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All of the Twilight characters struggle with the principle of “duality,” which is the bifurcated perspective that people are different, whether “us” versus “them” or “me” versus “you.”

We see it throughout the entire series — the vampires turn up their noses at the wolves (literally and metaphorically); the wolves despise the vampires; humans sense the vampires are “different;” the Volturi thinks it is superior; Jessica is jealous of everyone; Bella feels inferior to everyone; etc.   All of the Twilight characters hold up the proverbial mirror for us as fans that WE do the same thing in our life, whether we admit it or not.  It may not be based on race, or culture, or anything that “obvious,” but duality can also be more subtle — and it often is — which is where we REALLY have to dig deep to know ourselves that well to acknowledge all of the places where WE engage in this dualistic perspective.  (Every time we’re intimidated by someone else, that’s duality; every time we judge someone else for any reason, that’s duality; every time we feel someone else got something they didn’t “deserve” in life, that’s duality — so it isn’t always the big ticket items like social class or tribal identity, though those are obviously very real examples of duality, too.)

All of the main characters undergo a transformation and an awakening of their sense of oneness, meaning they learn the mystical truth that “all is one” and that none of us is truly separate from anyone else or God.   Before their transformation, however (as with all of us), they are plagued by a sense of duality, meaning they see only the differences and the dividing lines between themselves and others.

In Twilight, one of the most obvious examples of duality is between the vampires and the werewolves.  They understandably rely on a dual belief system because it better guarantees both species a sense of survival and protection.  At the tribal level (tribal meaning any group of people who share origins or core beliefs), survival is obviously and necessarily critical.  But when dual beliefs are carried through generations no longer out of true survival necessity, but because of fear and/or mere habit, bigotry or entitlement, it becomes outdated and problematic.

The vampires and werewolves are eventually forced to see each other through a non-dual (or a single) lens, and they start to see each other as family, as friends, as brothers-in-arms.  They develop, and eventually embrace, a totally non-dual (unified) view of the others’ place in the world, and rather than being antagonistic, they choose to be aligned as one to protect and love each other and to live outside the “boundaries” of mutually exclusive lines.  There are still differences in the two groups, of course – differences that make them unique and special – but they no longer use those differences as a wedge between them or as an excuse to judge or loathe one another; instead, they learn to capitalize on those different strengths for the benefit of both species when working together to save themselves from the Volturi.  They can live in a world with the differences that exist between them at the ant level, but with a cloud level awareness that they are all more enriched with the other in their lives.  No “us” and “them,” just family made up of members of all shapes and sizes, which is the very essence of oneness. (For an explanation of “ant level” and “cloud level” perspectives, see the link for “Fate and Destiny” http://twilightsagaarchetypes.com/fate-and-destiny/.)

This is a journey we all must embark on in our lives because it transcends the ant view of our “enemies” and people who are “different” from us, and it provides a timeless canvas for all groups and relationships.  This includes our relationship with the Divine.  Edward, for example, sees Bella as “good through and through” (his quote from the Midnight Sun manuscript), while he sees himself as a monster.  He does not see a place for himself in God’s company, but he is certain that Bella’s soul is pure and worthy of salvation.  This is another example of duality because he separates himself from the good he knows exists in the world, because he does not think enough of himself to consider himself included.

We all do this, some more than others, and some more often — we fall into the illusion that God must favor other people more than us based on evidence of what we experience compared to other people, or because of the perceived “rewards” given to others, or because, as in Edward’s case, we have such low esteem for the value of our own spiritual selves.  All that to say, all of us from time to time feel disconnected from God or isolated from the “lucky” people who appear to be more touched by God’s grace.  But that is duality.  If we truly subscribe to the mystical Truth of oneness, we must always recognize our place at God’s table, and we must always hold ourselves accountable for that awareness by making higher and better choices that reflect that awareness.

While Bella represents an unshakable faith through the entire series, even she experiences the tragedy of dual thinking.  Through the entire courtship with Edward, she never sees her worth, and Edward laments that she never sees herself clearly.  Indeed, she questions why Edward would ever want to be with someone so “ordinary.”  She does not see her own Light because she struggles to reconcile the Divine truth of a non-dual God and her perception of herself as less than special.  She does not question the beauty and value in all creatures, so long as she does not have to bear witness to her own extraordinariness.  Duality – we can easily imagine Bella summarizing her sense of herself if she had said, “I see that all of these people in my life are special, but I cannot see my own special gifts.”

Bella struggles with this lack of self-esteem the entire series, even well into the last book.  Even after she blossoms into her Queen archetype (more on this later), she still questions the value of her existence among those she loves.  She doubts whether she will have any special gifts, such as Edward’s mind reading or Alice’s omniscience or Jasper’s mood enhancement.  She wonders whether she will continue to be “ordinary” in her immortal life just as she was in her human life.  It is utterly absurd (as Edward reminds her repeatedly in the series) that she sees herself this way, but it is because she separates herself from the Divine truth of oneness.  She is just as remarkable as everyone else in her world, and she struggles to see it the entire series.  Not until the end of the series does she embrace that she, too, is gifted with special skills and that she, too, is exalted among God’s children as perfectly unique and valued.  Edward is not the only one with a faith crisis of sorts – Bella has to graduate past the illusion of duality, too.

The same journey is presented for Jacob, Jasper, the rest of the wolves and the vampires.  All of the characters struggle with an “us” versus “them” mentality, but while Bella sees all of them as equally good despite their differences, she struggles with her own version – it is not “us” versus “them” for her; it is “all of them compared to plain little me.”  There are many ways to experience struggles with duality, as the characters show us, but each version is painful and hollow.  In Bella’s case, she finally breaks through and sees herself as capable of holding a special gift of her own and being worthy of the mystical beings in her life.   And only then is she able to share her mind (the last part of herself she hasn’t shared) with Edward because she understands her gifts and she sees them clearly to be able to open her shield to allow Edward to be 100% part of her life as her equal.

3 Responses to “Duality versus Oneness”

  1. Sue Schwass says:

    Hi Jennie,
    This section is such a gift to the world with the connection of self-esteem and the shadow side of archetypal patterns. Nothing could be more true than when we compare ourselves to others, it reeks havoc on our self-esteem. Thinking in terms of duality is, I think, the ego’s effort to separate and prevent the person from reaching cloud level thinking.
    It’s great that you point out that duality is an illusion and provides a canvas for all groups of people.
    This section has the potential to blog on the topic of us vs. them in every aspect of our lives.
    This is quite a bit of work you have accomplished!

  2. [...] The myth, though, is that there are boundaries separating us at all.  (See the link for “Duality vs. Oneness.”) The totally new vampire lore reminds us that just when we become too comfortable in the [...]

  3. [...] The myth, though, is that there are boundaries separating us at all.  (See the link for “Duality vs. Oneness.”) The totally new vampire lore reminds us that just when we become too comfortable in the [...]

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