Friday, July 15, 2016

The Dualist Metaphor

I occasionally refer to myself as a Zoroastrian. I am not in the formal sense, in the go-to-Zoroastrian-temple sense, but I do consider the concept of all-powerful evil pitted infinitely against all-powerful good (or god) to be the most satisfying religious metaphor. It answers most of the questions about evil, pain, and so on that arise from Abrahamic monotheism.

Admittedly, ‘evil’ is not the best word to use here. I prefer ‘non-being’ or ‘the void,’ and see evil as a twisting of that which is. It is that part of being that strives to be no more (another metaphor, there). Whatever terms we use — and all terms must fall short — the idea is still there: the duality of being and non-being, existence and the void.

Having accepted this basic premise, I have no problem finding useful teachings in any and all religions. I certainly do not reject the wisdom of those who have gone before. Even when they get things very wrong, we may learn from them.

Metaphor — I used that term a couple times here. All our understanding of the universe is ultimately through the metaphors we create. Even the ‘truths’ of science are metaphors, words, symbols. It is we who give structure to reality, sort it out, name it.

And so I choose this metaphor to give myself and my world structure. Sometimes, that structure shakes a bit, sometimes it threatens to come down around me. But it is stronger than any other I have built.

Stephen Brooke ©2016

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