When we are young, we tend to see the world in absolute terms. Things are absolutely right or wrong, good or bad, hot or cold, big or small, etc. As we grow older, we tend to view the world in relative terms. When seen from different points of view, things can have both elements of right and wrong, good and bad, hot and cold, big and small, etc. In essence, we tend to divide the world into dichotomies and to perceive our position in a given dichotomy as absolute when we are young and as relative when we grow older. Over time, our view of the world changes from black and white to shades of grey.
Take the “hot – cold” dichotomy which is infinitely hot at infinity “A” in one direction and infinitely cold at infinity “B” in the opposite direction. Imagine that we are sitting on the continuum somewhere between A and B. If we look at A, we can say that our position is relatively cold because A is infinitely hot. But if we turn around and look at B, we can say that our position also relatively hot because B is infinitely cold. Our position is both relatively cold and hot at the same time. Now, let’s move along this continuum to A where it is infinitely hot or B where it is infinitely cold. The result is the same – we are finished, kaput!
So, what do we conclude from all this? First, life is relative. We need to live with the ambiguity that our position is both “hot and cold” at the same time. And if we don’t like our position, we just need to turn around and look in the opposite direction. Second, extremes are dangerous and the result is the same in either direction. The best path to follow is generally one of balance and moderation.