Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for YINYANG

Posting unexpectedly from out-of-town. It helps one discover how much one hates the iPhone blogger app.

Yinyang, or yin and yang as we tend to say it in English, is the theoretical complementarity of opposites in Chinese tradition such as Daosim and Confucianism. It is famously recognized (though hardly ever correctly named) in the taijitu (great power diagram) symbol.

The symbol has been used in mythopoesis by author Robert Jordan. The symbol could be used by gamers who play with a three alignment system, especially one where they do not equate Law and Chaos with Good and Evil. Law as Yang and Chaos as Yin would make the taijitu the perfect symbol for Neutral alignment. I've been playing around a little for how I might use this in my Ygg setting. More to come on that, soon.

1 comment:

  1. One thing to keep in mind, Theo, is that the symbol for Yin-Yang is actually intended to be in motion. One of the fundamental principles behind these two supposedly-opposing forces is that each creates the other in turn.

    As such, it would be challenging to equate Yang to Law and Yin to Chaos without describing a cosmology in which the one eventually changes to form the other.

    I do, however, see that there might be a connection, using the Pathfinder Campaign Setting as an example. The Maelstrom is the plane that represents "Pure Chaos" and the Protean race are the harbingers of that Chaos. The enemy they hate above all others are Demons, which they view as a corruption of Pure Chaos.

    Although we mere mortals have always viewed demons as beings of Chaos, we view them from the relative stability of the Material Plane, and we like the way things are, here, for the most part. However, from the perspective of a Protean, the Abyss has been tainted by Order and threatens to undermine Chaos.

    In this, we see another lesson taught by the Yin-Yang...without one, the other has no meaning, because comparison gives definition. One cannot truly understand the level of chaos in the Abyss without first establishing a lower or higher level of Chaos with which to compare it.

    Following that train of thought, I come to the idea that the Abyss represents a stage in the cosmic transition from Chaos to Order. What a delicious annoyance for both Demons and Proteans. ;-)

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