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Yang/Yin and Five Elements

The ideology of yin and yang and the ideology of the five elements were first begun in third century B.C., and were united as one ideology during the Age of Warring States. Zhou Dunyi, a philosopher of the Song Dynasty, explained yin and yang and five elements as the structure wherein the Great Absolute gives birth to yin and yang, and yin and yang give birth to the five elements. This became the basis of the Lichi Theory in Neo-Confucianism; it is also introduced in Exposition of the Divine Principle. The ideology of yin and yang and the five elements has been employed in almost every field of life in the East. From being a tool for understanding nature and human beings to being used for political purposes, or in feng-shui, it has affected our lives in various ways. In particular, it has had an absolute influence on the field of natural science, especially on theories of Oriental medicine.

To apply it to personality analysis, first, people can be categorized as either Yang type or Yin type. In Unification Thought, the Yang and Yin of the human nature of reason are summarized as follows: (New Essentials of Unification Thought p. 111)

Classification Yang Type Yin Type
Sung-sang Intellect Clarity, Good Memory, Distinctiveness, Wittiness Vagueness, Forgetfulness, Unclear Ideas, Seriousness
Emotion Pleasantness, Loudness, Joy Excitement Unpleasantness, Quietness, Sorrow, Composure
Will Activeness, Aggressiveness, Creativeness, Carefreeness Passiveness, Tolerance, Conservativeness, Carefulness
Hyung-sang Protuberant Parts, Protrusions, Convex Parts, Front Side Sunken Parts, Orifices, Concave Parts, Back Side
The five-elements ideology connects characteristics of people, society, culture, nature etc., and are briefly explained in the chart below.
  • Wood




    OrganLiver, bladder

    Gentle, Kind, Academical, Educational, Nurturing
    Get easily angry, Violent, Hot temper
  • Fire




    OrganHeart, Small intestines

    Artistic, Sporty, Passionate, Brave, Sensitive
    Smile often, Exceeding enjoyment Hasty and explosive.
  • Earth



    SeasonIn-between seasons


    Harmony, Unity, Credibility, Easygoing, Tolerant
    Boastful, Doubtful for lies, Mumbling to oneself. Delusion
  • Metal




    OrganLungs, Large intestines

    Leadership, Controlling, Authoritative, Loyalty, Cold
    Sad, cries often, Pessimistic, exceedingly emotional
  • Water





    Scientific, Researching, Constructive, Mediator
    Reform through rebellion and resistance. Always start from the opposite. Can be fearful.