The System of All Systems:
The I Ching (Yi Jing) is an ancient Chinese text that can be used as
an example of basic systems principles. Chu Hsi, the great Sung
dynasty neoconfucian philosopher describes a cosmos ordered by
simple polarities, I to Li, Tao to Ch'i, Shen to Jen. These polarities
are symbolized in long yang (male) lines and shorter (female) lines.
The male enegy in "I," in fundamental changes caused by energy flux
can be opposed to the female information in "Li", the mathematical
patterns and systems that structure all things. If this line, or broken
line, is combined with a second line above it, long and unbroken for
the unbroken whole, symbolized as "Tao." or short and broken for the
"Ch'i" of atomic matter, we have the start of a "trigram." To complete
the trigram, we add a third line. If unbroken, it can represent the
enduring creative inner soul self, the "Shen." If broken, it can
represent the outer public world of human relations, "Jen."
The result is eight trigrams: Heaven (romantic) to Earth (realistic),
Flame (dada, cubist) to Waterpit (baroque), Mountain (impressionist)
to Lake (post-impressionist), Wind (classical) to Thunder
In living systems, Heaven is mutation and Earth is measurable
phenotype. Flame is natural selection and Waterpit is feedback
mechanism. Mountain is isolation and input analysis, Lake is
recomination, gene-pool, and positive runaway feedback, as well
hybridization. Wind is genetic set point, and Thunder is expression,
emergence, and adaptive radiation.
In fixed systems, Earth measures properties, Mountain inputs and
analyzes measured data, Wind compares data to set points, Waterpit
organizes set point maintaining feedback systems that produce
results Earth can measure. Heaven extends Wind through mutation,
Lake collects the mutants into gene pools and recombines them,
sometimes generating run away positive feedback that emerges in
disaster in Thunder and is dried up swept away in the extinction and
natural selection generated by Flame.
These eight trigrams are bundles of three lines, broken or unbroken.
As describe above, they show the polarity between energy and
information, as it emerges into the polarity between whole and
quantum particular, and the polarity between observing self and
public relativistic space and time. Thus, the bottom line unbroken
yang line of a trigram (energy flux "I"), or broken bottom yin line of a
trgram (information "Li"), will be supplemented by a line on top of it,
representing a yin or yang pole of the polarity between long middle
yang line whole (Tao) or broken middle line yin atomic quantum part
(Ch'i). Finally, the long top yang private monad observer self line
(Shen) is set against the broken top line yin public world (human
world of "Jen," (public human heartedness)) of relativistic time and
Out of these polarities, thermodynamic energy and mathematical
information, boundless whole and quantum particular, observer
monad self and public relativistic space time world, all things are
made. The indwelling monad self changes energy into passion and
information into mind. But, it takes human levels of organization to
generate human mind and human passion.
These systems emerge at the following levels;
Photos: quanta and waves of energy
Psychos: tissues, organs, organisms
Anthros: populations (and tribes of language using humans)
Demos: biotic communities and human communities (writing)
Thermos: ecosystems, industrial systems (printing, telegraph)
Electros: biospheres, broadcasting market areas (radio, television)
Asteros: planets, computers and space probes
Synos: solar systems, internet, web, robotics
Nymphos: star clusters, androids, cyborgs, virtual reality, sci fi
Daimonos: galaxies, demigod intelligence, fantasy worlds
Titanos: supergalaxies, titan level intelligence, mythological worlds
Theos: cosmos, megacosm, gods, creative intelligence, theology
At the highest levels of organization science, science fiction, fantasy,
mythology, and theology begin to merge!!!! It is only at the lower
that they separate.
As this process goes on, there is cycling around the yang to yin
polarities. Even though the top yang line is a creative source, it is
also a place where things concentrate, it is transcendent creation
and transcendent storage in individualized expression. This deep
Buddha Krishna Jesus Christ Mind inner Eternal Christmas Easter of
the heart's core is the place where all good things go, the ideal, the
rich, the free, the secret private special truth.
Here there is a reality that can never completely enter the public
world. This deep private source should never be held up to the
public light, judged against public standards and public truths. This
deep core transcends any measure in the objective world. It is the
core of true genius, true prophecy, true vision. The private vision
from the heart's deep being from within existentially inexistent
Buddhamind Jesusmind Socrates Master Kung core.
This deep root connects within to the central harmony of all things.
This is the transcendent kingdom of Heaven where the individual
vision and creativity of the deep root of the mind unites with the joy
and love and faith and peace that lies beneath all things: it is
Mohammed beholding Allah, Buddha reaching Nirvana, Krishna as
the avatar of Vishnu as the manifestation of the Brahman One and
Jesus of as the son of the Father that is the Holy Spirit One. It is the
animal mind discovering its ecology of mind roots and surrendering
fear to faith, sadness to joy, hate to love, and anger to serenity.
Above is the octahedron of that harmony in which wisdom is the polar
complement of faith (Salt and Mountain to Water and Lake) and
enterprise is the polar complement of harmony (Fire and Flame to
Pottery and Water-Pit) and beauty is the polar complement of fun (Air
and Wind to Dust and Thunder) and abundance is the polar
complement of thrift (Heaven to Earth). So is the grand harmony of
There are three basic polarities with the faces of the cube
complementary to flattened octahedron, a cube face at each vertex of
the flattened octahedron. Thus, genius is the polar opposite of
charity and holiness of experience and courage of discipline.
Discipline is at the bottom yin line of the trigrams of the I Ching,
Chinese Book of Changes, and Courage is the bottom yin.
Experience is the middle yin and Holiness the middle yang. Genius
is the top line yang and Charity is the top trigram line yin.
From this you build trigrams like Mountain, top line genius yang
combined with middle line experience yin and bottom line discipline
yin. Its opposite, Lake, is top line charity yin combined with middle
line holiness yang and bottom line courage yang. Thus, Mountain
can hold firm and Lake yield with pleasure.
Wind is top line genius yang and middle line holiness yang with
bottom line discipline yin. This allows Wind to penetrate everywhere
with complete gentleness. In contrast, Thunder is top line charity yin
and middle line experience yin with bottom line courage yang. Thus,
Thunder can make great noise and communicate loudly.