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King Wen's I Ching Sequence

To: tyagi mordred nagasiva 
From: personal email
Subject: King Wen's I Ching Sequence 
Date: 49941027

This showed up yesterday in alt.tarot and I'm sure you read that topic 
too, but just to be sure I thought I'd pass this along (see forwarded 
message below).  

I checked the Journal at our University Library and made a photocopy of it.  
Statistics and probability theory have never been interests of mine so I found
it a bit obtuse.  The hypothesis is (as I understand it) that using the yarrow 
stalk divination method your chances of getting particular lines are not 

	-0-  3 out of 16
	---  5 out of 16
	- -  7 out of 16
	-X-  1 out of 16

Since the probablity of moving lines varies, the variety of resulting 
hexagram will not be even.  Thus over the long term, certain hexagram 
will come up more often and other will be more rare.  The King Wen order 
is a frequency distribution, least frequent are first, more frequent are 

Now the way the author "proves" his hypothesis is by using a computer 
simulation that mimics the yarrow stalk method by generating hexagrams 
from many thousand of throws.  I'm not sure I'm convinced, but it is certainly 
an interesting spin on an old chestnut. Please keep me apprised of any 
developments you come across.

To: alt.tarot
From: (John K. Taber)
Subject: Mystery of I Ching Hexagram Order Solved
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 1994 00:50:08 GMT

I don't know how to broach this subject, nor in what newsgroups it belongs, so
I'm just plunging on.

The Proceedings of the APL94 Conference in Antwerp contains a paper by Pavel
Luksha of Obninsk, Russia on the arrangement of the hexagrams in the I Ching.
If I understand his paper correctly, they are arranged according to the
probability distribution of the prescribed method of picking an entry, by
groups of probabilities.  The most probable group comes first (only one), the
next most probable group (several), and so on to the last hexagram, again only
one in the group.

There is an involved way of "casting" yarrow sticks repeatedly to select the
hexagram for a reading, line by line.  The translation of Luksha's paper uses
the term "milfoil" but I think yarrow sticks must be meant.  This is the
"prescribed" way of obtaining a reading, which leads to the probability
distribution tested by Luksha.

So far as I can tell, Luksha's paper is convincing, but I'm no mathematician,
and I have not attempted to proofread the APL.  If his paper is correct, and I
think it is, it is noteworthy, because the ordering of the I Ching has been an
unsolved historical problem.

Unfortunately, APL is nowadays an obscure language, so Luksha's paper may well
be missed.  Further, the I Ching may be an obscure book to those few left
familiar with APL, so that those who do stumble across his paper might miss its

The I Ching is a very important ancient book in Chinese history and culture.
It is still used today for fortune telling.  Therefore the followups: to
comp.lang.apl, to soc.culture.chinese, and to alt.tarot.  Often, tarot fans
are familiar with the I Ching. There does not seem to be a newsgroup devoted to
the I Ching, so I'm using alt.tarot, faut de mieux.

If this post is inappropriate, please don't hesitate to say so.  Otherwise, I
hope to start some discussion.

The paper is
        Probabilistic studies of I Ching with use of APL.
                Pavel Luksha
                PO Box 157
                Obninsk 1
                249020 Russia
It appears in
        APL and its Applications,
        International Conference
        11-15 September 1994
        Antwerp, Belgium
        Conference Proceedings.
It is published by APL Quote Quad, Vol 25, No 1, Sept 1994.
John K. Taber                              
We have kept our erasers in order.

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