Balance vs extremism
I used to say that balance is key to everything - but I now see that that can be taken in a different context. Chinese philosophy describes how contrary forces may be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent, and how they may give rise to each other as they inter-relate to one another. I'm not an expert on Yin and Yang, but like meditation and other concepts, the kernel of the idea fits with reality, even if some practices been attached to it over time distort the kernel, just as religion can be seen as a barrier between God and man rather than a way to God.
Part of the difficulty I've had in realising this is my mind is extremely limited. I have very narrow ways of looking at things. I am very grateful to those who have argued with me over many years (not that same people all the time). A stroke forced me to live without my mind (a bit like Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar) for 2.5 years. Since then I've realised that even with my new view of things, ways of thinking are so ingrained I often can't see other ways of looking at things. This applies to work, as well as private and social lives.
Since starting to talk with God in 2014, He's been good in showing me this - and slowly helping me see things in new ways. That includes the idea of balance. I struggled with this because although it seems to make a lot of sense (e.g. dietary balance), it also seems to jar at times.
One such example is extremism. We've all been made more aware than ever of the recent harmful effects of extremism. But when we look at great breakthroughs, be they sporting, scientific, cultural and so on, often the people behind these can often be seen as extremists.
The sportsperson who does what people thought was impossible. The scientist who develops an idea regarded as crazy. The citizen who decides that a behaviour is not right. There are many examples - and we owe much of what we take for granted in the world today to extremists who persevered.
With modern coverage, the word has assumed a very negative meaning. To be clear the reported acts of extremists can be very bad. But why is ISIS extreme? Are they that much worse than the Syrian people responsible for so much evil to their own people?
Balance is indeed a useful concept. But the application of every issue must be worked through in every situation. And because NONE of us has a full understanding of every issue, that should involve communication. Not just with those who share our views - but especially with those who don't. If we can avoid reducing the discussion to juvenile levels (as politicians resort to) then we might just come up with understandings better than either of us had at the start. Or maybe on rare occasions realise one of us was simply wrong. That doesn't mean we will see eye to eye - we're each a unique individual after all, and what's good for one may not be good for another. But we can avoid wasting time on so much trivial disagreement.