Human Arenas

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 9–20 | Cite as

The Vitality of the Intangible: Crossing the Threshold from Abstract Materialism to Natural Reality

  • Alan RaynerEmail author


This pioneering article explores why, fundamentally, so many of us abide by a perception that objectively isolates our receptive self-centres as singular points of mass, and asks whether there is a way of perceiving Nature and human nature that incorporates rather excludes our emotional, soulful and spiritual qualities. The answers offered come down to understanding the relationship between natural space and boundaries as sources of receptive continuity and dynamic distinction—not causes of definitive discontinuity. This co-creative, receptive-responsive relationship between space as an intangible presence of stillness everywhere and energetic flux as informative movement is considered to be central to the dynamic origin of living form and matter itself. Exclusively objective perception prevents awareness of this relationship, resulting in partial, purely mechanistic and selective interpretations of life, evolution and human nature that are psychologically, socially and environmentally damaging as well as scientifically unrealistic. Natural inclusional awareness of the vitality of the intangible allows more comprehensive, fluid understandings to be developed that encourage more compassionate, sustainable and creative ways of life.


Emotionality Fluidity Intangibility Natural inclusion Objectivism 

The Vitality of the Intangible

There is a voice that speaks through silence

Letting us know

Who we really are resides in where we really are

Inhabitants of a place where time

Circulates through the very makings of our bodies

In living relationship with each other

In natural continuity

Here, we do not struggle for existence

We live and die in breathing

From one form to another

Inspiring and expiring

In endless relay

We do not survive the isolation of the fittest

Reigning supreme over deserted scene

There is no end to possibility

In omnipresent, receptive space—

That ever-present Prayer

Ever calling for response

From who knows where

Into who knows here

The vitality of the intangible

In all that’s tangible

For a while


Since childhood, when I joined my mother in her political ‘sharing circles’ (see Rayner 2017a), it has always seemed ‘obvious’ to me that I cannot isolate my receptive self-centre from my body and neighbourhood and continue to exist tangibly as a living, conscious being—and neither can you. So why do so many of us abide by an abstract way of thinking that philosophically and mathematically isolates our self-centres as singular points of mass and in so doing eliminates Love from Life and Soul from Body? Is there a different, more realistic way of thinking that does not isolate reason from emotion and enables us to develop a more comprehensive understanding of Nature, including human nature?

This article explores and seeks to provide answers to these questions in natural scientific terms that ultimately converge with and incorporate, instead of diverging from the spiritual and soulful. The answers basically come down to understanding the co-creative relationship between natural space and boundaries. This relationship has been obscured by abstract rationality, which treats space and boundaries as causes of definitive discontinuity, not sources of receptive continuity and dynamic distinction.

Through the imposition of abstract rationality onto natural creativity, we modern humans have come to inhabit a materialistic culture that denies the existence of the life and love that makes us sentient human beings. In so doing, we fill our lives with needless misunderstanding, grief, trouble and strife. Many of us accept without question the dogma that life is ‘a struggle for existence’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ and embed this in the bullying way we educate and govern ourselves and do business. Few of us pause to consider the foundations and implications of this dogma, even as our history books and everyday news reports tell us horrifying stories of war, cruelty, hatred, genocide, slavery, rape and pillage.

And yet, somehow, somewhere, human kindness and compassion persists in our hearts in spite of and because of the conflict in our heads. Our hearts seem to be aware of what our heads refuse to countenance. Is it possible to open—or re-open—a communication channel betwixt our thinking and our feeling that allows us to live as we naturally are in the world as it naturally is? I think it is, and, since the turn of the millennium, have been trying to show ‘the way of natural inclusionality’, a way that quite simply and explicitly acknowledges what I describe here as ‘the vitality of the intangible’.

