We are different, but not opposed…

Two lines struck me from a book of Gilles Deleuze.

The beautiful soul says: we are different, but not opposed…

The beautiful soul is in effect the one who sees differences everywhere and appeals to them only as respectable, reconcilable or federative differences, while history continues to be made through bloody contradictions.

When we start learning a language, one of the initial group of words that we learn are antonyms (good * bad, white*black, high*low). They teach us categories, which are the exact opposite of one another.

Now the question that could be raised is, are white and black really opposites? They are different colors, but are they opposites (contradictions)?? Yes, when the reflection or absorption of light is considered, white and black surfaces behave extremely differently (maybe like opposites). But on many other occasions (to sit on a chair which is white-colored or black-colored doesn’t make a difference), white and black surfaces behave exactly in the same way.

Thus, two concepts ( black and white) are considered opposite from certain perspectives but are similar when we look from some other perspectives. The first perspective as opposites is very important especially for the studies in science and for the purpose of classification.

Does the first perspective (as opposites) have completely dominated the narrative of white and black or the other narratives have also got sufficient attention?

We face the problems of caste-ism (high vs low), racism (black vs white), gender (male vs female), political opinions ( right vs left), the question of rights (citizen vs non-citizen), this analysis of narratives do give a sufficient hint.

Do our narratives of differences boil down so easily to opposites? Does it need to?

A Jesuit interested to think and write; Loves philosophy, spirituality, politics…. Believes in God & well-being of all humans… Open to difference & newness..

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