Nearby my apartment, a man by the name of Faramarz runs his business. Faramarz is such a nice, friendly guy — one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet. Faramarz has been in Japan for over 21 years. He is one of the few foreigners I have met who has been here longer than I.
Faramarz is married to a Japanese and his business sells exquisite, handmade Persian Carpets. These are some of the largest and most beautiful carpets I’ve ever seen. They are the kind of things you would see on the floor of a palace or the office of the CEO of some huge Japanese company. I imagine that carpets like these grace the floors of places like Buckingham Palace or the Taj Mahal. Faramarz’s handmade carpets are as beautiful and detailed as any you will ever see.
Faramarz has two employees named Ramin and Aribizu. These guys impress me so much. They are so friendly and intelligent. They can each speak more than three languages and their English is superb. It’s amazing that they come from what many of us in the west would consider a “backward third-world country.”
Every person I have ever met from their country was extremely intelligent and proficient in several languages. One of my best friends in college was from the same place, and he could speak English, French, Russian, and Farsi. Farsi, as some of you may know, is the native language of people from Persia — or what we now call Iran.
Last night, Faramarz invited me over to sit and chat in his office for a few minutes. It was fun. Faramarz and his two employees had a wager on a sale that they were working on. The sale didn’t go through; Faramarz lost the bet, so he had to buy ice cream for everyone. I thought:
“What a bunch of sincere, easy-going, peaceful people.”
Faramarz and I started to discuss world events and I spent my time trying to explain the thinking of my countrymen. Faramarz and his friends all seemed to feel sorry for me. Well, not for me exactly — but for you, me, all of us we call, “Americans.”
You see, this kind of thinking I have found quite common over these last few years when I meet people from other countries (and I meet quite a lot due to my job). It all boils down to this:
“Everyone all over the world likes American people. We just hate your government.”
In the last year I have met people from Bulgaria, Romania, China, Thailand, Korea, Australia, England, Scotland, New Zealand, France, Afghanistan, and Kenya. And they all said basically the same thing. People everywhere are beginning to despise the United States.
The talk then went into the Chinese concept of “Ying and Yang.” Faramarz explained to me that what is going on in the Middle East all fits in perfectly with the concept of Ying and Yang. In Japan, this concept is described as, “Dark versus Light.”
I was a bit surprised to hear Faramarz explain his take on this concept to me. I would expect to hear something like this from someone from China or Korea, but someone from Iran?
Then again, when you realize that the Middle East has always been the road to the Far East, it shouldn’t be too surprising to hear them speaking a philosophy that mirrors Eastern Asian thought.
Simply put, Ying and Yang represent the balance of everything in the world. Dark and light, good and evil, you and me.
Yang is the spirit of “light.” He has the side of good and light. We and everything else that is not dark. Ying is, of course, the complete opposite. Ying is the “dark” part of the spirit. Evil and darkness; defeat is on his side of the balance.
In this Eastern philosophy, balance is everything. If something falls, something else must come back. That means if one manages to become the most powerful, the entire universe will be out of balance. So if Yang won, everything in the world would be happy — but not for long, for the balance would be upset. And for as long as Yang is in power, the reverse effect must come into play, and Ying will dominate after that for an equal or longer period of time — until the cycle reverses itself again.
Of course many Westerners might just chuckle at this silly “Eastern” notion. But last night it dawned on me: I realized that this concept of “Ying and Yang” is exactly the same as Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion, called “Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis,” published in 1686. Isaac Newton stated:
“…that for every action (force) there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
All actions are “forces,” so this undisputable law says every force has an equal and opposite force. For every action, there is a reaction. For every behavior, there is a consequence. Like the rock thrown into the pond, the ripples radiate out, eventually hitting the shore, and then again returning to its center. For every act, a consequence.
One might take issue with my interpretation of how Ying and Yang and Newton’s Third Law of Motion are, ultimately, the exact same thing. But I think anyone could see where there is a correlation.
Furthermore, could any educated person in the entire Western world argue with Newton’s Third Law of Motion? I don’t think so. Agreed?
Whether you want to call it Ying and Yang or Newton’s Law, it is an undeniable fact that every action has an equal reaction.
That’s why now I’d like to tell you folks in America a little more about Persia (Iran):
Did you know that Persia is one of the oldest civilizations in the world? And that Persia was once one of the largest empires the world had ever seen?
Did you know that, even though Persia has lost battles, it has never been conquered even once in over 3,000 years?
Did you know that Iran has more than three times the population of Iraq, and 63% of that population is under 31 years old? Did you also know that, geographically speaking, Iran is four times larger than Iraq?
Did you know that Iran’s economy was twelve times the size of Iraq’s, as of 2003?
Did you also know that, although no one is sure of the total casualties during the Iran-Iraq war of 1979 to 1988, estimates range from 800,000 to 1 million dead, at least 2 million wounded, and more than 80,000 taken prisoner? That there were approximately 2.5 million who became refugees and whose cities were destroyed? That the financial cost is estimated at a minimum of $200 billion? And even though, according to some estimates, Iran lost about one million soldiers, it was still not defeated?
Of course, you do know that now the Bush administration and the neocons are setting America up for a war with Iran. Right?
With George W. Bush as your next president, go ahead, America, attack Iran. But, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, you will be forced to pay the piper. And it will, most certainly, be a catastrophically heavy price.
Please don’t send me mail arguing with me about this observation. Argue instead with Ying and Yang — or, better yet, argue with Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion:
“…for every action (force) there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
~ Thanks to my good friend, Anthony Gregory, in the editing of this article.
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has worked as an independent writer, producer, and personality in the mass media for nearly 30 years.