Wisdom is the Mastery of Opposing Tendencies

Our world is infinitely complex, and most people don’t like to think through all its intricacies. They prefer the simplicity of following the rules and understanding the world in terms of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

The reality, of course, is not so basic.

We humans have been evolved to live under the laws of nature and no more, and our supreme ability to adapt is a testament of just how much freedom we’ve been given to survive and thrive in the unpredictable world. And it is for this reason that any law or self-imposed rules are folly to begin with.

Opposing Tendencies

Man exists with myriad of opposing tendencies that guide his being. Contrary to what many believe, man does not necessarily strive for the ‘golden mean’; evolution would have been impossible if such was the case. No. Instead, man is flexible to the circumstances that he encounters. He draws from his past experiences, he makes calculations, and he lets his intuition guide his thoughts and actions. If one extreme ensures the best chance of his success, that will be the path he undertakes. If it is the opposing extreme that best helps his cause, he will select that path. And if a moderate or no action is the best course of action, that will be his way of life. But as we know, life rarely advances with hesitation and inaction.

Us advanced species do need some rules in place for the time being: the immature will need some guidance and the lost will seek one. However, as liberating as they may be, guidance should never lead to a restrictive mode of existence that suffocates life itself.

Unlike religious, philosophical, and other societal dogmas that teach men that certain path is the true and good path while the other is evil and immoral, I believe men have the capacity to discover the right path for themselves depending on their individual personality and situation. All men have their own primal spirits to honour. This is not to say that ancient wisdom should all be discarded, but they should not restrict us either. True wisdom cannot be taught, only learned.

Some examples of these opposing tendencies are: caution and dare, vengeance and forgiveness, individualism and collectivism, altruism and selfishness, competition and co-operation, ruthlessness and compassion, reason and passion, and much more.

Who can say for certainty that one should always be cautious or always daring? Who has the right declare vengeance evil or forgiveness weak? People debate these issues endlessly, but do they not realize that both tendencies are necessary?

We often make the mistake of using one profound experience as a moral example to be set in stone for eternity, to proclaim that one path is destructive and that other is righteous—the same way superstitions got their start. We still have examples of this proclivity today: because of the catastrophic failures of communism, many people in the West view collectivism as being degrading and oppressive, failing to see its merits in group efforts in times of peace and war, and also failing to see the cultural degeneracy wrought by the current form of extreme individualism.

The same is true for altruism and selfishness. Altruism has always been seen as good while selfishness is seen as the root of all evil. But can people not see that blind altruism may come at the price of their own existence? Doesn’t our brutal world sometimes mandate selfishness, competition for limited resources, and even ruthlessness?

Then there are those who believe that the world will be a better place if only the foolish humans would reject their lowly passions to embrace reason instead. Do these dreamers actually believe that life is possible without the drive of human passion? Do they not know that whatever truth those with reason may hold, that those with the force of passion will always prevail in the end?

Ignore all the fools who claim one truth or the correct right path for all your drives, that is for you to discover and learn. You will soon realize that there is no obstacle for how you should think and behave. Your own will and your ability is your only limitation. You will master the opposing tendencies with every situation you encounter, and you will be better and quicker in choosing the best path for yourself with more experience.

There will be mistakes, but that’s part of the process in life. There will also be contradictions when opposing tendencies start to conflict and get in the way of each other. That is normal as well. In fact, contradictions are necessary in life, which is why so many contradictions seem to exist in many great religions.

The only truth and the only law the primal man abides by is the truth within himself and the immutable laws of nature.

Reject dogmas and reject self-imposed limitations. Experience the full range of your life expression.

Wisdom is the mastery of your opposing tendencies.

3 thoughts on “Wisdom is the Mastery of Opposing Tendencies

  1. Ive always thought this or along similar lines. I wouldn’t declare myself left nor right, liberal nor traditional. I take each situation as a stand alone individual problem to be addressed and assessed on its own merits.

    Sure You can reference past solutions or opinions but only as a guide not a template. Some issues I will side one way and then do an about turn on the next. People have told me that is hypocritical !!! But why would i want to fenced in to one thought ?? Why would i want to predetermine my answers ??

    The best way i can put it to people is going in to a test,it’s multiply choice,you know the first answer is “B” so you decide to answer all the rest with “B” aswell !! It is as stupid as that to me.

    Love the article and I am a firm believer in man being as base and close to nature as possible. We are animals at the end of the day no matter what clothes or haircut or manners or rules you put on us. You have a follower mo chara.

Leave a Comment