I continue to learn about the effect of the feminine. Today I was walking with friends by Bridal Falls on Bowen Island where I live and we stopped at the waterfall to reflect on the nature of flow. This standing wave caught our attention and it immediately drew me into thoughts on the complementarity of the masculine and feminine.
For a long time I have been a student of the Tao, understanding the relationship between yang and yin. In Taoist thought, these two conditions exist in everything and are in constant and dynamic relationship. Yang is usually thought of as raw force, flow, life or energy, and yin is idenitfied with receptivity, structure, container. The two are also associated with masculine and feminine but not in a gender way, more in an archetypal fashion.
This video illustrates the power of having these two forces acheive some kind of balanace. You have the strong yang of the water flowing over the strong yin of the rock and it is shaped by what it is flowing over. We are looking at a remarkable thing here: a stable structure in which every element of its composition is changing in every minute. This flow structure perfectly illustrates what happens when yin and yang meet in balance, when the strong masculine is shaped by the contours of the feminine. We are seeing the effect of the feminine on the masculine, but we are looking at a structure that would not exist without a balance between the two.
Think about this in terms of organizations. We are surrounded in our social world by these kinds of flow structures, in which elements move through but the structure remains. Traffic jams, cities, organizations, schools…Notice that the stability in these structures comes not from what is flowing though them – not the people – but by the underlying architecture that shapes people’s behaviour in those moments. The flow of bodies and behaviours is influenced by the yin of the structure.
This is one way the feminine works with power: by being the channel though which power works, influencing it’s outcome. People who seek power with a strictly masculine perspective go for the flow itself: control of the money, people, water, oil. People who seek to stabilize the effect of power know that the contours of the flow channels influence everything, so they run banks and financial systems, management consulting firms, hydro power projects and fossil fuel economics respectively.