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Oracles and mathematical certainty

pagan

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Hi,
I am new on this discussion forum. I have studied all forms of oracles for three decades (I am 50) and I have a lot of respect for the ICHING. Lately I have been comtemplating whether or not oracles work with statistical probability or in spite of it. Lets say you use the ICHING everyday. The odds of getting every single hexagram and line at least once a year is pretty good.

If we agree that the ICHING is valid, then we have to surmise that each of us experiences each one of the hexagrams, and every line in each hexagram, on a somewhat regular basis. If the ICHING is a paradigm of real life, then it is representing, in archetypal form, all the aspects of life, and if one is alive at all, then he must be subject to every single part of real life.

So no one is every free of a periodic experience of, say, 23 line 4 or 25 line 3 etc.
P.
 

calumet

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I'm inclined to think they work according to the laws of probabilities, although I did get a little itchy once when I was in the middle of a severe interpersonal conflict and for 8 days in a row my daily cast was 6. (A mathematician friend calculated the odds against 8 random draws of the same number out of 64. They're not as great as you might imagine--much better than the odds of winning the lottery, for example.) The genius of the Yi is that in the hands of a good interpreter, any randomly-chosen hex with or without changing lines also chosen at random, can yield useful advice and guidance in any given situation.
 

jte

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I've heard that there are studies proving that the distribution of Yi answers is random. While I haven't seen the publications, I'm inclined to believe them.

However, I don't therefore believe that "it's all in interpretation." I believe that the answer you get is relevant to your question.

While this may seem contradictory, to me it is a puzzle to be solved, rather than an impossibility. However, I certainly don't have the answer to how it's possible.

And yes the random distribution would seem to imply that we all go through cycles where each of the hexagrams is relevant.

My 2 cents,

- Jeff
 

dobro p

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Pagan - I've consulted the I Ching once a day for twelve years, and what I've found is that over time, yeah, it evens out - I get all the hexagrams and all the lines (although it takes more than a year to get through one cycle of 'drawing every line in the oracle' - it's more like 18-24 months). But within that overarching, evening-out context, what I've noticed is lots of local, temporal anomalies that don't fit a random distribution pattern - like getting the same hexagram three days running, for instance. And this stuff is compounded in its statistical inexplicability (for me, anyway) by the stunning number of matches between the hexagram I draw and the question I'm asking or the important events I'm going through.

My conclusion? More of less the same as yours. But the Yi doesn't operate according to statistical probability - the Yi operates according to the situation and question of the querent. What operates according to statistical probability is the *life* of the querent. Over time, our lives average out.

On a more philosophical level, the conclusion I've drawn from all this is that what we like to call free will operates locally and temporally; but at a deeper level, what determines the contour of our lives is fate, or archetype, or the hand of God, whatever you want to call it.
 

pagan

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Hi
I too have done a daily IC for more than a decade. And I too have found that in the long run, statistical probability runs true, but I totally agree that on the short haul, the IC seems to specifically address the situation with amazing clarity and precision in relationship of question to answer.

This leads me to conclude that, if something is natural, then it will conform to natural law; the underlying archetypes are the basic building blocks of existence. So whatever we do in the moment will be reflective of that moment.

In other words, the moment has a certain quality and everything done in that moment will reflect that quality. This is the principle of astrology but it also applies to the use of any oracle. And since we are all part of a larger collective, we will also contribute to the general pattern of the whole while still maintaining our individual natures.

I guess my bottom line is that, we are not separate, we only perceive ourselves to be so.
P.
 

dobro p

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I'd like to add something to what we've been talking about. Statistical probability runs true for me and you, but I believe that you would see something different with a sage, or even with a really good meditator. (Of course, sages and dervishes probably wouldn't be consulting the Yi every day...) Here's why I think so.

I recently read a Daniel Goleman book called 'Destructive Emotions', a really good read that chronicled a meeting between Western cognitive scientists and Tibetan Buddhists headed by the Dalai Lama. One of the offshoots of the meeting was research done on brainwaves and such of a Buddhist monk who was an experienced and skillful meditator. What the researchers found was that this guy confounded all their expectations - by going into various meditative states, he was producing readouts that the scientists hadn't seen before, and which they hadn't thought possible. Way beyond the norm in some cases. It's my belief that you'd get similar 'off the graph' results if you got the data on a similar sort of person using the Yi.
 
S

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"On a more philosophical level, the conclusion I've drawn from all this is that what we like to call free will operates locally and temporally; but at a deeper level, what determines the contour of our lives is fate, or archetype, or the hand of God, whatever you want to call it."

