BackReturn Home

Opposites Or Complements? (05/23/2022)

It is a common theme here at Let's Learn Together that one should be cautious in identifying too strongly with labels as they can often be misleading. Many different viewpoints and behaviors (including ones that are contradictory with one another!) can sometimes be referred to by the same label. And further, people sometimes use labels as a way to justify the dismissal of everything that a person says or does simply because they don't identify with what they have labeled them.

To me, it is more important that a belief leads to constructive behavior rather than arguing over the exact details of those beliefs. Dialogue is an exchange that should bring us increasing personal clarity and function as an opportunity for camaraderie. I find it humorous that many of the topics that are most divisive for people (such as spirituality, sexuality, politics, and so on) are simultaneously the core motivations behind a lot of actions within society. It is impossible to speak of these things openly and in a calm manner when we are insensitive to other's personal experiences in regards to these subjects. So many desperately want to be heard, but are afraid to truly listen.

I think it is important to realize that people can disagree with one another's beliefs, but still be respectful towards one another in behavior. Mutual respect is imperative when it comes to being able to live and work together. You don't have to give up the constructive aspects within yourself to accept the constructive aspects within someone else.

On a personal level, some of my beliefs would probably be considered "conservative" in the same way that Edward Goldsmith is "conservative", while at the exact same time, some of my beliefs could also be interpreted as "anarchist" in a Murray Bookchin-like sense. Upon hearing the terms "conservative" or "anarchist" a wide variety of different associations might immediately appear within one's mind. Depending upon one's own experiences, these associations might be pleasant or unpleasant. Further, they might differ strongly from my own.

For example, some might interpret "conservative" as synonymous with "uptight", blindly following tradition or rules, but for me it is simply a preservation of that which has proven itself useful and an emphasis on living according to personal standards founded in virtue. Similarly, some might interpret "anarchy" to mean "lawlessness" or "violent rebellion", but I am wholly opposed to both. While I believe one has the right to self-defense if one is actively under attack without provocation, I am also a "pacifist" through and through. I would rather peaceably work things out through dialogue first and foremost.

If we can get past the words and into intentions, then on our most fundamental level we are more alike than not. What might seem like opposites upon their surface are actually perfect complements. Inversely, two behaviors can be like oil and water. Can one desire peace while also entertaining revenge, or have an eye for equality with a heart of jealousy? To be divided within oneself is confusion, to be divided amongst each other is strife.

Some music:
Space Cassette - One Way Forward

← Leap Into The PastHead Into The Future →