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Saturday, June 09, 2007

No Perfect Circle

We know that all things are relative to one another; a positive is bound to a negative. For example, there is no "long" without "short", no beauty without ugliness and no grace without sin.

What most of us may not realise is the sense of proportion in regards to both aspects. The positive and negative parts do not come in equal amounts.

In the nature of life, symmetry is the rare exception, not the rule. The perfect circle almost never exists. Ellipses are far more common. Look at the orbital mechanics of celestial bodies. Look at the shape of our planet. It is not a perfect sphere; it bulges out at the equator.

Look at the complementary pair of creation and destruction. Are the two equal? It is usually far easier to destroy than to create. A building that took years to plan and construct can be destroyed in moments using explosives that cost an insignificant fraction of the cost of construction. A painting that took days to create can be destroyed by fire in a few minutes. It being so much easier to destroy, the reason we have a civilisation at all is because we generally have a far stronger preference to create - yet another manifestation of asymmetry.

Look at day and night. Are they equal? Most of the time, no. For 363 days out of a year, one of them is longer than the other. Only in two days per year are day and night equally divided, at exactly 12 hours each.

Look at the two sides of other dualities: love and hate, kindness and cruelty, peace and violence. Which ones do the majority of us prefer most of the time? The answer should be obvious.

Our lives are a complex set of dynamic, asymmetrical balances because asymmetry is an essential feature and indispensable principle of the universe in which we live. Understanding the essential asymmetry of existence itself means that life is a story with two sides.

Listening to Life

Both sides exist and will continue to exist. A negative is strongly bound to a positive and neither side may fully extinguish the other. However, the proportion of these sides is up to us. We can lessen the negative and strengthen the positive.

We can choose to grow spiritually by sharing with one another, encouraging one another, and developing friendships with one another or we can stunt our spiritual growth by belittling one another, bickering with one another, or engaging in arguments by twisting words and hurling insults.

Once again, it is obvious which we'd prefer to do. So how do we lessen the negative influences in our lives?

We can manage to remove them from our lives by bringing a sense of neutrality to the dualities. For example if hate becomes impotent because we refuse to let it live in our deeds, then love will automatically flourish. To do this we must try and remain spiritually neutral, and remove the discrimination and prejudice that we'll have built up over time. Both can lead to a disproportionate amount of negativity in our lives.

We have to start by giving each discrimination a name. We can easily recognise racial prejudices, but what about the other, less serious but more covert, forms of discrimination? A joke here, a taunt there; harmless words threaded into jibes that can have the potential to hurt, even when the intention is not there, even about something as harmless as someone having ginger hair. These are choices we have to nestle in between political correctness and freedom of expression, because we need to treat intolerance seriously if we are going to accentuate the positive in our lives.

But the first step is to realise that when life tells us it is no perfect circle, and it is up to us to make it equal, we need to listen.

My Life Handbook: Epilogue: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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