Institute Of Basic Theory Of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese Academy Of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
Modern civilization's understanding of the universe is a collective term for all things in space, time, matter, etc. and all that they produce. The ancient Chinese understanding of the universe is "the four directions up and down said the space of the universe, the past and present said the time of the universe". There is also the saying" The combination of yin and yang is called the Tao", and the Tao is another name for the universe. In people's cognition, the main contents of the universe are summarized as entity and space. Each planet contains both the planetary entity and the space that envelops the planetary entity. Although the universe is infinite, it is a repetition of entities and space, repeated to infinity. Space is not the same as empty, where matter exists and moves faster, which relatively belongs to Yang, while entities are condensed and move slower, which relatively belong to Yin. Entity and space, that is, the combination of yin-yang repeating over and over again, form the vast universe. Therefore, the universe is a whole formed by countless combinations of yin-yang repeated and repeated again. Under the combination pattern of yin-yang, there are regular changes and laws of movement. All things, phenomena and laws in the universe can be revealed and explained by yin-yang.
Although the universe is vast and infinite, in terms of its combination pattern, it is composed of two camps, Yin and Yang, as the largest pair of Yin-Yang in all things. In the universe, there are countless galaxies, each with its own pair of largest yin-yang, and also containing multiple yin-yang, including the smallest yin-yang, which become the changing and existing state of each galaxy. Within the large yin-yang camp, there exist medium-level yin-yang camp, and within the medium-level yin-yang, there exist smaller-level yin-yang camp, which can even be infinitely subdivided. For example, the sun and the earth, the sun shines as yang and the earth does not shine as yin. There are multiple levels of yin-yang on and within the earth that can be subdivided to infinitely small. To sum up, within the universe, whether as large as infinity, or as small as infinitesimal, there are patterns of yin-yang combinations.
In the universe, among the countless combinations of yin-yang, the result of each combination is not repetitive. Each unit, embodies different Yin-Yang movements and transformations. For example, the Earth's rotation and revolution, each time the trajectory does not coincide. The Earth's position in the universe is constantly moving, so it is no longer the original trajectory.
In the movement of yin-yang in the universe, the yin entity and the yang space are opposed to each other and are attracted to each other. The entities and space in the universe are in absolute motion and there is no absolute rest. The Yin entity moves to the Yang space, and after consuming the material, the entity gradually disperses into the space, which is the transformation from Yin to Yang. Although it appears that the yin entity is reduced, matter actually exists in another form in the yang space. The yang space is not equal to nothing, there are other forms of matter in constant motion, and when the motion accumulates to a certain condition, the matter can condense into yin entity, which is the transformation from yang to yin. For example, water on the ground becomes steam when heated and rises into the air. When it is heated and gains energy, water gains yang and loses yin, which turns into steam and rises into the air, that is, the transformation from yin to yang; when it is cooled in the air, water loses yang and gains yin, which becomes rain and falls to the ground, that is, the transformation from yang to yin. The transformation of entity and space is similar, only a little more complex. In the universe, in the infinite transformations of yin-yang of entity and space, there are only transformations in material form, and there is no increase or decrease in the overall quantity, so the totality of matter is conserved.
The infinite Yin-Yang cycle of transformation of entity and space forms the operation pattern of the universe. The result of each transformation of yin-yang is not repetitive and changes from time to time. The yin entity moves towards the yang space and produces yang from yin, and the yang that is produced is no longer the original yang. Likewise, in the yang space matter's movement coalesces to form the yin entity and produces yin, and the resulting yin is no longer the original yin. In the infinite combinations, movements and transformations of yin-yang, the results are different every time. In the mutual absolute movement of Yin-Yang constantly changing and evolving, the appearance of the universe is presented.
In the relative movement of entities and space, there is no single absolute state. That is, there is no separate yin or separate yang. Transformation occurs when yin or yang reaches its extremes in motion. According to the principle of mutual generation of yin-yang, it is known that the extreme yin produces yang and the extreme yang produces yin. Therefore, yin and yang can be generated from each other and transformed to each other at the extreme of development, maintaining a balance between each other and thus sustaining the long-term operation and evolution. It is obvious that both yin and yang are generated from each other's camp, that is, not from themselves.
Nature is the product of the yin-yang action and the result of the large yin-yang changes of the earth. The content of yin-yang and the mutual movement of yin-yang also exist in nature. The change of seasons refers to the cycle of four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter, repeatedly. The arrival of spring is the result of the development of yin in nature to its extreme point to produce yang. The process from spring to summer is the process of Yang growing and Yin disappearing, and the process from summer to autumn is the process of Yang disappearing and Yin growing, and then in winter, it reaches the extreme Yin. This process is the development of yin to the extreme to produce yang, then yang gradually more, yin gradually less, the development of yang to the extreme will produce yin, then yin gradually more , yang gradually less, and then to the development of yin to the extreme.
The ancient Chinese sages set up the twenty-four solar terms according to the natural changes of yin-yang in earth, and two of them, the summer solstice and the winter solstice, are the two turning points in the transformation of yin-yang in natural changes. By the summer solstice, the day with the longest daylight hours of the year, it also means that the hottest climate of the year will begin, which is the time when yang develops to its extreme. Subsequently, the yang gradually weakens and the yin gradually strengthens, after which the daylight hours will decrease accordingly the night hours will lengthen. At the winter solstice, it is the day with the shortest daylight hours of the year, which also means that the coldest climate of the year will begin, which is also the time of the yin pole. Thereafter, Yin gradually decreases and Yang gradually increases, with a corresponding decrease in nighttime hours and a corresponding increase in daytime hours each day. In the cycle of nature's yin-yang, these two solar terms represent two turning points in the year when yin and yang transform into each other.
