April 24, 2013 Duality.
I’ve been thinking about duality a lot lately. It’s a concept that is so deeply embedded in our paradigm, that at first glance, it seems very simple and straightforward.
- night and day
- good and bad
- black and white
- yin and yang
Of course there are many more examples, but in very simple terms, duality can be defined as:
“The quality or character of being twofold; dichotomy.” (freedictionary.com)
I think that most people view duality as “right or wrong”, “this or that”. It is a way that we identify, judge, value, and categorize information. Duality is a way of identifying ourselves and others, but it also extends past the traditional view, moving into things like “I’m an American and he is foreign”. Or “I’m a mother and she is childless”, and “I’m a teacher and he is a parent” and so on and so forth.
I have a lot of appreciation for self-exploration and awareness, but I feel that the concept of duality has created a bipolar culture. One blatant example is the “Madonna-whore” complex, where women are either a) pure, saintly, motherly figures or b) debased prostitutes.
I have become more and more aware of this in popular culture and media, as I’ve started recognizing a very overt reinforcement of this concept. How many sweet, innocent (often produced by Disney) young girls emerge with “fresh faces” and “wholesome appeal”, only to transformed right before our eyes into something hypersexualized? The “good girl gone bad” story is told time and time again, usually in a rather predictable manner.
Viewing ourselves in this dualist framework is ultimately, in my opinion, dishonest and destructive. We all have many roles in our lives (I’m a wife, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, yogi.. just to name a few) and although it is natural to shift and change to meet each role, I think that true authenticity can only come from integration and acceptance.
Furthermore, the more that we focus on what we are not, denying things that might be natural, the more that our shadow side has power over us.