The Reality of the Process of Reading Process and Reality

We’ve now completed our seventh spin upon A.N. Whitehead’s brainpain mainframe, Process and Reality. Clarity, perhaps predictably, remains frustratingly enigmatic. Feelings of intellectual inadequacy relentlessly abound. Not only are we yet to reach the heady heights of Part Two’s summit, as was the original plan, we’ve not yet even broken through to the other side of Organisms and Environment (P2, C4). We’ve already lowered ourselves to the consolations of a guide and a glossary and the confusion nevertheless remains. Commitment, for its part, has dwindled in inverse proportion to the heightening of confusion: what once was a mighty ten has now become a meagre five. Further casualties seem likely to follow and the categoreal scheme, for its part, seems destined to have been elaborated behind the back of ever more would-be constructionists.   

Hope nevertheless springs eternal. Next week, in an effort to draw collective strength, we will re-trace our steps by attempting to both mind-map (via and narrate (in 250-300 words) Chapters 1 through 4 of Part 2 (Discussions and Applications). We will forego the performance of a similar operation upon Chapters 1 through 3 of Part 1 (The Speculative Scheme), at least for now, for reasons made very clear by Whitehead withinin the preface, namely, that Part 1 both anticipates and requires the discussions undertaken within Part 2.

Within the next meeting, then, Stephen will offer a short overview of ‘Fact and Form’, Andrea will do the same to ‘The Extensive Continuum’, Charles to ‘The Order of Nature’ and Martina to ‘Organisms and Environment’. This will have us well set for a discussion of Chapters 5 and 6, which will also take place during the meeting on the 28th of November. So if you are trying to catch up with the group, if you would like to participate next semester, or even if you are interested in dipping your toe into the stream which you can never step into twice, our next meeting is the one to try and make it along to.

3 thoughts on “The Reality of the Process of Reading Process and Reality

  1. Typically I have a seminar at the apointed time next week but would love to join in next semester. Is there any way this could be recorded?

    • Well I don’t know if we want to record our conversations, do we? But we will have conceptual maps saved on line (you will be able to access them if you want, I can send you the username and password) and we will also have the texts summarising the chapters. Hope this can help!

      • We can also post the chapter summaries and screen grabbed diagrams here, if people want? We’ve blogged about this partially as an update of how the group has been going so far, but largely in an effort to convince laggards or the otherwise engaged that the group is still worth coming along to, that it’s not necessarily too late to collectively grapple with Whitehead’s masterpiece. It’s a real shame so many folk were otherwise engaged this semester but all is not lost, particularly if you try to make it along to next week’s session…

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