Friday, December 16, 2011

The myth of the Dragon and I Ching

Anyone who has some exposure to I-Ching will very likely be familiar with its Dragon myth or imagery. It appears on the very first beginning, the Six solid lines Qian oracle (乾卦). Dragon is the imagery for the Emperor or leader of any social group. And hence it has been a common ego-imagery for many, if not most, Chinese in all history, including many present day Chinese!

The beauty of the imagery is that it can hold good at whatever state of one's life or situation. As long as one holds this imagery, one will be a Dragon: An unfalsifiable non-scientific belief! And probably it has been working as good motivation for male Chinese, and probably for some female Chinese too.

The question is: How does this myth work?

The oracle says:

Being the budding dragon, one should stay deep under water and don't show off.

Being with a second stage strength, one shall appear at the field, and fortune will come its way through a good mentor.

Being at level three, one contributes and busily working hard; one should be careful to contribute diligently, but not making big mistakes!

Being at level four, one should be courageous enough to express one's uniqueness and ability in actions.

Being at level five, the Dragon has become a true leader in the sky, and shall meet with other Dragons there.

Being at level six, being one of the best Dragons, one will be lonely and will regret being there!


Now we have finished the six solid oracles lines, the most interesting part is a final line concerning the way of doing things as the best dragon: it says, "people see the dragons without any leader" (用九:見群龍无首,吉。) The wisest person is the a Dragon who work through other Dragons, but he himself doesn't appear as a Dragon.

And this is Tao!

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