Opposites in perfect balance
The concept of Yin-Yang is an essential component in ancient Chinese philosophy -- and like many philosophical concepts it is extremely simple to understand, but at the same time extremely hard to accurately define. Simple definitions open the discussion to a lot of quibbling, hair-splitting and semantic disagreements ... but here goes anyway.
Yin-Yang literally translates as "dark-bright," or "negative-positive." Yin and Yang are seen as types of energy that are polar opposites in the way they appear and operate.
Ideally, they exist in perfect balance with one another. That's their purpose anyway. But perfection is almost never found in reality -- so there we have yin and yang expressions that appear in infinite shades of gray and infinite black-and-white, yin-and-yang combinations, each distinct and unique.
The elegant and familiar yin-yang symbol (you've surely seen it many times) shows a perfect balance between the two contrasting opposites of light-and-dark, with a portion of the opposite element in each section. Within yin, there is an eternal, inevitable kernel of pure yang, and vice versa. This symbolism is important.
The Western mind tends to reduce this down to the "moral of the story" level -- that there is some blessing to be found in every experience of evil, every catastrophe, while in the expression of inspiring virtue you can discern how ultimately it will sow the seeds of its own destruction. Somehow this story is eternal.
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