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The Strength of Binding Opposites: Necessary Doubling of Worlds and Characters

The earth melts into the sea as the sea sinks into the earth

— Heraclitus

If colors had thoughts, indigo might tell you that nothing is but what is not, since colors are the result of what is rejected through reflection and absorption, the nature of the eye that receives. Whether or not the madness of Hamlet was genuine, or a Machiavellian performance on his part, ceases to matter in the case of his ‘doubling’, the flip side of Hamlet that is never the right side, when both are spinning in the air of chance, until death settles the score, heads or tails. While there is the notion of the gray of a character, on the fringes of good and evil, gray fails to exist without the intermingling of two things, black and white. We are our thoughts and our minds are the vessels, as surely as our bodies inform us and try to hold us together. Limits of thought are often guided by limits of our bodies, exhaustion and pain, pleasure and debilitation. But mind and body are united, even more than the thousands of miles of mycelium that embrace and infiltrate the roots of trees in the woods, speaking through each other. The One are many and the many are the One, each with its flip side, doubly-reassured in its own duality.

Simply the thing I am shall make me live

— Parolles, All’s Well That Ends Well

Perhaps the only genuine noun is This. When I just typed, ‘This’, I was thinking of a tree, a white oak, since I just typed a bit about mycelium intertwining with the roots of trees. In my mind, I pointed to that tree, drawing the attention of an imagined other to the imagined tree and all that lives imaginarily beneath it, inside of it. But there is no ‘you’ — not the fuzzy one I had in mind — no tree in the woods and what lies beneath, There is no me in those woods, not the one I imagine, either, not really. But from the wellspring of the imagination as a whole, our ‘other’ does exist, the flip side of ourselves that never lands on heads or tails, only uncertainty, in its endless course of shimmering spins. I hesitate to call the world of ‘I’ as a life of mind and body, since we’re playing this language game under the assumption that mind/body are inextricable. We do think with our hands and our feet, feel with our thoughts and memories. The quote above this paragraph is from Parolles, a name that literally means, language, the blowhard, ‘two-faced’ rascal of the play. Never mind Parolles and his irredeemability, it’s his doubling of himself that shows us a glimpse at the nature of being.

A Flurry of Doubling:

I think, therefore, I am (Descartes)

A=A (Aristotle)

The beingness of being (Heidegger)

I am not what I am (Shakespeare)

Existence precedes essence (Sartre)

Alas, after a certain age every man is responsible for his face (Camus)

Nothing is but what is not… (Shakespeare, again)

The entirety of this piece is in the gray, if not the entirety of all that exists. With that in mind, to consider ‘doubling’ as indicative of two is absurd. Doubling is certainly more than one and tends to find a momentum into three, four, forty million… Doubling is indicative of more than one way, another side of the character, the flip side of the world’s end, traitor, doubly-duplicitous, imagined worlds, ad infinitum. Harmony is the strength of binding opposites, much like the bowstring finds it use by being pulled back from its place, before it snaps back. The arrow takes its own course, lives its own story and world(s). While choices within a circumstance might seem like a contradiction to a character’s character, those choices might not be as much a contradiction as a glimpse at the other side of their being, the imagined world within them, one that only shows itself in a seeming contradiction, but that might be the most authentic thing.

Hayden Moore

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