The conundrum of duality — unsolved mystery of the human psyche

The conundrum of duality — unsolved mystery of the human psyche

In today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world, particularly, it is easy to fall prey to duality, thereby losing our true potential to external, often testing and even conflicting circumstances

Ninupta SrinathUpdated: Wednesday, December 27, 2023, 11:50 PM IST
article-image
Representative Image | Pixabay

From time immemorial, humans have been faced with situations that not only question their intellect, but also show up as tests of character. These situations, though inevitable to arise multiple times in one’s lifetime, evoke two distinct sets of emotions within us: the longing to prove oneself, alongside the temptation to do so in a manner that makes us stoop down to limits verily unworthy of us and our true being. From committing bank scams, to falling prey to continual alcoholism, to losing our morale to quick fixes, we have become duality’s puppets, and we live under the delusion that there is no remedy.

We learn, fairly early in life, that we should rise beyond and above the odds despite the nasty challenges that life throws at us. Consequently, resilience becomes our armour and often second nature to us. However, what is often overlooked in this natural process of life is the all-consuming aspect of duality: the good and the bad; the rationale and the emotions; the fragility and the strength. In hindsight, as we grow up, it is important to reflect upon the impacts duality has on our existence.

Duality is prevalent in the existence of two or more apparently contradictory ideas, often oxymoronic in nature. Since its presence in our everyday lives is almost unavoidable, it is critical that we understand how to protect ourselves from its adverse impacts, and live harmoniously and effectively with it all the same. As they say, great opportunity lies in adversity, and it is truly up to us to decide to take the plunge into the unprecedented.

In today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world, particularly, it is easy to fall prey to duality, thereby losing our true potential to external, often testing and even conflicting circumstances. In a highly industrialised world, we are stuck in the trope of the Prisoner’s Dilemma — work-life balance. At times, we fail to align the trajectory of our careers and lives in the pursuit of perfection at both the home and work fronts, lest we lose our vision of the future and control over the next big step.

Whilst it is imperative for us to capitalise on the dualities of the light and dark, stillness and movement, we are — undeniably and understandably — conflicted with the dream-like vis-à-vis the ugly realities of life. We are left with this unending quest of some stillness and equilibrium in our daily lives. In today’s society, which prescribes pills for instant gratification and cure, battling duality is no mean feat: it requires constant mindfulness, self-reflection and the like. An entrance into the vast realm of spirituality helps boost self-admiration with an understanding of the ‘why’ behind every mundane aspect of life.

Spirituality has often been construed as a misnomer amongst today’s generation. It is often wrongly connected to archaic religious practices and age-old stereotypes that continue to prevail in society. Therefore, it is important for the youth to be taught, in a very nuanced yet relatable way, the various dynamics of spirituality, and how a deeply etched, lifelong bond with it can change our perception of duality, and gain control over it. The subject of spirituality is metaphysical in nature; it is asymmetrical to the traditional academic scientific subjects. Therefore, it must be brought down to the level of the youth to generate interest and make it an inherent part of everyday life.

Nonetheless, as the perils of duality persist in consuming us, it is essential to dwell on the universal principle that nothing in life is permanent; the good and the bad are simply waves that help test and overcome our own fears: both the manifest and the unmanifest. It is important to keep reminding ourselves of this truth: it is, essentially, the cardinal principle that keeps us grounded and free from the perils of the material world. A “surfer’s mentality” can also help keep duality at bay and cherish the yin-yang of life: an inherent understanding that the good and the ugly in life are merely waves; it is solely up to us to decipher and choose which waves are worth surfing.

Further, it is noteworthy to comprehend that the fleeting emotions that we go through are nothing but fictitious. It may seldom seem so at the moment, but it is often our own psychological pressures that allow the magnifying glass to augment our worries, anxieties and fears, paving the way for prolonged emotional distress by self-deprivation. We either underestimate or overestimate our inherent abilities, causing an unhealthy imbalance in our equilibrium’s judgement. We must capitalise on our strengths, work long and hard on our weaknesses, and not become victims of self-doubt. While it is definitely easier said than done, constant positive affirmations help build a composed and unaffected mind.

After all, it is a futile endeavour to attempt to remove the presence of duality in our everyday lives. Therefore, the most that we can do as humans in this modern world is to capitalise on the complexities of everyday life with humility, self-understanding and compassion and, most importantly, a silent yet steady awareness of the milestones and systems that will help us in achieving self-actualisation.

The author is a policy researcher and a law student

RECENT STORIES

Huge Drug Haul Off Gujarat Coast: But Are Alarm Bells Ringing Yet?

Huge Drug Haul Off Gujarat Coast: But Are Alarm Bells Ringing Yet?

Analysis: BJP’s Careful Strategy In Kerala Looks Promising

Analysis: BJP’s Careful Strategy In Kerala Looks Promising

Analysis: For Both Biden And Trump, It Ain't Gonna Be Easy

Analysis: For Both Biden And Trump, It Ain't Gonna Be Easy

Editorial: Fresh Trouble For Congress

Editorial: Fresh Trouble For Congress

The Takeoff, Rise & Fall Of Manoj Jarange-Patil

The Takeoff, Rise & Fall Of Manoj Jarange-Patil