new age spirituality

Duality, Multiplicity, or Unity

We are surrounded by suggestions of the duality of existence, from science, philosophy and human experience.

Science has shown that the entire physical universe may be broken into matter and energy. Matter itself may be divided into the animate and inanimate. Living matter is classified as animal or vegetable. Within the animal kingdom exist male and female. Matter and energy are linked by Einstein's seminal equation e=mc2. Einstein further demonstrated the link between the two seemingly distinct concepts of space and time, showing them to be parts of a single continuum.

Quantum physics gave rise to the principle of complementarity, in which a single entity may behave either as a wave or a particle depending on the experiment carried out on it. Indeterminacy, also from quantum theory, pairs the types of information that can be known about an entity, eg position and velocity, the more accurately one component of the pair is known the less accurate our knowledge of the other.

The occult speaks of force and form, active and passive. Astrology divides the signs of the zodiac into positives and negatives. Chinese philosophy describes yin and yang, complementary opposing forces existing within all things and into which all things may be classified. Though it does assert that these opposites cannot exist in isolation, ie there cannot be one without the other.

Spiritually we speak of the body and soul, or sometimes the triplicity of mind, body and soul. As humans we frequently classify ourselves and others according to binary definitions, eg introversion and extraversion, optimism and pessimism etc. Personality typing, eg Jungian and Myers-Briggs, is based on such dualities. It is also common for humans to judge the world around them in terms of blacks and whites; eg good-bad, right-wrong, love-hate...

Do these various systems of duality accurately describe the true nature of our being, or are they a simplification?

As a species the 6 billion-odd homo-sapiens consider themselves individuals, each uniquely different from all the rest. Despite acts of selflessness we generally pursue our self interests relentlessly.

When we enter human form there is no apparent distinction between ourselves and the rest of the universe. As we grow we "learn" that we are separate from all else, and also that what surrounds us is not a homogeneous mass but consists of myriad distinct components, which may be classified by various systems, the simplest of which are binary.

The immature mind thinks in terms of black and white. With experience it begins to recognize infinite shades of gray between the two extremes. But one purpose of evolution is to come full circle until arbitrary separations vanish in realization of the oneness that is Spirit.