a life of opposites


I suspect there’s no such thing as work/life balance; we place the line between the wrong this and that.

‘You need to be generous to yourself in order to receive the love that surrounds you. … We must remain attentive in order to receive.’*

‘[There] are the sensory impulse and the formal impulse, both of which aim at truth, and neither of which get there without the other.’**

The true line of balance, or rhythm or flow, lies between the person we’ve become – the formal impulse – and the person we’re becoming – the sensory impulse.  These opposites, as identified by Friedrich Schiller, also appear to be identified as opposite poles of static and dynamic by Christian Schwarz and by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as conservative and expansive.^

Between these opposites we find what we might describe as life-in-all-its-fullness: ‘Truth is realised in embodiment.  Beauty is instantiated we might say, in a human being fully alive.’**

Each warns us about how a formal-, static-, conservative-only emphasis results in a rigidity of form, whilst a sensory-, dynamic-, expansive-only emphasis results in some kind of formless state, like the person not fully rematerialising in the USS Enterprise’s transporter.

When we move between the opposites, or paradoxical, though, we feel a “zinging” of creative energy inside of us – Schwarz describes how the dynamic produces the static and the static stimulates the dynamic.

‘No matter what, expect the unexpected.  And wherever possible BE the unexpected.’^^

(*John O’Donohue, quote in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Harriet Harris‘s essay The Epistemology of Feminist Theology.)
(^See Christian Schwarz’s Paradigm Shift in the Church, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity.  They aren’t exactly saying the exact same thing, but their opposites connect in many ways.)
(^^Linda Barry in 99U’s Make Your Mark.)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.