Somethingness and Nothingness: The Natural Inclusion of Each in the Otherness

Alan Rayner
2 min readOct 31, 2021


Abstracted Fruits’ (Gathering and Photograph by Alan Rayner, 2021) A gathering of fungal fruit bodies, made by myself for a display of diversity: shaggy scalycap; common, rosy and burgundydrop bonnet; jellybaby; clouded funnel; collared earthstar; lilac fibrecap; sulphur tuft; crested coral; candlesnuff fungus; blue roundhead; white knight; birch polypore, deer shield. The many manifest flow-forms of the fruit bodies have each lovingly yet violently been singled out from their woodland source of emergence and placed ‘all-in-one basket’ (actually a plastic ‘trug’). The handle and bowl of the trug appear from above respectively to divide the gathering into two separate halves and from its woodland background. This is what we do to ‘others’ and what we do to ourselves when we mentally disregard natural continuity and definitively abstract material ‘contents’ from spatial and energetic ‘context’ — numerical ‘figure’ from boundless ‘ground’. In this way we set our selves and others at odds with our natural neighbourhood and perceive life and evolution either as a competition or collaboration for supremacy instead of a creative energetic flow around and between receptive centres of space.

Somethingness & Nothingness

Every body is a dynamic inclusion of nothingness
Which makes it somethingness
That includes you
And that includes me
Quite obviously
But when for no good reason
We stand aside from where we stand
To deny this reality
And split or merge
One apart from or with the other
We make a mess of life,
The universe and everything
And that’s not fun to live within
It breaks my heart

The above verses relate to my awareness of three very different perceptions of void/space:-

1. Space/void regarded dualistically/objectively as an immaterial outsider is perceived either as a source of existential threat of extinction or as a promise of infinite possibility to exploit.

2. Space/void regarded non-dually/subjectively as endless oneness is perceived as a source of timeless stillness and passivity.

3. Space/void perceived naturally as everywhere, within, throughout and beyond all material forms is appreciated as the vital receptive source of our being, which calls us into and out from becoming alive.

1 and 2 are in different ways both paradoxical and inimical to human understanding and flourishing, resulting in needless conflict, suppression and psychological, social and environmental harm. 3 offers a natural way out of the mess.

In reality, neither the receptivity of space nor the responsiveness of energetic motion can be expressed in the absence of the other. They are complementary, co-creative and mutually inclusive occurrences. Self-identity as a centre of receptive in responsive awareness naturally and dynamically includes its neighbourhood. It is not an isolated entity.

For further exploration of the natural inclusion of each in the otherness, please visit



Alan Rayner

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