in manifestation, but is permanent in the sense that certain
potentials remain potentials throughout their many changes in
manifestation. In terms of God we could say, as Charles Hartsman did,
"the two `poles' or aspects of God are the abstract essence of God, on
the one hand, and God's concrete actuality on the other. The abstract
essence is eternal, absolute, independent, unchangeable. It includes
those abstract attributes of deity which characterize the divine
existence at every moment" (Cobb 47). The eternal objects are
repeatable potentials, which are "essentially aloof from change in
that it is of their essence to be eternal" (Sherburne 221). The
fundamental principles in the cosmos, which are Whitehead's
categories, also must remain constant, even throughout different
cosmic epochs.

So, the essence of the cosmos, or Primordial God, is eternal and
permanent, but only in its indefiniteness, because the actual definite
forms or manifestations of objects are always in flux. Since each are
repeatable and eternal, they always remain what they are in essence,
so that actual entities can prehend them in different forms. Eternal
objects are said to be neutral to their form of physical ingression,
and the actual entity itself in the process of concrescence determines
the specific form of the eternal object. Whitehead once described the
universe as "the adventure of eternal objects," meaning that the world
is an ever-changing novel mixture of the eternal objects, the
essential (or potential) building blocks of manifestation.

The complete inner process of concrescence cannot be covered in
this essay, but I must at least generally explain certain fundamental
aspects. First, the entity prehends various objective datum "given"
as superject by previous satisfactions of concrescence. These
selected prehensions are then conformally felt, meaning that they
incarnate into the new concrescence carrying their particular causal
efficacy. The entity then conceptually feels the eternal object
ingressed in the physical feeling of the selected datum, and thereby
frees the eternal object from its previous form. This eternal object,
or potential, is then given a new form, a subjective form unique to
the entity. The altering of the eternal object into a new subjective
form of feeling is called `conceptual reversion,' and throughout this
process of change there is continual comparison between what was and
what could be (propositions). But in any complex concrescence there
are many feelings, originating from many datums, to be concresced
together as one complete, unified satisfaction, so within the process
there is an evolving comparison and contrast of the various feelings
received or re-versioned by the process itself, and there are ever new
propositions for a unified satisfaction, until the final satisfaction
is realized.

Throughout the process the subject is at work interpreting and
comparing feelings so to finally achieve the contrasting unity. The
many feelings must harmonize together in order to contrast into a
unity. Under the Category of Subjective Unity, "the many feelings
which belong to an incomplete phase... are compatible for integration
by reason of the unity of their subject" (PR 39). The subject itself
is cause to its own unity, due to the inherent unity of the subject.
But how can the subject, which is incomplete and only completed in its
satisfaction after the final phases, be able to direct its own process
of becoming? This is a fundamental problem and Whitehead answers it
with the notion of the subjective aim. He says, "In its self-creation
the actual entity is guided by its ideal of itself... The enjoyment of
this ideal is the subjective aim" (PR 130). Thus, the subjective aim
is the unity envisioned by the subject, which guides the process
towards the completion of that unity. And since the subject on its
own cannot know the [potential] unity of its completion in order to
guide the process, the subjective aim is said to be initially given by
God, Who would have enough omniscience to propose a [correct] initial

The subjective aim is also considered to be the guide for the
Category of Subjective Harmony, which means that "the valuations of
conceptual feelings are mutually determined by the adaption of those
feelings to be contrasted elements congruent with the subjective aim"
(PR 40). Though the entity does not attain the complete unity of
satisfaction until the end of its process, the Categories of
Subjective Unity and Subjective Harmony require that all feelings in
the concrescence be compatible, else they are eliminated by negative
prehensions or conceptual reversions. The entity accepts only
compatible feelings from the beginning, those that feel harmonious
enough for contrast, and even if a feeling was later found to be
incompatible, conceptual reversion could alter it.

The subjective aim "determines the subjective forms of conceptual
feelings, and it conditions the forms of conformal physical feelings.
Thus it functions as the ontological ground or reason for the harmony
of feelings... the subjective aim is an appetition for unity of
satisfaction. It thus gives a dynamic, teleological unity to the whole
process" (Christian 303). The subjective aim is the reason for the
internal unity of the actual occasion. In this description the
subjective aim is above the process, and thus able to guide it.
Whereas the subject is incomplete, the subjective aim is said to be a
completed ideal. It is the final cause of the concrescence, yet it
starts from a hybrid physical feeling of God, and thus it is of
efficient causation, that given by God.

Whitehead's ontological principle states that every part of the
process has its reason either in the data of the actual world, or
within the character of the subject in process, so from this principle
Whitehead denies that ideas float into actuality from nothing or pure
being, but instead "ideas of reflection are derived from actual facts"
(PR 64). The entity responds to the given data with its own
subjective forms of feeling, and these forms of feeling are
conditioned by the subjective aim (Christian 304). How the actual
entity responds to data, or how it conceptualizes the conformal
feelings is dependent upon its inherent (initial) aim, its final cause
of which the process is attempting to move toward.

The ontological principle would deny the possibility of that aim
coming out of nowhere. Therefore, it must be either inherent in the
process, as the ontological basis of the process, or it must be
prehended as a datum from the past or from eternal potentials. But
the aim cannot come from the past; otherwise the past would endlessly
repeat itself, and there would be no real novelty in the creative
process. It could come from eternal potentials, much like a realm of
possible aims (as eternal objects), but this does not tell us why one
potential would be chosen over another. Whitehead describes the
initial aim as either a hybrid physical feeling of God, or a given
proposal from God (as Persuader), or inherited from the order of

It is difficult to decipher which one of these Whitehead was most
fond of, or if he thought that they all were part of the ontological
origin of the initial aim. He says that the initial aim is "an
endowment which the subject inherits from the inevitable ordering of
things, conceptually realized in the nature of God ...God and the
actual world jointly constitute the character of the creativity for
the initial phase of the novel concrescence" (PR 374). Here, he
implies that the initial aim is of the "inevitable ordering of
things," that it is conceptually realized by God (and also prehended
by the entity?), and that God is at least one factor in the initial
phase of concrescence. At first glance this diversity of description may not seem a problem, so I will touch on the implications throughout
the essay.

