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Yang and beautiful

On the Romagna Riviera – as on many other Mediterranean shores – fishermen’s boats used to display a stylised drawing of two eyes on the prow, as a good omen for sailing. Well, that dark pupil on the white background is practically identical to the ancient Chinese symbol of Yang: light containing darkness, good containing evil.

Coincidence? I think so. After all, the symbol does not have that circular form in which darkness and light embrace to form an inseparable entity; instead, it has a hierarchical structure: Yin (dark, i.e. the outline of the eyes) contains Yang (light, i.e. the sclera), which in turn contains Yin (dark, i.e. the pupil). And the specimens of this hierarchical entity are two, symmetrical but separate, one on the left and one on the right. As in a game of Chinese boxes that could go on forever.

from: Baustelle, Rèclame (2003):
“In every summer I find that / a little bit of death at the bottom there is / In every death I find that / a little bit of summer at the bottom there is / in every death…”. Yes, because life is always surrounded by winter, which is before and after it, but if we move further before and after, we will find life again, and so on without being able to say which of the two prevails in the end.

We can say, however, that at the end of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Teresa discovers a feeling of happiness contained within a frame of sadness. And that perhaps this is true of all dualities, not only in Eastern cultures. Good within evil, evil within good, life within death, death within life, right within left, etc., aggression within kindness, etc., love within hate, etc., etc., etc…. Only they do not yet form a single, perfect whole, but alternate in a perpetual mutual overpowering.

Moreover, at the beginning of that same book, the author goes back to the dawn of civilisation by quoting Parmenides with his contrasts, in which there is always a positive element, a white, and a negative element, a black. Only one, among all the dualities of the universe, would remain ambiguous: the question of weight. Is lightness Yin or Yang, is it light or dark, is it positive or negative?

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