Process Thought: A User-Friendly Framework for Life

Process Spirituality is a subset of Process Thought, a philosophical framework created by Alfred North Whitehead. Like any good framework, its origin is self-effaced for the betterment of an open-source community.

I want to post a link to a website I discovered. In my unstructured (i.e. non-billable) time, I have strategies to find purpose in my actions. Exploration is a way to discover and it’s as simple as following a thought. The thought can be an idea or simply a step in a direction. In this case, sitting with a coffee and my iPad, I took a journey with a search on the term “worldview.” This is my alternative to filling my aimless moments on the more alluring and addictive scroll and link portals which could also fill my time with important, meaningless information about the state of the world, accomplishments of friends and colleagues, marketing blather, etc.

If you’re like me, there is a blissful pacification in the feeling that the screen provides. It’s not so much the content it contains as it is the potential. The experience is much like an infant with a pacifier, suck, suck, scroll, scroll.

This post is going off the rails already. Initially, I just wanted to post the link with a few pithy comments and be done with it. The voice of this message has different plans. As soon as I decided that the content I discovered was relevant to anyone who may also be interested in a cogent, adaptable framework for A perspective on the meaning of life, my inner chatterbox began to think of ways to provide an introduction. After all, the message has an implicit audience, LinkedIn people. How do I spin my apparent endorsement of the website’s content?

While I like to learn and consider myself open-minded, I have a definite bias regarding the manner in which I develop my thoughts and preferences. I’ve found that it’s much easier to apply “Question Authority” as a bumper sticker than a philosophy of acculturation. As much as I admire the thinkers who have taken the effort to record something for posterity, the messenger is usually not one in the same. The book, blog, video, etc. is taken as a proxy for the knowledge and anyone with an opportunity will gleefully identify as a vessel for that knowledge when they reference the work. It may be harsh to question everyone’s intention, so I’ll just posit that a personal, organic discovery is absent the possible power dynamic of someone professing some gradient of understanding measured by the knowledge of a source of knowledge.

I apologize for the digression. Or maybe not. Otherwise I would have deleted the sentences or paragraph to streamline my post. Without the ability to stay “on task,” it’s turning into cognitive diarrhea. How much time is wasted with clock cycles processing information with no utility or cycling without any input at all? It’s maddening to consider the empty experiences of spectators watching gratuitous, repetitive activities all the while self-aware and unable to change. Media: the dirty laundry or the trainwreck. How many ways are there to stylishly depict a robbery or killing? The endless plots of humanity’s actions, mistakes and redemptions, are grist for the mill. Is this post an accomplishment of much more than a choreography of certain keys typed on a keyboard? Why do these thoughts matter? These aren’t my ideas as much as they are my emotions. At this moment. Snap out of it. Get on with it.

The thought of appropriate content for a LI newsfeed immediately prompts an inner focus group. What do I think about the “news” that my connections have posted? My corollary to TMI is TMA (too much analysis). Analysis paralysis as it is called. Where does this post fit?

It’s not a corporate cheerleader post. I don’t have an association with the website I found. I’m not donning my corporate identity as a member of the business club and culture that provides ($) for me. But what other frame of reference feels as concrete? It’s a fandom world, a coliseum of team supporters cheering, waving their flags. We are #1. All players are eventually traded, retired, wear a different jersey. We are #1. It’s more comfortable to feel an importance by association than struggle for an identity without it.

Is this post positioning me as a thought-leader? Of all the jobs that I find the measure of qualifications somewhat murky, my favorite is the “futurist.” They are the gurus, the Svengalis, the soothsayers that predict what is going to happen. I’ve always wondered how you earn that title. A BS degree in Futurism? Cause and effect studies? The coursework must be great though. (I’ll get the homework to you later.) Do you think futurists have happy marriages? The website I discovered isn’t thought-leading as much as it is thought-provoking. However, in my experience, life is influenced by fundamental equations and questions that haven’t changed much. History repeats itself.

Is LI a social network? As such, what are the parameters of appropriate content? While I don’t see pics touting the configurations of recent meals, I do see posts that are “lifestyle-aware.” This is natural due to the confluence of work and life. It’s a balancing act and the response to these posts depend upon subtle threads. I can’t help myself when I’m being social at business functions. “What do YOU do?” can easily turn to family, hobbies or, my preference, philosophies. It’s a big-picture endeavor. What self-interest is served by the exchange? Exhibitionism is a thing, can attract attention and might even be a successful marketing strategy. Attempting to promote myself, do I focus on capabilities or potential? Still, it might be awkward to speak of your successful Javascript implementation for a highly-trafficked porn site.

I’m beating a dead horse here. Please, don’t inform PETA. I’ve gotten to this point in the post deprecating myself and giving you reasons to have a low expectation of the website I found. I hope you’ll forgive the manner in which I’ve arrived here. The website is actually quite an interesting and profound source. A short description of the journey may now be appropriate.

A worldview is something we all have, but none of us share. As with any search results, the term derives its meaning from the perspective of the searcher. My meta interpretation of the first pages of found references is that the word has spiritual connotations. While links to definitions abound, there was a large percentage of religious sites which contained the word in different contexts. It was amusing that a financial app, satellite,┬áChristian metal band and lightweight, extensible 2D and 3D scene renderer shared the name. That’s the pleasure of exploration, to expand associations and collapse the prejudice of expectations.

Finally, on page 10 of my search results, I found a link to “Process Worldview – Open Horizons” (your search results may vary). It’s an art to glean search results to find something relevant, especially when you aren’t sure of what you’re looking for. However, every moment of every day we find things that arrive in our conscious awareness. Sometimes, thoughts are responses to a deliberate search. At other times, thoughts are serendipitous, without any prompt. This post could have been inspired by a different search result and circumstances. There is no reason these words must exist. But at this point, if you’ve read this far, you may be wondering how I will conclude.

The site indicated above was “found” for the following reasons. The state of my mind and available technology at the peculiar moment I took action yielded the results which were of a content, context and format that allowed me to connect with the ideas of Process Thought. While there is some overlap of the attitudes and concepts with my existing thoughts, there are also new points of reference and a new stream from a similar source. The philosophy aims to unify scientific, aesthetic, moral, and religious wisdom. As such, it is flexible and inclusive to allow assimilation of diverse perspectives and truths. It has appeal across belief systems: single religious affiliates, multiple religious affiliates, spiritually interested nones, theists, non-theists, non-dual mystics and gentle non-believers.

My (re)connection with these ideas at the particular moment allowed me to find fresh inspiration. The ideas are manifest with a value proposition that finds relevance where there is a receptive attitude. The non-denominational and non-dogmatic spirit of the teachings provides a humanistic path toward value and meaning in life. I think the aspirational goals are compatible with a conscientious capitalism.

Final thoughts. The age of criticism has done its work and now is the time for construction. Decision is one of the primary expressions of the ultimate reality of the universe. How shallow, puny and imperfect are efforts to sound the depths in the nature of things. All schemes and philosophies are finite and fallible. Indeterminacy is as real as determinacy. There are many ways of knowing the world — verbal, mathematical, aesthetic, empathic, bodily, and practical — education should foster creativity and compassion as well as literacy.


About Peter

As a consulting professional in the Internet industry, I have helped small- and medium-sized businesses and community organizations effectively design and deploy web services and information. Years of hands-on design and project management experience for this market have inspired me to post my ideas and insights on a public forum --
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