Yin and Yang: Basics – Part 2/5: How is it connected to sexuality?
In order to explain how Yin and Yang shape human sexuality, we need to take a brief look into the history of evolution: The first life forms such as bacteria, single-celled organisms and early plants didn’t have sex. They could not have, since the concept of sexuality did not exist at all. Instead, these organisms reproduced in another way: asexually, by cell division. In doing so, an organism copies every part of itself, then assembles the parts and upon completion, it releases a further organism into the environment. The result are two organisms, which are exactly the same, or differ only in a few characteristics accumulated through mutation or tiny mistakes during the copying process, like identical twins. The advantage of this method is the relatively small energy expenditure. The disadvantage, however, is a big one: All identical or very similar organisms also possess identical or very similar weaknesses. A predator, parasite or virus can infect, kill or at worst wipe out a whole species by exploiting the same weakness.
To prevent this, the method of reproduction changed from asexual to sexual in the course of evolution. This requires a new form of interaction between individuals – sex was invented. Later plants, fungi and animals split their characteristics needed for reproduction in two forms: female and male. One half of the information for a new organism is stored in the female form, the other half in the male. The advantage of this method is crucial: If both halves of the information are segregated, and come together at a later time, they can be shuffled, by a process known as homologous recombination of the chromosomes. Essentially, this is like unloading two heaps of sand of a different colour into a bucket, and then stir until the colours look like they are mixed equivalently. Each time, the result is a singular organism, with individual strengths and weaknesses. As a consequence, predators, parasites and viruses have to develop new strategies over and over again, which provides time to the organisms to develop new defence mechanisms, etc. The same advantage applies if the respective life forms have to adapt to changing environmental conditions (like a climatic change or a natural disaster). The disadvantage of the new reproduction method, however, is its higher energy expenditure: Since the two halves of information are located at separate places now, one has to find the other, and overcome possible obstacles on the way in order to reproduce. The other part has to provide its information half at the right time, conceive the missing half and let the overall package transform, until a new singular organism can be released into the environment.
This division of responsibilities is already an occurrence of Yin and Yang:
- Yin corresponds to the female part, is thus the conceiving and transforming principle
- Yang corresponds to the male part, is thus the seeding and (life-)giving principle