Contextual Index

Primordial Nature

( 1 ) Page 31: [46] THE primordial created fact is the unconditioned conceptual valuation of the entire multiplicity of eternal objects. This is the 'primordial nature' of God. By reason of this complete valuation, the objectification of God in each derivate actual entity results in a graduation of the relevance of eternal objects to the concrescent phases of that derivate occasion. There will be additional ground of relevance for select eternal objects by reason of their ingression into derivate actual entities belonging to the actual world of the concrescent occasion in question. But whether or no this be the case, there is always the definite relevance derived from God. Apart from God, eternal objects unrealized in the actual world would be relatively nonexistent for the concrescence in question. For effective relevance requires agency of comparison, and agency belongs exclusively to actual occasions. This divine ordering is itself matter of fact, thereby conditioning creativity. Thus possibility which transcends realized temporal matter of fact has a real relevance to the creative advance.' God is the primordial creature, but the description of his nature is not exhausted by this conceptual side of it. His 'consequent nature' results from his physical prehensions of the derivative actual entities (cf. part v).

( 2 ) Page 32: 'Creativity' is another rendering of the Aristotelian 'matter,' and of the modern 'neutral stuff.' But it is divested of the notion of passive receptivity, either of 'form,' or of external relations; it is the pure notion of the activity conditioned by the objective immortality of [47] the actual world--a world which is never the same twice, though always with the stable element of divine ordering. creativity is without a character of its own in exactly the same sense in which the Aristotelian 'matter' is without a character of its own. It is that ultimate notion of the highest generality at the base of actuality. It cannot be characterized, because all characters are more special than itself. But creativity is always found under conditions, and described as conditioned. The non-temporal act of all-inclusive unfettered valuation is at once a creature of creativity and a condition for creativity. It shares this double character with all creatures. By reason of its character as a creature, always in concrescence and never in the past, it receives a reaction from the world; this reaction is its consequent nature. It is here termed 'God'; because the contemplation of our natures, as enjoying real feelings derived from the timeless source of all order, acquires that 'subjective form' of refreshment and companionship at which religions aim. This function of creatures, that they constitute the shifting character of creativity, is here termed the 'objective immortality' of actual entities. Thus God has objective immortality in respect to his primordial nature and his consequent nature. The objective immortality of his consequent nature is considered later (cf. part v); we are now concerned with his primordial nature.

( 3 ) Page 32: God's immanence in the world in respect to his primordial nature is an urge towards the future based upon an appetite in the present. Appetition is at once the conceptual valuation of an immediate physical feeling combined with the urge towards realization of the datum conceptually prehended. For example, 'thirst' is an immediate physical feeling integrated with the conceptual prehension of its quenching.

( 4 ) Page 32: In what sense can unrealized abstract form be relevant? what is its basis of relevance? 'Relevance' must express some real fact of togetherness among forms. The ontological principle can be expressed as: All real togetherness is togetherness in the formal constitution of an actuality. so if there be a relevance of what in the temporal world is unrealized, the relevance must express a fact of togetherness in the formal constitution of a non-temporal actuality. But by the principle of relativity there can only be one non-derivative actuality, unbounded by its prehensions of an actual world. Such a primordial superject of creativity achieves, in its unity of satisfaction, the complete conceptual valuation of all eternal objects. This is the ultimate, basic adjustment of the togetherness of eternal objects on which creative order depends. It is the conceptual adjustment of all appetites in the form of aversions and adversions. It constitutes the meaning of relevance. Its status as an actual efficient fact is recognized by terming it the 'primordial nature of God.'

