In the search of the ontological character of God
According to Whitehead all religious dogmas are subsidiary to the answer to the fundamental question “What do you mean by God?” There are three main traditional answers to that problem. In the Eastern Asiatic religions God is being perceived as an impersonal order to which the world conforms. This order is the self- ordering of the world. This concept expresses the extreme doctrine of immanence (Religion: 66) There is no outside agenda or entity that goes into the relation with the world, therefore the world is not obeying any imposed rule, structure or track. The second approach to God is that of Semitic concept where God is a definite personal individual entity, whose existence is the one ultimate metaphysical fact, absolute and underivative, and who decreed and ordered the drivative existence which we call the actual world. It expresses the extreme doctrine of transcendence. The third standpoint is that of Pantheistic concept. It is described in the sense of the Semitic concept, except that the actual world is a phase within a complete fact which is an ultimate individual entity. The actual world conceived apart from God is unreal. The only reality is God’s reality. The actual world has the reality of being a partial description of what God is. But in itself it is merely a certain mutuality of “appearance”, which is a phase of being of God. This is the extreme doctrine of monism. (Religion: 67)
These three approaches toward the idea of God are still current and constantly shaping the landscape of postmodern theologies and philosophies. They occupy the field that is common, ever- expanding and applicable to various ideas and theories. The answer for the question “What do you mean by God?” progressed into the area where no simple answers or a firm standpoint is possible. Some vocabularies lost their validation and went bankrupt, some are still current, some slowly building up their currency. In the amalgam of the possibilities of interpretation one can see the resemblances and cohesion.
Eastern Asiatic concept and Pantheistic concept invert each other. Their common ground is mutual aspect of God and the World. According to the former when we speak of God we are saying something about the World; according to the latter when we speak about the World we are referring to God. Semitic concept and Eastern Asiatic concept stay in direct opposition to one another. The nature of Semitic transcendence does not leave any room for Asian interpretations of God as immanence and vice versa- Asiatic immanence rejects the idea of God as an outside entity. The tension between transcendence and immanence lies in the problem of proving those concepts. One can discover an immanent God under the assumption that one can only discover all the factors disclosed in the world as experienced. Any proof which commences with the consideration of the character of the actual world, cannot rise above the actuality of this world. In other words, by considering the world we can find all the factors required by the total metaphysical situation. (Religion: 69) In the case of transcendence it is quite different. Because transcendental God occupies the place outside the world, it is not included in the totality of actual fact. Discovering the wholly transcendent God is impossible. Man being a part of total situation cannot embrace God fully.
The religious dogmas by their very nature are resistant to any form of evolution. It is enough to mention for example a recent affair described by some as “closing Limbo”. It refers to the decision of the International Theological Commission of Roman Catholic Church stating that miserable status of the unbaptized who die in infancy is nothing more than pure speculation. In the light of the petrified character of religious dogma there is nothing more to do than try to look at them from the pragmatic point of view. Making use of the dogma can be achieved by opening it up, interpreting it, and commenting on it. Mixing up freely and allowing the play of association and criticism can produce new ways of re- establishing values of certain vocabularies. The result may be unexpected fusion of contradictions- finding a common ground, a plateau of consistency.
God as self- ordering of the world
Eastern Asiatic concept of God is based, as stated before on the doctrine of immanence. The idea of self- ordering of the world imposes a basic question of what is it to be ordered within it. The relation of the ordering has to occur between certain entities that form the stratification of the order. In other words- the ordering has to engage with the relation to a specific category in order to take place. What forms this category is the key issue in further analysis of how to approach the idea of God in the multiplicity of postmodernities. The task is to examine the ontological constitution of entity which forms a relation with God.
Michael Snow in his movie “Wavelength” famously expressed that “it is precise that events take place” (ChristianHubert 2006). This seemingly self- evident statement opens in fact a broad field of interpretation. Not only because of the fact that it indicates a certain category (events) and a proposal of its positioning (place) but also if not primarily because it establishes a certain relation between one and the other (taking). This relation is crucial to the understanding of the process of self- ordering both for Deleuze and Whitehead. Firstly though it is necessary to look closer at the definition of an event and establish it usefulness for further analysis.
