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On the Chinese path to the ecological civilisation: Lao Tse’s Dao De Ching and the Yin/Yang

International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)

No.2, 2020

 

On the Chinese path to the ecological civilisation: Lao Tse’s Dao De Ching and the Yin/Yang 

(Abstract)

 

Sharon Snowiss

 

This paper focuses on how traditional Chinese philosophy, especially that of Lao Tse, can inform aspects of a shift in our understanding of Nature. Dao De Ching is a book that speaks extensively about the Yin and Yang. The Yin and Yang are complementary and interdependent. One cannot exist without the other. They are constantly moving; there is no permanence, no certainty. They are interchangeable and infinitely divisible; at the extreme, they reverse. There are intimate connections between European science and the Yin/Yang. The Binary Number System and the Yin/Yang have surprising similarities. So do the double helix structure of the DNA and the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching. The Yin and Yang also connects with the arena of quantum mechanics, genomics and bio-information. The terms Dao and Yin Yang provide a path to explore and gain understanding of nature as well as ourselves. There are such elements in Marx’s thought, but we can’t treat them as Yin/Yang. Reading Lao Tse’s Dao De Ching opens our minds and enlighten us on seeing an ecological civilisation as normal.