"Our dichotomies seem to be trying to define us …"

Opposites distract. Absolute opposites distract absolutely, dangling modifier and all. The chief difficulty with opposites lies in the simple fact that they almost never exist except as placeholders for an absolute absence. The opposite of a tree seems easy enough to conjure. It's no-tree, isn't it? But what precisely (or even imprecisely) entails a no-tree? Every blessed thing except a tree? Hardly definitive. In mathematics, opposites emerge with the simple flip of a sign, except when encountering a nothing zero or a confounding square root. Sometimes, an absolute opposite amounts to just the same thing as its opposite, flash and bone, glimpsed unreversed mirror images which might make anyone's head hurt to consider. It might be that all opposites qualify as completely imaginary, useful perhaps for comparison, a defining opposition, but nothing much beyond that.

We inhabit a world which sometimes seems floundering on a surfeit of opposites.
The opposition seems to insist upon our defensive preparedness. A void threatens our most deeply held values. Middle ground seems the most imaginary place, a compromise between experience and illusion, an untrustworthy delusion. Our dichotomies seem to be trying to define us when we almost never have access to the opposite of whatever we believe, whatever we hold to be truth, whatever just seems so damned self-evident. I need to squint to see the opposite of me and am unlikely to suspect that I'm just projecting when I sense that I'm seeing it.

I fear opposites and very probably should. They negate my knowledge, my understanding, while fully encouraging my parochial world view. I came by my manners of thinking the old-fashioned way, pre consciously. The course of study successfully distracted me until I simply could not think as I had before. Nobody held open the door for me, or necessarily needed to explicitly introduce the induction. Nobody holds language to describe the supplanting of one way of parsing for another, for any way of parsing, any world view, can only be peered through, not consciously adapted. I learned to see the world by distractedly looking at the world, not by carefully absorbing the contents of any instruction manual. Railing at someone to change their world view works a little better than insisting that someone change their age, botox injections notwithstanding. We do not seem to be simply who we are but who we believe we have to become in order to shun some notion of the opposite of who we want to be, a resonance of nothing more than active imagination.

Being against seems easier than being for, though being against inhabits an inaccessible negative space, driven by repulsion rather than attraction. Gravity works backward there, nudging us off into vacuous space. Positive space, firm positive belief, seems to demand lawn maintenance from us. I must keep up appearances lest I be perceived as the opposite of what I purport to be. For you, I might just be who I project myself as being, a cartoon caricature resulting from my endlessly aspiring personal public relations campaign. I realize that I do not oppose nationalism as much as I fail to understand it. It seems like a void of understanding to me. I cannot grasp how to understand what it entails, except by painting portraits of opposites, cartoon charactures of space I might imagine but cannot perceive. I actively opposed such things.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus