chapter  1
22 Pages

Hegel on unconscious spirit

This chapter presents how Alfred North Whitehead's metaphysical system rests on a philosophy of unconscious experience responsible for every conceivable element in the universe, including the higher-order aspects of refined organic life. It emphasizes that the most elementary cosmic processes governing the unconscious activity of actual occasions are ubiquitous features enacted in human consciousness. In other words, the human being participates in the same essence that sustains the universe, namely, the universality of unconscious process. Unconscious processes not only developmentally precede conscious organizations, but they command ontological primacy. The fundamental activity that comprises and underlies the cosmology of actual entities is the eternal process of unconscious experience. For Whitehead, as for Hegel, Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung, consciousness arises out of the unconscious and is perennially conditioned by instinct and the presence of the past.