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I Ching, Foreword by Carl Jung

I Ching, Foreword by Carl Jung

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Published by natzucow
I Ching Foreword by Carl Gustav Jung

Since I am not a sinologue, a foreword to the Book of Changes from my hand must be a testimonial of my individual experience with this great and singular book. It also affords me a welcome opportunity to pay tribute again to the memory of my late friend, Richard Wilhelm. He himself was profoundly aware of the cultural significance of his translation of the I Ching, a version unrivaled in the West. If the meaning of the Book of Changes were easy to grasp, the
I Ching Foreword by Carl Gustav Jung

Since I am not a sinologue, a foreword to the Book of Changes from my hand must be a testimonial of my individual experience with this great and singular book. It also affords me a welcome opportunity to pay tribute again to the memory of my late friend, Richard Wilhelm. He himself was profoundly aware of the cultural significance of his translation of the I Ching, a version unrivaled in the West. If the meaning of the Book of Changes were easy to grasp, the

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Published by: natzucow on Jan 16, 2012
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1
I ChingForeword by Carl Gustav Jung
Since I am not a sinologue, a foreword to the Book of Changes from my hand must be a testimonial of myindividual experience with this great and singular book. Italso affords me a welcome opportunity to pay tribute againto the memory of my late friend, Richard Wilhelm. Hehimself was profoundly aware of the cultural significance of his translation of the
 I Ching,
a version unrivaled in theWest.If the meaning of the Book of Changes were easy tograsp, the work would need no foreword. But this is far from being the case, for there is so much that is obscureabout it that Western scholars have tended to dispose of it asa collection of 
magic spells
, either too abstruse to beintelligible, or of no value whatsoever. Legge's translationof the
 I Ching 
, up to now the only version available inEnglish, has done little to make the work accessible to
 
2Western minds.
1
Wilhelm, however, has made every effortto open the way to an understanding of the symbolism of thetext. He was in a position to do this because he himself wastaught the philosophy and the use of the
 I Ching 
by thevenerable sage Lao Nai-hs
u
an; moreover, he had over a period of many years put the peculiar technique of the oracleinto practice. His grasp of the living meaning of the textgives his version of the
 I Ching 
a depth of perspective thatan exclusively academic knowledge of Chinese philosophycould never provide.I am greatly indebted to Wilhelm for the light he hasthrown upon the complicated problem of the
 I Ching 
, andfor insight as regards its practical application as well. For more than thirty years I have interested myself in this oracletechnique, or method of exploring the unconscious, for ithas seemed to me of uncommon significance. I was alreadyfairly familiar with the
 I Ching 
when I first met Wilhelm inthe early nineteen twenties; he confirmed for me then what Ialready knew, and taught me many things more.I do not know Chinese and have never been in China. Ican assure my reader that it is not altogether easy to find the 
1
Legge makes the following comment on the explanatory text for theindividual lines: "According to our notions, a framer of emblems should be a good deal of a poet, but those of 
Yi
only make us think of adryasdust. Out of more than three hundred and fifty, the greater numbersare only grotesque" (
The Sacred Books of the East 
, XVl:
The Yi King 
,2nd edn., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899, p.22). Of the "lessons"' of thehexagrams, the same author says: "But why, it may be asked, whyshould they be conveyed to us by such an array of lineal figures, and insuch a farrago of emblematic representations" (ibid., p. 25). However,we are nowhere told that Legge ever bothered to put the method to a practical test
 
3right access to this monument of Chinese thought, whichdeparts so completely from our ways of thinking. In order tounderstand what such a book is all about, it is imperative tocast off certain prejudices of the Western mind. it is acurious fact that such a gifted and intelligent people as theChinese has never developed what we call science. Our science, however, is based upon the principle of causality,and causality is considered to be an axiomatic truth. But agreat change in our standpoint is setting in. What Kant's
Critique of Pure Reason
failed to do, is being accomplished by modern physics. The axioms of causality are beingshaken to their foundations: we know now that what weterm natural laws are merely statistical truths and thus mustnecessarily allow for exceptions. We have not sufficientlytaken into account as yet that we need the laboratory with itsincisive restrictions in order to demonstrate the invariablevalidity of natural law. If we leave things to nature, we see avery different picture: every process is partially or totallyinterfered with by chance, so much so that under naturalcircumstances a course of events absolutely conforming tospecific laws is almost an exception.The Chinese mind, as I see it at work in the
 I Ching 
,seems to be exclusively preoccupied with the chance aspectof events. What we call coincidence seems to be the chief concern of this peculiar mind, and what we worship ascausality passes almost unnoticed. We must admit that thereis something to be said for the immense importance of chance. An incalculable amount of human effort is directedto combating and restricting the nuisance or danger represented by chance. Theoretical considerations of causeand effect often look pale and dusty in comparison to the

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