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.

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