Dichotomies Within Natural Systems and Human Culture.


I wrote a blog post about the cosmic dichotomy some time ago. Essentially, I argued that all things have two equal and opposite parts. For example, light and dark make are two halves of the same whole, as is religion and atheism.In this post I would like to argue that these forces permeate all systems in the natural world and human culture and that over time they will inevitably switch positions resulting in a positive and necessary outcome.

My interest in this theory grew after learning about the way natural systems behave. The first natural system I learned about was the oscillating behavior of climate. Over time the world’s climate slowly reverses. We have periods of heating and cooling. Right now we are in a heating cycle, but in the past our earth has experienced many ice ages. If we follow this pattern we will see another ice age in the future. And so the pattern moves like a wave. It oscillates between both extremes of the dichotomy. Another example of a natural oscillation is the direction of the earth’s magnetic fields. Every 500,000 years on average the magnetic fields reverse. According to some researchers we are actually going through a reversal right now. And so it goes again, like a wave, the earth’s magnetic fields change direction over time.

The natural world has a cosmic balance. It knows what it needs to do to be successful. There is an order to the universe.

If we apply these observations to human culture we see similar results. In human history we have been through many changes: Political ideologies, systems of government and different religions. Each idea gets its time, it reaches a climax and then declines as the naturally opposing idea takes it place. For example, in the U.S. one could observe the Republican party a representation of conservatism and the Democratic party a representation of liberalism. Each election changes the direction of power and we swing back and forth.

At an even more basic level we can observe these interactions within human relationships. My girlfriend and I are opposites in many ways and I observe the struggle of power cycles between our dichotomies. Although most people feel a natural aversion to change, this is not something to be concerned about. This undulating cycle is actually a generator of change and therefore growth.

Change is brought about by the meeting and subsequent interaction between two forces of energy. If both energies are equal and stable, no change will occur; and therefore no growth will occur. One example of a dichotomy within our relationship is introversion vs extroversion. I am the introverted energy and she is the extroverted. There will be many times where she will want to go out and socialize while I just don’t feel like it. However, this extroverted energy is the force that also gives me the necessary motivation to get out of the house more than I would normally, and my introverted energy also gives her the necessary grounding when she has been going out too much. While it is tempting to ask her to stay at home with me all the time, and while she is tempted to ask me to go out with her all the time, it would ultimately destroy us. If one of our energies became dominant, the pendulum of perpetual motion would stop swinging equally between energies and the relationship would stagnate. Instead, we compromise and are thus consistently pushed out of our comfort zones. The result is a satisfying personal growth and constant rejuvenation in the overall relationship.

The political philosopher Edmund Burke once said “A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation”,  And that the “Reciprocal struggle of discordant powers draws out the harmony of the universe.” Do not resist change. Overcome your fears and grow.

A Very Important Lesson to Remember in Any Relationship.

“If you both agree that the relationship will be your spiritual practice, so much the better. You can then express your thoughts and feelings to each other as soon as they occur, or as soon as a reaction comes up, so that you do not create a time gap in which an unexpressed or unacknowledged emotion or grievance can fester and grow. Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming. Learn to listen to your partner in an open, nondefensive way. Give your partner space for expressing himself or herself. Be present. Accusing, defending, attacking — all those patterns that are designed to strengthen or protect the ego or to get its needs met will then become redundant. Giving space to others — and to yourself — is vital. Love cannot flourish without it. When you have removed the two factors that are destructive to relationships — when the pain-body has been transmuted and you are no longer identified with mind and mental positions — and if your partner has done the same, you will experience the bliss of the flowering of relationship. Instead of mirroring to each other your pain and your unconsciousness, instead of satisfying your mutual addictive ego needs, you will reflect back to each other the love that you feel deep within, the love that comes with the realization of your oneness with all that is. This is the love that has no opposite.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

The Ultimate Motivator.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”


This quote perfectly describes the way I feel about my move to America to be with my girlfriend. I bought a ticket. I’m getting on a plane in four weeks. I’m risking everything for love. I am moving to the other side of the world with five thousand dollars, five job interviews and a dream. My family is scared – I can see it in their eyes. My friends quietly mourn – I can see it in their hearts.

There is nothing safe, sensible or popular about this decision. But, deep down there is nothing else I would rather be doing. I would never feel satisfied with my life if I didn’t take this leap of faith and give it everything I have. I have seen something in the way my girlfriend and I interact that makes me feel peaceful about the turbulence. True love is the ultimate motivator. I feel powerful beyond belief – like I can achieve anything…

The Paradox of Understanding Emotion Objectively.

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If one wants to really understand human behavior, one must solve a paradox. One must remove oneself from bias and exist in an objective, logical realm while still maintaining some degree of human emotion. Take for example a disagreement between two people. If you don’t view the situation objectively you will likely become defensive of your opinions and fail to come to a mutual agreement due to stubbornness and excessive emotion. However, if you view the disagreement in a purely objective, logical way you will almost certainly lose touch with human compassion and understanding resulting in a cold solution that will also fail to reach a middle ground.

