As argued throughout this web site, everything is made of opposites, and
every change has two opposing forces. These forces move in opposite, or
contradictory directions, so we call this struggle of opposites a contradiction.
Contradictions occur everywhere in nature--earth-sun, predator-prey,
electrons-protons--in every object and every process. Life is a process of
overcoming obstacles--resolving contradictions in order to move forward and
Here are a number of contradictions that most of us resolve on a typical day:
In general, work is about resolving unresolved contradictions.
- in bed - out of bed
- unwashed - washed
- unshaven - shaven (well, those wooly European type guys at least, unless they
grow a beard)
- unbrushed teeth - brushed teeth
- uncombed hair - combed hair
- undressed - dressed
- hungry - fed
- morning newspaper unread - paper read (well, at least the
Boondocks, Doonesbury, and Dilbert cartoons)
- in the house - out of the house
- waiting for the bus - on the bus (or off the bike/on the bike, out of
the car/in the car, etc. depending on your mode of transportation)
- going to work/school - at work/school
Here are some contradictions that apply to a typical office job:
- On an assembly line the products go from unassembled to assembled.
- For a bookkeeper, the books go from out-of balance to in-balance, or accounts receivable go from unsent to sent.
- For a busy parent or child care provider, diapers go from unchanged to changed.
- For a gardener the hedge goes from untrimmed to trimmed.
- School involves contradictions such as changing unsolved math problems to solved problems, undiagrammed sentences to diagrammed, misspelled words to correctly spelled words, and so on.
Of course our bodily functions continue no matter what kind of job we have. No
matter how pressing our work demands are, sooner or later we have to go to the
bathroom (full bladder - empty bladder), get something to eat (hungry - fed),
take a stretch or rest break (unstretched - stretched, unrested - rested).
- unread email - read email
- unread in-box - read in-box
- unheard voicemail - heard voicemail
- unwritten reports - written reports
And so it goes all day long--we face contradictions and we resolve them--or
they get resolved naturally, like when we get tired and fall asleep at the end
of the day.
Some contradictions are more important than others. For a discussion of that,
return to First Things First.