Ok, dichotomy. It’s a thing. Something we get really hung up on. It’s sticky.
Everywhere we look in the world, it would seem that there is dichotomy. It’s all over the damn place. It’s hard not to find it. It’s a real thing. Poles. Opposites. The positive and negative charges on a magnet. Electrons and Positrons. Light and dark. Exhaling and Inhaling. Male and Female.
We imagine dichotomy as a straight line. A pole with extremes at the opposite ends. Or as a flat bar chart. But there is no such thing as a two-dimensional object. Nothing is two-dimensional. A two-dimensional “object” is only a slice of a more complex whole.
Imagine that the line is a plane and you’re looking straight on the edge of the plane. Rotate that plane up, and it becomes a circle. It was a circle all along, you just couldn’t see that because you were looking at it from the edge. Then put the straight line across the circle. It becomes the diameter of the circle. Then spin the line, like spinning the Wheel of Fortune… round and round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows!
[Well, we kind of know. Like a needle spinning in a compass, there are forces of energy that guide the movement of the needle and determine where it will land. This is a digression/expansion that will need to addressed later. For now, let’s go back to the straight line spinning in the circle…]
The line could be pointed in any direction, and it will still be perfectly balanced opposites. Now forget the line, and turn the circle into a disk. Turn the disk into pizza dough, spinning in the air, faster, faster, faster, getting wobbly as it slows down. If you traced the physical path of the edge of the pizza dough flying in the air, it would make a figure-eight when seen from the side.
Figure eight = infinity. Round and round and round it goes, goes goes…
Now forget the pizza dough. Just imagine the wobbly spinning disk, the edges of which trace infinity as they go round. Expand the disk into a sphere. Imagine that the sphere is pulsing, breathing… And see the line of the infinity circle tracing around the flow of the sphere’s pulsing energy. See the sphere breathe.
Now realize the disk was always just a hypothetical slice through a sphere. A hypothetical slice through a living, breathing, spherical organism. Like the planet earth, for example. Imagine the earth a living, breathing spherical organism.
[Ideally, there would be a neat animation here.]
Thinking in dichotomy traps us. Makes us live as if we lived in a flat, two-dimensional world. As if we lived in a cardboard theatre set. When we think in dichotomy, straight lines and flat data sets, we tend to exclude anything that exists outside of the narrow spectrum of our point of view. Linear thinking flattens our world.
Expanding consciousness is the mundane exercise of considering the context from which a set of data, an object, a being, comes from. Nothing exists without its context. The two-dimensional slice doesn’t actually exist. It’s only a hypothetical idea. It’s only a narrow band of perception. Expanding consciousness happens in one’s imagination as an intellectual exercise in curiosity. An exercise in exploring every possible perspective in search of understanding.
Next time you feel trapped in a dichotomy, or feel like you’re facing a difficult “either/or,” “if/than,” “this/that,” decision, or you’re looking at a statistical chart of data presented on an x/y axes, flat and two-dimensional… take a moment to at least wonder…
“What more-dimensional reality is that a slice of?”
“How would understanding more context change my understanding of that data set?”
“What other options can I create for myself if I look at this from another angle?”