Encyclement – A Natural Inclusional Cosmology of Life and Love
This is a guest article written by Dr Alan Rayner
Throughout our history, we human beings have sought knowledge not only of our own past and future but also that of the natural world and cosmos we inhabit. What kind of compulsion is it that induces us to make this quest, while other life forms appear to sustain themselves through renewable cycles of living, birthing and dying simply by doing what comes naturally to them?
Whatever it is, it seems to be underlain by a feeling that without it, we feel lost and out of control in an unfathomable and complex labyrinth within which our lives have become inescapably entrapped, with the only way out and back in being through an entrance/exit marked ‘Birth/Death’. This feeling of uncertainty may make us scared silly of some kind of soul-devouring Minotaur that awaits us deep within the labyrinth or a judgmental figure at its entrance/exit who may or may not let us pass. ‘Knowledge is Power’, we may then tell our selves, and with it we can determine our destiny through our own free will, rather than have it decided by some ‘external judge’ or ‘pit-dwelling devourer’ beyond our influence: we can gain dominion over Nature by discovering its hidden rules and turning them to our advantage by knowing the difference between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. We can play-act knowing the ‘Mind of God’. Alternatively, or in addition, we may journey in the humble hope of finding some ultimate source of truth, goodness, love and illumination in the depths or beyond the entrance/exit gate, which will care for us ‘unconditionally’ – but, paradoxically, only if we have ‘faith’ in it and request forgiveness for our departures from its code of practice!
Perhaps inevitably, this quest has brought our interest in knowing ‘the truth’ into tension with our desire to live fulfilling and meaningful lives and our fear of what will become of us and those we love in an uncertain and ultimately unknowable future beyond our immediate sensory perceptions. Given this tension, how can our enquiry into the nature of our being and becoming ever be truly impartial, i.e. comprehensive and unbiased? Is it possible to avoid being influenced by what we would dearly like or not like to know?
The tension between seeking to know ‘truth’ and wishing to know that ‘all will be as we most desire’, not as we most fear, has evolved into the ideological conflicts between different belief systems that have raged for millennia and continue to do so. These conflicts are made all the more destructive through the invention of increasingly potent weaponry. If they are to be resolved peacefully, there is a clear need to develop a view of nature and ourselves that most if not all of us can readily accept is consistent with actual experience and that makes consistent sense, not paradox.
This is a where a truly impartial, natural scientific approach could be of great and lasting benefit to humankind. Unfortunately the objectivist methodology of most modern science is anything but impartial because it deliberately excludes consideration of anything other than physically tangible and hence quantitatively definable (i.e. ‘measurable’) natural presence. This unnatural exclusion is rooted in the abstract, definitive logic, which holds that the only alternative to contradiction (“it is impossible for the same object to belong and not to belong at the same time to the same object and in the same respect”) is unity (“all objects will be one”). By imposing an absolute discontinuity between material and immaterial presence, such logic – which is embedded in the foundations of classical and modern mathematics – is not only paradoxical and inconsistent with actual experience, but also brings the objectivist science built on its foundation into collision with any kind of non-materialistic religious or spiritual belief. Its underpinning belief in and desire for the ultimate definability and predictability of nature – the abstract, hard-lined rules of ‘the labyrinth’ – merely serves to reinforce conflict, not to bring the much needed relief that could be gained from a more comprehensive and widely acceptable approach. In its quest for certainty, one way or the other it impales us on the Minotaur’s horns of dilemma instead of enabling us to leap clean between their opposing menace.
I think that a more natural and comprehensive scientific approach than that espoused by objective abstraction is possible. I have called this approach ‘natural inclusionality’. It arises from impartially addressing the simple question: ‘what, most fundamentally, makes any natural form distinguishable from its surroundings?’ (see video illustration at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CGvQX3eNjI). It becomes apparent that the only way of answering this question is to acknowledge the occurrence of at least two kinds of natural presence: (1) a receptive context or non-resistive medium, which provides freedom for local movement and/or expression; (2) local formative content, which informs or configures that context. The former is necessarily spacious, the latter necessarily cohesive. Moreover, for form to be and become distinguishable, each of these presences must naturally include the other. Spacious presence alone would be formless void, and formative presence alone would have no shape or size. They are necessarily distinct, but mutually inclusive presences. They can neither be abstracted from one another as independent entities, nor be homogenized into ‘Oneness’. The only way in which this necessity can be fulfilled is for one of these presences, natural space, ultimately to be everywhere, continuous, intangible (i.e. frictionless/non-resistive) and immobile, and for the other ultimately to be somewhere, distinctive, tangible and continually in motion. Try whirring your hand around in front of your face until it appears as a blur, and you may get a feel for how all distinguishable form will ultimately appear this way when viewed sufficiently closely (i.e. at sufficient magnification) and for sufficient duration – if the whirring stops even for a moment, so too does ‘time’, and the mutual inclusiveness of each in the other breaks down irretrievably. Natural space and figural boundaries are hence, respectively, continuous and dynamically continuous energetic interfacings and distinctions between the insides and outsides of all natural forms as flow-forms.
