Posts Tagged ‘yin and yang’


Presence in Absence – The Chinese concept of Yin and Yang

October 4, 2009
You know about my interest in philosophical concepts, among other things. So, I searched the internet for some interesting information on the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang and I will share here, the best of what I found (with my expert commentary in italics 🙂 ).


“Yin is (refers to)receptive, yielding, negative and nurturing (concepts). Yang is active, dominating, positive and initiating/creating”


“The concept of Yin and Yang is used to describe how seemingly disjunct (or) opposing forces are inter-connected and inter-dependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in-turn. Yin and Yang are complimentary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both Yin and Yang aspects, which constantly interact, never existing in absolute stasis”

Example: A seed will sprout from the earth and grow towards the sky – an intrinsically Yang movement. Then, when it reaches its full height, it will began to weaken, eventually falling back to the earth in decay – an intrinsically Yin movement.

Quite similar with human beings too…

“All opposites that one experiences – health and sickness, wealth and poverty, power and submission etc, can be explained in reference to the temporary dominance of one principle over the other. Since no one principle dominates eternally, it means that all conditions are subject to change to their opposites. It is the way of nature to process through periods of flourishing and decline”


“By its principles, extreme good will turn into evil, extreme wealth to poverty, extreme honour to dishonour”

Highly debatable. There are a lot of people who were born very rich and very poor too, they remain as such throughout their lives. But I am not sure on what time scale the above statement is to be considered, if it is spread out to many generations, then there is a chance that even extreme conditions might change.

“Yin and Yang are dependent opposites that must always be in balance. The opposites flow in a natural cycle always replacing the other. The Chinese view opposites as evolving and cycling – there is neither right nor wrong, but there is a balance, transformation, interaction and dependent opposition. We need both to maintain a balance”

We need both to maintain a balance is fine, but ‘that mush always be in balance’ is a theoretical concept, I guess.

“Yang elements are clear and obvious while Yin elements are hidden and subtle”

True. People share/show happiness and joy immediately. They can go to any extant to hide the negative parts of their lives, etc.

“The cyclic nature of Yin and Yang, the opposing forces of change in the universe mean several things.
1. All the phenomena change to their opposites in an eternal cycle of reversal.
2. Since one principle produces the other, all phenomena have within them the seeds of their opposite state (Sickness has the seeds of health, wealth has the seeds of poverty etc).
3. Even though an opposite may not be seen to be present, since one principle produces the other, no phenomena is completely devoid of its opposite state (One is never really healthy as health contains the principles of its opposite – sickness). This is called ‘Presence in Absence’.

Let us discuss this part in the comments section.

“In the Yin-Yang theory, time itself is a series of cycles based upon the movement of the planets. For these thinkers, time extends indefinitely into the past and the future. As long as the planets are in motion, there can be no end”

Interesting speculation 🙂

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Concepts and Ideas’ section of this blog to read similar articles.