One of the points we need to realize here is that Whitehead is
using the God-given initial aim to explain how the actual entity could
unify itself into a harmonious satisfaction. Also, an omniscient God
would explain how each of the contemporary actual entities harmonize
together into a greater order. God is described as a conscious
omniscience that is leading the world of events toward greater order.
It is God Who realizes the great order of things, physically
prehending the actualities of the world as it becomes, and thus is
able to bring "into prominence relevant novel possibilities for the
world at its given stage of attainment ...that would result in maximum
ordered complexity of the world were it realized in fact" (Sherburne
244). Only God as the totality could know what would be absolutely
best for each entity within the overall context of universal
enjoyment. In other words, God comprehends the totality and knows
exactly what would maximize Its enjoyment throughout the totality and
in each occasion. This is absolute religious idealism without the
deterministic problem, because God is said to only `persuade'
creation. But more on this later.

Whitehead introduces the notion of initial aim so that the
concrescence has a unifying aim directing the process from its
beginning. This initial aim is given by God, Who is, in the outer
aspect, the totality of all superjective data, and in the inner
aspect, the totality of all potentials, as well as the categorial laws
and purpose of the universe. The initial aim, which is thus the
initial subjective aim of the entity, with the possibility of
modification, is thought to be "the ideal of what that subject could
become, which shapes the very nature of the becoming subject... As
superject, God offers for each actual entity, as its subjective aim, a
vision of what that entity might become... Subjective aims, then,
constitute the means by which God works in the world" (Sherburne 244).

According to this scenario, God guides the creative process by
providing a subjective aim for each subject at each moment. God
provides the initial aim, and this might be modified later on in the
process. Yet not only God modifies the subjective aim, but the
subject does as well, since the subject is free of God's determinacy,
and this is just the beginning of a grand confusion, which this essay
will address. Whitehead must have felt that the subject would need a
specific ideal to guide its concrescence. To some extent there is a
need for guidance, but it appears to me that Whitehead could not fully
leave behind the Christian image of God as Omniscient Director of all
things, though his God is said to be only persuasive.

I suggest that the process does have a goal or teleological
purpose. It needs to have some kind of aim, or at least general laws
to guide it. Yet, one fundamental law has already been stated, which
is that the concrescence is working its way to a unified satisfaction
or contrast of the many feelings that constitute it. To give warning,
I contend that this is all that is fundamentally needed as a working
aim and teleological purpose. Yet, Whitehead introduces more laws and
functional terms, some of which seem useful for expounding the
clarification of the creative process, ie. the Categories, while the
definition of subjective aim seems redundant or even incorrect. Of
course, how can such a little mind as mine fully comprehend the
significance of Whitehead's metaphysics? But in spite of my
limitations, I must still challenge some aspects of the system as
presented, if not to convert the reader to my exposition, then at
least to explore the process of [my] creative learning.

I suggest that the subjective aim is inherent in the process
itself, as the fundamental categories or principles of all processes,
which includes subjective unity, contrast, and novelty. I argue that
the subjective aim does not need to be a specific ideal satisfaction
in order to guide the feelings to unity, because a general appetition
for unity, as the fundamental principle in the process itself, is
sufficient to lure the feelings toward a final unity. And having a
specific ideal would not be a good answer to the above question,
because the actual unified satisfaction, as well as any ideal of that,
could not be affective before the process comes to its completion.
Only a general, non-specific appetition for unity could exist by
categorical law throughout the incomplete process.

Some aspects of Whitehead's description of subjective aim could be
acceptable to me, but generally it is not only an unnecessary part of
the system, but is detrimental to the whole idea of creative process.
I will show this later on. First, let us further consider some of the
ways this notion is described. Edward Pols considers four points in
Whitehead's many descriptions about the subjective aim to be
particularly important. One is that "the subjective aim is an element
in a concrescence of feelings and is therefore one of the component
feelings." Here, the subjective aim is one of the many comparative
feelings which are moving toward a complete unity of satisfaction. Two
is that it is "the feeling in the actual entity that controls and
unifies the other feelings. Its concern is thus with the whole of the
concrescence." This presents the aim as an objective ideal that
harmonizes the many feelings throughout the process, luring them to
itself. Three is that it "is the unity of the feelings", but at the
same time "requires these feelings to be what it is." This shows an
apparent contradiction, because if the aim is merely the unity of the
many feelings, then how can one say that it makes these into what it
is? The answer to this may be in Whitehead's epochal theory of time,
which is too difficult for this essay. And four, it "has a datum of
its own, namely, a proposition." This relates to the first point,
showing the subjective aim as the primary proposition throughout the
process of concrescence, where in the later phases there is always a
proposition that might be the satisfaction of unity. (Pols 109-110).

Whitehead states that, "however far the sphere of efficient
causation be pushed in the determination of components of a
concrescence -- its data, its emotions, its apprehensions, its
purposes, its phases of subjective aim -- beyond the determination of
these components there always remains the final reaction of the
self-creative unity of the universe" (PR 75). Here, he seems to treat
the subjective aim as just one of the many components of the
concrescence having different phases and modifications, but the
ultimate final cause is the urge to unity by the freely creative
actual occasion. Thus, the subjective aim is not the final cause
(although elsewhere he says it is), because the "self-creative unity"
is beyond any such lure. Here, he does not want to imply that the
subjective aim fully controls the process, which speaks to the freedom
of the subject in its self-creation. I maintain in this essay that the
true final cause which does determine the creative process is the
general aim of unity itself inherent in all entities. All that
Whitehead is really describing in the above are propositions, and
beyond this it is redundant to make the aim merely one of the
components. He even admits here that the components are ultimately
determined by a principle of "self-creative unity."

One apparent contradiction with the subjective aim is that it is
"considered as an indivisible unity belonging to the whole of the
actual entity, and the same subjective aim considered as undergoing
successive modifications" (Pols 102). The subjective aim is supposed
to give unity to a set of feelings, and in this way it could be
understood as the instrumental lure for the Category of Subjective
Unity. The subjective form of conceptual prehensions is "constituted
by the one subjective aim which guides their formation" (PR 357). But
in order for this unifying aim to be affective it would have to hold
some consistency of persuasion throughout the process; otherwise a
lure that can be easily modified by that which it is luring can hardly
be called a lure. If I'm the director of a project, but my workers
determine what I decide, then there is really no purpose in my role.
So, if the subjective aim is modified by the process it is supposed to
guide, then who's leading who? Is the subjective aim modified by the
process, or by the subject, or does it modify itself, or does God
modify it from `above' the process? These are important questions,
which process theologists seem to avoid.
In defense of Whitehead, one way around this contradiction is to
understand the subjective aim as modifying itself or being responsive
to changes in the phases of concrescence. This would imply that the
aim is being modified from within (or from God), not from without (or
the freedom of other parts of the concrescence). The subjective aim
might continue as a unifying lure, but modify itself to the ongoing
process. Here, it is directive, but modifies its directive at
different points in the process. This then means that the subjective
aim cannot fully determine the process, and that it is often
unsuccessful as a guide, because if it were successful then it wouldn't
need to modify itself to unplanned changes, so it has to modify itself
to the process that steered away from itself. Here, the modification
of the subjective aim is due to the imperfection of its persuasion.
Then, I would wonder why it had not the power of persuasion, or for
what reason would the process steer in a different direction.

