Yin and Yang theory. Is it relevant in the 21st Century?

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Kovak, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Kovak Registered Senior Member

    It is written that the ancient Chinese developed this theory based on thousands of years of observation and experience.
    The intricacies of nature and the physical world in which 'man' is an integral part and has struggled with since antiquity.The microcosm within the macrocosm.

    By definition Yin & Yang theory is the mutual interdependence of two opposites which only exist as a whole. This constant flux is readily measurable observable at microscopic and universal scales.(What example/s come to your mind ?)

    In Chinese medicine and its related natural sciences this is the 'ultimate theory ' that has not altered in over 2000 years.(leading to eventual stagnation of new ideas...)

    Maintaining this dynamic equilibrium between Yin and Yang is said to prolong health and vitality and can probably be applied to all other physical phenomena that is observable or measurable in modern science as we search deeper into ourselves our world and the universe.

    However does this ancient theory still serve a purpose and is it still practical and relevant to our lives in the 21st Century?
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  3. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    On a philosophical level, the concept is quite compelling. I don't think it can amount to a scientific theory, since it is too vague. It is a way of looking at things.
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

    Yin and Yang...Republicans and Democrats...Vorlons and Shadows...Theist and Atheists...Light and Darkness...Capitalist and Socialist...they all could continue for the next million years....
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  7. swarm Registered Senior Member

    All things exist with their opposite, except for those that don't.
  8. zagacious Registered Member

    yin & yang are complimentary opposites, there's nothing in the universe that contains one or the other, it's the interaction between these two forces that creates balance. A contrast between one extreme to another in our three dimensional existence.
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    If people accept it and are willing to discuss it then it is relevant.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yin/yang is like Abrahamist monotheism: an oversimplified one-dimensional model of the human spirit and the entire universe. In the West we're more familiar with Abrahamism: everything is either "good" or "evil," or somewhere on a linear scale in between. The balance of yin and yang is a similar view of life, with all of its rich complexity squeezed out.

    Both are a rejection of the ancient polytheistic model. Jung says that all the ancient religions had the same number of gods (23 if I'm not mistaken) and even the same gods with different names. That makes them manifestations of an archetype, an instinctive motif that occurs across cultural and historical boundaries, programmed into our synapses by a genetic bottleneck or some other accident of DNA, or as a survival trait left over from an era whose dangers we can no longer imagine.

    The 23-dimensional model of the human spirit seems like a good way to analyze and understand it. One day you feel like exercising your Hunter, the next day circumstances force to be the Healer or the Warrior, then the Lover sneaks up on you. Constraining it all onto a pathetic one-dimensional linear scale squeezes all the life out of it.
  11. soulstar Registered Senior Member

    No. It doesn't apply, everything does not necessarily have an equal opposite. For example, consider hot and cold. While we can have an infinite amount of hotness, coldness is finite, since the coldest temperature is absolute zero. There are several other instances where we can't have an equal opposite, can you think of some?

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  12. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member

    Absolute Zero does not exist. Nothing can completely stop moving....you can try and reach Absolute zero forever and never reach it, thus making it infinite...

    edit: and yes the yin and yang philosophy applies its a constant.....it will always apply. This is what existance/nonexistance is...
  13. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member


    I was thinking the pineal gland myself.
  14. Search & Destroy Take one bite at a time Moderator

    the opposite of pineal gland is no pineal gland. Everything is relative, and everything has an opposite.

    The most interesting thing I've read in this thread is that this concept causes a stagnation in new ideas. The ying-yang is a way, not the way. This is an obvious problem for the majority of practitioners.

    Fraggle - you say a 23-dimensional model is more vital, vibrant, and closer to the fullness of life, than a ying yang 2-d model. Do you think Einstein's short and sweet equations are worse-off than his predecessor's long pages of sloppy equations? They both try to explain the same thing - can you see what this analogy hints at?

    All the ups and downs, loves and hates, that you have accumulated over the years, are what you say creates the fullness of life. From your own experiences - that's completely expected.

    But you don't think that a person who ascribes to YingYang theory experiences the specialness that you have experienced in your life? Going on as far as to call it pathetic?
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Is it a two-dimensional model or one? Abraham's model has one dimension, a linear scale from good to evil. Is yang the opposite of yin or can they both exist independently in any quantity? If it's really a two-dimensional model then I apologize for maligning it.

