Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Contrasting Yin and Yang

In the I Ching hexagram one relates to the primordial yang power and tends to describe it. It is easy to just look at the commentary on the two hexagrams to get an idea of how opposite they are. But it is necessary to go beyond the obvious to get a really good idea of just how each operates.

It is obvious that hexagram one describes yang energy and hexagram two describes yin. But the depth of difference is not apparent without some critical analysis of the text. It is more obvious that yang is strong, yin is weak, (relatively speaking). It is obvious that yang is heaven and yin is earth. It quickly becomes clear that yang is more masculine and yin more feminine. However, what makes that so? And where does heaven begin and earth depart. If you climb the highest mountain, are you in heaven? If you descend into the lowest part of the earth are you more earth? All these things have to be defined and yet they cannot be defined because yang is only yang in relation to something that is yin, And yin is only yin in relationship to something that is yang. So is the earth yang or yin? We have to be careful about precise labels. In relationship to the sun the earth would be yin, but in relationship to the moon the earth would be yang. So which is it? By itself it is nothing. It is neither yin nor yang. So we have to get beyond absolutes and think in terms of relationships.

But back to the point. There is more about yin and yang than what first meets the eye. Sometimes the commentary does not clearly make mention of certain truths but it is there if we know how to properly integrate portions of the text. So, hexagram one line one, which is pure yang, points to a situation where a situation is not ready to develop yet. Why not? It is still at its incipient stages. (Almost sounds kind of yin, does it not?) But develop it will, if we bide our time. (Bide our time) Aha! another aspect of the yang nature, time. The point is that evolution is taking place here. Something is growing, and though the "TIME" isn't right, it is evolving into that stage that is right. So what do we conclude about yang energy. First, that it is a strong, and growing force. It is the power of evolution. So what about yin? Well, let's look at the first line of the second hexagram. It says, "When there is hoarfrost underfoot, solid ice is not far off." What is happening here? The forces of involution are taking place, rather than waiting here for the draconian energy to evolve, we are watching a devolution. We are watching what once was of value, degenerate into something less useful. So we can conclude, yang energy is evolution, yin energy is involution. What are we taught in the last two hexagrams of the I Ching. First, we have number sixty three, where all the lines are in their correct place. But what happens when everything is correct? It cannot be permanently maintained. And things deteriorate until in hexagram sixty four, all lines are in their incorrect places? Evolution proceeds and the lines eventually end up in their proper places and everything is correct again. Hence we have eternal change, except that the principle, the core, never changes, (see hexagrams thirty one and thirty two.) Therefore all things in the universe are eternally in the process of either involution, or evolution.

Now note that in the first two hexagrams evolution is mentioned first, in hexagram one, and involution second, in hexagram two. But in the last two hexagrams the order is reversed. We first have involution, and then evolution. There are far reaching speculations that could go with this, but enough for now. By comparing line with line, we come up with deeper aspects of the I Ching. We also do so by analyzing its structure, and by looking deeper into the context and the sequence.

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