CHINESE
METAPHYSICS
In the Short History of Chinese Philosophy,
edited by Der Bodde, and written by Fung
Yu-Lan (Free Press, Macmillan, 1948),
Confucian Metaphysics is presented as
rooted primarily in two books, the Yi Jing, or
I Ching, or Chinese Book of Changes, in
various renditions of the Chinese, and the
Chung Yung, or Doctrine of the Mean.

One traditional theory is that the Yi Jing was
generated from Chinese practices
surrounding divination, and certainly it has
been used for such purposes for more than
two thousand years.  As the Short History
puts it (p. 167), you take the "stalks of the
milfoil plant" to lead you to a particular line of
a six line "hexagram'' and the interpretation of
that line in the Book of Changes (I Ching, Yi
Jing) will lead you to the discovery of what
you need to know.  According to the Short
History, these hexagrams are symbols of the
ultimate deep reality of everything, the "Tao"
or "Dao."  The Short History emphasizes
that this Tao is a reality in which everything
becomes its opposite in which there is a
continuous evolution, an endless process
involving turns are returns, opposition and
connection.

There are 64 possible hexagrams invoving
unbroken lines that symbolize "yang" or
creative maleness, and borken lines the
symbolize "yin" or receptive femaleness.  
These hexagrams are various combination
of 8 possible three line trigrams.  The
traditional method for organizing these
trigrams involves in Early Heaven sequence
in which the yang is converted into old yang
and new yang and yin into old yin and new
yin by adding an extra yang or yin line to the
unbroken or broken line originals.  Adding a
broken or unbroken top line generates the
Lake and Heaven trigrams from Old Yang,
the Wind and Water Pit trigrams from Young
Yang.

A similar process generates the Earth and
Mountain trigrams from Old Yin and the
Flame and Mountain trigrams from Young
Yin.

The Late Heaven sequence of the trigrams
begins with Heaven as the father and
generating a trigram with a middle yang line
as Heaven's middle son, the Water Pit
Trigram, a trigram with a top yang line as
Heaven's youngest son, the Mountain
Trigram, and a trigram with a bottom yang
line as Heaven's eldest son, the Thunder
Trigram.  Then comes Earth's eldest
daughter, the Wind Trigram, her middle
daughter, the Flame trigram, Earth herself,
and finally her youngest daughter, the Lake
trigram, this completing the Late Heaven
sequence of the trigrams.  Below is the Early
Heaven sequence:
Yang is the unbroken
line _____ and yin is
the broken line __  __

Yang is male and hard
and active and Yin is
female and soft and
passive.

Three Yang male lines
make the trigram for
Heaven ______
______
______

Three Yin female lines
make the trigram for
Earth ___   ___
___   ___
___   ___

Earth has three
daughters, Wind is the
eldest:
________
________
___   ___
One way to arrange these eight trigrams is to
arrange them on a flattened octahedron as seen
on the left.  This is a basic system rooted in
binomial progressions that move from one point
to two points to three points to four points.  The
conversion to five points is more difficult and
requires a three dimensional dodecahedron,
icosahedron, or a four dimensional figure called
a "five cell."  The geometry of fourth dimensional
figures do not make good sense in three
dimensions.  Thus, the Later Heaven sequence
of the five phases, wood, metal, earth, water, fire
is not easily explained through use of simple
three dimensional representations.

Traditionally China has associated the center
with the earth, the south with summer and fire,
the north with winter and water, the west with
wood and spring and the east with autumn and
metal.  The notion was developed of wood
generating fire as spring turned into summer and
fire forming earth till earth formed metal and
metal formed water as summer turned to autumn
and winter.

In the Later Heaven sequence wood is
associated with the Thunder Trigram and Fire
with the Flame Trigram, Metal with the Lake
Trigram and Water with Water Pit.  Making these
symbols work on the Early Heaven octahedral
system is not so easy, however.

In the systems shown on the left, Metal has been
made the opposite of Fire as something more
fixed and definite than Fire.  But, if in Chinese
myth, Metal is harvest and accumulation, it does
belong in the realm of the Lake Trigram, not in
Mountain and Earth as shown on the left.







