A New Way of Thinking—About Anything—and How to Write From It1,
Eugene Gendlin University of Chicago, 2015
In A Process Model2, I supply a new ground from which we can think of anything in a different way.
In the present paper I try to show a way to use and write from the Process Model.3 Many people are writing from it and I know that many more will. It seems that one must either leave new readers without any clear understanding, or one must explain everything in old familiar terms. But this is a false choice. I say, “Neither!!” We can build new steps to understand the Process Model without falling back into old language and old assumptions.
Of course the new concepts will not be immediately understandable. We need to let new readers know that we don’t yet expect them to understand. We need not pretend that what we are saying is already understandable. If how we first say it makes no sense to them, they will have been alerted that that might happen. We need to tell them that these are new concepts, a new kind of thinking about anything.
The new concepts will require exemplifying and unfolding.
I want to make a clear distinction:
What we do want is to use the new concepts and the new terms with examples and elaborations that unfold these terms for a new reader.
What we don’t want is to “explain” the new terms by using old familiar terms. Of course it is only natural to fall into familiar explanations that bring the old familiar assumptions. In that case, new readers are told that the Process Model is being communicated to them, while in fact they are left in their old ways of thinking.
That old way of thinking (“the old model”) continues in many ways in the world (including science) but what we write need not fall back into it. The new Process Model is wider and can enable us to understand our organismic process, not only seemingly separated environmental things. It overarches the old model. (See below about Einstein and Fodor.). Organism-environment interaction brings a different kind of thinking about anything.
The Process Model shows how anything we think or say is never only verbally or conceptually defined. Anything we think or say always includes a much larger process that is what I call “implicit.” This much larger “implicit” is still difficult to understand today. It has to be felt in the body, but it is not
I wish to thank Christina Honde for making this paper possible.
Gendlin, E.T. (1997a). A process model. New York: The Focusing Institute. (Also available at http://www.focusing.org/process.html)
At the end of this paper there is an Appendix which may help in reading A Process Model.
only inside the body. Rather, it consists of body-environment interaction. “Interaction” comes first. Interaction has always already happened, even when we think about a separate environment and a separate body. I call this “interaction-first.” It leads to a very different kind of thinking of any topic. It may include words and concepts but it is never defined only by words and concepts.
What exists is never only environmental things. There is always a vastly larger body-environment interaction which can be felt implicitly as well as being conceptual. To think from “interaction-first” requires being able to refer directly to the bodily “feel.”4
Some people can feel what is implicit at any moment, but most people need specific instructions to find that they can do that.
In the Process Model, thinking, speaking, and acting are all real events. They are an “eventing,” a real happening, real changes going on. We can feel the bodily changing if we look for it.
The old model in which we were trained to think (whether we knew it as a “model” or not) was assumed to be only conceptual. Thinking or speaking were supposed to be only about something.
Only the aboutness was supposed to be happening, not the body-environment interaction, which was of course also happening. What we now call a “process” is always both.
As the Process Model becomes more widely used in many ways, the question of how to make it clearly understandable to new readers arises more and more often. The way to do it must be neither in old familiar terms nor in new terms presented cold. We can do it by unfolding and exemplifying.
We can avoid several ways which would stay in the old model while intending to convey the new one. We do not need to leave readers back in the well-known meanings.
If we stay in the old assumptions while seeming to explain what is new, we do not actually say anything new.
This happens, for example, if we explain something by saying only that it is not this, not that, and not that other familiar way, without saying the new way.
Or, if we say “more careful,” “more practical,” “more systematic,” “subtler,” without understanding these words in any new way. Then everything will be new but only in some degree more along a familiar line.
Or, if we use only big words like “phenomenological,” “epistemological,” “experiential,” “dynamic,” . ..
Or, if we say that what is new here is only a matter of “noticing” or “nuances” or more “aspects.” This makes the reader feel tired in advance, not expecting anything major to come.
4 This “feel” is not yet what we call a Felt Sense. A Felt Sense is a distinctly felt object which may now form and come as a bodily-felt “this.”
