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Ying and Yang

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While I've never thought about this in terms of physical or spiritual, I've always kind of thought of this concept of yin and yang when I read 2 Nephi 2:11:  "For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things.  If not so ... righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness (etc.) ... Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one..."  And then I have that cross-referenced to Alma 42:16, "Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul."

 

This concept of opposites really being a compound in one and punishment being affixed eternally opposite to the plan of happiness has always resonated with me, and again, I kind of think of it when I think of yin/yang.  Worldly/cultural understanding of an eternal concept.

 

Sorry if this isn't clear - too many things going on here demanding my attention!

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A scripture illustration that I would think supports this type of "complete" / "wholeness" construct is God's balance between justice and mercy.  Justice to be complete can not rob mercy and mercy to be complete can not rob justice.

 

This is a perfect application of the Yin - Yang relationship as it pertains to God's Law.

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Well perhaps we'll just continue to see things differently. From my perspective the two are as inseparable as male and female which are clearly yin and yang as I understand it. The spirit and body make up the eternal soul of man. God created spirit bodies for His spirit children already in the likeness of the physical form which they would later assume. At death the spirit and body are separated until the resurrection at which time they will again reunite. In fact (although I'm not sure I agree with your premise that one exists because of the other) it seems that using your same example above that the light only exists because there is dark one could postulate that the physical body only exists because of the spirit. However this can really get into a chicken or egg conversation that we simply don't have the answers to as it could also be argued that without the physical there could be no spiritual because God consists of both physical and spiritual matter and created everything.

 

Back to the comparison of male and female, lets just say for comparison's sake that men are akin to the physical and women the spiritual. Either can exist as separate entities at varying points in time, although neither can be created without both. So I can see the spirit world as single life and resurrected life as the improved yin/yang balance of married life, just now the marriage of physical and spiritual instead of male and female. So I personally don't understand what the point your trying to make is that just because spirits can temporarily exist without physical bodies that they cannot have a yin/yang balancing complementary relationship. The only spirits that will not be eternally united with physical bodies are those in outer darkness where I doubt a happy yin/Yang balance between the two exists... it isn't a balanced and harmonious place.

 

I see a glimpse of what you're saying but I still can't reconcile it with Yin-Yang concept.  The one thing that is the easiest to point to is the Spirit World.  If Spiritual and Physical are Yin-Yang, the Spirit World is not possible.  Also... outer darkness being devoid of Physical indicates that the Spirit CAN exist without the body... which already blows it out of Yin-Yang concept.

 

The Darkness of Outer Darkness is possible because of its opposition to the Light of Celestial Glory... without the Light (Yin), Outer Darkness (Yang) holds no meaning.

Edited by anatess

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Because a computer does what it is "told" or programmed to do.  A better metaphor might be a cowboy on a wild horse.  Until the passions of the body are bridled and controlled the "wild horse" will do what it wants, this is the natural man state.  Even after subdued, the "wild horse" will still have its tendencies and needs that are different than the rider's.  The ying and the yang suggest two different masters or the possibility that one is stronger than the other.  

 

Most of the time, while in this life, the body is in control.  Even the most skilled at spiritual influence will find it difficult to not fall asleep when the body master expresses its drives, just like what happened with the apostles, for example.

 

The computer does not exert its demands over mine or even close, it can't tell me what to do (another person's programing and input might tell me what to do but nothing generated by the computer alone can have some force over me)... so its not the best example of what dual opposing natures means when talking about our carnal vs spiritual nature.  There are passions and forces generated by the body alone, that do not come from the spirit, this is what is meant by dual opposing natures explained by President David O. McKay.

 

Neither the computer nor the horse holds any Yang relation to the Person (Yin).  The horse exists as a horse and is not relative to its human, so I really can't see how this relates to Yin-Yang and the concept of balance.

Edited by anatess

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My understanding of yin and yang come from personal studies of Buddhism. 

 

Mine come from the use of Chinese medicine in Filipino culture... a medical practice rooted in the concepts of Buddhism.  And yes, it strives to use the ebb-and-flow of two opposing forces to maintain balance - where "Healthy" resides.

