Feminism, Gender Equality, Yin and Yang
Resulting from an intense discussion on Facebook, I decided to take some time and develop my ideas around gender equality from the perspective of the fundamental Yin and Yang energies.
To start, I think the Yin and Yang are equally capable of positive results and destructive results. It’s the imbalance between the two that creates negative outcomes. I’m saying this because I will be focusing mostly on the positive of Yin and the Negative on Yang, but there is a whole world in how the Yin can be destructive also, it’s just not pertinent to this discussion.
I think dealing with an imbalance is the equal responsibility of both Yin and Yang representatives, Yin generally being represented by women and Yang generally by men.
Beginning with the invention of agriculture and increasing with the industrial revolution, humanity has fallen way out of balance towards Yang. I don’t believe this is the fault of men. I think this is the fault of everyone. Since the beginning of time we have relied heavily on the representatives of both energies in order for society to thrive in what can often be a hostile environment. If a lion is attacking a tribe of people, the yang tactics are clearly the best option in resolving that situation. In an interpersonal conflict, a blend of the two energies, erring more on the side of Yin is a much better approach.
It’s only relatively recently that we are no longer afraid of wolves and jaguars prowling the outskirts of our encampments or marauding savages pillaging our towns. Now that these threats are no longer such a concern for us, the Yang force is not needed as much. In fact, the biggest threats now such as war, disease, famine, and pollution are all problems that Yang energies cannot solve as easily as Yin could. But since we have been so heavily reliant on Yang solutions for so many millennia, it is a habit that we are having trouble breaking and it is beginning to break us.
For the balance to be maintained, the representatives of Yin have serious work to do to make their energy viable again and the Yang have an equally challenging task of opening themselves to the influence of the Yin.
After years of study, the practical applications of Yin in the modern world still elude me to a certain degree. It is easiest to talk about them from an abstract position.
Yang is directional, Yin is a-directional.
Yang is exclusive, Yin is inclusive.
Yang separates, yin combines.
Yang isolates, Yin blends.
Yang is rigid, Yin bends.
I believe that the optimal combination of these two powers creates a force that is unmatched. Among many arts and practices I believe the art of Zen and the martial art of Aikido successfully find that balance.
One thing that I can say very clearly is that groups of women and men who are trying to rebalance the energies would do well to stay away from the more destructive Yang tactics which helped to contribute to the problem in the first place. These include:
1. Finger pointing - This is the negative side of the positive Yang ability to isolate oneself from others. This is great when hunting or defending against an attacker but fails terribly when dealing with complex interpersonal issues
2. Defining an enemy - This also comes out of the Yang necessity to protect the tribe using violence if necessary. The problem is that an enemy-based focus fails badly when trying to forge peace between people who are experiencing conflict.
3. Anger - This quintessentially Yang force is extremely useful in the most desperate of situations, causing an explosion of adrenaline into the bloodstream, giving the person virtually superhuman abilities which are vital if one’s life is in danger. In any other situation, it is a highly destructive energy.
4. The ‘Conquer’ solution - This Yang skill is an absolute necessity for ancient hunters who needed to conquer their prey so that their tribe could survive. There’s not much argument about how destructive this approach is when used in interpersonal interactions.
These are just a few of the positive Yang energies that have become quite destructive when used out of their original context. Sadly, Yang solutions have so pervaded our world that men and women use them virtually equally. This is why I disagree with those who blame men for the current imbalance. To fix this imbalance, the work really starts at home, in each of our hearts, to work for a more balanced and optimized approach to everyday life.
Here are my ideas on some of the ways that Yin energy can start to have a positive effect on our world:
1. Meditation - This Yin force has amazing potential to affect people. Scientists have studied crime rates during meditation symposiums where 100s of thousands of people came to a city to meditate and invariably, crime rates went down by a large degree.
2. Heart based approach - We are highly intellectual and logical in our approach to the world these days. It is my belief that these are predominantly Yang traits which desperately need to be balanced by the Yin ‘logic’ of the heart and inspiration/intuition.
3. Yoga - As funny as this might sound, I believe that practices like Yoga and Tai Chi are predominantly Yin practices. A regular practice of Yoga or other such Yin techniques can begin to balance the internal energies of the body which will then flow out into the world and have a real effect
4. Psychic phenomena (The collective Unconscious) - Call it what you want based on your own cosmology. The fundamental idea is that we are all connected. I believe this is a fundamentally Yin phenomenon in contrast with the Yang ability to be separate. I believe that the representatives of Yin have a higher potential to connect with the psychic / collective unconscious field and thus have a great responsibility to use this power to help rebalance the energies. Those who represent Yang will have a harder time at this and thus rely on the Yin representatives to perform these vital tasks. It is my belief that this field has a huge effect on our reality and I think this is why Yin is often called “The power of the small” or “The power of the invisible.” Yin’s power is not overt like Yang’s is, which is why I think so many people fall prey to depending on Yang tactics. The invisible tactics of Yin seem so gossamer as to make people wonder whether they even exist at all and if they do, whether they have much power. I believe they have immense power but it is not so easy to measure. In this case, to have an influence in the psychic/collective unconscious field, one needs to learn how to access that field and inject one’s positive energy into that field. An example of this would be choosing to resonate love energy towards someone who you feel is acting inappropriately rather than the Yang technique of going up to the person and using overt tactics to try to get them to stop. The psychic field phenomenon is a lot more complex than what I can describe in this post.
5. Spirituality (humility) - This one is big. Humanity’s belief that we are alone in the universe makes us feel that we have the ‘right’ to do whatever we want to the plants and animals of this planet. Religions have arisen to try to fix this misunderstanding but ultimately they are hijacked by Yang governmental systems. The Yang ability to separate oneself from reality is extremely useful, but taken to it’s logical conclusion, it subjugates the whole world under it’s greedy, myopic vision. Humbling oneself to a vision of a higher order (theistic or atheistic, it doesn’t really matter) naturally changes one’s priorities towards a more Yin/Yang balanced life.
Once again, I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to expound on my original post. I hope some of this is useful to you. I’d love to hear your feedback if you have any