There are two intriguing books being published currently. The first one is from a pair of scientists, entitled Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity (by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods). Part of the blurb about the book says this:
Since Charles Darwin wrote about “evolutionary fitness,” the idea of fitness has been confused with physical strength, tactical brilliance, and aggression. In fact, what made us evolutionarily fit was a remarkable kind of friendliness, a virtuosic ability to coordinate and communicate with others that allowed us to achieve all the cultural and technical marvels in human history.
The second book is entitled Humankind: A Hopeful History. It is by a young Dutchman, Rutger Bregman. When interviewed, he said this:
We often assume that during times of crises, the veneer that we call civilization cracks and that people reveal their true selves. And that we really become quite horrible versions of ourselves. But in the first chapters of the book, I go over all the evidence of sociology that we have—and it’s quite a lot. It’s actually more than 700 case studies that show that, especially in times of crisis, we show our best selves. And we get this explosion of altruism and cooperation. This happens again and again after natural disasters, after earthquakes and after floodings. And I think that, if you zoom out a little bit during this pandemic, you see the same phenomenon.
Both of these books take stock of what is truly creative within the human experience. Our creativity expresses itself as a creative dynamic between us.
The ancient words Mater and Pater name two primal forces in the human experience. When those forces find expression through people and join together, there’s a reciprocation, there’s a union, there’s a generation, there is an immense creativity. I hope you will enter that experience more fully as you read the words of this Pulse of Spirit.
There is a significance and beauty to duality, and yet duality can go so wrong. The duality of Mater and Pater creates life. They come together in union in the context of wholeness and they create a greater whole. That greater whole is a result of the generation that occurs because of the dualism between these two powerful forces finding expression in all the myriad ways they do in our human experience.
And yet there’s another kind of dualism that goes no place—that leads to conflict, that leads to winners and losers, that ultimately doesn’t lift the whole. Dysfunctional dualism is often an attempt to lift some part of the whole above another part, to the detriment of all in the end.
So, what is the difference between the dualism that destroys and the dualism that creates?
Some people promote nondualism. I think that what is being decried is a false dualism that destroys the experience of oneness; false dualism that is born out of an ignorance of what we share in common as humankind. That false dualism is a dualism between false cultural icons.
There is a true dualism between Pater and Mater. And there is a false dualism between the cultural icon of what it means to be a man, and the cultural icon of what it means to be a woman. Where a man is living out of that false cultural icon, he can’t actually bring the Pater. He can’t bring the activating power of Creation. He is bringing a façade. He is trying to live up to something that his culture tells him he ought to be. He is trying to look like a man and he’s trying to act like a man, but he’s not bringing the Pater, the patterning frequency of the Creator. He is trying to dominate, he is trying to impose, which is an altogether different thing. Or he is afraid that he might dominate, so he withdraws.
Of course, it doesn’t take a man to bring the Pater, and it doesn’t take a woman to bring the Mater. We all have access to these cosmic powers of Creation.
In the false dualism between cultural icons, there is no dynamism. There is nothing coming together because we’re not talking about cosmic energies, we’re talking about façades—cultural icons that have no power in them. The only power they have is stolen from the universe to prop them up for a short time. And yet, because they are just a façade, they don’t carry the possibility of true union or generation. The unification of cultural icons does not create life. The unification of Pater and Mater does.
Here is another pair of dual cultural icons: good and evil. We might point to people and say they are evil, perhaps claiming that we are good. Perhaps we mythologize evil, conceiving it to be some kind of devil. And so we mythologize a fight between good and evil, and then we act it out in our social, political and cultural life. We villainize what we consider to be evil and try to stamp it out, but never do. And then exult in our self-righteousness if we consider ourselves good. Nothing good, ultimately, comes out of it. There is no generation between cultural icons of good and evil. There is nothing wonderful that comes out of the dynamic of good and evil.
Behind every false cultural icon, there is a true duality. And oftentimes we become so confused, as human beings, not seeing the true duality and the creative opportunity inherent in it. Behind the duality of good and evil, there is the true duality of light and dark. Light is the activating element that illuminates the world. It brings the frequency of the true pattern of Creation. This world needs light bringers, those who shine the light in the darkness. But not because the darkness is bad. Darkness is on the face of the creative deep, to be illuminated and activated by the light. The darkness is beautiful. Unless we were to decry nighttime, darkness has its place. It is the darkness of what we can’t see in our human experience, the darkness of the subconscious mind—all beautiful—to be activated by the light. The dark, by its very nature, is made to have union with the light. And then there is illumination.
