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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Dueling Dualities in Doubt

Considering opposites is itself often oppositional. The monotheistic religions have definite value judgments attached good/evil, right/wrong, male/female, up/down, heaven/hell, positive/negative, right/left etcetera. Notice that the first term of the binary pair is most often favored, although the favored term is on the left side as you look at it, if you and the binary were facing the same direction, the favored term it would be on the right. In quantum physics things get less oppositional, with Niels Bohr's complementarity principle. I like to think of opposites the way videogame icon, turned movie character, Lara Croft Tomb Raider does, as companions: “Nature is about balance, all the world comes in pairs, yin and yang, right and wrong, men and women, what’s pleasure without pain?” (de Bont, 2003). In short, just because there is a duality, it does not mean that there has to be a duel: Croft's way of seeing opposites is much more enlightened "to my way of thinking" to paraphrase another movie character, Mary Poppins (Stevenson, 1964). Since one aspect of play is a movement between two things, there must be at least two different things to begin with, and they do not always have to be at odds with one another.

Opposites, binary and otherwise are the way much of the world and nature itself works, from computers and electric generators down to archetypes and atoms. Van Eenwyk (1997) reminds us of Jung’s view that psychic energy is generated by the tension of the opposites—it is all about the exchange and flow of energies. It is natural that the archetypes would work this way because they are a part of the psyche, and the psyche is a part of nature (p. 24).


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