“The root of human conflict at every level is almost everyone chooses one side and refuses to see the opposite.“-Adam-
The Flexarian Way
Why are so many of us so fixed in our opinions and behaviours even when neither our ideas nor actions are serving us or the greater good the way we would like to think it is, in providing at least a degree of satisfaction to our lives? One of the advantages of living into the mature years for me has been the awareness that in every situation both sides are needed for a balanced outcome. This is as much to do with the fact that opposites exist as a fact in our conscious world, they are integral to our reality. They are one.
So many of us love to – Categorise and Label – Create separation (us and them) – Pick sides – Judge – Engage in conflict – Try to erase the threat that opposing views may present rather than embrace the wholeness of the situation.
Think for a moment! Light and dark are both essential for balance. Masculine and feminine are both essential for balance. Right and left, front and back, big and small, pride and humility. Can it be argued that opposites are one of the few stable facts of life in our reality? Absolutely yes! And yet we constantly witness people attempting to eradicate anything in opposition to their current beliefs. When in reality their beliefs depend on the existence of the opposite.
To feel right, superior or just out of pure ignorance. There is so much time wasted while humans argue over black and white when the world is clearly shades of grey. Goldilocks finding what was “just right” is more accurate. Aristotle’s golden mean another example of wisdom. The Buddhist concept of the middle way. All of these points the way to the balance in life that is essential for harmony and living in peace with fellow human beings whatever their belief system.
I can’t be alone in seeing the obvious benefit in both sides of most debates that I am not involved in. It seems as soon as we become involved we then need to fight to eradicate all opposition. Quite frankly we become unreasonable. I have even stopped watching unreasonable politicians butting heads. Such a waste of time and very often a waste of our tax-payers money. Is there something about our ego personality that is so arrogant that nothing can introduce it to a touch of humility and compromise once involved personally in any debate. The world is going nowhere purely because of political egoes.
Humanities headstone will read “EGOIC MIND – R.I.P.”
In answer to which is best, and which is not. There is no argument it is always both. The answer is always both. One side cannot exist without the opposite. The answer to be found is where on the continuum of each opposite the best solution, for now, is to be found? The flexibility to understand what is needed here and now. This is the Flexarian attitude.
Realising that nothing is ever cast in stone and what is suitable for the time and situation may not be the same at different times. Nothing in this world is fixed and unchangeable and neither should it be expected to be so. Open-mindedness is an understanding that we live in a life that is a process and under constant change.
Expecting permanence in an impermanent world is another reason for dissatisfaction.
Attacking people for changing their minds is something we love to do. We try to hold others to what they have said for eternity. The fact is we should all be changing and evolving within the process of life and what is said or done in one moment is not always suitable in another moment. Remaining open-minded enough to change with the times and with new knowledge of the world or self is to be applauded, Debates are opportunities to introduce others to different perspectives and then to contemplate both sides of the stories being told before moving forward with one’s own worldview. Our worldviews must change as we continue to learn and evolve throughout life. They will change and evolve, and we can go with that flow or battle all the way. Which seems to be the way of this world currently. Being in opposition to anything is not a war it is your place on a continuum of the same thing and you are free to move either way on the continuum. Metaphorically moving towards the light, however, there can be no light without dark and the balance of both is ideal. An equinox being the perfect solution. Equal light and dark. However, I love the summer solstice which is the day with the most light and love it in December when the shortest day arrives, the winter solstice because that indicates lighter days until the June summer solstice and the cycle repeats. You can see from this that my place on this continuum falls more on the light side but also an acceptance that dark is part of the priceless whole.
Seeing opposite sides as pure extremes of one whole is a start and accepting there cannot be one without the other, we can begin to understand where we can find balance and satisfaction.
This awareness doesn’t lessen with age and for many with age comes the wisdom to observe more of the stories being told and accept that all sides have the right to be heard and hopefully understood. I would go so far as to say that as we age life gets more interesting because we have the wisdom through experience to see more of the world with fewer distractions which occur when as youngsters in the first half of life we are more interested in attaining status and the biggest pile of material possessions(stuff).
This status attainment is why we consider we must never be wrong and must crush any person not agreeing with our very limited opinions. Our opinions become part of our identity. They are not, they are just opinions that can and must change and progress within the process of life and our harmonious individual development within that process. I suggest losing the “MY” from your opinions and just have ideas that currently you like more than others. Making them “YOUR” opinions make them a part of your identity and they take on a power that an opinion or idea was never intended to have.
To negate much of the individual suffering in this world we must accept we are all at different stages of our development. Most of us think we alone and others like us know the solution and others do not. We ask why can’t others see the way we see? When both sides are guilty of failing to respect the other unique perspective and position in each opposite containing whole.
This is also why power is probably the biggest threat to humanity. The subjects are all but forgotten and the situations are opportunities for power. A power struggle of who can dominate people and situations the most. They become a battle of ego and humanity always loses out to megalomaniacs (a person who has an obsessive desire for power). We must start by recognising the megalomaniacs inside of ourselves, so we may more easily see it in the people we endow with power. We contain it all. First, look inside and then maybe understand the trait before deciding. This knowing ourselves is one of the keys to accepting others and understanding that there is not so much difference between us and them. And in fact, too much US AND THEM is a bad thing for our world. The more sameness we can find within ourselves and others the better the world will be.
Another great example of the balancing of opposites to finding the ideal is the introvert/extrovert continuum and the invention of the ambivert which is the balance between both. I am firmly situated on the introverted side of this continuum and Julie, my wife is positioned on the other. Rather than clash we have learned that we have much to learn from one another and can support each other in finding that balance. This has not always been our story. In fact, far from it. For years we clashed and failed to understand each other fully but as we have aged and gained more knowledge we have come to realise that the fusing of opposites creates a third much stronger position. That is where we are now. We accept and cherish the other as opposite and value that difference as contributing to our whole. In this case our relationship.
Through this realisation in our personal lives, we have come to see the same dynamic in humanity all over the world. Opposites clashing rather than accepting and learning from the other. People trying to change others when they need to change themselves. We must truly see and understand others as different and learn to see ourselves as others see us. Now that would truly be called progress. The sum of the parts is much greater than the whole. The third way is the position of true power and peace of mind. The same can be said for the opposites inside of ourselves. Reconciling our own personal shadows creates much more than an acceptance of both sides it creates a third more powerful and enlightened self.
“All that we see is contained within us and the sooner we accept ourselves as the collections of opposites that we are the more we will progress.“Adam