Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just Six Things: The I Ching

A direct link to the above movie is at

In Alien Mathematics, we talked about the work of cosmologist Martin Rees, who proposed that there are only six basic structures underlying our reality. A few entries later, in The Map and the Territory, we looked at the difficulties in trying to map the extra dimensional patterns that create our reality, because a map becomes less useful when it tries to represent too much. A map with a scale of 1 to 1, for instance, should be able to faithfully capture absolutely every detail about a landscape, but a much smaller map is going to be significantly more useful as a guide.

Think about this, then. What if there were an ancient mapping system which boiled down our current position within the multiverse to only six parameters? This takes us, tangentially, to a territory that some readers of this blog won't be comfortable with, but which has enough connections to the big picture ideas we've been playing with that I believe it's worthy of consideration: this ancient system of mapping our reality is called the I Ching. Victor Robin, a student of the I Ching from California, explained it to me this way:

This is the Ancient Chinese way of viewing the Universe as energy, or Qi, moving through us and everything around us. (sounds familiar, huh?)

The Yi Jing (I Ching) is a compilation of centuries of ascetic observation put into a format that intentionally invites the participation of present timespace. The most common way people use the Yi Jing is by tossing coins to determine which verses are appropriate for the user to read at his point in "time." The user prepares to throw the coins by mentally focusing on a "question" for the Yi Jing to "answer."
Here's a few quotes from the wikipedia article on this subject:

The I Ching is a "reflection of the universe in miniature." The word "I" has three meanings: ease and simplicity, change and transformation, and invariability. Thus the three principles underlying the I Ching are the following:

  1. Simplicity - the root of the substance. The fundamental law underlying everything in the universe is utterly plain and simple, no matter how abstruse or complex some things may appear to be.
  2. Variability - the use of the substance. Everything in the universe is continually changing. By comprehending this one may realize the importance of flexibility in life and may thus cultivate the proper attitude for dealing with a multiplicity of diverse situations.
  3. Persistency - the essence of the substance. While everything in the universe seems to be changing, among the changing tides there is a persistent principle, a central rule, which does not vary with space and time.
I love how those three ideas sum up trying to think of our universe of genes, memes, and spimes from a perspective which is "outside" of our spacetime, a running theme in this project (see Information Equals Reality, You Have a Shape and a Trajectory, and The Big Bang is an Illusion
for a few examples). The I Ching also fits nicely with another subject we've touched on in this blog a number of times, sacred geometry. Here's more from that wikipedia article:

Richard S. Cook reported that that the I Ching demonstrated a relation between the golden ratio (aka the division in extreme and mean ratio) and "linear recurrence sequences" (the Fibonacci numbers are examples of "linear recurrence sequences") :

...the hexagram sequence, showing that its classification of binary sequences demonstrates knowledge of the convergence of certain linear recurrence sequences ... to division in extreme and mean ratio... that the complex hexagram sequence encapsulates a careful and ingenious demonstration of the LRS(linear recurrence sequences)/DEMR (division in the extreme mean ratio relation), that this knowledge results from general combinatorial analysis, and is reflected in elements emphasized in ancient Chinese and Western mathematical traditions.

Thinking of the I Ching as a road map of our available probability space, then, leads to its use for divination:
The I Ching has long been used as an oracle and many different ways coexist to “cast” a reading, i.e., a hexagram, with its dynamic relationship to others. In China the I Ching had two distinct functions. The first was as a compendium and classic of ancient cosmic principles. The second function was that of divination text. As a divination text the world of the I Ching was that of the marketplace fortune teller and roadside oracle. These individuals served the illiterate peasantry. The educated Confucian elite in China were of an entirely different disposition. The future results of our actions were a function of our personal virtues. The Confucian literati actually had little use for the I Ching as a work of divination.

John Thomas Bryant (who you will recall from his fascinating Astrotometry project), pointed out this hexagram, number 24, to me. Here's one version of the descriptive text for that hexagram: "A movement is accomplished in six stages and the seventh brings return".

The idea that our universe has six degrees of freedom, which are then constrained at the seventh dimension, seems very related to all this. There are, of course, many other systems of divination, and I realize how easy it is for people to dismiss all this as superstition. Like many other aspects of Imagining the Tenth Dimension, though, I'm willing to entertain the possibility that ancient wisdom may have figured some things out about our reality which science has yet to catch up to. As more and more physicists embrace the idea of a multiverse, and as Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics also sees increasing support, we see that ultimately everything about our universe exists simultaneously as a wave function that is outside of space and time. If so, then connections such as those explored thousands of years ago by Chinese scholars may not be as much of a stretch after all.

