When applied to our interpretation of recent historical events, Yin and Yang's interplay yield quite different meanings than is held today in many quarters. For example, in the 50's and 60's it was believed that crop production could be dramatically increased if only all harmful insects could be distroyed. In pursuit of this, farmers used DDT and other powerful poisons on an unprecedented scale. Though the sensible use of pesticides did result in greater crop yield the harvest included some unforseen effects. Birds, fish and other wildlife were destroyed as the overused poisons spread through the water runoff into the countryside. Eventually some lakes had to be closed because of the high levels of poisons found in the water. Finally, the poisons began to be found in human tissue. The result was that though many insects were undoubtably killed, the farmers ended up poisoning both land and water with mixtures that caused all life to suffer and that we are still cleaning up today. The result for the insects, according to Dr. Helstrom, (author of the Helstrom Chronicles), was that, because of their faster life cycles, insects quickly develop immunities and tolerances to the chemicals used that makes them harder to kill with every succeeding generation. If the farmers continued attempting to wipe out the insects the end result would be that insects had such an ability to adapt with each succeeding generation, (often several generations in a year) that man would disappear long before the bothersome species could be destroyed.
The philosophy of Yin and Yang would say that in their effort to "wipe out" the dangerous forces of the insects, they were attempting to create an impossibly unbalanced state of nature and the resulting harm was forseeable, obvious, and quite natural. I
Instead of completely eliminating the insect populations, the Yin/ Yang approach would be to find those natural balancers in plant and insect populations that would enable a measure of control effective enough to allow for profitable harvest and still not adversely affect the environment. The modern movement towards such practices as "no till planting", organic gardening and satellite directed farming reflects the lessons learned from this attempt.
The "War on Poverty" of the 1960's Great Society, was intended to eliminate the ravages of economic hardship on families. The program included housing, food, medical care and monetary assistance for all who needed it. If a family had more children, the need was greater and the government's response was to give more. The intent was to put families in the best possible position to take advantage of job, education, and self improvement opportunities by eliminating all impediments created by disadvantage.
The result of this effort has been quite different. Though some did improve their situation, the overall result has been the creation of a dependent class spanning multiple generations that now is more entrenched in a life of "poverty" than before the effort began. The error, according to the philosophy of Yin and Yang would be that there will always be cycles between difficulty and ease for the many or the few. It would say that both personal responsibility and assistance should be balanced. Furthermore, as cruel as it sounds, the philosophy of Yin and Yang would indicate that there would always be persons who suffer regardless of the efforts made. And much to the chagrin of those now advocating abandoning assistance, the philosophy of Yin and Yang would indicate that there will always be a dependent class for that matter. Neither instance can be "eliminated" only balanced knowing that there will be cycles of growth and waining of each event.Implications on Communism
Economically, Communism has as its assertion that each will work for the benefit of all. Happiness for the masses through the replacement of self interest and personal gain with gain for the whole is a goal of the Communist State. The idea is that all may be helped if "all give according to their ability and if all receive according to their need". There would be no difference between the plant manager and the worker, or between the scientist and the sanitation worker. In this way all would receive and be secure and be happy.Though this approach sounds reasonable in theory, the philosophy of Yin and Yang would say that there must be a dynamic balance between both the needs of the group and the desires of the individual to achieve for personal gain. To ignore naturally-occuring self interest at work in the individual is to create an imbalance that would doom the project.
Communism did give a society in which people had a greater degree of security for the most part against individual disaster. However, the actual living out of Communist theory has been been to create a highly-stratified society of haves and have nots instead of the classless society it sought to create. Because of the naturally occuring self interest on the part of individuals "valued by the state", demands for special accomidation by these people were granted. The unbridled power of the leaders in a Communist society, (meant to ensure all received proper care), instead ensured that there would be a priveleged class when self interest went to work. The philosophy of Yin and Yang again would state that there must be a dynamic balance between the needs of the group and the naturally occuring drive of the individual for achievement and that not all people are the same in these regards.
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