    To the extent that yang corresponds to masculine and yin to feminine, masculine and feminine are not really opposites. Any given thing should be able to have any arbitrary level of either or both energies.
    Yes, but that doesn't make it a valid analogy. The human spirit may truly have 23 dimensions. Suppressing them into our "shadow" as Jung calls it, by attempting to constrain them into a linear scale, may indeed be the reason that the Abrahamic civilizations erupt into orgies of violence so often.

    The natural universe, on the other hand, may indeed have a small number of dimensions so Einstein's elegant model may be an improvement over what came before. Nonetheless, it may not. Until the GUTE is formulated and peer reviewed, all bets are off. A model of the natural universe that briefly reigned in the early 1980s had eleven dimensions, and I think string theory is another more-than-four dimensional model.
    Everyone experiences that. But we are measured by what we do with those experiences. Abrahamists have gotten themselves a really bad name, because in between those little love fests they rise up in unity and start destroying "heathen" civilizations. I'm not willing to tar the daoists with that brush. Knowing not much more than the average educated Westerner about the history of Chinese civilization, it does strike me as having maintained a higher level of respect for the concept of civilization itself than the West has. It wasn't until it became infected with Western motifs, like republican government and communist economics (the latter of which, as I've shown elsewhere, is an offshoot of Christianity), that it began to place itself in jeopardy.


    BTW, it's yang and yin, not ying.
  16. Kovak Registered Senior Member

    The 23-dimensional model of the human spirit seems like a good way to analyze and understand it. One day you feel like exercising your Hunter, the next day circumstances force to be the Healer or the Warrior, then the Lover sneaks up on you. Constraining it all onto a pathetic one-dimensional linear scale squeezes all the life out of it.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for your thoughtful replies to my question,I am unfortunately ignorant of the above Abraham model.

    I personally think Yin/Yang theory applicable to say architecture,(Feng shui) Chinese medicine and acupuncture or lifestyle/dietary-emotional balance, is attempting to restore balance or harmony between the opposing forces in a practical(within nature) or psycho emotional way.For example postioning of structures or balance between the 5 elements within modern structures to create a sense of calm and harmony, simple diet-fluids mindfullness, breathing,Tai qi and so forth..

    In reality nothing is constant it appears thus a relative dynamic equilibrium is the ideal.Pretty hard living in the modern world...Not impossible once I understood it was the ideal, fluid like water, flexible like trees in strong gale.The attempt to add elegance of nature to 21st Century human thought in the technological age.

    Now and in the near future we will have to discover this balance again. Example:we have sufferered the hottest and driest summer in Victoria with 100s dead in recent bushfires. Extreme cycles as a result of?
  17. Xylene Valued Senior Member

    Yin and Yang exist as opposites of each other, but each also contain parts of the other as well--hence the black dot in the white comma-shape, and the white dot in the black. Therefore they contain complexity within their seeming simplicity.
  18. wise acre Registered Senior Member

    I would love to see this laid out accurately. I am extremely skeptical it is so neat.

    These various hypotheses need some serious empirical back up.
  19. ili Registered Member

    ying yang is the essence of 21st century technology reflected in digitized information, that is, 0s and 1s.
  20. wise acre Registered Senior Member

    You could use the I-Chings 64 possible configurations of Yin and Yang. Why that is almost double the Jungian 23. I look around and see more than 23 three types of events. The I-Ching must be better than the (only half-pathetic) Jungian model.
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The most charitable analysis of the Yi Jing (to use modern Pinyin romanization) gives it six dimensions, and each of those dimensions has only a binary domain. Its 64 configurations are merely the manifestations of six binary digits that can be either zero or one.

    The Jungian model has 23 dimensions, and they each have an analog domain rather than digital. Today your Warrior can be a tiny bit stronger than your King, but both forces come into play. On the other hand your Lover and your Healer could be close to dormancy and not have much effect on your behavior today.

    This gives an infinite range of influence for each dimension, of which there are 23.
  22. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Everything can either be divided into opposites or it can't.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  23. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

    I don't see any similarity between the concept of yin&yang and Abrahamic religions. While in Abrahamic religions there's either just good or evil in yin & yang both of those are always together as in..there's always a bit of good in evil and a bit of evil in good; notice the AND it doesn't say yin OR yang contrarily to Abrahamism where it's good OR evil. God is just good. Satan is just evil....

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