Let us look at this from the greater perspective of God, Who is
said to give the initial aim to entities and events in process. God
would need to change the ideal for a growing event over time. The
ideal would need to change as the situation changes. This would make
sense, because the actual world of occasions is continually in flux,
so the means of enjoyment would be different at different times and
places. Also, the means must change in order for the experience of
novelty. God's Will or Wish is not static in the relative world,
because what is novel at one time may become boring later on. The
causes of enjoyment are not static, simply because enjoyment requires
novelty, which requires change. Using a gross example, God may enjoy
baseball, but this doesn't mean that God always enjoys baseball.
Speaking for myself, I enjoy baseball, that is when I'm playing
it, but if I were to continue playing baseball for hours and hours, I
would soon get bored or tired or irritable. So, the enjoyment of
baseball is relative to how novel or routine it is in my life. God's
Will in everyday living may appear to be contradictory, unless we
understand this principle of relativity. God may wish that I perform
great acts of service, and since there is so much need in the world, I
might work 20 hours a day and get little sleep; but God's Wish for me
may also be that I rest and take care of myself, so at some point the
most valuable act I can do is to take a [selfish] vacation in Hawaii
-- even though someone in the world could still use my help. So here
we have considered the subjective aim as being modified by God
according to the changing circumstances.

God conceptually feels the totality, God's Consequent Nature, then
moment by moment proposes a harmonious satisfaction based upon the
divine need for maximum enjoyment through intensity of experience. So
at each moment there is a cosmic consciousness of a proposition for
the overall maximum enjoyment, which includes specific ideals for each
actual occasion, much like an integrated desire-of-the-moment for
every entity within the totality. It is a model of an on-going,
ever-changing divine plan or ideal for the whole actuality, assuming
God is Omniscient and intelligently scheming. Since God's Consequent
Nature is the process in actuality, then it makes sense that God
proposes ideals for Its own becoming, which would include an
integrated array of specific ideals for specific occasions, based upon
an ecological maximization of enjoyment.

The problem with much of the above defense is that it assumes the
subjective aim to be modified by God, which is how Whitehead describes
it. But also the subjective aim is modified by the subject, since the
subject is free to choose its aim and is undetermined by God. Although
this contradiction is usually forgotten or explained away; it is a
real problem to understanding the system. The basic answer given is
that God and the entity together share in the co-creation of the aim.
However sweet this makes it sound, it is an ambiguous answer ladened
with romantic undertones. And it is still presuming a distinctive
ideal known, decided upon, and given by God to the entity.

Certain questions still remain. How then is the aim affective if
it can so easily be modified? Whitehead denies coercion but admits
persuasion. The problems with this are overviewed in this thesis. Is
the initial aim inherent in the actual occasion, which would imply a
certain determinacy, or is it divinely suggested without coercion,
which would mean that an actual entity must prehend it by its own
ability (otherwise it would be imposed)? If it is inherent, then God
is responsible for all occasions, and then where is freedom and
self-determinacy? Process theologists reject this absolute
determinacy. So we are left with the notion of a divine persuasion
without coercion. If the persuasion is affective, then the entity
enacts the best possibility. But if the persuasion is really a passive
suggestion, then that entity must have an ability to prehend the
suggestion, which means that the entity must have the ability to
conformally feel the greater purpose or aim of the totality. I think
this is a lot to ask of any entity.

What I suggest is that each entity positively prehends and
conformally feels a certain proportion of the whole, and from this
develops a unitary response or contrast of feeling. In other words,
the entity is left to its own capabilities to determine its own unique
unification of the whole, based upon its past and environment which is
given as objective data, and this self-determination could be
thought as God determining Itself from the unique perspective of each
entity. This alternative to what most process theologists complicate
as the subjective aim is a simple solution. Here, God is truly in the
process itself. God finds Himself in the process, instead of
directing it, or persuading it from an omniscient position in the
cosmos. Here, God discovers enjoyment through the process, not
attempting to lead the process of discovery with pre-determined aims
(as goal-oriented process theologists suggest).

This is an internal, organic view of the process, rather than an
external [persuasive], revelatory view, as most process theists want
to hold on to. There could still be a subjective aim, simply
described as the overall proposition for unity created and modified by
the process itself at any point in the concrescence. This proposition
is continually modified, as any proposition would be until it is found
to be the solution to a contrasting unity of satisfaction. For
example, at any point in any lifetime there are always at least some
ideals or aims that one generally moves towards, but these change as
we grow and as circumstances change. The intelligent person is not
overly fixated upon the aim of years ago, but treats all aims as
propositions to work toward, which are modified in the exploratory

Before elaborating more on my own alternative I have more to
critique. Process theologists view their concept of God as
revolutionary, because it is only persuasive. Here, they invoke the
idea that the initial aim is given by God, but the subject is not
compelled to fulfill it. This doesn't sound all that revolutionary to
me, but, according to these philosophers, traditional monotheism sees
God as a Controlling Power, and the major problem with this view is in
its implied determinism. This sense of determinism is not only in
discord with our psychological experience of free will and the very
apparent experience of accident or disharmony in the world, but it
also makes God out to be an overbearing father. An all-controlling
God does not sound very loving, because if God loves us, then God
wishes for our enjoyment and it is far more enjoyable to creatively
choose a style of living, than be forced into what the parent thinks
is righteous. This image of God is not the one we would choose as the
most loving. Also, the controlling God must take full responsibility
for all actions in the world, so the question of ethics and evil
becomes problematic. With a determining God, either all evil is
merely apparent and in the limited perspective of human judgement (ie.
there is no real evil from God's perspective -- only from ours); or
there really is evil and God Wills it to be, which is to say that God
enjoys that disharmony and suffering. There are different ways around
some of these problems, which are developed by various theologians,
but the process philosophy of Whitehead suggests a solution to this

Process theologists prefer to see God as persuasive, not
controlling, which they see as avoiding all the inherent problems with
the notion of an all-controlling God. Even the initial aim is seen as
optional, because the entity "may choose to actualize [God's] initial
aim; but it may also choose among other real possibilities open to it"
(Cobb 53). God is not seen to be in complete control. Instead, they
say God is persuasive. But to say that God is persuasive is quite
ambiguous. How persuasive is God -- very little, or very much, or
somewhere in the ambiguous between? If God is extremely persuasive,
then this borders on being controlling. If a man points a gun at me
and asks for my money, I would find this to be very persuasive, and it
wouldn't be fair to say that I have free choice. How does God
persuade us, without being manipulative? If I were given many
alternatives, but only one that had any real use or enjoyment, then my
sense of real free will is cheated, because the deck is stacked
against all choices but the best one. So, the pragmatic difference
between persuasion and coercion is not very clear.

