Just Kids Question #18: The Value Of Contradiction

by Patti Smith

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Just Kids Question #18: The Value Of Contradiction

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:25 pm

To me, Robert and I were irrevocably entwined, like Paul and Elisabeth, the sister and brother in Cocteau's Les Enfants Terribles. We played similar games, declared the most obscure treasure, and often puzzled friends and acquaintances by our indefinable devotion.

He had been chided for denying his homosexuality; we were accused of not being a real couple. In being open about his homosexuality, he (Robert) feared that our relationship would be destroyed.

We needed time to figure out what all of this meant, how we were going to come to terms with and redefine what our love was called. I learned from him that often contradiction is the clearest way to truth.


Just Kids, pg. 200

Contradictory states of being are actually fairly common for us humans. We protest them, find them confusing, but ultimately and mysteriously contradiction works to bring us through impossible problems.

Have you ever found yourself coping with a contradiction in your life? Share your thoughts about the power of contradiction as "the clearest way to truth.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: Just Kids Question #18: The Value Of Contradiction

Unread postby Buster » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:36 pm

I think it is human nature to try and find pattern and meaning, and when we are faced with something that doesn't fit our preconceptions, it is easy to move into black and white thinking - it is either good or bad, right or wrong.
Patti is right about one thing, though - suspending judgement takes time. It takes a lot of reflection, and a lot of gnawing on the bones of our own biases.
I ...I nearly wrote "struggle"... with contradictions every day, but that isn't quite accurate. I am very aware of the contradictions within me, but I try hard not to struggle with them. Instead, I try to investigate what it is that makes them seem so intractable...and often discover that it is my own limited point of view that makes it a contradiction. When I change my perspective, the seeming contradiction vanishes.


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