Or, if we reduce the new philosophy to just what the earlier philosophers have already said. This way skips all the new concepts and their derivations, and fails to bring what is new and can change how we understand anything. Then there is no new ground.
To understand the Process Model one needs to become familiar with what we are calling “the implicit” or “implying.” We need to find and refer to something implicit which always vastly exceeds any conceptual or verbal definition that has come or will ever come. It is only through speaking-from what is largely implicit that the new concepts and new word-uses can become easily understood. Therefore the new terms can be accessed only by means of the new terms themselves.
Many discussions of the Process Model lack precise instructions for the direct reference to something implicit. Such instructions may be necessary if the reader is to find how to do this, and why it works so well. Several generations have mostly been unable to find and think with what is implicit.
What is implicit can be felt only by feeling the body. You can ask yourself if you’re comfortable right now. That will usually bring the present body-feeling. You may find that you are sitting on a seam, or that you are uncomfortable in your crossed legs. You may find that you are also uncomfortable in the situation of which you become newly aware. From the body feeling, many words can come.
Body-environmental interaction is one process, but thereby the word “process” acquires a new meaning. The words “interaction,” “body,” “environment,”and “process” all now have these new meanings. In the new model, a process generates structures and objects; the already-existing structures and objects are not what generate a process.
We were all trained to think in the old familiar model of already-existing objects which are supposed to be just there, given, perceived in successive time positions and in empty space. Anything one says is usually taken as referring to already-defined objects, parts, or perceptions. But we cannot begin by assuming already-existing objects, already-existing parts, or already-existing perceptions.
It is usually taken for granted that any description of any process refers to the traditional time and space. Therefore, we must alert the reader that we don’t mean something in that time and space. Anything in that time and space would be inanimate, and would lack anything implicit.
There is now also a vast implicit process from which we can go on and on generating new speech and new objects. We cannot do that if we begin with perception.
“Implicit” is a new concept which will be unfolded below. We need two new concepts: “implicit” and “carrying forward.” Once we understand them, we will also see how the implicit is “precise,” not arbitrary or infinite. The implicit is always a particular “this,” always precisely “this,” but the word “precise” has its own new meaning here.
The little problem of this paper is how to write about and from the Process Model: how to use the new concepts in a way that lets them unfold, rather than falling back to familiar phrases to try to explain new concepts. This problem is a little brother of the larger issue: the larger issue is the old assumption that anything “real” can exist only insofar as it is or could be conceptually defined. If that were so, it would deny anything implicit. Even if we have the wrong concepts, people still assume that reality exists in some already-defined way. One takes it for granted that some (perhaps as yet unknown) conceptual structure actually precedes and generates any reality. But this is not so.
The Process Model reverses this order: What is possible in reality does not have to come from correct concepts. Rather, correct concepts come from what has actually occurred (even if it did not seem possible). What has occurred was obviously possible, since it has occurred.
With this reversal (already discussed in Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning)5 there is room for the coming of a continuous stream of new concepts including the constantly new scientific advances still conceptualized in the old model.
The environment is always in ongoing interaction with the body. But the environment and the body are always acting as what I call “interaction-first.” This means that body and environment are always already both, before we can separate one of them. Whether we separate a living body or an environment, they are always already in interaction.
This changes what we mean by “explain.” What that word has usually meant is that the conceptual terms with which we explain things are assumed to be prior and to work alone. Now the conceptual terms are only the much smaller part of the ongoing body-environment interaction.
Human beings know approximately 600,000 words. Obviously we always implicitly know many more words than we are actually using. The words that actually come when we speak or write are only the few that come from the feeling of the ongoing body-environment interaction. It is a remarkable achievement that only relevant words tend to come to do what we call “carrying the implicit forward.” The achievement is that all the other words do not come. What can come is a further process that is always relevant, never just infinite or arbitrary. It is always implicitly “precise.” But the word “precise” has a new meaning here. It is not the same kind of “precise” as when we define something conceptually (See Chapter IV-A-a, b, c of A Process Model.)
