Since the dawn of time (or at the very least, human sentience) the concept of two “forces” on opposite sides clashing with each other has been a recurring theme. Examples of this include:

  • Light vs Dark
  • Heaven vs Hell
  • Good vs Bad
  • Heroes vs Villians
  • Positive vs Negative
  • Yin vs Yang
  • Hot vs Cold
  • Summer vs Winter
  • Spring vs Fall
  • Harmony vs Entropy
  • The “Known” vs The “Unknown”
  • Free Will vs Fate
  • Happiness vs Sadness

… and the list goes on, ad infinitum - seriously, if I were to list all of the possibilities we would be here for quite a while. However, notice that between these examples (and any others that you may have added on) have a certain duality to them. You could even say that it’s the differences between both sides that allows us to perceive the division between the two sides. Taking that a step further, one may even point out that one cannot exist without the other. Still don’t understand what I mean by this? Lets examine a few quotes that might demonstrate my point a bit more:

The Light shines brightest in the Dark.

From a scientific perspective, you need both light and the presence of darkness (or rather, the absence of light) in order to be able to tell which one is which. If you were to (safely) look directly at the sun and have nothing else in your vision, sure you’d recognize that the sun is very bright - however that is only because you’ve seen the opposite (such as entering an enclosed room, with no light - or even closing your eyes).

It is always Darkest just before the Dawn.

Okay, this one might be cheating a bit - as it is somewhat a repetition of the last quote when you examine the meaning behind the quote. When thinking about the quote literally - well, we define dawn as the point in which sunshine shows over the horizon. Due to how Earth’s solar and lunar cycles work, the moon has just fallen under the horizon (which is a strong source of light during night time), and in this moment the sun has yet to come back into view. From a less-than-literal perspective, another way to think of this is the concept of hitting “rock bottom”, or in other words once things have gotten to their absolute worse point, then it can only get better from there.

Its the road through Hell that turns heroes into legends.

I like the inclusion of this quote, as it works almost in the opposite way as the last quote does, but comes down to the same conclusion. You have to think about the quote in the abstract meaning of it. I couldn’t even provide a hint like I did with the last two (take a look at the capitalization of the words - hint for the hint, “Light” / “Dark”, Darkest / Dawn). My interpretation of this quote is that it is the hardships of life that turns someone who has the potential to be a hero, into a true paragon for those around them.


There’s one more example that I’d like to bring up. In one of my favorite games, Destiny 2, the lore tells of two forces that have opposed each other since before the laws of physics were even established in our universe: The Gardener and The Winnower. Their names alone represent the same concept that I’ve been going over in this post, but it goes on even further than that. The Gardener believes that all life, given the chance to blossom will become beautiful in its own accord. Conversely, The Winnower believes that without chaos and destruction there is no true meaning to life, and the struggle of conflict allows life to remain in a balanced state. We don’t actually encounter these forces in Destiny 2 as it stands currently, but we are exposed to them via their influence from other entities. Respectively, that is The Traveler and The Witness.

The Gardener and The Winnower were told to have been playing a sort of “cosmic game” for eons upon eons, using their own tools and strategies to win. Eventually, they became bored of this game, and so a wager was proposed by The Gardener. The proposal was to re-create the universe once more, known as the “Flower Game”, in which the universe would develop on its own, without interference from either of them.

The Wager

The Gardener made their side of the wager, which was:

Here I prove myself right. Here I wager that, given power over physics and the trust of absolute freedom, people will choose to build and protect a gentle kingdom ringed in spears. And not fall to temptation. And not surrender to division. And never yield to the cynicism that says, everyone else is so good that I can afford to be a little evil.

Now, The Winnower made the following counter wager:

The gardener is all in. They are playing for keeps. And they are wrong. Or so I argue: for, after all, the universe is undecidable. There is no destiny. We’re all making this up as we go along. Neither the gardener nor I know for certain that we’re eternally, universally right. But we can be nothing except what we are. You have a choice.

Got it? Okay so you’re probably questioning why I’ve brought this all up, that is completely reasonable!

