Dualism and Existence

There are 2 sides to a coin, literally. Can we say the same about life?

Is life about opposites?

When we think of the word dualism, one might immediately image one of its most famous depictions, the yin and yang symbol.

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In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a concept of dualism, describing how obviously opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.


Yin and Yang translates literally to “dark and light”, which is reminiscent of both the symbol itself and the philosophy it represents. There’s no denying that examples of dualism exist in nature, regardless of anyone’s belief on it… If we look a bit broader, and think about dark and light in different terms, we can see an obvious example that humans experience every 24 hours- that of night and that of day. Literally, when there is light shining upon our planet and when there is not. We experience both phenomena in a cycle and have for hundreds of thousands of years. Time after time, we are subjected to the rising of the sun that welcomes a bright new day, and the setting of the sun, which brings forth night and darkness. It seems like these two events have separate and opposite qualities- you don’t usually need a flashlight to see during the day, just as you don’t need sunglasses to see at night. And still, at the same time, humans experience both equally and live just the same in both states of the earth. It is a whole cycle that balances two different and opposite qualities.

Night and day is just one example in nature, and there are many others- such as a creature’s wakefulness and sleep, weather, or a person’s soul and actual body.

A few examples of Yin and Yang in the world.

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What’s extremely interesting in Dualism is not only awareness of separateness, but also the necessity of interdependence between separateness. In order for one to understand they are awake, they must first understand that something else besides being awake exists- in this case, sleep. We all know that you can’t possibly be awake if you are asleep- and we all know that sleep is necessary for wakefulness. It again seems to boil down to the concept that opposite forces are actually interconnected, and necessary in order to achieve balance.

I find it helpful to keep this philosophy in mind when I’m feeling upset: Because in order for me to understand that I am upset, I must have first experienced something that made me happy. And as such, I will have another time where the upset no longer troubles me. It’s all a cycle, all connected, even in the face of differences.

3 thoughts on “Dualism and Existence

  1. Katie Pollock Reply

    Y’know, recently I have been questioning why I feel one way and not another, specifically when it comes to why I’m sad or upset. Maybe this is another way to look at it all?

  2. Mackenzy O'Grady Reply

    I like the layout of this blog type. Very interesting information and you seem very educated

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