Words are only a very small part of what is bodily implicit at any given moment. What is implicit is always this particular “this.” Words seem to be the generalities or universals which they are, but every single word has a great many possible meanings. Instead of assuming that the words that come to us are telling the generalities, if we look for what we meant, we will not find it in the dictionary. It will always be the this particular meaning that we meant. In a method called TAE (Thinking at the Edge)6 we look up the main words in the dictionary and are regularly struck by the fact that what we find is not what we meant. This brings home that what we meant can be found only by direct reference to our own meaning, in our own sentences. It is a particular singular “this” meaning, not the generality which words are supposed to say.
With direct reference to the implicit bodily “this,” we have a source for saying more and more, going on and on, changing and developing what we had.
- 5 Gendlin, E.T. (1997b). Experiencing and the creation of meaning: A philosophical and psychological approach to the subjective. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press.
- 6 Gendlin, E.T. (2004). Introduction to Thinking at the Edge. The Folio, Vol. 19 No. 1, 2004; http://www.focusing.org/tae-intro.html
A “process” is a series of actual changes. From the old model, one is inclined to ask why there are always ongoing changes. But the question “why is everything always changing” already assumes that there is some permanent conceptual structure which “explains” anything. It seemed that only what changes has to be explained. The old model assumed that the real nature of anything does not change. Any change seemed to need explaining in terms of what does not change. In that old understanding, the nature of nature doesn’t change. In the old view, anything that happens at time 2 is really only some rearrangement of unchanging parts that were already at time 1. That approach assumes that nothing should ever change.
In A Process Model we begin with ongoing changing. In Chapters I and II we have as yet nothing that is “the same” at time 2 as at time 1. It is not until Chapter III that we find something that stays the same.
We find kinds of changes that do not consist of rearrangements of fixed parts. At time 2 these parts are not always the same as they were at time 1. In Chapters I and II there are as yet no fixed parts. This kind of change cannot be explained in terms of a rearrangement of fixed parts. This is why what we say in Chapter III comes after Chapters I and II.
But there is no such thing as conceptually defined parts until human language has developed.
Fodor explains very well why the changes go beyond parts that remain unchanged, but he does not explain how we can think about such changes if we remain within the model that is usually assumed.
The old model assumes that living things have to be explained as arrangements of unchanging structures and parts (a kind of machine). But there are no such things as conceptually defined fixed parts until very much later, when human language has developed.
It is easy to agree that some things are alive, but the Process Model brings a new way to think about the things that are alive. One way how what “living” ordinarily means is different than what a new way of “thinking about living” means is in the kinds of changes that living involves. When we assume that we can explain living in terms of non-living things, we may not notice that we have never explained living things in terms of non-living things. We are so accustomed to assuming a universe and an environment in which there cannot be living things.
It is easy to agree that ways of thinking that are only possible for machines are not ways of thinking about living processes. It seems that the kind of concepts that fit machines should also explain living things, even when they do not. I am trying to contrast thinking of “living things” with thinking about how to think about living things.
There are three stages of development which are currently not understood in the correct order.
1. Bacteria and plants are complex ongoing processes in which the parts change. But bacteria and plants do not manage a turn in which they also have what they ongoingly are. If they did they would be conscious.
2. The higher animals consciously grasp the situation in which they find themselves in and have a bodily understanding of what they need to do. But they have not yet developed language.
3. When human beings say they “understand” a situation, they generally mean that they have it conceptually, that they could, if asked, “explain” it in words. But this definition of “understanding” misses the fact that prior to any words or concepts, we can have the same kind of conscious “situational understanding” that all animals have. The body-environment interaction is always here, whether or not it is paid attention to.
But we skip not only because of lack of attention but also because we unconsciously split between five separate senses. We are trained to use visual symbols in reading. For us, it is a different process to hear spoken words and sounds. Smelling different smells, touching different textures, and tasting different tastes are also assumed to be already divided “perceptions.” In the situational understanding of animals, the five senses are not divided, even if first one happens and then another.