I say this because I’ve been experiencing a lot of this duality myself, and it is casting a lot of interference in my day-to-day life. Normally, I’m seen as the person who despite all of the darkness I face every single day, I still shine as bright as the sun. No matter how many times I was knocked down, I would always get back up and end up stronger for it. At my last job, our team created the concept of titles - these were titles that you’d be given for various performance-based accomplishments. However, there was one exception to this. I was given the title “The Eternal Optimist”, and it was unique because it wasn’t related to how fast you could complete calls, or how you were rated on said calls. Similarly, at my current workplace, I was told to be “A ray of light in a sea of darkness”.

But lately, I’ve been having a hard time being a ray of light. It feels like a lot of the negatives are really starting to close in on me. Normally I face conflict with the idea of “Even if I’ve lost this battle, I can still win the war”. And it was natural, it didn’t seem like I was forcing myself to have that outlook. Now? I’m questioning how many times can I be knocked down before I decide to just stay down. How many battles do I have to lose before I should assume that there is no winning the war?

And then I finally noticed it when others around me would ask “Are you okay?” or “Have I said something to upset you?” without me specifically saying anything to them that I would expect to provoke that sort of question. It wasn’t just one person either, the number of times I started running into this only continued to coalesce.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of positives in my life, and a good deal of those positives are because of my friends and family. I consider them to be the gentle kingdom ringed in spears that I (and will always) protect. And there exists no combination of words that I can use to express just how thankful I am of them.

I think the most difficult outcome of this, is that it I find myself struggling with a bit of a crisis. In a previous post, called Logic vs Emotion I talked a lot about how my thought processes work. That while I lean very heavily into basing everything I think and do with some form of logic, that the reflections of me are still at the end of the day, goverened by some form of emotion. I’m a fairly open person, and I do not care to lie to others (there are exceptions to the rule, I will directly lie if me being truthful causes direct harm to someone else) as who wants to spend the mental toll of keeping track of lies? However, I’m very aware that emotions in a way can be virulent. The North Star of my moral compass has for as long as I can remember, been my sense of empathy. I distance myself from others when I am angry (and my temper can be described as “A very long fuse, but with incredibly high impact”). That is easy because the level of anger to the point where it starts to reflect in my actions is usually very temporary.

On the other hand, this cloud of darkness does not seem to be so temporary. I’m left with some tough choices to make - do I continue to try to proceed as normal, knowing that this darkness could start to influence those around me? Or do I isolate myself from others, and in my absence, potentially cause grief to those who care about me? The last option is to push even harder to force a smile where there would otherwise be none, which only seems to perpetuate the cycle?

You see, the sense of empathy that I mentioned earlier of which I derive my moral compass from forces me to fall on my own sword - I would rather that at the end of the day, the brunt of the pain lands on me rather than others. This is cyclical though - the longer that I do this, the worse that it inevitably becomes. My sense of empathy is a double-edged sword, it is good because it is what makes me bound to my sense of Right vs Wrong and keeps my moral compass facing “True North”. At the same time however, the old adage of “Don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm” comes to mind. My “Prime Directive” so to speak goes directly against that though, which is as follows:

To never be the villian in another person’s story.

I started this blog to be an educational piece. It has always been my hope that at the end of every post, you, the reader, have learnt something. Hopefully that something can be applied to your own life (such as that you’re never alone). Remember how I mentioned my thought process, and how every single word I speak, and every action I do has some form of logic to it? By now you’ve probably noticed a certain duality to this post as well - it starts on a very high and positive ambiance, but transitions to a more darker timbre. It is supposed to be reflective of the same experience that I am going through more and more often. The lesson being, that despite what you probably can’t see, even the hero has a heavy price to pay.

Its been difficult to write this post, to convey the height of the positivity, and the eclipsing of the negativity - while also staying true to my guidelines. Its intended to be truthful, yet not so truthful that the negativity causes you your own grief. That is a really difficult balancing game to play, and has stopped me from making posts more often regarding this segment of my emotions.

Transmission Ended.