Sang (상 相) means “mutual”, or “together” and geuk (극克) means “limitation”, “restrain”, “denial” “to subdue” or “to overcome.” Sanggeuk (상극 相克) is translated as “mutual conflict and domination, or mutual restrain.” Sanggeuk is a principle in the Early Heaven. Sanggeuk is a natural dynamic of conflict, competition, and division that serves as a catalyst in creating and advancing
life in the Early Heaven.
Sanggeuk is a natural dynamic in which one element restrains another. When Sangjenim came in human, He used this word in a totally different meaning while doing His work of renewing heaven and earth. Sangjenim used the word in terms of cosmic year, and human relations.
Sanggeuk is the prevailing dynamic of the Early Heaven. Sanggeuk is the principle of Early Heaven restricting as a systemic environment. Universe is a field of possibility where every creation and transformation can happens. On the other hand, it is the environment of reality where there are restrictions and limitations, acting as bondage.
Sanggeuk describes a process of growth through conflict and competition. Life brings challenges, which arise not from the human sins or greed, but from the principle of Early Heaven itself. Sanggeuk is the underlying reason for all the destinies occurred in the Early Heaven. Human development is the history of overcoming these environmental bondage of Sanggeuk. So ironically Sanggeuk played the role as the driving force for development.
In the Early Heaven, every being is influenced by the order of sanggeuk (상극 相克), mutual conflict and domination. Heaven, earth, sun, moon, and all the constellations are tilted because of the dosu of sanggeuk. However, the sages, scientists, and religionists of the Early Heaven do not know this. The whole great universe is tilted. This means that the universe is out of harmony. Yin and yang are imbalanced. This is the way of life under sanggeuk, when all humans and other beings are born and raised in inequality.
In the world of the Early Heaven, people had to harm others because one could become successful only by defeating others. In such a world dominated by the principle of sanggeuk, people who killed others and seized others’ property led wealthy and prosperous lives, but those who were killed became spirits filled with unresolved bitterness or became the spirits of failed revolutionaries. This is the way of world history, due to the dominant principle of the Early Heaven.