Broadly understood events are “things that happen”- things as births, deaths, thunder and lightening, explosions, weddings, hiccups and hand- waves, dances, smiles, walks etc. (Casati 2006) This seemingly simple and straightforward definition, often found in the dictionaries is in fact quite controversial. The first reason for the controversy is that it shifts the problem of defining the event to the task of defining the meaning of “happen”. Secondly it is questionable whether one can give a characterization of events at all considering the fact that they encompass a broad field of human perception, action, language and thought. It seems that the only way to establish the potential of events as a category is to compare it to those categories that have been put forward explicitly as its ontological competitors (Casati 2006). The categories to be put under consideration are objects, facts, properties and times.
The main difference between objects and events is that of a mode of being. It has to do with the material aspect of an object. Chairs, tables, magazines, knifes, hats exist. The material existence of an object is contrasted with the immaterial occurrence of an event. Events happen or take place, not exist. The second difference is based on the way objects and events relate to space and time. Whereas objects have relatively clear spatial and boundaries and unclear temporal boundaries, events have relatively unclear spatial boundaries and clear temporal boundaries. Objects in individual way occupy their space- time location while events tolerate co- location (Quinton 1979: 207)
Those are just examples of traditional differences between objects and events. However, changing the angle of approach, one can come to a conclusion that events and objects do not in fact stand in opposition to one another. Objects play a main role in events and at the same time events rely on objects as their modus operandi. The whole issue turns even more problematic when objects are treated as four- dimensional entities that extend across time just as they extend across space. In that respect the boundaries between the objects and events dilute. Both objects and events are species of the same genus the only difference being in the time they take up: events appear to develop quickly, objects on the other hand are relatively “firm” and “progress” slowly. Objects are events.
The relation between events and facts (just like it was in the case of objects) relies on departure point of looking at them. One can consider events to be concrete, temporally and spatially located entities and facts as being characterized by feature of abstractness and a- temporality. From this point of view events and facts would be categorically distinct. Some philosophers however have conceived of the link between events and facts as being much closer- close enough to justify the assimilation of the two categories or at least taking both as species of the same “state of affairs” genus. Such an approach is based on the “slingshot argument” showing that two terms designate the same thing. Because facts corresponding to non- equivalent propositions are distinct, events conceived of as facts are fine- grained entities that cannot be freely re- described or re- identified under different conceptualizations (Casati 2006). To put it simply- for every different fact there is a different event reflecting it. Under those circumstances establishing distinctions between them seems useless. Facts therefore are events.
Properties seem to stand in fundamental contradiction to events. Events are being perceived as individuals therefore they cannot be properties that are normally constructed as universals. The difference in the language is based on the relation between occurring and recurring (events occur whereas properties recur). This seemingly simple definition stumbles on a problem when one takes under consideration the broader temporal aspect of an event. Doing so an event can be looked at as properties of moments or of intervals of time. For example the event of the sun’s rising is the property of being an interval during which the sun rises (Casati 2006).
One can also view properties not as universals but as particulars of some sort. From that angle properties are tied to their spatiotemporal location. According to that definition, an event would be a particularized property located at some region of space and time. Events differentiated by space and time would accordingly have different properties. For every different event there is a different set of its properties. It is justified to state that properties are events.
The link between events and times seems to be easy to describe. Events can be straightforwardly treated as times as temporal instants or intervals during which certain statements hold (Casati 2006) In that respect times become an inherent feature of events indicating another dimension of their extension. Without events filling or encompassing times the latter would be useless as an ontological category. Times are events.
The result of comparing events with their ontological competitors turns in favor of events. Employing a certain way of looking at them, events turn into an umbrella term gathering objects, facts, properties and times. Thus a certain category is being described that define types of entities within the framework of being and existence. What is more important though is to analyze how events relate to one another and how they function in the multiplicity, within the self- ordering aspect of it. The idea of multiplicity is itself notoriously complex and hard to approach. In fact it seems impossible not to fall into paradox trying to come up with the cohesive definition or a firm standpoint towards multiplicity. By its own very nature multiplicity would easily escape such an attempt. The question that remains open is whether you can apply the notions of multiplicity as a functional tool in establishing the ontology of an event. Can multiplicity contain paradox without appropriating its meaning i.e. to the point when one doesn’t fall into the other? Can One contain Many?
