Negativity, and when it is not negative

I wanted a change of direction. Paradoxically I wanted to get away from the negative, and yet here I am again talking about something negative – but doing as I often do – rowing the boat out on something and showing how bad it might be before trying to explain it is nothing of the sort.

The principle of negativity, tied to the feminine in many religions and philosophies (Yin and Yang in Chinese, Kali in Indian philosophy, nowhere to be found in western religion, and runs almost 100% counter to everything we understand in the west, or at least find politically palatable) – and anyone reading this is probably groaning already, but that is the point – you are all wrong.

The “Yin” principle, that is, the negative, passive, feminine quality, is taken completely out of context, and purely by reason of cultural adaptation in the west. When we say that this is the “negative”, we need to look at what “negative” means. For it is not what you think. In the west, we equate negative with something wholly bad, where in other cultures, the negative is not taken as something bad at all, but rather another piece in what goes into making the whole. A couple of obvious examples of this are the the words on a page and stars in space. Would there be printed words if not for the page, would there be stars if there was no space to put them in – these are two fundamental complimentary pieces of the same thing, only the negative side is the substrate upon which everything else goes on top of – it is the mother, it allows for other things to exist, and viewed as such it falls back into a much more understandible role. And it is not and cannot be viewed as a bad thing, rather it is the very thing underpinning the rest of existence.

So when people (wrongly) try and talk about the eastern religion’s derogatory sense of equating negativity with the feminine, it is us that have it wrong – we have misunderstood what they say, and what is actually meant is that the feminine is the foundation upon which everything else actually sits.

As a final point – in the east as in the west, the male role has usually been thought of as the dominant one. This is not a position I support – I can understand why, but I think society could do with re-thinking this, not in a feminist way, but in a more meritocratic way – the point being that the mis-application of this principle has in some small way contributed to this problem in the past, and removing it may help provide a fresh set of eyes on the issue.