( 5 ) Page 33: The technical term 'conceptual prehension' is entirely neutral, devoid of all suggestiveness. But such terms present great difficulties to the understanding, by reason of the fact that they suggest no particular exemplifications. Accordingly, we seek equivalent terms which have about them the suggestiveness of familiar fact. we have chosen the term 'appetition,' which suggests exemplifications in our own experience, also in lower forms of life such as insects and vegetables. But even in human experience 'appetition' suggests a degrading notion of this basic activity in its more intense operations. we are closely concerned with what Bergson calls 'intuition' with some differences however Bergson's 'intuition' is an 'impute' operation; it is an integral feeling derived from the synthesis of the conceptual prehension with the physical prehension from which it has been derived according to the 'category of conceptual Reproduction' (categoreal obligation Iv). It seems that Bergson's term 'intuition' has the same meaning as 'physical purpose' in part III of these lectures. also Bergson's 'intuition' seems to abstract from the subjective form of emotion and purpose. This subjective form is an essential element in the notion of 'conceptual prehension,' as indeed in that of any prehension. It is an essential element in 'physical purpose' (cf. part III). If we consider these 'pure' mental operations in their most intense operations, we should choose the term 'vision.' A conceptual prehension is a direct vision of some possibility of good or of evil-- of some possibility as to how actualities may be definite. There is no reference to particular actualities, or to any particular actual world. The phrase 'of good or of evil' has been added to include a reference to the subjective form; the mere word 'vision' abstracts from this factor in a conceptual prehension. If we say that God's primordial nature is a completeness of 'appetition, we give due weight to the subjective form at a cost. If we say that God's primordial nature is 'intuition ' we suggest mentality which is 'impure' by reason of synthesis with physical prehension. If we say that God's primordial nature is 'vision ', we suggest a maimed view of the subjective form, divesting it of yearning after concrete fact no particular facts, but after some actuality. There is deficiency in God's primordial nature which the term 'vision' obscures. One advantage of the term 'vision' is that it connects this doctrine of God more closely with philosophical tradition. 'Envisagement' is perhaps a safer term than 'vision.' To sum up: God's 'primordial nature' is abstracted from his commerce with 'particulars,' and is therefore devoid of those 'impure' intellectual cogitations which involve propositions (of. part III).It is God in abstraction, alone with himself. As such it is a mere factor in God, deficient in actuality.

( 6 ) Page 44: In this definition the 'conceptual recognition' must of course be an operation constituting a real feeling belonging to some actual entity. The point is that the actual subject which is merely conceiving the eternal object is not thereby in direct relationship to some other actual entity, apart from any other peculiarity in the composition of that conceiving subject. This doctrine applies also to the primordial nature of God, which is his complete envisagement of eternal objects; he is not thereby directly related to the given course of history. The given course of history presupposes his primordial nature, but his primordial nature does not presuppose it.

( 7 ) Page 46: It is a contradiction in terms to assume that some explanatory fact can float into the actual world out of nonentity. Nonentity is nothingness. Every explanatory fact refers to the decision and to the efficacy of an actual thing. The notion of 'subsistence' is merely the notion of how eternal objects can be components of the primordial nature of God. This is a question for subsequent discussion (cf. part v).But eternal objects, as in God's primordial nature, constitute the platonic world of ideas.

( 8 ) Page 47: The doctrine of the philosophy of organism is that, however far the sphere of efficient causation be pushed in the determination of components of a concrescence its data, its emotions, its appreciations, 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. This final reaction completes the self-creative act by putting the decisive stamp of creative emphasis upon the determinations of efficient cause. Each occasion exhibits its measure of creative emphasis in proportion to its measure of subjective intensity. The absolute standard of such intensity is that of the primordial nature of God, which is neither great nor small because it arises out of no actual world. It has within it no components which are standards of comparison. But in the temporal world for occasions of relatively slight experient intensity, their decisions of creative emphasis are individually negligible compared to the determined components which they receive and transmit. But the final accumulation of all such decisions--the decision of God's nature and the decisions of all occasions--constitutes that special element in the flux of forms in history, which is 'given' and incapable of rationalization beyond the fact that within it every component which is determinable is internally determined.

