From a Worldview to a Way of Living
The Transformation of Process Thought in China
Western process thinkers join Chinese process thinkers
in a mutual commitment to helping build ecological civilizations.
For people on both sides of the ocean, process thought itself is not simply
a worldview but also, and more deeply, a way of living.
The process way -- the process Dao -- is creative, compassionate, participatory,
egalitarian, multicultural, humane to animals, good for the earth,
and spiritually satisfying, with no one left behind.
The way is available to people who are religious, people who are not religious,
and to the vast majority who are somewhere in between. It is,
in the language of Chinese, constructively postmodern.
It can be practiced by Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, and Marxists.
At it heart is respect for life and environment, a love of life, and a
sense that we are small but included in a larger web of life.
Scroll down for an interview with Jay McDaniel on the transformation
in Religious Belief and Disbelief. Or check out the webpages below.
A small sample of Process Practices in China
Gleaned by from the summer 2018 trip: local wine-making,
karaoke, praying, lecturing by teachers and students, and hip-hop dancing.
Process Thought as a Way of Living
A Reflection by Jay McDaniel and an Interview
Process Thought is being transformed in China. It includes formal talks in academic settings, but also singing karaoke, praying at Buddhist temples, watching young farmers dance hip-hop, and learning from local farmers about how to make rice wine. The latter activities are not simply an "application" of process thought, as if the "thought" remained aloof from the practice of it. They are the way of process thought. The process Dao. This Dao has an objective and subjective component: a side you can see with your eyes and a side you feel with your emotions and purposes. The objective side consists of forests and schools, government buildings and restaurants, sidewalks and farms, that facilitate harmonious interactions between people, animals, and the earth. They are both sustainable and beautiful. The subjective side partakes of the spiritual alphabet developed by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat below.
Here's how it looks to me. Whereas in the past in the United States the process perspective was conceived primarily as a worldview; in China it is conceived as a worldview and also as a way of living with built-in practices. And this is influencing Western process thinkers like me. You don't think the process way, you live it -- and the living of it is as important, probably more important, than the worldview. Its aim is to help build local communities, in rural and urban settings, that are creative, compassionate, participatory, ecologically wise, and spiritually satisfying, with no one left behind. The Chinese think of these communities as the building blocks of what they call ecological civilizations. Terry Goddard, editor of the website Religious Belief and Disbelief, interviewed me by phone on my own interpretation of how process thought in the US and China are connected. I am very grateful to him, and only wish that I myself had been more articulate – and had a better connection! I was using my Iphone. But I trust you can understand what I say, if you’re interested. And my hope is that some friends in China might listen to this interview, forgive me any mistakes I made, and share with others. I’m excited about Process in China and I’m hopeful that, amid our many pitfalls as people in two countries, we can live together for the common good of the world Process thought can help.