It is a common thing, a trope even, for storytellers to lean on classic, basic dualisms in their work. We see it often, across genre, even in non-fiction. You have light/dark, order/chaos, fire/water, night/day, love/hate, on and on we go. To the cynic, these ideas will seem like tired cliches, and indeed, many an amateur writer will fall back on them when first gaining a grasp of the craft. But if one cares to look deeper, there is an underlying cause as to why these dualisms keep recurring in our stories and our lives.
Duality is an expression of existence in this universe. Balance between the dual entities is what allows life. Earth itself is a tangible example of this, for it orbits in a path of balance in the duality of hot and cold. Too much in either direction, and Earth becomes like one of its siblings, namely Venus or Mars. Yin and yang are a representation of not only light and dark, but of balance, harmony.
This simple truth is something I have found to be more acutely present in my life than I ever thought possible. Through love, there is the balance of masculine and feminine forces, something that is also part of the yin and yang. This goes beyond the physical, also covering the emotional, mental, and if you will, spiritual, realms. The love of my life, whom I have found at last, she is a writer who brings to light truths from the past, from the world that is shunned by the everyday life of mankind. I, as a writer of science fiction, am writing about the future, in particular, cautionary tales from one possible future. The duality of past/future has found its balance point here in the present. Love and writing has led to a balance and fulfillment in my own life, one that, if you have read many of my previous entries, I have sought for so long.
After Terra, the series, is indeed a warning from one possible (even if some would call it far-fetched) future. It’s one that I don’t want to see (at the very least not the whole Earth being gone bit), but I feel must be explored. If but one person can hold onto love and rekindle hope in a future as bleak and dire as the one we first start to explore in After Terra: Year 200, then surely we might be able to do so before we as a species make mistakes that are irreversible. My love, in writing Loftus: The Hall of Dreams, showed the painful truths that mankind is all too eager to bury, and how easily love and hope are seemingly extinguished by the evils perpetrated by man. Yet even in this darkness, courage, hope, and love can still flourish if even one tender soul can stand firm for what is just and true.
The universe is one that demands balance in order for life to work. This is true down to the most fundamental level. In this strange, arbitrary world we humans have created, we are all too often out of balance, forgetting the basic truths of existence in our pointless miring over money, power, status, and resources. Though it is easy to scoff at those who lean on the tropes of opposing dualities when telling stories, I implore you to look deeper, and see the threads of these dual forces at work in the universe. From gravity (bodies and objects that do not find any sort of gravitational balance tend to be destroyed or ejected) to chemistry (unstable, or out of balance substances tend to shed parts of their atomic structure until stabilizing), to the classic elements (too much/too little of fire, air, water, and earth is generally not good). There are of course spectra, different ways of assembling a puzzle rather than a disc that is half dark and half light. Good stories can use these basic building blocks as a foundation, but not lean on them for everything. Life in a universe like this is diverse beyond our imagining, and balance can be achieved in a manner of ways. But it must be achieved, if we are to go anywhere and have any chance of understanding our place in the universe. It must also be achieved if our children are to have an opportunity to explore the things we take for granted.
I don’t have all of the answers, but I have found my counterpart, and my place in this reality makes more sense than it ever has. May we all find the balance we seek.