The whole meaning of persuasion in communication is to manipulate
the other into agreeing, whether the means of persuasion be logical,
emotional, or some other rhetorical device, and if God were very good
at persuasion (unless you would prefer to conceive of God as a
mediocre persuader), then we are like children being lured by candy
into the car of a kidnaper. What chance would we have in front of
such a persuader as God? Conversely, if we were to conclude that
God's persuasion is minimal, or that He doesn't really try very hard
to convince us, then we might as well not even use the term, but just
say that God isn't at all affective in the world. So, the use of the
word "persuasion" in qualifying God is too ambiguous and problematic.
I think the word "suggestive" is more appropriate, because it not only
refers to a certain passivity to God, but also gives the entity full
freedom to respond or not to the suggestion. To suggest is less
manipulative, than to persuade. It is not the parent trying to
persuade the teenager against drugs, using all available means of
rhetoric or behavioral modification techniques; but it is the parent
suggesting more enjoyable activities. More importantly, suggestions
imply an opening up of new possibilities through the creative
imagination, whereas persuasion implies a fixed ideal to campaign for.

Another problem with God being persuasive is the apparent lack of
affect this has on our lives. If God really is trying to persuade me
to the best possibility for becoming, then why don't I hear it, even
when I'm really trying to listen. This idea of God just doesn't match
our experience. Many, many times I have prayed and sincerely asked
for guidance, for a clear idea of what I should be doing, and yet so
many of these times I am still in the dark. So, if God is trying to
enlighten me of the best possibility, and I'm trying to hear, then why
is it so difficult? If the right way is already known in God's Mind
and exists as subjective aim within my own concrescence, then why
can't I know it if I want to. If God were good at persuasion, then I
would have to try very hard NOT to hear, and if God were not so
persuasive but at least presented the ideal, then it would seem that
the answer would come easily if I were to listen for it. But it
doesn't, and therefore this is disproven by the more than average
human experience. The answer I would conclude, given my true
experience, is that God is in the dark as much as I am. Or maybe the
answer only exists as a potential, and I must prehend it by my own
abilities (which are often inadequate to the task), which is a more
sensible theory; but then it is meaningless to say that a potential of
knowing is given by God, since a potential need not be "given", but is
merely available for prehension.

Most process theists deny that God coerces entities. But is this
because God Cannot, or Will not? Does this mean that God has no power
to coerce, or is God self-limiting his power so as not to over power
us? Griffin seems to believe that God could coerce, but doesn't,
except in certain circumstances. He states that God could
"occasionally violate human freedom for the sake of an overriding good
or to prevent a particular horrible evil" (Griffin 271). This means
that God can coerce, or force choices and events beyond our control,
but God only does this on special occasions. This then creates the
question of why does God allow some evil, but not others. For Griffin
it is a matter of degree, because at some point an evil is just too
horrible to allow. This coercion by God would then override our
freedom, but "would be a small price to pay if some of the world's
worst evils could be avoided" (Griffin 271). We can assume then that
all the evils so far in history were not considered too horrible by
God, since they were of those evils that were NOT averted, vs. the
ones that were averted, of which we know nothing about.

Yet, "most process theists appear clearly to believe that coercion
is something of which God is not capable" (Basinger 355). But, I
wonder, if God as an actual entity cannot be coercive, then how can
any other actual entity be coercive? Is God inept, while humans are
capable? Certainly, there are many forms of coercion in the world.
History is abound with examples of people coercing others, or
subjugating them to a fate beyond their control. The worst forms are
these are rape, torture and murder. Seldom do process philosophers
account for these examples of forced fate in their process that
idealizes the [free] selection of positive prehensions by the actual
entity. In many cases freedom is a mere concept without any real
validity. Psychology teaches us that parents can manipulate a child
to do things by various indirect means, many of which maintain the
child's sense of freedom throughout the manipulation technique. So,
human beings can manipulate others without them even knowing it or
being able to resist it. Then, why can't God? But if we were to
believe that God could manipulate our sense of freedom and make us do
the right thing, then we would have to question our freedom.

Let me remind the reader of the alternatives here. Either God is
all-manipulative and we have no real freedom (this view is fairly
rejected); or God has no manipulative power (which is accepted by
many; but it makes God out to be weaker than some other entities); or
God has power but limits it (this is the logical choice, but is it
always limited or does God's self-limitation depend upon the
circumstances (as in Griffin))? Another possibility comes to mind,
which is that God has limited power, which can coerce the more
suggestible entities, but not the very tenacious minded (this could be
called the power struggle theory -- God's Will pitted against all
other wills).

I think we have to accept that God can be coercive, so the real
question is how much? How much WILL God coerce (Griffin), or how much
CAN God coerce (power theory)? If God wills Its own limitation
according to circumstances, then this must be due to God perceiving
free self-determination as valuable in most cases, but coercion as
necessary in some cases (Griffin). But if God is limited by the
entities in the world, then God can only do what It can to coerce
entities toward their better good. The former view admits that God
uses an active coercion only in extreme cases, that God somehow weighs
the value of freedom with that of manipulation. In this view we can
trust that God WILL do the right thing, either allowing our freedom or
averting us from extreme evils. The latter view admits that God's
power of coercion is limited, that God cannot always win the battle of
morality. This view abdicates God from the responsibility inherent in
the former view, but it also admits the possibility that the world may
get completely out of God's hand, and it is also separates God as one
entity among the many. In the former view, God is as affective as God
Wills, while in the latter view, God's effectiveness is dependent upon
the power of other entities to ignore or defeat God. Considering both
of these alternatives I would have to say that the latter makes more
sense to me, but I don't want to labor here any longer. These are
problems that process theists must contend with, problems which are
inherent in their sticky idea of the persuasive initial aim. My
alternative avoids this whole problem.

