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Playing with the Dao:
A "Pragmatic" Strategic View



The Dao gave birth to One. The One gave birth to Two. The Two gave birth to Three. The Three gave birth to all of creation. All things carry Yin yet embrace Yang. They blend their life breaths in order to produce harmony.
People despise being orphaned, widowed, and poor. But the noble ones take these as their titles. In losing, much is gained, and in gaining, much is lost.
What others teach I too will teach:   "The strong and violent will not die a natural death."   --- Chapter 42 of Laozi's Dao De Jing (also known as the Tao Te Ching)

We are currently living under a challenging macro scenario of rapid urgency, where uncertainties become a regular commonality. Some of these uncertainties are driven by many global-sized, technologically driven velocities of change that unnerve the masses to ask the question "What are we going to do now?"

Someone recently asked me the following set of questions: "Since our world has gotten more chaotic than what we dreamed or believed in, what can we do about it? Can a person stay ahead of the curve of shifts and changes by understanding the Dao? Is there anything in the Dao that allows us to understand our world of uncertainty?"

After a moment of self-reflection on these questions, I realized that this person wanted a pragmatic "what-to-do" answer to our global setting of life-altering shifts and changes. Before those questions could be answered, we must first define the meaning of the Dao.

What is the Dao?

The word "Dao" (also written as "Tao") means road, path, or way (a way to follow, a way of thought, a method, or a principle). The Dao is seen as the everlasting principle at the origin of the universe. It permeates and transcends all beings; it is at the origin of all transformations. This belief system, originating in ancient China, is considered to the foremost, indigenous philosophical thought of China and is called Daoism. Fundamentally, the name Daoism refers to one central universal principle: "Everything in the universe is connected to the motion of continuous change."

This essayist re-interprets that same principle as "… an elegant, universal framework that loosely connects numerous components to a total flow of macro and micro cycles of continuous change." Everything about Daoism is connected to this perspective.

"The universe and I exist together and all things and I are one."  
--- Zhuang Zi's (translated by Lin Yutang)

Each component can possess a total force of positive or negative polarity. The Chinese refer to these forces as Yin and Yang. By viewing the internals of those components, an interplaying balance of opposite polarities that create and display the macro force can be seen.

Within this common setting, there's always a multiple of Yin and Yang forces evolving from a state of balance to a state of imbalance, then returning to its original state. Some of these actions have been explained with mathematics, numbers, and patterns. Nevertheless, it is always dynamic and continuous.

Pragmatic Definition of Yin and Yang forces

Yin and Yang

Yin:   Soft, dark, contract, zero, lightness (weight), extraordinary, earth, no, loss, water

Yang:   Hard, light, expand, one, heaviness (weight), normal, heaven, yes, gain, fire

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