Here “binaries” refers to opposites, while human rationality is the way the mind thinks or uses logic. Therefore, the meaning of this statement is that the human mind believes that most things have an opposite. Now it is true that generally the human mind thinks in binaries but this belief that everything has an opposite is flawed and incorrect. This essay will add a third dimension to the argument and will prove that how that belief is flawed. We can see how most of us believe that everything has an opposite, for whenever we think opposites we say, yes, there is light and dark, good and evil, yin and yang.
However there are two flaws to this. Firstly, this is a fallacy of over-generalization as not everything can have an opposite. Secondly, the examples of opposites stated above are some of the most obvious examples that come to our mind. Therefore, we need to initially look at what the meaning of “opposite” is. Opposite as a noun has 3 meanings: 1) One that is opposite or contrary to another, 2) An opponent or antagonist, 3) An antonym. Looking at these three meanings we can infer that all three of them relatively mean the same thing. So now we must see in what way do we mean opposite.
As in, do we mean a true opposite or do we mean an abstract opposite. We cannot consider an abstract opposite. An abstract opposite of something would be a “not-IT”. This is the logic used when people say that the opposite of a cat is a dog. But then again a parrot could also be an opposite of a cat. And with the logic that if two things are opposite to one thing then they must be the same, would mean that a dog and parrot is the same thing which is fundamentally incorrect. Another example is that of “What is the opposite of a spoon? ” Some say to this “Fork”.
But then what becomes of the knife? Therefore, we should consider a true opposite. Now how can we consider an opposite? Would a true opposite be something that is different from the original in its characteristics? Well some scientists may argue that there is an opposite of everything, including us. They would say that as we are composed of matter, our opposite would be the anti-matter. So the opposite of a cat would be an anti-matter cat. Though this is plausible, we must not forget that no one has seen or experienced anti-matter and neither is its existence proven.
Therefore, it is just a theory and thus we cannot continue our argument any further with respect to anti-matter as it has not been proven. So we can conclude that an opposite is something which has opposite characteristics to the original. That would be to say that as there is dark there is light, for heat there is cold and for good there is evil. But then again are these not just compliments? In the Quran, God mentions that everything has been created in pairs. However, this does not mean that everything has been created in opposites; it only implies that for something created there was another compliment also created.
As we observe, heat and cold are two compliments, just two relatives, for what is the opposite of 50 degrees Celsius. As we know, the temperature can only drop to minus 273 degrees Celsius; however it can rise to as much as 10,000 degrees Celsius. Thus, we notice that this example is just relative because values can only be relative to one another. If we observe, our main error lies in this that we mistake something which is a compliment to be an opposite. That would be like saying petrol is opposite to a car just because it is a compliment. And we also see that there is flaw with the belief that light and dark are two opposites.
Light consists of particles called photons, darkness on the other hand is simply the absence of light not its opposite, as darkness does not consist of some “anti-photons”. If we further observe, another example is that of friends and foes. A friend is an ally, a companion and somebody we trust, while a foe is an enemy, or a person we would prefer not to be with. Now in this sense the belief in opposites is true, but only to a certain extent. That would be because only how that person would perceive those two people would be opposite, otherwise those two people would be both humans, and may have some of the same characteristics.
Therefore, again we come back to the fact that it is relative. Now we shall look at the age old opposites, i. e. good and evil. At first good and evil seem like total and perfect opposites. Though we know how to do define the characteristics of good, noble, just, kind and etc, and also the characteristics of evil, cruel, unjust and etc, and though we say that one person is good and another evil, it is not an exact definition of that person. We consider whether a person is good or evil depending on the side we are.
For example, during The Crusades, Christians and Muslims fought against each other over the possession of the holy city Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Lands. As Jesus was born in Bethlehem and lived most of his life in Jerusalem, it is an important place for Christians. Meanwhile, because Muhammad travelled to Jerusalem during the night of al-Miraaj and then was taken up to the Heavens, Jerusalem is also an important place for Muslims. Both were fighting for reasons they believed were noble. Christians fought to relieve the locals from what they believed was oppression by the rulers, i. e.
Muslims, and to gain control over land they believed was rightfully theirs. While, Muslims fought to keep control of that land. Therefore, while Muslims would be thinking of themselves as the righteous and the Christians as the sinners, Christians themselves would be thinking of Muslims as the evil and themselves as the good. Another perfect example is of German dictator Adolf Hitler. Now while Hitler was conquering neighboring European states such as Czechoslovakia and Poland, his people may have thought of him as a hero who was bringing back former glory and honor which they had lost due to their defeat in World War 1.
However, the Czechs and Poles which were conquered may have very well thought of him as a villain and tyrannical dictator. So we can see that our perception of who is good and who is evil itself depends on where we are and whose side we are taking. Thus even though the characteristics which define good and evil are opposite, how we define people with these words is relative to our background and situation in that matter. But of course we cannot say that there are no opposites, for example fairness and cheating are two opposite traits.
Generosity and miserliness are also opposite. But it is the qualities themselves that are opposite, otherwise to who we apply these characteristics depends on who we are siding with, and therefore our perception on the matter. Now let us take an example closer to home, for example the mother and father of a child. Now some people would say that they are opposites but in the end, are they not both supposed to take care of the child? Are they not both supposed to give a child love, teach it to talk, help it to walk, explain the importance of mannerism?
Are they not both equally responsible for the upbringing of the child? Yes, they are both supposed to contribute equally in the child rearing process. Of course, the mother and father are not one and the same but neither are they polar opposites performing completely different tasks with completely different purposes. And then there are also some things for which there are clearly no opposites. Such as, what is the opposite of space or more importantly, what is the opposite of time? For these we have not been given any opposite, not even an abstract one.
Therefore, we can see that in this world there exist very few opposites. Though psychologically we believe that there are many opposites, in reality there are only very few such true opposites. WORKS CITED •“Opposite – Definition of opposite by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. ” Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus – The Free Dictionary. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. http://www. thefreedictionary. com/opposite. •“The Crusades. ” History Learning Site. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/cry1. htm.