3 months ago
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Ying-Yang: Ancient Chinese knowledge on feminine and masculine (Part II)
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Importance of the yin yang knowledge in our time is it consolidates masculine and feminine as one! In this senses nothing is all masculine or feminine rather a combination of both. This consolidation of masculine or feminine was revolutionary for me and was the pivot which got me lament about everything in general. Basically Yin Yang says that everything consists of two polar tendencies and to attain harmony balance is vital, this was the governing law for everything; physical, social and psychological realms. This concept was very relatable in every aspect of our life. We all strive for balance every day; personal life, work, career, health, family, society all of which is essentially a struggle between “assertion and integration”. Ability of mastering the balance between these two polar tendencies determines our overall quality of our life.
Quoting Capra “In Chinese culture yin and yang have never been associated with moral values. What is good is not yin or yang but the dynamic balance between the two; what is bad or harmful is the imbalance”.
However with time inclination towards the “assertive or the yang aspect grew where assertion was linked to strength and integration to weakness. Self-assertion draws from rational thought while integration from intuition. With the dawn to scientific age rational knowledge became superior and gradually replaced or rather completely discarded intuitive wisdom. This inclination was not just projected in terms of defining gender roles but expanded in all realms of knowledge.
Capra writes that underlying cause of the major problems of our time; cancer, pollution, exploitation of man and nature, uncontrolled consumerism, declining environment, moral degradation is an outcome off lawed understanding brought by fragmentation of knowledge due to over emphasis on the “yang aspect”. By diminishing the importance of yin, all knowledge; science, economics, medicine lost its “integrative aspect” and have expanded in the direction of aggressive self-assertion which has made human life heavily mechanical. He pointed that achievements brought by scientific age at the dawn of 1500 which expanded aggressively in the 1700’s brought a dramatic shift in the understanding of “knowledge”. In that period goal of science transferred from “understanding nature to maintain the ecological harmony” to “controlling nature according to human convenience”.
Although one cannot diminish the contribution of mechanistic science but considering it as absolute knowledge is definitely a disaster as all knowledge known to man till now including “science” is nothing but a mere approximation of reality and not the reality itself. Capra has said that “The yang having reached its climax retreats in favor of the yin; the yin having reached its climax retreats in favor of the yang” which seems to be coming true with growing global affinity for spirituality, yoga and mysticism; as all which are fundamentally intuitive knowledge elaborating on integrative wisdom.
A gradual shift from mechanistic to organic perspective is making space in every aspect of our life. Global rise of spirituality is the public testament of growing inclination of intuitive knowledge. But it is important to remember that the key to Yin Yang theory is the balance and not the rise of one particular pole. Both tendencies are necessary for harmonious social and ecological relationship.
The author is a development worker.