The dichotomies of things, eh? A life full of opposites…..but, but, but….in that last half sentence is the key to it all. A ‘life full’…..in other words, a ‘whole’, a ‘unit’. Dichotomies are made up of the opposites in a whole. Male (yang) and female (yin) make up the human species. Night and day make up the daily cycle. Good and bad make up our sense of morality and so it goes. For every push, there is a pull; for every up there is a down; for every plus there is a minus.
The TAO: All things in the universe are governed by opposing, yet interdependent forces.
In the Chinese Yin Yang symbol we are presented with a circle (the whole) and it is curvaceously bifurcated equally by two twisted pear shapes, one black, the other white. That symbol suggests that the opposites are equal. They, despite their dynamic tension, make up the whole and neither side prevails over the other……not for a long time, anyway. Yin and Yang are what gives us balance, harmony and a form of stability.
“Dave!! Focus!! Where are we going with this….?”
That is one of the points of this blog. There is nowhere to go with this….Yin and Yang are in a constant struggle constrained within their circle and that battle continues if the circle is to continue to exist. We live in a constant struggle to exist. Struggle/conflict is our constant.
And, of course, as you might have guessed from previous blogs, that struggle is apparent everywhere. It is, perhaps, most apparent in Ukraine right now but it is obvious, too, in nature. It is obvious in politics. How ’bout that debt crisis, eh? It is obvious in institutions. Corporations. Yin and yang is everywhere.
To the enlightened, perhaps, all trouble and strife is just yin and yang playing out and one should not get too fussed. It is simply the way of things. “Smile like Buddha and accept it, Grasshopper.”
But, of course, that’s stupid. No one can live blissfully and happily in good and evil. Even Caine in the early Kung Fu TV series would beat the crap out of bad guys in every show. He would adopt an air of calm acceptance/bliss/enlightenment until the air became untenable and then, simply to restore balance and harmony to the little western town beset by ruffians, he’d eliminate them. The lesson: you may understand the yin and yang of life but you can only live in one or the other.
I started musing over this because of the recent hullabaloo over transgenderism. Transgenderism really conflicts with ancient yin and yang theory. It violates the basic principle. And this basically irrelevant ‘tranny’ issue to the majority of us is, for some reason, a major conflict point nevertheless.
It just did not make sense to me to fuss over trannies. However you read the stats, the number of transgenders is 0.36 % or maybe as much as 2% but all the stats also include non-binary and androgynous and, of course, those who simply ‘identify’ as trans.
(Frankly, I self-identify as a sweetheart but, if you asked a million people to describe a sweetheart, none would pick me. Self-identity doesn’t really count in my books).
My point is that “Transgenderism” is not really the issue. The issue is conflict. Conflict/struggle plain and simple. Seems we Homos need it. And Trans is just another point of conflict we choose on the ‘whatever-is-going-around’ spectrum…politics, religion, sexuality, left and right-wingism and so on.
And, whatever-is-going-around now goes really around and even goes viral a lot more and a lot more quickly.
It’s like that guy (Penny) who recently choked that other guy (Neely) on the subway in New York. Neely died. Immediately, the right wingy-types adopted Penny as their latest symbol. But, just as easily, the left might have hailed him as their hero because he subdued a violent threat on the subway to protect others. In 1964 Kitty Genovese was raped and stabbed and no one came to her rescue despite her neighbours hearing her cries. That inaction was universally condemned at the time. Kitty is a historically lefty martyr. Penny could also have been theirs. But the Rittenhouses claimed him first.
It seems we are not all that invested in the actual crime or issue, it matters only who claims the political position first and shapes the narrative to suit them. Conflict and struggle. Yin vs Yang no matter the issue. I think we are more invested in HAVING the conflict than we are the issue.
That kind of explains a lot of social issues these days…..
Which brings me to a second point. Social media is a relatively new phenomena and one that readily foments conflict. We have more conflict now simply because we can. AND we are encouraged to do so (good for business). In the old days, you might get ticked at a grocery clerk for taking someone ahead of you but you just simmered and waited your turn. Today, lawsuits, protests, clerks being fired and boycotts can ensue. People now make an issue, a Facebook entry, a YouTube out of things they used to just ‘get over’. Social media put a virtual loaded gun in everyone’s hands. Conflict likes guns.