( 9 ) Page 67: [103] (ii) The second metaphysical assumption is that the real potentialities relative to all standpoints are coordinated as diverse determinations of one extensive continuum. This extensive continuum is one relational complex in which all potential objectifications find their niche. It underlies the whole world, past, present, and future. Considered in its full generality, apart from the additional conditions proper only to the cosmic epoch of electrons, protons, molecules, and star-systems, the properties of this continuum are very few and do not include the relationships of metrical geometry. An extensive continuum is a complex of entities united by the various allied relationships of whole to part, and of overlapping so as to possess common parts, and of contact, and of other relationships derived from these primary relationships. The notion of a 'continuum' involves both the property of indefinite divisibility and the property of unbounded extension. There are always entities beyond entities, because nonentity is no boundary." This extensive continuum expresses the solidarity of all possible standpoints throughout the whole process of the world. It is not a fact prior to the world; it is the first determination of order--that is, of real potentiality arising out of the general character of the world. In its full generality beyond the present epoch, it does not involve shapes, dimensions, or measurability; these are additional determinations of real potentiality arising from our cosmic epoch. This extensive continuum is 'real,' because it expresses a fact derived from the actual world and concerning the contemporary actual world. All actual entities are related according to the determinations of this continuum; and all possible actual entities in the future must exemplify these determinations in their relations with the already actual world. The reality of the future is bound up with the reality of this continuum. It is the reality of what is potential, in its character of a real component of what is actual. Such a real component must be interpreted in [l04] terms of the relatedness of prehensions. This task will be undertaken in chapter V of part IV of these lectures. Actual entities atomize the extensive continuum. This continuum is in itself merely the potentiality for division; an actual entity effects this division. The objectification of the contemporary world merely expresses that world in terms of its potentiality for subdivision and in terms of the mutual perspectives which any such subdivision will bring into real effectiveness. These are the primary governing data for any actual entity; for they express how all actual entities are in the solidarity of one world. With the becoming of any actual entity what was previously potential in the space-time continuum is now the primary real phase in something actual. For each process of concrescence a regional standpoint in the world defining a limited potentiality for objectifications, has been adopted. In the mere extensive continuum there is no principle to determine what regional quanta shall be atomized, so as to form the real perspective standpoint for the primary data constituting the basic phase in the concrescence of an actual entity. The factors in the actual world whereby this determination is effected will be discussed at a later stage of this investigation. They constitute the initial phase of the 'subjective aim.' This initial phase is a direct derivate from God's primordial nature. In this function, as in every other, God is the organ of novelty, aiming at intensification.

( 10 ) Page 87: (i) The 'primordial nature' of God is the concrescence of a unity of conceptual feelings, including among their data all eternal objects. The concrescence is directed by the subjective aim, that the subjective forms of the feelings shall be such as to constitute the eternal objects into relevant lures of feeling severally appropriate for all realizable basic conditions.

( 11 ) Page 88: (ii) The 'consequent nature' of God is the physical prehension by God of the actualities of the evolving universe. His primordial nature directs such perspectives of objectification that each novel actuality in the temporal world contributes such elements as it can to a realization in God [135] free from inhibitions of intensity by reason of discordance.

( 12 ) Page 105: The primordial appetitions which jointly constitute God's purpose are seeking intensity, and not preservation. Because they are primordial, there is nothing to preserve. He, in his primordial nature, is unmoved by love for this particular, or that particular; for in this foundational process of creativity, there are no preconstituted particulars. In the foundations of his being, God is indifferent alike to preservation and to novelty. [16l] He cares not whether an immediate occasion be old or new, so far as concerns derivation from its ancestry. His aim 16 for it is depth of satisfaction as an intermediate step towards the fulfillment of his own being. His tenderness is directed towards each actual occasion, as it arises.

( 13 ) Page 108: It must also be noted that the pure mental originality works by the canalization of relevance arising from the primordial nature of God. Thus an originality in the temporal world is conditioned, though not determined, by an initial subjective aim supplied by the ground of all order and of all originality.

( 14 ) Page 189: The primary element in the 'lure for feeling' is the subject's prehension of the primordial nature of God. conceptual feelings are generated, and by integration with physical feelings a subsequent phase of propositional feelings supervenes. The lure for feeling develops with the concrescent phases of the subject in question. I have spoken of it elsewhere (cf. Science and the Modern world, Ch. XI ) .

( 15 ) Page 207: This principle expresses the prehension by every creature of the graduated order of appetitions constituting the primordial nature of God. There can thus be an intuition of an intrinsic suitability of some definite outcome from a presupposed situation. There will be nothing statistical in this suitability. It depends upon the fundamental graduation of appetitions which lies at the base of things, and which solves all indeterminations of transition.

