Understanding Chinese Culture #2

The World in an Incense BurnerCyrille Javary has some interesting things to say about the concept of yin-yang:
Since the idea of duality is so familiar to us, we are often presented with lists of the opposite qualities of yin and yang, such as:

yin yang
dark light
cold hot
low high
night day
interior exterior
rest action

This kind of list may be helpful, but it has one serious disadvantage, and that is the implied existence of the verb "to be" connecting the headings with each of their attributes. This kind of copulative verb, which binds a subject and an object, does not exist in Chinese. A Chinese cannot say that yin is dark, cold, or low. He or she cannot therefore think that dark, cold and so forth, are characteristics of yin but only that they are the results that manifest because of its action. Yin is not dark, it is a movement of darkness; it is not cold but a tendency toward getting cold; it is neither interior nor at rest but rather turning inwards and slowing down. The best way to express this particularity might be to use the verb "to become" in place of "to be." Therefore, yang would not be light but becoming light; it is not hot, exterior, or action but is becoming hot, becoming external, or becoming action.

Yin and yang are the concerted movements of life and exist only within the dynamics that unite them. (Javary 1997, p.7-8)

Roger Ames adds something to this thought and returns us to the concept yet not-concept of Dao:
In fact, categories used to define a Chinese world are fluid, and must be seen as often crossing the borders of time, space, and matter in an unfamiliar way. Dao so understood offends against the most basic of Western cultural distinctions, mixing together subject and object, as well as things, actions attributes, and modalities. Dao is at once"what is" (things and their attributes) and "how things are" (actions and their modalities), it is "who knows" as well as "what is known." (Ames 1998, 27-28)

Referring back to the previous post, ....The way in which conduct resolves and rectifies qi implies at least a two directional quality of time. Such action does not require intentionality (yi), rather it is our true nature (de), it is wuwei. Our completely resolved ancestors are like a supportive background to our actions. Resolved ancestors express themselves through us effortlessly as appropriate conduct --gongfu.