Monday, March 8, 2010


Nuanced and interesting opinions involve synthesis of ideas. When I first start to learn about something, my opinions are shaped by the person who has begun to teach me. As I gather information and experience varying perspectives I build a more comprehensive picture.

Dialectics are developments in thinking. Hegel used the concept of dialectics to describe an idea (a thesis) and an opposing or differing idea (an anti-thesis) leading to the development of a synthesis.

Dialectics develop when we contemplate or experience opposing emotions or tendencies. A simple example would be my understanding that God loves me exactly as I am because he made me and knows me intimately (thesis). The anti-thesis may be that God wants me to grow, to mature, to be made perfect, to change from the one he made, into the one he wants me to be.

How do we synthesise these seemingly opposing ideas? A true dialectical synthesis does not negate either concept and does not combine black and white to make grey. Somehow black and white sit adjacent to each other and enrich each other.

My understanding of the synthesis is that God both, loves me as I am, and desires change and maturity for me, as a fulfilment of that love. The tension of acceptance and call for change.

Many of the struggles we face in life, emanate from our inability to hold two seeming opposites together.

How can I (or even why do I) love someone, who has hurt me? There is no easy answer or synthesis, here. But realising the tension and seeing the opposing ideas can help us begin to hold them together. It may take a lifetime for that synthesis to develop.

Developing dialectics and holding them in tension can help us weather the struggles we face. Acknowledging the difficulty of synthesis allows the freedom to be unresolved and to seek fresh input. We don't have to have all the answers, which can be both scary and exhilirating.

What dialectics/dilemmas are you facing?

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