Why is it that so many of us personally feel so differently in our hearts about ‘a person with special needs’ than we do about a dysfunctional machine? Why is it that so few of us, apart from those seeking hierarchical power, would actually want to ‘choose the best and discard the rest of humanity’, even though we might be willing to believe in the truth of Darwinian selection as a means of improving individual fitness? Why do we tolerate and even welcome the existence of such a wide variety of human beings of different shapes, hues, sizes and ability—and why do we care so much for those who are most vulnerable? Why does our love for a person deepen, not die, as we and they age and wither or meet with misfortune? Have our hearts simply got it wrong—are they just soft, flabby, romantic organs that can’t deal with the hard realities of life?

Can we point to anything tangible as an answer to these questions? No, I don’t think we can. We are simply aware of a vital intangible presence inhabiting a living person’s body that is of far deeper importance than their outward appearance and functionality. We are sensitively aware of an intrinsic receptivity and responsiveness to which we respond receptively. And this sensitivity isn’t necessarily confined to other human beings—it can extend to all kinds of other living creatures. Providing it isnt bullied out of us by an objectivistic way of seeing.

Once upon a time, this deep and vital receptive-responsive presence—which is absent from our manufactured products—was thought of as a ‘vital force’, different from tangible mechanical force (Wheeler 1939). This idea, known as ‘vitalism’, was, however, dismissed by materialistic science and is now widely held in disrepute. But what were the true grounds for dismissal? Quite simply this was based on the recognition that what isn’t in itself forceful can’t impose force. True. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have influence!

Natural inclusionality replaces the idea of ‘vital force’ with ‘vital influence’—the receptivity of an intangible centre, which, hurricane-like, draws energy into responsive circulation around its self as a temporary embodiment (see Rayner 2017a). Without such receptive influence, material existence itself would be impossible. So, from what and where does it emanate?

What Is ‘the Intangible’?

Quite simply, ‘the intangible’ is the continuously present aspect of reality we are aware of from first-hand personal experience even though it lacks substance and so is incapable of being cut, displaced or imposing or resisting pressure upon or from a material body. It literally cannot be grasped physically or mentally and so we are unable to quantify it in discrete units of measurement or to detect its presence directly using our sensory organs or equipment. But, providing we do not try mentally or physically to abstract ourselves from it, we can readily infer its presence through a combination of contemplative reasoning and feeling.

The contrasting personal experiences of walking into or through a shut or open door immediately inform us of two distinctive aspects of reality that respectively resist and freely permit movement: tangible and intangible. Moreover, if we pause to contemplate how any of us could exist as pure material, devoid of space, we quickly recognize that to do so we would have to be an undetectable dimensionless point without volume. And if we try to imagine space devoid of matter, we are left contemplating a featureless universe. So we are led, inescapably to the inference that all material form naturally includes and is included in space. A little more imaginative work reveals that for this to be possible, not only must space be an intangible presence of stillness everywhere but whatever it is that distinguishes matter from space alone must be in continuous circulatory motion (see Rayner 2017a).

Hence, matter is a co-creation of space as a receptive, permissive presence and energetic flux as a responsive, resistive presence in mutually inclusive relationship—a dance of each in the other’s influence, akin to that recognized biologically as female and male. The very basis of abstract materialism, which presumes that tangible substance and intangible space are either mutually exclusive or coextensive, is not realistic. So why, for millennia, have so many of us human beings continued to abide by a system of axiomatic logic that deliberately excludes or conflates the intangible aspect of reality from or with the tangible aspect—and all the misunderstanding, grief, trouble and strife that issues from this fallacy?

As human beings it seems that many of us, especially males serving the role of hunter-gatherers and protectors, are susceptible to a powerful temptation and predisposition to abstract ourselves as observers from what we observe. No sooner do we do this, then we develop a sense of definitive discontinuity between ourselves as ‘subjects’ and our environment as an assemblage of one or many ‘objects’. We imagine that, as Albert Einstein put it, ‘the environment is everything that isn’t me’. All our attention focuses upon what we perceive in our environment as tangible ‘things’, which we can measure and count. We discount or subsume the intangible natural presence of space everywhere as ‘nothing’—merely a gap or distance between things, which we can nonetheless measure as if it were a substance keeping things apart from one another. We mentally sever our personal identity from our environmental neighbourhood, even though we may realize full well in our hearts and guts that we couldn’t possibly live in isolation from our surroundings as other than inert, hermetically sealed entities devoid of space!

