Every living being, every natural thing, and every mental phenomenon is an ontogenetic form with a sæculum, which is the form’s potential ontogenetic duration. We can talk about an ontogenetic form as if it was an abstract conceptual idea, since even abstract conceptual ideas that arise as thoughts are ontogenetic forms.

However, these forms do not exist — neither within what appears to be, nor in some more rarified, higher, or more divine realm. There is an event horizon beyond which is unintelligible. That which is occurrent, however, is intelligible, so we can say what these forms are like, but only if we acknowledge that they are unlike any actual living being, natural thing, and even a mental phenomenon. This is the constraint that immanence imposes upon us.

The essential characteristic of a sæculum is that it is intelligible, whereas an ontogenetic form is potential activity — something that is to be performed, like a dance, or a human being, or done, like a thought, feeling, or perception. A sæculum, then, is a kind of duration — that is the actualizing of the ontogenetic potential of the form. This actualizing of the formal potential is called the informing of the sæculum, and this is the being of the form and all of its autogenous activity.

This cognitive informing is called Responsive Naturing. The activity of naturing is intuitively and impersonally recognized as it arises, and the intelligibility of the ongoing informing of the formal being’s sæculum is only then apperceived through, and into, the extant paradigmatic body of one’s understanding.

Responsive Naturing is not random since what is actual leads what will happen next, so that present possibilities congregate around the actual, which gives more weight to particular possibilities.

Our attention gives added weight by advancing one or more possibilities so that the response may be constrained more to what is deserved or appropriate in the circumstances. This is Free Choice. (Note: There is no Free Will because there is no agency; what happens is responsive, neither caused, nor willed.)

So, rather than chaotic activity or (pre)determined causation, we find in the ontogenetic informing of every living being, a coherent continuity that is creative within the ontogenetic bounds of formal and contextual possibilities. And this creativity is the origin of all stochastic activity at all levels — from the subatomic, to the level of atoms, molecules, cells, to that of biological systems and lifeforms, social interactions, day-to-day activities, as well as cosmological bodies and their interactions.

On a human level our heartfelt intention to do something, or accomplish something, focuses our attention, and guides us along a possible path to our intended goal. And, of course, without desire to reach that goal, effort will be absent, unsustainable, or ineffectual. Our intention will be, as the French say, une velléité — just a passing whim.

Thus, one can say, the ‘fate’ of all beings is their ontogenetic potential, as constrained by the possibilities allowed by the recognized coherent continuity in each moment of the being’s life, and not some predetermined future. That is, their fate is where they start from in every moment of their lives.

These concerns are shared by all living beings, although to different degrees, depending upon their ontogenetic potential. While a sæculum is of an evolving potential — with each new possibility taken, other potential developmental paths are opening and closing — it is the coherent continuity recognized Now that is the inviolable constraint. There is no randomness in this paradigm, and no deterministic constraints other than what is potential in the moment.

More importantly, the creativity that can be found in the responsive naturing of that informing is evidence of concern for each ontogenic form. It is the evident fact that responses are creative — even while being led by what is actual now, and drawn to what is attended to among the most likely possible choices for what can happen next along an intended or desired path — that is the evidence that this naturing has the unwavering character of concern for each being. Which is to say that this concern nurtures the being, as the naturing unfolds. And nurturing concern is love.

Thus, Responsive Naturing exhibits an ever-present concern to nurture Life in all its forms. It is, in other words, Love that is empty of selfish concerns; empty even of an entity that is concerned and that loves.

The naturing of these ontogenetic forms must be essentially cognitive, otherwise there can be no reduction, nor weighting, of possibilities, nor even recognition of what is actualized in each moment. The resulting blindness would be as unproductive of order as random chance events over long periods of time are by their very nature — because order, being formal organization, and chaos, being its absence, implicates an absence of form, and this means that order cannot arise out of chaos, ex nihilo nihil fit. In the absence of an essential cognitive nature, this chaotic activity would be more unknowable than even a hidden architect.

