The theory of duality states that the manifest world is composed of opposites. It is the philosophical thesis that asserts that mind and matter are independent substances, neither of which can be reduced to the other.
Dualism includes treating another person as an object outside of oneself. When expanded to include treating everything outside of oneself as objects, then dualism becomes the source of all human suffering and is the antithesis of Oneness.
Dualism is one of the most misunderstood of all metaphysical concepts. From the perspective of P-A (Oneness) dualism simply doesn’t make sense. In this essay we will cite some common dualistic beliefs of P-B, such as good and evil, and you will see what we mean. From Joseph Campbell who had no use for dualism we have “the whole point of the Christian dualism is that sin is absolutely evil, hell eternal, and its souls forever damned.” Dualism quickly turned the Christian narrative into a very dark story indeed.
Within a worldview based on Oneness, there is no duality, no good or bad, no pairs of opposites. The “Fall” occurring in Eden is the mythological beginning of P-B, the beginning of a belief of good and evil in the Christian story. Joseph Campbell explains: “Adam and Eve have thrown themselves out of the Garden of Timeless Unity just by that act of recognizing [the illusion of] duality.” Jack Addington reiterates how important it is that we understand the toxic effects of this illusion called duality. “It has been said that there is only one sickness, a sense of separation from divine and perfect life [Simple Reality].”
From the perspective of P-A dualism simply doesn’t make sense. Ken Wilber’s insight is critical to grasping the illusion of dualism. “Phenomena do not emanate from Mind—each phenomenon is Mind, a fact obscured by our dualistic mode of knowing.”
And also from Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, we have Pope Innocent III, called by some historians “the greatest of the popes” (1198-1215), setting forth at the Fourth Lateran Council Christianity’s doctrinal foundation. “For the devil and other demons were created by God; but they became evil of their own doing. But man sinned by the suggestion of the devil.” Hmmmmm!! So the devil did indeed make us do it.
“However, ‘opposites’ are not really opposite, as they might appear, but are in fact complementary. Each of any pair of complementary qualities depends for its existence on the other; neither could exist by itself. Examples of these pairs are day and night, hot and cold, up and down, solid and soft. If something were to exist without its complement, there would be no way of perceiving it, because the experience of both qualities is needed to know either separately. It is impossible to imagine day without knowing night. Moreover, it is we who unconsciously assign the positive and negative value to each side of the experience, in an almost arbitrary manner at times. The mind [as Wilber pointed out] creates both the pleasure and the pain. Dualistic experience, therefore, will vary between individuals.”
“Psychologically, dualism means unconsciousness, therefore The Fall of Adam and Eve was not into “sin” but into unconsciousness or P-B. “Light is always light in darkness; that is what the unconscious is all about. That, indeed is the whole point. All opposites are mutually interdependent and inseparable, non-dual, and he who imagines otherwise does so at the price of sending reality underground.”
A belief in dualism sets us up for continuous reaction to what is an illusion. “Man can no more separate himself from the universe and extract “knowledge” from it than a hand can grab itself or an eye can see itself. But man, relying as he does on dualistic knowledge, attempts the nonsensical and imagines he has succeeded. The result is a picture-image of the universe as composed of fragments called “things” disjointed in space and time, all alien and foreign to the isolated island of awareness man now imagines himself to be.”
“Thus my thoughts, my mind, my body, my wishes, my hopes, my fears—those are exactly what I am not—they are all objects of perception and therefore could never be the Perceiver. As a matter of fact, it is precisely in identifying my Self into apparent bondage—this is the beginning of the spectrum of consciousness, and with each new dualism and consequent level of the spectrum, my identification becomes ever narrower and more exclusive, and thus my ‘bondage’ becomes ever more painful, for there are more and more things that I see as belonging outside of my Self and hence as being potentially threatening. What Wei Wu Wei would have us do, therefore, is dis-identify ourselves from all phenomenal, perceptible, particular and exclusive objects, therein to discover our original and timeless unity with all manifestation [Oneness].”
Let’s close this article with Emmet Fox referring to Jesus’ teaching of Oneness in his book The Sermon on the Mount. “Do you not see that at a single blow it swept away ninety-nine per cent of all the old theology, with its avenging God, its chosen and favored individuals, its eternal hell fire, and all the other horrible paraphernalia of man’s diseased and terrified imagination.”
It is a great human tragedy that humanity has not been listening to or able to understand Jesus’ wonderful parables. Simple Reality is still awaiting our awakening—we can still choose to hear our own inner wisdom—and then the dualism of the old story and the old theology will fade into the mist of mythology.
References and notes are available for this article.
Also find a much more in-depth discussion of Simple Reality
on this blog and in published books by Roy Charles Henry.