Out of indifference, duality immediately breaks forth.
In Girl Interrupted, there is a scene where Winona Ryder's character, a young lady diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, talks with a profound psychiatrist after a series of mishaps in the insane asylum where she was confined. The psychiatrist, an old woman who knew Latin, asks the troubled lady how she was feeling that morning. Winona answered curtly, "Ambivalent."
Somewhat struck by a word that patients in such places would perhaps never use, the doctor asks what she meant by it. "I don't care," Winona answers, "it means 'I don't care.'" And rightly so. For we usually take "ambivalence" to mean as being "apathetic" or "indifferent"--that whatever is in question does not matter to us."It does not concern me" or "wala akong pakialam." And when there is no concern, there is also no care.
But the good doctor immediately corrects the presumptuous lady. She says that ambivalence originally did not mean indifference; that ambi meant "both" (as "ambidextrous" means being able to use both hands well) and valence meant "strength" (from valencia which in chemistry indicated the capacity and power of an element). Thus to be ambivalent really means to have strong feelings for both this and that, to really care too much either way. This is why ambivalence really means being undecided, hesitant, and feeling caught in between two values (thing, person, ideal, etc.) And this being "caught in between" is really what having a borderline personality entails: being neither here nor there, being "split" and bifurcated, or better, as a border separates two places, being cut absolutely--like a self-inflicted cut on the wrist that now bleeds.
Imagine a weightlifter. With the enormous plates placed evenly on both ends of the steel which his hands grasp, he lifts the barbell toward his chest before thrusting it above his head. For the barbell not to fall, he must squarely and evenly position himself and his hands equidistantly, with his head at the median point so that the center of gravity would fall perpendicularly on his hips, balanced by his feet that are also equally separated from each other. One inch to the left disrupts all balance; any movement of the head would tilt the shoulders and make one side heavier--and this is all the barbell needs to fall. One must be like a pillar to carry two weights; and not only a strong one at that but a just (impartial) one as well.
The "trick," if you wish, of carrying two things is to avoid favoring one weight over the other; it is a matter of finding where one ends and the other begins, or better, of finding that neutral point where both meet or both separate. In other words, it all boils down to choosing both and neither of the two.
What then happens to the weight on either end? What was supposed to be supported or lifted as a weight now merely becomes something that is only countered by another something. In other words, it is disqualified as weight because it is no longer carried but only canceled out by a diametrically opposed weight. Being canceled as such and suspended by the counter-weight, it suddenly becomes weightless and floats. Weightless?
Sure, as if there were no gravity because, after all, the gravity which supposedly would apply to it is now buttressed by the man who carries it. And if there is no longer gravity applying itself on it, the weight then becomes disqualified as weight, in the same way that the counter-weight is also disqualified by its own being-countered by the other weight. Like a magic trick, the barbell ceases to be heavy in its being carried in balance.
That is all well and good for the barbell. What of the weightlifter then? We already said that he stands like a pillar--or needs to stand like one for the weights to not fall out of imbalance. But what happens to him? If the weights on either side become weightless in canceling out each other, to be sure, this can only happen because the weightlifter absorbs the weight of both weights. He cancels both, and in doing so acquires their combined weight (for the earth on which he stands does not help him in the way that he helped the two weights; on the contrary, the earth now acts as his most forceful resistance). By canceling the weights, he is now heavier and is himself the weight he now carries.
This suddenly incorporated weight, a burden he chose, may be negligible if it is light. But what weight is light? Of course any lifter can choose a light weight; but that disqualifies him as a weightlifter and thus becomes a lightlifter. Not only does he usually carry a weight fitting to him--"in his weight class"--but most of the time he knows that it is not him who chooses the weight, but it is the weight that chooses him. And sometimes, what he chooses or what chooses him can become too heavy for him. He loses balance, he cannot cannot counter the combined weight, and, since he can only take so much weight, his knees can crumble, his arms may give way, and when the weight falls, it pins him down to the ground in a deathly sandwich between two insurmountable weights, ultimately causing injury if not death.
Such is the plight of a man who has chosen to carry what is heavier that what his strength could allow. Such is the difficulty of the man who tries to balance both worlds, where each is already heavy on its own, unlike Atlas who was given only one world to support on his shoulders, or a Sisyphus who was given only one rock to play with in his mountain in hell.
The undecided man, who is unable to choose, only lives to see the next day by his calculated effort of staying in balance, by staying in the middle of the two things he equally feels strongly about, by his sheer hubris that he can sustain both, and with his decision to not decide.
But of course, we know that it only takes time. Even Christ fell three times.