Friday, June 25, 2010


Manichean (man-i-KEE-uhn)
1. pertaining to a strongly dualistic worldview.
2. An adherent of the dualistic religious system of Manes, a combination of gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and various other elements, with a basic doctrine of a conflict between light and dark.

I am by nature opposed to dualism. I don't believe in light versus dark or good versus evil. Yet, many of the world's great religions are founded on such beliefs, not to mention many more secular philosophies, dozens of national constitutions and nearly all wars.

On one hand I believe any thoughtful person will concede that nearly nothing can be framed in a purely good versus evil dichotomy. Even in the darkest of evils and the brightest of perfections there are elements of the other. But more importantly the human minds that are observing these clashes of opposites almost never agree on which side is light or evil or dark or good. Grey is the color of the day, all day, every day, until the final day.

Standing on the far side of the battlefield we invariably find other humans who feel as strongly about their position in the light of good and truth and right as those on our side. Yes, yes I know you want to bring up Hitler and the Nazis right about now. I concede there are historical aberrations to contradict any position. However....

As fairly evolved sentient beings we are or should be capable of using our ability to perceive subtle nuances to inform our worldview. We should be able to discount the jingoistic speeches of political leaders and make measured judgments about our side (light) and the other side (dark), because there are equally intelligent, evolved individuals on the other side who would reverse those dark & light flags.

Part of the problem is one position cannot grow to be better, more light or inherently correct unless the opposing philosophy becomes more dark, more evil and inherently wrong. Such dramatic opposition leads to conflict, battle and war. Where does it all end? I would suggest the more productive question is to ask: Where did it all begin?

Conflict usually begins when there exists one or more dualistic views. If you strongly believe your position to be right, then others must be wrong. Wrong equals opposition to your position, which is by self-definition -- right. I encourage examining where your beliefs are dualistic or oppositional to another and then perhaps -- listening to the other. Start small. Begin with a minor disagreement. Leave terrorism, abortion and whaling for later.

Ever wonder why the dominate color of this blog is grey.

1 comment:

mira amiras said...

I don't think Hitler considered himself evil — I think he considered himself an altruist working toward the 'greater' interests and 'purity' of the German people and nation. I'm not sure that anyone considers him/herself evil. Surely not those who blew up the Twin Towers in New York. They saw themselves martyrs, sacrificing themselves for the greater good, in accordance with their worldview.

I'm not sure there is a gray area when it comes to human perception. Our physical bodies display a bilateral asymmetry that lends itself to the valuation of one side over the other. Think left-handed compliments and right-headed thinking...