Everything we perceive and know is, deep down, an effect of spin. All the polar opposites that intrigue and plague us—north and south, right and wrong, catsup and mustard, predator and prey, woman and man, passion and aggression, left and right—are essential to the functioning of the universe. Opposites repel each other, thus starting a spin. That same whirl that we seem unable to transcend, even to the destruction of everything we hold dear, is truly irresistible. The earth itself spins. The solar system spins. Water spins down the drain in a predictable direction, depending on which pole—north or south—it answers to.
Here is the beauty of Steve Hagen’s view in How the World Can Be the Way It Is: spin always points beyond itself. If you imagine the world turning on its axis, all of the movement which parallels the equator spins, spins, spins. Oceans and wind currents bow to this spin. But the north/south axis is static, unmoving, and it “suggests a direction which points beyond the spinning system, much as north points beyond the Earth while east and west do not.”
North and south cannot exist as opposites without what lies beyond their polarity. Imagine you’re perceiving the Earth from five hundred miles out in space. You will see the Earth spin, you will see ocean and weather patterns bending to accommodate that spin. You will be unaffected, except perhaps by the stunning beauty of it all. You’re seeing the polarity within its larger context.
“The relative aspect—conceptual reality—is characterized by spin. If we latch on to any object within that world of spin, we too will begin to oscillate, back and forth, up and down, with the spin. The other element of our experience, however, is steady and unchanging—this is the aspect of experience which is Absolute,” Hagen writes.
We live in the relative with the ability to see the Absolute. That is our human gift.
And here’s where I got happy, and quietly curious, wanting to look for the “pointer beyond” in all circumstances. Realizing that even the most intractable conflicts point toward harmony. Not resolution. Not one over the other. As long as you grab onto that spinning golden ring of opposition/opposites, one side wins, one loses and the game repeats itself. It spins.
If we live with a larger view—if we see the world as it is and take no sides but that of witness—does all that up-close-and-personal with the Absolute make us indifferent, detached, heartless? Would you be indifferent seeing the whole blue spinning ball of Earth in dark space?
Thanks to Mark Bailey for the star spin photo.
The firefighter and deer photo is from Facebook. Sorry, I cannot remember who posted it.