Thursday, December 15, 2016

Yin and Yang and Xi JinPing

This week, the noosphere seems to have decided it is time to give me a flood of inputs related to China. But with warring factions within the Trump camp, with radically different goals, I sadly conclude it is probably not a good idea to discuss more than a few small bits of them. Certainly there are factions both within the US and within China which would love to see a war in the South China Sea, and even rational people on both sides face a tricky problem in how to deal with determined crazies on the other side. Rational people on both sides would find it remarkably easy to arrive at
arrangements (as I have noted before) which would be an emphatic win-win and free up resources to address common very serious problems (like the larger plans and capabilities of the Moslem Brotherhood, a particular organization which many underestimate).

Before his rise to power, Xi Jinping said very important things about the fundamental importance of unifying the subjective and objective views. But... there are huge practical issues in how to implement that.  As I noted at, the best of Confucianism addressed those basic issues of zhengqi better than other world "religions" (though is Freud a religion, and does he count?). But when he attended the "Thousand Year Academy," Mao learned all that, and noticed how Confucianism in practice had developed extremely destructive aspects, due to twisting to serve warlords and such. (Zu Xi? sp?). Maybe his most important saying there was "all of China is my family." At the level of the noosphere, all of earth is our family... and even our Self.
Xi has rightly concluded that the value-free pursuit of truth must be supplemented by consideration for values, for affect, and that the degenerate forms of Confucianism would cause real problems if used in a simple-minded way to fill that gap.

But the deep contradictions persist, and the folks who want to make useless war for lack of larger perspective are not encompassed by the slender reeds now in use. A more complete and modern objective view is essential, building on the past but building beyond it and making stronger connections.

All for now.


Well... let me add that I have tried to learn what I can from the whole body of human experience as pertains the human mind, and the aspects which go beyond the mundane and the obvious.

So of course I know about yin and yang, as does everyone in China. My COPN "flag" includes an icon I really like, which I developed, with a rose on the yin-yang, to symbolize the goal of... full development of human potential. To me, that is coequal with survival of the species as a basic goal, never to be forgotten, valid across all of humanity.

But I also probe Western traditions. So, for example, I attended two small discussions of a book called the "Kybalion," downloadable for free on the web.  I remember vividly a friendly Lebanese woman from the 1970s who swore by that book, and what it seemed to mean at the time.
This year, knowing more, and connecting to others in the group as I once connected my NSF panels... I find it a lot easier to penetrate to the objective meaning behind it, what it really says.

It was very amusing for me, this time, to read chapter 15, about "mental gender" to realize in a flash that this was very much the yin-yang concept. So much so that I wonder how much they actually drew on Taoism, how much knowingly and how much unknowingly.

But more. Yin-tang itself seems like a useful but fuzzy concept. Like "consciousness," it is a word
(OK, two words) with several different distinct and important meanings. Curiously... as chapter 15 got deep into the feelings and use they propose for the yin-yang concept... suddenly I could see beneath, and see that the core meaning is simply the objective/subjective duality which Xi JinPing has talked about (in more objective and concrete terms) and which I also wrote about in and in my big talk to the Confucius Institute in Qufu/LinYi
(posted somewhere on It "adds meat to the bones," describing how this feels.

In a way, we all start like mice or monkeys, in a highly subjective state of mind. We gradually learn to "look in the mirror" (with the help of mirror neurons of course). Looking at ourselves in the mirror, we develop a concept of "Me" which is different from the "I" looking in the mirror, though the two are connected.  Development of an objective view not only enables consistent, sane and powerful symbolic reasoning (one theme of my paper), but other capabilities as well, such as a certain kind of larger stronger Will. One of the other folks talked about the way that exercises like making yourself do things which do not come naturally is one way to strengthen the Will, but in general the objective view does this.

It is curious how a piece of sheer mysticism is such a strong advocate of the Objective or yang point of view. Maybe too strong. I reminded folks of how German and Russian folks in my past circle know of folks in those communities who took Will and Objectivity a bit too far, a bad extreme as bad as pure yin. I mentioned a guy I knew named Nguyen who had such strong yang control of his brain and his body that he did really outstanding world-famous work at Stanford, and did feats in the gym
as powerful as if someone else had hypnotized him to do amazing feats. (The book Hypnosis by Estabrooks is well worth reading, as I did when 14.) I mentioned how one day he went to the gym, gave strict orders to his body, his body obeyed, and he died of a heart attack right then and there.

The pure yang way, I concluded, is not the right or the natural way. Harmony and integration is the way. (That is what "sanity" is, as described more analytically in www.werbos.,com/Mind_in_Time.pdf and in my papers in Neural Networks.)
Yes, the Kybalion has useful suggestions, but, I said, it is important: (1) that the objective consciousness or Will work hard to listen to the other side ("Ferdinand smell the flowers"); and (2) in exercising yang "I am", it is important to exercise both the "I am" of the self and the "I am" of the larger Self, in effect the noosphere. We then discussed Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness, which I didn't actually read but intuit easily and scanned long ago.

Of course, the objective mind depends on the quality and degree of objective, scientific understanding.   Even the peak of German and Russian cultures have had a long way to go in understanding some very basic things, and need to discipline themselves to use the scientific method,
which calls for us not to be overly attached to the models of the day, and calls for us to exercise mathematical probability theory as part of the very ground of our being. That applies to all nations -- and especially to China as it begins to explore the yang side of life more sincerely, with the combination of strengths and pitfalls it entails.

It is curious who utterly "yin" Trump is in many ways, reminding me of Japanese generals who would fight hard and effectively but fight like artists with an artist's yin view of the world.
Tough-minded pursuit of truth and even of scientific approaches becomes a necessity more and more for the complex world humanity as a whole tries to survive in.

And yes, I mentioned to the group how much more "yang" Luda is than most male leaders of states,
and how incredibly much I owe her.

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