Two people walk into a bar – only one exits. Two cultures, distinct, are locked in struggle – only one will remain. Good and Evil, God and the Devil face off – for they are jealous creatures, and the heart of men can only be held by one.
The simplicity of a duality appeals to our nature. Though true nature is full of complexities, paradoxes and confusion, we enjoy breaking these down into two forces, seeking to understand the un-understandable. Yet when presented as only two, the distinct, not the similar, becomes ever more present. Complexities become conflicts, and paradoxes become pains.
Yet this is itself a paradox: to understand, we simplify; to simplify, we break apart; in breaking apart we make conflict, which presents a whole new range of manufactured complexities that isolate and obstruct the original nature.
We hold the truth of duality, as the distinction of two entities, their uniqueness having destined them to be unrelated. Two people, no matter the bond, will always remain distinct; in two cultures, no matter how tolerant, one will always be dominant; Good can be achieved without Evil, and Evil cannot come from Good. Yet we face these ‘truths’ everyday with questions, and in this place individual morality arises, the science of choosing the path that allows for us to depart from a duality and enter the grey.
In this amorphous grey, the boundaries of our skin no longer have meaning, but like the art of a Still Life, the relationships between one and another give rise to definition and import of everything involved. And suddenly the moment becomes more than a clashing of two ideas presented as if in conflict, and we wake up to see that the whole world is in a dance around us, and what we thought we were up against — what we were going to crash into — was only moving past us, and we see for that first time that we too are moving without our own volition. These dualities are what we see in the moment, as if captured by a flash photograph – the surroundings no longer matter, and we build a story, subtracted from what is outside of the frame.
To depart from duality and strive to see beyond the full picture is a challenge which we must take up every day of our lives, in both the big and small things of life. And only then can we begin to understand how to find simplicity in clutter, create harmony out of chaos, and to actualize opportunities during difficulties.
If you awaken from this illusion,
and you understand that black implies white,
self implies other,
life implies death.
You can feel yourself, not as a stranger in the world,
not as something here on probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke, but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental.