The false sense of unity (from strongly held opinions)

Words and design by Brian Thompson.

We find fellowship through the divisions we create within our imagination.

And because of this, the world and its people are defined through opposition to one another, rather than through unity. When we share a common belief, a potential friendship is found.

Whatever we are opposed to creates a potential for mutual camaraderie. In other words, we find unity through division.

This sense of companionship, through sharing a common concept or opinion, instills a false sense of togetherness in us, but it’s achieved only through perceiving another group as being separate from you, or as being opposed to everything you believe in.

When we believe it’s us against them, or that we're right and they're wrong, we create a false sense of unified strength.

Wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, we rally around our various points of view in an effort to find commonality and to recruit others to join our cause. It’s done innocently enough for laughs or friendly conversation, or for the sake of business or entertainment, but our subconscious desire for inclusiveness and belonging often manifests into grossly intolerant and biased behaviours.

Hatred unifies, creating a common enemy.

Consider political conflicts, religious and racial tensions, civil disputes, high school bullying and inner-city gang wars. They all share the same root cause—division and opposition—good against bad, right against wrong.

This principle fuels every war.

But it goes much deeper than outright violence, aggression, prejudice and bigotry. When you look closer at its underlying nature, you'll see this addiction to duality is engrained within the entire fabric society is woven from.

We create commerce through bringing attention towards differences, and by creating a conscious division between “this" against “that". As a consumer we ask, "What is good? What is better? What is best?”. We choose our sides accordingly, and there flows the money.

We believe this behaviour of competition is a healthy one. But, is it?

In business, entertainment, arts, health, education and government, we group ourselves around our personal preferences. We use our opinions of things to clarify our sense of a personal self, and to secure our individual identity. And so, we remain relative to all of our choices.

We unknowingly define ourselves as much by what we resist as we what we accept. But we can’t have one without the other. When you choose a side, you also create an environment for yourself to suffer from its opposite.

Only when there is no attachment to preference is there no suffering.

Alas, humanity has always been entertained by its strong opinions. We amuse ourselves through what we choose to stand against. We gain false bravado from our stoic position, which only inflates the ego more than what it already is. The further we separate one group or thing apart from the others, the more strict and rigid we become towards the dogma that divides us. The more we push something away, the more hateful, prejudiced, fearful and angry towards our false enemies we become.

We are maddened by our opinions, nothing more.

We do this to boost our false sense of superiority, to convince ourselves that we are better than them. But it only drives us crazy, separating us further from the happiness we seek.

Rich versus Poor. The Haves versus the Have-Nots. The Capable versus the Incapable. Blacks versus Whites. Jews versus Muslims. Christians versus Atheists. Jocks versus Nerds. Democrats versus Republicans. Vegans versus Carnivores. Fit versus Fat. Apple versus Windows. Hockey versus Football. My team versus yours.

The list is endless, but all are defined by one simple sentiment that is unfairly believed, "I’m better than you".

Here’s the thing. We only do this because we don’t know who we truly are. And since we’re lost within ourselves, blind to our true reality, we search for happiness through our subjective opinions, rather than looking within and realizing the unity of the one universal consciousness that we all share.

This ignorance (the ignoring of our shared, non-dual presence of awareness) is the seed of all suffering, one that grows into animosity, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, hostility, anxiety, hatred, and aggression. This false duality infects not only ourselves, but the entire world.

The more we tolerate a lack of compassion and understanding for one another, the more we condemn future generations to inheriting the same shared ignorance—and so, the wheel of suffering will forever turn.

We are plagued by the dis-ease of distrusting those whom we believe are different. In not realizing our true nature, we suffer only from our perceived insecurities, nothing more.

To believe that opposites are in opposition to one another is a mistaken perception. The reality is, opposites rely upon one another. They are interdependent. Without both, neither could be as they appear. There is nothing inherently wrong with celebrating the differences between things, that is, after all, at the very heart of the beauty and uniqueness of life’s countless manifestations, but to separate and choose sides, perceiving one as right and the other as wrong, is the root of suffering.

Duality can only be perceived within appearances.

The underlying essence of all things remains as one unbroken, inter-connected reality—absolute, infinite, eternal and unchanging.

Consider the sides you’ve chosen. Consider the groups you belong to. Consider the gossip and the angry rants you engage in, condemning this and condemning that. How vehemently do you support the sides you’ve chosen? How entangled to their ideology have you become?

Is your sense of peace disturbed by what you have allowed yourself to become so firmly opposed to? Are your strongly held opinions creating emotional unrest, not only within yourself, but within the world?

All duality is imagined. The only thing you suffer from is your own imagination.

Consider yourself and investigate the allegiances you’ve formed. Where have you drawn conceptual lines that divide, that set me apart from you?

There’s a reason why you feel separate and alone from the rest of the world, and it’s because you push most of it away. Loosen the grip on your conceptual notions and see the world with clear and refreshed eyes, as an expression of absolute harmony, with no part greater than the whole.

Where there is no division, peace is found. You only need to discard what is untrue.