Compare, Contrast and Contradict




“I love reading another reader’s list of favorites. Even when I find I do not share their tastes or predilections, I am provoked to compare, contrast, and contradict. It is a most healthy exercise, and one altogether fruitful.” ― T.S. Eliot



Contrasts are an intrinsic part of life.

Without darkness we would not have light.

Without good we would not have bad.

Without wet we would not have dry.

Without cold we would not have warm.

Without illness we would not have health.

Without clever we would not have stupid.

Without unhappiness we would not have happiness.

Without me there would be no you.



“Truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more.” ― Herman Melville



I could go on indefinitely, but I’ll stop with the last one and dive into it.


How much of me is based on you?


If I see you as being a conformist and myself as being a rebel… would I be able to see myself as a rebel if I did not see you as a conformist.

I need to compare and contrast myself with others to define myself… and yet, do you see yourself as a conformist and me as a rebel.

Perhaps you see yourself as the rebel and me as the conformist.

Or perhaps you see me as a disruptive entity by which you define your sense of being constructive.


“I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne


I once got into a bit of trouble on Twitter (an easy thing to do) by saying that Atheists talk more about God than those who believe in God do.

Surely if you don’t believe in something, then you wouldn’t bother talking about it so much because it doesn’t exist to you.


Without religion would atheism exist.


My remark… tweet… was frivolous, flippant, fatuous. Without seriousness would such things exist.

It was based on a conversation with a friend who took my exclamation of OMG as evidence of my belief in God and I needed setting straight (all I learned from their diatribe was don’t use the word ‘god’ within earshot of them, whether you’re using it blasphemously or not or whatever, or they will interrupt your conversation to which they were not listening and then expect you to listen to them.

But the trouble my silly tweet caused… was simply that one person, and it was only one person, took umbrage with it and that umbrage had mileage. They didn’t care about my view and such at all, I was simply an irritant which they needed to define themselves, and they were hellbent on defining themselves by using others to do so.

Certain things require others. Certain things would not exist without others. Certain things would not exist without comparisons and contrasts… and such things invariably are accompanied by contradictions.


“The problem with certainty is that it is static; it can do little but endlessly reassert itself. Uncertainty, by contrast, is full of unknowns, possibilities, and risks.” ― Stephen Batchelor


To clarify my status for anyone who may be wondering… I am neither one thing nor another. I neither believe nor disbelieve. I am a shade of grey, a hue in between black and white. If such a thing is possible.


I like to explore the world in between. If there were no extremes… my life would not be an adventure.


Without my mouth and its tendency to blurt things out… I would probably lead a more peaceful existence.


“The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.” ― Rabindranath Tagore


Why can’t we all just be healthy, happy and get along.

Perhaps we’re not meant to.

Perhaps the comparisons, contrasts and contradictions are a creative spur for life.

Without them we would all flatline.


“There was no real sense of life because she had nothing to contrast it with.” ― Chuck Palahniuk


Without life we would not have death.

Without chaos we would not have order.


But what about all the shades in between contrasts, comparisons and contradictions… all those places where the lines are blurred, where day meets night, where good meets bad, where we are both wet and dry, warm and cold, where I meet you.


Contrasts are an intrinsic part of life… but so are those moments when they overlap and commune.


“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” ― Rumi


Comparisons, contrasts, and contradictions are an intrinsic part of our life, they deserve our respect, because they allow us to define ourselves, to find ourselves, to evolve from one side to another, to become…

Without darkness we would not strive for light.

Without bad we would not strive for good.

Without stupid we would not strive… to learn.


“Practice makes perfect, but nobody’s perfect, so why practice?” ― Kurt Cobain



    • Thank you very much 🙂

      I love that Rumi quote too, every single one of his quotes is suffused with the sunshine of wisdom, but that one hit a deep chord for me.


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