The Economy: Good, Bad or Maybe Both?

I blame Aristotle.  He’s the one who laid the groundwork two thousand or so years ago for thinking of reality in terms of duality. He told us things were either “A or not A.” In linear, dualistic thinking, there’s no possibility that anything other than one of two possible conditions or outcomes exist. And things tend to move between the two.. leaving, literally, no other options. So, things are good or they are not good. And if they are not good, well…take the economy as we speak.

The economy, as evidenced by the stock market and the standard of living, was booming. In Aristotle’s world that was good. Now, the DOW has plummeted and the banks may need rescuing so that must now be bad. Hence, all the worry and yes, even panic.

Like I said, I blame Aristotle.

We are two thousand years smarter than when he saw all that he was able to see from where he was standing. Now, thanks to Einstein, quantum physics and a whole host of other intuitive and intelligent women and men, we know that things are hardly what they appear, that what we think we see determines what we see, depending on your vantage point, two observers will see things differently, and finally, and perhaps most importantly, nothing is static…everything is constantly in motion. Which is why Aristotle really set us off on the wrong track because if everything is constantly in motion, then nothing is ever “A or not A” but some combination or variation of both. Which is why the “good” economy was great for some, good for others, and difficult for the rest. But more importantly, it’s why the present economy, that was perceived as good, is not Now bad.

The more accurate representation is the Eastern symbol for Yin and Yang. It is a circle with two sections delineated with one black and one white.  Aha! you say. There it is. Aristotle’s “A or not.” Well, not even close. Because within the white portion of the Yin is a black circle and within the black portion of the Yang is a white circle. Both hold the seeds of the other and both are simultaneously what they are and what they are not.

While things were seemingly great with the economy it held the seeds of the change we are Now experiencing.  And as we go through this transition, no matter how apparently difficult, it holds the seeds of a time when we will have passed through this difficulty. It’s all an endless circle…with every part holding the potential for the emergence of every other part.

Which is where the saying “It’s not what happens to you it’s how you handle it” comes from.

Change is inevitable yet it’s what we resist most in our lives. We like to know who and what we can count on…who and what are reliable. But it would serve us best to accept that since everything is in motion, it would make much more sense for us to remain fluid in our thinking as well so that we can align with rather than resist the inevitable.

The economy and the stock market are never up or down. They are constantly in flux…as are we. It is only the way we choose to look at things that causes us to become worrisome and fearful when that movement accelerates.

Let’s think of the current economic transition as if we are going through a tunnel rather than falling down a bottomless well.  By so doing, we can acknowledge the temporary diminished visibility and know that at the other end will be an expanded vista with greater light. Not to mention that without a little darkness…how would we ever appreciate the light?

I’m not a Pollyanna. I know transition and change are challenging.  But if we can understand that Aristotle was limited in his view and that we have relied upon his thinking for way too long, perhaps we can provide more flexibility and less suffering to the challenges we are Now being asked to meet.

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