Yin and Yang from East to West: a paradigm shift

We left the discussion on Conceiving Yin and Yang through Western tradition with Dr Mei’s remark on the need of a paradigm shift for both Eastern and Western traditions. Dr Mei’s idea is, indeed, that while Eastern tradition has to come closer to material matters, Western tradition should as well start pursuing the perception of the abstract world of the mind: only then “consciousness and imagination will become the medium of physics and metaphysics, and will require decoding by our neuroscientists and thinkers alike in the next paradigm shift of human knowledge that we are about to enter. This paradigm shift will lead the human civilization into another classification of a higher order.


Dr Mei reminds that Eastern and Western traditions could develop themeselves thanks to the inspiration of the human spirit and a relentless quest for wisdom. In the West, since the Renaissance, science and physical worldview brought us to the era of technological innovations. The more our technologies developed, the most men looked farther, towards the edge of the universe. And going even further, we took conscience of the multiverse. So, the quest for physical evidence takes us to the inward world of quantum particles and beyond, into the invisible world that can only be explored by consciousness and human imagination.

The human empirical thought is, after all, a product of the human mind. The law of physics and the law of metaphysics are all products of the human intellect. We are now at the point in human history where the recognition of this relationship between mind and matter is both necessary and synergistically required for the next stage of human development.


The relationships between mind and matter were debated by ancient Chinese philosophers over 3,000 years ago. This debate finds expression in the Yin-Yang theory which permeates Chinese civilisation. Mind and matter were already present in the Hundred Schools of Thought in the Spring and Autumn Period, and before that during the Zhou dynasty with the gathering of the I Ching. I Ching (or Yijing, or The Book of Changes) describes the relationship of men and heaven and the holism of our universe in the dynamics of Yin and Yang. Inspired by these dynamics, an abstract octagram was devised to predict the future.

During the warring period that followed, Confucius set new criteria for the organization of society: in the Book of Piety and The Book of Music or Happiness we can find the concepts of Ren (Kindness), Ai (Love) and Yi (Nobleness). Before that, it was believed that the ideal society would have been the one who followed the principles of Dao, which expressed itself through metaphysical terms (“the Way derives from Nothingness“). Even Lao Tse and Zhuang Tse adopted this vision of the world. These two ways of conceiving society contended over the years in Chinese history. Both subscribed to the concept of Yin and Yang, which was also adopted by the Legalist and also finds references in the works of Han Fei Tse and the Sun Tse’s Art of War.

The struggle between the Daoist world view and the Confucian was the engine pulling the Chinese towards constant debate on mind and matter.


Dr Mei points out that parallels of the Yin-Yang theory in the West can be found in the Stock Market between the buying forces of the “bulls” and the selling forces of the “bears”. In this process of struggle the clever investor can take advantage. “Both the philosophical and the scientific analysis can also be applied to other spheres in our new emerging worldview that requires a deep multi-disciplinary relational and rational intelligence.”

To be continued.

Source: “MFM E-Letter” by dr Man Fong Mei

Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 in Featured, Health and Medicine  http://landsofwisdom.com/?p=1450