The movement of the Moon around the Earth, as the relative positions of the Sun, the Earth and the Moon change regularly during the month, creates the natural phenomenon of Moon Phases. In addition to the influence of the weather, there are regular changes of the moon phases, which reflects the movement of yin-yang in nature. People realize that whether the moon is full or not, it is only a change in appearance, while the moon itself is only one. In this case, the full moon is the beginning of the lunar deficiency, and the development of the lunar deficiency until it disappears is the beginning of the full moon. The gradual change from lack to full is the expression of the movement from yin to yang in nature, and reaching full is the time of the yang pole. The subsequent gradual change from full to lack is the expression of the movement from yang to yin in nature, and yin gradually increases and develops to the extreme until moon is completely gone, which is the time of the yin pole. Then it starts to change to the full again, that is, extreme yin produces yang, and again moves from yin to yang. In this way, the natural transformation of yin-yang repeats itself.
Among the most common natural phenomena, the day-night cycle is also a real example of the transformation of yin-yang. Daytime belongs to Yang, on the contrary, nighttime belongs to Yin. Daytime goes from yin to yang, people engage in production and labor, plants and animals gain energy from light and heat to promote growth; nighttime goes from yang to yin, nature rests and recuperates. The physiological functions of various organisms in nature establish corresponding circadian cycles in adapting to the changes of the external environment. As the activity and rest of the animal alternates between day and night, the active state belongs to Yang, and the relatively static state belongs to Yin. The animal is not always active or always stationary, that is, there is a state of alternate transformation of yin-yang.
All things and phenomena in nature can be described in terms of yin-yang. There is small variation of yin-yang within the larger variation of yin-yang. Even a seed or a leaf contains yin-yang. For example, the upper part of a very thin branch belongs to Yang and the lower part belongs to Yin, the inner part belongs to Yin and the outer part belongs to Yang, so subtle that every point contains variation of Yin-Yang. Therefore, the transformation movement of yin-yang in nature is universal, and all natural things and phenomena can be explained through yin-yang.
Human is the epitome of the universe. In terms of combination patterns and changes, human is unified with the universe and nature, and also has the composition pattern of yin-yang. When yin and yang come together, it belongs to reproduction and generation; when yin and yang are alone, it belongs to isolation and extinction. In terms of the composition of human groups, men belong to Yang and women belong to Yin. Within the male and female, there are further subdivisions of yin-yang. For example, among men there can be a further division into yang of yang and yin of yang. Men and women form families, where yin and yang come together, thus reproducing life and continuing offspring. The division of yin-yang is also reflected in the character, psychology, and behavioral tendencies of different people. The adjustment of psychology, character and behavior according to the law of transformation of yin-yang can promote the physical and mental health of people.
People in life, drinking, eating and resting, are the body to carry out the transformation of Yin-Yang. The drinking water in life is heated and the boiling process absorbs energy that is gaining yang and losing yin. People exert themselves in labor and feel thirsty, when losing Yang and gaining Yin. By drinking water, quenching body thirst and restoring strength, the body gains energy and gains yang while losing yin. In the same way, the process of eating is a transformation of the yin-yang state. When resting at night, the body's energy consumption is in a slow state, which belongs to yin, while during the day the body's energy consumption is in a fast state, which belongs to yang. After sleep and rest, the body state undergoes a transformation of yin-yang, thus restoring energy. The above mentioned are the common yin-yang transformations in life.
Life and death
The normal life activity of the human body is the result of maintaining a harmonious relationship between the two aspects of yin and yang in opposition and unity. The physiological activities of the human body and the material basis, of which the physiological activities belong to Yang and the material bases belong to Yin, the two are also the relationship of Yin and Yang dependence, mutual extinction. In the process of consuming substances, the body performs physiological activities, when losing Yin and gaining Yang. The body gains yin and loses yang as it performs the activities of digestion and absorption of substances and nutrients. In the transformation of yin-yang, the normal life activities of the human body are maintained. Human life and death is a natural law. It belongs to Yang when the life force is vigorous and Yin when the life force is declining. As people live and work, the body's energy is constantly consumed and affected by diseases, the essence of human life tends to be depleted and the functions of the body decline, Yang gradually declines and Yin gradually increases, resulting in aging and even death.
Although Yin-Yang is an idea, the content has dialectical flexibility and can analyze all things in the universe. The universe, nature and human beings have a common content under the interpretation of Yin-Yang. In terms of the cosmic stars, emitting heat, releasing energy and consuming matter is the mode of turning yin to yang. In terms of nature, winter turns to spring, the moon's lack turns to full, and night turns to day, which is the pattern of yin turning to yang. In terms of human beings, growth and development is the mode of turning yin into yang. On the contrary, it is the pattern of Yang turning to Yin. For example, the initial motion of the planet from yin to yang, with kinetic potential, after the loss of kinetic potential transformed into other substances, that is, from yang to yin; car fuel combustion to obtain power can drive, from yin to yang, fuel after burning from yang to yin. Along with the movement of yin, yang is produced; along with the movement of yang, yin is produced. Therefore, the movement of yin-yang is in constant transition. A correct grasp of the concept of yin-yang can help people to make a thorough analysis of the universe, nature and human beings, and form a great help to the development of human civilization.