The idea of ‘paradox’ is one of those concepts that’s been on my mind for a while now, although I’d say that it’s an area that I’ve only really started to learn about in the past year or so.
Those of you that have read some of my earlier work may remember that I learned some major life lessons in the area of ‘perspective’ after the passing of my 24 year old son, Paul, several years ago. Well, to me anyway, paradox and perspective seem to be inextricably linked (isn’t everything?).
What does paradox actually mean? To give one perspective on paradox, I’ll draw on the ancient Egyptian wisdom recorded in the Hermetic Principles: the principle of Polarity. This principle describes everything as ‘dual’, i.e. everything has it’s pair of opposites, with many shades of grey in between. It goes on to say that ‘opposites are the same, differing only in degree’. So, for example, hot and cold, although ‘opposites’, are really the same thing (the differences consisting of degrees of the same thing). Look at your thermometer and see if you can discover where ‘Hot’ terminates and ‘Cold’ begins…. The same applies to ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’… ‘Light’ and ‘Darkness’…
The key lesson for me in all this (and those of you who know me will understand that I like to keep it simple and practical) is that apparent opposites can co-exist quite happily! So, black and white thinking (or judgements) that propose ‘It’s either got to be like this, or it’s got to be like that’ might be missing something quite important……..i.e. that there may be many, many alternatives available (that incorporate paradox)… The paradoxical approach can start to loosen the restrictions of black and white thinking…..and start liberating our thinking instead…..