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Yin-yang And Non-action

By Author: Solo Chen
Total Articles: 129

Yin-yang was a concept shared by both the officials and the Confucian debaters. Yin and yang are often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and in the valley. Yin is the dark area occluded by the mountain's bulk, while yang is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what has been obscured and obscuring what has been revealed. The dialectical relationship between yin and yang is crystal clear in the Book of Change, which Confucius purportedly edited. Curiously, however, Confucius does not use yin-yang explicitly in his ED Hardy Hoodies teaching in the Analects. Instead, the concept was embraced by a group called the Yin-Yang school to explicate agricultural, medical, meteorological, and astronomical phenomena.

Yin-yang entered political discourse in the Warring States period and prominently in the Western Han through Dong Zhongshu. Dong evoked yin-yang to explain the Way of Heaven, or the working of the universe, in his famous discourse with Emperor Wu in 134 BCE. He argued that the emperor was the Son of Heaven, so he needed to comprehend the Heavenly mandate accurately. If he failed to act according to the mandate, he would be warned by natural signs or would even be punished by natural calamities. Yin-yang was the key to comprehending the workings of the universe (see Liu and You). By the time the debate on salt and iron took place, Dong's theory about communication between the anthropomorphic Heaven and humans, yin-yang being a central tenet of the theory, had become part of one's rhetorical training. On one occasion, when Daifu asked the Confucian debaters to explain the correspondence between natural signs and ED Hardy Boots happenings within the empire, Wenxue answered the call by evoking yin-yang and by attributing the concept to Dong.

In debate, both sides used yin-yang to advance their arguments, demonstrating how widespread this concept was in the Western Han period. On one occasion, the Confucian debaters used the concept to criticize the ills of Han society. Wenxue made an analogy: a good doctor would be able to cure a patient by adjusting yin and yang forces in the sickened body. When the air and blood veins were balanced and unblocked, the evil air would leave the body. However, in the present Han "body," the rich became richer while the poor became poorer. The officials established severe laws and enforced heavy mutilating punishments to stop violence and evil; however, violence and evil grew more rampant. Therefore, the officials proved to be unqualified social "doctors" who had failed their jobs miserably. This analogy revealed rhetorical training in the Western Han. First, yin-yang had become a heuristic for the Confucian debaters to interpret and to argue about in relation to the evolution of human society. Wenxue connected the workings of Han society to the workings of the universe in general, as Dong Zhongshu would have done. Second, epistemic ally, yin-yang had become the common vocabulary of Chinese medicine: doctors used yin and yang to explain how the body works and to argue for treatment of a certain disease.

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