16. All Ancient Thoughts in China Are Philosophical Culture of Yin and Yang
As a matter of fact, so many thoughts in ancient China have a common feature that they study each unit, either big or small, such as universe, area, country, city, family, and so on as a system. This is the biggest difference between Chinese and Western cultures. Western culture is based on individuals as the research object and explores the ideological and behavioural emancipation of individuals and the protection of human rights, etc. Everything is centred on individuals, with individuals as a starting point.
To interpret from the Buddhist scriptures, Western culture is like Theravada, while Chinese culture or Eastern culture is like Mahayana. Of course, the systematic culture in China started much earlier than Indian Buddhist culture and is more extensive than Buddhism. But the dominant idea is almost the same.
The philosophy of Yin and Yang is the most fundamental philosophical culture in China. Other classic cultures in China are based on Yin and Yang. They even crystallise and actualise the philosophy of Yin and Yang. However, there seems to be no record which philosopher was the first to present the philosophy of Yin and Yang. I think this is God’s Revelation to ancient Chinese.
1. The philosophy of Yin and Yang believes that everything in the world is divided into Yin and Yang.
2. The sun is Yang and the earth is Yin. Active is Yang and passive is Yin. Attack is Yang and defence is Yin. The back is Yang and the belly is Yin. Growth is Yang and constriction is Yin. Hot is Yang and cold is Yin. Bright is Yang and dark is Yin, etc.
3. Yin and Yang must cooperate with each other so that everything can get on smoothly. If either of them is ignored, disasters will happen.
Things, from the large universe to small molecules and atoms, from tangible to intangible, contain Yin and Yang. All of them conform to the theory of Yin and Yang.
The philosophy of Yin and Yang is consistent with Mao Zedong’s thought of unity of opposites, as well as Confucius’s Doctrine of the Mean in China. Or rather, both Mao Zedong and Confucius borrowed the basic idea of the philosophy of Yin and Yang.
From a holistic view of human society, proletariat belongs to Yang and bourgeoisie to Yin. National interests belong to Yang and personal interests belong to Yin. Fairness and justice are masculine and economic development is feminine. Obedience to social order is masculine and pursuit of individual freedom is feminine.
Feminine submits to masculine and masculine cares for feminine. Just like women submit to men and men care for women. This is a way of universe and also a heavenly principle. Those who submit to God will prosper, and those who resist shall perish. If Yin and Yang can be reconciled in harmony and unity, things will co-exist with heaven and earth, the sun and moon. Otherwise, calamities will come one after another.
Both ancient history and modern history in China illustrate this point.
The theory of Yin and Yang is arguably one of the most fundamental characteristics of the system. A society is a system. A universe is a system. The earth is a system. A country is a system. An enterprise is a system. A family is a system. An individual is a system. A car is a system. A computer is especially a system.
The earth’s climate also contains Yin and Yang. Yang represents sunlight and Yin represents rainfall. It is with the presence of sunshine, rain, and dew that all things on the earth can grow. Moreover, sunshine, rain, and dew need a balance of Yin and Yang. Too much sunshine without rain, there will be drought. If rain and dew don’t stop, flood will inundate. For human being, this means great catastrophes.
The philosophy of Yin and Yang is a systematic philosophy and also a fundamental thought in ideological system in China. It has a very long history. I don’t even think this kind of philosophy can be invented by people at that time with their own intelligence and culture. It might be a prehistoric civilisation, a civilisation existing before Chinese civilisation. At that time, people hardly had any characters. How can they possibly spread such profound knowledge?