THE GREAT MONAD.
(Various Dissection Puzzles
Here is a symbol of tremendous antiquity which is worthy of notice. It
is borne on the Korean ensign and merchant flag, and has been adopted as
a trade sign by the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, though probably
few are aware that it is the Great Monad, as shown in the sketch below.
This sign is to the Chinaman what the cross is to the Christian. It is
the sign of Deity and eternity, while the two parts into which the
circle is divided are called the Yin and the Yan--the male and female
forces of nature. A writer on the subject more than three thousand years
ago is reported to have said in reference to it: "The illimitable
produces the great extreme. The great extreme produces the two
principles. The two principles produce the four quarters, and from the
four quarters we develop the quadrature of the eight diagrams of
Feuh-hi." I hope readers will not ask me to explain this, for I have not
the slightest idea what it means. Yet I am persuaded that for ages the
symbol has had occult and probably mathematical meanings for the
I will introduce the Monad in its elementary form. Here are three easy
questions respecting this great symbol:--
(I.) Which has the greater area, the inner circle containing the Yin and
the Yan, or the outer ring?
(II.) Divide the Yin and the Yan into four pieces of the same size and
shape by one cut.
(III.) Divide the Yin and the Yan into four pieces of the same size, but
different shape, by one straight cut.
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