Power      Old Yang                            Boundless           Fusion       Old Yang                           Hazy
Bottom Yang/Elder  Son Yang               Middle Yang/Middle Son             Bottom Yang/Elder
Son                                                               Depth                Inclusion
  Heaven Trigram                                           RAIN                    Lake Trigram
           SKY


                            ATMOSPHERE                 
                           Wind Trigram  Young Yin     Water Pit Trigram                   WATER
                                                                       RIVER

   ELECTRICITY       
Creative    Essence                     Principle              Regulation                              Conform Group  
Top Yang/Youngest Son               Bottom Ying/Eldest Daughter          Top Yin/Youngest Daughter
Eccentric   Isolated                     Accurate              Stability                   METAL    Copy    Follow

                          Mountain Trigram Old Yin     Earth Trigram
                               SALT                                 EARTH



   Flame Trigram                     FIRE                                             Thunder Trigram


WOOD                                              Division              Boundary                     NOISE
Bottom Yang/Elder Son Yang             Middle Yin/Middle Daughter Yin   Bottom Yang/Elder Son
Revolution                                       Exclusion               Surface                                      
Accident                                                                                  
Note the 12 sides of the Wood to Fire to Earth to Metal to Water Dodecahedron
There are 5 phases, or Chinese Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water
These have 5 opposites, Wood to River, Fire to Rain, Earth to Sky, Metal to Electricity, and Salt
to Water. These 10 polar opposites are sides of a dodecahedron that circles around the
Atmosphere to Noise polarity, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water around the Noise, or Thunder
pole and River, Rain, Sky, Electricity, and Salt around the Atmosphere, or Wind, pole.

These five elements at the base of the 12 sided dodecahedron of the five elements and
opposites are critical in the two known versions of the order of the 8 trigrams.  The Early Heaven
sequence of the trigrams opposes Sky to Earth (Heaven to Earth) and Fire to Rain (Flame to
Water Pit) to generate Summer= Sky, Autumn=Rain, Winter=Earth, Spring=Fire.  The Late
Heaven sequence opposes Electricity to Metal (Thunder to Lake) and Fire to Rain (Flame to
Water Pit) to generate Summer = Flame = Sun and Winter = Water Pit = Moon and Spring =
Thunder and Autumn = Lake ( the polarity from Mountain to Lake and Thunder to Wind runs close
to the Electricity to Metal polarity).  This movement correlates somewhat with the original
sequence of the five elements, wood and germination, fire and growth, earth and manifestation,
metal and harvest of reproductive fruits, water and accumulation, but in a complex three and four
dimensional interaction that transcends any simple interpretations.

The eight trigrams and five elements are part of a larger sequence of 12 dodecahedral
oppositions.  These deeper relationships are reflected in the complexities of the 64 hexagrams
which combine trigrams to form the basis for the interpretations that form the text of the I Ching.
It is impossible to separate the chicken from the egg in this, to separate cultural assumption and
historical tradition from brain mechanism and natural progression, mathematics and metaphysics
from psychology and physiology, art from science.

That said, it is important to make a separation, to divide what comes from the ferment of ideas
posted on the pages of this site and what comes from the ferment of Chinese culture and history.
The trigrams, the Early and Late Heaven sequences of the trigrams, the notion of old yang and
young yang, old  yin and young yin, of youngest son, middle son, and eldest son yang and
youngest daughter, middle daughter, and youngest daughter yin, the notion of wood, fire, earth,
metal, and water as elements, these ideas come out of Chinese tradition and Chinese culture.  
The notion of spreading them across a flattened octahedron and making the five elements a part
of a dodecahedron of `12 opposites, the association of this flattened octahedron, and its
associated dodecahedron of opposites, with the trigrams, and with the four part structure of the
left and right hemisphere human brain, divided front from back by motor areas and
somatosensory areas around the central sulcus, that notion is peculiar to this site.

Furthermore, the attempt to integrate Western and Eastern symbolism by associating the
octahedron (and dodecahedron) of the Eastern I Ching with the Great Pyramid of Egypt and the
tetrahedron of the four Greek elements, that sort of thinking about these things is also unique to
this site.

The four Greek elements form a tetrahedron of earth (earth trigram), fire (flame trigram), water
(lake trigram), and air (wind trigram). There is a second tetrahedron of the opposites of the first,
heaven of earth, pottery and metal (water pit trigram) of fire, salt (mountain trigram) of water, dust
(thunder trigram) of air.  These eight are the faces of an octahedron, or a buried octahedron,
above ground part is a pyramid, or it can be converted into a cube, or an octahedron on the top
and a cube at the bottom (buried cube pyramid).  Note how easily the dodecahedron of the 12
elemental opposites can be imposed upon these tetrahedra, cubes, octahedra and how well they
correlate.

