Concrescence A brief introduction

Please don’t look up the word unprepared or, at least, without context. You may get some scary imagery. One of the meanings of concrescence is the medical condition of anatomical parts growing together. This is most particularly used to describe teeth roots or, in some rarer instances, fingers or what have you. This is not a medical discussion.

Another use of the word has been with contemporary religious cult writings referring to end of the world scenarios. We’re not going down that road either.

In 1929 a mathematician who later became a philosopher – Alfred North Whitehead – published a book that was to become one of the giant works of contemporary metaphysics, Process and Reality. In very brief and simple terms, the process referred to is the process of a moment of space and time coming into being. Concrescence is the name of the process of that moment becoming concrete. Whitehead’s philosophy has become its own path of Process Studies and Process Philosophy. And taking Whitehead’s philosophy to its teleological conclusion, there is Process Theology.

“The many become one and are increased by one”

This is Whitehead’s declaration of concrescence. It is also a declaration of creation and novelty. Concrescence is the coming together of all possibilities, of all history, merged into the creation of a new moment in space and time.

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