Polarity and Duality
Polarity is an abstract concept that is often misunderstood, or at least loosely used in its metaphysical context. It is often used interchangeably with duality, which sometimes does not really matter since polarity is the cause of duality in the first place; but when you get to that point in understanding the principles involved in metaphysics, the relationship between polarity and duality becomes very important.
Duality refers to the physical separateness of related yet opposite phenomena or modes of being. Classic examples are the duality of the positive and negative electric charges, the north and south poles of a magnet, and the male and female bioforms. The entire physical world is based on duality -- it could not possibly exist without the principle of duality because there can be no creation without an apparent separateness. Metaphysically, the fundamental substance of the universe "out there" is a direct expression of the most primary duality of all -- that of subject and object, mind and matter.
The concept of polarity, on the other hand, is the essence of the underlying unity of these dualistic pairs, so to use it to express separateness is missing its true nature completely. Polarity may be the cause of duality, but understanding it as a single phenomenon which does so, actually makes it the unifying principle of dualism. Polarity is the primary reality here -- duality is the experiential result. For example, the single phenomenon known as the electromagnetic force is the underlying field for both the duality of the electric charges and the duality of the magnetic poles.
Polarity is represented by an arrow, a vector, which designates a directed essence of creative influence, a dynamic quality with a preferred direction, a flow. The decision to give one end of the vector the forward-point and not the other is an arbitrary choice, with the possible exception of a few decisions based on aesthetics or intuition. What is important is that the point indicates that one direction along the vector is different than the other direction. This gives rise to the oppositeness of any manifested duality, like the electric charges; and again, to call one charge positive and thus the other negative is purely a matter of definition.
Time is a polarity, and it displays a definite preferred direction between two opposite modes of being, past and future. We experience the "flow" of time as an ever-changing present, with the past and future as opposite fields from the perspective of the present. In this example we see an excellent clue as to how a single phenomenon with a built-in two-sided polarity (time) gives rise to a three-fold level of manifestation (past-present-future). In fact, every example we see and experience in the physical world is not only a clue to the nature of higher modes of being, but is a direct expression of the highest level of polarity in the universe.
We must refer to polarity as an essence because it is an entirely ethereal physical principle. It is physical because it is expressed directly in the physical world as interaction and duality, the creative drive for the entire objective universe and time itself. However, while it is a physically experienced phenomenon, polarity in itself remains completely non-objective, like the concept of force in classical physics.
In fact, polarity is the creative essence of force whether used in the language of physics or the language of metaphysics. The "quantum leap" beyond physics into metaphysics is to further recognize that force is the essence of consciousness and the experience of time which goes with it -- the life-force of the universe.
So, here we touch upon the most fundamental principle of metaphysics and nondualistic mysticism -- how a single transcendental reality, "shines" with an intrinsic polarity which provides the individual within creation with the experience of duality, the two-fold subject-object, consciousness-spacetime, along with the resulting three-fold experience of time, past-present-future. This is the metaphysical description of the process of creation, a description which attempts to transcend and unify all creation mythologies.