Our “selves” are inseparable from this kind of universe, and there is nowhere else to be.
At the very root of Chinese thinking and feeling there lies the principal of polarity, which is not to be confused with the ideas of opposition or conflict. In the metaphors of other cultures, light is at war with darkness, life with death, good with evil, and the positive with the negative, and this an idealism to cultivate the former and be rid of the latter flourishes throughout much of the world. To the traditional way of Chinese thinking, this is as incomprehensible as an electric current without both positive and negative poles, for polarity is the principle that + and –, north and south, are different aspects of one and the same system, and that the disappearance of either one of them would be the disappearance of the system.
People who have been brought up in the aura of Christian and Hebrew aspirations find this frustrating, because it seems to deny any possibility of progress, an ideal which flows from their linear (as distinct from cyclic) view of tine and history. Indeed, the whole enterprise of … continue reading →