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Thread: Very Basic Question

  1. #1

    Default Very Basic Question

    Is Yin the absence of Yang (or vice-versa), or are they entities in their own right?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    The one can never be the absence of the other. If you say yin, you automatically imply yang. You can only name something yin if you compare it to something else. That 'something else' must be yang. We call the night dark because the day is light. If there wouldn't be 'day' we would never call the night 'dark' - we just wouldn't know any better. In other words, when you say yin there must be yang. Somewhere.

    Is man the absence of woman?

    Harmen.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by hmesker View Post
    The one can never be the absence of the other. If you say yin, you automatically imply yang. You can only name something yin if you compare it to something else. That 'something else' must be yang. We call the night dark because the day is light. If there wouldn't be 'day' we would never call the night 'dark' - we just wouldn't know any better. In other words, when you say yin there must be yang. Somewhere.
    I mean, is saying X is Yin identical to saying X is not Yang (and, by extension, meaning that only Yang need be defined)? Although, when phrased like that, it does seem to degenerate into a linguistics anomally...

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    Quote Originally Posted by crystal_blue View Post
    I mean, is saying X is Yin identical to saying X is not Yang (and, by extension, meaning that only Yang need be defined)?
    No, it does not work like that, because hardly ever is something only yin or yang, in most cases it is a mixture, just as in the Yijing: there are only two hexagrams which are pure yin or yang, the other 62 are a mixture of yin and yang. Saying that something is yin or yang is an estimate, a convention, or a compromise. In daily life there hardly is anything yin or yang.

    Harmen.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by hmesker View Post
    No, it does not work like that, because hardly ever is something only yin or yang, in most cases it is a mixture, just as in the Yijing: there are only two hexagrams which are pure yin or yang, the other 62 are a mixture of yin and yang.
    Again, though, isn't saying 'X is 40% Yang and 60% Yin', for example, identical to saying 'X is 40% Yang', therefore Yin is merely a measure of how 'Yang deficient' something is?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by crystal_blue View Post
    Again, though, isn't saying 'X is 40% Yang and 60% Yin', for example, identical to saying 'X is 40% Yang', therefore Yin is merely a measure of how 'Yang deficient' something is?
    If you focus on one limited aspect of something I think you could say that. But let's take a black marble. Marbles are round, and 'round' is an aspect of yang. But the colour is black, and 'black' is an aspect of yin. So, is a black marble yin or yang?

    Harmen.

  7. #7
    bruce_g Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by crystal_blue View Post
    Is Yin the absence of Yang (or vice-versa), or are they entities in their own right?
    It's an interesting question, one I tend to move along with rather than against. I can understand what Harmen is saying, and your question remains valid also.

    If, for example, Yin can be expressed as void, then the absence of Yang determines the quantity of Yin. But since Yin can not be quantified (how do you measure a void except by the absence of something?), how can it be measured unless measured according to the quantity of Yang? ... which it seems is what Harmen was expressing.

    I think the earth's tides express the nature of Yin and Yang. We can get our heads around the fact that the tide rises here because of the absence of it there, and vv. Likewise, the moon waxes and wanes according to the measure of each other - which again is what Harmen implied: one can not exist without the other. But I see no contradiction in the question you are asking.

    I've pondered your question myself. Philosophically, I have rationalized it through a prose of hex. 1 and 2, as follows:

    Yang - Hex. 1
    In the beginning was the Urge. It knew neither light nor dark, forward nor back. Neither did it know good or evil. Source of endless possibilities; the Urge always finds his way to become.

    Yin - Hex. 2
    Before the beginning was space for creation. Devoted and strong, open yet firm: Heaven’s wife receives the seed and bears upon herself all things manifest.

    It doesn't answer your question, it just presents it in a different way. How can each be measured but by the absence of the other?
    Last edited by bruce_g; May 27th, 2007 at 12:24 PM.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by hmesker View Post
    If you focus on one limited aspect of something I think you could say that. But let's take a black marble. Marbles are round, and 'round' is an aspect of yang. But the colour is black, and 'black' is an aspect of yin. So, is a black marble yin or yang?
    A black marble is partly Yang?

  9. #9
    bruce_g Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by crystal_blue View Post
    A black marble is partly Yang?
    Yes, because it is round - a quality of Yang. Good analogy.

  10. #10
    bruce_g Guest

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    The earth is also round. But isn't the earth Yin and heaven Yang?

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