Understanding the Duality
This is a topic that has been touched upon before but I am here to tackle it once again. Anyone that understands this idea very well, please feel free to contribute.
[What is the Duality?]
Simply put, the “duality” of all things is the nature in which anything and everything holds opposing truths: all of which are true. The infinitely small is also infinitely big and vice versa. Our Earth is an enormous planet but also a mote of dust suspended in space. The murderer or hero are both each other: it is all perspective.
[Why is understanding the Duality significant?]
Understanding the duality of all things is important because it allows us to see from other perspectives. The more important part of seeing the duality is knowing that all perceptions are RELATIVE and that is separate from the inherent, physical reality. There is the distinction that the mind is not the body and vice versa; we can perceive the world but we will never know it.
[Examples of Duality in Perspective]
1.) I see a flower, it is turquoise. A colorblind man sees a flower, it is light-green. A dog sees a flower it is dark blue. A blind man doesn’t see the flower. A woman born with more cone photoreceptors in her eyes can see a spectrum of more colors: she says it’s “_____” (not yet identified color). All relative observations, who is to conclude on the color of the flower? Nobody; not a single one knows the true color of the flower but at the same time they all know the color of the flower. The flower is all colors, and it is but one. One must understand that they are all looking at the SAME flower.
*A key point to the duality: it is the same flower and at the same time it is not. The key is that the perception of the mind has distorted their reality. The colors they see are real and false at the same time. The world can only be perceived so how are we to find real truth without perception?*
2.) A person is shot in the head, killing him instantly by a random passerby. There are several witnesses and this is what they say. A woman says that it happened quickly and that what happened is horrible. A child says that it was the longest happening he has ever seen, he wonders why no one saved the person. A man says this is a tragedy and that “random” violence is reflective of the dark side of human nature. A man says he saw that man earlier pacing back and forth near a bus stop, like he was planning something. One last girl says that she knew the man that was shot: it was an ex-boyfriend that abused her; she says it was good riddance. They are all right and none of them are right. The perceptions they have made are both resolute and relative: true and untrue.
*A man is shot dead on the streets. It is both random and not random depending on perspective. The perspective makes your personal observation true and untrue. It is random if you believe it to be but it is also not random. The tragic nature of the killing is also a perception. Something is tragic only in relation to one’s own beliefs. Is is tragic that the man died? It is all perspective. The variable of time also comes into play: time just is, but it is also perceived and measured. To say that something happened quickly or slowly is a perception of time. Time only flows at one speed but is perceived on infinite different levels.*
3.) A have a house. I say the house is worth $100,000. A real estate appraiser says it’s actually only worth $90,000. A monk says it’s worth nothing. A monopoly owner says it’s worth $300,000 and he’s willing to pay cash upfront for it. A bird flies by and shits on it and doesn’t consider its worth whatsoever. A kid, who is the son of the previous owner, thinks that there is no price that can match the value that it means to him because he has lived there his whole life until his family moved out. Who is right?
*They are all right and none of them are right. The house has no inherent value because all the values given to it are relative to the person ascribing the value. The relative nature of values means that there are no true values for anything because everything is based on perspective. This is the separation of mind and matter. Because these values are relative, the house itself has no set value: it can be changed at any time. The significance of this very liberal nature of values is covered in my last point below.*
[The Relative and the Absolute - The Nature of Duality]
The duality of all things is what separates truth into two parts, two parts of the same whole: the relative truth and the inherent, absolute truth. If something is perceived, the absolute truth cannot be understood. Absolute truth is beyond the perception because perception is one filter that life or something is viewed from (it is merely one angle and not all angles).
The true significance of understanding the duality is the further understanding that nothing we perceive is set in stone: this means that old perceptions and ascribed meanings and truths can be overturned and rewritten. We as beings of perception are free to change our perspectives and ascribe new, relative values to things. We can overturn old traditions and ways of living and running society and install newer ones that we “see” fit. The duality makes us more humble when we understand it: all distinctions are relative to something. To say we are “intelligent” is to be relative to something else, but this relativity goes both ways: in relation to ants we are more intelligent but in relation to the rest of the infinite universe we are likely not that intelligent (infinite possibility of more intelligent life in an infinite universe). To say money has value is not a real truth: it is not absolute but relative.
