wandelaar

Perspectives on chance related to the I Ching

Recommended Posts

In other topics the point of perspectives on chance related to the I Ching has repeatedly come up, but without any discussion about what those perspectives amount to. I would like to know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My hope is that others who do know something about the alternative perspectives on chance related to the I Ching will have their say here. I cannot do so because I don't know anything about it, but I am willing to learn...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to offer a piece on¬†ganying¬†śĄüśáČ, 'resonance/response', a Han dynasty perspective that is sometimes linked to the Yijing (see Richard Smith,¬†Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World, p. 101-102.)¬†These pages are from¬†Licia Di Giacinto,¬†By Chance of History:¬†The Apocrypha under the Han (dissertation). Events that we would regard as happening¬†by chance were regarded as a response to the functioning of the emperor. Likewise the answers from the Yi were (by some philosophers) seen as responses from a higher principle (though not necessarily a god, deity, ghost etc.)

ganying.pdf

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah! So according to the ganying doctrine everything happens harmonious and regular as long as (important) people don't cause disturbances by acting immoral or outrageous, but when (important) people do act immoral or outrageous than catastrophic events will happen that we in the modern western world would consider as chance-events. And that's why events that deviate from the known regular and harmonious patterns were looked upon - in Han-China - as possible messages. Do I understand correctly?

Edited by wandelaar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Ah! So according to the ganying doctrine everything happens harmonious and regular as long as (important) people don't cause disturbances by acting immoral or outrageous, but when (important) people do act immoral or outrageous than catastrophic events will happen that we in the modern western world would consider as chance-events. And that's why events that deviate from the known regular and harmonious patterns were looked upon - in Han-China - as possible messages. Do I understand correctly?

 

Yes - when it was in the messenger's interest to proclaim the portent to the emperor. When the emperor needed to be reprimanded the people saw a lot of portents. When everything went okay there were 1) not much portents and/or 2) nobody took care to notice them and a collapsing wall was just a collapsing wall. For more info on portents in ancient China see Rafe De Crespigny, Portents of protest in the later Han dynasty - the memorials of Hsiang K'ai to emperor Huan and Tiziana Lippiello, Auspicious Omens and Miracles in Ancient China : Han, Three Kingdoms and Six Dynasties.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK - but now as regards the consultation of the I Ching by ordinary people about day to day problems. How are those results explained by the ganying doctrine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

OK - but now as regards the consultation of the I Ching by ordinary people about day to day problems. How are those results explained by the ganying doctrine?

 

I fail to find actual sources for this so maybe I am not quite right with the context of ganying and the Yi. My memory tells me that the response of the Yi was seen as a ganying to the situation of the questioner - an inherently bad situation (or attitude/character) would result in an inauspicious outcome. But maybe I am wrong. Nevertheless, this comes quite close to the usage of oracles during the Shang dynasty. When an oracle predicted that a battle would be lost the king would give as many offerings as necessary to get the ancestors on his side. If after the offerings the oracle predicted that the ancestors approved he knew he could not lose any more.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, wandelaar said:

Is there also a modern perspective on chances that would account for appropriate answers of the I Ching.

 

I'll leave that question to others - I'm not in to the modern stuff B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One could perhaps reason that individual chance events such as a hexagram found by throwing the I Ching happen in the context of the question asked and the current situation and so the hexagram that best resonates with that question and situation becomes the most likely answer of the I Ching on that occasion.

 

But a theory without empirical backing is just a speculation, so is there any empirical reason to believe resonance explanations to be correct?

Edited by wandelaar
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem I have with that is the lack of solid empirical support. If such resonances exist it should be quite easy to demonstrate them. For instance one could throw a die in a room decorated with pictures of the number 5. In that case one would expect to throw the number 5 more often than expected on the basis of pure chance. Or if that doesn't work one could use six rooms decorated with the respective numbers 1 to 6 and change the room used on the basis of a random experiment itself, and see whether the you get a correlation between the numbers that decorate the room during a throw and the numbers that are found by throwing the die.

 

Have such experiments or something like it already been done?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another idea for an experiment: One could write a computer program that keeps on printing the number 5 except for say the 10th, the 20th, the 30th etc. number that are randomly chosen from the numbers 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Resonance would than predict that the randomly chosen numbers are more often 5 than expected on the basis of pure chance. The randomly chosen numbers in this experiment have to be derived from a real random source (such as noise) that has the freedom to "resonate" with the surrounding 5's, not from a pseudorandom algorithm that is purely deterministic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, wandelaar said:

The problem I have with that is the lack of solid empirical support. If such resonances exist it should be quite easy to demonstrate them. For instance one could throw a die in a room decorated with pictures of the number 5. In that case one would expect to throw the number 5 more often than expected on the basis of pure chance. Or if that doesn't work one could use six rooms decorated with the respective numbers 1 to 6 and change the room used on the basis of a random experiment itself, and see whether the you get a correlation between the numbers that decorate the room during a throw and the numbers that are found by throwing the die.

 

Have such experiments or something like it already been done?

 

Not to my knowledge.

 

What would matter most is the experimenter's focus on the number. Decorating a room with it would be conducive to that, but it is really the mind of the individual involved which is key, IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Michael Sternbach said:

What would matter most is the experimenter's focus on the number. Decorating a room with it would be conducive to that, but it is really the mind of the individual involved which is key, IMO.

 

Could well be, but than you have another theory. As I understood it resonance would be a natural process that takes place whether or not someone notices it. Except of course when it is someone's mind that is resonating with something else.

 

But I like to know your explanation of the working of the I Ching also. So please tell us about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15.7.2018 at 1:58 PM, wandelaar said:

 

Could well be, but than you have another theory. As I understood it resonance would be a natural process that takes place whether or not someone notices it. Except of course when it is someone's mind that is resonating with something else.

 

But I like to know your explanation of the working of the I Ching also. So please tell us about it.

 

My sense of what is happening when I am doing a n Yijing consultation is that I connect to that intuitive part of me which has access to the answer and also seems to know exactly when to let the coins go.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if you want to test whether that is actually happening, but it should be easy to do so. When you use a deterministic process (such as an algorithm or the binary representation of pi) instead of throwing coins than the I Ching should no longer give you the right answers. That is what should happen if your explanation is correct.

Edited by wandelaar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, even using a non-randomized algorithm, the result would still vary depending on the initial state and input, right? 

 

I believe that answers can come in different ways, and no matter what I do, I can hardly take myself (my intuitive self) out of the equation. So I doubt that the results of such an experiment would be that conclusive, actually.

 

Though I prefer throwing coins or  some similar action that directly involves me when consulting an oracle (e.g., I would not usually let a random generator compute the result for me online), that is not to say that such an approach doesn't work. It's more a matter of personal preference, really, and each reader tends to find a way they feel comfortable with.

 

I happen to be the co-founder of a forum for Tarot and other forms of divination, and as such, I observe people getting good results using a variety of methods.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When personal involvement in the process of throwing the I Ching isn't necessary, than such personal involvement cannot be the crucial factor that explains the surprising results of using the I Ching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But excluding personal involvement in the throwing process is possible! I already proposed such an experiment here: 

The "process" in the above proposal is pseudo-random and completely deterministic, no quantum mechanics is involved.

 

Edited by wandelaar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But it would still be me deciding that this is going to be my answer to a certain question (without knowing in advance what exactly the answer is going to be, of course). I suspect that from the level of the intuitive self I was talking about, this would be no different from opening a book at a "random" page (yeah, that works too!) or from throwing coins at a certain moment and in a certain way in order to get an accurate reply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites