I have been thinking a lot about negative definition, poles and tensions and field, so it was a gift to spend the morning listening to a wonderful lecture by Dr. Iain McGilchrist based on material from his forthcoming book(s), The Matter With Things. (I am currently reading his book The Master and the Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.)
He started the lecture with an Iroquois creation myth and three quotes from philosophy, physics and poetry:
“A thing without oppositions ipso facto does not exist … existence lies in opposition.”
“It is the hallmark of any deep truth that its negation is also a deep truth.”
“The heart’s wave would never have risen up so beautifully in its cloud of spray, and become spirit, were it not for the grim old cliff of destiny standing in its way…”
He then went on to weave a multidisciplinary tapestry of a lecture with quotes from Pasteur, William Blake, Heraclitus, Goethe, Nietzsche, William James, etc.