To say anything has value is to be on one side of the coin: one side of the duality. True values cannot be created because a true value would already exist and be inherent in the object. Relative values are “created” but a better word is perceived: we perceive the values of something, we don’t really create a value. All perceived values are “false” in this sense because the other side of the coin cannot be perceived but merely understood.
The nature of duality is what makes society as a whole a collective “illusion”, a collective perspective or angle of looking at something. It is a true angle but it is not all the possible angles. It cannot be all the possible angles; perception is limited to one angle. This is important to understand because it means that we can collectively view everything from another angle, a possibly better angle. To say that money has value, or that this is taboo, or that this race is better than that race, or that men are better than women, or that this distinction and that distinction… is to be seeing things from one angle. These are all relative truths, they are far from absolute. Although these perceptions are true and false at the same time, it is the false nature of them that allows for the redefining of all things.
That is all. Thank you very much for your time.
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Perspective: +1 has more value than 0 or -1
Absolute: 0 – -1 = +1
How can the perspective be true if the absolute is that you can take a lesser from nothing and gain a greater?
Therefore all perspective is flawed, even the ones with the “positive” outlooks
Thanks for the post @egarim,
I really needed a different perspective :)
I really like your examples of the relativity of perspective, the reality we experience is no doubt somewhat formed in relation to our viewpoint. This is one of those helpful human qualities that allows our thoughts the freedom to stroll astray from the typical cultural path. Our differences cultivate communication and growth. If we were all the same hitler wouldn’t have shocked the world and Einstein wouldn’t have been able to Imagine moving at the speed of light, he would have just been a good little Jew and gone to synagogue! .
I’d just say its best your careful when asserting in general anything to do with truth. Saying objective reality is inherently meaningless is as unfounded as saying objective reality exists or that the only reality is the subjective experience.
These age old ideas fall into the ontological and epistemological categories, which have had a history of paradoxical conflicts left unresolved. Knowledge is yet to be adequately defined without dispute, therefore
Ideas like ‘truth’ and ‘meaninglessness’ are often ungrounded and difficult to justify without paradoxical explanations.
I like your ideas, it’s just best to try explain things from within an accessible and realistic template. Rather than mixing good observations and attuned ideas with the epistemological babble about truth and reality that’s really way over anyones heads. @egarim,
Thank you. I make no assertions regarding truth other than separating it into relative and absolute truth. To quote myself, “we can perceive the world but we will never know it” meaning that there may be an absolute truth but we cannot see it through perception. And I know you are probably referring back to my previous thread about everything being “meaningless” but please do take note that I do not use the word “meaningless” even once. I also never state that “objective truth” is meaningless but I am postulating that since we are beings of perception, and since objective truth cannot be perceived (because perception is only one lens, one angle; subjective), there is no way of truly knowing about the absolute truth except through thought.
Since we cannot experience or “see” absolute truth, it is somewhat fair to say it is “meaningless” in the sense that absolute truth does not concern humans. We are hence free to give things meaning because everything is without true meaning (but there may be true meaning but we cannot possibly perceive it). I know it’s confusing, but that’s my best shot at explaining what I mean. Your argument is well received.
@egarim, It makes me think of a few works, for instance J.R.R. Tolkien’s Elves, who were so atoned to nature that they spoke with them and learned their “True names”. There are many works of fantasy that emphasize the use of names, and how if one knew someone’s “true name” they would have power over them. Interesting!!
I read a few more references to truth than just that one but I wont poke holes.
Like I said before your ideas are riddled with epistemological assertions, which are often unseen yet they can drastically mislead people. There is no point in me elucidating the linguistic and conceptual paradoxes in this piece, as It would be a mere substitution for my own paradoxical explanations.
!i know its confusing”
no doubt! You are completely correct in that statement. However confusion infers a lack of understanding. Way I look at it there are a few topics we’ve dreamed up too early, we are simply not evolved enough to comprehend them adequately. I just try to stick to knowledge that can be used directly. Like what you explained about perspectives, this can be applied into your own cognition, then your own behaviour then the society you live in.
