Binary Opposition

The body is an amazing thing. To curl your arm from an extended position requires the contraction of one set of muscles and the lengthening of another. A push-pull, if you will.

It’s the same with any movement: throwing a ball, playing a piano, blazing and building in Fortnite or peeling off a sticker. Each movement requires a series of ‘push-pull’ systems in your body. When you sleep, you let these systems rest and find balance.

I raise this idea this to set you up for something bigger, something called ‘binary opposition.’ Simply put, two things exist are linked together but are at odds with one other. When one gets bigger, the other gets smaller. When the two are balanced, things are calm. When they are not, there is stress.

Yin and Yang

The classic visual symbol of ‘binary opposition’ is the yin-yang symbol. The idea is that two things are not only connected but also hold something of the other inside it. The koi pond in Avatar is a nice example of this. Here’s another:

In ‘The Dark Crystal’ there are two opposing groups: one that is thoughtful, wise, and gentle, while the other is angry, greedy, and violent. Between the two are the inhabitants of the land who suffer due to standoff between the two major groups.

(Spoiler alert!)

Turns out these warring factions were actually two parts of the same beings that had been magically splintered. When they are reunited by a selfless hero, the land returns its fruitful ways and peace reigns.

If you’ve been at camp long enough, you’ve heard story of the two wolves around the campfire. It’s a similar idea.  

Push & Pull for Heroes and Camp

Heroes are an interesting combination of binary oppositions: strength and gentleness, courage and fear, creativity and ‘the basics’, adventure and home, and many more. Yes – heroes experience fear all the time. Without it, they couldn’t develop their courage.

Life at camp has similar push-pull experiences. Take, for example, the combination of ‘community’ and ‘individual choice.’ The balance of the two is desperately important. In our opinion, too much structure and you wear each other out. Too much individual choice and you fail to develop connections. At Weequahic, we need to find the balance of this push-pull situation. Same with ‘fun / safety’, ‘new ideas / tradition’ or ‘fruit / chocolate chip cookies.’

There are several binary oppositions I’d like to explore with you over the coming weeks. Specifically, we’ll look at some of the big ones heroes wrestle with and apply them to our own lives. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Don’t worry – there will be a lot of talk about camp, too!

Have a great week, Weequahic!

PS: I know I mentioned ‘stickers’ up above. If you are looking for a fun holiday gift, check out our favorite sticker maker​. They’ve been fantastic over the years. Their service is top notch and prices very reasonable. Enjoy!

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