The I Ching:
Art and Music
The I Ching begins with the contrast between
the long yang line and the broken yin line.  
Here One becomes Two.  The first One to
become a yin broken two is the singular One
of the creative self, creative spirit.  In music,
this is the leading note, and in art it is the
leading brush stroke, chisel mark.  This top
yang breaks out of its private Brahma creator
creativity into the public relativity of three
dimensional space and four dimensional
space time.

Now the two become three by spreading its
twoness, its polarity to two more lines of
differentiation, the long yang of the
boundless whole, endless harmony,
boundless artistic and musical composition,
breaks into the local yin broken line of the
particular, a note on a particular instrument, a
blob of a particular color, a tiny glob of clay or

The third line of the trigram is generated as a
long line of musical energy, of artistic energy,
breaks into the fixed structure of yin
information musical scores or works of art.

Now the one has become two and the two
have been multiplied by three to generate the
six faces of a three dimensional cube.  This
cube has four corners, one for each of eight
trigrams: Heaven to Earth, Flame to Waterpit,
Thunder to Wind, and Lake to Mountain.

These eight trigrams form 64 hexagrams, as
trigrams combine, an outer trigram on top and
an inner one on the bottom.  The three
dimensional cube expands into the fourth
dimension and beyond.

In this processes plain chant Flame becomes
polyphonic Gothic Heaven and classical
opera as the Wind trigram.  This generates a
Baroque temper and calls up the Waterpit
trigram,  or reaches back to Heaven and the
romantic temper.  The realistic temper calls
forth the Earth trigram, and then the
impressionistic calls out Mountain.  
Meanwhile, symbolism brings out Lake, and
expressionism brings out Thunder. Jazz and
cubism belong to Flame again, regenerating
the cycle.

Now these cycles cannot be represented
perfectly.  In music the neoclassical, is called
"classical" and corresponded to the
"enlightenment," a period that connects
"Baroque" music to romantic music, that turns
backward from Waterpit to Wind to Heaven to
counter previous movement from Gothic
(Heaven) to Renaissance (Wind) to Baroque

The opposition, Heaven to Earth, or
Romantic to Realistic, Wind to Thunder, or
Classical to Expressionistic, Mountain to
Lake or Impressionistic to
Post-Impressionistic and Symbolism, Flame
to Waterpit, Cubism to Baroque, parallels the
oppostion of source to product, ideal to
expression, analysis to synthesis, freedom to

They are also the orientation derived from
Fromm, aboriginal productive, to industrial
utilitarian, hoarding to marketing, segregating
to recombining, exploiting to receiving.

They are the basic orientations of biology
and system theory of mutation to phenotypic
result, genetic set point to maladaptive
expression, isolation to recombination,
natural selection and extinction to
homeostasis maintaining feedback

They are magic to science, metaphysics to
business, logic to literature, design to
There are 64 hexigrams
made of 8 trigrams:

Heaven to Earth
Wind to Thunder
Mountain to Lake
Flame to Waterpit

made of three lines

either yang________
or yin       ___       ___

The trigrams are
combined into
hexagrams that bend the
one dimensional yin to
yang line into the three
dimensional octahedron
of the eight trigrams and
into the four dimensional
space time of the 64
trigram combinations.

Most current interpretations
of these hexagrams use
the commentaries of the
confucians and the
neoconfucians as well as
the cosmological system of
Shao Yung (see A Short
History of Chinese
Philosophy," Fung Yu-Lan
ed. by Derk Bodde, Free
Press, 1948, pp. 272-273)
But, these interpretations are
clearly biased toward ways
of explaining the trigrams
and hexagrams that
compromise their creative
interpenetration.  By
flattening the trigram system
into a two dimensional circle,
Shao Yung's system takes
much of the depth and
richness out of the interplay
of trigram oppositions.  For
example the use of the
sovereign hexagram
sequence,  see page 273
op. cit., sets up a series that
moves out of the earth
trigram into the thunder than
lake than heaven trigram,
does this for a second
trigram, then procedes from
wind to mountain to earth,
first for one trigram and than
for the other.  The resulting
sequence does not use the
waterpit and flame trigrams
at all, but simply cycles
around them.  This flat series
is only one of the many
possible.  The others are not
considered because they
would generate a three
dimensional view of the
trigram and hexagram
changes. Shao Yungs use of
lesser hardness and greater
hardness only adds a new
level of confusion to the
system that not needed if the
trigrams and hexagrams are
viewed as three and four
dimensional change
James P. Carse wrote a book titled "Finite and Infinite
Games," Free Press, Macmillan, 1986.  In this book he
makes the following points that relate to the Yi Ching in
that the Yi Ching is really just a form of the infinite
game.  In this sense, there is no correct interpretation,
it is what ever we choose it to be. Carse divides
everything into finite and infinite games (p. 3).  Finite
games are played to win and infinite games are played
to continue the play. In order to win a finite game, it
must have a defined end.  In all play there is freedom,
all players play by choice (p. 4).  Finite games have
boundaries in space and time and finite players cannot
play unless other players choose to play with them.  
The place and time and membership of finite games is
decided outside the game (p. 5).  Rules are contracts
between players to determine who has won a finite
game and are valid because the players agree to play
by them (p. 8).

