In hindsight it is easy to locate the absurdities that were once acceptable & common practice, so how might we pinpoint what is fallacious in our present age? There is probably no end to the theoretical approaches to dealing with this kind of question, and yet there is one thing that remains constant through all our efforts to better our predicament in life, that being ignorance. Coming to terms with the notion that we know nothing or very little at all can be ever so uncomfortable. For some it is like giving into nihilism, nay, even death itself. Admitting our pretensions to knowledge can be likened unto a great sacrifice, a profound act of humility. On the other hand, the very fact that ignorance is so entrenched in the collective mind makes me wonder about its polar opposite, namely, knowledge. For it is through knowledge that the words in this sentence are put together with logical sequence and coherence, thus ideas are communicated to one another. It is also through our desire to escape from the pit of ignorance that we exert ourselves so as to be free from suffering. Such duality is not something that we must overcome or exterminate, as it is a means by which we can center ourselves, to locate a middle way between the extremes. My objective here is to introduce the concept of dialectics as a means not so much to abolish erroneous thinking but as a way to make light of the resources within our reach and to find some kind of common ground despite the many conflicts intrinsic to our human nature. For the time being let’s define dialectics as: a syntheses of opposites that can lead to a balanced life. So rather than be blinded by intense light or complete darkness, we can better make out objects in our reality when there is a balanced level of shade and light. In a sense this synthesizing principle can be applied to many other aspects of our existence. Let’s begin with a common struggle to demonstrate the power of dialectics: Abject poverty vs being filthy rich. No matter where you reside along this scale you may feel somewhat poor. You may be able to easily recall several reasons for your so-called unfortunate lot. Such thinking in turn can reinforce your condition. Whereas dialectics encourages one to consider the opposite end of the scale, in this case it would be to detect the various ways in which you are wealthy. With a modest examination you may come to realize that you are by far much richer than you think. Dialectics can help us to overcome the sort of ‘black & white’ or ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking that can prevent us from seeing things realistically. We can take steps to help close the gap between the extremes, thus resolve the inner tensions that overwhelm us. There are other ways to apply dialectics so as to attain clarity of mind, especially if used in combination with other psychological methods. All in all it may not dispel ignorance altogether but it can elevate our position so that we might see more options along our path.
Love & light,