Challenges to Comprehension Implied by the Logo
of Laetus in Praesens
Laetus in Praesens Alternative view of segmented documents via Kairos

1 June 2015 | Draft

Cognitive Adaptation of the I Ching Conditions for the Existentially Challenged

-- / --

Annex 2 of Correlating a Requisite Diversity of Metaphorical Patterns: entuning the dynamic of cognitive eases and diseases (2015)

Cognitive adaptation of the I Ching conditions for the existentially challenged


The following exercise is an adaptation of portions of texts offering a sense of the above "conditions of change" in various domains as previously presented (Transformation Metaphors derived experimentally from the Chinese Book of Changes (I Ching) -- for sustainable dialogue, vision, conferencing, policy, network, community and lifestyle, 1997). The intent of this adaptation is however to highlight the "cognitive weather conditions" of the increasing numbers of people faced with conditions of despair, depression, nothingness, and the like (as listed in a subsequent section below). With this concern, the wording in the earlier exercises appeared to lack this sense of angst -- although the Chinese original claims specifically to frame the relationship between fundamental conditions of uncertainty and the associated decision-making dilemmas.

As noted (in the main paper Interpretations of patterns of empowering and disempowering conditions), the articulation of such conditions as typically recall too readily a form of moralistic, deterministic, "motherhood statement", namely directives ("shoulds", "musts"). Although these appear unquestionably appropriate, they are readily experienced as objectionable by many in existential agony -- namely as too bland for those who are living "on the edge". The point is well made by the protest of Jack Nichols (in the movie As Good As It Gets): I am drowning here and you are describing the water. Such concerns, with similar references, are reflected to a higher degree in the compilation by Jon Jenkins and Maureen Jenkins (The Other World, in the Midst of Our World, 2001) describing 64 states of being experienced in ordinary life (see Annex 3: Comprehensive Pattern of Psychosocial Diseases and the Eases they Imply).

The approach taken was therefore to use portions of the previous exercise for the 64 traditionally recognized conditions but to amend the text using two "devices":

The result is far from satisfactory since it leaves the reader with the (useful) challenge of associating meaning with "??¿??" -- otherwise typically over-defined. Ideally this might imply dimensions such as:

Of particular interest, given the contrast with "climate" as a more enduring characteristic, is the sense in which there are likely to be cultural preferences and biases with respect to interpretations and emphases. These can be explored in the light of the articulations proposed by various authors, as summarized separately (Systems of Categories Distinguishing Cultural Biases, 1993). Most notably are the mindscapes of Magoroh Maruyama ( Mindscapes, social patterns and future development of scientific theory types. Cybernetica, 1980, 23, 1, pp. 5-25). The wording remains unsatisfactory, and perhaps necessarily so, if the qualities of the "cognitive weather conditions" listed thereafter are somehow to be associated with the pattern.

