At the heart of symbolism

Simplicity et complexity


The Whole is One

Simplicity characterizes what is one, what is not composed of elements which can be separately studied. This is the major attribute of the indivisible Unity, intimately linked to the Principle at the source of the universal manifestation.

The principial Unity contains all possibilities of non manifestation and manifestation of beings and things. Consequently, it encompasses a multitude of potentialities which confer a great complexity to it. Far to be opposed, simplicity and complexity are correlative 1.

Yin-yang symbolVarious traditions consider that the development of the Cosmos comes from the World Egg, the germ containing all the World manifestation in an indistinct state. The yin-yang symbol of the Chinese tradition offers, for example, an apparently simple image of the World Egg. Nevertheless, the two black (yin) and white (yang) halves are closely interwoven in order to underline their non-duality. Moreover, the white (yang) half contains a black (yin) point and the black (yin) half a white (yang) point. In other words, there is no yin without yang or yang without yin. Yin and yang are strongly interrelated and can not be studied separately. Considering yin and yang as distinct principles would come down denying the symbol its ability to represent the Great Unity (Taiji). This simple overview should be sufficient to convince us that the Chinese, and more generally Far-Eastern, doctrine is essentially non-dual and deeply unified 2.

Yang and yin are manifested under various appearances (active and passive, positive and negative, masculine and feminine, light and shadow, day and night, clarity and obscurity, hot and cold etc.) far away from our dual perception of good and evil. These different couples are complementary aspects generated by the fundamental complementarity of yang and yin.

If we consider more particularly yang and yin under their masculine and feminine aspects, then the yin-yang symbol represents the perfect balance of these two aspects gathered within the primeval Androgyne. During its individual manifestation, the Androgyne differentiates itself according to the masculine (yang) or feminine (yin) character that predominates within every being. However, the dual manifestation of beings according to their sex does not obliterate the complementarity of masculine (yang) and feminine (yin) aspects within each individual. Of course, the manifestation process leads to imbalances between yang and yin which is the origin of the variety of beings and the dynamic evolution of the world. Nevertheless, nothing prevents the being from rediscovering the lost balance while returning to the source.

1 back The current tendency is to combine simplicity and complexity within a unique concept known as simplexity. Let us note that such a concept should not oppose simplicity to complexity nor break down complexity into simple elements for fear of distorting the underlying unity.

2 back It is common in the West to establish a correspondence between the couple (yang, yin) and the couple (1,0) of the binary system, notably concerning the trigrams. Now, the logic that animates the Chinese thought is not about all or nothing, but plain all. The preceding assimilation simply testifies a complete misunderstanding of the Chinese thought.

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