Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are opposites opposite?

Yesterday I wrote about considering the opposite of something in order to be able to understand it... thinking about life to understand death, and vice versa. I also wrote about discovering a whole pile of writing and thoughts from a couple of years ago. So, without further ado, here is a little snippet of it:

Even the most pure things are not pure at all. There is always a darker aspect; a shadow, the streaks of dark pink in a white petal. For any given absolute, there is also an antithesis. Within love, life, beauty and light, there is also hatred, death, decay and darkness. We inevitably juxtapose the pure with the tainted. They cannot exist without the other; they can never be mutually exclusive. In order to know light, we must know dark, and in knowing this, we taint that which we know to be pure.

I'm pulling this out from the vault for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it illustrates the idea of considering opposites in trying to understand something. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is shows that perceived opposites aren't always opposites at all.

We might think of life as being the opposite of death, but is this true? Perhaps at a biological level. But if you think of life as the act of living, the collective actions of people on this planet, then death and life are inextricably linked. Every action and choice we make has to do with our inevitable death.

Everyone knows that everyone dies. So we break up life into discrete chunks: school for the first 18 or so years, perhaps another few years at university. Marriage, children, mid-life crisis, retirement, grandchildren, death... everything from expected social norms to social security is structured around the fact that life is finite. Tainted, tinted. Life is coloured by the knowledge of death.

1 comment:

  1. I love how you go from marriage to children, then straight ot midlife crisis! LOL! Is that all I have to look forward to? ;o)