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Duality: two sides of the same coin


I do not love you anymore.

I will be lying if I say that

I still want you like I always wanted.

I'm sure that

Nothing was in vain.

I know within me that

You don't mean anything.

I could never say that

I feed a great love.

I feel more and more that

I forgot you!

And I will never use the phrase


Sorry, but I have to tell the truth:

It's too late…

(Clarice Lispector)

PLEASE NOTE: Now read from the bottom up. See the difference?

Do you like winter or summer more? From bitter drinks or sweets? Warm or cool colors? Chinese philosophy refers to these associations as complementary. We Westerners, however, associate this with an idea of opposition. Hot or cold, high or low, light or dark.

The interesting thing is to realize that we wouldn't be aware of one if it weren't for the other. Let me explain: if we lived in a place where it never got dark, we would never have the notion of darkness, because there would only be light. But we wouldn't recognize the clarity either, we wouldn't even know of its existence, even though we were inside it. If all people, trees and mountains were the same height, we would have no notion of high and low. Hence arises what we call opposition, as if they were two separate and unrelated things.

Thus, it is easier to see that this duality is fundamental for having an idea of the physical world. But the dual or the complementary (depending on your point of view) does not exist only in matter. Our idea of ourselves is also based on duality and, why not say, opposition. We are talking about good and evil.

For us, good and evil are two mighty warriors that face each other every day inside our fragile minds. But from a psychological point of view, evil is nothing but our renegade parts. Society imposes behaviors considered appropriate for the so-called “good coexistence” and behaviors outside the current standard are relegated to the shadows. Light for the acceptable, darkness for the unacceptable. Here is the duality.

When we deny our faults, fears, mistakes, we deny ourselves in our essence, because what seems to be right for a particular group or person can cost a third party's talent, individuality or rights. Unfortunately, the notion of damage done by the shadow has passed far from society at large. We are complementary beings, we do not exist as complete beings without our “unacceptable” behaviors. We are fragile, weak at times and strong and powerful at others, this is how life works and denying it only strengthens the shadow.

It is important to say: the idea is not to let the shadow take over, as we know the harm it can cause, but to look at it, so that when it is assimilated, it can be worked on positively.

It is possible, yes, to put light on the shadow and turn it into more light. Remember, one is just the absence of the other, and the human ability to accept itself as it is, that is, light and dark, cold and hot, sweet and bitter, is what makes life what it is, both sides of the same coin.

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