Cognitive adaptation of the I Ching conditions for the existentially challenged

  1. S/S: Creative (Ch'ien) [primal power]: As a result of ??¿??, can creative energy and inspiration engender new patterns?
  2. E/E: Earth (K'un) [receptivity / primal structuring]: Can ??¿?? respond to the actions and opportunities of its environment and thereby bring about change?
  3. A/T: Initial difficulty (Chun) [beginning growth / sprouting]: Can a cooperative response bring order out of chaos as a result of the profusion of changes being brought about by ??¿?? -- constituting confusing obstacles to its further development?
  4. M/A: Inexperience (Meng) [enveloping / clouded awareness / young shoot]: Aided by enthusiasm, can ??¿?? succeed despite inexperience, provided appropriate guidance is sought with the right attitude?
  5. A/S: Waiting (Hsu) [Awaiting / Attending / Getting wet / Nourishment]: Can ??¿?? only derive the strength to confront crises by being able to wait, however long is necessary for opportunities to emerge, rather than being panicked into action by immediate dangers?
  6. S/A: Conflict (Sung) [Arguing / Dispute]: When ??¿?? encounters opposition in pursuing a course of action it considers appropriate, does conflict arise which can only be usefully resolved by coming to terms with the opponent?
  7. E/A: Controlled threat (Shih) [Army / Leading / Unorganized crowd]: For ??¿?? to struggle successfully, must discipline be instilled in the community by arousing enthusiasm, sustaining the people and eliciting confidence in the value of its actions?
  8. A/E: Solidarity (Pi) [Grouping / Holding together / Union / Clustering phenomena]: Does complementarity of action among the different aspects of ??¿?? require that they should be held together by a central symbol whose significance reinforces each in understanding of a role within the action of the whole?
  9. W/S: Subtle restraint (Hsiao Ch'u) [Taming power of the small / Small accumulating]: When the influence of ??¿?? is as yet unable to produce great or lasting effects, is it best that it should act in a restraining or subduing manner in anticipation of ultimate success?
  10. S/L: Careful conduct (Lu) [Treading / Step-by-step]: Can ??¿?? best relate to those who are strong and intractable by conducting itself with due respect, reinforcing recognition of inner worth whenever it is reflected in external rank?
  11. F/S: Peace (T'ai) [Pervading]: When harmony prevails in ??¿?? and in its relationship with society, is a period of fruitful action assured? To benefit from this condition do processes need to be ordered and adjusted to increase their natural yield?
  12. S/E: Stagnation (Pi) ***[Obstruction / Standstill]: Does disharmony prevailing in ??¿?? and in its relationships with society ensure an uncreative period of confusion and disorder? When the exertion of effective influence is impossible, can ??¿?? best remain faithful to its principles by withdrawing into seclusion rather than by accepting the temptation of public action?
  13. S/F: Fellowship (T'ung Jen] [Concording people / Vision sharing]: Can true fellowship be brought about within and by ??¿?? through the emergence of clear, convincing, and inspiring aims? Should these be based upon a concern that is universal and be accompanied by the strength to carry them out? To ensure the appropriate functional relationships amongst diverse elements, is an organic mode of organization required?
  14. F/S: Wealth (Ta Yu) [Possession in great measure / Great possessing]: Does ??¿?? acquire a position of power in relation to the strong by acting disinterestedly with a low profile? Is wealth then appropriately administered in a graceful and controlled manner?
  15. E/M: Unpretentiousness (Ch'ien) [Humility / Modesty]: Does ??¿?? prosper best by acting in an unassuming manner, whether in a position of influence or not? Does this principle also favour its efforts to establish order by reducing those extremes and inequalities which are the source of social discontent?
  16. T/E: Enthusiasm (Yu) [Provision for the future]: Can ??¿?? arouse enthusiasm by acting in harmony with the needs of the time and coopting assistance for the completion of an undertaking? Does such enthusiasm release people from the grip of mundane tensions and allow them to express the hidden potentials of their society?
  17. L/T: Following (Sui) [Entrainment]: In order to be capable of inducing people voluntarily to follow its lead without resistance, must ??¿?? first adapt itself to their circumstances to be able to serve them?
  18. M/W: Remedial action (Ku) [Corruption / Decay / Obsolescence]: Do inertia, indifference and the abuse of human freedom lead to deterioration of ??¿?? or society and call for decisive, energetic action, if regeneration is to occur?
