Our Dissonant Nature

The Dark Side is rife with contradictions (-I’m sure that’s a familiar phrase). And that darkness is about the individual means that each of us are also riddled with competing, opposing, and contradicting elements. The key to gaining strength, garnering power, and attaining meaningful victories through these inner conflicts is not to navigate evermore towards happiness throughout your life or to balance the polarities and extremes encountered.

To pursue balance is to strive for mediocrity, nothing more. It’s for people that prefer equilibrium, for those that dream of a linear line – if not a completely straight one – with as few ups and downs as possible. The allure of this is probably in that a pathwalker travelling down such an avenue is usually taught – or believes of his or her own accord – that the idea is to cultivate an increasingly consistent ‘up’ in the progression of the line, thereby rendering it into something they can percieve as being as positive and good as possible. What they fail or do not care to understand is that this still creates a relatively straight line. Think about how you would feel if you were hooked up to a heart monitor. A flat line on one of those is the phsyical equivalent of what happens to your spirit when your ups and downs straighten out.

Having criticized the approach of balance often used to deal with inner dissonance, you’re probably wondering what alternative there might be for me to suggest. It’s simply this: where the meek go for balance, opt for synthesis, for competative, complimentary co-existence of opposing forces… it’s a subtle – but undeniable – distinction. It doesn’t mean equilibrium, or consistency, or peace, or that you’ll be happier more often than sad, or that you will love more than you hate. In fact, it might well mean descending to depths of despair, servere hardships, intolerable suffering, red-hot rage, and ever lower levels of misery; but it must also therefore mean unimaginable hieghts, awe-inspiring achievements, addictive delights, unrivaled love, and majestic levels of ascendance, peaks, and fulfillment.

(Written July 15th, 2012 | This is a fairly early draft, and I think it’s fair to say it’s pretty rough around the edges. Needs some more attention, maybe a bit of reworking. I think some of the core elements I want in it are present and accounted for though.)

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6 comments

    1. I remember you talking a bit about it in the first show, and the lecture “Lessons from the Beetle”… either way (scope-wise), I’m looking forward to it. I wonder how much dissonance there’ll be between your views then and how you look at it now.

  1. I’m definitely sympathetic towards this line of thinking. However, there might be a couple different threads here.

    First of all, my interpretation of your post is that it is mostly anticipatory. The message that I get fluctuates between two variations. You seem either to be shouting “it is okay to be complicated” or “it is okay to be extreme.” Those aren’t at odds necessarily, but I think they can be more distinct.

    I really like the image of the heart monitor, but it has some limitations. On the one hand, a heartbeat is more complicated than flat line, but it is still more simplistic than even the simplest beats and melodies. Also, a heartbeat may experience more extremes than a flat line, but it has regularity like a pendulum.

    Still, I really do like the heart monitor connection. It’s a hard truth that we are at our most peaceful when we have passed beyond life. Life is tied to constant change, which is what makes it great, IMO. It is a shame that philosophies like Buddhism shy away from the dark depths at the cost of forsaking the blessed heights.

    Have you read Why Societies Need Dissent? It’s a great defense of the value of conflict.

    1. Yeah, that anticipatory feel is something I’ve been wanting to rework a bit, but I might retain in to some extent or even leave it as is in essence. I haven’t read ‘Why Societies Need Dissent’, but judging from the title it sounds like it might be something I’d be interested in 🙂 .

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