A division into five separated senses also drops out what we used to call the “visceral.” Animal understanding still includes it. We humans can still have the five senses and the visceral in one undivided body-environment interaction, but we are trained to assume that it has dropped out. But the visceral part of this five-sense unity is essential in the animal situational grasp.
We humans can have the situational understanding that animals have, but not when we unconsciously divide the five senses into seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. In assuming those separated senses, we also assume that they are the only way that we interact with the world, that that is the only way we have perceptions.
Most introductory psychology textbooks, and a great deal of old philosophy, say that everything begins with perception. But we have seen just above that this is not so. (See 1, 2, 3 above.).
In writing from the Process Model we want to put new readers into a bodily-situational (implicit) understanding process as well as a conceptual process.
To overcome the difficulty of referring directly to the body-environmental “this,” there is now a method called Focusing.7 But direct reference to what is implicit changes everything. It is a new ground, a different way in which we can think about the nature of anything. We have been taught to assume that “nature” is only what is or will be conceptually defined. As I explained above, this is not so. There is always a vast implicit.
I cannot here discuss a number of points which may help this paper, so I just mention them:
- Since what we explicitly say or think always comes with a vast implicit, there is in reality no body-mind distinction.
- The way what is implicit will continue is not predictable but it will be relevant and not arbitrary.
- The existence of bacteria and plants shows that a living kind of process is possible in the kind of environment we have on this planet.. Living process does not consist of any kind of unchanging 7 Gendlin, E.T. (1978/2007 Focusing. New York: Bantam Books; www.focusing.org
parts. The kind of process in which all the parts change (living process) can happen in this environment. Even if there is no environment like ours anywhere else in the universe, what happens here would still show that a process of ongoing change without unchanging units is possible.
- The Process Model explains why the old model science-objects change all the time.
- Of course there is never any human occurring without language, concepts, and science-objects. Jerry Fodor has greatly contributed to our understanding of how and why the science-objects change, but he keeps the old model as if it were the wider one.
Jerry Fodor‘s work has shown how scientific findings constantly expand, and are not reducible back to a smaller number of assertions.
For example, in later years there are many more new scientific fields, and many more terms than there were earlier. Sometimes one cannot even find “the same” field. Where before there were three terms, now there are 23, none of which are the same as the earlier three terms. There is a recognizable relationship, but is neither logical deduction nor just plain difference.
Naive empiricists say that the later versions “make explicit” what “was” (is now said to have been) “implicit” before. But this is not actually so.
But although Fodor makes a major contribution by pointing out the above, he still wants to retain the usual old model. Fodor says that he wants to continue assuming that there is one basic science (presumably physics). He does not take this claim to be a priori . . . Fodor certainly shows clearly that we cannot reduce later sciences to rearrangements of earlier ones. Physicalism so construed is nonreductive; but he says “it’s adequate to rule out (e.g..) nonphysical intensional/mental properties as basic.”
- There is a story about Einstein: After a long discussion with a group, he said to them, “Now I will go a little think.” In his German word order, he showed that he had two basic very different modes of thinking. Since he was obviously “thinking” all through his discussion with them, when he said he would go for a little think, he was switching to a different mode of “thinking.” These two modes of thinking are radically different. In the second mode he was expecting some new concepts to arrive which would correct the difficulty he and the others were discussing. Einstein knew that if he got by himself, and quiet in a certain way, he could expect some new concepts to come to him. He could be perfectly accurate in using already-existing knowledge, but he could also develop new steps from the implicit.
I do not wish to change anything in the text of A Process Model. In this Appendix you may find some new clarification where the original text is difficult. Please read this Appendix first, then read or re-read the first three chapters (about five pages each). The Appendix should have helped to understand the text.
I know that many others will also write clarifications and I am glad about that.
A Process Model is hard to read because it is written in the form and order of self-instancing. By self- instancing I mean that I don’t only make assertions (like “everything is always already body- environment interaction”) (this only asserts that), but rather that each assertion would also bring your awareness to the bodily interaction in which you are now engaged in reading this assertion. Your reading of this assertion is itself also body-environment interaction right now in your reading. The example in parentheses and quotes above is not only a statement about interaction; it is itself an ongoing body-environment interaction right here.
