The way of understanding begins with asking Socratic questions. 'What is a window?' 'What is an operating system?' The way of power begins with questions of the form 'How do I?'. 'How do I make a window appear?'.

Of these two cultures, the power culture is by far the most dominant. It reflects the Western compulsion to get things done; of valuing the yang. The way of understanding begins with stillness. Looking out of the window, walking in a tranquil landscape are the settings for this process. It is very yin, very unspectacular.

Corporations and now even universities do not understand these processes, and choosing the way of understanding will cost you your job. The person who begins in the yin looks very inactive.

If you want to measure productivity by lines of code, papers published, then the power approach will deliver. It is very yang, you do get quick results and you impress people. However the whole edifice is built on shallow understanding. As your system expands and grows more complex, the failure of your weak understanding will become manifest. This is the one reason for the poor quality of many large-scale commercial and open source systems.

Of 100 system administrators and software writers, hardly one could answer the questions 'What is a window?', 'What is a mail tool?' i.e. formally define them as a mathematical structures. They are too busy trying to make things work. Many programmers are busy putting another layer of code or patching the holes in legacy software. Ultimately they are deservedly devoured by their own creations. Unbalanced yang always burns itself out.

In contrast the way of understanding begins with tackling these fundamental questions at the beginning. It is very yin and introspective in its beginnings with little to see. The power is all internal. But it manifests as great power over the creative phase and the mature products are much more impressive and stable than the products of the power approach. There is no need to prop up a crumbling tower.