A variety of human qualities may contribute to this susceptibility to abstraction. Our binocular eyesight and grasping hands focus our attention on what we can pick out from our surroundings as tangible substance. This brings a rewarding sense of certainty and control over our habitat and one another, which enables us to gather the nourishment and materials we need to thrive. By the same token, we are fearful of uncertainty and death, and so do our utmost to evade, exclude, discount or rationalize the intangible aspect of reality. But perversely it is this attempted evasion that ultimately costs us dearly, resulting in the deep misunderstanding of the natural world and our place within it that causes profound psychological, social and environmental harm.

What we may appear to gain, by way of factual certainty and technological capability, when we exclude the intangible aspect of reality from consideration is no compensation for what we lose by way of awareness of our true nature as living organisms inhabiting a world of dynamically bounded form. In fact, recognition of the vitality of the intangible would not have prevented any of our scientific discoveries and technological inventions and might well have allowed us to make many more. What it would have prevented is deep scientific misunderstanding of reality, along with the misuse of our discoveries and inventions in needless idealistic conflict with one another and our habitat.

Abstraction and the Divorce of Thinking from Feeling, Sensation and Intuition

Perhaps the most far-reaching psychological and social consequence of abstraction is the development of a purely ‘objective’ form of thought that deliberately excludes ‘subjective’ feeling, sensation and intuition. Third person, outsider perception is isolated from first and second person insider perception. Although objective thought is often vaunted as ‘impartial’, in reality the exclusion from consideration of any aspect of reality can only result in a profoundly partial, and hence potentially very misleading, comprehension of reality.

External observation alone cannot provide any empathic awareness of how it is to be in the place of the observed. All that is evident is what appears instantaneously to be a material ‘object’ surrounded by what is ‘not’ the same object. This is the basis for the definitive logical premise of the Aristotelean ‘Law of the Excluded Middle’, which holds that ‘A cannot simultaneously be not-A’: hence, Einstein’s contention that ‘the environment is everything that isn’t me’. This premise has been embedded in the foundations of all conventional mathematics, theology and objectivistic scientific praxis even though it cannot realistically hold true in Nature, where tangible form dynamically includes and is included in a continuum of intangible space. At its root is what I have sometimes alluded to metaphorically as ‘the space barrier’, and this is the threshold that must be crossed if our thought processes are to enter the fluid realm of natural reality (Rayner 2014, 2017b). This space barrier is an imaginary, instantaneous, definitive, mental demarcation or ‘cut’ that isolates the inside from the outside of any locality or material body. It exists only in abstract thought, where it blocks the path of Love as the felt presence of receptive and responsive emotion towards self, neighbours and neighbourhood. It does not exist in Nature (by which I mean ‘all reality’, as distinct from what exists only in the human imagination). This is where abstract science diverges from our intrinsic soulfulness and emotionality.

If, on the other hand, we close our eyes and open our minds up internally to the heart- and gut-felt feelings of flow within our living bodies, all sense of remoteness from what pervades within, throughout and all around us fades. We find ourselves immersed in the velvety caress of its intangible depth as a source of comfort, not distance. We have only to sense this depth of receptive being in other bodies, to open the path of Love, in natural communion with our neighbours and neighbourhood. Our bodies dynamically distinguish us; they do not define us.

In reality, no material body can exist instantaneously as more than an undetectable dimensionless point-mass. This is why conventional mathematical physics finds itself confronted with the quandary of how to create ‘something from nothing’. It’s simply not possible to combine a set of zero-dimensional point-masses without volume into anything more than a dimensionless point mass without volume. Idealistic Euclidean geometry may speak of zero-dimensional points, breadth-less lines and depthless planes, but how can these possibly produce a 3-dimensional solid? The problem goes away as soon as the vitality of the intangible is admitted, and tangible form is understood to be a product of the natural inclusion of space within circulating flux somewhere within space everywhere.

