Sunday, October 18, 2009

Taijitu

Duality fascinates me. I love the way two seemingly incongruous things can exist together in a kind of light/dark, up/down symbiosis. Just think about how boring life would be if we only had the angel on one shoulder demanding that we mind our manners and eat our vegetables. Without that little devil on the other side encouraging us to speak out and choose the hot fudge (and maybe add a shot of cognac,) we'd never see the world in all its complexity: good and bad, full and empty, safe and dangerous.

South Pasadena is a great study in the yin/yang idea of opposites fitting together within a greater whole. On the one hand, we have all the small town baseball and apple pie goodness of a Norman Rockwell painting, but we're tucked into the exquisite chaos of greater Los Angeles -- and that keeps us from becoming treacly or naive.


Low and high, male and female, backwards and forwards ... interacting opposites that manifest the whole. Somewhere in the grey area, we find balance. Aristotle described it as the Golden Mean, "the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency." After I eat my broccoli, I'll lift my brandy snifter to that idea. How could we have balance without something else on the other side of the scale?

15 comments:

Cafe Observer said...

"Aristotle described it as the Golden Mean, 'the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency."

I'm not one to argue with Aristotle, or Laurie. The Desirable Golden Mean often suffers, as for example, trampled by the one-sided extremes of the political right & left.

Shanna said...

Wow! Love this post. And what a great photo!

Mister Earl said...

Great photo!

Judy Williams said...

Good Lord! That's the most eloquent expose on duality I've ever read. Bravo, my dear, bravo!!!

I have a total fascination with leaves. I love their colors, textures, veins, shapes - everything about them. Not only am I more learned after reading your post, but I'm smiling because you showed one of nature's beauties.

Petrea said...

Great post, Laurie, but my opinion of the photo is unwaveringly one-sided: it's gorgeous.

Yakpate said...

Stunningly beautiful post. The beauty of the image is matched by the narrative.

Once again, thanks for this glimpse of your spectacular soul.

Oleg K. said...

What a leaf! Good going.

I'm going to have to say nay on the broccoli though. Eww. :O)

Dixie Jane said...

Could there be more opposites come together to make one beautiful picture? We have a divided leaf, between red and green. There is this mildewy laden area where it is lying. There is the modern strip of concrete.Totally indescribable and incongruous so I will quit now with plaudits to Laurie.

altadenahiker said...

How did you ever find that perfect illustration? Funny, I've been working on a piece about Cartesian dualism, if I can ever finish it.

Sophia said...

Your blog is especially comforting now that I'm going to be away from South Pas for a year. It's nice to see everything even if I can't be there. :)

Kaori said...

What a great post to a beautiful photo! I'm a firm believer of the yingyang and try to appreciate the bad as much as the good :)

Virginia said...

WHY can't I write like you. HUH?????
Great text, great photo. Nuff said.
V

-K- said...

Well said, from start to finish!

Laurie said...

Thank you so much, everybody.

And welcome, Sophia! I'll do my best to bring South Pas to you while you are away!

I appreciate all of the kind words, people. Until tomorrow...

Natalie DeJohn said...

Love, love, love the colors in this photo. Nice work.