Heaven is high, the earth is low; thus the Creative and the Receptive are determined. In correspondence with this difference between low and high, inferior and superior places are established.
Movement and Rest have their definite laws; according to these, firm and yielding lines are differentiated.
Events follow definite trends, each according to its nature. Things are distinguished from on another in definite classes. In this way good fortune and misfortune come about. In the heavens phenomena take form; on earth shapes take form. In this way change and transformation become manifest.
~ Ta Chuan -The Great Commentary. **
Can you just imagine someone reading this passage from the Ta Chuan? It would have to be some old wizard-looking dude with a deep gravelly voice, slowly enunciating each word in perfect English. And not just any old random English, mind you. It has to be English from England! I mean, who the hell talks like this any more?
All this stiff, old-man-language basically just says that the 64 signs of the I Ching represent Heaven and Earth, as well as some basic laws and theorems that we learned about back in high school. I will eventually discuss those basic laws that the Ta Chuan touched upon; however, I am more interested in the Heaven and Earth part at the moment.
Seriously, think about that. Isn’t it strange, that a bunch of wise sages back in those days who knew about the dance of the universe would even care about this tiny, insignificant, boring, tiresome, uninspiring mud ball called Earth? Well, I think they know something that we are barely starting to figure out. I knew it had something to do with mathematics, but that was where I got stuck.
You see, I have a learning disability. I call it mathephobia. The experts call it Math Anxiety.*
Yes indeed, it is a real disability, as diagnosed by Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Rick Nauert stated in his studies that “anxiety elicited when confronted with math problems is a biological event similar to other forms of anxiety. Experts say this is the first study to show how brain function differs in people who have math anxiety from those who don’t.” *
So now I know it’s not just me being a willful, headstrong, difficult child who will not try to learn simple mathematics. Now I know that no amount of ridicule, torture, or withholding of treats or sweets by my parents was ever going to make me any less stupid when it comes to math. It is actually hard-wired into my brain.
I can’t fucking do math!!!
OK, having established that immutable fact on the books and for the record, I am going to attempt to delve into the bits about the Heaven and Earth, utilizing my most feared nemesis, Math!
It is unavoidable. Math is the common language of the Universe. That is because languages are not immutable. They change over time, as people change over time. In order to communicate through the vast reaches of time, the only form of communication that remain comprehensible and unchanging is mathematics.
Unfortunately, one can only walk after one has learned how to flip over, and then crawl. Humanity took awhile to grow enough to learn the vocabulary that was needed to understand the I Ching in a more mature fashion. ‘Go Spot, Go.’ and ‘Run Jane, run.’ can only describe simple concepts. It cannot describe more complex situations and events. So, even as the Sages waited for us to grow up, they gave us as much information as we were able to handle, with just enough basic clues for us to grasp onto once we knew enough to know what we were looking at.
The I Ching is a multi-dimensional entity which has been necessarily compressed into a 2D representation so that it could be understood by a Universe Kindergartner. This is our baby book, the Tien Yuan Fa Wei, compiled by Bao Yunlong in the 13th century for the Ming Kings. This is our pre-school primer, so to speak.
So here I am, flipping these images round and round, staring at it askance, trying to figure out how this is suppose to represent heaven and earth;
because—you know—this is heaven…
…and this is earth.
and this is just a bunch of little lines and dots that King Wen arranged in a weird formation.
At the dawn of civilization, we were barely able to understand basic hygiene and bacterial infections. We were still munching on bananas and peeing in the streams. (oh…hehehe. We still do that to this day). So how could the Sages give us information that was at such an advanced level that we would never be able to comprehend it at our then-current level of understanding? The answer is, they couldn’t. It would be too far beyond the current understanding of the world, so they did what they could. We weren’t given numbers to calculate the heaven and the earth with, we were given a picture book.
A picture book that was solely entrusted to the kings and emperors.
Nobody else would have the chance to even get close to the book, let alone stand on her head and squint at the diagrams, or heaven forbid, tear it up into tiny little pieces and throw it up in the air! That would get this person’s foolish blonde head on a pike and her body chopped up into six equal portions.
Of course, that would solve the issue immediately because I would then be able to see the I Ching as a six dimensional hypercube.
This is a representation of a six dimensional hypercube as created by Philip Emeagwali.** Notice that even though it is called a hypercube, its shape is basically spherical. Of course, even this representation is still in 2D. Can you see all the points on this thing? That’s pretty hairy, even for a mathematician, which is definitely, NOT ME!
This is akin to seeing an anime image of a girl and then trying to deduce blindly how the actual form of the girl is going to look like.
While the middle image is fairly close, it is still a very distorted way to represent a ‘real’ girl. Unfortunately, if one has never seen a real girl, the middle image is probably the closest that we will ever get to the reality of the entity.
And, disturbing as it may seem, the anime girl on the left could be just a 2D representation of the alien image to the right for all we know.
I see the resemblance. Don’t you?
As difficult as it may be for us to envision a multidimensional entity, we still have to try. Let’s see if we can make it easier to see by turning this into something that resembles a 3D entity. However, keep in mind that even this is not exactly as it should be because it is a six-dimensional entity, and when we push it into a 3D representation, it is still very, very distorted from its original form.
Lucky for us, Modern-day mathematicians and scientists have since mapped it out! Here is the image of the I Ching, in all its multidimensional glory, as plotted and mapped out by Jozsef Drasny. He calls it the Yi Globe, for the spherical shape that it takes its shape as. ***
So how do we get from King Wen’s primer book image to this computerized computation of a six dimension hypercube? We have to start from NOTHING.
Remember this spreadsheet that I created in one of my previous posts? Well, get used to it. We’ll be seeing this little guy quite often in future postings. Remember, computers have to have a starting point SOMEWHERE. They can go on and on and on ad infinitum, but they have to start somewhere.
(sigh…one thing about these posts are…I just barely got started and already, it’s gotten so long that I have to stop it and start a new posting. I should really just write a book so that I can get as dense as I wish and don’t have to worry about the length of it all—but then books are so last century…sigh…and I am such a drama queen…sigh)
* Math Anxiety Has Neurological Basis. Rick Nauert PhD. PsychCentral.com. March 2012.
** Reinventing Supercomputers. Philip Emeagwali. February 1990.