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ihavereturned's avatar

Throughout my life I've learned the importance of yin and yang. How have you understood this concept?

Asked by ihavereturned (707points) December 20th, 2019

This concept is most fascinating to me, and I believe one of the most important concepts of life.

I’ve been on both sides of many things. Engineering and design, left and right, masculine and feminine mindset (for another discussion), implicit and explicit, and I believe that both immature mindsets tend to believe they are the more intelligent or correct one.

I’ll give a political example since many have opinions on this. I was very far left most of my life, and thought those on the right were very closed minded and had low imagination about new things that could work (i’m also gay if that matters). Now I am more of the opinion that much harm in the world is done by those trying to do good instead of just leaving others alone (try and spend double thinking energy on this before getting angry lol).

I know in other areas like emotions, some think sadness is “bad” and happiness is “good”, but their definitions comes from each other, so how can one be bad or good?

What’s another example in your life where you have understood, or tried to understand, this concept? Or if you just want to think out loud about what you have just read I want to hear it too.

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23 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

For every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction.
It means everything you do and say will have a consequence, so try to proceed wisely.

KNOWITALL's avatar

To me, it’s a simple concept of maintaining balance in life.

I lean right the majority of the time, and have plenty of LGBTQ friends that I love.

We actually had a pretty major standoff here in Missouri a year or so ago, where the churches published a list of LGBTQ friendly churches in the paper, so everyone was very clear on which ones were accepting and which were not.

Yellowdog's avatar

I’ve never seen Yin and Yang as bad and good, right and wrong. Just two sides of a whole.

Day and Night are good examples. Left and Right, In and Out, Hot and Cold, Up and Down, male and female.

josie's avatar

The material universe yearns for neutrality. Every “force” has two components. The protagonist and the antagonist.
Emotions, physical strength, struggle, etc/ there are two sides.
I justify killing the enemy, he justifies killing me.
I feel jealousy or envy, I become a victim to their toxic influence.
I hate, it corrupts my capacity to love.
It never stops.
And it is probably not totally reconcilable.

ihavereturned's avatar

@josieAnd it is probably not totally reconcilable” Please explain.

josie's avatar

Meaning it is one of those conundrums that humans constantly grapple with and never seem to resolve.
How do we love totally, without being vulnerable to betrayal and heartache.
How do we pursue our natural desire for power without becoming corrupt.
How do we commit totally to the needy without becoming needy ourselves?
How do we sacrifice ourselves to others, and still survive?
It never stops.

ihavereturned's avatar

@josie have you considered many of those may be the “wrong” goals? Sacrifice to others, altruism, etc are not found in nature outside of the family. Unless help is symbiotic.

josie's avatar

Human beings are product of nature.
What they do is a product of nature.

ihavereturned's avatar

@josie humans have great cognitive powers that can be used as tools to further evolution, or bring about great destruction. Humans can be FOOLED. This is another yin and yang of life.

Yes if we want to get literal, anything a human does could be considered part of nature, because it literally is. But this statement is not very useful. Getting at the meaning of what I was saying; humans can go against nature at great cost! You can poison nature, or you can learn from it to give greater understanding of the universe. I don’t buy the idea that anything a person does is automatically in harmony with nature.

Response moderated
Dutchess_III's avatar

In @josie‘s defense, he didn’t say anything we do is in harmony with nature. He said what we do is a product of nature. That is neither good nor bad. Nature is neither good nor bad, either.

ihavereturned's avatar

@Dutchess_III i just said that concepts like altruism are only found in humans, which may be a sign that it’s a state of disharmony. Thus could be resolvable If one avoided participation in the act. See: ” How do we sacrifice ourselves to others, and still survive?” answer: by not sacrificing the self.

However, I see the irony in the response, because harmony and disharmony are also a yin and yang

josie's avatar

Altruism is only a problem when it becomes a dangerous moral principle.

That is when people begin believing that the good of everybody else is somehow of higher value than the good of themselves.
Nothing wrong with doing volunteer work for the less fortunate.
Probably something wrong with being compelled to pay the way for someone you don’t like.

Dutchess_III's avatar

All of the definitions of “altruism” that I find can be applied to dogs who love their owners, too:

“the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.”

“behavior of an animal that benefits another at its own expense.” There was a study done with chimps where they behaved in this way as well.

ihavereturned's avatar

Dogs being “altruistic” to their owners are getting shelter and food from their owners. So not exactly altruistic, yet there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact it’s a very natural thing.

ihavereturned's avatar

Volunteer work has benefits in itself. It can help you gain perspective, decide what you want to do with your life when you’re under leveraged, etc. Also it may even have a psychological benefit for some who do it. There are many reasons to do something like volunteering that are not altruistic.

I believe when the individual is sacrificed for “others” or a “greater good” it results in destruction over time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, make up your mind! “i just said that concepts like altruism are only found in humans

ihavereturned's avatar

I’m confused. I’m saying dogs are not altruistic.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But they are. They will sacrifice their lives to protect their owner. Most of us wouldn’t sacrifice our lives for our dogs.

ihavereturned's avatar

Dogs do not have the leverage in the situation. In the domestication of dogs the “deal” was to provide protection for humans in exchange for food and shelter. They are better off with a safe owner and they help provide this safety.

Sagacious's avatar

Balance. It’s necessary for best outcomes.

NoMoreY_Aagain's avatar

And I thought it was just an unusual insult..
As in: “Shove it up your yin yang!”

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