conception of reality as a phenomenon produced by a single, precisely
identified, causal agent introduced the idea that the mechanism
of interdependence that tied together movement-space and time
was also important as an exemplification of relationships that
exist among all things. This mechanism can be exemplified as the
interaction of 2 elements, movement and space, that mutually define
each other within the context of time.
observing reality men noticed that similar situations are present
in every phenomenon. Whenever two opposing forces interact within
a given context they determine the nature of the context and are
in turn determined by it.
The male and the female determine the continuation of the species,
heat and cold determine the temperature, day and night mark the
rhythm of the seasons, two struggling adversaries produce the
It is this discovery of the mechanism of contradiction, that we
find clearly expressed in the idea of the Tao which manifests
itself in two opposing forces, or in the concept or the devil,
the rebellious angel, that rebels against God ad brings about
the corruption of man.
this way, there developed the idea of the universe as a machine
in which the "supreme energy" manifested itself not so much by
acting directly in the world as by giving to nature a form which
constantly corresponded to its will.
Thus the Taoists believed that the universe had both a maximum
ad a minimum size and that, at these two extremes, nature evinced
identical characteristics; we perceive the diversity, however,
because we are part of (we are inside of) an intermediate level
of bigness. The stars are like grains of sand maintain their identify
even if, by mixing them with water I can make them into a paste
and mould them into the shape of man or a flower.
this observation applies better to clay than to sand, and is related
to the discovery of the possibility of using it (clay) to make
objects of every possible shape and form, but the comparison between
stars and grains of sand was too much fun and I got carried away).
Chinese believed that the Tao was like an immaterial cloud that
at a certain point took on a concrete shape in the form of an
infinite number of highly energized particles that, whirling around
in space and combining with each other, came to form ever more
According to the Taoists, this occurs because the movement of
the particles takes on a definite direction. They move outward
from the centre of the universe towards its boundaries and vice-versa.
process results in the particles' acquisition of a particular
"polarity" which is determined by the direction in which it is
moving. The Taoists called the particles that moved toward the
boundaries of the universe YING and the particles that moved toward
the centre of the universe YANG. The opposite directions of their
movements is such that Ying and Yang particles enter into a contradictory
relationship with each other, thus forming groups or combinations
composed of opposing particles.
Following the concept of the tridimensional structure of reality,
of the tripartite relationship between movement-dimension-time
and the triune formation implicit in the concept of contradiction
(thesis, antithesis, synthesis), they believed that these elementary
particles must always combine in groups of three.
image of the Ying and Yang particle combining with each other
to form, like bricks, the things of the world, anticipates the
ideas of Aristotle and modern atomic theory. But the Chinese went
far beyond the enunciation of this idea to construct a map of
the universe that explained the differences between things as
the product of the different sequences of Ying and Yang contained
within each single entity. In designing this map of the universe
the Chinese used a broken line
symbolize the Ying and a solid line
symbolize the Yang.
By combining the symbols of the Ying and Yang
they made a symbol composed of three elements
represents the structures formed by the combination of the elementary