Given the intractable nature of modern politics in many countries, I thought this article would shed some light on alternate ways to deal with conflict. To be able move beyond impasse and arrive at a higher synthesis is an important skill that each of us can employ in our relationships and career.
By George A. Boyd © 2009
The natural polarities you perceive in your mind construct an inner dualism. This dualistic gestalt portrays a lighted zone of integrated, conscious functioning, and a darkened zone of chaotic, desire-driven urges that arise in the unconscious mind. There are several different perspectives that people hold about this interplay between light and darkness.
- Light wars against darkness; darkness seeks to destroy the Light. Darkness is the enemy of the Light.
- Light and darkness alternate over time in a never-ending cycle.
- Light and darkness are relative to the Infinite. Light grows as the Soul moves closer to the Source and darkness recedes; the further you are away from the Source, the greater the darkness that is in you.
- Light and darkness are complementary: each is required for the other to exist. The light contains an aspect of the dark; the dark contains an aspect of the light. They are the dual faces of Nature, yin and yang.
- Light and darkness are thesis and antithesis in an eternal dialog. Synthesis transcends this tension of opposites, and combines and unites the apparent contradictions.
- Light is the fullness of holy virtues that the darkness veils, and expresses as negative passions such as egotism, ignorance, attachment, envy, jealousy, greed, anger, and lust. The Light, sent forth as the Holy Spirit, transforms these dark passions into holy virtues.
- Darkness is the raw material that the Light must be transform and shape. This inchoate matter of the mind must be “saved,” “redeemed,” or transmuted and refined through the Power of the Light.
The propensity to demonize another arises when you see darkness is a force that you must battle against. Demonization gives rise to prejudice, bigotry, racism, intolerance of differences, and intractable argument. Over time, this can degenerate into cruelty, violence, and war.
While it is a natural response to approach that which you perceive as evil from this reactive, defensive, eye-for-an-eye stance, it may be beneficial to switch perspectives and view this emergence from the unconscious mind of another in another way. For example, where outright warfare is not required for collective protection, it may be judicious to see if a synthesis can be found between the polar perspectives of the two parties.
Alternately, it might be helpful to see the potential of what the opposing side can be if the issues creating the conflict can be resolved. Diplomacy, constructive dialog, and mediation seek to find this common ground that can back down this conflict from the brink of violence and war.
Psychotherapists apply this principle to work with the internal conflicts within their clients’ psyche. Through therapeutic exploration of issues, they stop the inner arguments within the mind and the forces that formerly in opposition and tension now work together towards a common purpose.
Aspirants and disciples will find they can diffuse the dualistic, polarized, and antagonistic perspectives within them through active contemplation and reflection. This will enable them to defuse the ego’s reactive propensity to anger, condemnation, and revenge when it encounters opposition or frustration of its desires. The ability to change perspectives, to see the problem in a new light, may help to change these antagonistic beliefs and belligerent behavior. This can lead to constructive resolution of issues and frustrations without escalating to hatred, violence, and war.