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Month: August 2017

Freedom and Phenomenology

Freedom and Phenomenology

. . . our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the flimsiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.1 William James, the great American psychologist and philosopher, joined many thinkers during the early part of the twentieth century in declaring that we are in close proximity to amazing powers of consciousness that have become cloaked from “normal” consciousness, partly…

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Back to Beyond: Hillman and Whitehead, Part 2

Back to Beyond: Hillman and Whitehead, Part 2

In section III of Hillman’s essay, entitled Psychological Cosmology, he begins to discuss how Whitehead’s cosmological  ideas could have relevance to archetypal psychology. He starts by discussing the word itself: The word cosmology refers to the astronomical order of the heavenly bodies, and it also has a metaphysical meaning, according to Whitehead’s Process and Reality (whose subtitle is An Essay in Cosmology): a scheme “of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted” (PR…

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Back to Beyond: Hillman and Whitehead, Part 1

Back to Beyond: Hillman and Whitehead, Part 1

In 1983, a conference was organized by the Center for Process Studies, and held at Claremont University Center and Graduate School with the theme of a dialogue between process theologians and the thought of James Hillman and Carl Jung. A book of essays based on this dialogue was a result and was published as Archetypal Process: Self and Divine in Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman. In this article, I would like to examine some of the thinking of James Hillman’s essay,…

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The Outsider’s Guide to Whitehead’s Philosophy, Conclusion

The Outsider’s Guide to Whitehead’s Philosophy, Conclusion

This article will conclude my short series on Whitehead’s relevance to the Outsider. I have attempted to show a few of the great man’s ideas which were important to Colin Wilson’s thinking regarding the Outsider’s problem. The two most important of these are prehension, and Whitehead’s solution to the conundrum of human perception, the latter of which confounded philosophers since Descartes’ cogito. Whitehead, along with Edmund Husserl, are important to Wilson in that they “overturned the foundations of western philosophy,…

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The Outsider’s Guide to Whitehead’s Philosophy, Part 5

The Outsider’s Guide to Whitehead’s Philosophy, Part 5

Many academic philosophers don’t care for Colin Wilson’s thinking. They seem to desire remaining mired in either logical positivism, linguistic analysis, or other topics that do not bring us to the crux of who we are as human beings. I always appreciate any thinker who seeks to bring out the best in mankind. God knows we have seen enough of the worst. I read a blog post a few days ago by Dr. Sam Mickey, an adjunct professor at the…

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The Outsider’s Guide to the Philosophy of Whitehead, Part 4

The Outsider’s Guide to the Philosophy of Whitehead, Part 4

Imagination is the power of prehension; without it, man would be an imbecile, without memory, without forethought, without power of interpreting what he sees and feels. The higher the form of life, the greater its power of prehension; and in man, prehension becomes a conscious faculty, which can be labelled imagination.1 I can’t tear myself away from this quote from Colin Wilson! It is so fertile, so alive with meaning, so full of power in the Nietzschean sense that I…

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The Outsider’s Guide to the Philosophy of Whitehead, Part 3

The Outsider’s Guide to the Philosophy of Whitehead, Part 3

In 2007, Colin Wilson wrote an article for Philosophy Now called, Whitehead as Existentialist. According to Wilson, Alfred North Whitehead was an existentialist. Even if his philosophy is not blatantly existentialist, like Nietzsche’s or Kierkegaard’s, I can understand why Wilson would think so, although what we usually think of as an existentialist is someone like Sartre or Camus, the most famous existentialists. The problem is, however, Sartre and Camus ended up believing that one is helpless against the chaos of…

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The Outsider’s Guide to the Philosophy of Whitehead, Part 2

The Outsider’s Guide to the Philosophy of Whitehead, Part 2

Whitehead’s formulation of prehension could be one of the most important discoveries ever made by a human being, for it has the potential to totally transform mankind into what Nietzsche called Übermenschen. These are the ones who are neither masters nor slaves, who are adepts at self-discipline and self-realization, who do not lord it over their fellow humans, but bring wisdom and peace to the earth. This is what humanity may look like in the next stage of human evolution….

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The Outsider’s Guide to the Philosophy of Whitehead, Part 1

The Outsider’s Guide to the Philosophy of Whitehead, Part 1

  My heroes are not the typical ones, the movie stars, sports stars, musical stars, et al. Rather, they are philosophers, writers, poets, thinkers who can all be grouped under the rubric of Outsider, to borrow from Colin Wilson. My heroes are all Outsiders. People such as Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Goethe, and more recently Sylvia Plath, James Hillman, Colin Wilson, and Gary Lachman. These are the kinds of individuals I respect and admire most. No, they are not sports heroes, racing…

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Religion and the Rebel, Conclusion

Religion and the Rebel, Conclusion

  Wilson now turns to Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), perhaps the greatest intellectual of his era. Time will tell if he will be recognized as the greatest thinker of the twentieth century. The sublimity of his thought is unsurpassed for his day and time. The only one that comes close, perhaps, is C.G. Jung. Wilson has a high regard for Whitehead, mostly because Whitehead began his career as the “typical abstract philosopher.” He “gradually rejected ‘abstractionism’ until he became one…

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