Now consider the following crude picture of the right hemisphere of the human brain:

                 spacial sense               touch foot   move foot    playing the piano     creative
                                                                                             playing sports          art
            object rotation                      touch arm  move arm
                                                        APHRODITE    ARES   HEPHAESTUS    ATHENA
                   PARIETAL LOBE             central                     FRONTAL LOBE
                   space and body                 sulcus                     planned action           

ARTEMIS                          APOLLO                                         ZEUS
OCCIPITAL LOBE                         somatosensory   motor    frontal  lobe            orbitofrontal
lines angles motion shape objects          HESTIA           HERMES                     HERA
                        POSEIDON music                                                          inhibitions and
                            visual memory      music memory                               sense of right
                   TEMPORAL LOBE                     DEMETER                      and
wrong                                                                                         emotional memory

We have imposed on this crude picture the names of six pairs of Greek gods and goddesses,
with Hermes ruling speech and Hestia ruling listening, Hera ruling motor inhibition and Zeus ruling
motor planing, with Ares ruling the actual motion and Aphrodite the corresponding sense of touch,
with Artemis ruling crude perception and Apollo ruling the rational analysis of visual perception,
with Athena ruling creative arts and Hephaestus ruling skilled motion, with Demeter ruling
emotional memory and the sense of home and place and Poseidon ruling the ability to navigate in
time and space through the senses of vision and hearing.

Now let us give each god and goddess a personality disorder, Zeus the narcissist and Hera the
paranoid, Hermes the histrionic and Hestia the dependent, Poseidon the avoidant and Demeter
the depressed and masochistic, Artemis the schizotypal and Apollo the sadist and negativist,
Ares the antisocial and Aphrodite the borderline, Athena the Schizoid and Hephaestus the
compulsive.  Now let us impose these on the flattened octahedron of the trigrams and the
disorders.  For this refer to the diagrams in the pages on this site just prior to this page, or see
below:






























Here we see a flattened octahedron with the 8 trigrams imposed upon it and the 12 personality
disorders imposed upon it and the lobes and parts of the human cerebrum imposed upon that.

Now what is happening?  What is going on ?  Part of what is happening involves the social nature
of human thought.  Humans tend to make everything into a small group, a small community like
the small communities, the tribes, the clans, the villages that was the original source of human
society and human genetics.  Religion, magic, government are made of symbol systems that
generate societies of the mind and heart that make us feel comfortable, that we have grown up
with, that bring back pleasant memories from our childhood.

Richard Alexander, in his work on the biology of moral systems, puts emphasis on the importance
of reproduction, parenting, and providing power, wealth, and status for genetic relations as things
that humans will do to ensure the survival of their genes.  The strategy of generating large
numbers of offspring and leaving them to fend for themselves is a lower class strategy. The
strategy of carrying for offspring and helping them survive and reproduce is a middle class
strategy.  The middle class is the most responsible and moral of the three class.  It is more
concerned with duty than the lower classes and more concerned with justice than members of the
upper class, that will disregard duty and justice if necessary for increased power and wealth and
status.  The lower classes tend to communism and gang behavior, including nationalistic forms of
facism, middle classes toward democracy and republicanism, and the upper classes toward
plutocracy, unregulated capitalism, aristocracy, feudalism, and elitist monarchy.

The lower classes will support Stalinism and Moaism, the middle classes will support republican
slavery, like that of the old American South, or Athens and Rome, the upper classes will support
aristocracy in all its forms, imperialism in all its forms, capitalism in all its forms, even Absolutism,
Monarchy, and Feudalism, as long as their positions of power are preserved.
Thus, no one class is better than another, the lower classes may bring totalitarianism, the middle
classes slavery (inclusive of wage slavery), and the upper classes various military, plutocratic,
and aristocratic, even feudal forms of elitist excess, but no one class is, at core, more corrupt
than another.  Vanity all is vanity, none are without their form of vanity, to paraphrase the King
James version of Christian scripture.

The lower classes are histrionic, borderline, and dependent, the lower middle classes,
masochistic, avoidant, and compulsive, the upper middle classes compulsive, paranoid, schizoid
and schizotypal, the upper classes are paranoid, narcissistic, antisocial and sadistic.

The deep unconscious, Egg, Id, is possessed by paranoid demons, beyond any system.  Out of
it comes the primitive libido, the primitive manifestation of the Id, the Child.  The lower classes
never get beyond this primitive aspect of social development.  The middle classes are strong on
the Parent, on the Super Ego.  They give society its masochistic and compulsive orientation.

The Ego can still triumph over this middle class repression and emerge in its selfish narcissism,
antisocial sadism, as a self possessed Adult out to conquer  the world and gain power and wealth.

In respect to the system of the 5 Chinese elements and their opposites, the Egg is Rain, River,
Water, Metal.  It is the capture of the resources of nature in some new form, some new system,
some developing daughter or son.  It emerges as the Child, the Libido, as Thunder and Earth,
Noise and Soil that unite Metal and Fire.  The child soon ages, becomes more compulsive and
masochistic. Atmosphere and Sky bring the Parent and the Superego.

