Many people are familiar with the concepts of Yin & Yang, but only just enough to know they exist. There’s still a great deal of confusion about these concepts & the principles by which they operate. Yin & Yang are not “Things”, in & of themselves. They are empty terms that characterize the function of things in any given situation. Yin & Yang can describe both the structure & the function of things or situations, in both specific & relative contexts. Context is the key. Additionally, Yin Yang Theory is neither dualistic nor dialectical. They relate to each other in multiple ways simultaneously. The precise relationship between them depends on the needs & priorities of a person making an observation. They are the names for the opposite ends of a single polarity.
The Six Basic Principles of Yin Yang
矛盾/Maodun – Contradiction & Opposition: Fundamentally, the relationship between Yin & Yang is based on difference, opposition, & contradiction. Their interaction is dynamic because of the tension present in such a situation. The contextual nature of this means that any given thing is both Yin & Yang simultaneously & in multiple ways, depending on the particulars.
相依/Xiangyi – Interdependence: Neither side of this pair can exist on its own. Yin & Yang are relative concepts that inherently imply each other. But this relativity is also cyclical & alternating. There is a natural rhythm to interaction & expressed relation between them.
互含/Huhan – Mutual Inclusion: The cyclical interdependence of Yin & Yang is further linked by Mutual Inclusion. Yin & Yang both contain each other as a latent potential. When one pole reaches its peak, the other begins to grow in prominence & eventually manifests.
交感/Jiaogan – Resonance: Yin & Yang influence & shape one another. The cyclical alternation previously mentioned is expressed by the inversely proportional balance of the pair. This allows one to exert influence in a given situation by working the hidden, background, or secondary aspects.
互補/Hubu – Complimentarity: The weaknesses of either Yin or Yang are supplemented by the strengths of the opposite. Too much tension in the body (excessive Yang) is remedied by developing flexibility (Yin) to relieve the stiffness. Balance is achieved & maintained by this balancing relationship.
轉化/Zhuanhua – Transformation: Yin & Yang constantly change, cycling through possible states & proportions. They essentially form an endless spiral by alternating as the dominant aspect of a polarity. Remember: “The Dao Operates via Reversal”/道操縱反.
Yin Yang Theory is complex & multifaceted, expressing the relative relation between multiple different things, & one thing in multiple ways, simultaneously. The context is determined by the location & timing of observation.
The famous Chinese Medical text the Huangdi Neijing says “Yin & Yang are mutually connected, like a ring with no beginning.” Together they form a polarity. The famous image known as “the Yin Yang Symbol” is actually a depiction of this polarity: 太極\Taiji – Grand Polarity.