There are two sides to every coin. Or so it seems at a distance. Upon closer inspection, this observation falls apart. Along the circumference, I see the third side of the coin. This third side can again further be divided into even more sides. So many in fact, that I can not count the sides. Only a superficial glance could lead one to believe the coin has only two sides.

In a way, it would be nice if the coin had only two sides. It is simple, clearly defined, and easy to understand. There is a difficulty, however. Focusing on the two most superficially apparent sides obfuscates from reality. Whenever an idea is presented as a two-sided coin, as cozy as the narrative may feel, I know that accepting this is to accept a false premise.

Binary dichotomies create self-referential systems that allow proponents to gain a false sense of knowledge. If I were to simply say, "there are two kinds of people in this world: those who believe there are two kinds of people, and those who do not," I would technically be correct without conferring any knowledge whatsoever. I have simply created a self-referential system where any position confirms my premise without my premise ever having any basis in reality.

It is easy to be seduced by the allure of a self-referential system. Neat and tidy narrative fallacy feels much better than the cold harsh reality of nuance and ambiguity. However, if growth is the goal, one must cast aside comfort. Look for the third side. When you find that, you'll soon notice a fourth, and a fifth, and so on. Only when I push myself beyond self-referential systems can I gain any knowledge.

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Simon Peter de Veer

Simon Peter de Veer

Savvy's Dad. Business, Man. Dog Whisperer. Mindful Meathead, Fitness Geek: http://www.simonsaystraining.com