As I reflect upon concrescence, in particular the superjective phase of satisfaction and its intractable “macroscopic process” that “swings” to novelty, I am struck by the inexhaustible exhaustion of the cosmos. That “microscopic process” ceases at all, i.e. that creativity is characterized by “perpetual perishing,” means that actuality does as much as it can to synthesize the prehensions constitutive of its perspective according to its subjective aim. What “is,” or more precisely, what just was or has become, is all that Creativity could muster in response to the universe. Satisfaction only ever partially fulfills an aim. George Allan (2001): “The Aristotelian demand for an immediate result thus puts pressure on the Leibnizian search for the best result, …forcing the concrescence to settle for an integration based on some readily available least common denominator. …[S]o the concrescence will need to settle for some lesser achievement” (219). That satisfaction occurs at all, that concrescence achieves finality and contributes its real potentiality, indicates a giving up out of necessity, a limit that is expected insofar as the satisfaction of process relapses into novelty.

This expectation by an actuality of its own ideal limit is what Whitehead calls “intensity.” It refers to the superjective moment of concrescence whereby consequent actual entities are “lured” to feel their respective actual worlds in accordance with the tendencies inherited from antecedent actual occasions. Becoming is to be limited and to surpass that limit with yet another limitation. “I can’t go on, I go on,” is the interminable message of actuality’s exhaustion. Its local failures to achieve completion are successful insofar as they prompt successor actualities. Successful process means an infinity of failures—an infinite failure (what Meillassoux calls “temporarity” in distinction from “temporality”). “Process is the means by which the universe overcomes inconsistency,” writes Whitehead in Modes of Thought. Again, that the future happens at all expresses the failures of the past to live up to its own ends. And the creative advance does not overtake the past. Reality relapses into novelty.

Such is the significance of the Category of Subjective Intensity: the intensity of feeling remains just as intense “in the relevant future” as “in the immediate subject” (PR 27). The superject urges its consequent entities to fulfill its own subjective aim as their own. Of course, since this is the case for all superjective occasions composing the novelty’s actual world, these superjective intensities must be balanced into a novel subjective aim. That is, they fail to fulfill their ideal aim because they exhaust what resources their actual world provides to do so. George Allan refers to this failure as “the Leibnizian transcendental,” according to which Creativity’s vector character “be toward the best available outcome, that its aim be to actualize the best among those outcomes that are possible for it” (Allan 218). (Note that Allan’s notion of “transcendental” is closer to Badiou’s in Logics of Worlds than it is to Kant’s a priori cognition of the guarantee that experience accord with phenomena. A “transcendental” is a “function of functions” (217). The “Aristotelian transcendental” pertains to the processual character of actuality.)

Allan’s third “transcendental function” pertains to transition and enduring objects, which are made possible in part by the forms shared by a multitude of subjective aims. These propose more than aesthetic unification, or the transmutation of a multiplicity of actual occasions into a nexus.

“The Hobbesian function enlarges this orientation so that the good the occasion seeks is not found exclusively in the intensity of its own immediate achievement combined with the anticipated future relevance of that intensity, as Subjective Intensity demands. It is found as well in the value a number of occasions have collectively actualized for it and the value its actualization has for what a number of occasions might henceforth actualize” (219–220).


George Allan, “Whiteheadian Recollection” (2001).

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality (1929/1978)