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Thread: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

  1. #1

    Default Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    When talking about morality I do like the yin yang symbol.



    Obviously, my own interpretation of yin yang has been customized, and is probably much different then Taoism. For anything good (white) there is some evil. For anything evil (black) there is some good. However, these forces are obviously locked in a constant circular struggle, never quite able to vanquish the other. To me, this image fits well with my interpretation of good and evil. Though I try to defeat evil with good, I must acknowledge that evil is still an unacknowledged part of my person.

    The true meaning of yin yang, however, appears much deeper and different than what I've written. Rather then opposing, White and Black are complementary forces. Though I'm no Chinese philosopher, it appears there could be a point there about morality as well. Let me know what you think!
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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    Dick Cheney,

    I apologise for not responding sooner the reason being that I hadn't a clue as to what yin and yang are. From what I can gather though it appears it is another system where the works of man is the answer to good and evil. The question though is why is there a constant struggle between good and evil and why does evil seem to be the object to be overcome more so than good?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Cheney. View Post
    When talking about morality I do like the yin yang symbol.



    Obviously, my own interpretation of yin yang has been customized, and is probably much different then Taoism. For anything good (white) there is some evil. For anything evil (black) there is some good. However, these forces are obviously locked in a constant circular struggle, never quite able to vanquish the other. To me, this image fits well with my interpretation of good and evil. Though I try to defeat evil with good, I must acknowledge that evil is still an unacknowledged part of my person.

    The true meaning of yin yang, however, appears much deeper and different than what I've written. Rather then opposing, White and Black are complementary forces. Though I'm no Chinese philosopher, it appears there could be a point there about morality as well. Let me know what you think!

    The concept of yin and yang are not.really the same as the West concept of.good and evil. Evil.isnt really symmetrical.ro.good, not in the western sense, although evil can sometimes mimic good.

    What is particularly evil.about the earth? The moon? Water? The principles of light and dark don't necessarily align with good and evil precisely. Yin and Yang present thr light and dark as being symmetrical and equal, but that is not true for good and evil, at least in the West's concept. God is much more powerful.than his evil.counterpart Satan.

    Yin and Yang are complementary, good and evil are opposing, a subtle but important difference. To be complementary doesn't automatically mean you are opposed.

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    hellheaven1987's Avatar Comes Domesticorum
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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    It is probably more close to Star Wars dark and light force concept.
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    swabian's Avatar igni ferroque
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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    more close to
    Why, yes of course it is in it's naivety and crassness. But where does the idea behind the force in Star Wars come from?

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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by swabian View Post
    Why, yes of course it is in it's naivety and crassness. But where does the idea behind the force in Star Wars come from?
    You have the Light side of the Force and the Dark side of the Force, corresponding to the Yin and the Yang.

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    So there is one force with two sides to it? Sounds familiar!

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    hellheaven1987's Avatar Comes Domesticorum
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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by swabian View Post
    Why, yes of course it is in it's naivety and crassness. But where does the idea behind the force in Star Wars come from?
    The difference is dark side of force is technically not "evil" or "bad".
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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    As I understand it, evil isn't a positive actuality, it's simply the absence of good.

    This reminds me of how some people try to disprove God by making arguments like,

    "If God can't commit evil, then that's a limitation, but if God is limited, then he is not all-powerful."

    But evil is not a thing, properly speaking, it's a defect. The fact that God lacks defects does not lead to the conclusion that he is defective.

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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    As I understand it, evil isn't a positive actuality, it's simply the absence of good.

    This reminds me of how some people try to disprove God by making arguments like,

    "If God can't commit evil, then that's a limitation, but if God is limited, then he is not all-powerful."

    But evil is not a thing, properly speaking, it's a defect. The fact that God lacks defects does not lead to the conclusion that he is defective.
    That's certainly a philosophical position of the Catholic church (and many of its devolved Protestant offshoots), however there's quite a few concepts of evil in the Bible and church doctrine.

    In my view religious ideas develop from the feelings and beliefs of a community, and while individuals can alter these (especially within the context of a disciplined authority like the Catholic church under the Papacy has become) the meanings spring from ordinary everyday believers. As with words where the dictionary definition is recorded after usage is developed (usually orally) so theological descriptions of evil come after ordinary people develop their beliefs.

    Satan evolves into a personification of evil: his rebellion in Christian cosmology is a positive evil, not an absence of good. I think this is a genuine folk belief from the Iron Age Near east (and pretty much everywhere else too), that there's a powerful bad dude, and our good dude will fight him for us. "deliver us from evil" etc, not "bring us closer to God and away from that theoretical absence which we misunderstand as evil".

    As with the Christian idea of evil, so the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang looks to me like a sophisticated development of folk belief. Many ontological systems express the idea of moieties, that is broad divisions into pairs. Hot/cold, man/woman, up/down, light/dark. This leads to peculiar associations like woman/danger in some Australian Aboriginal beliefs (because women cook, and use fire, and fire can burn you). in that partiuciar moiety system men are dark/cold/wet, and women light/hot/dry so these associations are not universal.

    Taoism involves a host of categories, from the reasonably subtle wisdom literate of the first half of the Tao Te Ching, to the asinine folk medicine thats led to the extermination of rhinos. i see the hand of superstition in the stupid interpolations in works like Sun Tzu's recommending "Feng Shui" horoscope based tactics quite at odds with the core text's insistence on harsh pragmatism.

    I think Yin Yang expresses the unity of experience (a particular theme in Chinese philosophy, opposed to the Western dualist tradition) across a number of modes, from wise saws to silly superstition to overly elaborate hair splitting to deep and insightful philosophising.

    I don't think its an "accurate image of good and evil" which is not a particular theme in Chinese philosophy or religion. I think Eastern thought focuses on the Way (a theme across Buddhist, Taoist Legalist and Confucian thought). Deviation from the Way leads to disharmony.

    I think western thought which is fundamentally dualist (I think Plato expresses this underlying bedrock of belief rather than invents it, and its present in Jesus thought 'on earth as it is in Heaven") runs into the problem of evil as it tries to impose a single God onto a fundamentally dualist world view. The Bible assumes there is good and evil, if there's only one God responsible for it all how can He be responsible for good and evil?

    Obviously the question is terribly complex, but I don't think there's much of a match up between good and evil and Yin Yang. Its a bit like asking "is a slam dunk an accurate image of a third strike?". Different game, different rules.
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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Is yin yang an accurate image of good and evil?

    John tells us that The Lord Jesus is our Creator and there was nothing made that was not made by Him. Isaiah tells us that God created both good and evil and so if God did that it shows itself in the curse of sin whereupon all men fall short of the glory of God, why? Because sin is evil and God laid that on man through Adam's disbelief and disobedience, why? Because it was ordained in times past to be part of the communion that God would have with men made Holy through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ meaning that the story is not primarily about men, rather about the power of God to influence all things. Good and evil are well known in all the religious systems of the world but outside of Christianity these systems are based on man's efforts selling God short of Who He is and what He is doing.

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