Most process theologists believe that freedom in the world without
God's absolute control is necessary for real creativity to occur; yet
at the same time they want to hold onto the idea that God does provide
the best way, the "yellow brick road." Do they really believe in the
value of freedom, or do they believe in the value of submitting to
God's Will as persuaded in the initial aim? If freedom is valued,
then why does God give an ideal aim if God does not want conformity to
it? The only real purpose for giving an ideal aim would be that it be
followed, not freely avoided. And if it is avoided, this would have to
be considered less than ideal (according to God) or a fall (sin) from
God-given morality.

On the one hand they say that God provides the best creative
choice, while on the other hand they imply that freedom is what
excites creativity. To say that God clearly gives the best
possibility, or that God has decided what is best for us in each
moment and is trying to persuade us to that concrete actuality, is
almost implying the deterministic universe that process theologians
had rejected. Granted, this is saying that God doesn't force His Will
upon us, but it does say that there is a divinely correct actuality
pre-visioned for each of us at every moment. The process God does not
determine the actual universe, but does determine what is best for
this universe. So, God is deterministic-minded, but without the will
or ability to actualize what is determined. Even if God does not
decide the best until the very last moment, it still suggests that God
gives us this best possibility initially before the actual

And by what criteria is a possibility the best -- or is this the
whim of God? If what is best is merely the whim of God, then we might
as well abandon all science and philosophy, because the final
explanation for everything is God's whim, or His fickled desire. But
if there is a criteria for what is best (or a criteria God uses to
judge what is best), then we could just as well say that this inherent
criteria for the best satisfaction is what determines the resulting
satisfaction. So then we could leave out all these old notions of
God. We could understand the process by using the criteria itself,
and thereby eliminate the redundant notion of a God Who mediates the
process. The criteria for the aim would be sufficient, because the
criteria is at work, not God. It would be clearer to define the
criteria for what is best, which is the criteria that God would use
anyways, instead of leaving such a significant aspect of the process
in the ambiguous hands of God's whim. Of course there is a criteria
for the best satisfaction that Whitehead uses, which is generally
defined as what "would result in maximum ordered complexity in the
world", or "maximum intensity of satisfaction" (Sherburne 244). Thus,
the criteria of value has to do with maximum ordered complexity and
intensity of satisfaction.

Another question arises. Is the actual entity given the best
possibility from God's greater perspective, or does the actual entity
prehend the "maximum" from its own unique and limited perspective? I
would argue for the latter. The very process of creativity is the
prehension of diverse data and the process of its synthesis into a
unity. In other words, the creative process of unification itself is
enough to explain how things become, and there is no real need to add
that God gives us the answer before we figure it out. God giving the
answer is as absurd as me teaching a child how to do algebra, but
instead of allowing her to come up with the answer, right or wrong, I
give the answer and then "allow" the child to listen or not. Process
theists seem to value the answer more than the process; the answer
(ideal) is given and the process is secondarily to fulfill that

The notion that the actual entity is outright given the best
answer to its creative satisfaction, and then left morally to obey or
not, is to foolishly ruin the whole beauty of the actual process,
which is that the actual entity discovers its satisfaction on its own
and from its unique perspective. In fact, this is what really
explains the diversity of order and disorder in the world. Instead of
explaining various evils by saying that God's persuasiveness was not
obeyed, it is easier to explain it all by saying that each is deciding
its own satisfaction from the given data and its intelligent/
imaginative prehension of the eternal possibilities. Each is left to
its own moral abilities.

I would admit that there are always some choices that are less
than others in relation to this ultimate aim, so that the value
structure of choices is not completely relative. There is a hierarchy
of value. I would even concede that God does lure entities toward a
higher value of intensity, not by pre-determining some specific [best]
ideal but because the universal principle (which is how I define God)
itself produces the lure. Yet this lure is not toward some specific
satisfaction or event. It is a general lure toward greater intensity,
which is ambiguous, not specific. It is like a general sense or
feeling which guides the journey, but doesn't give specific direction
at any point along the way. There is a light on the mountain and we
are going to climb it, and there are many ways up, some of which are
probably better than others, but no one way is best, and as long as we
keep climbing and the aim still remains a possibility, it doesn't
really matter how we do it. In fact, efficiency and speed is not more
important either, because the top of the mountain is endless anyways,
so the process is what matters and the discovery inherent in the
process is the enjoyment. Once we know the aim, then we can explore
the means of attaining that aim. There will be many possible ways
having generally the same value, so it is up to us to decide how we
are going to do it.

I do not believe that there is one particular way that is best for
me at every point in my process of becoming. I do not believe that
there is one best thing to do or one best choice to make, though there
are better choices than others. We have a plurality of better choices
at any one moment, but it is a fallacy to believe in a singularly best
choice. Life is a creative exploration of possibilities. If the
creative process is an adventure of eternal objects, an adventure of
God's Primordial Nature becoming Consequent, then the imitation of God
would be to freely explore the possibilities of our potentials, and
any coercion or even persuasion from eternal objects or God would deny
this freedom. God is exemplified in the order and novelty of the
world, so if we are to actually imitate God, then we must value
novelty as well as order, and novelty is discovered through
exploration, not pre-determined ideals. And God would not judge one
singular satisfaction as the ultimate best, because this would deny
the value of freedom in the choosing of novelty.

There needs to maximum freedom in the concrescence for there to be
transcendence of the given into creative novelty. Griffin certainly
perceives the value of freedom and self-determination, which are
proportionally necessary to the actuality's "capacity for enjoying
intrinsic goodness" (Griffin 292). A given specific ideal for
satisfaction would severely limit this freedom, just as any
authoritative ideal would limit creativity, so unless the creative
goal is to transcend the ideal, it is absurd to maintain that a
predetermined ideal would nurture novelty. Novelty comes out of a
transcending freedom from the given, and only the entity itself could
spontaneously prehend novelty from the possibilities (eternal objects)
available. If the given subjective aim is simply unity of feeling
synthesized from the prehended plurality, then the actual entity
is free to harmonize the various feelings in its own unique way, and
thus become a novel superjective objective datum for the unfolding
future. In this way, creativity is organically derived, rather than
derived from the master planning of a superior, higher entity (ie.

Each of us are a string of actual entities, or concrescing selves.
We are in the process of becoming, meaning that we are not already
something (or even have a definite ideal of being something). The
usual concept of self as a object/noun, which then acts in the world,
is replaced by a self-in-becoming as a subject/verb. We are in the
process of discovery, or we are the process of God discovering
God-self. What this self is is being discovered. It is not some
planned ideal, which we are then "persuaded" to follow (if we want to
do God's Will or be what we are meant to be), and if we do not then we
are less than what we should have been.

