Humans tend to substitute duality when it’s clear unity provides the best description.
Consider the concepts of light and dark. Ordinary language indicates these two things are separate entities and work in opposition. Try to define darkness without using the concept of light. Good luck. Perhaps a clever wordsmith will succeed, but I doubt it.
Darkness is the absence of light. Darkness does not exist independently of light. Darkness cannot overcome the light. When light appears, darkness vanishes.
Hot and cold is another false duality. Scientifically, hot and cold don’t represent distinct physical conditions. Hot objects possess relatively high temperatures; cold things have correspondingly low temperatures.
This duality inspires misunderstanding of one of the central concepts in science, temperature. The faster molecules move in a substance, the higher it’s temperature. The amount of stuff in each molecule is important for temperature too, but temperature essentially represents the measure of molecular motion in a substance.
It’s not a question of “Are the molecules moving fast or slow?” because this is another false duality. The true question: how much motion does it have?
Duality’s power is apparent in binary numbering systems: computers have transformed humanity. Computers operate according to binary mathematics. All operations in binary math use a language based on 0 and 1. Humans prefer a base ten system: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
Actually, binary math isn’t really binary. The concept of zero is based on the absence of value. A one represents value. Value vs. the absence of value.
Humanity is on the cusp of constructing quantum computers. The fundamental strength of quantum computing is each bit is allowed to occupy value and no value simultaneously. Quantum computers will one day change humanity in ways that cannot be predicted, or described with current language. Quantum computers are based on a unifying principle, probability.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like Hunter Gatherers in the Quantum Age, De-frag Brain.