The intangible is naturally included within the tangible within the intangible. In numerical terms, this means that zero as a central point of receptive space—an intangible ‘being’—is naturally included within one as an intrinsically dynamic identity—a ‘becoming’—within the receptive stillness of infinite space everywhere. In physical terms, there can be no flow, and hence no material form without zero and infinity: any movement from one locality to another necessarily entails transition across a zero-point of space as a portal, not a barrier. It is through this portal that science, soulfulness and spirituality can actually converge and incorporate one another rather than diverge as they currently do due to the imposition of abstract definition onto natural flow-geometry.

Try moving a pencil point over a sheet of paper and you’ll see what I mean: the point is continually entering and leaving behind the receptive space of the paper as it forms a dynamic trajectory. This trajectory may either continue to move away from its origin as a ‘pulse’, whereupon it will not incorporate any local space, or it may begin to circulate around a local centre of space to form a dynamically bounded locality—a place of residence that we may recognize as a ‘home’ or ‘body’. Transitions between ‘pulse’ and ‘circulation’ are characteristic of the ‘staying-at-home’ and ‘travelling-away’ lives of living forms as they gather in, explore for, conserve and redistribute energy from their local neighbourhood (Fig. 1; Rayner 2017a).
Fig. 1

‘Pulse and Circulation’. An illustration of travelling and residential fluxes prepared by Roy Reynolds, 2016

So, what happens when two local circulations of energy around an intangible zero point of space—two ‘whirls’ within intangible space everywhere come into proximity? Will they attract or repel one another, will they receive or transmit energy from or to one another, will they combine harmoniously or dissonantly or will they simply keep their circulations to themselves as independent objects ignorant of one another’s existence?

Any exchange of energy via the zero point(s) at the intersection between two or more distinct material bodies requires their dynamic boundaries to meet and re-join with one another in simultaneous reciprocal confluence, rather than keep their circulating energy to themselves. This happens, for example in a kiss, X (Rayner 2017a; cf. Fig. 2) or the engagement of two reciprocally spinning gear wheels. As anyone knows who has participated in a kiss, the actual personal experience of this receptive-responsive exchange has an almost magically different quality from how it looks to an outsider, and timing is crucial: any asynchrony or resistive movement results in dissonant jarring, not harmonious exchange. Such is the vital difference between including and excluding intangible influence in or from one’s comprehension of natural dynamics. The outsider can, nonetheless, have an empathetic feel for what is happening internally by bringing their own personal experience of being in such situations to bear.
Fig. 2

‘Compassion Fruit’. Oil painting on canvas by Alan Rayner, 2008, depicting the confluence of classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water via a zero-point at their intersection, enabling the emergence of a Passiflora vine

Space is hence a source of continuity, which enables the flow of life, not a ‘final frontier’ that precludes it. We can move from abstract to natural perception by removing the contradiction or definitive ‘space barrier’ that is embedded in the foundations of abstract thought. We thereby move to ‘natural sense’ as a way of thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting that actually corresponds with instead of contradicting our experience as living inhabitants of Nature, leaving behind the paradoxical ‘abstract sense’ that we cultivate as self-excluded observers of Nature.

Zero and infinity are qualities of the intangible, not quantities of the tangible. Conventional mathematics can’t be without them, but won’t admit what they are because to do so would be to unlock the paradoxical certainty of its underlying binary logic of either one (something) or zero (nothing). In reality there can be no mass without volume or flux, and there can be no fluidity without zero. Zero is a receptive centre of space, not an inert point of mass. Hence it is a point of influence—internal agency—not external force. Binary logic forces space apart from mass, leading ultimately to the imaginary schism of matter into ‘force particles’ (bosons) and ‘mass particles’ (fermions). Monistic logic unifies them into one and the same thing. But with the recognition of one of these identities as an ‘influential locality of receptive space’—a ‘hole’, not a ‘whole’—and the other as a ‘responsive locality of flux’, the two can come into reciprocal receptive-responsive partnership and dance into life. The abstract schism or unification between them disappears into the reciprocal embrace of each in the other’s reach as distinct but mutually inclusive realities. The true nature of one and many as dynamic inclusions of space in flux in space cannot be understood without appreciating and incorporating the true nature of zero and infinity as the intangibility of receptive space as ‘Grace’ (Rayner 2017a).