Most assertions can be read just as being about some fact, not as itself the process that it also asserts. Will you please be aware of the process that goes on in your reading of my assertion, rather than only the fact I assert. Be aware of the body-environment interaction process you are being as you read.
My hope is that as you read the text, you will read it not just as conceptual assertions. Rather, I hope that as you read you will in addition be aware that the words bring your actual ongoing living process as you read. In saying this, I seem to be making a conceptual generalization, what I would be asking you to do in all such cases. But I am trying to say that the actual process is always vastly more than the concept of all cases. This can be done only by being aware of this instance, this particular. A “particular” is always a “this,” not only the generalization which it also says.
In A Process Model, my assertions are phrased as instances, as examples of the particular process they assert. Any actual use of words brings both generalization and a “this.”
It is different from the usual use of language which is supposed to only represent.
To make A Process Model more easily readable, we can build intervening steps that lead to it. Difficult passages can be stated in many different ways to make new meanings accessible, without falling back into the old meanings.
We can build new steps to explain what it says, but they do need to be new steps, so that one is not left in the old assumptions.
Help with Chapter I
Chapter I departs from the traditional meaning of the word “environment,” and distinguishes between four different kinds of environment (en). En #1, the “spectator’s environment,” is not the only kind. The spectator’s environment is a completely different kind of environment from en #2, #3, and #0.
En#1 is the spectator’s environment, what spectators define in their en which may affect an organism. For example, it is en#1 when scientists or hunters define the environment of an animal. . . . (Chapter I, p. 1)
En #2 is a kind of “environment” which is also always already the interaction with the body. I call en#2 the “reflexive environment.” By “reflexive” is meant that the body is also already happening as the environment #2, and this environment #2 is already also the body. An example will make this clearer:
Body and en are one event, one process. For example, it is air-coming-into-lungs-and-blood cells. We can view this event as air (coming in), or as (a coming into) lungs and body cells. Either way it is one event, viewed as en or as body. . . . (I, p. 1)
It sounds like two different assertions, but it really asserts the same one process.
Here we are not calling it “environment” because it is all around, but because it participates within the [interaction of a] life process. And, “body” is not just the lungs, but the lungs expanding. Air coming in and lungs expanding cannot be separate . . . (I, p. 1)
Body and en#2 imply each other — it is basic to this philosophy that “imply” is being defined . . .
[We] could say, each is a part of a larger organization which includes the other. Each functions as it does only in this wider functioning organization.
This use of “imply also says that the whole event is already there even if the body aspect or the end#2 aspect are thought of alone . . . (I, p. 2)
The interaction is always already first.
Body structure is always involved in some processes, else it disintegrates. It is a structure from [ongoing] process, for further process, and only so . . . (I, p. 5)
All structure is the result of some process.
En#3 consists of structures that have developed from past processes.
These kinds of “environments” are very different and generate different body-environment interaction processes. The concrete body that we see and are actually consists of interactions which have occurred as well as those that are now occurring. What now occur are a great many changes that maintain the body as it is.
For example, this concrete body (you sitting here) is also the concrete result of previous body- environment interactions, not only ongoing ones. It is a kind of past in the present.
There is also an en#0 (rather than en#4).
Please now (re)read Chapter I of A Process Model (pages 1-6) and see if this has helped. Help with Chapter II
Chapter II (4.5 pages) says
Let us see what model of time develops from explicating the explication process. No explication is ever equivalent to what (…..) it explicates. (Chapter II, p. 7)
“Explication” and “process” are words that have time implicit in them. But in the new kind of time, the past, the present, and the future are all three here. The word “explication” is a kind of “explain” that is always happening as a body-environment interaction process, not only as conceptual explanations.
