Duality: Two, The Air-Element
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
A Foundation For Knowledge
The alchemist seeks knowledge, truth about reality. The purpose of science is to find hard-facts.
Like any construction a work of science or analysis must have a firm foundation on which to build.
What things can we truly know in this world? What solid foundation can we build our body of knowledge on?
Firstly: We can only really know things via our perception / experience, that's all we really have to work with. So we must assume our senses are good enough to unlock the secrets of reality. If reality fundamentally consisted of things we could not perceive then science would be in vain.
Currently physical-science is founded on the principle that matter is the fundamental building-block of nature. It seems a reasonable hypothesis, but we can't prove it.
What else could we build our science on? Ideally we'd have something we could know for sure.
There is one thing you can know 100% is true, for yourself, without having to read any books, although you might have to spend some time thinking about it, and that is this:
All fundamental concepts are dualities.
- Light/dark, hot/cold, male/female, near/far, big/small, hard/soft, spirit/matter, and so on...
All the SI units used in physics are dualities: Distance, time, mass, temperature etc...
The recognition of this principle is strangely absent from western-thought. Could it be the proper-foundation we're lacking?
Could we build science on this principle which is definitely true, instead of the 'matter' assumption?
Duality phenomena occur in nearly all mathematically formalized disciplines, such as algebra, geometry, logic and natural language semantics.
Duality phenomena of this kind are highly important. First of all, since they occur in formal as well as natural languages, they provide an interesting perspective on the interface between logic and linguistics. Furthermore, because of their ubiquity across natural languages, it has been suggested that duality is a semantic universal, which can be of great heuristic value.
Science is knowledge; it's gained by observation and reason, and you and I are observers. What framework of knowledge can we use to interpret our observations? What can we know with 100% certainty?
As a human being, you can know for 100% sure:
- You exist.
- You perceive things through your senses, and through your mind/intelligence.
- All fundamental measures - by which you perceive things - are dualities.
A duality is one-dimensional relationship. Like a string with the opposites at each end and a line of variation between the two.
Along with the perceptions you have, this is something you can personally know.
Your perceptions, indeed perception itself relies on the existence of duality.
Perception requires both observer and observed this is a duality, a relationship.
The Two / Tao
Tao means Two. I know the official translation is "the way", but as you'll see these two concepts have the same root. Two IS the way. It's the Air-Element, the archetype of the path / the way; it's the conceptual parent of ideas like plan, design and method.
The two parts of duality are called Yin & Yang in the east, Yoni & Lingham in India, Moon and Sun or Earth and Heaven in the west.
It is the thesis of this website that the Tao is real. It is in fact more "real" than you or I because it exists at a higher level of reality, closer to the creator, which is the most-real-thing. This is all explained, qualified and quantified by the theory.
I would contend that an appreciation of duality was universal across the west until relatively recently; which is why most European languages have gendered nouns, for example.
I believe the loss of understanding of dualty in the west has profoundly hindered scientific and spiritual progress.
The Prima Materia
In alchemy and philosophy, prima materia, materia prima or first matter (for a philosophical exposition refer to: Prime Matter), is the ubiquitous starting material required for the alchemical magnum opus and the creation of the philosopher's stone. It is the primitive formless base of all matter similar to chaos, the quintessence or aether.
The Two, Yang & Yin, are the fundamental substance of reality and they are a one-dimensional relationship. They are a 1D string which links everything that exists. This is a bit like a form of "string-theory" where the strings have only one dimension.
Yin and Yang have no independent existence, they are complementary to each other, and only have reality in relation to each other. They are not 'things', they are a relationship. They are every relationship that exists in matter or in spirit.
Yin & Yang have opposite characteristics, they're a mirror image of each other. Their characteristics are well-defined and they do not change. The Tao is not physical it's spiritual, it's a concept, an idea.
The Prima Materia of alchemy is duality. It's relationship.
Provider and Receiver
Yang, the masculine principle, provides, Yin, the feminine principle, receives.
Yang is active, Yin is passive. This is perhaps the gateway-concept into the Dao that is most helpful...
The word 'god' is sometimes used to denote the provider/Yang in a relationship in literature, and it is in this context we should consider the ultimate creator. The (capital G) God of monism is the one unified creator of all, and thus can be considered under this logic as the 'Great Yang', where creation is the 'Great Yin'.
This dualistic relationship defines nature. It's the primary principle by which reality is manifest. For there to be a reality as we understand it, there must be separation between things. There must be the observer and the observed...
Yin and Yang are the prime-deities of nature. They are the creation of One.
One comes before two, of course.
Cause and Effect
Science is the study of nature, and nature operates by cause-and-effect. Cause is Yang (active), Effect is Yin (passive).
Science itself could be defined as "the study of causes and effects".
Every scientific paper ever published is concerned with causes and effects.
Cause and effect is not an 'emergent property' of reality, it is an intrinsic part of it, and without it reality could not exist. It applies in every single interaction between every object in the universe. Thus it should be thought of as existing at a higher-level of reality. And as we shall see, reality breaks down into clear and well defined levels.
Cause and effect is part of a super-reality that our reality relies upon. It's more real than our reality, not less.
The existence of matter relies on the existence of concepts such as subject/object, near/far, big/small. It couldn't exist without them. But the concepts could exist without matter, therefore the concept must precede the object.
You can have a plan without a house, but you can't have a house without a plan.
Dao = Tao = Two = Duo = Dual = Deuce = Dios = Dias = Days = Deity = Zeus
The above words seem connected.
The Tao is embedded in western language, even though we perhaps don't realise it.
The word 'Day' means two because a day comes in two parts: Day and Not-Day, 'Night' (Egyptian goddess Nut/Night). Thus the origin of the word 'night' could be 'not', or vice versa. Night is the negation of day, as Yin is to Yang.
Note: The day Tuesday is named after "Tiw" or "Tiu", a god of "sky and war" according to modern sources. I think it should be interpreted as idential with the number two and principle of duality. Tuesday is "Two's day": Dictionary.com: Tuesday
The Properties Of Yin & Yang
All foundational concepts are dualities, the parts of which can be categorised into Yin/Yang.
Once something has been identified as Yin (e.g.) in a particular relationship, then it will have ALL of the properties of Yin in that relationship, they come as a whole.
This gives us the ability to make predictions. By knowing what part of the relationship a thing takes, we can predict how it will behave.
Click here for a list of properties of Yin & Yang (opens a new tab).
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