Creations, not Creators of Circumstance

Ivy River’ (Oil painting on canvas by Alan Rayner, 1997). An ‘ivy river’ sweeps down from its collecting tributaries in steep-sided, lobed valley systems in high mountains, through dark forest and out across a sunlit, starkly agri-cultured, flood plain. Thence it delivers its watery harvest through deltas of leaves and fruits to a sea filled with the reflection of sunset. The fruits and leaves of a real ivy plant fringe the view of the distant river. The erratic pattern of veins in the lobed leaves contrasts with the focused pattern in the unlobed leaves and reflects the difference between the energy-gathering and energy-distributing channels of the river.

The landscape shapes the stream, which shapes the landscape

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The stream doesn’t make the landscape

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We are creations, not creators of our situation

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Knowing this brings humility, relieving us from feeling solely responsible — and so accepting undue credit, blame and shame — for what happens to us beyond our control

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But it doesn’t remove our ability to attune receptively and responsively as best we can to the situation in which we find ourselves

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It is only the peculiar arrogance of abstract human thought, which dislocates material figure from contextual ground, that gets us into needless trouble by making us believe otherwise and think that we are free to do as we please, regardless of what follows

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See also these recent essays:-

https://admrayner.medium.com/the-carer-self-attuning-needs-and-wants-with-circumstances-b33907e33359

https://admrayner.medium.com/living-learning-evolving-292daed7c2c6

https://admrayner.medium.com/self-exclusion-the-abstract-root-of-our-modern-scientific-psychological-social-and-environmental-5b4a2e7103f3

Alan Rayner is an evolutionary ecologist, writer and artist, who is pioneering the philosophy of natural inclusion