A little off topic, but related to this comment, I see life kind of like a map. There are roads that go in all different directions, they all lead somewhere. You can choose the road you travel, but not what happens along the road. It may lead somewhere unexpected, you cannot change anything about the road and you cannot choose who else will travel that road as they also have the right to choose. But the road goes where it goes, so unless you take a turn and follow another road, you will end up where this one leads. Choosing one road eliminates any that are parallel. You have free will enough to choose a direction, but you can only see so far ahead so you cannot choose the destination. And though I believe in free will, I think sometimes we are encouraged to take certain roads, like a rat in a maze. But like the rat, we are not forced in any specific direction, so we can end up running in circles by not paying attention to where we have already been.
 

pam

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I have asked the Yi whether or not I have free choice -- the answer was that Influence was strong - but not stronger than choice. If I am determined to go a certain way, that is the way I will achieve results. This was an answer many years ago, and has proved correct over time. If I let things drift on their own, the oracle I draw is what happens to me and the ones I have asked about. If I choose another path, I can break free and and the new path will be the one that I ask about. Certain things will happen, no matter what, but the way I respond and the choices I make will make the outcome different. I have done this for 38 years now....I think at age 56 I certainly make errors every day, but I am able to choose more carefully and have even been surprised by the turnaround in what I thought was a certainty, into something quite different.

On throwing every possibility in a period of a year and a half or two? No. I have only thrown Hex 1, all lines, turning into 2 once in my life. It was about a man I loved but could not commit to because I am married - I asked if his love for me would last forever and that was the answer. I think it was the strongest answer I have ever received, but I stayed with my marriage for less selfish reasons - my husband was faithful after a long time of being influenced by other women and my son was young. That answer has always haunted me. It seemed to say that I had found the one man who was perfect for me, whose love would last forever, but I couldn't be selfish enough to choose him. I have never thrown that since, and I doubt I will ever throw that again.
 

calumet

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Dobro wrote of specially-trained hex casters:

"It's my belief that you'd get similar 'off the graph' results if you got the data on a similar sort of person using the Yi."

If we survive long enough to figure out what makes such things happen, it will turn out to be a measurable, physical, and--yes--graphable-- phenomenon, just as those once-mysterious brain waves are.
 

dobro p

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Sure thing. The point I was making was that ordinary people produce ordinary results when analysed in terms of statistical probability. But exceptional people produce unusual results when you analyse things statistically.

See, when Richard Davidson bunged Lama Oser into the MRI at Madison, the net result was that he (Davidson) had to extend the graph to accommodate the results he got with the monk. Sure, the monk can be graphed and charted, but not on existing graphs and charts. Davidson needed new graphs and charts to deal with the monk.

And if we taught Lama Oser how to cast the Yi, I believe that Pagan would see an outcome that would surprise him/her.
 

peter

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Pagan,

Sorry for a possible offtopic, but as you said that you've tried many oracle systems, I want to ask you - did you use majiang (or mahjong)? And do you see any correlation between these two Chinese methods of divination?
 

pagan

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These are interesting ideas.

I have been using the IC regularly for about 15 years and I have never ever gotten hex one with all six changing lines changing to hex two. What I meant was that over the course of a given period of time, if used regularly, you will receive any/every ONE line of the IC at least once--and this conforms with statistical probability. Applied to a situation such as a job or a relationship, if the regular IC questioning was continued over a long enough period of time one would receive every single line at least once as it specifically would apply to that job or that relationship. In other words, in every respect, life is completely whole. It is only the left brain that tends to see fragments and pieces.

The subject of Lama Oser sort of reminds me of why any great avatar is reticent to use his/her powers for sensational effects to 'prove' anything to the masses--who aren't ready to comprehend it all anyway. So yes and no. Why would such an extraordinary being indulge the twisting of natural law in that way just because he could?

And along that same vein, any given hexagram is an attempt to put into definition something that is very subtle and defiant of being pinned down. Each hexagram can be expressed in a dynamic kick ass way or in a mediocre fashion, subject to the level of the doer doing what is done.
P.
 

pagan

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Hi Peter,
No, I have read about Mah jong but I don't know about how to use it. Do you have a good link?
P.
 

peter

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pam

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Thanks, anon.....

I was surpised to see a post directly to me. That is a beautiful verse - where does that come from?

I hope you are right that I will find him again. He stays with me in my dreams - and when I do have dreams of him, sometimes once a month or so, he seems so real to me. He sometimes tells me things I remember when I wake up, and I am always so happy for days afterward. Three weeks ago I dreamed that we were in some castle in England (his country and I believe where he is now) with all the big windows open and the curtains blowing in the breeze, dancing to piano music. I was so happy to find myself there with him and at one point I told him we had never danced before and he answered, "Well, we're dancing now".

pam
 

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