Article in Science / Biology & Nature
There is so much talk these days about the coming ‘new paradigm’ – that new way of understanding our human place in the world that will finally save us from the folly that has blighted humankind for millennia, resulting in war and destructive exploitation of one another and our natural neighbourhood
 
 
 

Listen
To the Receptive Omnipresence
The Sound of Silence
Deep Peace Calling
In To and Out From Life
Agape

There is so much talk these days about the coming ‘new paradigm’ – that new way of understanding our human place in the world that will finally save us from the folly that has blighted humankind for millennia, resulting in war and destructive exploitation of one another and our natural neighbourhood.

I am one of many longing for this ‘new paradigm’ to find its way out into the open, from behind the veil that has blocked our awareness off from it for so very, very long.

I am, however, also one of very few who does not think it will emerge from the mystic or eastern or holistic traditions that are so much vaunted by their proponents – at least not in their guise as ‘interconnectedness’, ‘oneness’ or ‘wholeness’. Nor do I think it will emerge from the objectivistic scientific methodology and theorization that abstract philosophy favours.

These two alternatives dominate public awareness as ‘Either everything is One, or every “thing” can be known definitively as a separate object.’ Which alternative do you prefer – or would you really rather not be obliged to choose?

Instead, I think the new paradigm will emerge from honesty.

That is, I think it will emerge from a willingness to set aside all preconceptions and desires concerning how things ought to be, including ourselves. Let’s focus attention instead on how things naturally are and become that way. That is, let’s perceive nature naturally, from being fully present in and where we are. This is the openly receptive approach of truly natural science, which inquires in a way that is free from prescriptive prejudice, while recognising the impossibility of enquiring from a singular viewpoint in a way that is free from bias.

Such openly receptive enquiry can begin very simply, with very simple questions. Such as, ‘what, most fundamentally, makes any natural occurrence distinguishable from any other natural occurrence?’ In other words, ‘why isn’t everything one and the same thing?’ Of course, there are some philosophies that insist everything is one and the same thing, and that the ‘new paradigm’ will recognise this to be the case: all is one seamless, ‘interconnected’ whole. These philosophies do not, however, honestly correspond with our actual experience of life as perishable, air-breathing bags of flesh, blood and bone. No, they are philosophies about Nature as an ‘object’, viewed remotely from outside-inwards, not inside-outwards.

Recognising that not all natural occurrences are one and the same ‘whole’, we might then ponder ‘what makes them different?’ What, for example, makes natural ‘forms’ such as sea, waves and boats different from ‘empty space’? Clearly, there has to be more than one kind of presence in Nature. There has to be an informative presence of some kind that distinguishes a local occurrence somewhere, from everywhere else. By its very nature, that informative presence cannot simultaneously be everywhere else, at least not in the same form or amount. So another, contrasting, kind of presence, void of informative presence has to be everywhere else. For reasons that will become apparent shortly, we can call the informative presence ‘energy’ or ‘flux’, and the void presence, ‘space’.

Now, we may ask, ‘so what is the relationship between this informative presence and this void presence?’

Abstract philosophy regards this relationship as mutually exclusive. [For example, check out Aristotle’s ‘Law of the Excluded Middle’] That is, the two presences are treated as entirely separate and separable as opposing presences, or even as ‘something’ – a presence, and ‘nothing’ – a ‘non-presence’ or ‘absence’. This ‘duality’ of ‘what counts as present’ and what is ‘discounted as not present’ is at the root of the abstract definitive ‘logic’ and ‘frame-working’ that has been embedded in conventional rationalistic philosophy, mathematics and science. We can trace this bias back to the Aristotelean notion that only material ‘substance’ is ‘real’. It is a source of profound inconsistency and paradox, which honestly cannot and does not correspond with the reality of our natural life experience. It has blighted our human understanding of one another and our natural habitat for millennia. It is the original folly that has cut our selves adrift from instead of including ourselves dynamically within and as expressions of our natural neighbourhood.

It takes very little imaginative thought to work out why informative presence and void presence, while distinct from one another, can only be mutually inclusive, NOT exclusive! How could any natural occurrence arise from one or other on its own? It would be like a pencil point or a sheet of paper producing a drawing on its own. Where would the informative presence be without the void presence there to receive and contrast with it? It would literally be nowhere, a zero-dimensional point. What would the void be like without being able to receive the informative presence? It would literally be formless – empty of distinguishable natural occurrences.

So, how can this mutual inclusion of informative and void presences be possible? How is it that the two together – rather than one and/or other in isolation – can co-create all natural occurrences?

The ‘eureka moment’ enabling us to understand this comes when space is finally and comprehensively understood to be a receptive INTANGIBLE omnipresence – a frictionless STILLNESS – everywhere. This void omnipresence INDUCES the local flux of energy (as informative presence, like a moving pencil point) into natural occurrences (e.g. sea, waves and boats) as mutual inclusions of space and energy.

Stated quite simply and directly, the stillness of receptive space and the momentum of energy in any natural occurrence always come together and go together. They always have and always will, for these are the inseparable partners that form and sustain the universe and all its inhabitants as a dynamic identity.

All the complication of abstract frame-working hence falls away and the simplicity and beauty of each in the other is revealed as ‘naked truth’, unveiled. All perception and all understanding flows and follows from this. Simple, isn’t it? How could such simplicity have eluded us for so long? Why does it continue to do so?

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Roy Reynolds and Matthew Bushell for encouragement and editorial advice.

Influx and Stillness

I AM influx

You ARE influx

We ARE influx

He, She, It and They ARE influx

To pretend otherwise makes no sense

Because without flux there can be no form, no life, no love

.

I AM in stillness

You ARE in stillness

We ARE in stillness

He, She, It and They ARE in stillness

Because without stillness there can be no influx

.

We are always in stillness and influx

Never one or other alone

Unless time comes to standstill

In a motionless point

Nowhere

.

That’s all there really is to It

.

 
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About the Author 

Alan Rayner
Dr Alan Rayner is a naturalist who uses art, poetry, fluid mathematics and careful science to enquire and communicate about the evolutionary

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