Essays & Posts

A River Runs Through It

I’ve been reading up on Process Philosophy lately. I was intrigued after reading that Robert Motherwell studied the Process Philosophy of Alfred Whitehead at Harvard in their philosophy PhD program (and then ultimately finishing his art studies at Columbia University). Process Philosophy in a nutshell speculates that the building blocks of all reality are not based on matter (or molecules or protons or genes, etc).

The very foundation of all reality is process or change. You cannot have an object without a process that brings that object into being. Process is never-ending creation, pure creativity. Without process there would be no birds and trees or sickness and war. Nothing is static, everything is in constant motion. Matter presents itself because there is a process already in place which allows it to interact with other elements. And there’s a process that collects those elements into a thing. And there is a human that was created that bought that thing and hung it on their wall.

You’ve heard the saying (which over the years has changed from the original words of Heraclitus), “You can never step in the same river twice for it's not the same river, and you're not the same person." Everything is in process. Everything is in flux. The natural state of all things is change. We, the things around us, the universe, are always in a constant state of flux. Change is the cornerstone of reality. So it’s understandable how frustrated (even angry) we get when we deny that process. When we fight against the natural, omnipresent, intractable, changing, processual nature of things, we are fighting against the very nature of our existence.