Not only does exclusively objective perception present enormous difficulties for understanding the nature and origin of tangible form, but it makes inexplicable the occurrence of all sorts of phenomena that we recognize as intrinsic to human beings: consciousness, emotion, life itself. Again and again, purely mechanistic, cause-and-effect explanations have been sought but not found for these occurrences, not only in scientific but also in religious orthodoxy. Instead of simply recognizing the vitality of intangible within tangible presence, orthodox religious thinkers have been prone to seek mechanistic explanations for them in the abstract intangible form of transcendent supervisory deities that are paradoxically placed beyond the reach of physical reality yet are nevertheless able to intervene powerfully, for good or ill, within our personal lives. While abstract materialism entirely discounts intangibility, such abstract deism gives the mind(s) of one or more intangible figures ultimate hierarchical power over matter as intelligent designer(s) and prime mover(s).

In the Lap of the Gods: Where the Intangible Reigns Supreme

When the intangible is mentally excluded from tangible reality, we either dismiss it as entirely without impact on our lives or we give it inordinate control over our lives. This false dichotomy accounts for the schisms between abstract scientific and deistic views of reality that persist to this day and engender profound personal and social conflict. It is as though our material existence is regarded scientifically as one thing, our sentient, emotional and living existence as spiritually quite another. As Charles Darwin put it: “A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone.”

We treat ourselves on the one hand as if we were machine-objects assembled from component parts and on the other as if we are ‘irrational creatures’ subject to the febrile whim of our emotions and in need of external supervision to keep us in order. But if we were simply to recognize all tangible form as a co-creation of intangible space and flux, these schisms and contradictions would disappear. There is no need to regard tangible and intangible presences either dualistically as poles apart or monistically as ‘all one and the same’. We could appreciate our unique self-identities as dynamic localities in continuous co-creative relationship with our natural neighbours and neighbourhood, not as isolated entities driven entirely by internal or external force.

When our mental externalization of intangible influence leads us to abstract deism, then it is common to bestow and personify our God or Gods with human consciousness and emotion: knowingness, anger, love, jealousy, goodness, evil etc., while removing their fear of death by treating them as immortal. This makes some sense in that only the intangible is eternally present, whereas tangible form, being dynamically bounded, is necessarily in flux. It also relates to the figures that we encounter unconsciously in our dreams—what have been referred to as archetypes, many of which have equivalents in Gods and Goddesses. While many of us may nowadays regard these latter as ‘mythical figures’, they do signify the vitality of the intangible in our everyday lives, and our need to recognize this if we are to live in correspondence with how we actually are in the world as it actually is.

Shaping Our Living Reality: the Natural Inclusion of Intangible Within Tangible Presence and Vice Versa

At the outset of this writing, I contrasted our existence as living persons with that of the machines that we manufacture to assist our passage through life. I suggested that our machines lack the vitality of the internal, intangible centre of receptive-responsiveness that enables living organisms and organizations to develop and sustain a unique self-identity in dynamic relationship with their energetic and spatial neighbourhood or environment. Whereas, machines are designed and manufactured exogenously by a tangible external agency, i.e. ourselves, neither we ourselves, nor the atomic and subatomic identities that make up our material bodies can originate in this way. Instead, we originate endogenously as responsive local energetic circulations around receptive space somewhere within space everywhere. More specifically, we human beings are conceived as female egg cells fertilized by male sperm, from which we develop firstly as spherical balls of cells around a central point of space and thence as elongating embryos around a central axis of bilateral (left-right) symmetry.

