1. No man is an island.
2. Every man is an island.
John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island” in 1624. The entire passage reads, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less… Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” – Meditation XVII
But Anne Morrow Lindbergh expressed the opposite idea, “I feel we are all islands – in a common sea.”
I agree with both statements even though they’re mutually exclusive, don’t you?
Niels Bohr once said, “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.” Interesting bit of trivia: Niels Bohr wasn’t a pantywaist philosopher; he was a physicist who won the Nobel Prize.
There are Laws of Reality, it seems, that are reliable across all disciplines and specialties. I believe this equal-but-opposite Law of Duality to be among them. Actio et Reactio. “If a force acts upon a body, then an equal and opposite force must act upon another body.” – Isaac Newton
The bodies involved in today’s discussion are (1.) you, and (2.) the people around you.
Each of us is an island surrounded by land; an individual within a society.
To the degree that you align yourself with Groupthink you trap yourself “inside the box” of Traditional Wisdom.
To the degree that you isolate yourself from Groupthink you trap yourself within your own limitations as you ignore the experience of others.
Wisdom is to bring the best of the past forward. Why reinvent the wheel?
Wisdom is to escape the shackles of the past and embrace an entirely new perspective. “Think outside the box.”
Actio et Reactio. Male and Female. Proton and electron. Left and Right. Which of these is wrong?
If you can wrap your mind around this Law of Duality, you will have a gained a priceless tool in problem solving: we too often trap ourselves by labeling things as either “good” or “bad,” refusing to consider that the opposite might also be true. Few things are good or bad of themselves.
In the words of Buckminster Fuller, “Don’t fight forces, use them.”
What “bad” forces are you facing today?
Aim them for your good.
Roy H. Williams
Do you know about The 12 Languages of the Mind?
Take a look at the other fabulous classes coming this fall.