Hexagram 29 and patterns
I was browsing through a book, which had been recommended to me. "In
search of excellence", by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman. Just opening it at
random, a page here, a page there, to figure out if it would make sense to start
reading. It seemed such a huge amount of words, and there is so much else to
On one of the pages, I got intrigued. Someone, who was in search of artificial intelligence, studied the problem of programming computers to play chess. He started out assuming that it could be played on a rational basis, but had to abandon that idea. The computer would need something like a century to calculate all possible moves.
So instead he investigated, what good chess players do. He asked them to look at a half-way chess game, just for a very short period, like 10 seconds. They could recall the locations of virtually all the pieces. Players of one rank below the best players scored much less well. But the masters could not remember where the pieces were, if they were placed on the board at random. So something else than short-time memory had to be at work.
He believed that the 'something else' was, that the masters had highly developed long-term memories, in the form of subconsciously remembered patterns. He called it chess "vocabularies". The class A players had a memory of around 2,000 patterns, but the masters of around 50,000 patterns.
The mark of the true professional in any field is the rich vocabulary of patterns, developed through years of education and especially through years of experience.
I had to think of hexagram 29, water repeated. The character translated as 'repeat' also means skill, routine, learning something by training or exercise.
Years ago I read another book, "Das sensible Chaos" by Schwenk. It seems that water has a memory for patterns. That goes for the streams in the oceans, but just as well for the water in our bodies.
The pit, a place of danger, but maybe also the huge reservoir of everything we learned through 'repeating', seeing it again and again, experience.
"The noble man moves according to principles and virtue", both might have a lot to do with patterns which proved effective, and which make up that reservoir.
And finally it might be the answer to 'how' people read the Yijing for others. Some know the rules, what comes first, what then. Others have developed patterns. And for working with patterns, the thinking mind has to be silent, and let the memory do the talking.