Mobius as Metaphor: Strength & Weakness

The Mobius strip is a surface with one continuous side and one boundary. It folds in on itself with its opposite poles revealing themselves as the same side. It isn’t like a coin, which has two sides. On a coin, they really are opposites of one piece, but on a Mobius strip, they are one but misunderstood as being two.

I have a friend. They have been working for many years now to save up for a house. Sure, they don’t really love their job, in fact, they hate it, but they are committed to working because, among many other reasons, they are good at it and it pays well; that is, it helps them achieve their goal. Although they want to buy luxury items and splurge on new furniture, they hold their resolve. They sometimes feel like quitting and giving up on their dream, but they persevere, always keeping their long term goal in mind.

But the very qualities which make them such a good saver also make them a sometimes infuriating friend. They never adjust their position in an argument; once convinced of something, it is hard to change their mind; and moral compass is so firmly fixed that I can never shake their convictions…no matter how misguided or just plain wrong, I might find them. What makes them an excellent saver can, at times, make them an utterly infuriating friend.


Being utterly compliant might make one an excellent employee, but will lead to real trouble standing up for oneself; being a really careful writer who painstakingly agonises over every single word will make one a brilliant writer, but a terrible friend to make loose comments with (not to mention using poor grammar); being able to stand in front of crowds and handle insults and embarrassment might make one a fantastic public speaker, but it might also make one less attuned to the complaints of their peers.

In the infinite multiplicity of life, what is strength in one situation is a weakness in others. It does not mean you should necessarily change who you are, but rather, that no matter who you are and what you do, it will be a boon in one instance, and a bane in another; that is a fact of the Mobius strip.

But what we can do, for both ourselves and others, is that next time we observe what we would think of as a weakness (someone’s stubbornness, or their ignorance, rudeness, or lack of empathy), we should see how this can also be a strength for them. In doing so, we will look at each other with a fairer and deeper understanding of their personality, perhaps not being so offended the next time they are so stubborn, knowing that this aspect of their personality we see hate, is intimately entwined with a part of their personality that we love.

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