Dynamically Balance Yin and Yang

With regard to the doctrine of dynamic balance, what impresses us most is probably not the above-mentioned utmost sincerity, managing guanxi and educating all the people through one's following a high ethical standard. Instead, it is the idea that one should adhere to the doctrine of dynamic balance principle. This is from the book ―Shang Shu·Councils of the Great Yu”: ―human hearts are unfathomable, nature of Tao is subtle. The only way to achieve the nature of Tao is to focus on nothing but the pursuit of dynamic balance.‖ According to the Doctrine of Dynamic

Balance, ―Confucius said: ―There was Great Shun①:-He indeed was greatly wise! Shun loved to

question others, and to study their words, though they might be shallow. He concealed what was bad in them and displayed what was good. He snatched up the two extremes, determined the Mean, and employed it in his government of the people. It was by this that he was Great Shun!"

―Snatched up the two extremes and facilitated their balanced nature‖ means that, first of all, Chinese always regard all things as an integrated system. Secondly, Chinese can always tolerate any two opposite forces, and let them coexist within an integrated system – Yin and Yang are compatible with, rather than repelling, each other, despite their being of opposite natures. As an ultimate result, equilibrium is reached between the two opposite forces, instead of imbalance caused by either of them overpowering the other. And this is the very core idea embodied in the Chinese Taoism, or the Yin and Yang Symbol, as follows:

① An ancient great Chinese emperor. The Yin and Yang Symbol is about not only the coexistence of two opposite forces within a single system, but more importantly, dynamic changes in the system. In other words, the complementation and competition of Yin and Yang offset and convert into each other, before ultimately reaching equilibrium. Equilibrium leads to in-equilibrium and the next run of balancing process, so it is a dynamic process of balancing Yin and Yang. In the meantime, the system is able to continuously renew itself and, hence, to keep growing. The so called system can be an organization or an enterprise; it can also be a regional economy or even the whole society or country.

According to the Great Learning, ―On the bathing tub of T'ang①, the following words were

engraved: "If you can one day renovate yourself, do so from day to day. Yea, let there be daily renovation." In the Announcement to K'ang, it is said, "To stir up the new people." The Book of

Odes says, "Although Chau② was an old state the ordinance which lighted on it was new." In

other words, the Great Leraning sees all things in the world are in constant change, and a system is therefore impossible to stay still; otherwise it would be lifeless. According to the theory of the Great Learning, systems renew themselves on a daily basis; and Chinese are in pursuit of the renewal of themselves and the mandate being sustained anew, that is, they try to vary with changes in the situation from time to time. In such a constantly changing system, ―dynamic balance‖ is not to be ―the mean‖ between black and white, or between left and right. Instead, it allows the coexistence of black and white and of left and right in a system by balancing them. That is what is meant by ―The myriad things grow up together without harming each other, and they follow their courses simultaneously without interfering with each other.‖

Zhongyong means dynamic balance. Moreover, it is about keeping dynamic balance in a constantly changing system so that Yin and Yang coexist and are compatible with each other. As a result, neither of them is too strong to cause the loss of diversity, of the vitality from interactions among disparate parts and of the capacity of self-correction within the system.

Since Zhongyong means keeping dynamic balance in a constantly changing system, ―love to question others, and to study their words, concealed what was bad in them and displayed what was good (like the Great Shun did)‖ becomes very important. And it is even more important to know how to rebalance a system after learning the cause. Just as the Great Learning says, ―The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and, that being determined, a calmness may be attained to. To that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end.‖ Determination, calm, tranquility, deliberation and attainment –

① An ancient Chinese emperor, who was taken by Confucius as one of the best Chinese leaders.

② A Chinese dynasty, from BC. 1046 to BC. 256. Start from determination and you can ultimately make the right decision, find a new direction and rebalance the system.

What is, then, to be dynamically balanced?

―The best leader is the leader who does nothing against nature‖ reveals how to lead a self-organized system, in which dynamic balance is the method to control a threshold over which the system transits from one phase to another. This concerns two extremes in the system—too much coupling at one end and too much decoupling at the other. If good governance is unavailable, then, at the end of too much decoupling, everyone is atomized, self-organization is impossible and, in the resulting chaos, everybody competes with all the others; and at the other end, too-much coupling leads to a closed network that is united internally and aggressive externally – fragmentation or even dogfight will occur in a larger network. If good governance is available, then the bottom-up power enables a group of people to self-organize into an orderly social network and to develop a code of conduct. Such a network enables self-governance and will not lead to cliques which hurt others' interests. Good governance stays somewhere between insufficient and excessive self-organization.

Another aspect of dynamic balance concerns how the leader conducts bureaucratic management. If he fails to manage things well, then there are two possible consequences. On one end, everything is left uncontrolled and, hence, thrown into chaos. On the other end, excessive controls make bottom-up self-organization process impossible, and thus devitalize the system. In contrast, a good leader always knows when to grant powers to others so as to avoid excessive control, and when to tighten control by certain management policies.

Management under the Doctrine of Dynamic Balance, therefore, pursues proper, top-down hierarchy control, on one hand, and proper, bottom-up self-organization, on the other. These two things tend to interact and compete with each other. Therefore, dynamic balance has a third aspect – the balance between hierarchy-relevant powers and self-organization-relevant ones.

Last but not least, the Doctrine of Dynamic Balance aims to realize management such that

―The myriad things grow up together without harming each other, and they follow their courses simultaneously without interfering with each other.‖ In other words, it aims to let a diversity of things coexist, complement and compete with each other, operate in harmony, and keep growing. Only through delegation of power is it likely to realize self-organization, diversity and prosperity. Only through showing sincerity to all and educating all the people through one's following a high ethical standard, a leader may make various things to coexist in harmony, naturally grow in prosperity and to work for each other. And only through dynamic balance is it likely to avoid excessive control over this dynamic, open and complex system, on the one hand, that makes diversity disappear (a unified system is lifeless). On the other hand, dynamic balance will avoid overly loosened control; that results in disorderliness and collapse of the system. It was after reading Confucian classics that Akio Morita, the late co-founder of Sony, realized the meaning of Confucianism in corporate management is: let everything growing naturally and sustainably.

How, then, can we realize the balance discussed above? ―The best leader is the leader who does nothing against nature‖ means anything but letting things be. On the contrary, we should do many things before we are allowed to do nothing. This requires the leader to first become perfectly sincere and keep working till all the people are fully educated by his sincerity, according to the Doctrine of Dynamic Balance. Only by the time that all the people reach a certain level of morality, will they start self-organization and self-management so that the world is well governed even if the leader does nothing against nature.

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