"When you can live with all your opposite qualities, you will be living your total self." Deepak Chopra, an Indian-born, American physician, public speaker, and writer
Within each of us there are two forces: yin and yang. They are opposites and must be kept in a dynamic tension. Yin relates to feminine and yang to masculine traits. They occur in varying proportions in both men and women. The outcome of the interaction between the yin and the yang forces decides a person's character. Thus, a person is the sum total of his or her yin yang mixture.
We were all born balanced, but we can adversely affect this balance. Dominant and aggressive people have too much yang. Overly subservient people have too much yin. Often men lose the balance. Egoistic and violent attitudes mean that they ignore much of the yin within. If women never argue or are overly distant, they may have lost most of their yang. If we allow either yin or yang to overstep a certain point, we lose dynamic tension and we are likely to choose unbalanced actions with harmful outcomes. We then need to correct our inner energies and reestablish dynamic tension between yin and yang. Although yin and yang may result in differences of temperament between men and women, it does not follow that women can only do domestic work, while men must work outside the home. That is purely a patriarchal division of work.
In a patriarchal culture the yin yang balance is often missing. Instead there is a rigid, dualized order where men must be masculine and women feminine. It has given men the leading roles and most of society's privileges. Especially dangerous is the patriarchal bias relating women to emotions and passivity, and men to rationality and activity. This distinction has placed men in charge of women, resulting in a dominant and hierarchical master/slave society called Patriarchy. This was opposite in early Chinese society where male and female were equal. Yet, in 1500 BC, also China became a patriarchal society. This means that much of the relationship between men and women in traditional Chinese society was oppressive towards women. Thus, the harmony sought by men, was at the expense of women, who were kept to their submissive role.
Modern society, including the Chinese, is a masculine, patriarchal, yang world. Lack of dynamic tension with the yin force has developed an unbalanced focus, which is causing numerous crises. Hence, the revolt of the yin is inevitable. The peak of the yang phase has passed, and the rising of the yin is beginning. The outcome will make the world a better place for women, children, poor people, people of color, traditional people, non-human animals, and nature. The Intsangano educational website is part of various manifestations that the yin energy is rising worldwide.
Working towards a more equal world, we have a lot to learn from the concept of yin and yang. Its conflict solving model can teach us not to deny either the masculine yang or the feminine yin, but to see them as different and complementary parts of a unified, balanced whole.
There are consequently two types of consciousness, knowledge, and activity typical of a human being. The masculine yang is rational, while the feminine yin is intuitive. They are complementary functions of the human mind:
Rational, yang consciousness is linear and analytic. It analyzes, discriminates, measures, and categorizes. Rational yang knowledge is therefore fragmented. It relates to science and tends to generate individual, competitive, large-scale, mechanistic, and productive activities. It focuses on quantitative growth and expansion, according to a theoretical model with a reductionist scope. Being highly active and ego-centered, the activity may, in its extreme form and without a yin restraint, become aggressive, violent, exploitative, and domineering.
Intuitive, yin consciousness is a direct, non-intellectual experience of reality in an expanded state of awareness. It is holistic, synthetic, and non-linear. Intuitive wisdom is associated with spirituality. It is the basis for qualitative, social, cooperative, ecological, and reproductive activities. It is done practically, at a small-scale, with a holistic scope. The activity may in its extreme form, and if unchecked by yang, become diminutive, and subordinate to other activities.
Psychologist Robert Ornstein notes that the rational, quantitative, reductionist cognition is a function of the left hemisphere of the human brain. The right hemisphere of the brain is conversely the source of intuition, qualitative, and imaginative modes of cognition. Both modes are equally important, and both need to be applied in order for a person to live a balanced life.
Conclusively, we can live harmonious lives when we ensure a dynamic tension between both types of consciousness, knowledge, and activity. When people are in harmony, they will establish harmonious societies, and ensure living in harmony with the natural environment and all of its inhabitants.