Edited by anatess

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Neither the computer nor the horse holds any Yang relation to the Person (Yin).  The horse exists as a horse and is not relative to its human, so I really can't see how this relates to Yin-Yang and the concept of balance.

To be honest, I don't understand, really, the idea of opposites in a state of balance.  When opposites are at play there is opposition not balance.  Opposition is a state of flux, a state of change or at least a potential for change it is not a state of resting. I don't believe our religion teaches there must be a "counter balance" to righteousness and that the counter balance needs to be maintained. 

In this probationary state there is opportunity for change and flux and therefore a state of opposition exists to allow for change.   When things are stable, in other words, in balance, there is no need for opposition to maintain stability.   At least that is the way I understand it.

Edited by Seminarysnoozer

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anatess and SeminaryS:

 

I believe part of the confusion is over opposing (opposite) verses competing things.  In mathematical terms the intersection of opposite sets is the null or empty set.  Thus there is no balance of opposites.  For example there is no balance between divine righteousness and its opposite of sin.  Thus any set that contains sin cannot have balance with divine righteousness and vice versa. 

 

When we consider competing things - we realize that many times forces that are competing that are not opposite.  Such forces create harmonics or dissidents pending of the type of or lack of balance.  I believe the best example of competing forces that are not opposite is the example of Justice and Mercy.  We know mercy is not opposite to justice.  Injustice is opposite to justice.  To best understand Yin and Yang as I have been taught - Mercy is the Yin or noble force and Justice is the Yang or strong force.  I was taught that Yin is not just any force to match Yang but Yin is the noble, kind or cultured element.  Likewise Yang is not any force but is the strong or powerful element.  Thus strength become evil when not balanced with the nobility of kindness and cultured.  By the same token nobility, kindness and culture becomes meaningless without strength and power to buoy it up.  Competing things need balance - there is no balance with opposite things because the presents of one eliminates the other.  An example in the opposites in light and darkness - balance ends up being one or the other there is no balance between state of light or dark.  There can only be one or the other.

Edited by Traveler

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anatess and SeminaryS:

 

I believe part of the confusion is over opposing (opposite) verses competing things.  In mathematical terms the intersection of opposite sets is the null or empty set.  Thus there is no balance of opposites.  For example there is no balance between divine righteousness and its opposite of sin.  Thus any set that contains sin cannot have balance with divine righteousness and vice versa. 

 

When we consider competing things - we realize that many times forces that are competing that are not opposite.  Such forces create harmonics or dissidents pending of the type of or lack of balance.  I believe the best example of competing forces that are not opposite is the example of Justice and Mercy.  We know mercy is not opposite to justice.  Injustice is opposite to justice.  To best understand Yin and Yang as I have been taught - Mercy is the Yin or noble force and Justice is the Yang or strong force.  I was taught that Yin is not just any force to match Yang but Yin is the noble, kind or cultured element.  Likewise Yang is not any force but is the strong or powerful element.  Thus strength become evil when not balanced with the nobility of kindness and cultured.  By the same token nobility, kindness and culture becomes meaningless without strength and power to buoy it up.  Competing things need balance - there is no balance with opposite things because the presents of one eliminates the other.  An example in the opposites in light and darkness - balance ends up being one or the other there is no balance between state of light or dark.  There can only be one or the other.

I appreciate this description, I think that is how I looked at it as well and not so much as a counter-balance.  Maybe the better word for this thing is harmony, as you have used here.  Harmony is, I think, what you are really trying to talk about and not so much Ying-Yang balance (but then again I don't really believe in ying-yang "balances" to begin with).   I tend to look at ying-yang as a state of competition, turmoil, etc - kind of like how this life is described to us, a state of opposition where we ultimately cannot serve two masters.  The revealing of which master we serve, and to what degree, is the whole purpose of being in a state of opposing forces.  The end result, though, is to serve one master.

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  An example in the opposites in light and darkness - balance ends up being one or the other there is no balance between state of light or dark.  There can only be one or the other.

