On/Off, Right/Wrong, Zeros/Ones, Yours/Mine, Friend/Foe, Full/Empty, Black/White, you are with me or against me, Beautiful/Ugly, Truth/Lie, Heaven/Hell, Happy/Depressed, Good/Bad, Healthy/Sick…
We are binary creatures. Maybe this mode of thinking served our ancestors well, maybe it is inherent in the design of our world – consider the magnetic northpole and southpole. Or maybe it is not a building block and our brain merely seeks to break down all complexities into these simplistic extremes because the brain itself is divided into two halves, two hemispheres: linear versus holistic, logical versus intuitive, sequential versus random, verbal versus nonverbal, concrete versus symbolic, reality-based versus fantasy-oriented.
Sages like Lao Tsu recognized the polarization long ago:
Recognize beauty and ugliness is born.
Recognize good and evil is born.
Is and isn’t produce each other
There are two ways to escape the polarization. We can discover the millions of shades of grey instead of confining ourselves to the extreme contrast of black and white. We can also train to work both sides of the brain, creating connections between the halves – by meditating for example. Getting stuck on one side deprives us of the full range of possibility. Art is not something we switch to, it should infuse all of our lives. Things of beauty often simply work better and can be more efficient.