Multiplicity is the property possessed by the indefinite quantity of units or individuals. It is more useful though to return to the classical definition of multiplicity as multitude that is to say the condition or quality of being numerous. The multitude is, as Negri says, very beautiful but difficult to describe. These days we refer to multitude as a group of singularities that have re- appropriated the instruments of production, the tools of work for themselves. We have then a multiplicity that has ceased to be a confused whole and is now plural and resourceful, that is no longer awaiting unification by some kind of transcendence, be it Hobbesian order or Hegelian dialectic sublation. (Guerra 2003)
Transcendence as the enemy of multiplicity
Transcendence as alienation
Transcendence as loneliness of othering
Transcendence is a treacherous thing. Its danger lies in the fact that it forms a bipolar opposition between transcendental signifier and signified. In result, the arboreal structure is being built where the distance between signified and centre of signification is the source of meaning. It was Feuerbach who pointed out this model in relation to transcendental God and Man. He challenged this dualism with stating that God is nothing more than a form of alienation of Man. In “Essence of Christianity” Feuerbach described how religion reinforces the dichotomy between God and Man. Religion abstracts man from his powers, qualities and essential determinations and deifies them in the independent beings, no matter whether each of them is singly turned into a being- as in polytheism- or all of them are turned into one being- as in monotheism. Religion, at least Christian religion, is the expression of how Man relates to himself, or more correctly to his essential being. The Divine Being is nothing other than the being of man himself, or rather the being of man abstracted from the limits of the individual man or the real corporeal man and objectified that is contemplated and worshiped as another being, as a being distinguished from his own (Feuerbach 1841: 13). All determinations of God are therefore determinations of the being of Man.
Opposition of Man and God is based on the paradox. Man- and this is the secret of religion- objectifies his being, and then again makes himself the object of this objectified being, transformed into a subject, a person. He thinks of himself as an object, but as an object of an object, as an object of another being (Feuerbach 1841: 36).
God is the concept developed by Man. To say it in different words- Man has invented God as the outward projection of his own inward nature. The dichotomy between God and Man appears therefore as non- existent. Man has victimized himself/herself by self- inflicted process of alienation. Paradoxically in order to gain subjectivity it has to be rejected in the first place.
Feuerbach’s great follower states “God is dead”. This is no more to say than that the bipolar system cannot function without one of the poles that constitute it- the dualism of God and Man has lost its validation. Nietzsche believed that there could be positive possibilities for human without transcendental God. The Christian God, with his arbitrary commands and prohibitions would no longer stand in the way so human beings might stop turning their eyes toward a supernatural realm and begin to acknowledge the value of this world (Robinson 1999: 47). In some ways, the recognition that “God is dead” would serve as a blank canvas. It would become a ground for free creativity, for something new and different to arise. Nietzsche realized that this would be a hard task but at the same time it would be a tempting challenge. He believed many would be not up for it because most people rely only on rules and authorities to tell them what to do, what to value, how to live. The people who eventually learn to create their lives anew will represent a new stage in human transformation, that is as Nietzsche advocated an increasing measure to cultivate human qualities that continually strive for mastery and refinement in all matters, thus extolling existence (Robinson 1999: 50).
Badiou argues that philosophy was deeply wounded when it decided to replace the question of truth with a question of meaning. This decision ultimately condemned all the thought to the domains of linguistics (language) and theology (transcendence) the touchstones of variously designated “anti-philosophers” (including Lacan, Levinas, Lyotard, to name a few) (Schenold 2005). Transcendence acts as a violent aggressor trying to impose an artificial wholeness onto multiplicity. Multiplicity though, as stated before would easily escape such an attempt. Multiplicity is always bigger. All conceptions of subjectivity, says Badiou, that spring from the various forms of the ethics of the Other can be read as an a priori designation of the individual as victim. For Badiou the contemporary situation demands a return to the “ethics of the Same” remarking that infinite differences and otherness is simply what there is and the more difficult question of ethics is concerned with trying to see the Same, the truth-event in a given situation that opens itself up to what it is to be- to possibility. (Schenold 2005)
The event is incrusted into the matter/flesh of the multiplicity. It becomes a singular entity confronted with the multiplicity of its ontological “look-a-likes”. The factor that decides of the singularity is its name. The name is therefore what constitutes an event. Events, as Negri states are things called into existence in the act of naming. (…) By event I understand the truth (the adequation) of the act of naming and of the thing named when they are produced at the same time. Both are called into existence: in this sense name and common name constitute an event. (Time 3:2)
Name is a singularity that vibrates in the membrane of multiplicity. In order to distinguish the nature of name and common name and their relation to one another, it is necessary to establish the conditions of the thing named.
