DUALITY VS. POLARITY
This concept is at the center of this project, and of our relationship with reality: the difference between the notions of duality vs. polarity. I heard about this comparison in an interview with Matías de Stefano. It is based in a non-dual philosophy of life and I felt it was important addressing within this context.
I invite you to read the text, and hope you agree it lays at the root of the subject at hand. I ask the reader for patience. I circle back frequently which may seem repetitive at times , given the ubiquitous nature of what I want to convey, I came to the conclusion that exploring this question from different angles is fundamental to comprehend it.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POLARITY AND DUALITY?
The first consideration is the notion of 'light'.
Organisms that preceded us in ancient times depended on the sun to survive. For aquatic forms photosynthesis is not possible unless there is light, without it, they could not exist.
This function of light, is originally connected to the biological function of supporting life, through the energy it provided for living organisms. The lack of light meant death.
From the perspective of nature, light is complementary to darkness. They are physical qualities related to a cyclic, biological process. Both principles integrate a totality, positive and negative —the two poles—, without one, the unit can not exist. Their quality is non-dual, but polar, because together they create this unity.
Furthermore, these attributes of the unit, positive and negative, create a healthy balance providing the dynamics life requires to develop and diversify, the exclusion of either one means the absence of life.
This is polarity.
As the process of evolution continued, and more complex, non acquatic forms appeared (eventually leading to hominids), light remained a life sustaining factor, with one important difference: the more developed life forms could survive in the dark for much longer periods of time.
As tribal and societal structures appear, these polar (physical), qualities, experience a shift. As they become associated to deities and gods, some correlate to the light and others to the dark.
It is unclear to me if this change was guided by rulers and powerful entities for the purpose of controlling others through their emotions, nevertheless, what seems clear under this new paradigm, is that these natural forces of light and darkness, become analogous to the concepts of 'good' and 'evil'. What had been a polarity, changed to be a duality, in which the idea of an indivisible unit is lost, and now, we have to choose one of two opposing values which now possess moral values attached to them: light is 'good', darkness is 'bad'.
Why am I emphasizing this?
Because in this new relationship, darkness is associated with evil, the undesirable, the negative, and opting for it, is questionable, when before, under the polarity relationship, it was not.
What are the implications of this change?
I believe that the answers to this question are related to emotions, as experienced by us humans. These moral values, are chosen by passing judgement and have an emotional effect on us; which, in turn, determines our behavior. Please follow me in my train of thought.
EMOTIONAL SEE SAW
As we grow up, we learn that behaving in ways that made us 'lovable' to our parents was the thing to do; the 'other' traits, the selfishness, the insensitivity, the fear that may make the child violent, sad, or angry... are relegated to a corner of his psyche, suppressed and condemned. But they are still a part of him, except they can not be expressed.
If I can convince you that you should feel guilty, or proud, or ashamed about any choice you made, I have managed to implant in your mind, a self corrective mechanism according to the emotion you may have. We will always tend to look for the 'correct' answer according to social canons to be accepted by others, conditioning our behavior.
Whether conscious or unconsciously, parents, teachers, religion and society at large, have educated us to always accept this need to judge and choose between one of the two. This binary system is an oversimplification of the nature of life as human beings, things are not one or the other, but most frequently both.
The alternative, somehow connected to the philosophy of non-duality, would allow the child to explore the complexity of his personality, accepting all of his parts as participants of this relationship of polarity, allowing him/her to consider an option that is both, or somewhere in the middle. The formative effect in the child would allow the acceptance of all these values within him without condemning them, making him more tolerant of those behaviors in others because he can accept them within himself.
HOW DOES THIS PLAY OUT IN SOCIETY?
You may be thinking, are you joking? With so much 'evil' there is in the world... how can you say it is not 'wrong'?
We have accustomed ourselves to judging, to such extent we no longer question doing it. This practice, this YES or NO ascertainment I describe earlier, has consequences in the way the world manifests for each one of us. It is created based on it (see the Bee Story in Text two).
By falling in one of the two categories, we are always fueling an ever perpetuating feud called: DUALITY. Which never gets resolved, because the answer lies somewhere in between.
Paraphrasing de Stefano: as we strive to be 'good', the more we look for 'the light', the more we are denying the darkness within us, hypercharging it with incredible power that comes to hunt us.
We all are a mixture of polar opposites, nothing exists that has only one of the two qualities. All cold has some heat in it, all light has some darkness in it, it is only a matter of degree, and this equation is always in motion, moving towards one of the poles.
As we saw in the Maps, a hero is a villain in another story, he who may seem rich in one context is poor in another. I believe this unquestioned way of assesing everything in life through judgement, is far from being a model that offers us the option to accept ourselves with our true components. It is pathological and incomplete, because it denies who we truly are by leaving out what is 'unacceptable'.
This denial of the unwanted quality (what Carl Jung calls the shadow), is projected unto others, disabling us from realizing we are condemning a part of ourselves that also lives within, therefore, unconsciously, we feel shame and fear about this corner of ourselves; it equates to living with an enemy which can come out any minute and express itself, like the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde exemplifies.
Think of this example, the two voices: I am being good —I am being bad... immediatly summon the emotion associated with it: one elevates, the other condemns, and this dynamic makes us run towards, or away from something. Until we can comprehend it can not be resolved, until we identify less with our own emotions evoked by it, and start being more tolerant towards others, by accepting these qualities within ourselves.
judgement, that may bring an internal resolution, finding space where there was no space. It is then, that we may see that acknowledgement reflected (projected), in our external reality.
I believe this is what we came here to do, to explore, to be human, and, eventually, when we are done being human, being selfish, childish, possibly even violent, we can head in a different direction, because we are done exploring it, not because we have to do it in order to be accepted. The tyranny of the internalized judge starts loosing its power.
Before that becomes an option, we have to explore our darkness, and as we explore that, we may be able to relate to the darkness of others, their pain, their cruelty, the fear, implicit in their insensitivity.
I venture to say we all are looking for the same internal peace, but this peace can not come from a life that has not explored these unrecognized traits; probing the lower levels, and the eventual pain this may bring constitutes the path that may
eventually, bring us into that light. It is the choice that makes possible growing into spiritual maturity.
Before the Buddha was able to experience his ministry, he had to go into the world, and be human, with all of what being human means, the good, and the bad.
The story of Milarepa the Buddhist disciple also comes to mind.
I do believe in reincarnation, if I explored cruelty or dominance over others in my life, in my next lifetime, I may experience the result my actions engendered in others, we get to live both parts. By the time we are done with our cycles of many reincarnations, we have a complete picture of what being human is about.
The Course in Miracles, brilliantly, emphasizes the immense power of thought within this process, which can never be overstated.
1. Projection makes perception. ²The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. ³But though it is no more than that, it is not less. ⁴Therefore, to you it is important. ⁵It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. ⁶As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. ⁷Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. ⁸Perception is a result and not a cause. ⁹And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. ¹⁰Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. ¹¹Nothing perceived without it means anything. ¹²And where there is no meaning, there is chaos.
Transmigration of Ruin is being developed with the generous help of the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA), an organism for the promotion of culture of the Government of Mexico.