Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Opposition possesses us because of our cultural history. We use opposition as insubstantial proof in argument. We use it to obfuscate and befuddle vision. Of course, we know that black and white paint mixed together make gray. Instead, we choose to ignore that sure knowledge. We understand that man and woman are the two physical varieties of sexual humankind and therefore cannot possibly be opposites. Still, we insist that is the case. In the political arena we maintain that a Republican must be the opposite of a Democratic Party member. In religion, we insist that my particular brand is correct, and is in direct opposition to all other religious belief systems and / or orders. We actually know that all things are different from all other things in innumerable ways. However, we classify as many things as possible by opposition; tall versus short, gay versus straight, right versus left, top versus bottom, up versus down, in versus out, light versus dark, west versus east and so on.

I could proceed to a lengthy discussion of the origin of binary opposition in Western culture. However, that has already been done by any number of others, often with the insistence that each description is the only correct understanding, and is in opposition to all other theories of origination. Instead, I wish to offer the idea that synthesis of antipodes is possible because opposition is most often of our own faulty invention.

“Say that again, John!”

Synthesis of antipodes is possible because opposition is most often of our own faulty invention.

So, what does that mean to the way we deal with the world around us?

In religion, it means that a Christian does not have to see Jesus Christ in opposition to Mohammed. It is possible that God sent both of his sons to two different cultures. It means that straight is not the opposite of gay, that there are as many different variations of sexuality as there are people. In the political realm, it means that there should be so much more to Republican versus Democrat than the current “NO” to the democratic “Public Option in health care. Most importantly, it means that as a nation and people we have to start thinking more clearly and thoroughly. There are always so many more options available in problem solving than the obvious dichotomies we are so good at constructing.

Let’s take off the either/or blindfold and look at the connections between all things. Let’s ask more questions. Questions like; 1) How does global warming connect to energy, 2) how can we use mass transit to help solve our dependence on foreign oil, 3) What alternatives to the standard capitalist and governmental (public) systems for financing large projects like mass transit are there? 4) how can we reduce the cost of healthcare while extending healthcare to more and more of our citizens? 5) How do we create a country in which responsibility to all people and to the individual SIMULTANEOUSLY is seen as the most important guidepost?

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