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Demosthenes's avatar

Do you think there is validity in the symbolism of the yinyang?

Asked by Demosthenes (14561points) February 11th, 2020

The question about Jordan Peterson reminded me of his characterization of the masculine as order and the feminine as chaos. He offers a few reasons for doing so including the cross-cultural archetypes represented in the stories of Eve and Pandora where women bring chaos into the world and that chaos gives birth to order. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang represent two complimentary forces that interrelate and explain how the world works (yin represents the passive, darkness, chaos, the feminine, yang represents the active, light, order, the masculine and various other dualities).

Peterson argues for a similar balance: that chaos and order compliment each other, too much of either is a bad thing. He of course would think that our current society has tipped too far in the direction of chaos and that more order is needed.

Do you think all of this is just old-fashioned sexism and an attempt to justify the patriarchy (as some critics say) or do you think there’s some validity to the idea of the feminine and masculine complimenting each other, to chaos and order complimenting each other, etc.?

I realize this question is a little esoteric. I’m admittedly asking about something I don’t know that much about.

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7 Answers

Zaku's avatar

I think there is fallacy in evaluating perspectives as if they must either be valid or invalid.

I think there is value that can be found by considering the yin/yang perspective, and by noticing your reactions to it, and so on.

I think it is a misunderstanding to over-identify masculine as order and feminine as chaos.

I think it’s overly simplistic to try to evaluate “current society” as needing more order.

I don’t think yin/yang is an attempt to justify patriarchy.

I think feminine and masculine do complement each other, and that all people have feminine and masculine aspects. I think that men who lose touch with their feminine sides, tend to experience many issues.

I think that chaos and order do conceptually complement each other, and that both have value and positive and negative aspects, and that an extreme of one or the other tends to involve or cause suffering.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Zaku Thanks for answering my chaotic question. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do think so, but in more scientific terms. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

YARNLADY's avatar

You can’t have one without the lther

LostInParadise's avatar

I don’t know if it coincides with Yin and Yang, but there seem to be opposing forces for innovation and for conservation. Should we embrace change or hold on to what we currently have? These forces play out in complicated ways. For example, industrializing an area can be considered a continuation of past policy and also as a threat to the environment.

LogicHead's avatar

It is a very common Biblical thought

Sirach 42:24–25
Good News Translation
24 All things are in pairs, each the opposite of the other,
but nothing the Lord made is incomplete.
25 Everything completes the goodness of something else.
Could anyone ever see enough of this splen

Dutchess_III's avatar

So, the Jews and Christians stole not only from ancient Greece, but also stole from ancient Chinese philosophy.

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