CREATIVE SYNERGY means that cosmic creativity unfolds out of a natural, intrinsic ability to cooperate and collaborate toward mutually beneficial solutions. In order to understand creative synergy, we first need to understand other concepts, such as “entelechy,” “concrescence,” and “radical naturalism.”
Entelechy means the “vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system or organization.” This simple Google definition does not elaborate on the long history of Aristotle’s word entelechia. In his Metaphysics, Aristotle aimed to describe the condition of a something that fully realizes its essence and potential. He famously used the example of an acorn, whose entelechy “programs” or guides it to grow into an oak tree. In simple terms, entelechy means that each being has a purpose related to the whole. That purpose can vary, or can be multi-dimensional. Sacred futurism acknowledges the entelechy (or vital principle) of each being as a sacred process that deserves support.
Concrescence, coined by philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, describes “the production of a novel togetherness.” Whitehead’s process philosophy offers an alternative to materialism, the idea that reality consists solely of physical processes, and idealism, the idea that reality consists exclusively of mental processes. Instead, Whitehead claimed, reality consists of experiential interactive processes called “actual occasions” or “actual entities.”
From the smallest to the greatest scales, the world consists of events, not things—always in a process of becoming. Thus a molecule, microbe, or human consist of countless ever-changing actual entities or occasions. Process philosophy moves us away from materialist and dualist objective tendencies, seeing the world as a collection of static objects. By contrast, process philosophy sees the world as a never-ending process, of change and dynamic interrelatedness.
Sacred futurism rejects the myopic vision of the universe as a collection of insentient objects in a material world, or that mind arises from mechanism. Instead, we accept the unity of mind and matter as aspects of a unified embodied-sentient organism—ultimately the “cosmic organism,” as Whitehead and contemporary philosopher Christian de Quincey call it (de Quincey, 2010, p. 263).
Radical Naturalism. In his inspiring book Radical Nature, de Quincey extends the process philosophy of panpsychism, and notes:
- Consciousness does not emerge from mindless matter (materialism), nor does matter emanate as a by-product of consciousness (idealism). Instead, radical naturalism assumes that both matter and mind have always existed together in some form, as “co-eternal” aspects of existence.
- Sentience exists everywhere, even at the smallest scales. In de Quincey’s words, even at the fundamental level, the universe “tingles with sentience.”
- No truly insentient, separate, static “things” exist; all beings possess sentience and co-create each other in an ongoing “dance” or process of becoming.
- All beings are “embedded and embodied” (de Quincey, 2010) within an interdependent creative and sentient matrix.
- Nature is sacred because the “cosmic organism” is fundamentally sentient and creative.
- The cosmic organism expresses “multiplicity-in-unity.” Although all beings form a unified universal network, cosmic creativity tends toward complexity and diversity.
Sacred futurism incorporates the assumptions of radical naturalism, envisioning a better future by recognizing pervasive sentience, the importance of relationship and collaboration, by honoring embodiment and subjective experience, viewing Nature as sacred, and by valuing diverse embodied experience as essential to the cosmic organism. Creative applies these principles to guide sacred activism.