The Yin Yang symbol is one such symbol that has passed out of our frame of reference. I heard at a young age that this symbol meant male and female, and since it made sense at the time, I didn't question that explanation of its meaning. But, it is so much more than that, though that definition of male and female is a part of it. The larger meaning of the symbol is its representation of the inseparable, unconditional duality of all that is life.
This symbol is ancient, and it is believed to originate in Taoist philosophy of China or Korea. It has appeared on late Roman shields as a trace back to ancient European culture, as well as in Gnosticism and Zoroastrianism, and is now in use at the center of the Korean flag. It is a universal symbol predating modern organized religions, though the modern religions have chosen to exclude this universal symbol from their teachings, and therefore the concepts of Yin Yang.
What if this exclusion of the principal of Yin Yang from modern thought is behind science's attempts to understand "What Happens When We Die?" The heart stops beating and sending blood to the brain, and brain activity stops within 10 seconds. Yet some people brought back to life report consciousness and near death experiences, as they are called, to eerily recall exactly what was happening to their bodies while they were resuscitated.
In addition to the technology already in use to keep death at bay, new drugs are in development that will dramatically slow cellular degeneration to a crawl, giving doctors even more time to repair and reanimate the dead. This science is challenging people's definition of and beliefs about death, which is perceived to be a specific moment in time - you are alive, and then you are dead. Science is proving that the Newtonian laws of motion are too simplistic when motion is viewed at the quantum level, and the CERN particle accelerator is on the verge of defining spirit and soul, though scientists won't admit it quite yet. Quantum physics already prove the possibility and probability of consciousness beyond physical life and death.
This confusion on science's part may be due to the exclusion of the meaning of Yin Yang.
The outer circle of the symbol represents and signifies infinity. It is without beginning and without end. That everything else is within this infinite circle represents all of life existing within infinity. The black and white shapes, each inhabiting equal amounts within the circle, begin at the outer circle to signify infinity as their source. The tails of the white and black shapes within the circle both leading to their source means that they are one, and because they are one, they are conditions of each other. Without white, there can be no black, without female there can be no male and without life, there can be no death -- and visa versa. Carl Jung used this same symbol to illustrate his theory of conscious and unconscious - it is impossible for one to exist without the other.
Esoterically, the white shape signifies spirit and the black represents matter. Spirit without matter is undifferentiated and unpolarized and therefore without life. Matter without spirit is inert, unpolarized and without life. Both spirit and matter are only potentialities without the other. They are conditions of each other, unconditionally inseparable, and together make up one substance. That they are contained within the circle that is infinity means that everything is made up of the substance spirit/matter and is life.
The circle and white and black shapes together represent the familiar trinity of Science, Art and Religion; Guru, Guide and Master; and Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Only the latter Christian principle excludes the feminine Mother aspect, an absolutely necessary co-condition of the male, and therefore denies the true nature of all of life.
Science can't measure infinity and ultimately can't define it. Religions can't explain infinity either, so it tends to steer away from the concept of infinity and its meaning to the Whole Picture. Both science and religion call for a massive leap of faith and much cognitive dissonance when it comes to accepting Creationism or Evolution as the only answer to everything. Both have gaping holes and chasms in the logic behind their theories, and these insurmountable gaps exist because of the exclusion of ancient thought and wisdom.
Ancient thought and wisdom is within the meaning of the abstract Yin Yang symbol. There is more, so much more that would open up for us if we would reintegrate Yin Yang back into our thinking that it is beyond comprehension, yet it is exactly what we are meant to do. We are meant to explore, research and define all that is life. The door to understanding would be opened, if only we would just knock.