Cobb says that "each divine creative impulse into the world is
adventurous, in that God does not know what the result will be" (Cobb
57). This is quite agreeable with my sense of the creative impulse
being the subjective aim. It wouldn't make much sense to describe a
pre-determined ideal as being adventurous, unless that ideal was
merely an eternal object awaiting the entity to give it form. And if
God were to really give a specific [form of] ideal as subjective aim,
or as God's Wish, then God would not be all too adventurous. The truth
is that God does not know the result, because it is dependent upon a
unique interaction between the concrescing entity and its environment.
The very nature of creativity is in its surprise or discovery, and
God's enjoyment is through this discovery. In a sense, it is God Who
is discovering Itself, and like any creative act it is a discovery
which could not have been pre-supposed.

If God already has the ideal actualization in mind before the
adventure of the concrescing process, then this could hardly be called
exciting. It is the traditional Christian God, Who is Omniscient,
Moralistic, and ideal-oriented, clothed in new abstractions by those
who mistakenly think of themselves as revolutionary theologians.
Their God has enjoyment all figured out. There is only one word
needed to describe this scenario and that is boring. The very
excitement in life is in its surprises and discoveries, in its risks
and challenges. It makes more sense to view God as the Great Gambler
(though many people have been repugnant to the idea of God playing
dice in the world), rather than God as the Omniscient Persuader toward
pre-determined ideals. Would I tell somebody what to do, or even
suggest some moral [right] action, then ask them to surprise me? If I
wanted surprise or adventure, then I wouldn't try to persuade a
[known] result. But if I wanted someone to behave a certain way, then
I must not want them to surprise me.

Although Sherburne describes the subjective aim as constituting
"the ideal growth on the part of each actual entity that would result
in maximum ordered complexity in the world were it realized in fact,"
this is contradicted on the same page by stating that the "process
doesn't presuppose a subject; rather, the subject emerges from the
process" (Sherburne 244). To believe that the subject, being the
actual entity, receives a conceptual ideal for itself BEFORE actually
working through the process of concrescence; seems to undermine the
significance of the process itself. The subject must emerge from the
process, and that is why the process is necessary; but the process
becomes psuedo-significant if the subject is already given the ideal
end-result. To already have the actual ideal before the process
begins is philosophically implying that the ideal of who I am to be in
this life is given beforehand, and then I am left with either
fulfilling this (perfect ideal) or going in any one of many other (not
so good) possible ways. Not only does this scenario immediately
forecast failure and guilt at not fulfilling myself in the ideal that
God gave me; but it also leaves me with the thought that I'm not a
process in becoming, but a process that should imitate some
pre-existing ideal for me.

This also denies God as in process, because for God to already
know the best ideal possible before the actual creative process is to
say that God is already omniscient of or ahead of Its own process in
time. If we are to really conceive of a process theology, we cannot
argue that God already knows what is best before it is discovered.
The process God must have an indeterminate consequential nature.
God's manifestation must be discovered in the process itself; not
conceptualized before the process, but found at the very end of it.
To have God omnisciently and morally whispering the ideal for
ourselves in our ear at every step of the way is separatist, making
God into a great being outside us.

Rather, I suggest process theologians embrace the process
philosophy itself. I suggest that God doesn't whisper the ideal
satisfaction to us before the actual satisfaction, because God just
could not know what that ideal would be until the process completes
itself. THAT is what the process is about! God is in process through
the actual entities, or we could say that the actual entities are the
process of God coming into satisfaction. So, the knowledge of any
satisfaction comes with the process; not before it. And God does not
know what is best for an actual entity before the actual entity does.

I suggest that the generic, initial aim of God, as defined by
Whitehead's categories, is quite enough to explain the whole process
of creativity. Inherent within this generic aim of all entities is
God's initial aim of enjoyment through novelty. This is the creative
eros, the "living urge towards all possibilities" (AI 381), and their
concrescence into ordered complexity. This initial aim must be
inherent in all entities. It is ontologically a priori to the process
itself, and from this initial aim come the ontological laws of
creativity in the world. The generic initial aim of all creatures is
the intensity of enjoyment, which lawfully requires novelty and
order. The process of creativity works on its own, without any needed
persuasion of God, except the initial aim, which acts as the lure or
final cause of the process. Thus, the initial aim is identically
generic for all creatures, as is the criteria of value.

What makes the difference in actuality for each creature is not
something specifically given to that creature, as a specific
pre-vision of God, but is in how the creature uniquely prehends the
given data and the possibilities of its satisfaction. The creature is
fully determined by the initial aim toward intensity of experience,
but how this comes to be is then dependent upon its unique
circumstances and its ability to prehend new possibilities. A
determinism exists ontologically as the initial aim, or final cause,
but the means to this satisfaction is left to the creative
intelligence of the concrescing actual entity. Thus, we are always
guided by an inherent natural/divine impulse; yet, we realize our
freedom and responsibility for determining the outcome. This means
that God does absolutely determine the impulse of the subjective aim,
but that impulse is not actually defined. This avoids all the
problems of persuasion and coercion, because here, God is absolutely
coercive in providing the general aim inherent in all occasions, but
not at all even persuasive about how that occasion might actualize the

All actual entities are essentially doing the same thing, which is
concrescing towards a satisfaction of complex unity. The actual
satisfaction or completion of any one actual entity is of course
different from all other actual entities; yet the process is
essentially the same, meaning that each is governed by the same laws or
categories, and each is fulfilling the same initial aim, which is
conjunctive unity. I could just as well say that the initial aim is
intensity of experience, or that God provides an initial aim that
promotes greater intensity of experience in the universe. But the
means for subjective intensity of experience is contrast, or complex
conjunctive unity. At this point I will re-assert my thesis, that the
initial or subjective aim of all entities is the same, which is
(simply) the greatest possible subjective intensity, by way of the
concrescing subject harmoniously bringing disjunctive diversity
together into a new subjective unity or contrast. Thus, the initial
aim is the same for all, and all are bound by the essential principles
of becoming, which are the laws of the creative process.

I suggest that the initial, subjective aim is identical for all
creatures. It is the essential aim towards a unified intensity of
experience, which necessarily supposes the subjective feeling of
contrast or complex order. Each subject of concrescence is an
unfolding process, whereby diverse data of the past and the
environment come together under the categorical laws of Subjective
Harmony and Unity (as well as Objective Identity and Diversity). Each
entity basically does what it can for the moment, in terms of unifying
diversity into a contrasting satisfaction. Simply stated, the process
involves diverse data coming together to form a new unity, which is
the satisfaction.