( 16 ) Page 257: Thus the endeavour to understand eternal objects in complete abstraction from the actual world results in reducing them to mere undifferentiated nonentities. This is an exemplification of the categoreal principle, that the general metaphysical character of being an entity is 'to be a determinant in the becoming of actualities.' Accordingly the differentiated relevance of eternal objects to each instance of the creative process requires their conceptual realization in the primordial nature of God the does not create eternal objects; for his nature requires them in the same degree that they require him. This is an exemplification of the coherence of the categoreal types of existence. The general relationships of eternal objects to each other, relationships of diversity and of pattern, are their relationships in God's conceptual realization.: Apart from this realization, there is mere isolation indistinguishable from nonentity.

( 17 ) Page 278: Thus there is the urge towards the realization of the maximum number of eternal objects subject to the restraint that they must be under conditions of contrast. But this limitation to 'conditions of contrast' is the demand for 'balance.' For 'balance' here means that no realized eternal object shall eliminate potential contrasts between other realized eternal objects. Such eliminations attenuate the intensities of feeling derivable from the ingressions of the various elements of the pattern. Thus so far as the immediate present subject is concerned, the origination of conceptual valuation according to category Iv is devoted to such a disposition of emphasis as to maximize the integral intensity derivable from the most favorable balance. The subjective aim is the selection of the balance amid the given materials. But one element in the immediate feelings of the concrescent [425] subject is comprised of the anticipatory feelings of the transcendent future in its relation to immediate fact. This is the feeling of the objective immortality inherent in the nature of actuality. Such anticipatory feelings involve realization of the relevance of eternal objects as decided in the primordial nature of God. In so far as these feelings in the higher organisms rise to important intensities there are effective feelings of the more remote alternative possibilities. Such feelings are the conceptual feelings which arise in accordance with the category of Reversion (Category V ) .

( 18 ) Page 344: Thus, when we make a distinction of reason, and consider God in the abstraction of a primordial actuality, we must ascribe to him neither fullness of feeling, nor consciousness: He is the unconditioned actuality of conceptual feeling at the base of things; so that, by reason of this primordial actuality, there is an order in the relevance of eternal objects to the process of creation. His unity of conceptual operations is a free creative act, untrammeled by reference to any particular course of things. It is deflected neither by love, nor by hatred, for what in fact comes to pass. The particularities of the actual world presuppose it; while it merely presupposes the general metaphysical character of creative advance, of which it is the primordial exemplification. The primordial nature of God is the acquirement by creativity of a primordial character.

( 19 ) Page 344: His conceptual actuality at once exemplifies and establishes the categoreal conditions. The conceptual feelings, which compose his primordial nature, exemplify in their subjective forms their mutual sensitivity and their subjective unity of subjective aim. These subjective forms are valuations determining the relative relevance of eternal objects for each occasion of actuality.

( 20 ) Page 345: Thus, analogously to all actual entities, the nature of God is dipolar. He has a primordial nature and a consequent nature. The consequent nature of God is conscious; and it is the realization of the actual world in the unity of his nature, and through the transformation of his wisdom. The primordial nature is conceptual, the consequent nature is the weaving of God's physical feelings upon his primordial concepts.

( 21 ) Page 345: The perfection of God's subjective aim, derived from the completeness of his primordial nature, issues into the character of his consequent nature.

( 22 ) Page 347: [527] But civilized intuition has always, although obscurely, grasped the problem as double and not as single. There is not the mere problem of fluency and permanence. There is the double problem: actuality with permanence, requiring fluency as its completion; and actuality with fluency, requiring permanence as its completion. The first half of the problem concerns the completion of God's primordial nature by the derivation of his consequent nature from the temporal world. The second half of the problem concerns the completion of each fluent actual occasion by its function of objective immortality, devoid of 'perpetual perishing,' that is to say, 'everlasting.'

( 23 ) Page 348: A physical pole is in its own nature exclusive, bounded by contradiction : a conceptual pole is in its own nature all-embracing, unbounded by contradiction. The former derives its share of infinity from the infinity of appetition; the latter derives its share of limitation from the exclusiveness of enjoyment. Thus, by reason of his priority of appetition, there can be but one primordial nature for God; and, by reason of their priority of enjoyment, there must be one history of many actualities in the physical world.