The Principle of Polarity

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There is no consciousness without discrimination of opposites [...] Nothing can exist without its opposite; the two were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end.

[C. G. Jung]
Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (CW 9), par. 178


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"Everything is Dual, everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled."

This Principle embodies the truth that "everything is dual"; "everything has two poles"; "everything has its pair of opposites," all of which were old Hermetic axioms.

It explains the old paradoxes, that have perplexed so many, which have been stated as follows: "Thesis and anti-thesis are identical in nature, but different in degree"; "opposites are the same, differing only in degree"; "the pairs of opposites may be reconciled"; "extremes meet"; "everything is and isn't, at the same time"; "all truths are but half-truths"; "every truth is half-false"; "there are two sides to everything," etc., etc., etc.

It explains that in everything there are two poles, or opposite aspects, and that "opposites" are really only the two extremes of the same thing, with many varying degrees between them.

To illustrate: Heat and Cold, although "opposites," are really the same thing, the differences consisting merely of degrees of the same thing. Look at your thermometer and see if you can discover where "heat" terminates and "cold" begins! There is no such thing as "absolute heat" or "absolute cold" — the two terms "heat" and "cold" simply indicate varying degrees of the same thing, and that "same thing" which manifests as "heat" and "cold" is merely a form, variety, and rate of Vibration.

The Kybalion, Chapter 2: "The Seven Hermetic Principles"

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They drew special attention to the fact that polarity, that is to say, the sundering of a force into two qualitatively different and opposite activities striving for reunion, a sundering which also frequently reveals itself spatially by a dispersion in opposite directions, is a fundamental type of almost all the phenomena of nature, from the magnet and the crystal up to man.

Yet in China this knowledge has been current since the earliest times in the doctrine of Yin and Yang.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.143-4


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All movement is defined in terms of an oscillation between two opposite polarities.

Implicit in the idea of oscillation, however, is the related concept of differences.

Differences convey information to an observer and therefore provide the basis for a response.

Without differences between structures, and between states of being, there would be nothing to perceive, nothing to respond to, and therefore no movement or evolution.

[Tony Plummer]
The Law of Vibration, p. 17

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A signal is digital if there is discontinuity between it and alternative signals from which it must be distinguished. Yes and no are examples of digital signals.

In contrast, when a magnitude or quantity in the signal is used to represent a continuously variable quantity in the referrent, the signal is said to be analogic.

Numbers are the product of counting. Quantities are the product of measurement.

This means that numbers can conceivably be accurate because there is a discontinuity between each integer and the next. Between two and three, there is a jump.

In the case of quantity, there is no such jump; and because jump is missing in the world of quantity, it is impossible for any quantity to be exact. You can have exactly three tomatoes. You can never have exactly three gallons of water. Always quantity is approximate.

In other words, number is of the world of pattern, gestalt, and digital computation; quantity is of the world of analogic and probabalistic computation.

[Gregory Bateson]
Mind and Nature, p. 59, 241

Number = can be exact = separate = heaven
Quantity = can't be exact = connected = earth


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[...] Gestalt theory recognizes that all choices exist on a continuum between one extreme and another (authoritarian or collegial, open-minded or closed-minded) and represent a decision, however unconscious, to position oneself nearer to one pole than to the other. This is what is meant by polar differentiation: seeing options on the continuum between poles.

[...] all meaning manifests through the creation and dissolution of polarities.

"In order for a phenomenon to be perceptible and appreciable, it must stand for the opposite of something else; it must be different from some other thing. This distinction constitutes, in the most elementary way, the figures of the world, the forms of phenomena. The elementary principle of creation that structures this distinction of phenomena is that of polarities, the original opposite."

The individual is himself or herself "a never-ending sequence of polarities. Whenever an individual recognises one aspect of him [or her] self, the presence of the antithesis, or polar quality, is implicit."

Because the pairs of opposites (polarities) are actually extremes on the same continuum of possibilities, the nearer one gets to the mid-point of the continuum, the more difficult it is to differentiate one pole from another.

Friedlaender calls this midpoint the point of "indifference." It is at this point – the point at which the full continuum of possibilities is fully known -- that creativity becomes possible and where the polarity dissolves or, if you prefer, transforms into a higher order of understanding.

[Herb Stevenson]
'Paradox: A Gestalt Theory of Change'


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Polarity creates moving body forms in pairs of opposites, and places the opposite of each pair on opposite sides of a mutual equator. It likewise makes each mate so dependent on the other that neither could survive without constant interchange.

No living body could survive without receiving its inward breath from its spatial counterpart, nor could the spatial mate survive without the outbreathing of its opposite body to recharge it.

[Walter Russell]
A New Concept of the Universe, p. 80


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[...] each value complex's need for both 'challenge and support,' as illuminated by the insights of polarity theory, is best fulfilled by a form of opposition that recognizes its own inherent interdependency with the political counterpart it seeks to moderate.

In other words, the ability to influence and potentially persuade a given political constituency is almost always tied to an acknowledged degree of sympathy for that constituency's positions.

Stated yet another way, the partisans of any given position are far more likely to listen to and respect the opinion of opponents who are willing to affirm at least some of the strengths of their position.

[Steve McIntosh]
'Overcoming Polarization by Evolving Both Right and Left'


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Related posts:-
Shades of gray
In-between
Joining the dots
Everything is connected
Exclusion
Boxed off
A Difference that makes a Difference
This, Not That 
Assuming a position
All is Change
The Colour Wheel
The Eternal Ideas 
Giving and Receiving 
The Middle Path 
Balance 
Life and Death (and everything in between)  

1 comment:

  1. If everything, in truth, is undifferentiated - one "thing" sliding into the next thing, into the next thing, and so on - then it is only our mode of experiencing - our need to see, to objectify, to draw borders - that creates "differences." We invent the poles, but reality slips and slides beneath them, always eluding attempts to pin it down.

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