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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %DICHOTOMY CLASSIFICATION DIFFERENCE GOOD EVIL DUAL 890707 In trying to deal with the differences which we encounter in everyday life we often fall into the trap of making excessive use of dichotomous systems of classification. Often it is misleading to try to divide things, relationships, and other realities into two mutually exclusive classes. At first it might seem that all numbers are either even or odd in character; until you encounter fractions. Then it might seem that all numbers are either whole numbers or fractions; until you encounter irrational numbers which cannot be expressed as fractions. Then it might seem that all numbers are rational or irrational; until you encounter complex numbers which are the sum of rational and irrational parts. Systems of classification which presume to divide the whole domain of classification into just two classes end up basing decisions upon a single criteria. What is to be done if two different criteria give contradictory messages as to how the distinction is to be made? Dichotomous classifications systems are simplistic in character. In such a system there is a tendency to view the members of the two classes as having nothing in common, even though it is always possible to find something in common between the members of the two classes. It appeared that elementary constituents of nature such as electrons and radiation had nothing in common, except perhaps energy; until it was discovered that waves have particulate characteristics and particles have wave characteristics, and both have linear and angular momentum. In most situations of human conflict it is common for members of the opposing teams in the conflict to heighten their awareness of those things which divide them, and to forget those things which they have in common. The relationship between the participants degenerate into statements about us/them, either/or, good/evil, acceptable/rejectable, saveable/waste-able, heaven/ hell, spare/kill. Systems of mutually exclusive classification procedures inevitably lead to relationships of mutual alienation; unless there are integrative principles which are valued more highly than are the elements of the system of dichotomous classification. In the absence of integrative ultimate values there is a tendency for disintegration to be the dominant pattern. It pays to look for ultimate values which are integrative in ways which compensate for our dichotomous tendencies. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================