Atmosphere and Sky unite Rain and Electricity in the storms of Heaven.  From this energy, Wood
and Salt, Will and Mind generate the Adult, the emergent Ego, the narcissistic focus of the atomic
realm.

Should we call the Egg a lower middle class, not as low in status as the reproduction oriented
lowest, but not as elevated as the more responsible middle professional duty oriented
compulsive.  If so, then we have a life cycle going in two different directions.  The individual dies
and is reborn in his offspring in the Egg stage, grows as a Child to an Adult that becomes a
Parent that ages and dies and returns to Egg.  Society starts as the lower class reproducing
borderline.  It finds its roots in the dependent and masochistic individuals who wander in dreams
through the ordered mechanisms, believing the dogma, the ideology of Church and State, of the
Egg.  A lower middle class generates an upper middle class and its compulsions, its paranoia, its
schizoid transcendence in academic towers and professional bureaucracy, in constitutional law
and judgeships, its lawyers and supreme court justices determining the ethical fate of all and
finally in elitist technocracy, finally, manifesting its power, finally, in the elitist narcissism and
paranoia of an upper class, of the power and wealth hungry sadistic Ego Adult

The break between life and death occurs at the edge of the Egg, where the Parent dies and is
reborn as a fertilized Egg, a reincarnated soul.  The break between social status and loss of
social status occurs at the point opposite the point of death, here a narcissistic elitist Ego Adult is
transformed into a histrionic and borderline, a pleasure addicted Child.

Super Ego/Parent                    Right Cerebral Hemisphere                                              Id/Egg

Old Age                                                          Death                                                     Conception
Upper Middle Classes                                                                                     Lower Middle Classes
Professional Knowledge and Culture                                                    Family and Child Rearing
Paranoid and Schizoid and Compulsive                     Compulsive and Masochistic and Dependent
         Atmosphere and Sky                  Rain                          River and Water

Frontal Lobes                                        Striated Bodies                                       Parietal Occipital
                                                    Basal Ganglia                                         Temporal Lobe
                                                                                                                  Association Areas Maturity       
Electricity                                                                            Metal                    Birth      


Salt and Wood                                     Fire                                Soil and Thunder (Noise)                     
Adolescent                                                                                                         Infancy
Ego/Adult                                  Left Cerebral Hemisphere                                            Child/Libido
Upper Classes                                                                                                       Lower Classes
Power and Wealth and Status                                                                     Sex and Reproduction
Paranoid and Sadistic and Narcissistic                        Borderline and Histrionic and Dependent


Rain falls in the river and the water runs into metal vessels that get poured on the soil with great
noise as salt accumulates and the wood grows into the atmosphere and toward the sky.  The rain
is the genetic and cultural code and rivers are families and societies and the metal vessels are
local communities and local family groups.  The soil is the local environment and the noise is the
infantile expressions that generate the salty taste of adult personalities and the woody growth of
adult ambition within the atmosphere and above the sky of a social environment and value system.
So what happens?  The individual is born in the Water Pit and Lake Trigrams of the Egg to Id and
emerges in the Child and Libido Earth and Thunder Trigrams and becomes an Adult Ego in the
Mountain and Flame Trigrams and becomes an Elder Parent and dies in the Heaven and Wind
Trigrams.

But society begins in the lower class Thunder and Earth Trigrams of Child Behavior and rises
through the Egg behavior of the dogmatic lower Middle Class to the Lake and Water Pit Trigrams
rising to the Parent professionalism of the upper Middle Class Schizoid, Compulsive, Paranoid
Wind and Heaven Trigrams, finally climbing the Mountain Trigram with the Flame Trigram to
become the sadistic and narcissistic elitist ruler of the Upper Class.

So the flattened octahedron becomes a metaphor for the class structure of society, the
organization of the human brain, the development of the individual, and the metaphysical structure
of everything.  The Old Yang, Young Yang, Old Yin, Young Yin, or Ground to Purpose to Form to
Motion to Ground, the four causes of Aristotle, Material, Teleological, Structural, and Efficient,
traces the circle of one set of edges of the faces of the octahedron of the trigrams.  Another is
traced by the double whole to part to whole Early Heaven sequence of the trigrams.

