Friday, December 4, 2009

Making something simple complicated

Simple is beautiful.
The poem I learnt in my school days that still stays in my mind:
"Beauty is truth and truth beauty."

Well, a lot of people try hard to make simple things complicated to show how knowledgeable they are. One example is about the teaching of Three Cycles and Nine Periods (San Yuan Jiu Yun 三元九運).

Great Feng Shui masters in the past knew a lot about astronomy and geography. They definitely knew that Jupiter and Saturn do not meet in exactly 20 year cycles and could not have related San Yuan Jiu Yun to Jupiter and Saturn movements. Even the alleged relation between Sui Xing 歲星 and Jupiter 木星 is only a beautiful misunderstanding.

Masters in the past knew that there were 60 year cycles according to the Jia Zi combinations. They also knew that there were 9 stars that take turn to rule in Heaven. The ruling star is called a Ling Xing 令星. The term of office is 20 years. Why?

It is simple mathematics that the LCM of 60 and 9 is 180. When 180 is divided by 60, the result is 3 and hence 3 cycles of 60 Jia Zi. When 180 is divided by 9, the result is 20 and hence 9 periods of 20 years each. It is a simple piece of mathematics. Remember that Mathematics is the Queen of Sciences. It is interesting to note that some people who claim that Feng Shui is scientific simply ignore the simple and beautiful mathematics and go for the more complicated astronomy for answers.

We are in Period 1 today? No way.



Marianna Halassy said...

Dear Joseph,

I can't agree more!

As Einstein said, the motto of my blog - “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

Marianna said...

Dear Joseph,

Truth is usually simple, and this is one of the reasons I have never felt pulled to anything that relies on the Chinese lunar calendar.
The lunar calendar has always seemed unnecessarily complex and thus unnatural to me.
And how many times the method of calculation was changed, even by Belgian astronomers (go figure) ?

Using the Jupiter-Saturn cycle instead of exact 20 years, would introduce a lot of difficult problems, and before you know it calculating the Period would be just as complex as the lunar calendar.

For example , because of retrograde movement, sometimes Jupiter and Saturn do not make 1 conjunction, but 3 in row.
Last time this happened was in 1980 - 1981
These were the dates of Jupiter -Saturn conjunctions. Which one is supposed to mark the start of a new Period?:

31/12/1980 21h23m28s
4/ 3/1981 19h06m39s
24/ 7/1981 4h15m16s



Annie Pecheva said...

Dear Joseph,

Nice article!!


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

The lunar calendar should be quite complicated. It is not my cup of tea and therefore I cannot comment. Zi Wei Dou Shu uses the lunar calendar to establish the star chart. There is one major problem with the formula because of the additional month. We cannot find a convincing way to handle this.

However, when I tried to use the solar calendar to do the charting, the result is terribly bad.

When the lunar calendar is used for Zi Wei Dou Shu, it is amazing. Perhaps I will talk a little about this later.

JY said...

Dear Joseph,

Yes, the intercalary month is the main stumbling block.

That's where countless changes and corrections have been made to the calculations, and even Western and Muslim astrologers were consulted for that purpose.

But that begs the question: what happened with all these people who calculated their Zi Wei chart based on a wrong lunar calendar?
Did they also think it was amazingly accurate? Or did they feel something was wrong with their chart?


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

I said, "When the lunar calendar is used for Zi Wei Dou Shu, it is amazing." I did not say that it was "amazingly accurate". It can be amazingly inspiring. It can be displaying an amazingly beautiful picture (of course, beauty is truth). I will show some examples later.

Regarding the intercalary month, the formula used to consider the month without Zhong Qi is assigned to be the intercalary month. This formula is already begging for help from the solar calendar.

Anyway, I have not collected enough case studies to see whether the result is amazing. The chance of meeting such a chart is more or less like getting a "0" when playing the roulette. Isn't it amazingly similar?


Joseph Yu said...

Please note that I rejected some comments because they were unauthorized copied articles or postings in forums.