What emerges from natural inclusionality is a view of natural geometry as intrinsically dynamic – an ‘Encyclement’ or ‘Becoming Hole’ of vortical/toroidal flow, not a ‘Pre-defined Whole’ of permanently crystalline Form (see http://www.bestthinking.com/article/permalink/2341?tab=article&title=becoming-hole; http://www.bestthinking.com/article/permalink/1798?tab=article&title=place-time-the-flow-geometry-of-space). By its very nature, such flow-geometry is impossible to express adequately in definitive linguistic or mathematical terms. The ‘hole point’ of natural inclusionality is that in a dynamic reality of natural energy flow (‘place-time’), there are no such things as complete ‘wholes’ and ‘parts’ and neither space nor time can be cut into discrete segments. All is in a flux of variable viscosity – continual circulation – and can be seen to be so if examined sufficiently closely and for sufficient duration. Natural ‘Time’ is implicit within this flux, not an abstract, one-size fits all, independent measure set apart from it in order to assess its ‘speed’. In terms of life experience a mouse may live as long as a Galapagos tortoise.
The fundamental physicality of this flow-geometry becomes possible to infer (i.e. ‘imaginatively bring in to awareness’, not rationalistically deduce or induce respectively from general rule to specific instance or vice versa) no sooner than one has acknowledged the mutual inclusion of continuous receptive space and continuously mobile energy in the process of rendering natural bodily form distinguishable from yet not isolated from its surroundings. There is no metaphysics (super-naturalism) here. There is only the inference of how things must be and become if space and energy/form are to be mutually inclusive. For they must be and become this way if the cosmos is not to collapse onto the motionless, timeless, formless condition of nowhere and nothingness of the ‘singularity’ (dimensionless point mass) assumed by abstract ‘big bang cosmology’ and embedded in the abstract foundations of classical and modern mathematics.
So, how can an appreciation of this natural inclusional flow-geometry help us to deal with the potent cocktail of desire and fear, which leads us to seek the certainty of a hard-lined existence and yearn respectively either for the defeat or the love and forgiveness of some fantastic monstrous or adorable Figure beyond our reach? Well, to begin with, it enables us to review afresh some ancient ideas regarding the fundamental nature of life, love and their dynamic relationship. ‘Eros’ corresponds with ‘radiant energy’ (~light/electromagnetic radiation), ‘Agape’ with receptive space in the heart of bodily form and continuous with receptive space everywhere, and ‘Philia’ with ‘bodily energy’, which circulates around local centres of Agape (~gravity) to give rise to bodily flow-form. None of these can express their reciprocal co-creative potential in the absence of the other.
The form of a vortex or spiral galaxy visualizes the erotic radial flow of energy towards and the philial circumferential flow around local centres of agape (eye of the storms, ‘black holes’) rather beautifully. So, there we have it – natural inclusional cosmology in a dynamic nutshell, with
nothing supernatural and everything extra-ordinary about it. With this cosmology in mind, we are free to wander open-heartedly in the ultimately unpredictable wildness of natural flow-geometry, released from hard-lined artifice. We can stop play-acting and start playing, as fully immersed participants in the life and love of our natural neighbourhood. But as we do so, it is important not to look back in longing for the false sense of freedom and security offered by pre-definition – for, if we do so, the Medusa of abstract rationality will be sure to reinforce her stony grip and impale us on one or other of the Minotaur’s horns of dilemma.
Here is a poem that explores such:
The Sea of Receptivity
There is a Sea of Receptivity
That no body can see, or touch, or smell, or taste, or hear
Except implicitly, through its presence of absence –
Its intangibility –
But all can feel calling
From deep within and far without
To come into and out from form
As flowing current
Eternally at rest
Everywhere inside, outside and throughout
Yet, which escapes attention
Of those whose life and love depends
On this Infinity
So that they leave it out of mind
Set apart from calculating thought
Fixed upon what can be seen, or touched, or smelled, or tasted, or heard
Explicitly in finite units
Weighed and measured in lifeless blocks
According to some independent scale of judgement
Force-fitted to all sizes
Hence, love gets lost
Amidst the screaming rubble of shattered continuity
A multitudinous cacophony
Of independent voices
Each demanding their rights
To be or not to be as they are
For now and all Time
Until called to Order
By a voice Above their Crowd
For All to be One,
A War of Words begins
Between One way or an Other
In strident contradiction
Framed in Rhetoric
Abstracted from the Sea
To become a seething Mass
Of Pro- and Anti- Matter
Taking pot shots at One Another
With escalating violence
Dead set on annihilation
At the back of those absented minds
The Sea remains Silent
Waiting for their Return
To their Senses.
Alan would especially like to thank Rev. Roy Reynolds for his support and insight, which contributed to my preparation of this essay, including his exploration of the meanings of Eros, Agape and Philia in relation to natural inclusional awareness, which Alan then developed further.