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The Philosophical Machine: 'Book of Changes'

Discussion in 'Great Web Sites and Links' started by Veda, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    Almost anyone is familiar with the symbol of Yin Yang, a popular image on T-shirts:

    This primordial two are regarded as having derived from a primordial no-thing, a no-thing with infinite potentiality. This has many names, and is most commonly called the Supreme Ultimate. From this comes two and from the two come four.

    The four can be found as the bigrams of the 'I Ching' or 'Book of Changes', as the Tetragrammaton of Kabbalistic mysticism, as the four elements of traditional philosophy, the four suits of an ordinary deck of playing cards, and even as Scientology's "Four Conditions of Existence" (which correspond with the Kabbalistic Tetrgrammaton - the four primary ingredients of existence).

    And there are other possible correspondences: including the Tarot, which, like the 'I Ching', is best known as a means of fortune telling, but could also be regarded as a kind of philosophical machine:

    And last but not least, Richard Wilhelm's translation of the 'I Ching', which addresses the eight Trigrams, and the sixty four Hexagrams:
  2. Zinjifar

    Zinjifar Silver Meritorious Sponsor

    I've enjoyed and even 'used' the I Ching for more than 40 years now. The Wilhelm translation is the best in my opinion (Wilhelm did the translation from Chinese to German.) As a bonus, the english translation of the Wilhelm translation includes an introduction by Carl Jung which is fascinating in its own right.

    Adendum; oh cool, the Jung 'foreword' is online and well worth reading:

  3. Ogsonofgroo

    Ogsonofgroo Crusader

    For over 35 years I've recieved a birthday card from my dear ol' mom with a lengthly adenum from the Book of Changes, my reading for the next year. I value these greatly and over the years the wisdom contained within, though applicable to nearly anyone at any time, has at times guided my thoughts and actions, mostly by pointing out the obvious and common sense things that sometimes get over-looked in the tangles of everyday living.
    Timeless and wise words are..... timeless and wise.

    My wee 0.02$ fer the afternoon :)
  4. Lurker5

    Lurker5 Gold Meritorious Patron


    THIS /\ /\ /\ Same here. :yes:
  5. Student of Trinity

    Student of Trinity Silver Meritorious Patron

    An interesting piece by Jung; thanks for the link.

    I wish people wouldn't keep mixing up quantum mechanics with this sort of thing. Quantum mechanics is weird, but not really in the way Jung thought it was. It's not really that 'the observer' is present in subatomic phenomena, for instance, but rather that observing subatomic phenomena requires whopping big devices that are really complicated in themselves, and cannot simply be ignored. Though I suppose I shouldn't blame Jung. It's probably mostly the fault of Niels Bohr, who began an unfortunate tradition, that even runs among physicists, of over-philosophizing quantum mechanics.

    And in fact it runs counter to the main vein of Jung's argument, to bring in a Western science to buttress the very different viewpoint Jung attributes to Chinese tradition. He's mainly saying that the Chinese focus on chance and synchronicity is a radically different point of view. That's a point that can stand on its own, without any need for bogus support from physics.

    And in a way I'm sympathetic to it. I don't really believe that 'the spirits' will ordain that random tosses of coins will produce a combination uniquely suited to me at a given moment. But I do believe that it can be a valuable exercise to take a random reading, and try to see how it might fit my present life. The very randomness of it can prompt insights that one wouldn't otherwise have.

    I have once or twice consulted the I Ching myself in this spirit, and occasionally used Tarot cards this way, too. I insist that the apparent relevance to my life and situations was entirely read into the randomness, by me. But I think the meanings I obtained in this way were no less valuable for that.
  6. Zinjifar

    Zinjifar Silver Meritorious Sponsor

    Personally, while quantum mechanics from a lay perspective may have interesting philosophical implications, I'm as leery of the 'quantum bla bla' as I was of relativity whoo whoo that preceded it as a schizoid rationalization for all gaga :)

    What I like about the Jung description of the I Ching (and other divination methods) is the tie in to synchronicity, not as a 'quantum mechanics' effect, but as an outgrowth of micro/macrocosm philosophy. Not 'causation', but a recognition that different physical phenomena can be a reflection of a *common* phenomenon.

    Oh, and whether the I Ching is really some 'entity' or not, it's useful for me to treat it as such. Especially since I'm not all that sure what an 'entity' is anyway; including myself :)

  7. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    The 'I Ching', as a mathematically based book of wisdom, is valuable as a book of wisdom, apart from its better known use in divination. IMO, it could, potentially, serve as a guide for a psychological or therapeutic system.
  8. Zinjifar

    Zinjifar Silver Meritorious Sponsor

    Divination aside, the I Ching is very Mcluenesque in that the 'medium is the message'. Like Scientology, once you begin to use the basic paradigm, the 'system' enfolds. Unlike Scientology, it's an *option* that coexists with other options and it's cheaper :)

  9. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    From another thread.

  10. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    If you're referring to me, that's not what's happening here, although I appreciate your frustration with the confusion you describe. I, off-handedly, cited on example, of which I think you're referring, but it was a bit of whimsy. The main points are unaffected. :)
  11. Wants2Talk

    Wants2Talk Silver Meritorious Patron

    Not to derail, Is not the Tarot Deck a philosophical machine - or is just that a pdc lecture memory?

    But I thought Crowley felt strongly about the tarot and even design a modern deck.
  12. Hatshepsut

    Hatshepsut Crusader

    The Kybalion could help a person predict intelligently what changes will occur. A list of Hermetic axioms.


    Free zip file of entire book
  13. Hatshepsut

    Hatshepsut Crusader

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012