Here we are two weeks later. This is life in a global pandemic. We used to think of this as the stuff of science fiction but the truth is even scarier than fiction.
The world has practically come to a standstill. Stay at home is the rule of the day. Soon infection numbers will be counted in the millions. Hoarding is becoming problematic and many basic essentials are hard to find – toilet paper, flour, yeast, pasta.
With all this bad news what sort of positive spin could anyone in their right mind put on this?
Air pollution is down dramatically all over the world. Satelite photos show cities usually invisible because of smog gleaming in the sun under pristine skies. The water is clearing up as well. Porpoises are being seen in Venice for the first time in 60 years as the city is devoid of tourists. If there ever was a winner in all of this it’s the planet.
It is amazing how much the world has changed in the last few weeks. It is even more amazing how resilient our earth is and how quickly it bounces back when we slow down our assault on it. I think this is the most profound thing of all.
I left work a little early as my wife had a headache and was just plain shot. She works a mile south of me off Broadway and we carpool. I had brought in my jump drive to back up my work so I could sync my home computer and thus be able to work from home. I was in the process of copying files when she called.
That was March 12, 2020. We had our “All Hands” meeting the day before and spent a good part of it talking about possible ramifications of the COVID-19 virus being that we are a public institution and there are often hundreds of kids running around the atrium on any given weekday. I work at the state history museum. While the CEO expected us to close our doors at some point the COO was confident that it would never come to that. Little did I know when I left the office that Thursday that it would be the last time I would see my coworkers in-person for the foreseeable future.
The next day, Friday the 13th, was my day off. I was doing the usual thing of chilling in the sun room drinking coffee and surfing the internet while we watched the birds at the feeder. It was late morning when I had the inclination to check my phone. I’m not attached to it like some people and will often not even notice if someone calls or texts. I found my phone after some searching and there was no activity. As soon as I put it back down however it began to buzz. It was a text from one of my coworkers. They were closing down the museum and needed to get a notice on the website a.s.a.p..
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.