Legacies of Past Pretence

Alan Rayner
1 min readMar 3, 2021


Tumbledown’ (Oil painting on canvas by Alan Rayner, 2007) Painted following a visit to the geologically unstable landscape on the Dorset coast around Lyme Regis and Seaton and its revelations of prehistoric life on Earth.

How can I, how can we

Escape those legacies of past pretence?

Those lofty aspirations

That distract us

From being as we are

Becoming what we can be:

Simply needful creatures

Looking for sustenance -

No more, no less

Than what keeps us alive

Our means to love and be loved

In our passing

From cradle to grave to cradle

In each other’s continual company


All these human inventions

That cut us adrift:

Money, property, status, certainty

And the fear of their loss

Through holes in our defences

Passing down generations

From what’s gone before

To what comes again

In endless reiterations


When all that’s needed

To begin life afresh

Is to open the door

To what’s so much more

Than more of the same

Old game

That’s played within frames of arrested thought

That tumbles to nought

As its groundless assumptions

Are shown to be false

When we pause for a moment

To reflect on their source

In idol worship


Then to see, what it means, without doubt

To be both deep within and deep without

Our transient envelopes

Receiving what’s needed

To keep us alive

Then passing this on

Through the next open door

Who could ask for more?




Alan Rayner

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