I had gone over and over the material in Chapter 7 of the Ta Chuan, with precious little clarity and even less enthusiasm, because I didn’t quite grasp the full meaning of it. As things transpired, and a chance reading of something that Richard wrote about the organic development of the brain due to reading, more more precisely, the reading of the I Ching hexagrams, more dots have appeared on my immediate horizon, creating more images for me to marvel at and puzzle over with great enthusiasm.
To boil it down gracefully, the theory that Richard has so kindly put forth for me to ponder upon is that the more we read and study the I Ching, the more our physical brain changes to accommodate the knowledge. There is an actual physical change in the organic biology of the brain!
Ta Chuan/The Great Treatise, Chapter 7 – The Effects of the Book of Changes on Man
1. The Master said: Is not the Book of Changes supreme? By means of it the holy sages exalted their natures and extended their field of action. Wisdom exalts. The mores make humble. The exalted imitate heaven. The humble follow the example of the earth.
Now, bear up with me as I struggle to figure this out in my head. This is all extrapolation and analysis of very limited information, so please slash and burn where you may so that we can all come together with a radical and composite synopsis of the truth.
This is my thoughts of his thoughts on the matter.
Somehow, by looking at the image of the hexagrams themselves and connecting the images that the hexagram represents plus the written descriptions of the hexagram, the brain goes through some form of physical metamorphosis, whereby axons and dendrites are strengthened and lengthened to facilitate the transfer of energy and data and to allow for the electrical currents to speed up substantially, as well as allow for a higher volume of energy and information to be processed.
So we look at both the hexagram and the Chinese hanzi (what I call hán tự in Vietnamese… yes, we Vietnamese people used to write in Chinese character as well), and our brain fires up in scattered but non-random places to connect the hanzi image to the lines.
Then, we read the description of the image.
The Image: On the mountain, a tree:
The image of Development.Thus the superior man abides in dignity and virtue, In order to improve the mores.
Upon reading the description, our brain visualizes the picture itself. My brain sees a tree similar to the one below.
Do this often enough and the brain develops connections where connections did not exist. The pertinent axons swell to accommodate the huge amount of data that is being streamed into the consciousness and its surface ratio increases exponentially. Dendrites reach out to connect the previously disconnected parts, and meanings become clearer, things previously unconnected, all of a sudden, make perfect sense. More dendrites mean more pathways for electrical currents to flow. More electrical currents flowing mean that our brains literally light up like a Christmas tree when we think in continuous streams of abstract terms.
Hmmm….I wonder if that is where the term ‘brilliant’ comes from…
At any rate, the sages were, in essence, able to exalt their nature. quite possibly by improving upon the very hard-wiring of the brain to allow for an expanded capacity to absorb and process knowledge. More neural pathways get developed means more processing power. The more you cultivate, the more it grows, and my best guess is that it is an exponential growth, not a linear one.
2. Heaven and Earth determine the scene, and the changes take effect within it. The perfected nature of man, sustaining itself and enduring, is the gateway of tao and of justice.
Once we perfect our brains to be able to accept the reams and reams of information that the universe is trying to send us, our minds become the floodgates upon which everything streams through to us. More processing power means more access to larger data streams that are constantly flooding the universe and more capacity to hold and analyze them.
My understanding (and PLEASE, someone correct me if I’m wrong) is that this stream of information is, quite possibly a theory that I’ve been looking at for a very long time called The Perpetual Motion particle theory.
The Perpetual Motion Particle is supposedly the smallest denominator. There is nothing smaller than this, and it is what the Hadron Collider was trying to find. Its nickname is ‘The God Particle’. It is the one thing that keeps the universe in constant motion, and because it is in a constant state of agitation, it generates heat and stays in motion.
The most important thing about this Perpetual Motion Particle to me, is that It is bipolar, both positive and negative like a magnet (The Tao!!!!). It controls its environment and everything around it, and the more it moves the more energy it creates, and it is the force, which holds the universe together.
We don’t need to climb a mountain and sit under the banyan tree for years to develop this ability to absorb the Tao into our consciousness, although if we did, our brains would probably grow faster because we would have devoted our complete energy towards this one activity, as opposed to having to deal with the daily grind of working and making a living.
Still, it is achievable, in moderate amounts, if we just persevere and continue what we do now. Keep learning, keep reaching, and keep connecting those dots and visualizing what the images hold in between the lines. We can eventually figure out the universe by the sheer power of our minds alone, which brings me to the Tao Te Ching, and its wise words about the inner development, allowing for growth without having to go outside oneself to seek the knowledge.
Chapter 47 – Tao Te Ching – Trans. Derek Lin
Without going out the door, know the world Without peering out the windo, see the Heavenly Tao The further one goes The less one knows Therefore the sage Knows without going Names without seeing Achieves without striving