There is no inherent need in this process for a subjective ideal
to be given, because the concrescence is a matter of discovery, and
whatever the entity finally concresces to become is a unique
expression of eternal objects within the given data. There is no
other morality in this. Each does what it can to fulfill the initial
aim, which is identical for all entities, but manifests differently
for each. And through these many microcosmic processes, the whole
macrocosmic process unfolds, which is the creative advance or
expansion of the many. Because as each actual entity concresces or
conjoins diverse data into a unity of expression, this new unity adds
to the diversity of objective data in the universe, so that other
actual entities may in turn concresce a diversity of data.

We can assume now (after my tedious arguments) that God is really
indifferent to actual satisfactions, just as the eternal objects are
indifferent to how they are physically ingressed. This then becomes a
process philosophy without particular ideals, except those essential
aims similar to all creative processes. Here, God doesn't have
particular idealized aims in mind for every actual entity. To believe
that God does is to believe that we are all being persuaded at every
moment to be something in particular, that we are all being persuaded
towards a pre-existing ideal of unity and identity, and that God
already has it figured out and He/She/It is just passively hoping that
we will get it and become what is best for us.

I maintain that God is indifferent to each actual satisfaction.
To believe otherwise is to believe that God has an opinion about
everything in process. This is where it can get confused, so read
carefully. God is indifferent, but not indifferent. The actual entity
is not indifferent to its satisfaction. Right? The actual entity in
concrescence is selecting the data for positive prehension in the
initial phase and conceptually valuating the eternal objects in the
later phases. The concrescence is a process of valuation and
integration, whereby all data and feeling is ultimately judged
according to its value for subjective intensity, which is the
subjective aim. The actual entity is causa sui to itself, because it
is causing its own becoming by way of the process which is itself. And
the actual entity is not really indifferent to its becoming, because
it becomes, in a sense, what it feels itself to be as a unity, given
all the diversity of feeling in the concrescence.

It chooses its becoming out of what is given and what is possible.
What is possible is not some imposed limitation given by some outside
God (or "savior" of the system's logic), but is the limitation of that
actual entity itself. A piece of coal in the earth cannot prehend a
Mozart concerto. In other words, every actual entity can only
(positively) prehend limited data. Complex entities such as myself
have more data available for feeling. Each entity can only positively
prehend so much, depending upon what is given to it from its immediate
past and surroundings. And out of what is given, the entity can only
hold so much diverse feeling in contrast. Some can hold more in
contrast and some less. Each wants to hold as much as possible,
because this is the subjective, inherent aim; but no entity can hold
everything in contrast, so each must limit the diversity of feeling to
some degree at least. We limit ourselves, because we can only handle
so much contrast and intensity of feeling at any one time. So we make
choices from what is given, and we do the best we can, given the

Because we make some value choices and bring feelings together
under the law of subjective harmony, one cannot say that the entity is
indifferent to its process. It is the process coming to fruition. The
choices I make and the values I have are essentially what I am. And
because the entity is not indifferent, or because I am not
indifferent, means that God is not indifferent, if we accept that God
is becoming through the entity/process, though not leading the process
towards a definite goal in mind, except of course the essential goal.
Another way to say this, and probably less confusing, is that God's
Primordial Nature, consisting of neutral eternal objects and
fundamental principles of creative process, is indifferent to actual
satisfactions, as long as they are fulfilling the essential aim, which
is inherent in all and thus what the process does without choice. But
God's Consequent Nature is not indifferent, because it is inherently
the process itself and the process IS a valuation for the bringing
forth of a new unity or novelty in the world.

Now at this point I want to consider the general ethics and
teleological goal of the creative process as I am defining it. One
might question that such a general aim of creativity without specific
ideals would lead to a sort of anarchy and relativism of creative
aims. If God does not give us a specific aim or ideal that would be
the best for the overall intensity of experience, then how would the
many actual processes integrate together toward an ethical world? Is
each process then indifferent to all the others? The answer to these
questions lies in the fundamental laws and consequences of the overall
creative process.

Charles Birch sees the search for wholeness as our purpose in the
universe. God is the "unitary actuality in the universe [which]
embraces all that is and is worthy of devotion." To embrace the whole
is the highest form of inner and outer integrity. To discover more of
the whole and include it into man's feeling of self is to "raise his
sense of integrity and wholeness to the conscious level; he makes a
conscious unitary response to the universe around him" (Birch 15).
Hartshorne says, "Not completeness, but all-inclusiveness, is what is
required" in the search for wholeness (Hartshorne 330). We can never
embrace the all in total completeness, but at least we can be
all-inclusive to some degree. The universe is incomplete and will
always be so. Likewise, we will always be incomplete and in the
process of becoming. Birch says, "the universe has always been and is
now in the process of being made... it is lured to further completion"
by the embracing, conscious response of the creature to the creation
(Birch 23).

To imagine God, for Whitehead, "is to embrace as wide a world of
relational value as possible, allowing oneself and one's interest to
be enlarged beyond self-defeating particularity" (AI 292). The way to
follow God or imitate God is to embrace the whole of existence and
take interest in this largest known whole. Since God is in actuality
the whole of creation, then the ultimate religious ethic is embrace
more of the whole into one's feeling, and concresce this into a
harmonious satisfaction. It is bringing more of God into actual,
microcosmic concrescence. This can be understood as inherent within
the initial aim or the principles of the creative process itself. What
we are destined to do is inherent in the process of which we are, but
how we do it is left to us.

It is up to us to embrace the whole as much as we can. It is up to
us as to what we positively prehend as conformal feeling of the
environment, not what God gives as specific ideal. We choose the
degree of the world feeling that we let in and from this we harmonize
into a subjective unity. The ethical differences in people is in how
each uniquely embraces the past and environment, and to what extent
they are capable of allowing those prehensions into conformal
feelings. The will to harmonize positive prehensions and feelings
into a unity is the given aim, but how we do it and to what extent we
do it is up to us, without any coercion or persuasion from God, except
for the general impulse.

Each creature embraces the whole to the extent it can conjoin the
diversity into an ordered complexity. Some can do this more and some
less. It could be called engendered wisdom. And since the world is
so large and the eternal potentials so vast, there are infinite
possible ways and combinations that the [prehended] whole can be
conjoined. Since it is not within my present capabilities to embrace
the complete whole of God all at once, I must then choose what
partialities to include in my concrescence of becoming. This is my
freedom of self-determination, and whatever I decide and finally
concresce to satisfaction is fully appreciated by God, because it is a
furthering of greater intensity and added novelty in the world. As
long as I am embracing the world to the fullest I am capable of, there
is no one best way. There are many ways to embrace the whole and each
adds to the manifest novelty in the world, so God would not judge one
way better than another, which means that God would not give one
specific [best] subjective aim to an entity, because that would imply
a preference of one novelty over another.

