Happy Oppposite Day, or maybe not. Sometimes I like to think about the contrarians in my life but other times I deny the existence of contrarian attitudes. Is today the day to think about dichotomies?
Have you ever wondered if there are opposite concepts to dichotomies?
Have you noticed some people engage in friendly, agreeable conversation and other people have a belligerent, oppositional conversational style? My dad often indulged in oppositional discussions. Sometimes I’d greet him with “Good morning.” He’d respond with, “What’s so good about it?” Perhaps this style contributed to us having opposite political alignments. Dad was a staunch conservative who raised a very liberal son. He believed that everyone had a place and that everyone should stay in that place. I believed, and still do, in the concept of “live and let live.”
I wonder if this familial dynamic is why I so easily notice oppositional concepts. There are people who insist upon strict adherence to points of law or doctrine and other people who live according to the “spirit” of the law or doctrine.
Sometimes we notice doctrinaire people behave in opposition to their advocacy. This is seen when strict religionists engage in scandalous sexual behavior or blatantly violate some other holy law.
Does physical matter tend to behave like hot cocoa? That is, we blend chocolate powder and milk over heat to prepare the beverage. After the solution sits for awhile, some chocolate settles to the bottom of the mug. So we find that integration can lead to disintegration and vice versa. This dichotomy appears to hold true, in micro and macro ways, throughout the universe.
There are people who like to build new structures and others who enjoy tearing them down. Some people imagine the expansion of freedom and others who envision restricting freedom to only themselves.
Is light the absence of dark; or is darkness the lack of light? Is sharing the opposite of hoarding? Maybe either extreme is the lack of understanding that we all must give and receive in equal measure in order to survive. All of us must breathe in then breathe out. There are limits to either action, but performing each, in turn, can continue as a unified cycle indefinitely.
Maybe we think of Lord Brahma, the creator and Lord Shiva the destroyer. Both Brahma and Shiva are necessary for life. Our thinking expands when we take into account that these two deities are complimented by Lord Vishnu, the preserver. In adding the third element, we understand that life is more complex than simple yes and no or light and dark.
There are the atomic forces of positivity and negativity such as manifested in protons and electrons. These forces are opposite yet they attract one another. Then there are neutrons that are necessary for the stability of atoms. My analogy can be seen as simplistic. Yet explanation of atomic force by a scientific specialist will be much more complicated. At the same time, we are thinking about the same phenomenon. So is simple the opposite of complicated? Isn’t it amazing that to split apart so small a thing as an atom causes the catastrophe of a nuclear bomb’s explosion?
Even though we may understand that life and the universe are more nuanced than we believe, we can still appreciate that opposites equally exist. Mechanical timepieces must have both a tick and a tock. So the heart must pull in and push out in order to circulate our life preserving blood.
Opposite Day can stimulate us to think about our interesting lives. Or maybe not.