Opposed and Embracing

Take an opposition aspect.  It relates to the symbolism of the number two, so it is complementary pairs, it is partners – but it is also adversaries, opponents. It can be experienced as a split, or as a dance.

A lot of the purpose of this Site, and of a book I’m working on,  will be to look at pairs of opposites that we have set in antagonism to each other, and find a way to include them as part of a larger complementary whole.

Here I want to look at a pair of opposites, a split, that many, many creative people in our culture go through – the experience of being an Outsider, someone outside the pale or unwelcome in society, and hence in opposition tension over against it.

In terms of a single moment in time, that is a split, a division.  The person experiences themselves as separate from the culture they both inhabit, and don’t inhabit, at different levels. One against Many, Inner against Outer.

I think we can view this Outsider experience as part of a larger cycle.

We seem to be in times of intense change, on all levels, and probably the most significant is the change in how we make sense of the world.

The existing models are proving inadequate, and essentially falling apart, not from being attacked, but from a growing lack of conviction in their truth and adequateness.

So, our Outsider views the failing System from outside, does not feel a part of it, and holds an alternative point of view on reality.

The pair, Society plus Outsider, is part of a larger system that includes both Society and Outsider.  It makes sense that, in times of system collapse, people holding alternate points of view would arise, to challenge the system, raise awareness, and offer alternatives. You’d need a lot of different points of view, a lot of different Outsiders, so that a process of sifting and winnowing could go on for the most promising new viewpoints to grow and be adopted.

Even our isolated Outsider is part of a larger subgroup of Outsiders.

There is a larger, living, growing system of Culture Plus Outsider that includes each as a process of change. The two balance each other, interact, dance, change each other, and out of that change comes a shifting of cultural worldview.

This is a Cosmos, a city, a multi-perspective worldview. Not a bunch of separate worlds, but a larger dance that includes all.

Being an Outsider myself, when I realized this, I found myself feeling very much a part of things, included in an embracing system at a higher level.

In my status of Outsider I now feel very much Inside a larger whole. This gives me a sense of rightness, of support, and of includedness. I am Outside on one level, and very much at the heart of things Inside at a higher level.

This lets me keep an honest perception of a world I see coming apart at the seams at many levels around me, while at the same time giving me a sense of trust in the overall process it seems to be part of.

The smaller System is falling apart; the larger System is alive, healthy, changing. The larger cycle includes falling apart, loss of control, deterioration, death, not because something is wrong, but because that is the nature of the larger System.

This is not to say that I think that things are going to Work Out for the Best; I don’t. I think our culture is sliding further into serious hard times that will get a lot worse before they get batter.

However, I have a trust in the overall process; I feel the rightness of my perspective and my work; and I get the sense that the work I do as Outsider is good, appropriate and needed, and that I can contribute what I can, with a trust in the overall integrity of the larger whole I am a participatory member of.

I do not live at the higher System level, so I can’t always see the rightness of where things are headed.  However, I can attune to that higher system level to get the perspective, the understanding, and the support I need to keep going and feel good about what I do.

Instead of being either Optimistic or Pessimistic, I can be All-Embracing.

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