Monday, August 30, 2010


We modern day Westerners tend to see everything through some kind of dichotomy. You're either this or you're that; you're either guilty or you're innocent; you're either in or you're out; it's either black or it's white.

Many of us - as we get older - become more mature and attain enough wisdom to come to understand that there exists many shades of gray, eventually realizing the possibility that either extreme is more of a hypothetical and that the world might very well be all various shades of gray. However, this is still functioning within the Western-paradigm of Dichotomies.

I believe there exists Harmonious-Dichotomies; polar opposites that not only co-exist, but co-exist in harmony with one another interdependent one another.

The Japanese have a concept called Mu.
Mu; unask the question. It isn't that we need to choose or find the correct answer, but rather, we need to find the correct question. I think the problem we're facing here is that we're asking the wrong questions (or allowing the wrong questions to be asked).
I am beginning to see this Harmonious-dichotomy more and more often.
With an extremely simple example, I first saw it manifested concretely in Taekwon-do.
Either you are striking (let's say punching) or you are blocking.
Either you are striking or defending, right?

The correct way to throw a punch (either technically or practically, as in sparring) involves both.
(Let's say I'm throwing a left jab punch). My left fist rotates, reaches, and strikes forward. However, my right fist moves up and beside my head, creating a block, protecting my head/face.

The Western-dichotic-paradigm might say you cannot be offensive and defensive. You must be either one or the other. The truth of the matter is it is only functional (it is only true) when both are in harmony.

Another perspective is either you are a 'victim' (let's say you are starving) or you are a 'rescuer' (the one who donates the life saving food to the starving victim). Either you are the 'victim' or you are the 'rescuer'.

Really, these two polarities have everything to do with either "service to self" (I am the victim) or "service to others" (I am the rescuer). This fundamental division makes assumptions (deliberate or not).

If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day.
This is the victim-rescuer paradigm.

If you teach him how to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime.
You have broken the victim-rescuer paradigm. You have not 'saved' him from starvation, but allowed him to rescue himself from starvation. Ultimately, promoted him to your (erroneous) position of 'rescuer'. He is also no longer the victim.
This becomes a Harmonious-dichotomy.

Service to others should be a voluntary gifting rather than a compulsion driven by the belief that one must serve others to be a 'good person'.

We are often taught that in order to be a 'good person' we must be generous and charitable. Therefore, ultimately, we must have the resources to be charitable; we must sit in a position of power. We must be – in one form or another – wealthy.

That forces the need to begin in a position of power and/or authority; we need to fulfill the role of 'rescuer' in the rescuer-victim paradigm, which necessitates superiority in one way or another.

… so what happens if you're not wealthy, or in a position of power, or don't have the necessary resources? I'll tell you what happens. You struggle with your conscious and guilt (potentially becoming a slave to your religion or you 'morality', making you anything but free). Because, from this Western-Charity point of view, you're not really a good person. (How interesting is it that from this particular point of view we must be wealth to be a "good person"?)

We're not to serve others so that we're a 'good person'. We're to serve others for no other reason than simply voluntary gifting. Anything else is self-serving. Call it spiritual hedonism.

I believe this is breaking of this rescuer-victim relationship and I think empowers us to cease being victims, to cease our longing for and searching for a divine rescue (or rescuer) to break the addiction and bonds of religiosity.

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