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Excerpt from Endgame

Dualism (p. 532)

From chapter "Winning"

Violence—the defensive birthright of every being, no matter how peaceful— falls prey within this culture to the same fragmentation, the same insane division of labor. Soldiers and police (and rapists and abusers) carry violence for the rest of us. They are violent. We are not. We are, instead, moral. But the distinction isn’t really that distinct; it’s all part, as I’ve been saying, of the same sick game. Civilization—like any other abusive relationship—is based on force, on violence, on theft, on murder, on exploitation, and whether or not the pacifist (or you or I) pulls a trigger matters not a whit for culpability.

Hate is the same. Soldiers hate. They are trained to hate. That’s what boot camp is for.We, on the other hand, do not hate.Hatred is for killers. We do not kill. Thus we do not hate. The soldiers carry our hatred for us, and they do our killing for us. So do the police. We carry morality for them. And the poor groan under the weight of the soldiers’ boots—surrogates for our own—stomping on their faces.

We are cut off from our own violence, and we are cut off from our own non- violence. We have neither. We are split off shells, partial people pretending to be whole but only completed by our split off and disavowed twins.

It’s all about disconnection. This culture is based on disconnection. Man (strong) versus woman (weak), man (good) versus nature (flawed), thought (honest) versus emotion (misleading), spirit (pure) versus flesh (polluted), love (good) versus hate (bad), serenity (good) versus anger (bad), nonattachment (good) versus attachment (bad), nonviolence (righteous) versus violence (evil), and so on ad nauseum. So often I’ve heard pacifists and others say we need to get rid of all dualism, that by speaking of those who are killing the planet as my enemy I am perpetuating the same dualisms that got us here. But striving to eradicate dualism is perpetuating the same dualism! This time it’s nondualism (good) versus dualism (bad). It’s all nonsense. The problem isn’t that there are pairs of opposites. Opposites simply exist. Nor is the problem that there are values assigned to these opposites. We can—and I certainly would—argue against the values chosen by this culture for each of these poles, but the truth is that the different poles do have different values. And that leads to the real problem, which is the word versus. Yes, men and women are different. But they are not in opposition; instead they work together. Yes, humans are different than nonhumans (as it would also be true that salmon are different than nonsalmon, and redwoods are different than nonredwoods). But they are not in opposition; instead they work together. Thought is different than emotion. But they are not in opposition; instead they work together. Spirit is different than flesh. But they are not in opposition; instead they work together. Love is different than hate, serenity is different than anger, nonattachment is different than attachment, nonviolence is different than violence. But they’re not in opposition; each of these paired opposites works together. Dualism is different than nondualism. But they are not in opposition; instead they work together. Duh.

What happens if you reconnect? What happens if you make choices as to when you should think, and when you should feel? What happens if your thoughts and feelings merge and diverge and flow in and out of each other, with each one taking the fore when appropriate (and sometimes when inappropriate, since perfection does not exist in the real world, and emotions and thoughts each sometimes make mistakes: That’s life) and with them working sometimes together and sometimes in opposition? What happens if you make choices as to when you should think and feel dualistically—in opposition to some other— and when you should work with this other? What happens if you sometimes make choices and sometimes you do not? What happens if when appropriate you are violent (“Hear! Hear!” say the wolverine and the shrew), and when not appropriate you are not?

The “answer” is not to try ever more desperately to eradicate hate from our own hearts, to carry more and more of the love that is split off from the rest of the culture—as if it’s the case that if we can only carry enough love to make up for everyone else that things will be all right, or even that any love we feel might in any way counter someone else’s hate—and split off ourselves the hate we do not allow ourselves to feel. The “solution” is to reintegrate, to feel what we feel, to determine our own moralities (large and small scale) and to act on them.