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TheTheory of Yin and Yang (I)
Addtime:2016-11-08 08:37:01 Hit:514

Yin and yang are the summarization of the attributes of two opposite aspects of interrelated things or phenomena in nature. The early connotations of yin and yang were quite simple, the side facing the sun being yang and the reverse side being yin. In the course of their everyday life and work, the ancient Chinese people came to understand that all aspects of the natural world could be seen as having a dual aspect, for example, day and night, brightness and dimness, movement and stillness, upward and downward directions, heat and cold, etc.. Thus the terms of yin and yang are used to express these dual and opposite qualities. The best example for the two primary opposite aspects of a contradiction is the relation between water and fire as described in Su Wen that “Water and fire are the symbols of yin and yang.”


Yin and yang oppose each other. The opposition between yin and yang means that all things or phenomena in the natural world have two opposite aspects known as yin and yang, such as heaven and earth, motion and quiescence, ascending and descending, exiting and entering, day and night, heat and cold, etc.. The former belongs to yang and the latter to yin in every pair mentioned above. The unity is the result of mutual opposition and restriction between yin and yang. Without opposition, there would be no unity; without mutual opposition, there would be no mutual complementation. It is just through this kind of opposition and restriction that the dynamic equilibrium is established.


Yin and yang depend on each other. Yin and yang are opposed to and, at the same time, depend on each other. Neither can exist in isolation. In other word, without yin there would be no yang, and vice versa. When the interdependent relationship between substance, between functions as well as between substances and functions get abnormal, life activities will be broken, thus bringing about dissociation of yin and yang, depletion of essence, and even an end of life.


Yin and yang wane and wax between each other. Yin and yang coexist in a dynamic equilibrium in which one waxes while the other wanes. In other words, waning of yin will lead to waxing of yang and vice versa. If this relation goes beyond normal limits, the relative balance of yin and yang will not be maintained, consequently resulting in either excess or deficiency of yin or yang and the occurrence of disease.


Yin and yang transform between each other. Under given conditions, either yin or yang may transform into its counterpart. That is to say yin may be transformed into yang and yang into yin. So it is said in Su Wen that “extreme yin turns into yang, and extreme yang turns into yin” and “Extreme cold brings on heat, and extreme heat brings on cold”. Pathologically, yin syndromes can be transformed into yang ones, and vice versa. 

(to be continued)

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