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Are we stuck in a world of Dualities?

I’ve been thinking about how most of life occurs as a series of comparisons between two opposing forces or ideas. Our lives are pervaded by the number “2” – biologically, mentally, physically, emotionally, philosophically. It seems hard to get beyond this duality. Does that even matter? I have caught myself thinking that “duality” is a bad thing in that we seem trapped in it and bound by it. What would it be like to live without comparing?

Good and bad
Us and them
Happy and sad
Better and worse
Left and right
Creative and analytical
…the list goes on and on.

But could we appreciate beauty if ugliness were not present? Could we understand goodness without evil being present?

I’ve been exploring the idea of “duality” as it occurs in music. Music and art are a rich source for seeing the expression of duality. Music abounds with contrasting and opposing forces. A beautiful example is Charles Ives “The Unanswered Question”. This example I discovered on YouTube has annotations that explain the concepts and structures behind the music. Listen for the question and answer duality between the trumpet and the woodwinds. Listen to how the strings are slow moving and harmonious while the trumpet and woodwinds are more active and dissonant. To me, these contrasting and opposing forces come together to make something that as a whole is truly beautiful.

What do you think?

What is a favourite piece of music or art that captures the essence of “Duality” for you?

Join me and the Amicus Music Duo in an exploration of Duality and Duet as they occur in music on August 8, 2011. Learn more about Dualities

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mazen Alzogbi June 14, 2011, 10:12 am

    Love the conversation between the trumpet and woodwinds. It’s like they are agreeing with each other and complementing each other’s existence.

    I’m going through the Duality conversation within, Craig. It could be difficult at the beginning to understand the Self without the ego self. However, with self-contemplation and contemplating the life force energy that is within everyone of us, the mind starts accepting the fact that we are all one. Our bodily sensations wants us to believe that there are dialogues in this universe. In fact, there is a monologue happening: you and I are one.

    Love your philosophy and views my friend.

  • paul smith August 4, 2011, 5:29 pm

    I agree with both of u, The mind operates on a dualistic basis, but ultimately we are all one.

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