both sides now

The Two Sides of the Same Coin

by Hat Bailey

No one can dispute the fact that we live in a world of duality. This is what makes perception possible. Without opposites nothing can be sensed or perceived. If you want a brighter white you will need a darker black with which to differentiate and perceive it. There is a graphic that demonstrates this:



Some of these opposites that illustrate the dualistic nature of the universe we inhabit are such things as cold/hot, high/low, the aforementioned white/black, big/small, sharp/dull, fast/slow, wet/dry and so on. What can be seen in some of these opposites is that one represents something, and the other the lack of something, so we can add present/absent to the list of opposites. For instance, darkness is the absence of light really, rather than the presence of an opposite to light. Same with wet/dry. In the first there is the presence of water, in the other is the absence of water.

One of the most problematic of these opposites is the duality good/bad. Here again I am thinking that with “good” something is present and with “bad” something is missing. What is the missing element? In my opinion it is love. This is why the Master said: “Perfect love casteth out all fear.”

We are taught as children that the opposite of love is hate, but I am sure this is a false dichotomy. It is based simply upon the fact that we have a real flaw in our language in regards to this often abused word “love.” The Inuit have scores of words for what we call snow. There is a word for slushy snow, crusted snow, powdery dry snow, and on and on. The Greeks had many words for what we call love. It is obvious that a woman’s love for a good pizza is not the same as a mother’s love for her child. Most of what is called “love” in our society is related more to the amount of desire or want of something that we deem pleasurable, necessary or enhancing to our well-being in some way. Sometimes it is a word used to describe a compulsion or obsession arising from unconscious fears and needs. Thus jealousy and a desire to dominate can be confused with love.

There is a kind of love the Greeks called Agape, which was different from romantic love, brotherly or familial love, or the love of good chocolate. It was a deep appreciation of the mere existence and beingness, for want of a better word, of some person, place or object. An unconditional affection and gratitude that something exists and a desire, without references to the personal self-concept, for it to be the most it can be, for its welfare and ultimate expression.

There is an African concept called “Ubuntu” which also is correlated to this kind of love. The zulu word Ubuntu refers to a feeling of gratitude and appreciation for the fact that I could not be myself without you. It implies an integral connection between everyone in community, in existence. The concept of the integral sovereign. In one sense this means I can’t be a good holy person unless there is somewhere someone being a rascally no-goodnik. Therefore, I should appreciate every sort of person because each one helps to define the unique aspect of the whole creation that I consider myself to be. It also places a great stress upon the equality of all men. There are other ways to put it of course:

“A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, (or bad) for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”




Personally I believe that there is a Real World beyond this holographic or dream-universe from which we originate. Life in that World is not dualistic and relies upon Knowing or Being rather than perception. In that World there is only Good, but it is not the “good” of this world which relies upon its opposite to have any meaning. The Good of that World is Love, which is beyond opposites. More enlightened people sometimes say the opposite to love is fear, but of course one of these is not Real but based upon a delusion or imaginary belief in loss or lack. Some have described fear as False Evidence Appearing Real, which is very accurate in an intellectual way.

In our world we have this belief in evil people and good people. Never realizing for a second, in most cases, that these are simply the two sides of the same coin. Ask yourself this, is it possible for you to have a one-sided coin? If you love the good person, then you must also love the bad person, mustn’t you? One is not possible without the other, and every single one of us humans inevitably have both of these aspects in various states of imbalance within us. Mostly we flip-flop from one to the other, from one part of our life to another, from one life to another.

As the Master said, “you have been taught that you should love your friends and hate your enemies. I tell you that you should love your enemies.” He might have added “because they make you what you are, they are a part of what you are. How can you know you are ‘righteous’ until you have confronted those who you believe are evil.”

We are taught to love the victim and hate the victimizer, yet both are two sides of the same human coin, and long experience tells us that one is quite likely to flip into the other at some point. In fact, many who are victims of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse as children are likely to become compulsively abusive as parents themselves later in this life, or another.

Both are caught up in an energy pattern that is causing both of them great pain, and both are deserving and greatly-needing compassion and love. This does not mean, of course, that intervention by those who are more sane is not needed to stop the abuse, but healing must take place on both sides as well. Simply adding pity and sympathy to one side, while adding punishment and pain to the other, will never cure the underlying problem. Understanding is the only real cure and it must begin with a program of forgiveness and realization of spiritual unity and the causes of imbalance, followed by reconciliation and restitution where needed.

A perpetrator cannot be one without there being someone with a victim-consciousness for him to prey upon. Now those who don’t believe in the spiritual and interconnectedness of all living will find this hard to believe, but there is a force that draws a victim to his victimizer and vice versa. A perpetrator will never victimize someone who does not have a deep inner compulsion to being a victim or enabler. I know this is hard to accept; and if you cannot, fine, perhaps you are a person who is not ready for this kind of teaching. That is alright.

What a person realizes eventually is that appearances not only can be, but are, deceiving in this world. We give ourselves rational-sounding reasons for what we do, where we go, and who we associate with. That is the purpose of the ego, to reassure us and lead us along in this delusion we call mortal life. But the fact is that most of our decisions and actions are guided by forces from deep within us. Compulsions arise from false concepts of who we are and what we have been.

I assure you that the Universe is essentially loving and just, because deep inside (though you doubt it) you are loving and just. You cannot be different from the Source from Whence you come. Why then does it seem that the innocent suffer abuse? It must be because they are born with a need to receive what they conceive of as justice. It must be because they are composed of imaginary bad as well as imaginary good, and are seeking balance.

If this world is an world of deception and illusion (which it is), what is the basic lie from which it and all its troubles extend? It is the lie of separation and the seeking of “specialness.” As wonderful as you are you can never be “special” in the way you seek. This is because your real identity is inseparably connected to all else, who must therefore share in any wonderfulness or terribleness there is about you. It belongs equally to everyone else. The more spectacularly you manifest your wonderfulness, the more the whole is exalted by it—it does not belong to you alone.



All are made alive and free by the same Spirit, yet each is perfectly equal. In a world where people seek to rise “above” their fellows in fundamental status or value through attempting to control and bridle the individual gifts and powers of their fellows for what they see as personal benefit, there is going to be trouble and the appearance of suffering and lack. Such individuals will also be compelled at some point to “play” the other side of the dualistic coin until the point at which they can forgive themselves and find balance and stability.

Forgiving “others” is the only really sincere form of forgiveness, and is where one should start, because forgiveness of oneself first can be seen as insincere and self serving. Forgiving others is forgiving yourself spiritually. So forgiving those you see as “enemies” is a good place to start. Forgiveness is humility, because it is seeing another differently. Seeing the “other” as oneself, just full of infinite potential, is just as worthy of infinite love.

For those then who have been abused, the healing must include seeing the abuser in a different way—as a part of themselves, acting compulsively and suppressing their self-hatred to appear uncaring and without feelings. Even if they were totally unfeeling, then there would also be nothing more to hate or despise than to hate a force of nature that has no choice in what it is, like a storm or an earthquake. It is simply another part of oneself that at some point must be integrated.

It is very simple really, but I can’t pretend, or promise you that it is easy, just that it is worth it.


Hat Bailey is the eldest in a family of nine kids raised in the ’60s in Bakersfield CA, and on the Jameson cattle ranch in the Tehachapi Mountains east of there. He served a two-year volunteer mission for the Mormon Church and graduated from BYU in Utah with a BS in psychology. He has metaphorically worn many hats, a few of them including: computer programmer, mental health rehab specialist, electrician’s helper, hard-rock underground copper miner, salesman, general manager of California Compost Corporation, swap meet business owner, resort maintenance manager, actor, taxi driver, long-haul truck driver, roofing business contractor. Hat presently lives off-the-grid in the Big Bend area of Texas working as rock mason and general handyman, and the shepherd of a small non-denominational Christian church.


duality 2.


Groove of the Day

for comparison

Listen to Joni Mitchell performing the original version of “Both Sides Now”

Listen to Joni Mitchell performing the new version of “Both Sides Now”


Weather Report

99° and Clear, Cloudy and Scattered Thundershowers in the Afternoon and Evening


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