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The Myth of Symmetry



There is much love for the idea of balance: grace to cover sin, right to counter wrong, good to confront evil. In the chaos and commotion of daily living there is comfort in the notion of redemption and a return to stability for every thought, word, and deed that has caused you shame. The hope of homeostasis eases the pain of many missteps and mistakes, misfortunes most would rather not dwell on yet still desire a reprieve from. Balance, however, is largely a fiction, one derived from a tendency to label the mystique of existence: calling this good that becomes bad, naming that black this becomes white, terming this up that becomes down—never mind the fact there is no real up or down in the universe at all. But as language and labeling recede, there is beautiful asymmetry to behold, abounding all around. Your very life, in fact, from the time you were still just an embryo in your mother’s womb, evidenced imbalance, internally your organs a curious hodgepodge arrangement, externally each limb and appendage slightly smaller or larger, shorter or longer than its twin. The beginnings of the universe, too, pay homage to an imbalance of ingredients in the original ether of space and time. In the beginning, if there had been symmetry, cosmologists maintain all matter would have been canceled by anti-matter, and nothing we now know could have ever happened. This is called the baryon asymmetry problem, or, simply the problem of asymmetry. Asymmetry of course is not only perceived as a problem of mathematics where equations are to be balanced but a problem of being human. When worry outweighs laughter largely absent from your days, and the ghost of loss gets in to you from the vanishing of years, you may feel the temptations to seek balance, find balance, create balance. Tell these temptations to get behind you and set yourself upon a different path. The dark asymmetries of life need not be viewed as a problem to solve or a burden to overcome. They are your birthright, the price of existence, the cost of grace.


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