Letter from John Cobb – Jul 11, 2021

Dear Fellow Participants in the Claremont Process Nexus,

One of the most exciting developments in the process movement is the inauguration of Flagstaff College, led by Sandra Lubarsky and Marcus Ford. It truly embodies the open and relational worldview that we find so important. It is designed to help students claim their relevance to the real problems of the world. They have created a three-minute video that we encourage you to watch (here). If you know a college-aged student who might be interested, please point them in the direction of their website (here).

 My reception in China has been a total surprise to me all along. Recently, my role seems to have become one of welcoming people to conferences. Several weeks ago, I welcomed people to a conference of the Whitehead Kindergarten. No particular surprise there. However, an assignment about a week later astonished me. I addressed a gathering of leading Chinese manufacturers.

The conference was celebrating major environmental progress. An industrial leader has found a way to avoid adding carbon to the atmosphere in the manufacture of steel. That the Institute for the Postmodern Development of China was welcomed to take part speaks well of its image as a major supporter of China’s effort to become an ecological civilization. My invitation to welcome the guests on behalf of the IPDC was an astonishing honor that I can’t keep to myself.

Some of us think that schooling at all levels has lost its way. Genuinely educating students has become marginal. In China, the job is to prepare youth to pass national exams that will decide whether they can be part of the growing middle class. In the United States, a college degree plays that role. Universities are assigned the job of promoting research in the various academic disciplines, and with respect to students, to credential them for professions and jobs.

Process folk think that schools should educate their students for living well and promoting healthy communities. Today those communities are understood to go beyond the human sphere. At the Cobb Institute’s June meeting on education, Mei Wong told a group of us about her academy in China. It is entirely in the business of educating. No grades. No credentialing. Just learning to live together and to do well what is required for human flourishing. 

The Claremont School of Theology is not part of our Nexus, but it is important to us, so I close this letter with news about it. The California Supreme Court has decided not to hear its appeal of a lower court’s decision. This means it cannot sell its Claremont property for market value. It has decided not to sell at all, but instead to operate on two campuses. The business offices will continue to be in Claremont, and I assume there will also be instruction here. But an academic program will be maintained at Willamette University. Since so much of the instructional program is with students at a distance, the physical location does not have the importance once attached to it.

Finally, the platform will be opening in about a week, so we’ll all be able to begin using it to post announcements and events soon. Later this week, I’ll send some information about membership, and Richard Livingston will provide you with details about how to access and use it. In the meantime, if you have something that you would like to share with everyone, please let me know.


  • John Cobb

    John B. Cobb, Jr. taught theology at the Claremont School of Theology from 1958 to 1990. In 1973, with David Griffin, he established the Center for Process Studies, and throughout his career he has contributed to scholarship on Alfred North Whitehead, and promoted numerous process programs and organizations. In recent years he has given special attention to supporting work toward the building an ecological civilization. Toward that end, he led the effort to found the Claremont Institute for Process Studies in early 2019, which was renamed in his honor one year later.