System Attribute: 
Term Designation: 


Term Characters: 

Positive and Negative

Connectivity of Terms: 


System Description: 

What it is and What it does

Examples: Yin-Yang, Man-Woman, Being-Nothing, Finite-Infinite, Private-Public

"An instructive demonstration of the irreducibility of the dyad is found in Hegel's Logic ... The dialectic which claims to leave the dyad behind in the act of synthesis does no more than pass from the dyad to the triad leaving the complementarity of the opposing terms intact. This can be seen in the dyad Being -- Nothing. This is an authentic dyad and it comes from the monad by the two methods of centripetal and centrifugal approach. The monad is the totality of recurrent elements without distinction. It is true that looked at in one way this is pure being, while in another aspect it is nothing. It is also true that there is a triad Being - Nothing - Becoming, but the triad does not resolve the contradiction; it is a step in understanding the nature of reality, and a very important step, but it is not a step out of the situation presented to us by the very nature of our experience. We still remain confronted with the contradiction that the attempt to derive understanding from knowledge leads us both to pure being and to nothing. We pass through the dyad to come to the triad we do not move out of it. The dyad does not supersede the monad, nor is it superseded by the triad into which it leads. It is always permissible to regard any structure we meet as a monad - that is as diversity in unity - but the better we grasp the universal character of the structure, the more clearly does its inherent polarity become apparent. The universe itself is impregnated with the male and female principles." [DU3 p20-21]

An extract from The Dyad by Anthony Blake. The full work is available from DuVersity Publications (click here).


Dyadic thinking is easily found in the currents of existentialism (e.g. Kierkegaard) and philosophy of organism (e.g. Bergson). It’s most recent appearance has been heavily influenced by quantum mechanics (e.g. Bohr and Bohm) and we should be mindful of the continuing arguments about what quantum mechanics means. We have included also examples from mysticism (e.g. Weil and Low). Both David Bohm and Albert Low were connected at some time with John Bennett. The final quote is taken from a paper on global marketing by Harry Hillman!

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
"Marry, and you will regret it. Do not marry, and you will also regret it. Marry or do not marry, you will regret it either way. Whether you marry or you do not marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the stupidities of the world, and you will regret it; weep over them, and you will also regret it. Laugh at the stupidities of the world or weep over them, you will regret it either way. Whether you laugh at the stupidities of the world or you weep over them, you will regret it either way. Trust a girl, and you will regret it. Do not trust her, and you will also regret it. Trust a girl or do not trust her, you will regret it either way. Whether you trust a girl or do not trust her, you will regret it either way. Hang yourself, and you will regret it. Do not hang yourself, and you will also regret it. Hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret it either way. Whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret it either way."

Henri Bergson (1859-1941)
"How theory of knowledge must take account of these two [quantum complementary] faculties, intellect and intuition, and how also, for want of establishing a sufficiently clear distinction between them, it becomes involved in inextricable difficulties, creating phantoms of ideas to which there cling phantoms of problems, we shall endeavor to show a little further on. We shall see that the problem of knowledge, from this point of view, is one with the metaphysical problem, and that both one and the other depend upon experience. On the one hand, indeed, if intelligence is charged with matter and instinct with life, we must squeeze them both in order to get the double essence from them; metaphysics is therefore dependent upon theory of knowledge. But, on the other hand, if consciousness has thus split up into intuition and intelligence, it is because of the need it had to apply itself to matter at the same time as it had to follow the stream of life. The double form of consciousness is then due to the double [dichonic] form of the real, and theory of knowledge must be dependent upon metaphysics. In fact, each of these two lines of thought leads to the other; they form a circle, [e.g., a Tao, a circle of circles—a quanton] and there can be no other centre to the circle but the empirical study of evolution. It is only in seeing consciousness run through matter, lose itself there and find itself there again, divide and reconstitute itself, that we shall form an idea of the mutual opposition [rather, complementarity] of the two terms, as also, perhaps, of their common [complementary] origin."
also see: http://www.quantonics.com/Bergsons_Creative_Evolution_Topic_26.html

Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962)
"Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question. How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress. The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. Never express yourself more clearly than you think. Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true."

Simone Weil (1909 – 1943)
"The contradictions the mind comes up against - these are the only realities: they are the criterion of the real. There is no contradiction in what is imaginary. Contradiction is the test of necessity. All true good carries with it conditions which are contradictory and as a consequence is impossible. He who keeps his attention really fixed on this impossibility and acts will do what is good. In the same way all truth contains a contradiction."
The Writings of Simone Weil: An Anthology, ed. Siam Miles, 1986, p. 259

Basic Dyads in Contemporary Physicsby David Bohm (1917 – 1992) Published in the journal Systematics, Vol. 1 No. 3(1963)

Towards a Logic of Ambiguity (.doc) by Albert Low (1928 - )

The Competitiveness of Nations in a Global Knowledge-Based Economy
An Interdisciplinary Studies PhD Thesis by Harry Hillman Chartrand © at the University of Saskatchewan