We are not conceived, nor do we evolve, as products of a prescriptive mind. Our livingness depends on the coherent organization of our cells and tissues around our receptive centres. If this coherence is disrupted irreversibly, we die, and in so doing release our atomically embodied energy for redistribution elsewhere, including other life forms. We have built-in vulnerability as well as built-in evolutionary creativity. By contrast, machines are essentially non-living assemblies that lack energetic coherence around a receptive spatial centre other than a relatively weak centre of gravity. They hence lack the receptive-responsive sentience and emotionality of truly living creatures. They can be taken apart and reassembled without loss of life because they have no life of their own—by way of an ability to develop and sustain their individual identity—in the first place. They can, however, wear out, break down and be outmoded: designed as they are for a specific purpose, they are abandoned and replaced by new models when they cease to serve that purpose satisfactorily: they have built-in obsolescence. Life, by contrast, evolves through natural inclusion: a cumulative, co-creative process of fluid transformation within spatial context.

This is why the form and behaviour of truly living organisms and organizations cannot be understood adequately in terms of Newtonian mechanical forces and ‘laws of motion’. They have a radically different origin. Newtonian mechanics apply straightforwardly only to non-living material bodies, which lack an intangible centre of receptive-responsiveness, not to living systems or indeed to the atomic constituents of material bodies. Newtonian bodies behave as if they are literally inert, and this is indeed how they were originally conceived as no more than assemblies of lifeless, indivisible, hard, massy atomic particles—point-masses isolated from their spatial surroundings. Whereas, Newtonian bodies appear only to inter-act and react, and be moved forcibly from outside, living bodies inter-relate as intrinsically receptive and dynamic identities.

Since Newton’s time, our understanding of atomic and subatomic structure and behaviour has, however, changed radically from that of hard, massy particles. It is clear now that they are far more akin to living identities in dynamic, receptive-responsive relationship with one another and their spatial neighbourhood than we might previously have imagined. The findings of quantum mechanics indicate this very clearly and are in fact impossible to account for objectively.

This actually makes good sense, because it enables us to trace the deep roots of biological life to the origin of matter as a co-creation of intangible receptive space and responsive flux. We aren’t obliged to conjure up life as a random product of an incoherent, inanimate universe. Moreover, we aren’t obliged to invent an ineffable Great Magician to do the conjuring up of movement from stillness and something from nothing.

All we need to accept is the vitality of an intangible receptive omnipresence and local responsive flux in the formation of all tangible identities as flow-forms. Where else could our emotionality, vulnerability, evolutionary creativity and sentience come from but the intrinsic, mutually inclusive receptive space and responsive flux within our material bodies? And could not the Newtonian behaviour of non-living bodies be understood to originate ultimately from the intrinsic receptive-responsiveness of their atomic constituents rather than externally imposed force? Underlying the Power of Tangible Cause & Effect is the Influence of Intangible Receptive-Responsive Relationship between natural Space & Flux. The Power cannot truly be understood without acknowledging the Influence.

To accept the vitality of the intangible does not require extraordinary powers of perception or elevated consciousness. All it requires is DE-RESTRICTED perception—i.e. the ordinary perception that most of us are born with, but which gets suppressed by the imposition of a restrictive space barrier, which prevents consideration of all knowledge that arises from being aware of how it feels and what is needed to inhabit a living body. Removal of that barrier immediately opens vast vistas of new understanding and possibility that are prevented by objectivistic perception. We can combine first, second and third person awareness of natural ‘figures’ as dynamic inclusions of spatial and energetic ‘ground’, rather than focusing all our attention on abstract figures alone as definitive subjects or objects isolated from their natural neighbourhood. We can envisage all individual self-identities as local receptive centres of responsive circulation within larger circulations—i.e. as natural dynamic inclusions of spatial and energetic context, not independent entities. Our sense of self and other shifts from solidly subjective or objective to dynamic relational and nested, and as this happens, we can adopt the natural language and logic of flow, in place of the abstract language and logic of definitive completeness.