Here we begin the discussion of the implicit:
If an animal hears a noise, many situations and behaviors will be implicit in its sense of the noise, places to run to, types of predators, careful steps, soundless moves, turning to fight, many whole sequences of behavior. Meanwhile the animal stands still, just listening. What it will do is not determined. Surely it won’t do all the implicit sequences — perhaps not even one of just these but some subtler response . . . (II, p. 7)
“Implying” may lead to an actual occurring, which could “carry the implying forward.” This term “carrying forward” is the relationship between what now occurs and what “was implied.” We want to understand this relationship. How is an implying related to the occurring that next happens?
We tend to assume that what occurs into implying tells what was implied.
But actually what was implied was not yet carried forward. Therefore the implied was not already what we now say it “was.”
Body-environment interaction determines retroactively what we call “was implied.”
Every actual occurring brings a vast amount of implying. So we cannot just say that the implicit is something that we “cannot yet” verbalize or understand conceptually, as if we assume that that must eventually be possible.
What is implicit is not something that is or could be finally conceptualized. For example, as a human being, if we hear a worrisome noise, we might think in words or concepts how we might protect ourselves. We could also tell someone else about it in words and concepts. But what is implicit in the situation is vast, and far exceeds those words or concepts. There is no set of words or concepts that would be the single “true” way to define the situation. It can be had only as bodily. What is implicit can be said in many words, but it can never be equal to any concepts or words.
Even if we were to get the definitions something we could call “right” in some way, there is really no such thing as an implicit that is or could ever be conceptually defined. We can have what is implicit, but only by feeling our body-environment interaction. The word “implicit” used to mean something that would later be equivalent to a set of words or concepts. The implicit is the body-environment interaction, not already defined, not limited within actual or possible definitions. When we point to it, we can feel it as “this” situation. It is never only a general idea; it is always also a singular particular. We use the word “this” to refer to it, and thereby actually include much more than any statement could include.
We can go a step further: Since implying implies a next occurring, and since occurring changes implying, therefore implying implies a change in implying. It implies its own change . . . (II, p. 10)
But it is misleading to call it “change” as if it simply implied just anything else.
Implying implies something so intricate that only a very special occurring “changes” it as it implies itself changed. (II, p. 11)
Where the Process Model states a logical implication, we have to respect and pursue it as stated. The fact that the actual process goes beyond logic does not mean that we can ignore what logical implications imply. Rather, we pursue the logical implication both logically and by carrying it forward.
So here, in A Process Model we will explore what this means, that “[implying] implies its own a change.”
Please now (re)read Chapter II of A Process Model (pages 7-11).
We say more about how an implying can remain unchanged in Chapter III. Help with Chapter III (6 pages)
In Chapter III we want to derive (we want to become able to understand) how there can be such things as “objects” (things), how they are generated, rather than assume them as given. In this question we are not asking how this or that object is made in this or that factory. We are asking how there are not only organisms in interaction with their whole environment, but how the environment also includes distinct things, “objects.”
People tend to assume that what is most basic in being alive is perception, the five kinds of perception. Although most textbooks say that, it is not so. Primitive organisms like bacteria are alive without the kind of perception that is conscious. But they are always very complex, with many different body- environment processes going on, both occurring and implicit. So we have to begin our discussion at a much earlier stage, not with perception. If we give the name “perception” also to the objects that bacteria generate and respond to, we have to recognize that this is a different kind of so-called “perception.” It is constructed by the spectator-scientist, not by the bacteria themselves.
People ordinarily take it for granted that they live in a world of things that are just there, given, perceived. Objects (tables, chairs, trees) just exist. Traditionally we have only asked how they behave, how they are connected with each other. But these things are not just given; they develop. Their happening can be derived.
Objects are not given apart from organismic process. Rather, they behave and are connected because of an organismic process (body-environment interaction) which precedes them. For example, chairs have the shape of human beings sitting, and tables are shaped to fit the sitting person. Similarly, the scientists’ organism is involved in designing our machines and computers. The computers we design can do a great many things that we humans cannot do. Among many other things, the computers can also design further computers, which can do even more. But being able to do more than people can do does not mean that computers can do the first designing which only people can do.
PM10 AUGUST 23, 2015 at 5:35 pm half an hour into the call … Lynette creates a standing up piano .. going on in what she has already created ..