Event of the thing named becomes a strong ontological competitor…
Name is an identifier. It is a source of singularity unbreakably tied to the event it belongs to. There is unity of the name and the event- unique, individual, non-repetitive relationship between one and the other. The name has an amazing potential- knowing the name is being in the position of power. Anonymity is an advantage- when the name is obscured the event is hidden- it could potentially be anything. When conducting exorcisms, getting the demon to reveal its name, is the first step to evict it form the body of the possessed. One of the most famous demons- Legion- fought with Jesus Christ by hiding its name. “And he asked him, what is thy name? And he answered saying, my name is Legion, for we are many.” The story of Legion (whose name is also translated as Lots) is a good example of difficulties concerning issues around name and common name.
Name is a linguistic sign that we attribute to a thing- common name is attributed when the things are many and we pretend to represent their common element. Everything has or can have a name and every set of things in as much as they are brought together has or can have a common name. (Time 1.2) There is a common factor that brings names together in the multiplicity. The singularity releases the vibration common to that released by other singularities of the membrane. One contains many that contain one. Name becomes a common name but at the same time it retains its own specificity and originality. It is possible for the reason that event of the thing named happens in the condition of ”now, here”. This situation expresses two important characteristics of an event- its temporality and spatiality.
In order to perceive time as an ontological entity it is necessary to go beyond the common definition of being understood as spatial determinations of the ontological conditions of the common name. Such an approach is based on the perception of time as Chronos i.e. the sequential structure of happenings. Chronos is clocks, deadlines, watches, calendars, agendas, planners, schedule, beepers- Chronos keeps track. It governs the mobile image of the immobility of being in tradition of classical philosophy. Time is thus an extrinsic modality: it presents itself as an illusion or as a measure, never as event, never as “this, here”. (Time 2.2) Time understood in a traditional way always escapes. It condemns being to the infinite process of dialectical inferences. In whatever way it is thought of, the subordination of the adequation of the name and the thing to the spatial modality is incapable of capturing the event of the thing named. It removes it, empties it and annuls it. Considered from the standpoint of classical and transcendental philosophy and therefore in the guise of analytic judgment the spatial conditions end up in each case as transcendent as extrinsic to the event. One has to ask a question “what is an ontological meaning stating ‘at the same time’ in relation to the link between the act of naming and the thing named?” “Where” and “when” does this relation take place and what kind of knowledge the recognition of this fact produces?
Religious vocabulary accommodates a category of kairos. The term itself originates in polytheistic Greece where Kairos was the god of the “fleeting moment”. Pictured as a young naked man, with wind running through his hair, he personified the time in between, a moment of undetermined period of time in which something special happens. (Freier 2006). Kairos was re- appropriated by Christianity as a quality of time- the time most sacred and profound, the time when God acts. The New Testament writers reflect the evolution of the word by referring to kairos time as the present moment, the defining moment, a time- frame fro divine interactions and occurrences. The idea is that God membranes in ordinary time and fills it with special significance. It becomes pregnant with meaning. Kairos is the time wedded with the presence of God, time freed from any restrictions, time that opens itself up to potentiality. It is the time that keeps up with the presence. Time that does not escape. Time that nests.
Chronos i.e. the sequential time bursts open, stretches and elasticates in kairos. (Walker 2006) Kairos is the field of calling things into existence in the act of naming. Kairos is where and when events happen. Time perceived as kairos plays a crucial role in the construction of the common name. Kairos means singularity, but singularities are multiple, so before a singularity there is always another singularity and kairos is so to speak multiplied in other kairos.
