Sunday, May 29, 2011

I-ching hexagram and evolution

I-Ching, the book of change, is a fascinating book. In the past, some Chinese scholars of classic studies laboured themselves inside the texts for a better part of their life! As the name says, the book deals with change. And evolution deals with change too, this post is a short note of their similarities.

Let's take any hexagram, for ease of putting down into words, for example: 110010 (where 1=solid line, 0=broken line, arranged from top to bottom like the classical way). One can set any formula for a change. Let's say, this is the formula for a change: top trigram comes from: 2rd, 3rd, and 4th; bottom trigram comes from 3rd, 4th and 5th. The first change will become: 100001, and the second change will become: 000000. And there will be no more change from now on! And if the initial one is 010101, the first change will become 101010, the second change will become 010101, changes back to the first! You can try more, and you can see how fascinating it can become. And I'm only talking about one formula!

Those who are mathematically savvy can quickly notice that given an infinite number of formula and infinite number of changes, if one starts with any hexagram, one can eventually change into any one of the 64 hexagrams! Isn't it amazing!

That reminds me of famous biologist Richard Dawkins (famous for his "selfish gene"!) once wrote something like: given me any animal and an unlimited evolutionary steps and a totally controllable environment, I can change it into any other animal). That actually also reminds me of Newton's saying: given a long enough stick and a fulcrum, I can move the earth (or something like this). Now you know where I-ching stands in the history of thoughts.

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