Have you ever had your palm read, or a tarot card reading, or a personal astrology analysis done? Was it all absolute bunk? If so, then the rest of this blog will be of no interest to you. On the other hand, if you have ever had the experience that many people around the world have had, where the reader seemed to know things, have insights, even specific knowledge that surprised you with its details, then you may be willing to consider that this is more than just lucky guesses that we're talking about here. Clearly, some people who do readings like these have strong intuitive capabilities, and regardless of the system of divination they use, that intuition helps them to be more effective at telling people's futures. I would say, then, that dismissing such events as coincidence, or worse still the deliberate deceptions of scam artists is too harsh a judgment: if we really are navigating our way through a probability space of unique outcomes that are available from our current "now", and those outcomes already exist within a timeless set of states that exist outside of our spacetime, then I don't think it's that hard to imagine that some people are more able to intuitively "see" the map of that upcoming information space than others.

We'll continue even further with this discussion about divination and superstition in an upcoming blog where we look at some fascinating reports from Norway, that entry will be called Norway's "Reverse Deja Vu". To close, here's a video for one of the 26 songs that go along with this project, a song about our ongoing quest to figure out the secrets of the universe: "What I Feel For You".

A direct link to the above video is at

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Roger Ebert on Quantum Reincarnation

Related blogs:

Poll 40 - Now vs. the Future
The Holographic Universe
Predicting the Future (Here Come the Aliens)
Dr. Mel's 4D Glasses
We're Already Dead (But That's Okay)
Unlikely Events and Timelessness
Poll 12 - Possible and Impossible Outcomes
Poll 7 - Can We Predict the Future?
Your Sixth-Dimensional Self
What Do You Want to Change?
Remembering the Future


Apocalypso Facto said...

I can say I'm "close enough" to that group of readers you say "won't be comfortable" with the implications of a post talking about I Ching and divinations. I'm pretty much a skeptic when it comes to most, if not all, types of "magic" divination, but still, I consider myself open-minded enough to consider these ideas, if explained and put on the table with as much of a rational thinking as possible.

Within the framework of this multidimensional view of reality, it's quite possible, although not easily explainable, that some people might be able to see into the "5D plane". It would be truly amazing if it's somehow proven. In the meantime, I guess it's a healthy thing to be as wary as possible of all the "cold-reading scammers" out there.

Excellent post as usual Rob!

Queen-of-Fables said...

for years a I Ching book sat on my bookshelf untouched. It wasn't until I was researching Terrence McKenna's Time Wave Zero software and theory that I remembered the dust laden book. Now I do I Ching quite frequently and have friends try it too. It's very accurate in its advice and I find it to allows a person to find direction and may even assist in avoiding negative experiences.

Anonymous said...

i just completed an i ching reading for the first time in a couple of years maybe...i got six old yang lines. can anyone please share with me what the reading means?

nbr1facilitator said...

Yes, Anonymous; Six old yang lines, or six 9s, is very favorable. This shows that there are a group of people working successfully, independent of each other whose work will all contribute to a greater propose when brought together by you. You can choose to lead all to greater success, but you must actively choose to do so. This can be anything from a good marriage to paradigm shift. Look at the possible paths ahead. Choose your course. Find the people to support you in this endeavor.

This is strongest yang. It is complimented by, countered by, attracted by and moves to strongest yin. With time, the expansion will cool. Various supporting entities will prove their value and come into existence to stand on their own. These new elements will then find others with which to combine and then create new structures. At which point your job is done. You can rest, reflect, choose a new path.

Unknown said...

This is alot like the novelty theory that was created using the I ching.

One's ability to predict the future could be them seeing the general shape of time. I'm picturing time here as a frame reality grows into. The general shape is fixed, but reality can form that shape in many ways.

For instance,

if you made a frame in the shape of an airplane or elephant for plants to grow up and over, you would know what shape the plants will eventually form because they are using the frame, but you would not be able to predict details like what vine is where or what species of plant is growing in what location.

I think that is how the I ching works. I can maybe tell you the shape time is taking at your current place in the universe. That would let you know the general trends that will be happening to fill in that shape.

EarthCitizen #23 said...