EVENT OF THE THING NAMED IN KAIROS IS CONFRONTED WITH ITS ONTOLOGICAL LOOK-A- LIKES
When the name is said and heard, when it lives in language, every kairos will be open to other kairos and all together these events will constitute common names. Kairos is the place where name and common name co- exist in restless vibration. Ontological restlessness of temporality becomes a production of truth. To assume the restlessness of time as the ontological fabric of knowledge is to take the temporality of being (as ambiguous alternation of consistency and evanescence proper to it) in the intermittent current that illuminates existence. (Time 5.0)
Kairos means singular and open present.
It is there where being faces the void at the very instant when it decides to fill this void. In this very “time in between” the name and common name arise. This is when they attain existence. Events are given in the present, on the edge of time that is when temporality opens itself to the “to- come”. Kairos is power at precisely the moment that the experience of time restlessly observes the edge over which it leans. Kairos is the pulse, the vibration, the hum, the noise that produces truth. Truth understood again as the basis of knowledge engaged in establishing the name and the common name. Kairos is no mans land, the area where there are no strongholds, tyrants and totalizations. It is where only certainty is uncertainty of possibility. Knowing the true is watching, expressing, experiencing and living being from the standpoint of kairos that is from the standpoint of the instant that finds itself between the accomplishment of time and the opening of the to- come. (Time 5.5)
If the truth is the adequation of the act of naming and of the thing named (that finds itself in an event), time turns out to be the significant factor in getting to the truth. By the nature of both of them truth becomes submitted to the ontology of time. The truth finds itself in the vibration of the membrane- at the moment of becoming a threshold between being and non- being. It is in the explosion, in the macro- catastrophe of the micro- scale, in rhizomatic growth that produces existence. The power of truth is not behind, nor outside, nor in the depth; it is in front, it is in the risk of vacillation.
Kairos expresses itself to the void and decides upon it that the name is born. Through kairos the ontological affirmation of the name cannot be understood as nothing else than the decision of the new being. In this sense in kairos the presence is expression and the name is the product of expression. (Time 6.3)The thing balances on the edge of being. It directs itself towards the act of naming awaiting it’s being to be granted. At the same time the name calls the thing to a new singular existence. In the multiplicity of the common name the singularity of kairos results in the new being called into existence. Kairos, exposed to the void, pulsates and grasps new being pulling it out of the void. Kairos is the instant.
The truth is what identifies the event. Badiou claims that modern philosophy is sentenced to the prison of language and transcendence. The only way out is to put again the emphasis on the question of truth. Truth is a new word in Europe (and elsewhere) says Badiou. For him the basic condition of progress in philosophy is the return to its universal appeal. When “what is truth” reclaims its validation, the new way of describing the world opens. Truth “punctures a hole” in the situation and the truth- event that breaks from the situation includes a new being which is a bearer of truth.
Event is conceived in kairos and it is filled with truth.
Kairos time becomes an ontological fabric of knowledge- it is “this here” where truth happens. In this approach to theory of truth space is subordinated to temporality. (Time 7.1) The truth of the name must have spatial consistency that cannot be given other than within the constitutive character of time. Truth of the name is no longer the prisoner of a static location but is instead accommodated in the new ontological constitution of time. That is for the reason that the truth of the name cannot be given in anything other than its instance in kairos. The name has properly speaking no place but the name is said, is heard it lives in language (…) the name does not ask language for its truth because it has already asked it of kairos. (Time 7.3) The place the name inhabits becomes a common place. It means that in the place we call linguistics, an ensemble of names come together. So once it is recalled that the name is an event, the linguistic common place will be defined as the place of the ensemble of events. According to Negri this is the ontological presupposition that enables the move from the name to the common name the sign (of the truth of the name of the thing) to the construction of common sign of a multiplicity of things. This common name appears in a first definition as the expression of the new spatiality, as common territorialization of the multiple of kairos. (Time 7.6) Common name manifested in social activities and material things, phenomena or processes, take on different form that stretches and constantly opens itself up. Badiou’s appeal about returning to the ethics of the Same is worth repeating.