Once again, like almost everything else, relationships are about balance. The art of constructive communication is a fine balance between objective logic and emotion. This is what Freud was referring to when he spoke of the id, ego and superego. The super ego can be thought of as the objective logic rules, the id can be thought of as the blind emotion and the ego is the mediator that achieves the fine balance. I like to think of this interaction like an A/C current. This type of current changes direction thousands of times a second giving the illusion of a continuous illumination from a light bulb that is receiving the current. When you are engaging in balanced communication the light bulb turns on. When you are being stubborn or cold, the light will turn off.

It can be very difficult to remember to balance your mind when you are engaged in a personal disagreement, especially with a loved one. However, as Ludwig Wittgenstein said “Words and chess pieces are analogous; knowing how to use a word is like knowing how to move a chess piece”. If you don’t have something constructive to add, you are moving further away from a solution.

Followers, I’m Sorry. But, I am back.

Almost two years ago I wrote my last blog post on “My Perception Exposition”. At that time I was in my second year of Psychology undergrad, single, bored, living at home and having an overwhelming number of brainwaves that ultimately were released in the form of words you read on these pages.

Since then a lot has occurred. First, I have Graduated with a Psychology B.A. and a Certificate of Professional Sales.

While being in the market for a job I have been searching for a higher purpose and meaning to the next step I would take in my life. So far, nothing has been satisfactory in the department of careers or further education…

However, extracurricular events in my life have been unfolding in a very dramatic and adventurous way which I have chosen to embrace, welcome – and now, chronicle.

The most important part of this unfolding of events has been meeting my current girlfriend. Ill call her M. In the last 8 months she has brought me the greatest sense of meaning and purpose that has otherwise been lacking since my graduation. I decided in the very depths of my being that I was going to take this relationship seriously and that there was something infinitely important about our meeting. I needed to pursue this for the sake of both of our fundamental personal expansions.

Unthinkably, after only two months of dating, I was forced to evacuate the USA due to my parents political reasoning to return home to Australia.

M and I decided that our relationship was worth fighting for and therefore to date long distance. We have been successful for the past 7 months.

My mission, as I have chosen to accept, is to return to the USA in two months to reunite with M. I will need enough money to move back, a satisfactory job in the right location and to plan all the tiny details of living away from home for the first time ever and in a foreign country. I also need to do this before my permanent residency expires and before our relationship withers from the time and distance.

This experience is the most difficult challenge I have ever faced and will change me forever. At the same time it is the most important challenge I have ever faced and walking away would be unthinkable.

Due to the fascinating, intensely difficult, and at times painful, nature of this relationship I have decided to dedicate this blog to the chronicles of our adventure.

I will write in order to preserve my sanity in times of confusion, I will write to share my rapid personal growth but most of all I will write to share with the world a story of passion overcoming the odds.

Wish me luck. (Or, share your opinions of my mission in the poll below)


“I have loved to the point of madness; that which is called madness, that which to me, is the only sensible way to love.”

― Francois Sagon


“Tyranny in dem…

“Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than death.”

― Alexis de Tocqueville

Pattern Machines

Today I was waiting at a traffic light and an intriguing thought came to mind. How do I know that something is true? Immediately I began to think back to when I last accepted something to be true. I was watching a debate on Youtube between Richard Dawkins and a woman that did not believe in evolution. As I watched I felt a strong affinity towards Dawkins and a strong negative feeling towards the woman who opposed him. How did that happen? How did I know what to believe?

After some more careful thought It occurred to me that I was drawing on patterns of information that I had accepted previously to make judgement about something I was experiencing today. This is very interesting. I was not actually researching the facts of the argument to check for validity, I was just relying on patterns of past experiences. This conclusion may seem very trite however the more I considered the consequences the more I became interested. It occurred to me that our brains are advanced pattern recognition machines.

Very rarely do we actually do research to find out the patterns of true information – that would require too much time and effort. Instead we accept “truth” from other sources such as mass media, authorities, advertisements and politicians. We are being programmed with patterns of “true” information without questioning the validity.

The consequences of this behavior is dramatic. Once we accept the initial pattern of “true” information we are now primed to accept other patterns of “true” information that may or may not be true. An example of this may be a politician telling us that Obama is causing the national debt to increase. If we accept this initial pattern to be “true” then we have allowed that politician to direct our patterns of thought in the direction he prefers. Now we are vulnerable to further manipulation because we are primed to accept future patterns of information that agree with the initial pattern.

It is so easy to become manipulated and misdirected. It seems our brains were designed to be manipulated – to follow the leader. If we really do rely mainly on recognizing patterns instead of learning the truth for ourselves we leave our self extremely vulnerable to false information. The solution? Insert a firewall. The one I would recommend is a very old piece of wisdom that originated  about 2400 years ago

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
If you make this a law of your mind you will significantly reduce the amount of successful manipulation attempts.
You certainly have been manipulated before in your life. In order to improve your standard of life you will require a cleanse. You must unlearn everything you have been taught. Question everything. Suspect everything. Or in the words of Charles Bukowski “We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

All around me I…

All around me I see food and decorations
The stereo is booming, sending soothing vibrations
As I sip my cold beer I stare at the wall
The cold dry concrete does not fit in here at all
Horrifically I snap out of the celebratory spell I was under
I feel like I have awoke from some deep slumber
Half of my mind is back in reality
But I am still at the party, it is a strange duality
I look at the people I know all around me
So many smiling faces, all these familiar bourgeoisie
I should be letting go, enjoying myself
They would tell me to put my troubles up on the shelf
Yet all I can think of is the cold hard truth
Just like the concrete, life is stealing our youth
Just like the concrete, we too will become uncouth
Vacuoles of nothing where life and love used to dwell
The young and the strong can try to rebel
But nothing can defend against the impending hell
For the moment we are distracted by fine wine and food
But come back in the silence and you will see we’re all screwed

Maybe I should have written about something happy, but this is what came to mind at the time. 

