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North Whitehead, Alfred – 19 Perceptions are not the same as memory

Identifier

025955

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

PART II   DISCUSSIONS AND APPLICATIONS

Chapter VII - The Subjectivist Principle

Section II

We— as enduring objects with personal order— objectify the occasions of our own past with peculiar completeness in our immediate present. We find in those occasions, as known from our present standpoint, a surprising variation in the range and intensity of our realized knowledge.

We sleep; we are half-awake; we are aware of our perceptions, but are devoid of generalities in thought; we are vividly absorbed within a small region of abstract thought while oblivious to the world around; we are attending to our emotions— some torrent of passion— to them and to nothing else; we are morbidly discursive in the width of our attention; and finally we sink back into temporary obliviousness, sleeping or stunned.

Also we can remember factors experienced in our immediate past, which at the time we failed to notice.

When we survey the chequered history of our own capacity for knowledge, does common sense allow us to believe that the operations of judgment, operations which require definition in terms of conscious apprehension, are those operations which are foundational in existence either as an essential attribute for an actual entity, or as the final culmination whereby unity of experience is attained?! ……………………….

Thus those elements of our experience which stand out clearly and distinctly in our consciousness are not its basic facts; they are the derivative modifications which arise in the process. For example, consciousness only dimly illuminates the prehensions in the mode of causal efficacy, because these prehensions are primitive elements in our experience. But prehensions in the mode of presentational immediacy are among those prehensions which we enjoy with the most vivid consciousness. These prehensions are late derivatives in the concrescence of an experient subject.

The consequences of the neglect of this law, that the late derivative elements are more clearly illuminated by consciousness than the primitive elements, have been fatal to the proper analysis of an experient occasion. In fact, most of the difficulties of philosophy are produced by it.

The source of the experience

North Whitehead, Alfred

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Science Items

Hypnagogia

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

Hypnagogia

References