“It’s impossible to hold two opposite thoughts in your head at the same time,” my philosophy professor said all those years ago in college. Maybe it was then, but it’s not now.
I want to live simply, with few possessions, in a house with clean tile floors and no curtains.
I want a studio that isn’t also the guest room. A studio that is wonderfully stocked with books and paints, papers and tools.
You can see the difference–a spare, sparsely furnished house and a fully stocked studio are at opposite ends of the possessions spectrum. And yet I can easily want both, no discomfort to think about them both.
I want to wear only black, gray, and neutrals. Tailored and easy.
I want to wear bright colors in soft draped shapes.
No worries that they are both opposites. Both ideas are equally pleasing. But I do not want tailored outfits in colors, or draped black clothing. No. It’s the opposites that appeal.
I’d like to work only with black ink and pens. Do simple-line drawings that are unambiguous.
I’d like to work in watercolors. Complicated washes, wet-in-wet techniques that are meaningful, but not hard-edged.
So what does all this mean? I don’t know. I think we can hold opposite thoughts in our heads that are more complicated than just what we want. We can love and hate the same person at the same time. We can be strong and needy at the same time. We can be profoundly spiritual and still yearn for material things.
I think this is not only possible, I think it makes us interesting and flexible, as well as confusing and frustrating. The whole idea of opposites is fascinating. It’s not always possible to blend or have both. Sometimes we have to choose. But meanwhile, we can love opposites.
Tell me about yours–what’s confusing and impossible and wonderful for you?
Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist, a trainer and creativity coach. She’s not confused by any of them.
Image sources: Japanese house–http://cruises.about.com/library/pictures/japan/blshimonoseki05.htm