I thank you for not pointing out all the holes in my theory. Please do understand that I am human and my work is damned to be flawed and imperfect, I did however try my best to convey my own understanding (however flawed it may be as well) of the topic.
And of course, this confusion means that there is a deeper understanding yet to be understood. Until then feel free to remain sane and logical, I will be one of those that take the leaps of faith into territories our brains are not evolved enough to fully understand. To each his own, and life goes on haha. Thanks for your thoughts.
Indeed, as I was reading the OP, I had a thought: Our human (thought)constructs build on one another, and through various methods, be them through “divine intervention” or drugs or WHATEVER, can lead us from where we were at Step #1 all the way to Step #8. The thing is, Step #8 also applies laws to it that we discovered in Steps #2-7. Without these laws, we’re dazed and confused as to how to explain them, and when the moment of enlightenment passes we don’t know how to apply it to our everyday lives.
Our reality defining thoughts may just have to be processed by our minds for a few more years until they can become useful to our lives and the people around us. Sad, but true :s
That is a very good point you’re bringing up: things like meditation and psychoactive drugs do have the tendency to trigger random jolts of insight and epiphany. It does make a lot of sense that maybe we are trying to explain concepts that are much higher on the conscious ladder than our brains can readily perceive. However, I feel that if we continue to learn more and more about these insights and try our best to explain them, we just might make that progress to that level of thought.
I’m sure there are plenty of understandings and facts that comprise the gap between our current state of consciousness and that level we are trying to reach, but if we even had the chance to tough higher understandings we should try our best to share and enlighten others.
Just my thoughts.
After reading that I must ask have you studied NLP? I’ve come across similar thoughts in that vein or existentialism and buddhism tend to espouse similar things with people saying meditation and hypnosis can help free you from very limiting perceptions which leave you with a hopeless feeling when in actual fact there is almost unlimited potential.
Very good post. I could do with a bit of that.
I have heard of NLP but I can’t say that I am knowledgeable in that field. If you have studied NLP or understand fairly well please feel free to explain it and its connection to this topic (I would like to examine the parallels). I have studied existentialism and Buddhism (fairly in-depth I would say) and agree that both emphasize the importance of being aware and understanding one’s own perceptions.
Thank you. I tried my best to explain it but I know there are still flaws in my explanation.
@egarim, Great post. I think another aspect of this is the emotional aspect. Our society tends to think of negative emotions (fear, anxiety, depression, etc) as “bad,” as something to be gotten rid of. Positive emotions (joy, peace, excitement, etc) are viewed as “good,” and we tend to want to hold onto them. Objectively, negative and positive emotions do exist. The duality lies in our labeling of them as “good” and “bad.” When we do this, we deny the “bad” inside of us and attach to the “good” emotions, leading to shallow and addictive personalities. It’s almost like putting a film over our perceptions.
The ego based mind likes to label and judge. All ideas represented in this mind are labeled. That being done usually gives off a dualistic quality to the idea. This creates a desire towards one end of the scale instead of the other. This goes hand in hand with suffering. So in order to remove duality and suffering all together we simply have to live in the moment and not within the mind.
Duality can result in improved objectivity. Identifying connotations and questioning their validity. This is a step to finding states like disolved attachment but also understanding cause and effect, but most significantly the role of concepts in understanding and mastery of existence.
Haha of course, we are “god” and we are not “god” at the same time. It is always an interesting thought. And about perceptions and thoughts: I do feel that we create our reality. Think about it, if the universe was wiped clean of all perceptive beings, every single one, so that perception no longer existed… who is to “claim” or argue that there is a universe? What IS a universe without the observer? You can’t even say that the universe exists indefinitely without us because that is a statement made by a being of perception.
Very well said, I had to read that twice to process all the interconnected thoughts. It is true, the heightened sense of objectivity and sense of “dissolved” attachment allows for mastery over self and mastery over the universe. We need more people that can think like you.