“Prehensions are the way that what is there becomes something here. A prehension is the bond between two actual occasions. The past occasion shares in the constitution of the new occasion…”
“Suppose you are listening to music. You hear the final chord of a musical phrase. But why do you hear it as the final chord of a musical phrase? Is it a matter of consciously recalling past experiences? Obviously not. Unless the earlier occasions of experience are functioning in the present, there would simply be a succession of disconnected sounds. The past experience flows into the present. It
does not constitute the present occasion of experience totally, because there must be the addition of the final chord. But the past is alive in the present. Still, one experiences the presence of the previous chords as derived from experiences in the past, the very recent past. This is an example of the prehension of the past experience by the now becoming experience. What was past becomes present,
but it is present as derived from that past.”
As a personal project I recently created a poster based on Whitehead’s concept of prehension. I used some copy form John Cobb’s Whitehead Word Book (above). A print-ready .pdf file can be downloaded here. Enjoy!