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Friday, July 17, 2009

Dualism


"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are."
Anaïs Nin

The Western world is undoubtedly a world of duality.
It is the world of God vs. Satan, good vs. evil, man vs. nature, us vs. them, etcetera.

Some where on the life’s path we might change our polarized views.
The good cake and the bad broccoli, will eventually become the not so good cake and the no so bad broccoli, drinking whine in moderation seems to be good for your health now days, and greed once taught as good as once again fell from favor.

But generally speaking even if we change our views on a particular subject we keep pretty much a dualistic point of view on reality.
So if we speak of global warming, abortion, same sex marriage, guns, drugs, religion, internet, democrats or republicans, we will automatically attach them a value – positive or negative – according to our personal beliefs and preferences.

But for every person pro something, there is another con something.
The democrats are blaming the republicans and the republicans are blaming the democrats, the Christians are blaming the Muslims, the Muslims are blaming the Jews, but always WE are right and THEY are wrong, who ever they might be.

Here is a novel point of view – familiar to most of you students of Eastern philosophy.
The world’s duality is just an illusion and in essence reality is one.
So dualism is a doctrine that exists only in our mind and even if we see the two sides of a problem as different they are in fact one and the same.
The coin has truly two sides but two sides are not making two coins.

So to pick up on the last post’s question. - Is the internet good or bad?
Depending on your point of view it could be either, or.
According to the Buddhist philosophy is neither, nor.

According to the Buddhist doctrine things have no intrinsic moral value.
It is the use and the abuse that gives the good or bad value to things.

I use the internet for banking, I just bought an MP3 player on line, I check my daughter’s school reports on line and of course without the internet I couldn’t have my blog.
But on the other hand computers and the internet can be a pain too.

The spam, the sensory overloads, the time waste, the consumerism, the viruses and nasty people all of that and more can turn the internet into a bad experience.
But that is not the internet – that is us!
We had good and bad experiences before the internet and we still have them off line.

It is what we do that has moral value, everything else are just props.

13 comments:

Lydia said...

What a balanced look at the internet's place in society. I also love that Anais Nin quote.

Have a great weekend, Buddha.

YogaforCynics said...

All very true...though let's not forget that Eastern vs. Western, or Buddhist vs. non-Buddhist, or, for that matter, dualist vs. non dualist...well, you get the idea...

Aggie said...

It is both good and bad ... as with everything. We find our balance and security in our sureness of things ... the key to keeping an open mind (to opinions not our own) is not to pour concrete around them.

laughingyogini said...

...there is no intrinsic value....
WE create value in our minds.....

YES I'm working on this perhaps more than anything else. Thanks buddha for the reminder.

Quantum_Flux said...

Indeed there isn't an intrinsic good or evil in things or actions BOH. However, I think I have found a solution to this conundrum in evolution and probabilities. Basically, morality is dictated by survival via playing the odds and immorality is dictated by perishment and playing against the odds. Thusly, all things that exist and replicate moral in an evolutionary sense while all things that stop replicating are evolutionarily immoral. The civilization that nukes itself to annihilation is immoral. The civilization that expands outwards throughout the universe and survives efficiently (something that involves energy conservation and proper distribution of resources and knowledge) is thereby moral.

G. said...

What can I say; that was a perfect explanation. Can't blame the tools for how one uses them.

Your posts are mind stimulating as usual; have a good one.

Diego said...

I was told by a practitioner of a very old religion that the beginnings of western duality was a product of the unobservant and the unregenerate.

The original idea went something like this; as a symbol for the power of the human mind a very sharp two-edged knife was used. The blade (the mind) was seen as being able to cut through ignorance, but it not only cut two ways, it also had two faces. A problem arose when an individual began identifying too closely with one face, or one edge and forgot that the blade is all one instrument.

Apparently, we in the west have, to our advantage, used the edges of the blade very cleverly to invent all kinds of handy dandy gadgets and technologies and even uncover principles of how minds and bodies work. Unfortunately, we are discovering much to our horror that only using one side of the knife, or seeing one face of the blade can lead to all kinds of unforeseen (at least by the one-edgers) results.

I've been away from my computer for a while so I hope buddha and everyone had a great weekend!

Matthew Welsh said...

Can duality be possible in a state of Oneness or Enlightenment ie can a person experience the good and bad when they are enlightened

Buddha said...

@ Lydia – You are always so good to me.
Thank you Lydia!

@ Yoga for Cynics – A balanced life is the essence of Buddhist middle way.
Something I am trying to achieve myself :)

@ Aggie – Dogma is safe.
Wisdom takes courage. The courage to fly without a parachute!

@ Laughingyogini – Yup! Me too :)

@ Quantum Flux – Wow!
If that is your own thought I think you should write a post about it because I believe it is brilliant!

@ G – You are way too nice to me.
I thank you so much!

@ Diego – I like that blade analogy a lot.
Very powerful.

@ Mathew – I started answering you and I ended up writing my next post.
I hope that gives you some insight :)

Talon said...

It's funny how good cannot exist without bad and vice versa. Without comparison it becomes difficult (maybe impossible) to know which is which and humans have never seemed satisfied with accepting that something simply "is"...

Ted Bagley said...

The one that wants a balanced life is itself the imbalance.

Mia said...

I agree in many ways with Talon. We wouldn't know if we didn't put a value on it, whatever it is. And yet, it is what we make of it.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ. Case Closed!