The Yin-Yang Embrace

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The Ying-Yang doctrine is a fundamental concept in Chinese Philosophy to this day. Yin-Yang refers to the balance between seemingly opposing forces so that they are unified, in order to be productive holistically. All things and events are products of the two elements: yin, which is negative, passive, weak, and destructive, and yang, which is positive, active, strong, and constructive1.

The first conception of yin and yang came from observing nature and the environment. Ancient Chinese noticed the relationships and patterns that occurred in nature and they believed that the world environment to be a harmonious and holistic entity2.  A yin environment originally referred to the cool, restful shady side of a slope; while the yang was viewed as the warm, sunny side with stimulating, active colours.  This philosophy was extended to other pairs that had complementary and opposing natural characteristics3.  Examples could include female (yin) and male (yang), night (yin) and day (yang) and cold (yin) and warm (yang).

In his book Philosphy Revamed by Alan Chan, Mr Chan noted that, “Newton once observed that there are objects out there knocking at one another. That simple remark inadvertently came close to the essence of yin-yang.” The main difference is that objects that collide represent a clash; however yin and yang embrace one another.


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