We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.
―Hermann Hesse,Narcissus and Goldmund
If the Great Way perishes there will be morality and duty. When cleverness and knowledge arise great lies will flourish. When relatives fall out with one another there will be filial duty and love. When states are in confusion there will be faithful servants.
I’m always a mystery to myself. If I knew in the first hours of the morning, what I’m going to do, what is going to happen, what attitude or decision should I take? I think my life would be deadly boring because, well, what makes life interesting is the unknown. It is the risks that we take every single moment of our day — of a single day. So, I think that this contradiction should be accepted. Having said that, I mean that learning how to live with our contradictions does not keep us away from the ethic and respecting our neighbor, and learning about tolerance, and learning about compassion.
―Paulo Coelho, “The Alchemy of Pilgrimage”, On Being interview with Krista Tippett
A beam or pillar can be used to batter down a city wall, but it is no good for stopping up a little hole – this refers to a difference in function. Thoroughbreds like Qiji and Hualiu could gallop a thousand li in one day, but when it came to catching rats they were no match for the wildcat or the weasel – this refers to a difference in skill. The horned owl catches fleas at night and can spot the tip of a hair, but when daylight comes, no matter how wide it opens its eyes, it cannot see a mound or a hill – this refers to a difference in nature. Now do you say, that you are going to make Right your master and do away with Wrong, or make Order your master and do away with Disorder? If you do, then you have not understood the principle of heaven and earth or the nature of the ten thousand things. This is like saying that you are going to make Heaven your master and do away with Earth, or make Yin your master and do away with Yang.
Some things seem to be viewed in similar ways by many people, and I think we should take another look at these and truly question them. In our search for our own truth we need to ensure that we are not acting like sheep, merely following the herd behaviour.
One of these areas is that things are often regarded as opposites, things like black and white, day and night, light and dark, are obvious examples. A more open view might say they are opposite sides of one coin. I would go a little further and suggest to you that they are actually part of the same thing. Just as the coin cannot exist without its two sides, I would suggest that our world cannot exist without these so called opposites because they give us a spectrum to exist in, a matrix, or framework, that stretches between the two extremes (or polarities) to include every variation of light and shade that we sense or experience in-between…
If we accept that opposites (or gradations of circumstances, or differences in ways of being) are all part of the same hologram of life (just as we need different shades and colours to make up a picture), then we can see that we need all those aspects to make up our world.
― Julia Woodman, No Paradox – Living Both In and Outside Of the Matrix