So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

03 December, 2012

J is for Juxtaposition

It's not unrelated to syncretism, actually, the setting of things against each other to form a contrast, the way contrasts and shifts produce enlightenment.

But it matters, really.

It matters to see that the crown is placed - the plants of south and north bound together - by both Heru and Set, that order and chaos combine to produce this whole.  It is not something achieved by one overwhelming the other, but a tandem function, strength as an individual and the collective heart of the community.

When a symbolism works with contrasts - the bird and the snake, red and black, male and female, whatever other things are framed as dynamic balance with each other - there are always those stark places where one meets the other face to face.  And those places matter, fundamentally.

One of the things that bothers me about my surrounding culture is the mutually annihilatory contrasts.  Good and evil, say, that whole Manichaean god-and-devil dance in which each is attempting to destroy the other, or whatever the fuck that's on about, and the world doesn't actually work that way at all so it all comes across as trying to turn reality into a big game of chess to me.  There Are Two Sides, They Are White And Black, And There Is Nothing But War.  Doesn't look a whit like the real world to me, so whenever I run into this kind of cosmology I'm at a loss.  It's like talking to people who are seriously waiting for their Hogwarts admission letter, really.

The real world is predator and prey, and there is no mutual annihilation there.  If the prey 'loses', vanishes away, obviously the predators die off.  If the predators vanish, the prey die too - starving in the winter because there are too many of them to survive on the forage, if nothing happens because their weaker members are no longer culled.  You put those together and you don't get Good Vs. Evil World-Annihilating Cagematch, you get a self-balancing ecosystem.  You get synergies and transformations and all kinds of interesting and flashy stuff.

That's what real juxapositions produce, this flash of something larger, more complex, in the give and take available.  These create edges, liminal spaces, in which one can find transformational magic.  This and that has its realm of thisandthat, even when it is an interplay of opposites.


Eric the Darker said...

"There Are Two Sides, They Are White And Black, And There Is Nothing But War. Doesn't look a whit like the real world to me..."

That actually does sound kind of like one thing in the real world: the way our 2-party political system is heading.

I don't think this invalidates your point, though; the blind antagonism is... dysfunctional and frustrating.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

That tends to look more like "spiralling delusionality which unfortunately is invested in people with the power to fuck everyone else over" to me.