Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"Incipiencies": More on How the I Ching Works

Incipiency is a concept inherent in the I Ching, because it is inherent in space-time. But the term (it's explanation, and centrality to I Ching studies) is largely attributable to the master Zhu Xi.

It emerges out of the question of "how does the I Ching tell the future"? The answer is: it doesn't. The I Ching measures the present, this moment. But you have to imagine this moment as a set of interconnecting streams from trillions of previous choices, from events that took place yesterday, the day before that, 50 years ago, 4000 years ago, 12 million years ago, etc. Each choice both sealed off a whole bunch of possible futures, and created a cascade of effects that would have a possibility of happening in the future. And in the present moment, we have the culmination of that weight of trillions of trillions of circumstances.

With me so far?

So, if we understand that, we also understand that the future is observable in the present moment; by looking at those past streams, where they can and cannot lead, which of them cannot be altered at this time (unchanging lines) and which of them could be (changing lines). The future exists as a kind of seed already in the present. It is not here but the ingredients for it are all here.

In I Ching study there's a saying that goes something like "you cannot change something once it has happened. If you want to change something, you need to change it before it happens".

The changing lines reflect those incipiencies, the malleable spots in the present moment in Space Time, where you can make a choice, you can drop a new pebble in the stream of space-time to alter the current and change the course of the future.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

"Synchronicity" and the I Ching

Many people in the west try to claim, in answer to the question of how the I Ching works, that it is through "synchronicity".  This was a term used by the psychologist C.G. Jung (who was a great admirer of the I Ching, and tried to explain its function through the lens of his psychological theories), and was later bastardized for common use by the new-age movement.

(Jung, giving a questioning glance at New Age woo)

Synchronicity, as it is most often used by people involved in applying the term to the I Ching, supposes that "random" events, random convergence, random meaning, all just comes together as little more than some sort of "coincidence on steroids" (as one of my Yi Fa Society students put it).

It is a way you can feel like something has meaning, but you still don't have to really challenge your ideas beyond the assumption it's all just random chance.

It allows you to 'cop out' in various ways:

-to chicken out of needing to take a casting seriously if you decide you don't like what it's saying

-to chicken out of considering your own deeper consciousness ("I just look for synchronicity and let the universe guide me!!")

-to chicken out of exploring the vaster significance of the I Ching's expression of space-time

-to chicken-out of having to move beyond our 20th/21st century post-modern Baby-Boomer western paradigm

This Western Paradigm is the one that says things like "spirituality is just some kind of primitive superstitious psychology", or "you are the center of the universe so of course the universe will send you personally unique personal messages when you toss some coins around, because of how special you are", or "there is no actual reality, all that matters is what you're feeling and what you imagine"!

But in fact, profound study of the I Ching shows that nothing at all is really "random".  All events are caused by Incipiencies: the quality of previous events in space-time synthesizing to plant the seed of future events in space-time. As a certain Canadian philosopher once said: "Fate is just the weight of circumstances".   Every event consists of a moment (represented by the Hexagram) that is the product of literally TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS of previous choices made, that weigh down on that moment to make it THAT moment and no other possible moment.

Within that moment, there are only a certain number of malleable points, where one can act to create a new Incipiency that will work to shift the movement of time in the future. These are represented in an I Ching hexagram by the Changing Lines.

So Incipiency is like the "Gravity" of Time.

If you understand this, then you'd get that "synchronicity" as a notion has nothing to do with the structure of the I Ching.  Or, for that matter, with reality, except in the sense that you can take any coincidence and apply meaning to it, sometimes to good purpose.