Name Truth Event
The discussion of the importance of the relation between name and common name can be compared with the discourse of the name of God. In that reflection theology and philosophy are accommodated within common vocabulary. They both directly refer to the question “What is truth?” They both nourish each other with significance. This is an appropriate point to revaluate the meaning of God in the light of modern philosophy.
In the name of God.
Jews do not speak the Name of God because they do not want to profane it. In fact, according to Kabbalists, the Torah is itself ineffable and unpronounceable Name of God that opens interpretations but can never be comprehended by it. Thus not only one is not supposed to pronounce the Name of God, one cannot. One can only approximate it. The attempt to approximate the name of God is opening the concept to the possibility, to the to- come.
In one of the most famous verses of the Old Testament, in Exodus, we read about God appearing in front of Moses in the form of the burning bush. Moses says to God “Suppose I go to Israelites and say to them ‘the God of your fathers has sent me to you’ and they ask me ‘what is his name?’ then what shall I tell them? God said to Moses ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I am has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14)
According to Jewish tradition the meaning of YHWH is related to the causative form, the imperfect state of the Hebrew verb ha-wah (to be to become) meaning ‘he will cause to become’ usually understood as ‘ he causes to become’. Hebrew ‘Ehyeh asher ehyeh’ is translated as ‘I am that I am’ From the point of view of accommodating the concept of God in postmodernities this translation seems more useful.
I am what I am
I am what I will be
I will be what I will be
I will be what I shall be
I will be what tomorrow demands
I am what I cause to be
are among other translations.
The most famous interpretation of Tetragrammaton, the interpretation that shaped two millennia of philosophy and theology came from Jesus Christ. “I am… bread of life, I am… light of the world, I am… from above, I am… the door, I am… Good Sheppard, I am… resurrection and the life, I am… true vine, I am… Alpha and Omega , the beginning and the ending said the Lord, which is and which was and which is to come, the Almighty, I am… he that searches the reins and hearts, I am… root and the offspring of David and the bright and morning star”. (John 10:7 to 18:37)
Acquainted with the postmodern vocabulary Jesus Christ could probably add- I am the truth-event that opens itself up to possibility, I am the membrane that vibrates in the process of creation, I am kairos. Jesus Christ in that respect is the self- revelation, the self- naming of God. This approach revokes again the ethics of the Same. God’s presence is contained in the very understanding of “I am”, the concept of God becomes therefore an attribute of being. God is “calling into existence”. God can be understood as an ontological category that holds its currency in postmodern philosophy.
Semitic concept of God became a ground for Christianity to grow on. Jesus Christ introduced important modifications to that model though. The first concerned the association of God with the Kingdom of Heaven, coupled with the explanation that “The Kingdom of God is within you”. The second one is the concept of God as a metaphor of Love. As God has renounced himself out of love, so we, out of love, should renounce God; for if we do not sacrifice God to love, we sacrifice love to God, and, in spite of the predicate of love, we have the God – the evil being – of religious fanaticism. Those are just two examples of trying to open up the notion of the unequivocal personal unity of Semitic God.
Immanence is a well-known doctrine. The point to be noticed is that it is implicit in various parts of the New Testament, and was explicit in the first theological epoch of Christianity. Christian theology followed John rather than Paul at its beginning. The will to love was gradually overshadowed by the will to execute power. In respect to its doctrine of God the Church gradually returned to the Semitic Concept with the addition of the threefold personality. It is a concept which is clear, terrifying, and un- provable. On the whole the gospel of love was turned into a gospel of fear. The Christian world was composed of terrified populations. (Religion: 72). In order to find God, the contemporary situation demands doing it through love not through fear, wit the help of John rather than Paul.
For Alfred North Whitehead the category of events is fundamental in deliberation on nature and God. For him reality is nothing but events. He describes them as prehensive unifications- gathering diversity together in a unity (Process 1978: 72). The crucial implication of such theory is that there are no independent events. For Whitehead every event is a part of a bigger whole and thus cannot be studied in separation from other events. Whitehead claims that an event mirrors within itself modes of its predecessors, contemporaries and aspects that the future throws back on the present. In Process and Reality he states that there is in the world for our cognizance memory of the past, immediacy of realization and the indication of the things to come (Process 1978: 73). Every event encloses within itself the characterizations of past, present and future. Whitehead speculates that an event is both subject to the influence of other events and acts in its own constitution and causal efficacy. Events are tied one to another in the ongoing relation of becoming. Each of them takes into account earlier ones and flows into later ones. In that respect events have an ability to extend on other events.