There are so many examples of false duality, and then there is the true duality that is present behind them. Aren’t we called, if we are to bring the light, to see past false duality? It’s true that in the culture in which we live, people give expression to these false dualities and they appear in our culture. And out of fear—false evidence appearing real—we look at these cultural icons and we give them life.
While leading a workshop last year in Cape Town, South Africa, I referred to black Africans. A woman gave me a look that let me know she felt an affront. In essence, she said, “I am not a black African. I am African.” I learned a lesson about seeing and acknowledging people for who they are.
In America and around the world, there is a false dualism between black and white that is now receiving a lot of attention. Here are these cultural icons, black America and white America. There is no doubt that these cultural icons have become embodied in our society and in that way become very real to us. There is great harm and damage caused by this phenomenon. And still, could there ever be a resolve between black and white based on an identification with cultural icons? You only get more racism on that basis.
Behind every false dualism there is a real one. In the history of race relations in America, the false dualism has been lived into. We have created a world where racial icons are embodied in the society in which we live, and we are living out their false dualism. But behind those icons, there are human beings who are unique. There are unique selves with unique creative powers within them. Where two such people come together, there can be an activation, there can be a reception, there can be reciprocity, there can be a joining. Regenerative culture is created.
There are clear distinctions between true dualism and the false dualism of cultural icons. In true dualism there is oneness. In a false dualism there is separation, with no hope of unity until that state of mind changes.
False dualism is win-lose and us vs. them. And where there are winners and losers, ultimately everyone loses.
In true dualism, people are aware of the collective of which they are a part. They are aware of our commonality as human beings, and of the common good. They are concerned not only for the benefit of one person or group but for the common good they share together. They are aware that we are all sharing in a common experience, and if we can uplift that common experience, we uplift all people.
While false dualism has winners and losers, in true dualism there is reciprocity. We ask ourselves these questions: Having received something creative from another person, how do I give back? How do I receive it fully? How do I allow myself to be activated by it? How do I pay it forward? How do I join with this creativity?
True dualism brings generation and the power of fusion.
At every level of our human experience, we have the opportunity to practice true dualism. At the very obvious and apparent physical level, true dualism leads to babies. But that is only one way that dualism works among us. There is dualism at every level. There is dualism in the polarity of thought and feeling. There is the dualism of two thoughts, one sparking another. There are all the dynamics of the spirit, sometimes portrayed through art, music and drama.
A world that is in the middle of a win-lose kind of dualism is a world that’s running down, consuming energy that is not being renewed. That is true of fossil fuel. But it is also true of human energy, the most precious kind. A battle between cultural icons isn’t generative. It’s depleting. It is personally unhealthy.
A world of true dualism is a world of communion, generation, and the power of fusion in the human experience. It’s happening between people. That is what the Survival of the Friendliest is all about. And it is what is hopeful in our history—the exchange among us when true dualism is known.
True dualism is also between the seen and the unseen, between our humanity and that great activating power of the universe that has entered us and is constantly stimulating us, constantly flowing into us and penetrating us. And then there’s our reciprocation that says:
Yes, I’m here! Come, take me, enter me, activate me, flow through me. Allow me to become one with you as I vibrate with you and then express you, bringing your radiance, your frequency into this world.
I die only to be reborn now in this moment, born anew in the expression of my activation.
The Pater joins with our Mater. This is the ultimate true duality—we, as human beings, in dynamic relationship to the unseen source of our life.
There is a wonderful, oriental symbol depicting the complementary aspects of the masculine and feminine; it is the yinyang – I have learnt that you do not say ‘yin and yang’, as Westerners do, it is all one thing. Western consciousness has chosen to separate the two, whereas it is all one concept – dark/light, light/dark, in continual balance.
There is an oriental story which describes the difference between heaven and hell. In hell there is a sumptuous banquet where the characters are invited to eat, except they must use chopsticks which are far too long to get the food to their lips. They are starving. The depiction of heaven is of a similar table, laden. The characters have similar chopsticks but they are not starving. they have learnt how to feed one another. They are nourished, happy and have adapted to their circumstance.
In this matter of dualism, of facade versus true partnership, there is much to consider. Thank you for bringing our attention to this. I can feel the echoes of this false dualism all through history. It is time to shift our consciousness as it is fundamental to humanity in this time of global disruption.
“Darkness is on the face of the creative deep, to be illuminated and activated by the light.” This makes me think of all the times I was designing jewelry in my shop, the joy I found in that darkness of the unknown, trusting the process until the right form emerged. Shining my light. I did not think of it that way, but that is what we do. Shining our light. In any situation, really.