In order for anything to exist, is contrast required?
Of course, it either exists, or it doesn’t.
This can also be referred to as dualism but I like contrast so I’ll roll with that.
When I was studying philosophy for the undergrad degree I never achieved, the course that felt the most mind-blowing out of all the mind-blowing courses was epistemology. My grade showed that I failed but I left with a shit ton of knowledge, or at least I thought.
Epistemology is the study of knowledge. How do we really know that what we believe is really true and what justification do we have for it? Um..your teachers told you? Hmmm. Well what is their justification of truth? Their teachers… and so on and so forth. Sounds to me like the telephone game I played in elementary school. Anyone remember that? Information seems to get distorted over time through others. Many things you believe to be true may not be what really is true. It’s a total mind fuck.
Well in this course, we studied many epistemic theories from foundationalism to skepticism. A lot of them were interesting but confusing, made me feel like I needed to do some serious re-evaluation and restructuring to my belief system, made me feel really stupid and quite honestly bored the shit out of me so much, I counted tiles on the floor. However, out of the many discussions we had, the one discussion that popped out at me was in terms of metaphysics about understanding the existence of something from it’s contrast.
This made me think of contrast in terms of what we deal with in life on a daily basis. For example, how happiness can only exist when there is something to oppose it, such as sadness. If sadness did not exist, we could not be happy. Our default emotion would be zombielike. Get what I’m saying?
So what’s the beauty in this?
Do you ever notice that the most inspirational and motivational people seem to have experienced some kind of severe devastation in the past, like hitting rock bottom? That’s because they experienced contrast.
This leads me to bring up a little something-something that I hope to be somewhat inspiring to people during times of calamity, especially at the start of 2018. If it doesn’t, it’s ok, I enjoyed writing this. 🙂
I feel that many people question why things have to be so difficult in life? Or rather, why do bad things happen? Life should just always be easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? If that was the case, boredom would be our main theme in life and contrast to that is fun, but we’d never be able to notice the difference. Our reality would be The Walking Dead but alive.
Everyone has been given the gift of life, that in itself is something to value and be grateful for. But in order to keep that gratitude, we need to get knocked off our feet every once in a while or we lose that sense of gratitude and just become, in a sense, numb.
What helps me the most through any kind of not-so-fun predicament is to first acknowledge it for what it is – bad, crappy, shitty, devastating, etc. Once you give it a name, realize that there is contrast to this and all you have to do is to change your perspective on it by redirecting towards the positive aspect of it and take action, even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll then realize that this crappy experience you perceive has an opportunity just waiting to be revealed. There will ALWAYS be one even if you don’t think so, because it has to, due to… ding, ding – contrast. Where there is loss, there is also opportunity.
Photo: Taken by me at Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.