  19. E/L: Initiative (Lin) [Approaching / Nearing]: When conditions are appropriate for ??¿?? to initiate action on mundane affairs, should twhis be done with determination and perseverance, bearing in mind the need to prepare for unfavourable conditions which in their turn will later prevail?
  20. W/E: Recognition (Kuan) [Contemplation / Viewing / Careful observation]: Through the effort ??¿?? devotes to comprehending the significance underlying external events, does it acquire the power to apply that understanding to influence events? Can this power can be recognized by others, who may in turn be influenced by it to take the actions of ??¿?? as a model for their own?
  21. F/T: Decisive action (Shih Ho) [Biting through]: When faced with deliberate hindrance to integrative development, must ??¿?? take a just measure of decisive action against those responsible? Do such hindrances increase when norms are unclear and there is negligence in ensuring that they are respected?
  22. M/F: Style (Pi) [Grace / Adorning / Embellishment]: Does ??¿?? succeed in matters of lesser importance by gracefully respecting the sensitivities of those concerned? However, can fundamental or controversial issues be resolved by cultivating an appropriate image in this way?
  23. M/E: Deterioration (Po) [Stripping away / Eliminating the outmoded / Splitting apart]: Under certain conditions of society inferior values may predominate. Given the superior values with which it is associated, it its wise to accept this phase of events calmly rather than vainly attempting to counteract it?
  24. E/T: Recovery (Fu) [ Turning point / Return / Re-emergence]: Can ??¿?? recover spontaneously from adverse conditions, with the old patterns being transformed naturally into the new? Should this process of renewal should be disturbed by acting prematurely?
  25. S/T: Spontaneity (Wu Wang) [Innocence / Unexpectedness / Unembroiled / Detachment]: Is ??¿?? is most successful when it acts spontaneously in response to emerging events rather than on the basis of some pre-defined programme? However, does the guidance of such instinctive certainty lead to misfortune unless it is correctly rooted in superior values?
  26. M/S: Conservation (Ta Ch'u) [Taming power of the great / Overriding concern / Accumulation of the great]: Can ??¿?? be called upon to bind together, restrain, and care for valued features of society? Is such an intimate relationship with the products of past initiatives in itself valuable to the development of ??¿??.
  27. M/T: Support (Yi) [Nourishment / Swallowing]: Shoud ??¿?? be attentive to the manner in which it supports both its own activities and those of others able to contribute to the development of society?
  28. L/W: Importance (Ta Kuo) [Preponderance of the great / Great exceeding / Relationship to guiding principle]: Can circumstances may be such that the emboidment of superior values by ??¿?? experiences a period of great potential influence? Necessarily unstable, should the possible transition to other conditions be carefully explored, whatever sacrifices these may then demand?
  29. A/A: Persistence (K'an) [Abyss / Gorge / Unavoidable danger]: Can ??¿?? succeed through persisting in its course of action, responding appropriately to difficulties as they emerge? In this way may the difficulties be subsequently used as a form of protection?
  30. F/F: Normative constraint (Li) [Fire / Radiance / Expanding awareness]: By its nature is ??¿?? conditioned and unable to act freely? Can success be best achieved by recognizing the beneficial limitations on which it can usefully depend? Through such voluntary compliance, does ??¿?? then develop the clarity of perception required for effective action?
  31. L/M: Influence (Hsien) [Conjoining / Wooing]: Does success result from mutual attraction? Is this induced by the mebodiment of superior values by ??¿?? by openness to counsel as a fruitful influence on such relationships?
  32. T/W: Endurance (Heng) [Perseverance / Continuity]: Can ??¿?? be characterized by a self-renewing movement acting alternately on itself and on society? When embodying superior values, does ??¿?? then ensure a flexibility in response to the environment which is grounded on an inner directive that governs all its actions?
  33. S/M: Withdrawal (Tun) [Retreat / Retiring / Seclusion]: Can ??¿?? usefully withdraw when faced with opposing forces favoured by the current circumstances of society? For the retreat to be constructive, should it should be carried out with acts of resistance which prepare the way for later counter-movement.
