Jan 19, 2012 I Micah Hanks

Sacred Duality: The Strange and Unseen Elements of our Everyday Lives

How often do we stop to consider how various aspects of our lives may, in essence, be illusions? Even if we were to suppose that life and all the cosmos are indeed some kind of mirage, we must return to the Cartesian notion that we think, and thus we are. In other words, if we are conscious, we must exist, right?

Nothing, it seems, is ever quite so simple or cut-and-dry as being merely "is" or "isn't." Yes, there are indeed times where we must probe a bit deeper in order to understand the hidden aspects of our existence, from which we stand to learn and grow in immeasurable ways. These areas of life from which we stand to gain the most often appear within the context of dualistic principles, stemming from such things as ordinary relationships we have with those around us. But what sorts of things can we hope to learn from realizing the "sacred" nature of such relationships... and how could this relate to the strange and unseen around us?

Let's start by making a rather bold statement: that perhaps marriage, dating, and even instinctual attractions and sexual desires are all perceptual illusions, stemming from human biology, and the institution of culture in societies. These things are all representative of intangible, pre-material essences that exist in a state of non-locality from which both consciousness and matter extend. David Bohm called this state the implicate order.

Space and Time are also illusory, and this has been proven through experiments that reveal such things as time dilation and other perceptible effects that result from the way that time, gravity, and other forces affect one another. However, we cannot deny that, in fact, a multitude of different kinds of forces in the universe levy an attraction on one another: electricity, magnetism, and the aforementioned (and highly mysterious) gravity are all capable of exerting attractive forces in this way.

And yet, we must also accept that even people exert attractive forces on one another, just as well. The gentle (or sometimes, to the contrary, rather rough and tumble) interplay between the sexes, which are perceived as biological differences between male and female, and are mostly conducive to attraction and mating, may actually just be manifestations of universal dualities or dualistic principles. In the East, this would be called yin and yang. The duality is present elsewhere in a number of cultural institutions, and manifests similarly under such themes as good and evil, night and day, heaven and hell, life and death, and so on. But fundamentally, all are illusory in some way or another, imposed upon us by cultural institutions that have accumulated around our lifestyles as we have progressed as a species since time immemorial.

This is partially why I have touched on ideas in the past that incorporate Jungian archetypes into simple exchanges we have with people we meet and befriend throughout our lives. Last summer, here at Mysterious Universe I wrote an article called Conscious Continuity: Ourselves, Others and Oddities, which discussed some of the ways that archetypal themes seem to crop up in certain relationships I've had with individuals over the years (this is perhaps nowhere more apparent than with past lady loves). In that piece from 2011, I wrote that

"From a rather personal perspective, I’ve often likened various past loves that have come and gone to being repeated manifestations of a single sort of greater feminine archetype I’ve encountered, rather than merely being individuals I’ve known over the years. Sometimes, I’ve even encountered strange sorts of synchronicity and other manifestations of a curious nature in this regard: one girl I had known, for instance, took to calling me by a nickname which a previous girlfriend had used for me, with no prior knowledge of that nickname being appended to me in the past. Granted, I’m not literally suggesting that every girl I’ve dated over the years has been the same woman in some surreal, cosmic sense. However, I think that in terms of Jungian psychology, there are from time to time various “manifestations” of things that are familiar to us, shades of which might occasionally pour through the fabric of physical existence between people we know, revealing themselves in startling ways."

Getting back to the various manifestations of what we might call Sacred Duality for the purposes of this piece, such would certainly not remain relegated to the realm of love and dating. Think about professional relationships you've had: was there ever a mentor figure, especially one outside of being a direct family member (mother or father) who helped train you for a job position or other aspect of your professional life? Thinking back, have you ever felt at times that the lessons learned from that individual may have extended well beyond merely learning how to perform tasks on the job, and that you learned valuable life's lessons from that individual? Though what I've outlined here seems less "dualistic" or contrasting in nature, it nonetheless exemplifies another aspect of the archetypal substrata that exists within our relationships with others; here, we see "master and student" exemplified, or the process of learning life's lessons in a deeper capacity.

The idea of archetypes may literally be attributed to any such interaction within our lives, though they often are thought of as being far more esoteric that they perhaps need to be. For instance, they may be likened to being something that borders on ghostly manifestations of repetitive cultural and mythological themes; or like the Jungian school of thought would assert, they exist as primitive mental images inherited from our ancestors that remain available throughout the collective subconsciousness of all humans. However, we need not attribute any sort of magic or other spiritual importance bordering on Soloian "hokey ancient religions" (see what I did there?) to their presence in order to learn from the broader concept.

For all intended principles expressed here, archetypal awareness in our everyday lives may simply be an act of recognizing the deeper embellishments existing beneath the obvious; or in effect, a process of looking for things that aren't always readily apparent, but which help us grow once they are realized. And yes, while such concepts arrive in many forms, there is indeed a sacred duality that begins to emerge between the more contrasting elements of our existence. By acknowledging this sort of symbolism, and reconciling with the idea of there being a unity between them through philosophical undertakings such as the mind's meanderings presented here, perhaps we stand to grow and gain from them, and thus even lead happier, more productive lives. And at very least, a mind that can render such things from the ordinary will never succumb to boredom!


Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.

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