A Sense of Opposites
“Western psychologists talk about the theory of empathy or transference of feeling or participation, but I am rather inclined to propound the doctrine of identity. Transference or participation is based upon the dualistic interpretation of reality whereas the identity goes more fundamentally into the root of existence where no dichotomy in any sense has yet taken place. … The idea of two is based on that of one. Two will never be understood without one. To visualize this, read the following from Traherne’s Centuries of Meditation:
‘You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars; and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and none more than so, because men are in it who are everyone sole heirs as well as you. …’
“Such feelings as these can never be comprehended so long as the sense of opposites is dominating your consciousness. The idea of participation or empathy is an intellectual interpretation of the primary experience, while as far as the experience itself is concerned, there is no room for ant sort of dichotomy. The intellect, however, obtrudes itself in order to make it amenable to intellectual treatment, which means a discrimination or bifurcation. The original feeling of identity is then lost and intellect is allowed to have its characteristic way of breaking up reality into pieces.” ~ D. T. Suzuki
Duality or Not
Suzuki is obviously a believer in the philosophy of Oneness rather than duality. To him, and those like him, there is no hot and cold, no male and female, no dark and light. Everything is but a part of the one, and such distinctions they believe are unnecessary and probably invalid. But as Suzuki himself says in the above quote, the idea of two is based on the idea of one.
Where this philosophy fails, in my opinion, is in the idea that the pairs in a world of duality must be a dichotomy, with each being totally separate from the other. But it doesn’t have to be that way at all. The other problem with it is that it leaves no room for improvement. If there is no separation of light from dark, there is no possibility of making the world more full of light, and less full of darkness. If there is no separation of good from evil, one cannot rid themselves or the world of evil. Yet you would have to be a fool to think this is a perfect world that needs no improvement. So in order to make improvements, we must accept that on the physical level, the world is one of duality just as much as it is one of unity. Continue reading “Sense of Opposites as Well as Oneness”