Vlorbik's Diner

son of owen's cooking show

it said there’d be some thunder at the well

Posted by vlorbik on May 20, 2010

i drew the i ching yesterday.
there are sixty-four “hexagrams” here.
each one consists of six “lines”;
each “line” is a yin (“broken”)
or a yang (“unbroken”). one counts
from bottom to top so that for example
_ _
_ _
_ _
has yang lines in its first,
second and third positions
(the “lower trigram”).

the arrangement of the hexagrams here
is my own; i copied it from a similar
arrangement of sixty-four objects
having exactly the same
“six things, with each ‘thing’
taking one of *two* possible
values” form… namely an
arrangement of “subgraphs”
of a certain “graph” having
six “edges”. (i don’t know why
i’m getting all “quotemark happy”
here exactly… maybe it’s the
*opposite* of “scarequotes” i’m
aiming at: by marking technical
terms in this way, i mean to indicate
that their technical sense is
here *recognized as such* [but
without actually wishing to
bother ourselves with their
technical *meanings*]…
“don’t worry about this;
it’s from another part of
a different course [but
worth mentioning here
just the same]”. oh never

so much of the “work” of this “exercise”
i set myself will have been, if we want
to think of it this way, *calculation*:
translating each *graph* of the original
drawing i was working from into a
*number* (using binary arithmetic;
the zine i took the original drawing
from [K_4, MathEdZine #0.8] is
essentially *about* binary arithmetic)
and then translating this number
(from 0 to 63… starting at zero
makes things much easier) into the
“hexagram” notation.

of course i could also have just learned
directly which lines on the hexes
corresponds to which line of the graphs,
and spared myself lots of calculation
(by paying the price of having to briefly
memorize subsets of {1,2,3,4,5,6}
a whole bunch of times instead…
or maybe “wordstrings” like
but my way looked easier for me.

then i went ahead and drew ’em all
over again on lined paper. and in
a much more natural order: eight
rows of eight, 0–63. the book i then
turned to *also* had eight rows
of eight but in a different order…
and so i went ahead and looked
up all the correspondences so i’d
have the names… and the numbers
(in the “standard” order for the
writings-of-the-sages associated
to the various hexagrams). and
here i used a “mixed” strategy…
the trigrams have chinese *names*
so as i checked back and forth
i’d subvocalize along the lines
“chi’en over chen” more often
than “seven over zero” since
(as it turns out) i can recognize
even nonsense syllables (in
latin letters) with
less effort than it takes to
“read” a trigram as a number
from 0 to 7.

and i got to thinking about
drilling and killing. now
obviously if i were doing
this kind of thing all day
on a deadline or something,
i’d want a quick-and-easy
*routine* and soon would
arrive at one, too. i’d
slip into a bit of a zone
where i’d devote most of
my conscious effort to
controlling the movements
of my hand to make better
lines and let my inner robot
do the names-and-numbers bits.
i even did some of this yesterday.

but only for a little bit at a time;
this takes *concentration* and
is, pretty specifically, no fun. no.
i haven’t *got* a deadline (alas)
and sure as heck ain’t gonna
do this all day, anyhow not
yesterday i wasn’t. not a bit.
i was also looking up some of
the hexagrams… the one i
typed out a moment ago shows
the “female” sign over the “male”
and denotes “peace” (and when
the positions are reversed,
“stagnation”)… for example,
and thinking back over certain
classroom work in my past and
fantasizing forward about working
with classes of students again.
it’ll never replace DEAD BEEF
but i’d love to give an “i ching
as intro to binary logic” lecture
before they finally haul me away.
to everything there is a season.
a time to gather stones for casting.

5 Responses to “it said there’d be some thunder at the well”

  1. vlorbik said



  2. vlorbik said


  3. jd2718 said

    Sometimes it’s hard to get through your longer posts/poems/stories. This was worth it, thanks.


  4. […] pascal’s triangle (so-called) drawing05/20/10 it said there’d be some thunder at the well i ching & binary05/20/10 stop me if you’ve heard this more […]

  5. […] 05/07/10 pascal’s triangle (so-called) drawing 05/20/10 it said there’d be some thunder at the well i ching & binary 05/20/10 stop me if you’ve heard this more […]

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