It turns out that an eerie type of chaos can lurk just behind a facade of order – and yet, deep inside the chaos lurks an even eerier type of order.
Would our lives have any meaning if we were immortal or death didn’t exist? Would we even know what life is without knowing death first? Would we appreciate love if we never knew loneliness or value security if we never knew fear? Everything is effectively defined—and given significance—through its opposite and counterpart. If it wasn’t for the horrors of war, we would never appreciate the importance of peace. Poverty needs wealth, freedom needs oppression, and light needs darkness. These things, which are all opposed, are also mutually dependent on each other. This is the paradox in which things that are conflicting are also inextricably tied to one another.
How do you explain death without life with which to compare it to? Is not darkness merely the absence of light and wealth the absence of poverty? Without their opposing force, these concepts and beliefs would be worthless, indefinable, and incomplete. Without this system of disparate forces, we wouldn’t innovate, change, invent, adapt, create…these things, all the beauty and advancements we’re responsible for, are all bred through—and because of—conflict.
Through adversity we survive. Without a challenge, we stagnate and decay.
Life (and human existence in general) is nothing but constant struggle, a struggle that we need in order to define ourselves and give us purpose. If we didn’t have conflict, what would we have? What would drive us and occupy our time? Does not every story and narrative—fiction and fact alike—have a central conflict of sorts? It’s not merely something so metaphysical and grant: it could be as simple as wanting to graduate, getting a promotion, or losing weight…it could be as cosmic as good versus evil, chaos versus order, destruction versus creation.
In poorer countries, the concern is survival, modernization, increasing wealth and prosperity, and so on. In wealthier countries, where such problems are largely solved or marginalized (discounting a minority of people), the concern becomes more philosophical. We strive to maintain the standard of living and comfort we’ve reached, and struggle to resist the wearing down of our prosperous, affluent way of life as time passes. We also begin to develop a more existential dimension to our purpose: we start questioning the purpose of our lives, going through existential crises, engaging in ultimately petty pursuits. Devoid of any real conflict, we engage in subconsciously fabricating them. Or perhaps they were just always there, for we always need some obstacle or challenge of some kind. Even if we reach utopia, we would find our paradise somehow flawed and troublesome in and of itself (boredom would likely be the issue)…ambition and perseverance, this desire to always strive for something and overcome something else, is as much a human trait as inquisitiveness.
Everything is in constant conflict with everything else. We live in a system—globally, naturally, and universally—that is in constant flux and change and chaos and disagreement. And it is this natural state of divergences and clashes that is so dynamic, so beautiful inspite of its absurdity.