Being and Becoming

David Cowles

Aug 11, 2021

In the context of a conversation about Being and Becoming, a friend of mine asked, “Is eternal becoming possible?” My first reaction was that the concept of becoming was inherently dependent on time and that time is the antithesis of eternity. But then I got to thinking…

In the context of a conversation about Being and Becoming, a friend of mine asked, “Is eternal becoming possible?” My first reaction was that the concept of becoming was inherently dependent on time and that time is the antithesis of eternity. But then I got to thinking…


20th century British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, generally regarded as the founder of ‘Process Philosophy’ (although many of his ideas show up in the works of Nicholas of Cusa 500 years earlier), believed that the world consists of atomic acts of becoming (he calls them “actual entities”) and that time is suspended during each such atomic act. For Whitehead, time is characteristic of the relationship among actual entities but absent from the process of ‘concrescence’ that takes place within each actual entity. So, according to Whitehead, eternal becoming is not only possible, it is the way the world works.


So, I was wrong and my friend was right; thank you, John!

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