An Exploration of Duality and the Alignment System, Part One

by David Nova

While I’ve written extensively about the subject of duality, the topic can be considerably more complex than simply  Two Sides and the “Balance of Opposites.”

Generally speaking, the majority of people in this world still subscribe to a duality system based upon narrow subjective concepts of Good vs Evil. The problem is that this deceptively simple and comforting system of beliefs almost always subjects individuals to propaganda, manipulation, and an endless system of karmic debt. In the wrong hands it can be used as a tool for spiritual enslavement.

Of course many people are marginally aware, in their slumbering state of cynicism, that religions, politicians, despots, corporate entities and of course the mainstream media often manipulate the public’s perception of Good vs Evil to gain support for a morally questionable agenda, campaign, or illegal war. 

However, when such an agenda aligns with the personal belief system and self-interest of a specific group or political party, these people are more than willing to go along with the ‘con.’ There seems to be no foundation of Universal or spiritual morality beneath their outcry of personalized morality, and so they are easily swayed to publicly support acts of questionable morality, and thus their behavior is seen as hypocrisy. This is equally true of all political stripes.

The clearest example of the public-perceived “good’ not being the “Greatest Good” is the wholesale slaughter of another group of people for the sake of a political war. The problem with most Good vs Evil duality mindsets is that they are cultural inventions and manipulations; they do not reflect larger Spiritual of Natural Law.

In my novel series, “Season of the Serpent,” I explore the topic of duality, yet I intentionally chose to stay clear of a Good vs Evil duality belief system. Instead, I specifically focus upon the duality system of Order vs Chaos as it allowed me to explore the subject in a unique way, avoiding cultural baggage.

The prime antagonists in my novel series are Angra Mainyu, the Lord of Chaos, and Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Order. These figures were named after the gods of ancient Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest continuously practiced religions, which was centered on a dualistic cosmology, and which may have influenced many other religious, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

While most of the names in my novels are completely made up, I specifically reference these historical religious figureheads, which most modern western readers know nothing about, so readers could experience a fresh viewpoint on duality free from our shared cultural and religious baggage. 

I could just have easily named the Lord of Chaos, Satan, and named the Lord of Order, Yahweh. However, those names carry a lot of cultural baggage. Using them would have defeated the very purpose of my novels.

The duality system of Order vs Chaos differentiates from a system of Good vs Evil, in that neither side is actually perceived as entirely good or entirely evil. The point is that any experience of duality, taken to a logical extreme, is inherently negative and harmful, and thus Balance is the ultimate remedy.

The concept of duality is separate from the concept of spiritual polarity, which I will discuss in a later post, and is reflected in the Law of One which references the Service-to-Self path and the Service-to-Others/All/One path.

A system of Law and Order, which generally maintains justice and fairness in a society, when taken to the extreme, becomes rigidly authoritarian, inhumane, dogmatic, a total-surveillance police state, the sort of technological tyrannical dystopia George Orwell wrote about in his classic novel, “1984.”

Similarly, a system of Chaos, which in moderation provides freedom of belief and personal expression, the freedom to pursue individuality and personal happiness, a system of democratic rule, when taken to the extreme, becomes an experiement in total anarchy, the stuff of Darwinian nightmares, the law of the jungle, where preditory elites with great wealth and power enslave and feed upon everyone else. 

Some may have trouble differentiating these two different dystopian extremes, as they both represent worst case scenarios. Evil is evil. However…

Order, taken to the extreme, is a system of suffocating despotic political morality.

Chaos, taken to the extreme, is a system of suffocating despotic personal immorality.

We currently have a little bit of both going on at the same time, a complex mix.

I believe highlighting the Order vs Chaos duality system has far more flexibility and power to demonstrate the political and social extremes we are potentially subject to, and why achieving enlightened balance is the essential answer.

In my novels, there was never a single expression of Chaos or Order. The realm of Chaos was divided into seven competing factions, corresponding to the seven vices or seven deadly sins. The realm of Order was divided between the dogmatic status quo and the reformers/resistance movement.

Ultimately, an alignment to Order can choose to follow two different masters. Using an example from our own society, elements of Order (police, judges, federal investigators, federal prosecutors, etc.) are expected to use the Law to expose crimes against humanity and procecute criminals, while other elements of Order might secretly use the Law to protect these same criminals and let them off the hook. Thus we have two aspects of Order working against one another. One is fighting extreme Chaos while the other is secretly protecting extreme Chaos. Or put simply, Good cop, Bad cop. We will naturally have a very different opinion of these two aspects of Order.

Under the pardigm of the Alignment System these two factions of Order would be labled “Lawful Good” and “Lawful Evil.”

The Alignment System was originally developed for the fantasy role-playing game “Dungeons and Dragons” in the late 1970s as a guidline for players to create their own characters. Initially it was a one-axis system but eventually  deveoloped into a two-axis system, incorporating the duality axis “Good vs Evil” with “Lawful vs Chaotic,” (Lawful equates to Order). The Alignment System creates a hybrid axis of “Neutrality” or what I would call Balance. All together there are nine different alignments.

I want to give a shout out to Nathan Martin for exposing me to the Alignment System a few years back.

In Part Two, I would like to explore the Alignment System in greater detail and explain why I think it’s especially useful for us to understand today, in what we might call Trump World. People often have complex motivations, and if we are simply viewing the world from a single axis of duality, Good vs Evil, Light vs Dark, Order vs Chaos, White Hat vs Black Hat, I believe we are missing a more complete understanding of the bigger picture. While the Alignment System is still a bit simplistic and reductive, it offers us a better tool to understand human character and motivation than a single duality system.

About the Author

David Nova is the author of the metaphysical fiction series “Season of the Serpent.”  He is a truth-seeker, a Wanderer, a blogger, and was the moderator of Deus Nexus: Messages For An Entangled Universe.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.


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