As I walk atop …

I am part of this mission but I feel so alone
There must be something I was not shown
I look at what’s  going on around me and I can’t help but groan
Who are we to build such a monstrosity?
Our curiosity has reached an unfathomable velocity
We have lost touch with our religion and philosophy
All we want is more
While the real issues we ignore

A poem written very late at night.

A Theory of Questions: Why do we ask “how are you?”

I work part time in a retail store. Part of my job is to greet people. Sometimes I am stationed at the front of the store JUST to greet people, (you can only imagine how much fun that is). Once there, I repeat the words ‘Hi! How are you today?” This is all very mundane, but after repeating those words about two hundred times something interesting happens. The words begin to lose their meaning.

Have you ever said a word to yourself several dozen times? Did you notice that the word seemed to become more odd with every repetition? If not, try it sometime. If so, read on.

What happens, I think, is that normal fluid speech is broken down into parts we are forced to think about. Speech is no longer automatic when you force yourself to think about it.

This is similar to when you try to teach someone a technical skill, like playing the guitar or playing soccer. When you do it fast, it’s easy! But, when you do it slow, the flow is lost and you are forced to think about what you are doing.

So I am standing at the front of the store greeting and the words “hi, how are you today,” have lost their meaning.

It is a very bizarre state of mind to be in. Normally it is second nature to utter these words to all of the people we meet. We never think about it or question it, we just do it. It is like breathing or beating your heart, it just happens.

I know I do not ACTUALLY care about how EVERYONE is doing. There are exceptions, but for the majority, I just couldn’t care less. I have a sneaky suspicion that the majority of people feel the same way. So why do we have a population of people walking around asking others for information that they do not want? What a waste of time!

After my many hours of greeting and speaking this phrase redundantly, I have developed a theory. This theory stems from an idea that I learned about in one of my philosophy classes at university called intro to the mind. The main idea behind my theory is called ‘The problem of other minds’.

Essentially the problem is that while we know very well that the state of our mind is, we do not know what the state of any one else’s mind is. We can make a guess based off the behaviors of those people, but we can never really know for sure.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that: “there are (at least) two problems of other minds. There is the epistemological problem, concerned with how our beliefs about mental states other than our own might be justified. There is also a conceptual problem: how is it possible for us to form a concept of mental states other than our own.”

            Philosophers are still debating over this question. No one has actually figured out a way to know for certain what is going on inside another person’s mind.

However, if you think about the job of sales people, such as myself, it is to empathize with or get inside the customer’s mind. This is precisely the problem philosophers have been arguing over for centuries.

How did the sales people solve it? Asking customers lots of questions. If you are computer savvy you could say that they were pinging the IP address of the customers to discover data.

Asking questions such as “how are you” is the same thing as an IP ping or a radar sweep. You are sending out some information and you are getting a response back.

So far that is the best humans can do to get a better understanding of another humans internal state of mind.

But still, why do we want to know the internal states of other people? In sales it is quite obvious, so we can find the need of the customer. Finding the need helps sales people match the need to the product.

            Most professionals would use questions in a similar way, to match a need to a product or service. However, for the majority of people I think there is a larger meaning.

            In psychology there is a theory called terror management theory. Essentially it says that due to humans unique cognitive abilities we are able to understand that we will one day die and we are terrified of our mortality. In order to live a productive life, we must buffer this thought of mortality with self-esteem boosting devices. These devices include culture, close relationships and our careers.

            Basically, the self-esteem boosting devices tell us that we are not alone in the world. Cultures are the biggest self-esteem boosting device because they include the largest number of people.

When we ask people how they are and they respond to us, we are connecting. We are attempting to make the leap between two conscious beings. We are letting them know that they are not alone because you are acknowledging them as a sentient being. They are letting you know what you are not alone because they also acknowledged you.

Secondly, when you learn about the internal state of the other person and they learn about yours, assuming they tell you the truth, you see that you are similar to the other person and that you are not alone in feeling the way that you do.

Third, if they lie to you, if they tell you they are fine when they are not then this is most likely a cultural self-confidence boosting device. If no one says they feel bad, it is hard to feel bad yourself. You will strive to be like them.

This is all just a theory. I have a lot of time to think about these things. I am also a psychology major so I connect the dots sometimes when I am in class. I could be dead wrong, but it can’t hurt to hypothesize!

Let me know what your thoughts are on this subject. Do you agree or disagree with me? Do you have something to add? Please speak your mind.