Us vs. Them
Us vs. Them
Dualistic thinking is a part of life. I mean you have to know “up from down,” “day from night,” “right from left,” “hot and cold,” “girl and boy,” “good from bad,” etc. These are the two sided things that define our world. But when it gets into us vs. them it gets complicated. Who is us and who is them? Herein lies the seeds of duality: racism, war, religious violence, sexism, homophobia and the general mess in which our world stews today. It would seem like we are stuck. It can be called “binary thinking,” “I am right and you are wrong.” as opposed to “holistic thinking:” “We are all in this together and we can work it out.” To use Freud’s road map, duality more or less comes from the Id and holistic thinking comes from the higher self. It’s pretty easy to see how one way of being solves problems and the other creates problems. The problem is to move beyond even that way of thinking. Christianity tried real hard and fell flat on its face. From absolute non-violence in the first century to the wars of religion and the burning of heretics at the stake 1500 years later. So sad.
Did Jesus have anything to say about dualistic/binary thinking? Yes, quite a bit actually. Let’s look at one of his best known sayings. “You can’t serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and the love other or you will love the one and hate the other.” This appears in both Mathew and Luke and is usually interpreted as spirituality versus money. I have no problem with that. But as I worked with this verse, I came to see it as a metaphor for the tension between our merely human nature versus the call for compassion from our higher self. It’s about not taking sides. It’s about seeing the bigger picture with new and unforeseen possibilities. Thus moving beyond duality is about a whole new way of thinking.