It packs up into a nutshell: Is the manyness in oneness that indubitably characterizes the world we inhabit, a property only of the absolute whole of things, so that you must postulate that one-enormous-whole indivisibly as the prius of there being any many at all in other words, start with the rationalistic block-universe, entire, unmitigated, and complete? or can the finite elements have their own aboriginal forms of manyness in oneness, and where they have no immediate oneness still be continued into one another by intermediary terms each one of these terms being one with its next neighbors, and yet the total 'oneness' never getting absolutely complete?
Of course 'independence, if absolute, would be preposterous, so the only conclusion allowable is that, in Ritchie's words, 'every single event is ultimately related to every other, and determined by the whole to which it belongs. The whole complete block-universe through-and-through, therefore, or no universe at all!
This world may, in the last resort, be a block-universe; but on the other hand it may be a universe only strung-along, not rounded in and closed. Reality may exist distributively just as it sensibly seems to, after all. On that possibility I do insist. One's general vision of the probable usually decides such alternatives.
Only one thing is certain, and that is the result of our criticism of the absolute: the only way to escape from the paradoxes and perplexities that a consistently thought-out monistic universe suffers from as from a species of auto-intoxication the mystery of the 'fall' namely, of reality lapsing into appearance, truth into error, perfection into imperfection; of evil, in short; the mystery of universal determinism, of the block-universe eternal and without a history, etc.; the only way of escape, I say, from all this is to be frankly pluralistic and assume that the superhuman consciousness, however vast it may be, has itself an external environment, and consequently is finite.