Furthermore, this essentially cognitive naturing cannot be something other than what manifests, for then it would be, once again, the reemergence of our naive dualistic understanding that was already shown to be insupportable, both logically, and like the invasive weed it is. Therefore, knowledge must be the ability to do something, not something that someone has.

One can see then how order does not arise out of random chaos, nor out of intentional structuring, but rather, via the spontaneous, creative, and coherent responsiveness to what is, as well as what may be, given the autogenous possibilities found in every moment — as well as the desire, intention, and focus of attention of each ontogenetic form. These three: Intention, Desire, and Attention, are the manifestation of our Free Choice.

And at this juncture, I need to make an important observation: like our other naive hunches, humanity has tended to feel both the necessity for a cause for what is, and to frame that cause in as mundane a construction as is within their naive grasp. This responsive naturing, being an uncaused, uncreated, and unrelenting activity, neither obviates God, nor demands that there is God. No interpretation of divinity is undermined by this understanding of responsive naturing.

Rather, it is the insistence that God must be like us, and would act as humans act, that is called-out as being naive. Why would any divinity, let alone God, create a world that seems to be totally indifferent to the beings that it is populated with? As Sir James Jeans put it:

Is this, then, all that life amounts to — to stumble, almost by mistake, into a universe which, to all appearances, is either totally indifferent or definitely hostile to it, to stay clinging onto a fragment of a grain of sand until we are frozen off, to strut our tiny hour on our tiny stage with the knowledge that our aspirations are all doomed to final frustration, and that our achievements must perish with our race, leaving the universe as though we had never been? (“The Mysterious Universe,” Sir James Jeans, 1930, pg 13, Cambridge University Press)

This responsive naturing could just as well be characterized as self-less loving responsiveness — like a mother to her child’s needs. And why wouldn’t that be a more divine way of creating, than building something bit by bit, with plans, rulers, compasses, hammers, and chisels, the way we humans would go about it, or even by manifesting the finished product — and thus assuming all the product’s liabilities — in a god-like manner?

Yet it doesn’t matter what we believe, what matters is how close to the truth we can approach with our limited faculties. It is up to each of us, to make that determination on our own, to the best of our ability, and not to blindly follow those who claim ownership of the truth.

All natured beings are the activity of this creative principle that I call Responsive Naturing. A being is a sæculum, which is an ontogenetic form of duration. In this paradigm, it is the immediate recognition of the coherent continuity of the informing of each ontogenetic form’s sæculum in the pristine Now that is duration.

This means that duration is cognitively active. Responsive Naturing is the principle of development we seek, because this principle is aware of the state and subsequent possible paths of each ontogenetic form — thus, the duration of each being is its formal principle. And please note that this means that we are talking about forms of duration, i.e. a sæculum.

The continuity that we infer for any phenomenon is the product of the principle of its formal ontogenesis — which is duration.

I use the expression “coherent continuity” instead of the abstract concept “awareness” because this unfamiliar expression is not an abstraction. It is, rather, an indication of the essential character of the recognition of all naturing.

Continuity refers to the continuum-like nature of our experiential lives, including our metacognitive states, but unlike a continuum in which each moment is not perceptively different, although the endpoints can be radically different, or in which each moment is just minutely different over a coherent whole of some period, I use “continuity” to focus on the actual moment.

I do this because the coherency is not found between moments, which after all, are only abstractions (actually vivisections) from a hypostatized whole called “my life,” which can never be fully known in the moment. Instead, coherent continuity is the character of the lived present called Now. The coherent continuity known in the Now is exactly what “awareness” abstracts out of experience.

If coherency is not found in the Now, but only between moments along a continuum, then the continuum — again — results from ratiocination, and not one’s lived present. Thus, our experiential life would not be lived, it would be calculated.

The coherent continuity found within our lived experiences is a recognition: intuitively knowing or feeling an already encountered presence in each Now (lived moment) of our life.

Note that this recognition is not like that of recognizing someone you meet on your way somewhere, nor the recognition of some place you have already been. It is not a characterization of what is recognized to be there. It is like a feeling of déjà vu, where the feeling of recognition arises without identification or characterization — that is, before discrimination occurs. Thus, it is inseparable from the imperience of what is occurring Now.

“Imperience” is the deeply felt presence of that which we perceive, think, emote, embody, remember and intuit, arising as the processual unfolding of phenomena. Note that presence is different than meaning, or character, or even identification. Normally, these imperiences are immediately apperceived into our understanding as experiences, i.e. identified content absorbed into the body of our understanding. Imperience is the intuitive feeling of what you are doing, or being.

This is important to say, because we are so invested in our dualistic understanding of everything, we easily fall into thinking within the dualistic view of hypostatized things performing actions we are only observing — even those that we ourselves are doing.

This lived coherency of our experiences is the character of the very arising of what we are doing (dancing, painting, talking, writing, shaping wood, watching a film, etc.). An experience of déjà vu, as normally considered, is just this feeling, but of some phenomenal experience — that is, remarkable, or exceptional, in some personally meaningful way. But the quality of a déjà vu is exactly like that which I am calling coherent continuity. It happens in every moment of our lives, whether or not we realize it.

And it needs to be pointed out that this coherency is the reason the ‘present moment’ is not some measure of duration, but is the very phenomenon of duration, which informs the present vignette, rather than an abstract conceptual and calculated ‘moment’ framing our vivisected experience. Thus, duration is the present moment, not a collection of moments, and not some relation between moments.

Given that there is only this Now, all responsive transformation is non-durational reconfiguration, rather than being even the most infinitesimal momentary destruction and creation of change, or rather, such destruction and creation of change would itself be a non-durational reconfiguration.

The paradigm of Responsive Naturing notes that change is always coherent with both the extant conditions and the latent possibilities those conditions enable in each momentary context — and this formal reconfiguration is the essence of what I refer to as naturing.

Coherent continuity also, and importantly, coincides with life, arising as part of the genesis and birth of a living being, during which coherent continuity is already the key character — the formal genesis of the organism — which ends with death, which is the name we give to the decoherence of a once living form.

Losing track of the necessarily coherent character of our lived experience releases us from the restraints of ‘seemliness’ in our conceptual wandering, allowing us to give birth to all manner of golems of conceptual imagination. The imagined kinds being furiously chased by those who search for life in all the wrong places. But none of these conceptualizations removes the fact of lived experience, nor does it add anything to it. And as Einstein pointed out, we must start from that and not some theoretical realm.

‘Awareness’ is a golem that exists only in our abstract conceptual thinking. You will never actually find it because it is inseparable from the looking. It’s like it’s sitting on the top of your detective hat, and no matter where you look, it’s not there. But if you enter a state of profound meditative absorption in the Now, it’s all there is.

And this brings us to the last piece of this puzzle: if “coherent continuity” is the déjà vu-like recognition of the manifestation of what appears in the Now, then isn’t that just awareness, since you are aware of the recognition? This is not awareness as it is dualistically defined. It is not the ability to be aware; it is the ability to manifest what appears.

This is not even mind as commonly understood either. It is the omnintrinsic — that is, universally intrinsic to everything — formal generative naturing of all that appears. This activity is not an entity, has no self, and is otherwise than any appearance it manifests. If you look for it, you will never find it, but if you stop looking for it, and empty your mind of silly ideas, you will one day suddenly realize that there is nothing other than this Responsive Naturing.

And finally, because there is no entity doing all this, there is no ‘personal’ knowledge of the activity. And importantly, the recognition of the coherent continuity of each ontogenic form is not based upon either perception or inference. It is based solely upon the visceral recognition of the activity, not what it is manifesting, so it is not a recognition of what is manifested, which comes later.

This is similar to “Knowledge by Presence,” a kind of primordial knowledge in the Illuminationist school of Islamic philosophy, which is attributed to Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi, but differs in that here it is an impersonal knowledge simply because the cognitive principle is omnintrinsic and there is no entity involved.

Instead, the knowing that arises inseparably as the recognition of the coherent continuity of the activity in the Now is coterminous with, and inseparable from, the active manifesting of what arises — and that is not on the side of the appearances, so no constructed mechanism, even if only a virtual (software) mechanism, has access to that, nor ever will.

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།
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