  34. T/S: Power (Ta Chuang) [Power of the great / Invigorating power]: Can ??¿?? embodying superior values acquire great strength and run the risk of depending upon that strength alone? Is true power only exhibited when that strength is used in the service of a higher cause?
  35. F/E: Progress (Chin) [Thriving / Promoting prosperity]: Can ??¿?? achieve great progress when it is able to influence others to collaborate in the light of superior values? Is progress then accompanied by expansion?
  36. E/F: Decline (Ming Yi) [Darkening of the light / Hiding brightness]: In adverse circumstances should ??¿?? reveal the values it holds and thus provoke opposition? Should it rather appear to accept the prevailing standards and mode of behaviour whenever this is necessary?
  37. W/F: Community (Chia Jen) [Family / Collaboration]: Can ??¿?? only influence others effectively when its external initiatives are consistent with its own internal mode of organization? Is a community context is most favourable to this? ****.
  38. F/L: Opposition (K'uei) [Polarization]: Can the preservation of the individuality of ??¿?? embodying superior values only be achieved through creative opposition to those of inferior values? Is it on this basis that order is engendered? Faced with opposition and misunderstandings should ??¿?? concentrate on minor initiatives?
  39. A/M: Obstruction (Chien) [Affliction]: When faced with difficulties and obstacles to the achievement of its intentions, does ??¿?? embodying superior values search for errors in the assumptions underlying its initiative, thus creating the opportunity for its own further development?
  40. T/A: Liberation (Hsieh) [Deliverance / Release from tension]: When ??¿?? is liberated from the obstacles which have hindered its initiatives, are any remaining problems cleared up rapidly without dwelling unduly on the misdeeds of those responsible for the obstacles?
  41. M/L: Deficiency (Sun) [Diminishing / Decrease / Loss]: Can ??¿?? experience a decrease in the external resources available? Can this situation may used to clarify and strengthen the inner resources on which it can draw for future undertakings?.
  42. W/T: Assistance (Yi) [Increase / Expansion / Augmenting]: By sacrificing its own interests in favour of the development of others, can ??¿?? temporarily create conditions in which great progress can be made? Can the development of ??¿?? itself then be brought about by adopting the positive attributes of others and eliminating its own defects?
  43. L/S: Resolution (Kuia) [Flight / Parting / Breakthrough / Divergence]: As any struggle against opposing forces begins to bear fruit, can ??¿?? ensure that the resolution of the conflict is based on an amicable union from a position of strength, free from compromise or any concealment of the defects ??¿??. Should the use of force be avoided, cconcentrating on the redistribution of the advantages ??¿?? accumulates?
  44. S/W: Encounter (Kou) [Coming to meet / Congress]: Can ??¿?? find itself attracted by initiatives made by those of inferior values? Although apparently harmless, does according them recognition allow them to develop, possibly leading to a dangerous condition, unless they are free from ulterior motives?
  45. L/E: Congregation (Ts'ui) [Clustering / Gathering]: When circumstances promote congregation in society, is the embodiment of superior values by ??¿?? capable of focusing this process such as to ensure that it is itself well integrated? Should ??¿?? also be prepared to counteract uncontrolled consequences?
  46. E/W: Advancement (Sheng) [Pushing upward]: Can ??¿?? benefit from circumstances such as to rise to a position of influence through unrelenting effort in circumventing obstacles to its progress?
  47. L/A: Adversity (K'un) [Confinement / Restriction / Oppression]: Under adverse circumstances, should ??¿?? accept restraint, whilst remaining true to its principles in anticipation of future opportunities? Might such restraint may be due to oppression or to the exhaustion of its own resources?
  48. A/W: Basic need (Ching) [Well / Upwelling]: In order to engender appropriate order in society, should ??¿?? ensure that this fulfils the basic needs of humanity, rather than those defined by convention? In doing so, is care is required and should excesses be avoided?
  49. L/F: Revolution (Ko) [Uncovering / Moulting]: Can ??¿?? having the confidence of others be obliged to respond to emerging crisis conditions by promoting social transformation in order to meet the needs of the underprivileged?
  50. F/W: Cultural heritage (Ting) [Cauldron / Vessel]: Is society is nourished by its cultural heritage, as a vehicle through which human values are consecrated? Embodying this heritage can ??¿?? succeed by ensuring an appropriate relationship between its existence and its sense of destiny?
