You’re listening to funky R&B or Pavarotti soaring and you turn it up and sing your heart out, energized and happy, pumped for doing something physical. A friend or family member expresses insistent excitement before you’ve had your coffee. Your car slides on the ice and ends up halfway in a ditch; four guys pull up and quickly help you muscle it back onto the road. These are positive and constructive examples of male energy, or yang. But when such energy comes in the form of a loud door slam, aggressive driving, or bullying behavior at home, work, or school, it’s disturbing. When it comes at you in the form of guns or bombs, it can kill you.
Yin and yang each have their jobs to do in a sane and balanced universe. Yin is life-providing; it runs our bodies, nurtures our young, and sustains the vulnerable parts of us.
Yang is a powerhouse. Men have a lot of it. Women have enough to allow us to get stuff done. We all feel good when we use our male energy. We feel potent, effective, like we’re accomplishing something.
But lately, the excessive use of male energy has been making us miserable and anxious, and creeping into our psyches with increasing prevalence, nearly paralyzing us with fear.
Yang is our meet-the-world energy. Its main function is to protect yin…When we need energy—to overcome, to build, to win—yang is our guy. And sometimes winning means that we survive. But, driven by pathology, the careless use of yang is extremely dangerous.
Yang is our meet-the-world energy. Its main function is to protect yin. Unprotected, yin tends to weaken. In this state, it cannot nurture. Everyone loses. Our bodies require yin to keep going, to feed our yang. Our relationships must have a yin component in order to facilitate give and take. Our world must have yin to foster the infrastructure of civilization. This is what keeps us all alive and healthy, productive and responsible.
Yang energy has a tendency to become excessive. This is not all bad. When we need energy—to overcome, to build, to win—yang is our guy. And sometimes winning means that we survive.
There is a fine line, a razor’s edge, between too little yang to survive and so much it is destructive. Since men have so much yang energy, they would, if left to their own devices, polarize very quickly and settle into an almost feudal way of life, conquering and vanquishing until they themselves were vanquished. How very tiring.
There is a fine line, a razor’s edge, between too little yang to survive and so much it is destructive. Since men have so much yang energy, they would, if left to their own devices, polarize very quickly and settle into an almost feudal way of life, conquering and vanquishing until they themselves were vanquished. How very tiring. This is why men who are wise and know themselves slow down as they age, and learn to pick their battles.
But wait. The world also has women! Women have a lot more yin than men do. Thank the Goddess for thinking of it. Yin can seem weaker because it isn’t big and loud. It appears to be slower-moving. It is, but of necessity. Not everything should be accomplished with speed. Yin is the perfect counterbalance to yang energy. Cool, slow, and deep, like a river of calm, yin thwarts the tendency of yang to keep going until only cinders are left.
Yang must have a counterweight to its excess. And in terms of a healthy society, there is only one way to achieve this: women must have a larger role in every part of our society. The fear that women can’t rise to the occasion when it comes time for action is unfounded.
The world functions largely in the middle. It has to. Look at nature. Anything to one extreme will always, even if it takes a long time, swing around toward the other extreme. The pendulum will slow until it’s nice and comfortable between the two poles. Balance is created again.
We use government and law to ensure a smoothly running society. To keep excessive behavior from wreaking havoc, we rely on various institutions—from local gendarmes to elite troops carrying weapons of mass destruction—to police and bring to justice those whose behavior is destructive. But when these institutions are dominated by male energy, there is not a lot of incentive to use yin to understand and deal with problems that arise. The result is government that privileges power-building to the detriment of infrastructure maintenance; that enacts laws that support the ideology of excess and do not address the complexity of reality for everyone they govern; that maintains a brutal, punitive justice system, based on a very yang-like need to vanquish anyone who gets in the way of the yang-dominated social structure. Giant corporations are allowed the status of individuals, and use that in a most excessive manner to enrich the few over the many, and they are becoming unstoppable as they consolidate power.
None of this makes us stronger. If we want a thriving, safe society, we require a healthy, protected infrastructure. We need the participation of everyone who has talent and passion. Male and female energy together create the perfect balance we need to fuel our future.