Alexander Schimmer | yin and Yang | Change your dualistic frame

The dualism is that for any domain or area of thought there is in a practical sense always a duality or opposites side. Night and day. Right and wrong. Mind and body. When we view the world through a dualistic lens, this of course creates natural divisions that led us to great deal of dissension. Democrats and Republicans. Conservative and Liberal. If I’m going to be right than you must be wrong.

So let’s check the official definition from the Cambridge English Dictionary. Dualism is the belief that things are divided into two often very different or opposing parts. Yin and yang.

Different or opposing parts is a way of seeing the world that creates problems for us in our daily lives. Dualism creates and identifies as different healthy and sick creating a potential hierarchy that identifies one as being better or more important than the other. Rich and poor is another dualism that can cause problems in relationships between people.


Pluralism is another way of looking at the world that hasn’t gained a lot of credibility. It is a theory that says for any given domain or category we can divide it in a lot of ways according to the Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy.


A counter view to dualism pluralism is the concept of monism. Monism is defined in the Basics of Philosophy as the metaphysical and theological view that all is one, that there are no fundamental divisions.

Monism leads to the view that all people are the same. No one is superior to another. Thinking this way recognizes the good in all people. Monism does not equate the action of the person with their value as a human.

Unfortunately we have each grown up in a dualistic world. God and satan, good and bad, moral and immoral. So to overcome this and create a new lens or frame for viewing and interacting with our world we have to change.

Our Personal framework or point of view.

Each of us has a personal frame or lens through which we interpret the events around us and and our interactions with others. For example, if dualism is part of my frame or lens it is easy for me to subscribe to the view that people are different due to the color of their skin. It also leads me to feel comfortable arguing with someone by saying I am right and therefore you are wrong. As you can imagine this won’t get to any solutions for the complex problems our society faces today.

Monism on the other hand leads us to another view: that all people are the same regardless of their skin color and should be treated equally. This general view allows me to have an opinion and you another and to realize that neither of us is totally right or wrong. It allows for focusing on what we have in the common rather than our differences.

Changing your frame of reference or lens.

Each of us has the ability to change our lens to go from either a dualism point of view to a monism point of view. For me I live with a lens that is sometimes dualistic and on other topics monistic. This is like the situational ethics that was popular in the 90s. Which says that you have to take into account the context of act rather than just the morality of the act in isolation.

I see people through a frame and lens that supports monism for people and dualism for events. So I view actions as right or wrong based on my upbringing and moral compass, but I don’t see the differences in people as dualistic. Skin color doesn’t make us different. Where we are raised doesn’t make us fundamentally different. We are all human beings. Some of us have faulty moral compasses, but they are still human.

To better interface with the world and people around you change your frame of reference or lens from one that is based on dualism to one based on monism.