  51. T/T: Crisis preparedness (Chen) [Thunderbolts / Inspiring shock / Creative disturbance / Arousal / Shake up]: In order to fulfil a leadership role, should ??¿??be capable of accepting any external shock and recognizing the nature of the response required by it?
  52. M/M: Inaction (Ken) [Mountain / Confronting obstacles / Keeping still / Acknowledging limits / Boundness]: Is the effectiveness of action initiated by ??¿?? largely dependent on the equanimity with which it is able to assess what is required? Should ??¿?? be able to pause before action is required?
  53. W/M: Development (Chien) [Infiltration / Gradual achievement / Gradual progress]: In order to engender lasting development, should ??¿?? act slowly over an extended period of time, both to establish cooperative relationships and to increase its own influence so that its initiatives carry weight?
  54. T/L: Elective affinity (Kuei Mei) [Marrying maiden / Converting maidenhood / Acceptance of imposition]: As a complement to its formal relationships, can ??¿?? beneficially engage in integrative initiatives, based on spontaneously emergent sympathetic relations with others, provided that these are conducted with reserve and mutual respect?
  55. T/F: Prosperity (Feng) [Abundance / Fullness / Profusion]: Because of the probability of subsequent decline, is it only ??¿?? that can act optimistically without regret to sustain effectively a time of general prosperity? In so doing, should careful attention be paid by ??¿?? to the enforcement of agreed rules?
  56. F/M: Marginality (Lu) [Wandering / Sojourning]: When ??¿?? has no established position or relationships in society, can it best succeedby engaging in short-term activities with those of superior values such that it is not drawn into conflict situations?
  57. W/W: Penetrating clarity (Sun) [Gentle / Subtle penetration / Groundedness / Wind of change]: Can ??¿?? of limited resources best achieve lasting success by acting gradually and persistently towards a clearly defined goal in association with others in a position of power? Does its influence then result from penetrating clarity of judgement that disempowers those with ulterior motives.
  58. L/L: Vitality (Tui) [Openness / Interaction / Lake]: Can ??¿?? best ensure the injection of vitality into its undertakings by engaging in stimulating interaction with others so as to provide a multi-faceted optimistic basis for its initiatives?
  59. W/A: Barrier dissolution (Huan) [Flooding / Dispersal / Clearing away]: Can ??¿?? best dissolve divisive barriers preventing collaboration by promoting awareness of underlying unity and solidarity in a manner which engages emotions engendered by superior values?
  60. A/L: Limitation (Chieh) [Confused relations / Clarifying connections / Articulation]: In order that its freedom of action may acquire significance, should ??¿?? operate under constraints that distinguish its activities from those of others? However, should limits be set upon limitation of this kind to prevent such discrimination from becoming unbearable to ??¿?? itself or to others?
  61. W/L: Essential quality (Chung Fu) [Inner truth / Authenticity]: Can ??¿?? succeed by influencing the most intractable, if it is able to identify with their condition, sincerely affirming the importance of essential qualities that it shares with them? May these take the form of fundamental principles?
  62. T/M: Conscientiousness (Hsiao Kuo) [Preponderance of the small / Attention to detail]: Faced with a challenge for which it is not fully competent, can ??¿?? embodying superior values best succeed by acting with extreme prudence and attention to detail, especially in support of those not in a position of influence?
  63. A/F: Accomplishment (Chi Chi) [Undertaking completion]: Once the transition from the old to the new order has been accomplished with the exception of details, should ??¿?? take considerable care to ensure that the harmony with which events evolve during their final phases does not encourage negligence that enables the seeds of an inferior order to take root once again?
  64. F/A: Transformation threshold (Wei Chi) [Anticipating completion / Preparing for change]: When all has been prepared for transition to a new order that can transform a fragmented condition of society, should ??¿?? act with deliberation and caution to determine how the available resources can best be applied to achieve the desired effect?
    • [Further transformation calls for creativity. (Resulting in: Creativity). ]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

For further updates on this site, subscribe here