Two of the most important Chinese characters embody the secrets of the universe. The phonetic indicator of 陰 (Yin) ideographically denotes ‘the Presence (今) of the Cloud (云)’; accordingly, 陽 (Yang) represents ‘the sun (日) rising from the horizon’. When the cloud brings the earth shadows, the rising sun offers brightness. Since two thousand years ago, when the first Chinese philosopher tried to discover how the universe function, a mutual whole has gradually taken shape inside this black-and-white circle.
The primeval chaos out of which the universe creates itself. Things are created later in pairs: the winter and summer, the water and fire, the brightness and shadow, the power of expanding and contracting. Dualities exist when the opposite or contrary forces develop independently, yet complementarily and interconnectedly. They enjoy interacting as both cause and effect, reciprocal causation shall they be named. The universe identifies itself as the physical manifestation of dualism and shapes itself like the cycle of Yin and Yang. The receptive (Yin) and the active (Yang) are weighted equally, showing a perfect balance between the two opposites with a portion of the element in their own part where they meet. In this case, the winter waits for summer, the water connects to the fire, the shadow is lingering behind the brightness. Everything happens spontaneously, which means the genuine and the counterfeit are written on the same page and the fake would always be there, challenging, questioning and haunting the real.
In the Chinese Taoism thought, the distinction between the good and bad, the fake and real, along with all the other dichotomous judgments are perceptual, provisional, and not solid. The opposite parts are dual, and the duality itself is indivisible.
However, it doesn’t mean that the ancient Chinese took it for granted that the boundary of the fake and the real is always blurred. On the contrary, the Chinese classics have spared enough weight discussing the inalienable two. In the 16th-century Chinese novel the Journey to the West, the author Wu Cheng-En conducts a trial of ‘the True and False Monkey King’. After an argument between the Monkey King and the Tang Priest Xuan-Zang, a six-eared macaque dresses up as the Monkey King. The two monkeys are so alike that no one, in Heaven or on Earth, can tell which one is fake, even the Goddess of Mercy. In another greatest Chinese Classic, the Story of the Stone, the author Cao Xue-Qin tells his readers in the first chapter that: Truth becomes fiction when the fiction is true; Real becomes not-real where the unreal is real. It is unquestionably hard to tell the fake and the real at some moments, however, the question asked by enormous philosophers and writers is: is it necessary for people to find out an answer?
When the water is crystal clear, there is no fish in it; when a man is sharply observant, he has no friends with him. What delivers in the Chinese literature classics is not the determination of separating the fake from the real, but living with both. Navigating between the truth and the falsehood, people find the Peach Blossom Land. It doesn’t matter whether they are facing the real or the fake, what they always bear in mind is that the distinction is sometimes beyond their consciousness. Questioning everything around them, believing nothing comes without a pair and enjoying the illusion of not knowing the genuine and the false. The brightness welcomes the shadow, the tragedy incubates the comedy, disasters might convey the blessings, and the fake just might be the doorway to the real.