The Ka-Ching is a syncretic global wisdom system, that does for a social-media Internet civilization what traditional wisdom systems did for pre-modern societies. The point of departure is a syncretic hybrid based on Western (Tarot) and Asian (I Ching) oracles, both of which condense into image systems the essential worldviews of their respective civilizations. The Tarot is constituted by the archetype of the Quest, the hero’s journey. The I Ching is an archetypal landscape, including the seasonal cycle. The Ka-Ching poetics is based on the template of a Tarot Quest through an I Ching landscape. The hybrid is updated, and completely refunctioned as an interface (chora) in which these traditions are reassembled after the modernist break. The following paragraphs suggest a possible generative analysis.
The chief insight to emerge from Francois Jullien is that the fundamental organizational unit of Chinese thought expressed in the I Ching is the situation, with a certain tendency or propensity (a certain character). The world is approached as a continuously changing or flowing series of circumstances manifesting shi — a configuration of energy, such that Chinese metaphysics is frequently used as an analogy to explain Quantum physics, that is, a world in which “things” are not essences or substances but secondary, emergent features of a holistic background field. The Classical Chinese constructed an order for this world, whose prototype is the I Ching. According to legend The Book of Changes began as a vision, a revelation of the relations between Heaven and Earth given to several sages at the Yellow River in the form of a mysterious map. The map was derived from a pattern of spots on the back of the visionary dragon-horse, that supplied a blueprint for the I Ching (Lee, 33),
The map was converted into groups or “piles” of lines — trigrams — that, in the manner of archetypal ideograms, figured eight “germinal situations” that contained virtually every arrangement of circumstances encountered in experience (scenic equivalent of Aristotle’s ten categories). The emphasis here was not on predicates but “predicaments” (a term also associated with Aristotle’s predication). The eight trigrams extended by a combinatorial pairing produced sixty-four archetypal situations. Of interest in our context is a certain resemblance to Greek category formation, in that the germinal situations are identified by a set of attributes and properties. Most handbooks explaining the system include a chart providing the following information for each of the eight germinal trigrams (with just one example tracked here to illustrate): “NAME: Ch’ien; TRIGRAM [three solid or yang lines]; IMAGE, Heaven; QUALITIES: creative, strong, light of day, firmness; DIRECTION: Northwest; RELATIONS: Father; PARTS OF BODY: Head; TIME OF YEAR; Early Winter; TIME OF DAY: Daytime” (Wing, 15). The trigrams were arranged into two different sequences historically, one moving through the sixty-four combinations giving a configuration and its opposite (Heaven followed by Earth), and the other following the cycle of the seasons. The importance of the sequences is that a situation has a direction, a “grain,” a tendency. In general, once one knows which situation one is in, the I Ching sequence constitutes a kind of proportional “entailment” (hence the effect of foresight or prediction).
This trigram system provides a poetics that may be used to generate equivalents (a wisdom oracle for a multitude). In general, the system is allegorical, relating the levels of microcosm and macrocosm, with a landscape moving through the seasons as the primary interface metaphor. The parts of the system are itemized, condensing into a “genre” description of features that evolved over many generations historically. Formally a hexagram consists of: a name; the hexagram itself; the primary judgment (the text defining the overall situation and interpreting what action is appropriate); the subordinate judgments for each of the six lines. In some editions there is also a picture selected from Chinese art to illustrate the situation. In addition to the immediate features of the hexagrams, there are several commentaries, adding layers of philosophical interpretation, and other documentation. There is also the claim that the yin-yang exchange references an historical conflict between two dynasties of ancient China.