Start playing the DECISION-MAKING LANGUAGE GAME as follows:
1. Take the displayed values for date and time.
2. Contemplate your question before typing it in, starting with something like why, how come, etc. Avoid questions that can only be answered with "yes" or "no".
3. You’ll get an immediate answer, including a number that reflects a hexagram and a defining line (more on these later).
4. That’s it!
If we attempt to playfully relate the surprising answers, which at first sight may seem absurd to the notoriously circling ideas, we may come across previously hidden things that stood in the way of solving the problem.
This language game was developed by following the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, I Ching. The game abides by the instructions of the Chinese philosopher in the Song Dynasty, Shao Yong (1011–1077 A.D.), as reproduced by Da Liu (I Ching Numerology, Harper & Row Publishers, 1979).
First a short explanation of ZHOUYI:
The original source for I Ching (partly also I-Ging written), ZHOUYI, is a collection of aphorisms in China dating back about 3,000 years. The core of this comprises 64 chapters (hexagrams), each with six lines of text, the defining lines. These six lines are divided into two groups of three lines each (the lower and upper trigram). One of the lines you get is actually the answer.
The front of the two numbers given by the program denote the hexagram and the rear the determining line, so you could go to an I-Ging book edition of your choice for a detailed answer.
An alphabetical code (a=1, b=2, and so on) is used to convert the letters in the question into numbers, which are then added. The sum (again according to Shao Yong), is transformed into the upper trigram.
The month, and year are derived from the Chinese Zodiac (animal signs). A specific algorithm is applied to combine these with the day and convert them into the lower trigram (explained later), and a defining line (according to Shao Yong). Your answer is hidden here, depending on the hexagram number.
The answers are based on the commentaries on the Lines of the Imperial Edition of the I Ching, prepared for Emperor Kangxi in 1715 by Li Guangdi, the era's leading I Ching expert, that I have in the interpretations of Taoist scholar Liu I-ming (1734 – 1821) and Christian sinologist Richard Wilhelm (1873 - 1930).
If I found proverbs whose semantic fields either coincide or at least overlap with those of the line texts, I used them, trying to empathise with the "ancient Chinese saying” (I GING.P.H. Offermann, p.11) of I-Ging. This finally resulted in a relatively independent canon of answers, reminiscent of the ZHOUYI, but also following its systematics so stringently that it becomes possible to access them according to Shao Yong's guidelines.
Compatibility with the original source material was judged in terms of the translations of Richard Alan Kunst (The Original Yijing, University of California, Berkeley, 1985, which is unfortunately available only as microfiche in university libraries) and those by Edward L. Shaughnessy (I Ching, Ballantine Books, New York 1997). Despite Kunst’s impressive work, Shaughnessy’s work is of particular interest, because it not only delves into new findings from the discovery of epigraphs on oracle bones and sacrificial vessels, but also looks at some of the deviations of the Mawangdui manuscript found in 1975, which integrates one version of I Ching from 190 B.C.
In the end, I always chose comprehensibility over authenticity. I do hope the brilliant Chinese creators of ZHOUYI and Richard Wilhelm, whose unrivaled work, “I-GING, Das Buch der Wandlungen” (published by Eugen Diederichs, Jena 1924) is responsible for turning my attention to I-GING, will forgive me.
This app is dedicated to Nicolas, who gave me the idea for this language game.