opposites

For how might sweetness ever have been known to him who never tasted bitterness? Felicity exists for those alone who first have suffered sorrow and distress... By opposites does one in wisdom grow.

Certain sins manifests themselves as their mirror opposites which the sinner is able to persuade himself are virtues. Thus Gluttony can manifest itself as Daintiness, Lust as Prudery, Sloth and Senseless Industry, Envy as Hero Worship.

One of the favorite maxims of my father was the distinction between the two sorts of truths, profound truths recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd.

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.

Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony.

One does not have to induce the divine Grace to flow, only to refrain from obstructing. There are two kinds of obstruction which prevent this and make the path long and arduous. They are distraction and attachment. Therefore, their opposites have to be cultivated; that is concentration and detachment.

In the Kingdom of God there are no claims, but only love, which, as something which cannot be coordinated into a given structure, knows no calculations. All claimfulness is overcome because it is realized that complete dependence and freedom, human dignity and divine grace, are not opposites as the autonomous self-centered man supposes.

The dispute between the theory of a predestined future and the theory of a free future is an endless dispute. This is so because both theories are too literal, too rigid, too material, and the one excludes the other... The opposites are both equally wrong because the truth lies in the unification of these two opposite understandings into one whole. At any given moment all the future of the world is predestined and existing - provided no new factor comes in. And a new factor can only come in from the side of consciousness and the will resulting from it.

Serious things cannot be understood without laughable things, nor opposites at all without principles.

Then I must surely be right in saying that we shall not be properly educated ourselves, nor will the guardians whom we are training, until we can recognize the qualities of discipline, courage, generosity, greatness of mind, and others akin to them, as well as their opposites in all their manifestations.

There never is any duality. The principle of awareness, Atman, never engages in any activity, although from this pure principle alone, the luminous, transparent, insubstantial universe spontaneously unfolds. When the practitioner is consciously identified, not with any expression of awareness but with the living principle of awareness... there remains no sense of intrinsic involvement with polarities such as good and evil, virtue and vice, self and other, existence and nonexistence. However, when one identifies with activity rather than with principle, manifesting an ego that claims to generate various chains of events, then the tensions between polar opposites split that person’s consciousness, creating various forms of obvious and subtle suffering.

Our ultimate goal is to find ways to embrace both attachment and resistance to attachment, and the only way to that reconciliation of opposites is to dig deeply into the nature of each.

Though love and hatred are as opposites as fire and water, yet do they sometimes subsist in the breast together towards the same person; nay by their very opposition and desire to destroy each other, are they strengthened and increased.

Misbehavior and punishment are not opposites that cancel each other - on the contrary they breed and reinforce each other.

Just as there is not a single thing in the world without a dual nature (this is the law of the unity of opposites), so imperialism and all reactionaries have a dual nature - they are real tigers and paper tigers at the same time. In past history, before they won state power and for some time afterwards, the slave-owning class, the feudal landlord class and the bourgeoisie were vigorous, revolutionary and progressive--they were real tigers. But with the lapse of time, because their opposites - the slave class, the peasant class and the proletariat - grew in strength step by step, struggled against them more and more fiercely, these ruling classes changed step by step into the reverse, changed into reactionaries, changed into backward people, changed into paper tigers. Moreover, eventually they were overthrown, or will be overthrown, by the people. The reactionary, backward, decaying classes retained this dual nature even in their last life-and-death struggles against the people. On the one hand, they were real tigers; they devoured people, devoured people by the millions and tens of millions. The cause of the people's struggle went through a period of difficulties and hardships, and along the path, there were many twists and turns. To destroy the rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism in China took the Chinese people more than a hundred years and cost them tens of millions of lives before the victory in 1949. Look! Were these not living tigers, iron tigers, real tigers? Nevertheless, in the end they changed into paper tigers, dead tigers, and bean-curd tigers. These are historical facts. Have people not seen or heard about these facts? There have indeed been thousands and tens of thousands of them! Thousands and tens of thousands! Hence, imperialism and all reactionaries, looked at in essence, from a long-term point of view, from a strategic point of view, must be seen for what they are - paper tigers. On this, we should build our strategic thinking. On the other hand, they are also living tigers, iron tigers, real tigers that can devour people. On this, we should build our tactical thinking.

But life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony.

GOD is infinite. He is beyond the opposites of good and bad, right and wrong, virtue and vice, birth and death, pleasures and suffering. Such dual aspects do not belong to God.

Seven marks characterize the clod and seven the wise man. The wise man does not speak before one who is greater than he in wisdom and he does not break in upon the speech of his fellow. He is not hasty to answer. He asks what is relevant and answers according to the Halakah. He speaks on the first point first and on the last point last. Where he has heard no tradition he says, "I have not heard"; and he agrees to what is true. The opposites of these attributes are the marks of the clod.

Perhaps the sexes are more akin than people think, and the great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in one phenomenon: that man and woman, freed from all mistaken feelings and aversions, will seek each other not as opposites but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will unite as human beings, in order to bear in common, simply, earnestly, and patiently, the heavy sex that has been laid upon them.