Discovering Natural Inclusion
How to become aware of natural inclusion from your personal life experience
Imagine yourself newly born into this world, with no prior knowledge or schooling. You become aware, by moving around, of two distinctive kinds of natural presence, one of which resists and the other of which permits your bodily movement: ‘substance’ and ‘space’.
You also become aware, for example when exposed to sunlight, listening to music or eating or drinking something nutritious, of yet a third kind of presence, 'energy', both within your body and outside it. This can illuminate, colour, warm and enliven your own and other bodies but is in itself invisible and not graspable in the same way that substance is.
Now try to imagine the existence of any one of these three kinds of presence without the others.
What would space alone, without substance or energy be like? Where would it end? How could you be aware of it? Wouldn’t it be endless, frictionless, invisible, formless, motionless void – an intangible (i.e. not graspable) presence everywhere?
What would substance or energy be like in the absence of space? To put it another way, where would your body be without space? Wouldn’t it be utterly without shape or size (i.e. dimensionless) and hence nowhere discernible? You’d have to recognise, wouldn’t you, that your body, like all material bodies, both includes and is included in space: i.e. substance and space are distinct from one another, yet mutually inclusive. How could that possibly be so? That question might tax your imagination a bit.
It might help you to understand what's going on to take a plain sheet of paper to represent ‘space’ and a pencil to represent what's needed to produce any kind of shape or form on the paper. Notice that only if you move the pencil around is it possible to generate a shape that both includes and is included in space.
Try using a geometrician's compass to circulate the pencil around a centre-point of space. How does it feel inwardly as you do this? Do you feel yourself focusing your attention around some receptive point in your body at the same time as you focus your attention around the receptive point (the ‘hole’ made by the needle-point) in the paper?
Do you suddenly realize that this is how tangible material form can only come into being dynamically, through some kind of movement around a receptive still-point that attracts but cannot persistently be reached by the movement. Maybe you might recall the blurry circular form produced by whirling a weight on a string around your hand or watching water swirl around a plug-hole or a tornado forming from a storm cloud?
You have just discovered for yourself the basic principle of 'natural inclusion'!
Natural inclusion is the evolutionary process through which all natural material forms come into being and diversify as mutual inclusions of space and energy in receptive-responsive relationship.
All material bodies, including our own human bodies, are made of space and circulating energy in mutually inclusive, receptive-responsive relationship - a 'dance' of energy around and within the stillness of space.
To put it another, deeper, way, all of us, from the atomic particles and cells within our human bodies to giant galaxies are made of Love, Where Love is understood both as 'Receptive Yearning' and 'Responsive Passion': Agape and Eros, Darkness and Light combining together in bodily Philia and Cosmic Communion.
I still remember the extraordinary mixed feelings of exhilaration, bemusement and fear I had as an adult, professional life scientist when I imaginatively went this way ‘back to basic principles’ that I had years ago readily understood as a young child. Could it really be this simple? Was I being naive? Had I made some elementary mistake in my reasoning? Why hadn’t I been taught or read all about this somewhere along the line of my education? How could it relate to all the sophisticated atomic physics, chemical reactivity and mathematical rigour that I had been taught, learned and read all about?
My imagery of 'Life & Desert', below, is intended to be a very simple illustration of the need for light and darkness (energy and space as responsive and receptive presences) to include each other in order to co-create a lively body or 'figure'. Neither alone can do so - alone they are lifeless deserts.
The reference to 'Figure' and 'Ground' relates to the artistic concept that when one draws/paints a 'figure' or 'form' on a blank canvas as 'ground', the latter must be of a contrasting hue - otherwise the figure will be invisible.
So 'darkness' as 'ground' is a lifeless/figureless desert/void without light. And light without darkness has no 'ground' to contrast with and move around - so is equally a desert. But bring each into the other and a 'figure' springs into life!"