“Forms can have no cause or effect independently of their realization in and through some actual occasion. But still, form cannot simply be reduced to its material instantiations, either. Forms, in Whitehead's terms, are possibilities of definiteness. They determine (or allow occasions to determine) how an occasion will be characterized. If we dispense with forms as ontologically basic, we have not at all sided with concrete reality over abstraction. On the contrary, without the participation of eternal objects (Whitehead's term for forms in his reformed Platonism), "matter" and "energy" can take on no definite quality. They remain vague abstractions lacking all particularity.”
I want emphasize the self-organizing properties or sufficiency of energy-matter rather than support archaic formulas that posit ‘form’ being imposed on ‘matter’ from without. Matter is a self-sufficient potency that becomes structured according to the primordial cosmological constraints and intensive differences inherent to particular temporal evolutions. The immanent possibilities of actual occasions, then, are expressions of the morphological capacities inherent to the life-trajectory of particular (cosmological and historical) material realities.
"Just as capacities of thought, of being, are made in lived bodies, in complex and delicately conjoined tissues and processes, and just as powers are inherent in all matter, materialism also requires that the capacities of activity, thought, sensation, and affect possible to each composition whether organic or not are shaped by what it is, what it connects to, and the dimensions of relationality around it." (Fuller 2005: 174)At base, my conception of “matter” only signifies the structural efficacy (tangibility) of cosmo-historical occasions and assemblages as they continue to evolve. How “matter” actually operates and what it involves is still up for debate, but I would argue that it is without a doubt stranger, more active and self-organizing than has hitherto been assumed.
“To be concrete means less to be material than it does to be some actual occasion with this or that particular shade of definiteness. These shades of definiteness, say the red hue characterizing the sky during yesterday's sunset, are eternal possibilities awaiting and only sometimes gaining temporal realization. In our cosmic neighborhood, matter-energy/space-time participates in specific forms of definiteness constraining what is possible; these can be symbolically expressed via mathematical notation (what Whitehead refers to as the objective species of eternal object).”I have never seen evidence of any of that. Definiteness is not granted by God nor is it imposed by the eternal laws of nature, but is the result and expression of the inherent potency of matter contingently related. “Matter-energy/space-time” does not participate in forms, it is the very ground upon which participation is possible. Sunsets are not “eternal possibilities” but immanent actualities generated through the emergent activities and collaboration of photons, electrons, hydrogen, helium, oxygen, earth, etc., etc., as they are “stacked” into particular living ecologies. World-flesh is self-sufficient complexity.
UPDATE: Levi Bryant has a great post explaining why hylomorphism just doesn't work: here. Levi writes:
Matter is both structured and anarchic. Order does not descend from above, but is rather always a communistics or anarchistic result… Which is to say it is always the result of the collaborative interplay structured matters that are simultaneously passive and active. It’s hard to overcome our will to mastery (which is really, I think, what hylomorphism is libidinally about), but hylomorphism is metaphysically mistaken, epistemically mistaken, and politically and ethically dangerous. Bergson famously argued that there’s no such thing as disorder, but rather “disorder” is just the absence of order that we’d like to have for the sake of our own action or aims. Simondon and Deleuze make similar points, though in a far more refined way. These arguments continue to hold today, yet they still, I think, have not been heard. Ontology, politics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have still not become flat… Which is to say, anarchistic and communistic.Hell yeah anarchistic and communistic... A veritable Wilderness of Being.