The Tao – a binary dance

The Way, by Ching Huang. You will notice that Chinese text floats through this video. It is a poem of occasions – I’ve found an amazing consilence between this and the Ecclesiastes concept of hebel (see insert below). Many thanks to my collegue, Qiang Xu, for translating the poem for me:

1. First text in the video at 1:30: Qiyun vivid. “Qi” for the use of the word clouds, gases, collectively, the phenomenon of natural heating and cooling, solar terms (section Hou), odor, sniffing, anger, philosophical concepts (strength). “Qiyun” is also the later emergence of the concept – “posture”.

2. The next text appears several time – 2:07. 2:24, 2:33, 3:08: This is a poem talking about plum flowers. Translation: “(I am) not competing the beauty with other flowers. But (I) do bloom earlier that any other flowers. When it is very cold with snow and ice, (I) am blooming widely.”

3. Text at 4:02: “Praising bamboos”. (Note what is praiseworthy in this type of life, text 5 elaborates – kj.)

4. Text at 4:21, 4:38: “I grow straightly even though I don’t have to. I was written by many poets from a long time ago. When winds come, I dance like a gentleman.”

5. Text at 7:24: “The Way” (Tao) – commentary by Kenny Jones follows:

Hebel – as in the phrase, “Vanity, vanity all is vanity“. Choon-Leon Seow, in his book Ecclesiastes, states hebel also has the concept of fleeting, temporary, ephemeral, hard to grasp or define though significant, mysterious. So a better reading is, “All is breath“. This seems to echo the “Qi” in the first Chinese symbol. Where is this breath occurring? Paradoxically hebel is manifested in concrete forms of flesh and cosmos. This fits with the vaporous treatment of forms in the opening scenes of the video (up to scene 1:04). From the chaos a self-organizing Logos orders and all flows from it. This dance of binaries (opposites that define each other) is reinforced by the soundtrack and Asian ink brush style (ironically done in a Binary Code in a computer). The first part of the soundtrack up to 4:40 is a bit pensive, brooding, reflective. But at 4:45 it breaks abruptly into a playful frolic echoing the looser ink wash technique of the water-creatures. In a closing of the loop, a visual taxonomy of opposites goes full circle: water-flowers spring from this same substance, echoing the land-flowers that also danced to a breath of wind. Dualities abound, split and recombine. The fluidity becomes solid, solidity flexes and yields returning to hebel.

Yin/Yang binary is the subject of this computer-animation-meets-Chinese-ink-painting. This video reflects an ancient Taoist view of the world as a constant changing process or metamorphosis of forms rather than the unchanging, unconnected entities of reductionism. The law of changing is a seemingly chaotic/spontaneous and yet is ordered by a sub-surface “interconnectedness” which somewhat matches the notion of Emergence in Chaos theory. How does simple give way to complex and then return? Can there be stillness in motion and motion in stillness? Binaries dance from one pole to the other.

Alternate link:


Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s