What only people can do and what only computers can do need not be totally the same.
The fact that computers can do more than people can does not mean that they can do the same things that people can.
The body-environment interaction of living has many characteristics that have been largely ignored because it was assumed that all living process is only a special case of inanimate and unchanging units that are only rearranged. In A Process Model the word “living” no longer means the old unclear muddle about whether living is even possible. What “living” process is receives here a further and much expanded understanding.
Living process has the capacity to differentiate itself more and more. One way this happens is by stopping and then resuming the process that had stopped. But what I am calling “resuming” is not always the same as it was before its stoppage. Sometimes what “resumes” is different and new. In that case, “the” process has differentiated itself.
Here is the quoted passage from A Process Model:
. . . the feeding process separates itself [by stopping]… and remains implied, everything else involved in feeding is here, the animal, the other animals, the air, ground, light, all together. What is not here is only a small but separated “part” of the whole en#2… Now there is a stopped process — separable from the whole process. . . .” (III, p. 12)
When some of the implied processes cannot actually occur, they continue implying. When such “stopped” processes do resume occurring, much more occurs than one would have expected. When processes resume after they have “stopped,” they have changed. What resumes is not still the same . . .
The part of en #2 that separates itself by being absent plays a special role. It stops a process by its absence. Let us give this part of [body-environment]#2 the ancient name “object” . . .
Because there is now a stopped process, this missing part of en#2 has attained a startling power: When this small aspect of en occurs, all of that process which was stopped by the absence, will occur. . . a great deal more than the missing part which has now returned . . .
“The animal recognizes the object“, says the spectator. It responds appropriately to the object. . . .(III, p. 13)
If we ask what happens when an organism’s process stops, we come to understand how objects are generated:
For example, the feeding process might stop because there is now no food, or because the animal must do something else first, such as escape from a threat. Later the feeding process might resume. What I am calling “resume” might not be the same as when it stopped. If the animal didn’t die during the stoppage, it may have gone on living in another way. Therefore how it resumes may consist of new and changed processes.
Please now (re)read Chapter III of A Process Model (pages 12-17).
At the end of Chapter III, there are three pages (15-17) which comment on the new model so far.
The Long Chapters (IV-VIII)
The long chapters (IV-VIII) use the new terms which we generated above in order to provide major developments:
Now, in the following, I will explain why the different systems (for example, digestive, respiratory, reproductive) do not always act as we have divided them. Sometimes they interact even though they are supposedly separate systems. Chapter IVA-a, b, c shows how things can “interaffect.” They can affect each other at the same time. This would not be possible if time consisted only of successive time positions. In the new model, “interaffect” means that each has already affected the other when the other affects the first.
In the familiar model of successive time positions, things “interaffect” by one affecting the other before the other affects the first. But in “interaction” something does not always first affect something else before it can be affected by the effect it made. Rather, in “interaction,” something affects something else and is already affected by doing the affecting.
Objects are not given apart from an occurring process, as we said above. Seemingly separate objects have already come from ongoing process.
…how any [process] is, at a certain moment, is part of the bodily whole that includes just certain phases of the others. We can now say:
The exact way a process is in each of its phases [can already imply] how [the other processes]are . . . . (IV-A-a, p. 20)
When one defines separated processes or bodily “systems,” their interactions can be puzzling. They are often much more coordinated and affect each other mutually in more ways than one can account for. . . .(IV-A-a, p. 21)
The spectator could formulate complete and distinct strings of separate processes, for example, digestive, respiratory, reproductive, etc. These are not separate all along their way. . . . (IV-A-a,
All along the way they can be separate or already implicit in each other.
I am explaining why the different “systems” (digestive, respiratory, reproductive, etc.) do not always act as we have divided them. Sometimes they interact and are not a separated “they.”
. . . are not separate during phases when they occur “only together“. . . .They are separate in the phases when one occurs without the other . . . That is why although they seem “separate,” their phases are coordinated. . . .
