Appearing Opposed, Related Goals

Pain can simplify point of view. When you’re in pain, it’s hard to think of anything else.

Pleasure too can simplify point of view. You may feel that nothing is more important than finding a way to make that pleasure last.

We think of pain and pleasure as opposites - pleasure makes us draw its object near, whereas pain impels us to reject its object. They are also similar – they both distract, making rival goals seem small.

Fear and courage each do best by knowing both. Whether on offense or defense, you seek to guess the opponent’s plan.


Sometimes, one of two seeming opposites is nothing but the absence of the other: sound and silence, light and darkness, interest and unconcern.


In appearing opposed, two things may serve related goals, or may engage selfsame agencies.

In contexts of data and code, opposition may signal an opportunity for structural sharing, for reuse.

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