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Misconceptions About Yin & Yang: The Goal Is Not Balance But Is Imbalance

January 1, 2010

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This simple graphic helps to promote the misconception. A better graphic would be a spiral or a fractal image.

There is a prevalent and even an a priori like assumption that the stated and desired goal of yin and yang is always to achieve balance and that when they are balanced then everything is stable, is in harmony and all is at peace and flows smoothly.  This is a misconception.  Let me explain.

Nothing in this universe is ever in perfect balance with the exception of the entire universe itself. In all its manifestations, the goal and direction of yin and yang is actually towards imbalance and the creation of a dynamic polarity.  This imbalance and polarity is the source of movement and change itself and gives rise to the continuous creation of all phenomena.  The greater the imbalance, the greater the polarity then the greater the movement and dynamic change.

While opposites attract (yin attracts yang and yang attracts yin) the result of their union is not a perfect balance but instead is a lessening of the polarity between them.  They can also transform into each other’s opposite and experience a reverse polarity, like a pendulum swinging back and forth. Also, in some cases, their coming together actually increases or accentuates their polarity or differences.

All natural phenomena is asymmetrical, meaning there is always predominance of either yin or of yang factors present . There is never a perfect symmetry. This asymmetry is the source of energy that gives rise to the spirallic flow and fractal geometry of all things.  There is a directional motion to either increase, decrease or transform the polarity but never to achieve a perfect balance.

The goal of macrobiotic eating is not to achieve a perfect balance but to reduce our imbalanced polarity to a manageable state.  Uncontrolled eating leads to a continuous state of chaotic out of control imbalance which then manifests into sickness.  To return to good health we must bring our imbalances under control without eliminating them because we are, by nature, imbalanced.  This natural imbalance manifests as our hunger and will to live and in the multitude of cravings and desires that we experience every moment and every day. If we do nothing then this hunger naturally grows until we either address it or we die.  It never goes away.  It can transform and manifest in different ways but it is always there.

The goal then, of macrobiotic eating, is reduce this imbalance to a manageable state but not to eliminate it because if we eliminate it then we destroy ourselves.  That is why it is recommended in macrobiotics to guard your appetite and always remain partially hungry after every meal.  That is also why it is suggested to be grateful and accept your difficulties, as they are the manifestation of one’s natural imbalance.

The idea and principle of imbalance can be applied to everything.  What would it look like if we applied it to creating world peace?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. claire daring permalink
    January 2, 2010 1:35 am

    I lived with your Mother and Father in Brookline, I relished every moment just being there, cooking in the kitchen and Aveline loving my food, with here and there suggestions. I have lived a long life now many adventures, and realize the earnestness of the seeking of your parents to find answers, and a love of honestly trying to understand the body and its many foibles, I learned from them that to keep it simple is the secret, and change always everyday to swing the body, to get there before the pendulum swings, almost 70 now, and I look and feel half my age, thanks to your parents, I have found the food that my body can handle, and that is what I believe macro is, everybody’s body is different, and has its own needs, very exciting and wonderful and to think I have lived to experience this is like a miracle and I am very grateful to have a pain free old age. thank you Claire Daring.

  2. Christie permalink
    January 2, 2010 12:44 pm

    Beautifully put.

  3. January 2, 2010 7:51 pm

    I think what you wrote is very beautiful and profound. Thank you for your thoughts.

  4. January 3, 2010 3:44 pm

    I enjoyed reading this, makes sense.

  5. Michelle permalink
    March 12, 2010 8:17 am

    Thank you.

  6. Nitto permalink
    August 25, 2011 3:03 am

    Very good!! Muy muy bueno, claro que sí

  7. María permalink
    May 31, 2012 6:34 am


    Difficulties and blessings both are result of imbalance, I agree that to make something move on we should swing a bit or a lot depending on where we want to be and how much we are able to handle. To get all of this we have to experience first where we have our limits and knowing this, it will be a healthy test once we recognize where the most balanced expression of ourselves is, keep memories of it and then begin to swing again, …just life.

  8. September 21, 2012 3:45 am

    Interesting post. I got intrigued by what you said here: “This asymmetry is the source of energy that gives rise to the spirallic flow and fractal geometry of all things.” Could you explain this a little more? Or maybe you have a link where I could find more info on this?

  9. February 14, 2014 7:23 pm

    Reblogged this on vertical.

  10. Just a comment passing through. permalink
    December 8, 2015 3:17 pm

    Sorry to say, but this entire posting is false. Yin & Yang really is the symbolism of perfect balance. Do your common research before posting nonsense.

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