Old Yang is ground, Young Yang is purpose, Old Yin is form, Young Yin is Action, Early Heaven
Lake is development, Heaven is Cause, Wind is conservation, Water Pit is effect.  Then the
sequence is repeated, Mountain is conservation, Earth is effect, Thunder is development and
Flame Trigram is cause.  But, Lake begins development all over again but with the MiddleTrigram
line Middle Son Yang Whole rather than with the Elder Daughter Bottom Trigram Line Part, as
with the Mountain, Earth, Thunder, Flame sequence.

The final sequence, the third set of edges to the faces of the octahedron, the transcendent to
individual, to manifest, to collective to transcendent is traced out in the Late Heaven sequence of
the trigrams of the I Ching in the movement from Wind to Flame to Earth to Lake to Heaven, the
opposition of the collective to individual and manifest to transcendent is emphasized in the
sequence from Water Pit to Mountain to Thunder to Wind.  In addition this sequence traces out
the dodecahedron of the five elements.  The passage from Thunder to Wind emphasizes the
basic polarity of this dodecahedron, from Noise (Thunder) to Atmosphere (Wind).  The sequence
from  Flame to Earth to Lake trances the five elements of the Noise pole of these polarities:  
Wood to Fire to Soil to Metal to Water.  These elements lie within the Flame to Earth to Lake
Trigrams. The polar opposites, Sky, Rain, River, Salt, Electricity, lie within the Heaven to Water
Pit to Mountain Trigrams.  Thus, the Later Heaven sequence is a very complicated higher level
sequence tracing out the transcendent, collective, individual, to manifest octahedron face edge as
well as the 12 sided dodecahedron of the five elements and their five polar complements, Wood
to River, Fire to Rain, Soil to Sky, Metal to Electricity, Water to Salt, and the basic polar core
Noise to Atmosphere.

These manifest themselves in brain functions as the polarity between Elder Daughter bottom line
yin as information and as the hippocampus and striated bodies (basal ganglia) against the Elder
son bottom line yang as energy and as the amygdala and its connections to the hypothalamus.  In
Chinese philosophy, Elder Daughter yin is the "Li," the systems principles of the Neoconfucian
philosophy of Chu Hsi.  Its opposite, Elder Son bottom line yang, is the Ch'i, the hazy substance
and energy, the material and energy flux that is the source of all things. This is a polarity between
the Elder Son yang of thermodynamics and the Elder Daughter Yin of information systems.  In
the brain, this is the hot angry yang of the amygdala against the cool memory yin of the
hippocampus, It is also the cool yin of frontal lobe memory and striated body pattern against hot
hypothalamic excitation.  Which in turn is countered by the cool yin of hypothalamic rest, thus,
yang of sympathetic autonomic against yin of parasympathetic autonomic resting state.

The Middle Son Yang is the Tao and it is opposed to the Middle Daughter Yin that breaks down
into the five elements at the Thunder Trigram pole.  Middle Son Yang is Right Hemisphere
cerebrum holistic picture and Middle Daughter Yin is Left Cerebral Hemisphere local particular,
local fact in its orientation.  Younger Son top trigram line Yang is Frontal lobe focused.  Its polar
complement, in Daughter Yin and top trigram line Yin, is Parietal Occipital and Temporal lobe
association area in its orientation.

The Mother Earth and Her Eldest Daughter Wind and Middle Daughter Flame and Youngest
Daughter Lake represent the Tetrahedron of the Four Greek Elements, thus, Earth is Earth, Wind
is Air, Flame is Fire, and Lake is Water.  Father Heaven and His Eldest Son Thunder and Middle
Son Water Pit and Youngest Son Mountain are the Heaven, Noise and Dust, Pottery Water
Container, and Salt Complements to the Four Elements Tetrahedron.

In respect to the four social classes, Earth is the melancholic and the lowest class, those who are
subjected to the gravest misfortune.  Water is the phlegmatic and the next lowest class, those with
some fortune, but fail in ambition because of conformity and dependence.  Air is the sanguine,
the upper middle class who succeed based on optimism.  Fire is the choleric humor and the upper
class, those who succeed through drive and ambition.

For the upper classes, this orientation of the humors corresponds with the tempers also, thus, Air
with classical idealism and Earth with melancholy realism, Water with phlegmatic
post-impressionism and Fire with choleric cubism and da da.  Water is phlegmatically dogmatic
and recombines old  mixtures, but Fire is natural selection and competition.

For the lower classes, for whom there is little advancement in life, it is the Child as Earth, that is
sanguine, and the parent, the elder who is melancholic in the end of life.  So also the uninstructed
right hemisphere that tends to depression when the personality is disordered, and its is the
histrionic and narcissistic, the antisocial left hemisphere that is sanguine, inappropriately
sanguine, even manic in the face of its gross impulsive and often self destructive behaviors.
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