Earth formed not long after the sun formed. But was does “forming” mean?
It is a process not so much deliberate as accidental. The conditions for conducive the weak forces of material mass brought about a lumping together that can only be called planetary formation. This accidental formation then is a process.
In the early 2000s a man named Steve Jobs invented a device (or a better one at least. Others too were working on similar a product) that could make phone calls, replace your diary and notebook, connect to the internet and not require a keyboard but on a multi-touch sensitive screen. Again, what do we mean by “invent”?
It is, in this case, a process not so much as accidental but deliberate. The conditions were also conducive of putting ideas together to invent the iPhone. This deliberate inventing is also a process.
Whether we talk about planet or iPhones they are things. The forming and inventing are processes that cannot be said to exist as thing but as processes of things.
The word processes, in plural form, hints at the limits of language. To make processes a thing is not only to nominalise but also to noumenalise it. The act of giving a concept a signifier is to nominalise. The act of giving the sign (signifier-concept unit) quality of substance – that is to become a thing – is to noumenalise. Similar acts can be and are done regularly to qualities.
There are two problems. Firstly, the process of noumenalisation is so pervasive that almost goes unnoticed. And secondly, it leads to the perception that there is more than what actually exists.
And it is with this second problem that comes about the unbridgeable gap between ontology and metaphysics.