The most successful businessman is the man who holds onto the old just as long as it is good and grabs the new just as soon as it is better.
|--Robert P. Vanderpoel|
Despite all of our recent technologic achievements, from mapping the human genome to exploring the outer planets, humanity is still grounded in beliefs that span the centuries. While few of us could recite the process for converting iron ore into steel—one of the pillars of our modern technologic existence—most could recite parts of a belief system, such as that outlined by the Old Testament, that dates back to before the first smelters were conceived. Paradoxically, many of these belief systems are viable today because they provide a framework for dealing with the complexity of the man-made environment created by civilization.
Consider, for example, the applicability of classic Chinese cosmology in a modern, technologic society. In this belief system, the principles of yin and yang represent opposite and complementary forces in nature that combine to produce all that comes to be. Yin is the feminine, passive, dark, and wet; and yang, the masculine, active, bright, and dry. There is always an element of yang and an element of yin within any object, and yin and yang combine in various proportions to produce all the different objects in the universe. In addition, the characteristics of yin cannot exist without those of yang, nor can the characteristics of yang exist without yin. As ...