Deleuze calls the extension the first component or the condition of the event. Extension exists when an element is stretched over the following ones, such that it is a whole and the following elements are its parts. Such a connection of whole- parts forms an infinite series that contains neither a final term nor a limit. (The Fold 1993: 77). There is no outside agenda that would govern events on the contrary the only authority that can be established comes out of its internal logic. There is nothing that becomes a subject to any authority and there is nothing that would execute any authority. Events extend in space and time grasping one another and forming the network of prehension.
Through the category of prehension, the nonsensory sympathetic perception of antecedent experiences, we are able to reduce several apparently very different types of relations to one fundamental type of relation. Prehension explains not only memory and perception but also temporality, space, causality, enduring individuality (or substance), the mind-body relation, subject-object relation in general, and the God-world relation (Griffin 1993: 209). In the words of Deleuze prehension is individual unity. For Whitehead the individual is creativity, the formation of the new. Everything prehends its antecedents and its concomitants and, by degrees prehends, a world (…) Every event is inseparably the objectification of one prehesion and the subjectification of another- it is at once public and private, potential and real, participating in the becoming of another event and the subject of its own becoming (The Fold 1993: 78). Prehension is the basic, extrasensory awareness, or grasping, that all experiences have of all earlier experiences. One might call it the super intuition on which all conventionally recognized extrasensory perception and sensory perception are built. Some authors put it even more directly and call prehension a feeling. Prehention understood on this terms means that events form the organic process in which different parts of the universe “feel” reciprocally. Events “feel” everything that in the universe develops beyond the event and at the same time it is felt by all the others. Thus, the existing connection between all the events constitute the “whole event” that is the world of concrescence (Gaitan 2000: 8).
The idea of prehension provides answers to various questions concerning the relations between events. As far as their internal connections are concerned, events prehend others- they are constituted by their relations to these others. If one analysis the external relations, events are prehended by subsequent events which they do not themselves prehend therefore they must be independent of them. Moreover so far as events, being mutually contemporary, are without prehensions running either way, there is mutual independence. Finally, is there any freedom of indeterminacy in reality? Yes, and in all cases, since events never strictly depend upon or imply their precise successors (Hardshorne 1970: 127).
Events are characterized by their intensity. In relation to the idea of prehention intensity of an event can be translated as its ability to grasp stronger or weaker. Intensities indicate prehensive capabilities of an event. Intensity is the key concept used for establishing the currency of an event. Everything that happens and everything that appears is correlated with orders of differences of its own currency: differences of levels, temperature, pressure tension, potential- the difference in intensity (Difference 2004: 222). For Deleuze intensity is an aleatory point enveloping differentials of sensibility and consequently of thought and of other faculties, the imperceptible, or the unthinkable, designating the highest power of sensibility and thought i.e. the inability to sense and think empirically. For what matters for Deleuze is the force of the unconscious i.e. that what escapes the consciousness and reveals itself as active, positive force (Bogue 1989: 196).
From the above analysis it is clear that the answer to the question “What is an event?” is quite complex and problematic. The main reason for that is that events by their nature are in constant flux that escapes imposing any structure or form. Events flow freely, connect, join, disconnect, loose, go through etc. Events effectively are forever moving, gaining and loosing parts carried away in movement; things are endlessly being altered. Events are fluvia. (The Fold 1993: 79)
Whitehead incorporated God into modern philosophy by associating its meaning with the creative process. He placed it at the very same point where Negri situates kairos. For Negri kairos is the Christ that empties itself so as to produce new being, it is temporality augmented by expression, it is praxis of the common name. The power of kairos, as the passage from the void to fullness and as production of being on the edge of time, is now the backdrop- the articulation and the schema of praxis (…) The true rediscovers the connotation of an existence in praxis, having recognized itself in the only time in which it can be said: in the instance of kairos. (Time: 9.4) God is again associated with the creation of new being, in the restless processes of becoming “I am”.
