Sunday, March 10
Conflict: A Two Sided Coin
I recently published a post titled Removing Ideology: Seeing Grandma in A Different Light. Here I ventured into the complexities of adhering to illusive ideologies and identities using a perspective in Buddhism. Actually, to be cautious it must be stated that to say a perspective in Buddhism isn't really Buddhism at all. As many practicing Buddhists may say, one must practice to understand. Practicing is understanding. Buddhism can't be understood outside of practice. I personally don't identify as a practicing Buddhist but the philosophical aspects that might be wrongfully extracted from the experiences of those who do practice appeal to me. In a sense, that means I do practice as it becomes applicable to my immediate life.
Let's not get too far ahead of myself. I wanted to expand the notion of conflict being a two sided coin and of the same reality. Whenever I see two friends or relatives in skirmish, I like to say this conflict is two sides of the same coin. Moreover, conflict as shown by two competing sides are, "but the reflection of one reality, and true enemies [are] not people, but ideology, hatred, and ignorance." - The Miracle of Mindfulness
Ideology isn't formed arbitrarily. It comes of political decisions and public discourse in reaction to these decisions. The economic structure and where money is placed and limited has a powerful influence over the perceptions of right and wrong. Normative behavior and deviance are defined by this superstructure. But, this perceived duality in everyday social experience isn't in opposition as its existence comes from the same political focal point. (This understanding can shed light on a lot of social issues that need to be attended to but are largely ignored for financial purposes.) The structure of society gives society a predetermined narrative. Those narratives, when in opposition, aren't truly in opposition but are created. This is the language of social construction.
(Before running myself into plagiarism issues as in the above paragraph I want to point out I have likely drawn from Erich Fromm, Berger and Luckmann, Thich Nhat Hanh, and most certainly Marx. If you want a list of awesome books, I will certainly post them.)Oh what the heck, here they are in order. - The Sane Society - The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge - The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
The point I am articulating is that conflict on the surface may seem to come from opposite ends of the earth. You have one opinion, I have another. Everyone should know I find the terminology of opinion despicable as it serves to give people the false identity of being correct so that they may continue to navigate individualistically and naively through illusory spaces. In another framework I could say that the conception of the word opinions, which is overly encouraged in public education K-12, is simply the adherence to ideologies which are already fluctuating in an "Alice in Wonderland". Either way, opinions serve to perpetuate the false precept of duality when in fact the duality experienced in social phenomenon is rooted in societal structure. Just like the sun is the source of light in the day, it reflects off the moon to create a different light during the night. The two are not opposites, but simply different articulations of the same reality. However, I never understood how we got to the idea it was made of cheese. . . =)
Ta Dah - There are no opposites. Just sun, moon, and the idea the moon is made out of cheese. When my grandmother and I seem to be engaged in a battle of difference, that difference is rooted in this feedback loop between me, her, and the larger political structure. To understand this is to stop the cycle. Once a wise student in nervous falter during an English presentation said something brilliant. "It's just a sucky full circle irony." That should be the definition of reality: It's just a sucky full circle irony. Though, I think I would replace the word sucky with beautiful. Lastly, it doesn't need to perpetuate itself. It can be altered and morphed.
Posted by Jacob Woods at 10:11 AM