Self-in-Neighbourhood; Neighbourhood-in-Self: The Comprehensive Situational Awareness of Natural Inclusionality

Radiant Receptivity (Oil painting on board by Alan Rayner, 2020): To be a Guiding Light of Life; Radiating into Darkness; One needs to Receive the Light of Life; From out of Darkness; Into Flowing, Flowering Form; Around the Stillness; Within One’s Dark Receptive Heart. This Place where Female calls Male receptively; Into welcoming Embrace; And Male receptively responds; In Spirited Congregation; Around the Altar of Her Soul; Bringing the Light of Life; To Flare from the Fathomless Depth of Being; That is Becoming; Endlessly
Floral Awareness’ (pen, ink and watercolour on paper by Alan Rayner, 2021). An illustration of different kinds of situational awareness, making allegorical use of Narcissus flowers. Please view from top to bottom and left to right, and refer to text for explication
  • With comprehensive situational awareness comes an understanding of the reality of the natural flow geometry of current time locally within and around the continuous stillness of openly receptive space everywhere. Intangible future possibility precedes and invites tangible current actuality, just as the tangible flow of a river both creates and follows spatial paths of least resistance through landscape under the receptive influence of gravity.
  • To disregard intangible reality is to create the perception that material past mechanically causes material future. To disregard tangible reality is to create the perception that ‘all is one continuum’ and tangible phenomena exist only as ‘appearances’ in the mind. Both perceptions in different ways are unworkable.
  • In Nature, mechanical causation is subsidiary to situational causation. Clockwork time is subsidiary to energetic current. Material distance is subsidiary to spatial omnipresence.
  • Hence we can recognise that evolution occurs primarily in response to receptive invitation, not mechanical causation.
  • With this comprehensive situational awareness comes true humility. Without it comes the arrogance or humiliation of situating one’s self-identity hierarchically above or beneath others in a ‘Great Chain of Being’. Alternatively all sense of the vitality of individual uniqueness and freedom of movement is lost in a web or sea of all-oneness. In other words, instead of being understood and appreciated in context, the vitality of our ‘ego’ as a centre of receptive-responsive awareness becomes either isolated from its natural situation or lost altogether in passive self-negation.
  • With true humility comes the realization that all tangible content is contextually sourced. And so the influence of our contextual situation — our ‘natural neighbourhood’ — on our lives is so comprehensive that we have very little individual responsibility for what happens. We can only respond receptively to current circumstances in which we find ourselves in order to live, love and be loved as well as we can. If we individually or collectively seek to deny this reality one way or another, we make life personally and culturally difficult for our selves.
  • This realization actually frees us from the propensity to take individual credit or shoulder blame for what is perceived to go well or badly, and instead to understand how it arises primarily from our contextual situation.
  • Where we recognise that our contextual situation is adverse, we can recognise why this is and seek with others’ help collectively to change it and individually to cope with and not exacerbate it. To try to do this alone is a Sisyphean task.
  • Not least, we can recognise how a lack of situational awareness in one way or another contributes to a hostile culture in which we truly do ‘struggle for life’.
  • With comprehensive situational awareness, we can live in a more compassionate, caring, considerate and creative way than many of us currently do.

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Alan Rayner

Alan Rayner

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