Interpretations: the Numbers

English: trigrams (both the later heaven and t...

English: trigrams (both the later heaven and the earlier heaven); with greater and lesser yin, and greater and lesser yang; and with taijitu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Bits and Digitisation to Numerical Values
Computers represent everything binary: 0 and 1
as the foundation for everything numerical: octal, decimal or hexadecimal.

Numbers are made up of digits where the position matters:
thus 01 = 1 and 10 = 2 in the binary world.

Here we define and assume that numerical value increases from right to left, the Arab, i.e. non-Western way!

In ancient China, a broken and a solid line were used as symbols.

Today they are associated with 0 for broken and 1 for solid.

Together, broken and solid lines form trigrams (groups of 3) and hexagrams (groups of 6) 
14 09 22 Eight Trigramslines that describe intricate transitions
around natural phenomena
and the natural course of events in our lives.

But humanity has lost touch with nature and natural lives.
Hence I offer a way of looking at the wisdom of the ancients
so that the I Ching with its wisdom
can be re-visited:
on the screen of computers.

14 09 22 Eight HexagramsThe Hexagrams as a Digital Storyboard
I’m turning hexagrams into a new story.
Their symbols
form a sequence of binary numbers –
as octal values for a new storyline.

The wisdom of the matrix
of 8 * 8 hexagrams
comes to light as another development
when they are read sequentially,
one after another
in Western linear fashion
rather than holistic Chinese iconography.

I hope to be adding for the Western mind
a new avenue of disclosure
a new gate and pathway
and eventually portals
to develop via the web
what Chinese Masters have practised over millennia:
wisdom and intuition,
self-realisation and –actualisation,
ways towards leaving this planet in a better state
than we found it.

Lines and the 2 Polarities
Yin and Yang or 0 and 1

0 is Yin – the Feminine –
1 is Yang – the Masculine –
the binary bits that make up computers and computing.
They make up digits – with powers of 2 –
which make up numbers: odd and even ones, primes and non-primes.

And thus there is wisdom that moves between digits and numbers
and the smooth transitions that only screens can display. Books not.

Software-aided thinking led me to the wisdom of numbers.
I put it before you as 3 software methods[1] with which to explore:
data and images, time series and functions,
numbers galore.

Intricate interrelationships between numbers and time, measurements and space,
movements of Yin and Yang – between the broken and strong lines –
are reflected in screenshots and curves, shapes and lines.

It takes writing specifications for developers
who type to computers
in languages they understand
to put my gift before you.

As Yeats wrote in 1899:
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.”

Creations such as these take what the I Ching teaches:

  • commitment and perseverance.

They take what Oscar Wilde[2] realised when he was in Reading gaol:

  • pain and sorrow.

For there is more to creativity than the Technology Strategy Board finances as ‘innovation’.

There’s the breakthrough of woman –
12% in science, technology, engineering and maths –
in a men’s world.
There’s the need NOT to blame and be angry, but to keep going,
NOT to despair over the gap:
between the potential and the possible – enlightenment and insights
and the actual, real world: money and corporate structures.

Just like people see symbols and grapple with their meaning,
without interpreters and interpretations,
so I need developers and programmers
to translate my insights into code
for you to explore and see:
data through lenses,
images through re-visualisations,
time series forecast and enriched by trends.

Then you can create your own views
and your own models of the world
starting from the reality of its electronic reflections.

For modelling is NOT imposing ideas on the world.
It is about matching experience with meaning,
data with knowledge
and information with understanding:
what we imagine behind our eyes
with what we perceive before them.

Software lenses have come to life,
thanks to the zeroes and ones that lead a binary life:
the dance of alternation between ON and OFF.

But there’s more to Life than Zeroes and Ones:
there are smooth transitions:
different lines in different positions.

In the I Ching there are 64 hexagrams:
128 trigrams – all variations of broken Zero and solid One lines.

They capture what is between Heaven and Earth
embrace physics, psychology and culture,
just as computers do!

Trigrams and the 3 Dimensions
x, y and z

In their fluidity, trigrams can’t be compared
to the rigidity of the 3 dimensions that are locked into each other
via 90 degree angles.

René Descartes[3] thought, therefore he was.
He thought them up: the three orthogonal axes
that have been copied over and over again
and survived the transition from paper to computer screens,
from one piece of software to another.

A trigram represents more than x, y and z: symbolically.

X, y and z can say more than any of the 8 trigrams: numerically.

What matters next is the value of both: symbols and numbers.

2 Lines and 2 Positions

for 4 Pairs, 4 Dualities and 4 Directions

When Yin is doubled, it becomes 00 or zero.
When Yang adds Yin to itself, it becomes 01 or one.

When Yin adds Yang to itself, it becomes 10 or two.
When Yang is doubled, it becomes 11 or three in the world of octal numbers.

The binary world contains only 0 and 1
but is the basis for 4 possibilities,
when lines are doubled
and digits take one of two positions:
00, 01, 10, 11.

The importance of taking position
is inherent
in the direction of the wind in nature,
and the rising and setting of the sun for our planet.

Hence the directions North, South, East and West.
North and South are shown in books on top or at the bottom
as a matter of cultural habits.

East and West are right or left
as a matter of convention and tradition.

But the value of digits when they form numbers
is globally standardised: from right to left the value increases,
as invented gradually – over centuries.

The 5 Phases of Cyclical Movement
Beginning, Expansion, Introversion, Reversion, Harmonisation

Our Chinese ancestors knew
that the world does not move along straight lines
or perfect circles.

They knew about the cycles of the stars and the planets
and thus they knew about the beginning of phenomena,
the expansion of volumes,
the introversion of shapes
the reversion of direction
and the harmonisation of opposites
be they direction, shape, volume or process.

The 6 Lines of Hexagrams: the Value of Position

around a Moving Central Line

Visually, there is no centre in an arrangement of six lines.
Visually, the centre could be lines 3 and 4, together.

But the I Ching sees the emphasis or weight of a line
as moving in its context of neighbouring lines.

Just as reference points can be moving,
so can central lines act as reference lines
and move across possible positions and inner trigrams.

Everything is fluid and relative.

The only certainty are:
2 polarities and styles of line,
3 positions in a trigram
6 positions in a hexagram
and the visual interpretation
of solid and broken lines.

14 09 22 Eight HexagramsThe visual interpretation can be enhanced by using white lines as well as black lines,
by adding colour to highlight similarities when we look at the new matrix of hexagrams.

It incorporates the 8 Natural Forces and Octal Numbers
000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110, 111.

‘Digital I Ching’ Posts:

‘Digital I Ching’ Pages: 

  1. Why Digital I Ching?
  2. The Tao of Computing
  3. Binary Logic, Strictly Octal and Amazingly Visual
  4. Binary Divinations
  5. Digital Designs
  6. Numerical Interpretations
  7. Visual Diagrams
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