Monday, July 4, 2011

I-Ching and self regulating system

When did people in ancient China ask the advice of I-Ching? The time when they were in an impasse. And I-Ching would advice people the direction to move on. The essence is Change. But change to what?

Shall I join a new weight loss program? There is always a pattern: when one is overly overweight, one becomes so frustrated and so can endure all kinds of pain and/or deprivation and join a weight loss program. Initially the progress will be staggering, then one tends to relax a bit when the initial motivation weakens seeing one’s now new trimmer body, and then food begins to gain its attraction, and finally one starting to eat more and more. Time for another program. The above is (still) change!

Most of the time people live their lives as self-regulating system. A dynamic system with multidimensional positives and negatives, always moving one way or the other, and near either end, there will be a come back.

So people in the past asked for I-Ching when they were stuck in the system, and I-Ching simply asked them to move on. The fact is there being no resting place in a self-regulating system, one has to move one way or the other – if society is not pushing us, our internal force will push us ahead. It’s like if we can't decide, a dynamic balance (or imbalance) of forces inside or outside us will make the call. But of course it would be for better psychological hygiene if we can interpret such force as coming from the Divine.

Can modern man escape from these patterns or self-regulating systems? Who knows? Oftentimes we laugh at other people’s cycle of weight-lost program. But perhaps somebody is laughing at ours at the same time. Again who knows?

I-Ching said we are just different stages of a dragon at different times (when we got the Chi’en or nine solid lines in the oracle: see below translation by Richard Wilhelm). And I-Ching is not talking about the future, it is talking to us, it is telling us what we are. I was told most of time it turns out to be true, so perhaps this is truly what we are: a self-regulating system – with or without I-Ching telling us so!

One final question: are we then doomed to repeating this cycle of "change"? I believe most of us do so most of the time (that's why many say oracles predictions are true!). It is only in rare cases that we can jump from one self-regulating system to another. And during such incidence, we call true progress or growth.

Remarks: The Chi'en oracle:

Nine at the beginning means:

Hidden dragon. Do not act.

Nine in the second place means:

Dragon appearing in the field.

It furthers one to see the great man.

Nine in the third place means:

All day long the superior man is creatively active.

At nightfall his mind is still beset with cares.

Danger. No blame.

Nine in the fourth place means:

Wavering flight over the depths.

No blame.

Nine in the fifth place means:

Flying dragon in the heavens.

It furthers one to see the great man.

Nine at the top means:

Arrogant dragon will have cause to repent.

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