The rules of a finite game cannot change during play
and the rules of an infinite game must change during
play (p. 9).  They are changed to prevent anyone
person from winning and to bring as many players into
the play as possible. The rules of an infinite games are
agreed upon to keep as many in the game as possible.  
No limit can be imposed upon an infinite game because
the limits are taken into the play.  Boundaries define
finite games and supply the elements that infinite game
players play with, they absorb the boundaries (p. 10).

All the limitations of finite play are self limitation
imposed from without but chosen by the player (p. 12).
We veil our freedom when we play a finite game. We
freely choose a role and suspend our freedom in order
to play the role. Finite play is not possible without self-
veiling (p.13). Infinite players enter into finite play and
freely acknowledge their masks.

To be playful is to allow surprise and possibility (p. 15).
Finite play is scripted and theatrical but infinite play is
unscripted and dramatic (p, 16). Surprise in finite play is
a way of wining in which the past overcomes the future
(p. 17). The finite player wants to control the future to
keep it within the limits of the past. To do this he must
be deceptive, but infinite players want to be surprised
by the future and play in openness.  Training supports
the control of the past and education the opening to the
future (p. 19).

One wins titles in finite games and society exists to
remember their validity (p. 20).  Winners of finite games
win the continuing recognition of their titles (p. 22).
In finite games death is a judgement, a dishonor (p. 23).
Immortality is a triumph of the abstracted life, the title
that substitutes for life (p. 24). If the finite player plays
for the immortality of his abstracted title, the infinite
player plays for the surprise and vulnerability, plays as
a mortal that is open and laughing and joyous (p. 25).

Infinite play is paradoxical and done for others.  Finite
play is contradictory in the desire of the players to end
the play for themselves. Finite players have powerful
titles that are rooted in the past. These powerful titles
are given by an audience after the play is over (p. 29).

The infinite player does not play to be powerful, he
plays with strength that is an opening into the future (p.
32). Evil is that which ends infinite play (p. 32). Evil
begins in the attempt to stop evil, and in the rules that
bind up infinite play within the finite game (p. 33).

Society is a finite game and culture is an infinite game
(p.43).  Society is a product of power and culture of
possibility.  Society has a script and culture has
potential (p. 43). "Culture is an enterprise of mortals,
disdaining to protect themselves from surprise." "Living
in the strength of their vision, they eschew power and
make joyous play of boundaries" (p 43).  "Society is a
manifestation of power." "It is theatrical, having an
established script." "Deviations from the script are
evident at once." "Deviations are antisocial and
therefore forbidden by society under a variety of

In respect to the Yi Ching, what James P. Carse is
calling the finite game, is the Earth trigram, is the
trigram of broken lines.  What Carse is calling the
infinite game is the Heaven trigram, is the trigram of
unbroken lines. The God of this unbroken trigram is the
evercoming power of the infinite future described by W.
Pannenberg and the immortality is the possibility in
mortality and the self within no-self, the paradoxical
open immortal mortality no-self Buddha self.  To
become creative and free, the broken line must be
allowed to extend itself beyond its local limits, the game
beyond its titles and scripts, culture beyond the limits
imposed by society.  True good can never be captured
in a box and true immortality is boundless life that is at
once mortal and transcendent, but with no clear formula
and no title.  All of this is good Daoist/Taoist philosophy.