I have used the I CHING for well over 25 years and found that it is an excellent source for finding the 'vibration' of a moment in time/space. To me it shows what forces are at work at any given moment and a way to navigate the 'waters of life' with more insight into unseen possibilities that might arise. It has yet to led me astray with 'bad' advice.
As someone who uses it to surf the multiverse of realities, it definitely is my 'roadmap'. I actively use it to enter 'parallel/alternate' universes.
It is even smart enough to tell when it is being overused and will tell you to cease and quit asking questions, or to ask more precisely to 'divine' a more definitive answer.
The I Ching is something more Scientific minds should explore as it is actually rooted in binary code and quantum physics than might be imagined.
I have enjoyed your work very much Rob,, keep it coming.

nbr1facilitator said...

I was lying in bed with a cold thinking about 'just six things' in relation to the upper and lower trigrams used in the I Ching, when I realized that in order for there to be '"just" six things' there has to be five separations between them. This may correspond to the dynamism or time element required for each dimension to be able to relate to the others. This gives us six "things" and five "non-things," eleven in all.

If one then considers what is not included in the eleven "things" and "non-things" we now have a twelfth state which surrounds and encloses the eleven "things" and "non-things," which all taken together may correspond with ultimate density. Since there is above and below the eleven "things" and "non-things," there is positive (yang) ultimate density, and negative (yin) ultimate density bounded by the top or bottom, respectively. Positive bounded infinity, negative bounded infinity and fully inclusive infinity. (all things and "non-"things" included and not included)

Since the twelfth state is all "things" and "non-things" both at once and never, it is not separate from it's dynamism or time element. If one chooses to mathematically separate the +12th from the -12th, it could appear that one or the other is a 13th dimension, depending on which one you are observing. To me, this comes close to describing the Dao.

If you stand back and look at this model, it's seems much like a magnetic field in structure, but fully dimensional. Fully dimensional wave interference patterns creating the six "solid" dimensions. Lower vibrational harmonics creating the dynamic/temporal support from below. Perceptional limits for each dimension determined by the dimensional harmonics above.

So now all dynamic/temporal dimensions appear to be just higher or lower fully dimensional harmonics of the 12th state. So what is above is the same as what is below, but with a different set of vibrational potential. This leaves us with just six things and five non-things, eleven in all. One might use 11 dimensions when describing the universe with differentiation. After that our positive perceptional framework does not easily give us proper language to describe non-dimensional non-dynamics.

Concerning our perceptional limits:
In our positive framework we might say; "It is what it is." The closest we can state to the opposite is; "It is not what it cannot be." This double negative returns it to the positive. We can't say; "It is not what it is." nor "It is what it is not," since "it" "is" "a" non-no"thing" "in" "the" "first" "place." (all words in quotation marks place "it" in positive space. I'm sure mathematics does a much better job of describing these non-"things." Now that being said, I will use positive words to try describing non-positive aspects of the universe. I also choose to use "dynamic/temporal state" instead of time or time line.

What we have here may be a photon/gravity generator. Since the universe exists in both existence and non-existence, there will+(has been) dynamic/temporal states where "the" "big bang" pulses at all regular rates and non-rates. The top of the cycle allows photons. The bottom, gravity. Black hole singularity being the phase shift. Not so much that there is a "big crunch" as much as there is a "big bang" and a non-"big bang." The black holes acting as push pins to keep our eleven state universe stable. Fourth dynamic/temporal state mapping of black holes may offer patterns for analysis.

Rob, I love your work!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your stimulating statement. Honoring the I Ching and honoring science are not incompatible at all, I think.
In my 30+ year of acquaintance with this remarkable book, it has many times 'spoken' with force and precesion on the 'question' that I bring to it.
It is approached randomly, with intent. It is a means of de-linking our minds from its constant and overused rational side, which is unhelpful if seeking an intuitive mental space. Our brain, we of the West need to remind ourselves, is set up for both modalities, in its right and left hemispheres.
I find it a superb tool of awareness heightening, leading to deep intuitional leaps and insights of a similar manner to a potent dream.
Its numerical resonances are many, and not at all accidental. Even the probability relationships inherent in the casting of 49+1 yarrow sticks, and in other casting methods that reproduce these probability relationships (e.g 2 coin method)reflect a bias that is reflective of the growth/expansion bias in nature.
Thank you for your site, I will sign up.

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