I maintain that God is not so particularly judgmental and
prejudice. God is more like an artist exploring the medium, rather
than an mechanical engineer or a computer coming up with the "best"
answer (though not to spiritually devalue engineers or computers).
The free play and indeterminate exploration of the greater relational
world by each microcosmic entity is fundamental to the creative
process, and thus it is fundamental to God. The only value judgement
that can be made in terms of each creative process is relative to how
well it intensifies experience by way of contrasts, because that is
the initial aim or goal given.

Each process of concrescence builds a unity, a contrast, a
conjoining of various diversity from the past and the environment.
The order of complexity that is made is then objectively immortal and
adds to the data of expansive possibilities for further processes. So
by the processes of concrescence, there is ever greater possibility
for further concrescence. Each process builds a unity from at least
some of what is given to it. This means that each satisfaction is a
new harmonious contrast of what was before. So over time there is
more and more, greater and greater harmony, because each actual entity
has conjoined more of its past and more of its environment into its
unified satisfaction.

Thus, there is an evolution of greater and greater contrast or
complexity of order. We can even define evolution from the process
perspective as a growing of greater and greater complexity of order,
because in a succession of actual entities each one further adds the
others into its concrescence toward unity or contrast, and this
consequentially gives its progeny a greater contrast to concresce.
Each adds to the available contrast, which is its objective

immortality, and thus there is an evolution of contrast, unity and

From an ecological perspective we can see how an entity receives
various data from the environment, then unifies whatever it can into a
harmonious contrast, which is the satisfaction of its becoming. Each
actual entity becomes more of what the environment is, or integrates
more of the information given into its own unique becoming. Thus,
there is an evolution of integration and harmony in the world. A
psychological analogy is useful here. I grow into who I am, given the
examples and possibilities shown to me by my parents, my peers, movie
characters, etc. I become out of my social environment, and what I
become is a creative novelty from synthesizing many of these examples.
As we each do this there are more "unifications" of the past and
environment, and so there is an evolution of what a human being
becomes. I would like to go on and give more analogies and
explanations of this, but I think the general ideas are clear. The
point I want to really stress is that the process of creativity
itself, with its inherent principles and generic subjective aim
(toward unity of the diversity), is enough of an explanation and leads
towards an ethical world based upon an evolution of harmony.

It also leads to a world based upon unity-in-diversity or ordered
complexity. As we know each subjective unity of satisfaction adds to
the overall diverse novelty of objective data in the world. But this
addition of novelty has another dimension to it, which is that it is
greater or more valued than previous novelty, because it is a higher
level of unity and ordered complexity. This explains the evolution of
species and creativity in general. The overall addition of novelty is
not of the same order as that of the past. All novelty is not of the
same level of complexity or contrast, so a relativism of value is
avoided. There is more value in complex unity, more value in
contrast, because this evokes a greater level of intensity in
experience. Thus, we can see an evolutionary hierarchy in creation,
where the higher creatures or actual entities are more valued in terms
of their subjective intensity and their consequential immortalization
of greater unity and harmony.

The macrocosm grows, not only in diversity, but in value. This is
the beauty of the creative process. The harmonious complexity keeps
on growing, due to the nature of the microcosmic and macrocosmic
processes. And it all works because of one essential subjective aim
within all things that is the nature of the process and the
teleological lure, which is that each microcosmic process involves
some degree of integration and unification of what is given, and this
actualization gives further unity to the overall, macrocosmic process.
The world becomes more harmonious, because of all the many
integrations and consequential becomings, and God's Consequential
Nature realizes ever more intensity of being one unified complexity.

In conclusion, my thesis has been that the creative process does
not include and does not need the notion of God giving an ideal
subjective aim to the entity in concrescence. Creativity is better
explained by the inherent laws of creativity within all occasions.
This simplification of the process is not only more efficient to the
system, but is also truer to the realities of the universe. The
problems with the notion of an ideal aim given to the actual entity
have been thoroughly put forth. Process philosophers must admit the
implicated problems of a modifying aim, a persuasive aim, and a best
aim. These problems and contradictions cannot be avoided. Yet, the
alternative I have proposed does eliminate these problems with this
incorrect notion of God and the subjective aim.

In my alternative the subjective aim is basically eliminated as
redundant, except as defined in terms of the Laws of creativity. The
fundamental Law of creativity is unification of diversity, which
results in more novelty. This generic aim of all occasions does not
modify. Only the propositions for satisfaction modify, just like
theories or plans change. This aim is fully coercive and does not
stand ambiguous, nor does it decide when to enact itself, but it does
not coerce the entity to any definite ideal other than the general.
It does not present or persuade what is "best", but is the basic urge
of the entity to unite into its own fulfillment. Given the inherent
nature of its own concrescing being, each entity prehends as much of
the whole universe as it is capable of, and feels this diversity into
some kind of unifying contrast, which is both its satisfaction and
superjective identity.

In defense of Whitehead, his notion of a God-given ideal does
implant a certain power of integration and wholeness into the system,
because God as the whole consequent nature of the universe can
continually persuade each occasion to be satisfying to the overall
enjoyment of all occasions. It may even explain how many entities are
self-sacrificing to the whole. Whitehead might have thought that he
needed God to tell actual entities what the ideal was, in order to
explain a spiritual evolution of things, or why an actual entity would
do anything morally good for others. In this theology God is the
regulating and guiding intelligence that keeps the overall universe
moving toward unity-in-diversity. God is thus the inner moral
conscience of each entity, and each is continually being persuaded to
the aim of the whole. But, I believe, this notion is incorrect and
unnecessary. The power of integration and wholeness is already
inherent in the principles of creativity, because each is coming into
an integrated wholeness of satisfaction. In my alternative the
creative process happens organically, according to the abilities of
each entity, and it is not guided by an omniscient God. The aim of
the whole is never known, nor persuaded. There is no "best" of all
possible worlds, or a best enjoyment of the whole. The whole is
merely the totality of all experiences, and these experiences come
from the process of creativity, un-coerced from above the process.
Each is left to its own abilities in integrating what it can of the


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MT: Whitehead, Alfred North.
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PR: Whitehead, Alfred North.
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