The nature of Nature : Natural co-creation through natural inclusion
A story of Being and Becoming (extracts with permission from Alan Rayner’s paper on Natural Co-creation )
In the becoming was the void. And the void was good. She said, ‘let there be light!’ And there was light. And the void included the light and the light included the void. They loved one another as they danced life into exuberantly flowing form, inspiring and expiring as an ever-transforming array of whirls within whirls within and around the creatures of the Earth.
But One light-embodied form of darkness arose, which became self-conscious of its own image. It grew alarmed by the painful prospect of its own expiration and sought the security of sovereignty over all others whilst taking the liberty of doing as it pleased by claiming its own internal purpose and drive. It formed the word that fortified itself against the void by calling her bad names and rallying armies to deny her nurturing presence. It gave names to all the other forms, fixing them too within hard lines of definition that severed their communion with the void. And so the void was exiled from her offspring and made to suffer in the background of all that she had danced with her partner to life. Love became divided between loyalties, each denying the other in vicious circles. Light hated darkness and darkness hated light in a sharp dichotomy between black and white, to no good purpose. Pain stalked the Earth and no one knew what to do about it.
Into this place of grief there came many men of substance, who took it upon themselves to give instruction concerning the ways of the world. And they called the Places where they stood solidly on the basis of their Authority by great names: School, Academy, Church, Cathedral, University, Parliament, Senate, to name but a few. But all they could do was repeat themselves in ever more expert ways. They converted the creative spirits of unadulterated minds into uniformed reproductions of themselves by caging them in cubical cubicles of standard curricula and wielding stick and carrot to keep them on track. Above All they worshiped the One great outsider and insider that could multiply by dividing into many, adding to sum and taking away from mothers. And they called this One infinite and infinitesimal, whilst leaving aside the void that they loved to avoid suspended in vacuum, somewhere ineffable. Nature is square they had to declare, even if only as an approximation. It must be so, for, to be sure, in a world with no corners, where on Earth can we fix its centre?
The newly self-conscious forms soon grew weary of wandering around, hunting and gathering whatever the Earth provided for their sustenance, ever refreshing herself as they moved on in preparation for their return. They yearned to settle in One Place where they could make themselves comfortable, self-contained and protected from the vicissitudes of their natural neighbourhood. Helped by those regarded as wise, they learned to build walls and fences to keep what they desired most in and what they desired least out. They became expert at removing resident wildlife and replacing it with whatever individual kind of form they selected and bred to suit their consuming interests. One thought to be wise even proclaimed, with deeply furrowed brow, this to be the way Life Itself evolved, by discarding her own variety in favour of whoever competed best in the struggle for her selective attention. So the vast forests and moorlands and marshlands and grasslands were converted to fields and farmyards and factory housing, each ever more densely and uniformly stocked with plants and animals whose only purpose was to grow and reproduce as fast as possible, so that ever more could feed ever more. Eventually, the self-conscious began to treat themselves in the same way as their stocks, to be managed as commodities by departments of human resources. And when at last the stocks began to flag under pressure of disease and stress, unable to supply the growing demand, the demand did not lessen but sought instead to replace the genes from which they’d been bred, with something better.
Having settled for this penned in, staked out world the scene was set for claims of sovereignty over each fragmented plot. The size of plot depended not, as in other creatures’ natural territories, upon what was needed to sustain the life within its dynamic local within non-local boundaries, like a river’s banks within its watershed. Rather it relied on some estimate of enforced power, measured out in square units that ignored the lie of the land. And so the adverse square Law became the right to rule by might; an overarching pyramid of numbers called the State – in honour of its permanent fixture – with One at the Top. Yet each State in its concrete setting sold itself short of what lay out of reach beyond its self-imposed walls, in States nearby and far away. Interstate Highways became imperative to allow transactions between the imperial powers. But on these roads betwixt fixed abodes, there was always the danger of meeting a stranger who dealt unevenly in monetary cubicles of divided loyalty, creating mistrust to disrupt the exchange and open the way for invasive force.
As the struggle for power grew more intense, so too did the desire to forge more and more from what could be mined from the Earth’s natural resources. Coal, oil and forest provided heat and flux to serve the fabrication of dazzling inventions that raced ever faster across the globe. But in the wake of labour-saving, pain-freeing device, raced also the spread of exhausted spirit, of lives serving time in office and factory, and rising residues of burnt fossil fuel.
With hard lines drawn betwixt and over all, the view of the self-conscious became stifling. No-one beyond the boundaries of self-definition could possibly be trusted, so all became threatening opposition, the epitome of all that one stood against by dint of what one stood for. Ideology, above and beyond the care of natural resources, became the ground for endless dispute whose only final solution lay in the elimination of the opposition, by fair means or foul. War became the chief way of rallying power to one’s own side, a game in which the gathering, ever more inventive, killing forces of science and technology became willing or unwilling collaborators, coerced by punishment and rewarded financially. Common sense whimpered on the sidelines, barred from intervention, desperate for a hearing in some silent space beyond the din.
Can our rational pursuit; Serve any better purpose; Than to chase what we seek; Further; And further; and further; Away? If we were only to loosen; Those unforgiving means and ends; The hardline limits of denial; By which we close down on our prey; We could release the life that loves; Our child’s play; That pools us all together; In the recreative communion; Of our natural neighbourhood.