Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Paradox and Unity

Look into a mirror. What you are seeing is an appearance of similarity. Dual images, linked together in sameness. You must look closer. Nothing is ever duplicated. Nothing happens twice and nothing exists separately yet is the same. At least, not as far as I am aware. Likewise, the image you see in the mirror is not you. It’s far from you. It does not have the depth that you have, but it is a necessary and natural reaction to you, plus light, plus a certain kind of glass.

Nothing is the same, but all works together; in paradox and unity. Existence is paradoxically complete. The whole is only the whole because of parts. The parts are different, yet make one; one complete part. Adjectives only make sense because of diversity. Without it, nothing would be worth describing. The very words of this text would be meaningless and already ingrained in the mind of every person. Communication itself would never be used because all would be on the mind of all and some would never need to share with the rest.

Existence is one, but not as much one as we perceive a brick or a stone; unified but inactive (although in reality the complexities of the activity of the stone are complex beyond our understand on a level we cannot see). It is probably clearer to think of existence as one like a machine is one. All parts different, but working together. Whether it is chaos or uniformity is up for interpretation. For interpretation wouldn’t exist without diversity and interpretation is, in fact, necessary for the existence of diversity; the existence of freedom.

The world exists in reaction and freedom of reaction. Each is a product of history and environment, yet uniquely created by the decisions of self and those outside; God and man. Each is shaped by moments beyond any self control and those moments are different for each person. If they were equal, would we be different? And even if they began equal, would experiences eventually very if freedom of choice were an option. We question the fairness of the difference of good and bad experience in the life of each individual, but isn’t this just a reaction of human freedom? We question why God does not step in and take control, but isn’t His passivity partly out of grace. If God intervened here and now, would there be anything left of us to be spared for grace. Therefore, He works gently and carefully; discretely whispering to prepare us for his shout. He works in paradox. His work is unique and intrinsic to each. It’s varied, yet fair beyond our understanding.

With this paradox in mind, we must work against it and with it. We must embrace it to survive and maintain sanity. We must die to live and live to die. Those who live for benefit of self will lose self and those who give up self will gain what they never had before. Jesus Christ is unity and paradox. He and the Father are one, but he bore the Father’s separation for the sake of our unity. He died that we may live, received wrath that we may have mercy. The infinitely strong became meek so the meek may be lifted up. We live for his cause and find ours along the way. Therefore we must die to live and live to die; lay down all that we may look up and be lifted. We shall only know life and know ourselves when ourselves are given away and found in him.

"The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pure or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire."

-T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding, IV

"And he [Jesus] said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" -Luke 9:18

"For he who is least among you all is the one who is great." -Luke 9:48b


  1. "...nothing exists separately yet is the same." This does not apply to electrons. The same electron can occupy to different spaces at the same time.

  2. Wow! If that is true, that is amazing!