There seem to be separate processes which [only then] “interact.” It seems they are first many; then they interact. (IVA-a, p. 21)
Instead, let us use the type of concept I call “interaction first.” The interaction process may exist long before they become differentiated. “Their” interaffecting precedes their being many, and continues [in some phases] when they have become many. . . .
Let us call the pattern we have been formulating “original interaffecting“. This makes sense only if one grasps that “they” interaffect each other before they are a they. (IV-A-a, p. 22)
Objects that are generated by stoppage and resumption (in the following I am talking about all objects, not only systems). Objects that are generated by stoppage and resumption
When interaction includes both affecting and being affected, it becomes possible for a whole constellation to change into another whole constellation without single steps in which only the effect of one on the other happens. This is like Piaget’s stages, but without the understanding of how constellation-change is possible. We can explain it.
Please now (re)read Chapter IV-A-a through section IV- A-c, of A Process Model (pages 18-27). Chapter V
Without consciousness as yet having developed, organisms like bacteria and plants can be and generate very complicated structures.
Bacteria and plants can be, but to have what is being implied requires consciousness, which is derived in my long Chapter V.
A bodily-situational feeling does not split experience into five different perceptions. Animals have consciousness without splitting into five different perceptions.
Also, in humans a body-situational feeling can unfold and generate much new speech and understanding, but only if we enter the body-environment feeling and let speech form from it without unconsciously assuming five separate perceptions.
Chapter VI derives “consciousness.” It is a doubling in which the organism not only happens, but also “has” the happening it is.
Chapter VII derives language. Currently, so far as I know, this is the only theory of how language first develops.
Chapter VIII uses all the terms developed above in order to generate a “thinking with the implicit.”
How we understand anything and everything changes when we can employ something implicit as a source of new words and concepts (the kind of thinking I call VIII).
In the past century at least seven philosophers pointed to something new that did not consist only of words and concepts. At the time, they were largely rejected or misunderstood. I wrote many papers in which I discuss each of them. What could not be understood was how something exceeds verbal or conceptual definitions, how something real could exist that is more than what is or will be conceptually defined. The Process Model goes much further than these philosophers’ early breakthroughs.
The earlier philosophers each had a breakthrough to new ground, but the new ground was widely understood only in old ways, therefore misunderstood and rejected.
For example, Wittgenstein said he could not explain what he meant by “words mean how they are used.” He said he could only point. to a use. But this was not understood, and hardly anyone took him up on this way of “pointing.” Most people today also do not understand his pointing. It requires realizing that you always already have the use to which you are putting the words. But this requires recognizing that the use of the words is always a “this.” One can go on and on to lay out the use that a word has in this context, here. More and more can be said about this. But to find what Wittgenstein is pointing to, one needs to know what it is. It is accessible directly as this meaning which it has here in this context.
If now, some eighty years later, we say only just what he said, many more people than in his time will understand, but even now most people will not let the directly-referred-to this be the meaning of his pointing. What is pointed to is always particular.
If today we quote John Dewey without adding something a great deal, it will still be widely misunderstood and discounted as anti-intellectual. It is not being rejected as violently as it was several generations ago.
Today we can understand that Dewey’s concept of “situational feelings” meant that situational feelings are not split between five separated senses. But most people in his time could not find any such thing.
Overcoming the difficulty of referring directly to the body-environmental “this” is now a method called Focusing, for which I am getting enormous credit from therapists, but there is a much wider philosophical new ground. I experienced “implicit” and “carrying forward” and the developments of a new kind of space and time years before I went to study therapy with Carl Rogers.
Dewey, Dilthey, Heidegger, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Whitehead, and Wittgenstein presented different ways of breakthrough in the 1930s. These breakthroughs were only very partially understood by other philosophers at the time. Today we can understand them and go much further into what follows from them.
To understand what the earlier philosophers pointed to, one has to develop the new way of thinking with both verbal and implicit process. The earlier philosophers could not show people how to think in this way. If we now don’t show them, we leave them in 1930, and we cannot show how and why a new ground emerges, why objects derive from process, and other new developments.