 

This is not true according to Yin-Yang Philosophy.  Light and Dark is the best example of a Yin-Yang relationship.  Light ceases to have meaning without its opposition to Dark.  But, Light does not automatically mean Yin and Dark automatically Yang.  Dark is simply Yang in relation to Light's Yin.  The clear demarcation of where Light ends and Dark begins is represented in the Yin-Yang symbol... but, it is rare that you can step right out of light and fall naturally right into dark.  The more natural flow is the gradual ebb and flow between perfect Light and perfect Dark that provides the million levels of Gray in between.  So that, within the Yin of Light exists more Yin-Yang relationships with Brighter Light a Yin to Dimmer Light's Yang, etc.  But, in nature, just because it is Light does not necessarily mean it is Good and just because it is Dark does not necessarily mean it is Evil.  Sunburn is Light and it is not Good.  The photoperiod of Nighttime is Dark and it supports life and is Good.  Both Day and Night are essential for health and they need to be in balance.

Edited by anatess

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I see a glimpse of what you're saying but I still can't reconcile it with Yin-Yang concept.  The one thing that is the easiest to point to is the Spirit World.  If Spiritual and Physical are Yin-Yang, the Spirit World is not possible.  Also... outer darkness being devoid of Physical indicates that the Spirit CAN exist without the body... which already blows it out of Yin-Yang concept.

 

The Darkness of Outer Darkness is possible because of its opposition to the Light of Celestial Glory... without the Light (Yin), Outer Darkness (Yang) holds no meaning.

 

The only thing I can see that is causing this talking past each-other's understanding is a fundamentally differing view of what yin yang entails in some aspect. Personally this is less important to me than the exploration of the idea in general and how it can relate to gospel topics. However in trying to get a more complete understanding of the yin yang concept lest I am simply playing the fool I looked into it more, and in doing so I found the 3rd and 4th paragraph of page 10 particularly interesting and pertinent to our conversation. According to the author of Soul Wisdom spiritual and physical are very much yin and yang. In fact I loved the part (probably a little later around paragraph 5) where the author mentions that spirit is composed of "tiny"  or subtle matter (reminds me of SeminarySnoozer speaking of fine matter) with matter belonging to Yang constituting yin within yang.

 

So it leaves me wondering where other aspects fit within each-other as the eye of the opposing fish. For instance is a small amount of evil always existing within that which is good? Could this be like Nephi being called on to kill Laban (usually considered bad or evil) being left on the table as a tool to bring about good. On the flip side doesn't Satan use a whole lot of truth to lead people astray with often only a tiny (but insidious and odious) lie?

 

So going back to other themes being discussed -

 

Justice and mercy: where does mercy exist within justice and vice versa? 

 

Any way I gotta go watch the world Jr.'s gold medal hockey game :) perhaps Canada and Russia have some kind of yin yang relationship as well  :D

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I think I'm going to just spectate on this thread.  It is confusing me.  I'm very familiar with yin-yang philosophy and I think that's what's causing me to not see what you guys are saying... It's exactly like me listening to the song Ironic and getting confused because none of the irony presented in the song is the way I understand irony to be... so what Alanis Morisette is singing about is lost on me.

 

Because... I agree with a lot of what you guys are saying about Physical and Spiritual.  I just don't get how what you are saying denotes a Yin and Yang relationship, so I'm just getting confused as well as confusing everyone else.

 

Make sense?

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I think I'm going to just spectate on this thread.  It is confusing me.  I'm very familiar with yin-yang philosophy and I think that's what's causing me to not see what you guys are saying... It's exactly like me listening to the song Ironic and getting confused because none of the irony presented in the song is the way I understand irony to be... so what Alanis Morisette is singing about is lost on me.

 

Because... I agree with a lot of what you guys are saying about Physical and Spiritual.  I just don't get how what you are saying denotes a Yin and Yang relationship, so I'm just getting confused as well as confusing everyone else.

 

Make sense?

Haha, yes!  I am in the same boat.  For me, it is, I think, because the philosophy of ying-yang doesn't resonate with me in the first place.  Opposition and stability, to me, cannot co-exist for very long just like one cannot serve two masters for very long.

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