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The Danger of Dualistic Thinking


Lance_Navarro
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I hope this isn't too "heavy" for the forum. These are some words from Father Richard Rohr from the book Falling Upwards. We all practice dualistic thinking, however emotional and spiritual growth to me is about trying to recognize and resist when I am. Read the quote and share your thoughts.

 

"Dualistic thinking is the well-practiced pattern of knowing most things by comparison. And for some reason, once you compare or label things (that is, judge), you almost always conclude that one is good and the other is less good or even bad. Don't take my word for it; just notice your own thoughts and reactions. You will see that you will move almost automatically into a pattern of up or down, in or out, for me or against me, right or wrong, black or white, gay or straight, good or bad. It is the basic reason why the "stinking thinking" of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, religious imperialism, and prejudice of all kinds is so hard to overcome and has lasted so long— even among nice people!

 

Nondualistic or contemplative thinking was put off or fully denied in the first half of life for the sake of quickly drawn ego boundaries and clear goals, which created a nice clean "provisional personality." Dualistic thinking works only for a while to get us started, but if we are honest, it stops being helpful in most real-life situations."

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Love it, but you knew that about me, Lance. I like/strive to think in shades rather than binaries. I particularly despise intelligent people who know the difference but use dualistic thinking to force their actual opinion onto others. It is not only patronizing but manipulative. I've contemplated this for years, and I'm very ok with judging this kind of people swiftly and avoiding their negative energy until they seek enlightenment. When and if they seek enlightenment, even the most despicable will deserve support.

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Love it, but you knew that about me, Lance. I like/strive to think in shades rather than binaries. I particularly despise intelligent people who know the difference but use dualistic thinking to force their actual opinion onto others. It is not only patronizing but manipulative. I've contemplated this for years, and I'm very ok with judging this kind of people swiftly and avoiding their negative energy until they seek enlightenment. When and if they seek enlightenment, even the most despicable will deserve support.

 

I was gonna let you know I had created this post, but you beat me to it! What you said about intelligent people forcing their opinions on others reminds me of another lesson of Father Rohr, that in the second half of life we no longer need to change other people to be happy. We are more than ever in a position to change others, but we don't need to. Rather, we inspire others simply by being.

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I hope this isn't too "heavy" for the forum. These are some words from Father Richard Rohr from the book Falling Upwards. We all practice dualistic thinking, however emotional and spiritual growth to me is about trying to recognize and resist when I am. Read the quote and share your thoughts.

 

"Dualistic thinking is the well-practiced pattern of knowing most things by comparison. And for some reason, once you compare or label things (that is, judge), you almost always conclude that one is good and the other is less good or even bad. Don't take my word for it; just notice your own thoughts and reactions. You will see that you will move almost automatically into a pattern of up or down, in or out, for me or against me, right or wrong, black or white, gay or straight, good or bad. It is the basic reason why the "stinking thinking" of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, religious imperialism, and prejudice of all kinds is so hard to overcome and has lasted so long— even among nice people!

 

Nondualistic or contemplative thinking was put off or fully denied in the first half of life for the sake of quickly drawn ego boundaries and clear goals, which created a nice clean "provisional personality." Dualistic thinking works only for a while to get us started, but if we are honest, it stops being helpful in most real-life situations."

I thought it might be interesting but had nothing to compare it to.

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Taoism (or at least the Tao te ching), which talks a lot about morally neutral and necessary complementary opposites such as light/dark, feminine/masculine, etc., is a useful corrective to the dualism embedded in much of Western thought.

 

A related pet peeve of mine: thinking there is necessarily only a single answer to anything.

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