A Journal of the Irrepressible

Archive for the ‘changes’ Category

The Impending Collapse… Of Everything

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Jay Greathouse has been telling me for years – nay, decades! – that the end is near. Because I’m sympatico with conspiracy theories, I keep listening. But, somehow, the agro-industrial complex keeps chugging along, as it has for the past few tens of thousands of years.

The one thing we can count on, though, is change. So just because everything hasn’t gone kablooie doesn’t mean it won’t. And, as Jay points out, it depends entirely on your point of view. For the many at the base of the agro-industrial complex, the end came some time ago — and just keeps dragging on, like war, tax and biological reproduction.

What I like about Jay is his gritty determination (and determinism): the end may be near, or it may have already banged upside the head, but he’s doggedly gonna hunker down and weather the super storm. To that end, he’s mustering his mighty intellect (and I may tease him about a lot of things, but his intellect is truly in the 99th percentile [he'll gimme shit for that]) in a new blog called Raw Materials Econ: Resilience Economics for Everyone.

There’s a lot of cool stuff already up, including links to info about cannabis pricing, jury nullification, and issues of economic justice. Here’s hoping you’ll give it a read and offer your opinion.

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Written by Brian

June 16th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

A Progression of Images from the I Ching

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(Adapted from consultations with the oracle over the first five months of 2008)

A turning point in winter brings nourishment. Obstacles are no problem for water.

Perseverance brings great good fortune.

The Marrying Maiden appears at the new year’s first thought of sex. How long has it been? Six years. The Marrying Maiden is either a matriarchal cosmic joy or an unbearable patriarchal yoke.

The ingenuity of innocence; the energy to bite through entrenched situations. He become single.

“Kings of old… fostered and nourished all beings.” Innocence makes a new life possible.

Wind above water. Dispersion is reuniting. Things are developing. He moves from a dark room into the light.

A slowly developing engagement leads to marriage. A gentle wind moves through the woods on Keeping Still Mountain.

A gentle penetrating wind comes from increase and follows in sequence from the homeless wanderer. The Gentle is a homecoming. The Gentle crouches and remains hidden.

Old wounds heal because peace is a shared desire.

Forgetting, he asks the same question two weeks later. Youthful Folly! “I told you the first time,” the Changes insists: long engagement; marriage. He asks for help in persevering.

“Ten pairs of tortoises cannot oppose it.”

“See the great man” means ask for help.

An animal’s pelt changes in the course of the seasons: Revolution. The great man changes like the tiger.

In the sequence, Revolution changes to Fellowship. In the interest of community, great things may be accomplished.

Trust fate: a natural and mutual attraction is at work. Faith is the perseverance of a mare.

The wind over the water. The visible effects of the invisible manifest themselves.

A crane calls from a shadowed place and her young reply.

How could he ever set trust aside?

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Written by Brian

October 18th, 2008 at 8:47 am

Posted in changes, poetry

Joni Mitchell and the I Ching

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essay by Brian Charles Clark and Nisi Shawl

In the Jan. 1994 issue of Acoustic Guitar, Rick Turner wrote,

Joni Mitchell's I Ching guitar was made by Steve KleinSteve Klein built this amazing and beautiful guitar in 1977.

This guitar was built for Joni Mitchell, and it is a great example of what can happen when a musical and visual artist teams up with a luthier. It was designed for Mitchell’s low open tunings, and the removable soundhole rosette/ring allows the guitar’s air resonance to be tuned accordingly for different amounts of bass. Mitchell collaborated on concepts for the inlays, which include I Ching symbols in the fingerboard and around the soundhole; the I Ching’s hexagram number 56, the Wanderer, graces the face and the upper bout. Don Juan’s crow flies on the peghead, and the wandering theme continues on with the mountains and the road.”

In fact, the eight trigrams run up the neck of the guitar, heaven at the nut and earth at the top of the neck. Heaven is bass! Hejira, one of Mitchell’s several masterpieces, was recorded and released in 1976, the year before this guitar was made. Lu, hexagram 56, pretty much describes the album’s mood of not staying together, of fire on the mountain that “does not tarry,” in Wilhelm/Baynes’ words, of a wanderlust that drives one onward toward the greener pasture on the other side of the hill. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Brian

July 6th, 2008 at 10:16 am

Something about the I Ching


Fortune Telling 000

The arrangement and interpretations of the I Ching’s hexagrams can be attributed to the astute analysis of human nature in many contexts by many contributors over many years. It’s much more difficult to account for the uncanny accuracy, reasonableness, and wisdom of the I Ching’s answers to one’s questions. That, at least, has been my experience.

The I Ching is the ancient Chinese book that accreted around a series of 64 hexagrams. A hexagram, in turn, is an arrangement of six lines. Each line is either solid or broken. Here are the first two hexagrams, the Creative and the Receptive:

Hexagram 1, the Creative          Hexagram 2, the Receptive

Hexagrams are formed by chance action (e.g., the rolling of three coins, and taking combinations of heads and tails for either a solid or broken line) from the bottom up. The lines are taken to represent a temporal sequence, the unfolding of change over time.

Lines themselves can change, and a changing line is indicated by chance action, as in the roll of three heads (a changing broken or yin line) or three tails (a changing solid or yang line). In the above example, if one tossed a set of three coins six times—once for each line in the Creative—and each roll came up three tails, each line would change into its opposite. The result would be two hexagrams: hexagram one, the Creative, would change to hexagram two, the Receptive.

The odds against a six-in-a-row coin toss are astronomical. But, then, what are the odds in favor of receiving a response that strikes one as both wise and a propos to the question?

Questions. Where do they come from? You, me, worrying the hems of our lives; John Cage, wondering what it really means to compose; and anybody, really, who engages in the act of breasting change with a story of self in mind. To put the previous question another way, What are the odds of a story emerging from apparently unconnected facts, experiences or observations?

As with most fortune telling systems, the odds favor making sense—if you can accept enigmatic replies as sense. For me, the difference between the I Ching and, say, the tarot (which has much sexier images), is perceptual: the I Ching responds in poetry, the tarot in cliché. One enlightens me, the other makes me vomit. It’s not the tarot’s fault; it’s cultural chance. The Romany, vectors of prognostication by chance action of card dealing, eschewed written language until relatively recent times (and then a palette of languages pattern Romany texts, rather than a national language); the Chinese, just as ancient, famously co-pioneered written language. The Romany poetry of the tarot is, at best, confined to a small group of disrespected people while the written texts of the Chinese have become venerated for their wisdom and verisimilitude. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Brian

May 31st, 2008 at 9:28 am