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Yin vs. Yang in the Daoist Philosophy Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jul 25th, 2022

Life is a continuous balance between good and evil because people experience both moments of joy and sorrow. The Daoist philosophy, often referred to as the yin and yang philosophy, claims that the only proper way to live is to accept both good and evil forces in order to feel liberation and enjoy each moment. Proponents of this philosophy argue that opposite phenomena do not contradict each other but instead become a consequence of each other (Lucasnooker, 2008). As a result, Taoism teaches a contemplative attitude to life. Virtuous is not the one who seeks to win the gods’ favor by good deeds, but the one who seeks to listen to oneself and, through oneself, aspires to comprehend the rhythm of the universe.

Without a doubt, opposing forces are indispensable forces in one’s life. They influence every other decision in life, create obstacles, and help solve long-standing problems. I often encounter this struggle between good and evil in everyday life. For instance, when I choose between reading materials for classes and watching TV series, I often contemplate which one can give me more pleasure. At the same time, the thought of engaging in reading seems more practical. Eventually, I explored that such confrontation leads to disharmony. Therefore, I concluded that whenever I choose between pleasant and useful, I should rely on my intuition and do what is correct at the moment, without thinking about the benefits or harms. Even though the struggle is unbearable at times, people should learn to balance mind and body to make decisions rationally.

The aspect of finding an equilibrium between peace and chaos is essential in Daoism. Sometimes, even bursts of negative emotions can ensure peaceful living; yet, they should be mixed with the positive ones to maintain perfection. The moment I felt proud to do something spontaneous was when I was arguing with the cashier of a local fast-food restaurant because he had overcharged the woman standing in front of me. I witnessed the woman complaining about the situation and decided to render justice by asking the cashier to return the money. At that moment, I felt it appropriate to be rude to restore the balance. Hence, I believe anger or rudeness is a suitable means of solving a controversy.

The Daoist philosophy brought significant changes to different fields, including medicine. Acupuncture is one of the most popular branches of alternative medicine. It is criticized by the proponents of the evidence-based approach, who claim that therapeutic and preventive measures can be applied only after their effectiveness has been proven by scientific research Acupuncture treatment, n. d.). As with other alternative medicine methods, advocates of the evidence-based approach attribute the potency of acupuncture to the placebo effect.

I think people merely lack knowledge regarding the procedure and its impact on the body. To be honest, before reading the text, I could never understand why individuals resort to the means of unconventional medicine. Besides, I was not aware that acupuncture helps relieve stress and only viewed it as a painful intervention. After reading the article and watching Dr. Lee’s presentation, I changed my mind to acupuncture because I realized how useful it could be for one’s body to unblock pain (Acupuncture treatment, n. d.). Genuinely, I would like to try it since Dr. Lee fascinatingly presented how one’s mind and body can change throughout the course of several procedures.

I firmly believe that people living in the West are increasingly skeptical of Eastern medical directions. Their skepticism is conditioned because they were taught to attend a doctor and take pills once any pain occurs. In addition, I believe that evidence-based medicine, which Western people rely upon, contradicts the alternative means of treating diseases. Westerners are prone to think that Asian people are increasingly religious and spiritual, which makes them believe that something other than traditional medicine can help them.

Fictional characters also promote the philosophy of yin and yang. For instance, Bruce Lee vividly demonstrates the tenets of Daoism in the scene where his character tries to teach a blind man, Mr. Longstreet, how to fight (Lucasnooker, 2008). Lee’s hero proclaims that one always desires to win but knows how to accept defeat (Lucasnooker, 2008). The central truth of Daoism is that an individual becomes a winner and liberate themselves only if they can admit a failure. I believe he teaches Mr. Longstreet to let his ego die but rather live beyond his “I” to dispose of every bias in life. Lee says that being open to criticism is vital to develop one’s abilities. I found it fascinating that Lee compared a person to water which means being flexible in any circumstances. I think it is essential to be flexible when it comes to spontaneous events in life.

I do not think Mr. Longstreet learned his cause of ignorance. Lee’s character said Mr. Longstreet was not ready for the battle since he never realized how crucial it was to let go of fear and find a balance between mind and body. People never know what to expect, yet try to plan out their life which remains the primary cause of their ignorance. However, we may change it when we realize that there is a balance between good and evil. Individuals can dispose of their ignorance in the circumstances when they learn to accept both pleasant and unpleasant situations in life as they are. Life is a perfect balance of two opposing forces, and we have to look towards them with much gratitude. This allows us to analyze our mistakes and failures to avoid them in the future and become wiser.

The Daoist principles are disclosed in numerous works of art. For instance, “Reflections of the Moon on Erquan” is a famous composition that also reveals the concept of Daoism (Hacona, 2006). I think that the Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor dropped to his knees because he was astonished to hear the unique combination of melodies. The manner in which the sound rises, then suddenly drops, creates a flowing melody (Hacona, 2006). This reminds me of a balance of yin and yang: the opposites create harmony when they coexist in one space.

Hence, I completely support the idea that Daoism is an increasingly influential philosophical movement in which principles are embedded into numerous fields of people’s life. Every person has had an internal struggle when he could not decide whether it was right or wrong to perform some action. I find that the examples of my classmates’ “yin and yang” struggles are relevant to my own experience. Thus, I believe the clash of these two opposing forces is inevitable in one’s life because they create equilibrium in the world.

References

Acupuncture treatment. (n. d.) Absolute Health Incorporated. Web.

Hacona. (2006). 二泉映月 | Reflections of the Moon on Erquan [Video]. YouTube. Web.

Lucasnooker. (2008). Bruce Lee: Longstreet: Training the blind man [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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