“The field of psychology, let alone psychoanalysis, is largely unaware of the magnitude of Whitehead’s contributions to philosophical psychology. But surprisingly, so is the field of philosophy. Unless you are a fervent Whiteheadian immersed in the minutia of process studies, Whitehead’s contributions to human psychology largely remain eclipsed by his other bodies of work that have left their mark in the fields of mathematics, logic, the philosophy of science, religion, education, and most notably, metaphysics. Having said this, one of the most under-emphasized aspects of Whitehead’s metaphysics is that it embodies an unconscious ontology. The fundamental activity that comprises and underlies the cosmology of actual entities is the eternal process of unconscious experience. The cosmos is alive insofar as it is active, constituted through a dynamic flux of microcosmic orderly events, much of which are non-conscious organizations as ‘drops of experience, complex and interdependent’ (PR, p. 18). Whitehead specifically refers to the realm of unconscious process as the basis for human consciousness, yet the broader treatment of unconscious occasions that underlie his metaphysical system remains only peripherally addressed. What is of greater significance is that his process reality is governed by unconscious forces which form the a priori foundation for all modes of human experience to manifest. Despite the fact that Whitehead did not articulate a formal theory of unconscious ontology, it is embedded in the most basic fabric of his philosophy.”

The above passage comes from a book by psychologist and philosopher, Jon Mills, titled Underworlds: Philosophies of the Unconscious from Psychoanalysis to Metaphysics. Great stuff!

Painting above by Turkish artist, Iliad Sabchi

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *