The ‘Participative’ Percept

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

There is ‘participation’ in everything that happens, or does not happen, around us. This is nothing short of a profound sense of reciprocation — one that may also express what is obvious.

Your hand is able to touch things, because it is a touchable thing all by itself. It is also a part of the tangible world that it explores. This illustration holds good for your eyes, no less. You ‘spot’ things that are themselves apparent — the glossy surfaces, the colours, the hues, the printed photograph in a book, a piece of granite, or the turquoise sky.

When you ‘stroke’ the sparkly surface of granite you ‘feel’ yourself being touched by the glistening stone itself. Likewise, you see the world around you — it is a visible experience. It is like feeling yourself seen from the outside. You experience things — and, see, touch, hear, and also taste things — primarily because your body is included in the sensible field. Our body has its own textures, sounds, and tastes to contend and experience, all right, but they are all there — a part of the whole, and sum of the parts.

We can perceive things because we are part of the tangible world in which we live and also see, feel, and experience. You may relate to this uniqueness as perceiving the world itself through oneself. When you walk in nature’s best gardens, you gaze into their green canvas and shaded depths. You smell the freshness of grass, the serenity of the leaves. You feel refreshed with the breezy fragrance in the air. You may also suddenly feel that the trees are looking at you — you feel you are being watched from all sides too.

When you are ‘touched’ by someone you love, you feel as if it is all part of the sensuous — the exchanges and changes that arise from your conscious physical self to the conscious feeling deep within. It is a fascinating drama — a gift of nature in you, and of nature itself. You can’t quite explain the extraordinary feeling — but, feel it all too intensely you sure will.

This form of experience is quite strange, hugely fascinating, and also somewhat puzzling to our so-called civilised ways of thinking, or knowing. Yet, it becomes evident as soon as you accept the give-and-take nature of direct ‘participation’ and ‘perception’ — the fact that to touch is also to feel yourself being touched, or to see is also to feel yourself seen.

It’s rightly said that a person ‘living’ with nature is never ever alone. Why? Because, one is as conscious of the surroundings as the surroundings are of themselves. Remember, your surroundings, for example, are offended as much as you are when others don’t treat you well. Nature needs to be treated with respect — the same kind of respect you expect others to give you.

These are perceptual feelings. When consciously acknowledged, they influence our behaviour greatly. When, for instance, you think that your locality is beautiful, sensitive, and vigilant, you will take care that your actions are also just as conscientious and polite. This will stay with you even when you are far away from your surroundings. The reason is — you think you belong and you also care for all things, big and small.

Philosophers rightly call this the new environment ethic — an uplifting thought that leads us to respect and also pay attention to the lives of our fellow human beings, as also the optimal health and well-being of the rest of nature, the flora and fauna. This thought is truly imperative if we were to bring about renewed attentiveness, or ‘participation,’ to all that expresses our common sense. That it is our living planet, or land, that sustains us all — for today and also tomorrow.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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