The Intangible Origin of Emotion

Perhaps the most remarkable consequence of incorporating intangible within tangible presence is that this offers a natural scientific way of understanding the origins of emotion, which, ironically, is that very quality of living form which is deliberately excluded from objectivistic enquiry. We can recognize that all material bodies, from quantum scale upwards, are actually made from what could in essence be understood as ‘emotion’—responsive flux around receptive centres of space held somewhere within the Stillness of space everywhere. And we can also recognize and transcend the emotional coldness of restrictive philosophical and mathematical formalism that paradoxically ‘digitizes’ this flux into particulate point-masses by excluding space—as zero/infinity—from matter—as one alone (Rayner 2017a).

Removal of the space barrier doesn’t remove our emotional sense of awe and wonder in the creativity of Nature and of ourselves: if anything it deepens it. It enables us to appreciate life as a gift of natural energy flow, which we receive, care for and pass on in endless relay—not as a competitive struggle against others for our independent right to exist. If we wish to speak of Divinity, then we may do so in the language of panentheism, which finds ‘God within Everything, and Everything within God’, as ‘the vitality of the intangible’. No Schisms required.

The Sociological Implications and Prospects of Natural Inclusionality

We do not generally like to think of ourselves as nasty, and yet, through mental abstraction, we can lead ourselves to believe that nastiness is a necessary evil, inbuilt within our self-serving psyches as a prerequisite of definitive logic and evolutionary genetics, as evident in the advent of such notions as eugenics, sociobiology, the ‘Selfish Gene’ and monetarism (Mukherjee 2016; Wilson 1998; Dawkins 1989; Gabriel 2002). Political leaders, by and large, do nothing to disabuse us of this belief, not least because their undemocratic power over others depends on it. Many pay lip-service to democracy, but few grasp the basic principle of governance for all, through all, by all—not governance to suit one individual or faction or another. Electorates are continually asked to make binary choices between ‘right or left’, individualism or collectivism etc., rather than seek balance and complementarity between them. Many philosophers and scientists, devoted as they are to materialistic abstraction, do nothing to relieve the needless frictions of human co-existence. Our education systems also serve mostly to reinforce notions of competitive success and failure and to prepare for employment rather than seek wisdom and co-creativity.

All this could change radically with the advent of a way of understanding self-identity as a dynamic natural inclusion of rather than an exception from our spatial and energetic neighbourhood. This continues to be my hope for the future of humanity.

Lighting the Candle of Faith, Hope and Love

What is it about the simple ceremony of lighting a candle that can evoke such heartfelt feelings of peace and joy within us? Why is it that the lighted candle is such a powerful symbol of faith, hope and love?

Could it be that this image of I aflame provides us with a glimpse of our own deep origins as intangible centres of receptive stillness embodied within responsive flux? I think it could.

Simply Co-creations

Life seems so complicated

In all its myriad manifestations

When viewed from outside itself

In abstract distance

So rational and yet so unreasonable

So measurable and yet so fathomless

So predictable and yet so unforeseeable

So attractive and yet so repulsive

So knowable and yet so inexplicable

Such an elaborate, mysterious construction

From such straightforward genetic code

And elementary particulars

And yet when experienced from within

That opening ending and ending opening

Within its Self,

So joyous and yet so painful

So resilient and yet so vulnerable

So enticing and yet so fearful

All living form Is

And all living forms Are

Beheld simply as receptive and responsive co-creations

Of darkness within Light within flow

Within Darkness

Of stillness within Flux within fluid

Within Stillness

Of space within Energy within matter—

Within time within place—

Within Space

Of yearning within Breath within breathing

Within Void

Of soul within Spirit within body

Within Soul

Of agape within Eros within philia

Within Grace

Of love in Love with life

Within Love

So, I ask you,

What’s Not to Love?


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bath Bio*ArtBathUK

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