Opposition vs contradiction

[31-10-2021 12:34 PM]

BY Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh

There is what we refer to as opposition, and there is contradiction. The difference between the two is immense.

Opposition refers to ideas, elements, and phenomena differing from each other fundamentally and acutely, often binary and opposed, such as day and night, soil and water, peace and war, correct and false, higher and lower, etc. Each fulfils an important function.

Opposition is both natural and healthy, and it is akin to what we call difference.

Contradiction, on the other hand, refers to tension, clash, and conflict among ideas, phenomena, and individuals and groups. It is often obstructive, harmful and destructive, leading to countless damages and crises.

Contradiction is unwelcome and unhealthy, and it is akin to what we call division.

Contradiction is one of the major problems which disturb and rip our society apart, causing a lot of harm and damage.

It is, at one level, manifested in the discrepancy between what a person says and does, what society claims it wants and what it actually practices, and between the ideal and the real.

But it is manifested in hypocrisy, sly politeness and even treachery.

Among the most fundamental contradictions in our society, one which has surpassed its limits and become so widespread and even a chronic disease, is what we call for and how we judge it when it is implemented.

For example, we all call for development, reform, and change. And we are constantly reminded that our society is either falling behind or backward, and that some “hidden” forces are either wanting to maintain the status quo or pulling us back.

And we often blame reactionary forces or colonial powers of conspiring against us to keep us where we are, hostage to the status quo.

We stress that we should be creative, entrepreneurial, find smart solutions and think outside the box.

And then when an individual or an institution steps forward to develop, modernise or put forward a new idea or project, they start raising hell and finding faults left, right and centre, incriminating the individual or institution, accusing them of wanting the destruction of “our” values and “our” sacred culture.

The unfortunate thing is that we often bow to such harmful discourse, and drop the idea or project.

Such subversive discourse has harmed us a lot, and it has become all-encompassing obstructing change and progress in countless situations and spheres: Fresh ideas in the transport sector, communication, industry, environment, technology, education, commerce, urban planning, energy and so on and so forth.

What we are witnessing is a state of mad mania, even paranoia and schizophrenia, as a result of this unhealthy state of contradiction.

The solution, in our opinion, is two-fold.

The first is educational. As of the early school years, we need to train our students to be positive, forward-looking, open to new ideas, and encouraging of creativity and innovation, and constructively, not obstructively, critical.

Criticism is welcome, but it should be intelligent and well-meaning, not nihilistic or always nay-saying.

The second lies in the confidence, insistence, and perseverance of officials and decision makers: Whenever we come up with a novel idea or project, after careful thinking and planning, we should stick to it and see it through, regardless of what the nay-sayers say or do.

We need to be brave in the face of all backward thinking, subversive individuals or groups.

Otherwise, we pay the heavy price of staying where we are, as we are currently doing.

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