And this is only gonna get worse.
One more spin on this……..every neighbourhood has and has had a crazy. We lived with ’em but mostly avoided them. And they lived in their parent’s basement and melted plastic and hurt small animals in relative isolation. Isolated ugly. Today, that same crazy has a chat room, a discussion group. They can make a website and find others similarly disposed to setting fire to cats or shooting squirrels. The crazies can and do now organize. We have the weird combination now of organized crazies.
And, if Yin and Yang have their way, everyone is gonna have to duck and hide more often.
David: I appreciate your effort at moral realism. I have understood TAO as meaning something different than the Yin and the Yang. This may be a reference to TAOism- as Chinese philosophy which is more developed perhaps.
The TAO is what I see as used to serve as shorthand for the trans-cultural fund or “reservoir” of teachings that is the source of moral judgment, of codes of ethics, and of standards of right and wrong. TAO as a word speaks of something universal.
If gender identity is universal and in tension how do these inform our moral judgments as to what is right and wrong?
Thank you for appreciating my efforts at moral realism….I had no idea what to call that piece. I would not likely, however, have come up with something like moral realism….probably something more like ‘why we sweat the petty things’. Or, more to the point: ‘why Does Dave see the world as he does?’ To my mind, the point was not so much about moral anything, only the dynamic tensions between everything and how that plays out in so many ways. Once it occurred to me that dynamic tension lives in everything we do, then the various arguments are less about the topics and more about that dynamic tension we start every day with. We live in conflict…naturally.
Your question at the end might be answered this way: We LIVE in yin or we LIVE in yang on ANY GIVEN SUBJECT. That means male vs female, battle of the sexes kinda thing…..constant friction so as to live ultimately in harmony. But transgenders try to walk first in one and then the other. They cause cognitive dissonance. But it ain’t evil. There is no moral issue at stake. Well, there is when the 6’6″ ex-male athlete decides to compete against women in a sport where his/her size advantages him/her. And then we all go nuts. Disproportionally. But I contend we are more likely to fight over something simply because of the yin vs yang issue and it almost does not matter what the starting issue is. The government of Florida vs Walt Disney over words….????
“male and female he created them” is the go-to script for centuries already. These gender particulars were seen as complimentary and the sum of these two parts the whole of humanness.
Woke seems to have different assumptions, that we might create or co-construct our gender identity at will and impose that on others – as a sort of reverence for self or our self-hood.
What happens if you don’t share or accept the basic premise? I imagine we would have a fundamental disagreement- not able to agree on the facts much less on what to do.
Sparks will fly and they have already flown.
I couldn’t care less what someone “identifies” as.
Just stop expecting me to know what gender you claim to be, due to which phase of the moon your gender identity is based on or the time of the day your gender identity is based on.
Personally I have found most people that demand that “we” pay attention to “them” and their needs, are insecure, fragile and attention seeking, immature .
Their “rights” are the same as mine.
5 years ago no one was having this discussion.
Now we have our Prime Minister “lecturing” the Italian Prime Minister on LGBTQX2 ‘rights”?
Kinda gets our attention off inflation and rising food prices don’t it?
Be whatever you want. Just stop demanding I play along with your game.
I refuse to be sucked in to the bottomless vortex that is “gender rights” and pronouns demanded by a mentally fragile minority of obnoxious protestors.
The 98% must kneel before the 2%?
Now that’s my ‘YANG’ buddy!
I/we/they will be the “Yang” to your “yin” any time amigo!
I would postulate that the yin and yang is the cause of human insanity. Any imbalance within ones mind is enough. There are so many causes of imbalance within our world order right now its sometimes surprises me that I’m still perfectly sane!(well mostly)
I doubt you are insane. To say that your pronouns are he and him and your adjectives are “intelligent” and “handsome” does not make you insane. It makes you normal.
There are to many rich white guys for reasons unexplained who wish to be women or something in between.
A bizarre project and likely has ‘crazy’ origins.
As the Canadian politician once said in the House of Commons – enough of this WOKE shit.
Yin and Yang belong to polar opposites, the tensions in life that allow us to experience life with each other and the joy of balance.
I would suggest we need competing world views and politics to refine our nations into a more perfect union. Democracy is not pretty but it works.
Yeah. That news is a surprise to me, too!