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?
Originally posted in October, 2009