In Process and Reality Whitehead writes that it belongs to the nature of being that is a potential for every becoming. For him becoming is the actuality of being what has been thought to be substantial Being must be re-interpreted as derivative from Becoming. Therefore the most fundamental category of nature should be found in „events”, and not in „substance”. Whitehead tried to reduce physical entities which were previously considered as substantial Being to the Becomingness of interrelated events. What he means by „event” must not be interpreted as something cut off from the pre-existing continuity of space-time, but the space-time itself is an abstraction from the concrete relatedness of events. What must be noticed here is that the concept of events as four dimensional structures plays the role of mediation between space and time. Both matter as a self-identical substance and space-time as a fixed framework of physics are to be deconstructed to the interrelation of becoming events. Whitehead executed such deconstruction by what may be called the reversal of subject-predicate logic. In classical physics matter is treated grammatically as subject, and its spatio-temporal determinations as adjectives. Whitehead, on the contrary, treats matter as an „adjective” of ‚four-dimensional events with specific characters. Material beings are considered by him, not to be causes of perceived qualities, but treated merely as one of many adjectives uniformly modifying events. This does not mean that events occupy the place of substance, for the essence of an event consists in its relatedness (Tanaka: 7)
The interrelation between events, their prehesion and intensity is where Whitehead finds the meaning of God. Deus Creator is the creative process itself. Universe is the process of attaining instances of definite experience out of its own elements. Each such instance embraces the whole, omitting nothing, whether it would be an ideal form or actual fact. God Omnipresent is not a static entity but instead is a vibration of whiteheadian grounds and consequences. The consequent must agree with the ground in general type so as to preserve definiteness, but it must contrast with it in respect to contrary instances so as to obtain vividness and quality. (Religion: 111) That is yet another example of relation between common name and name.
Every event on its finer side introduces God into the world. God is the factor that enables prehesion in the act of creation. Because it is instant in kairos it enables the accomplishment of time and the opening of the to- come. Without God in that respect, the world would fall from self- destruction of evil. God is in the process of becoming. The world lives by its incarnation of God in itself. Apart from God, there would be no actual world; and apart from the actual world with its creativity, there would be no rational explanation of the ideal vision which constitutes God. (after Religion: 149- 151) The many become one and are increased by one
„the many become one and are increased by one.”
God is not a substance. Instead God is an instance, albeit the all-inclusive instance, of dependent origination. In Whitehead’s full analysis, God originates not only from all the possibilities God mediates to the world but also from all the occasions that have ever occurred in the world.
For Whitehead there truly is a divine element in the whole of things apart from which there would be no life, or thought, or freedom, or love
Whitehead’s understanding of God is profoundly Christian. It is in sharp tension with much in orthodox Christianity, but on many of the points of difference, it is more biblical than the philosophical theological development of the traditions under Greek influence. The Greeks celebrated imperviousness to external influence and, accordingly, insisted on God’s impassibility and immutability. The Bible represents God as deeply affected by what happens in the world and profoundly interactive with the world. The tradition absolutizes God’s power and affirms that God is literally omnipotent. The Bible takes for granted that human beings make their own decisions, often contrary to God’s desires and purposes. The God revealed in Jesus is far more like the gracious Love described by Whitehead than the omnipotent ruler located in a heavenly sphere that so many suppose is the Christian God. (Cobb 2002)
From the perspective of postmodern revaluation God becomes a truth- event conceived in kairos in the act of naming, called into existence granted by its name, a singular entity of certain intensity woven in the flesh of prehensive unifications. God is the restlessness of time where common name mirrors in name. God is the time “in between” when becoming grants the existence the ultimate right to possibility. The concept of God enables the many to become one and be constantly increased by one- ever expading in its rhizomatic growth. The world after the death of God would become a blank canvas for Nietzsche. What he did not relies that God can be perceived as this very canvas that forms the ground of free creativity.
The analysis of existence as being directly related to name and reflected in common name is reinforced with the interpretation of the Name of God.
God as truth of the name conceived in the act of naming and events as filled with that truth thus filled with God.