Monday, May 20, 2019

Avoiding the False Dilemma

For centuries Taoists have seen life as the creative synthesis of two opposing forces, yin and yang. In the Tao Te Ching, all existence is created by this dynamic opposition:

"All life embodies yin
And embraces yang,
Through their union
Achieving harmony."
(Tao Te Ching 42)

Recognizing this principle keeps us from falling into the false dilemma that narrows our choices to either/or: right or wrong, us or them, win or lose, all or nothing.

But all too often our vision is narrowed by the dualism so pervasive in western culture. Our options limited by linear reductionism, we perceive reality as two opposite points on a line. Unable to find a synthesis or consider other alternatives, non-Tao people become trapped in the false dilemma of either/or.
Diane Dreher, The Tao of Inner Peace, Part 4

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