Friday, April 2, 2010

Opposites

As a magician, I must strive for balance. For in that state of balance, moving in any direction at all requires much less force than were I leaning to one direction and then trying to move the opposite way. From a place of balance, movements are smooth and directed.

That being said, some folks seek this balance by encountering opposites. They may remove themselves from monogamy and become sluts for a while. Thereby, locating the balanced relationship between their spirit and sex, whatever that may be on the continuum.

However, these things are really not opposites. The opposite of dog is not cat but not-dog. The opposite of love is not hate, but not-love.

I know some that reject society and therefore what society normally calls "good" thinking that behaving in stark opposition to what society expects of them is being enlightened. No, it is merely the inverse portion of the same slavish response. The opposite of a societal norm is the non-existence of the norm within or non-responsiveness to that norm in any way.

Those that feel they must be evil to balance the good are still reacting to good. This is not balance. The opposite of good is not evil, but not-good.

Darkness is not evil, but ignorance. Evil is not darkness but malicious destruction for its own sake or destruction without the purpose of regrowth.

Read not this post to agree or disagree but instead consider the extremes of behavior we engage in and the mislabeled pairs of opposites we use. Contemplating these things may be of value.

7 comments:

Gwynt-Siarad said...

Isn't knowingly doing "not-good" the same we doing evil? Just in a passsive sense?

Frater POS said...

Not in my opinion, for to follow that line of thought, there are only two qualities of actions, good and evil. War for instance, is a great thing to avoid but did Nevil Chamberlin really do good? No. However, his actions were not evil.

Grey Glamer said...

Augustine went to some lengths making the argument that evil isn't a force with positive existence, but rather the absence of good, much like a physical hole is the absence of the surrounding material. Now he was specifically reacting to the Manichean Heresy, but I think his arguments are basically on target speaking more generally. On the question of good and evil, I think crude dualism is a philosophic dead-end.

We naturally seek the good, more or less perfectly, because it's our nature to do so. If we choose to act "evil", it's only because we conceptualize moral evil, or more accurately, things which are defined as evil by society, as the path to the more absolute good of enlightenment.

Not-good, at least in the absolute sense, means not-life-affirming in my mind, which is passive evil and thus anathema for me as Witch.

Blessed Be!

Frater POS said...

Grey, let me give you this example. If someone is driven to do 'good' and has talent as a healer, s/he will be called upon often to apply their art. However, this art is taxing upon mind and body. He who can only do 'good' will soon exhaust himself. He that denies a few patients and goes off to watch a few movies, ball games or socializes, has committed a 'not-good'. S/he has done no evil by doing some other than good.

S/he who helps a homeless person on the street has done good but those that pass others by are not evil. They are doing 'not-good'.

I'm not Mother Theresa. I help whom I can and pass others by. Am I evil is so doing or simply 'not-good' in that moment?

Gordon said...

Great post. One of those ones that feels like it was written just for you at just the right time in your life.

Consider the "opposites" I have been using contemplated. :)

Frater POS said...

Thank you and good luck. And that was the point, to consider your opposites, not mine.

Grey Glamer said...

Okay, I take it back. There is a very real, absolutely evil Devil who eats blog comments, and it's called Blogger! (Lost my response to Frater POS' comment last night, not that I'm bitter...)

Your counter-example actually proves my point. If I, as healer, choose to take valuable time out to rest and recharge, then I do so in pursuit of what I conceive to be the greater good. That is, I am choosing to take care of myself so I can be sane, healthy, more present for those around me, potentially over many, many years, rather than allowing myself to burn out within a matter of months or even weeks.

Now we can contend over whether the long-term good is preferable to the short-term good, though I think the answer to any such question must take into account the specific context in which we ask such questions. What isn't in question, at least to my mind, is the question of whether we are then pursuing the good. How much we value duration over intensity, and how much weight we place upon our own health and well-being - these issues are merely different paradigmatic yardsticks by which we measure some specific good against our notion of absolute good.

Now there's a great deal of value to be had in trying new and unique paradigmatic yardsticks, but what we measure by such interpretations remains our sense of the good.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Blessed Be!