Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reading Process and Reality (08)

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology (Gifford Lectures 1927-28, Corrected Edition), ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne (New York: The Free Press, 1978).

The doctrine of the emergent unity of the superject the complete particular 'givenness' for an actual entity there is an element of exclusiveness. The various primary data and the concrescent feelings do not form a mere multiplicity. Their synthesis in the final unity of one actual unity is another fact of 'givenness.' The actual entity terminates its becoming in one complex feeling involving a completely determinate bond with every item in the universe, the bond being either a positive or a negative prehension. This termination is the 'satisfaction' of the actual entity. Thus the addition of another component alters this synthetic 'givenness.' Any additional component is therefore contrary to this integral 'givenness' of the original. This principle may be illustrated by our visual perception of a picture. The pattern of colours is 'given' for us. But an extra patch of red does not constitute a mere addition; it alters the whole balance. Thus in an actual entity the balanced unity of the total 'givenness' excludes anything that is not given.
This is the doctrine of the emergent unity of the superject. An actual entity is to be conceived both as a subject presiding over its own immediacy of becoming, and a superject which is the atomic creature exercising its function of objective immortality. It has become a 'being'; and it belongs to the nature of every 'being' that it is a potential for every 'becoming.' (44-45) [emphasis mine]