This blog is recording what I think and the thinking may be inspired by something I read. I have no intention to argue with whomsoever that wrote something I find inspirational.

However, casual discussion with a real identity is welcome.

JY said...

>I said, "When the lunar calendar is used for Zi Wei Dou Shu, it is amazing." I did not say that it was "amazingly accurate". It can be amazingly inspiring. It can be displaying an amazingly beautiful picture (of course, beauty is truth). I will show some examples later.

Dear Joseph,

OK, so I misunderstood that sentence.

But it makes me wonder.
What is the point of getting an "amazingly beautiful or inspiring picture" if it is not all too accurate?

While a system can be rich in symbolism and metaphor, and it can have a lot of possible permutations to allow for rich symbolism. But if it lacks in accuracy then why bother?

And if accuracy is not the main "forte" of a system, then how will it matter which calendar is being used for it?

Tarot readers also see "amazingly beautiful" symbol and patterns in their readings, and they don't use any calendar at all.

That's something we can think about.


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

--What is the point of getting an "amazingly beautiful or inspiring picture" if it is not all too accurate?--

A picture is to the eyes of the beholder. Here the astrologer comes in. A good astrologer can get the message from the picture and draw his conclusion. Life reading is an art. Do you judge an art by "accuracy"?

Ancient Chinese Astrology had its origin from Western Astrology. The picture is formed from the related positions of the planets, their satellites and even the comets in the solar system. In the Tang and Song Dynasties, clever people found that it was more fruitful just to consider the qi of the five elements at any moment to draw the picture of a life. This led to the invention of the Four Pillars. The solar calendar displays the qi structure of time very well for this purpose.

Zi Wei Dou Shu, on the other hand, is not about the qi structure of time. It is an arbitrary formula introduced using the lunar calendar as it was understood by the common citizen.

Wang Ting Zhi 王亭之, a scholar who did quite profound research in ZWDS, quoted a story from Song Ren Bi Ji 宋人筆记 that was quite suggestive. The story was about an astrologer whose skill was substandard. He disappeared in the mountains for 3 days and when he reappeared, his life reading was superb and this amazed his clients. The terminology he used resembled what we use in ZWDS today.

It is not unreasonable to link this story to an encounter of a human being with extraterrestrial beings. The person might have assisted the ET in some way, and the ET transmitted some knowledge to him to help him make a better living afterwards. The ET was very considerate to use what was commonly used in those days - the lunar calendar and names of stars used by Buddhists and Feng Shui masters.

Of course, this is only a romantic novel and it does not apply to other Chinese metaphysical studies. Whether it is true is to the ears of the listener.

It is enough to predict a sketch of the future. The colours are to be added by us to make it a picture. Whether the picture shows the beautiful sunset in tranquility or the cruel bloodshed in the battle field depends on how we draw the picture from the sketch we are provided with.

What is accuracy? We can see the sketch but not the final picture.


Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph,

Simple is not a word that comes to mind when I think back of my first days as your student.

It was more as if I was hanging onto the tail of a dragon and it still feels that way... it makes my life exciting in my small world.

I've learned to use another part of my brain to communicate with qi, I believe possibly the same qi I would talk to as a little girl praying to her Guardian Angel.

Pondering today's season, yin and north in nature, yang qi being born....the ji chou character of this year, pure yin, wet earth with no fire, the ground is getting ready. I go to see a woman about a horse these days and fire qi gets form.

Somehow, somewhere chaos transforms to simple beauty, difficult to measure except deep in the soul.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas, Joseph.

Mary said...

> Life reading is an art. Do you judge an art by "accuracy"?

Dear Joseph,

Yes, I think so.

What do we mean when we say something is "an art"?
There are the known classic arts like painting , sculpting, music.
And even in those arts, "accuracy" can be quite important, e.g. in music.

But when we say something is "an art" we usually mean there are facets of it that are not the direct result of logic.., "the art" of it cannot be directly explained or communicated.

This is the case in all kinds of domains.
For example there is "the art" of tuning a formula 1 car. Even though they use all kind of sophisticated instruments, there is still an "art" to it, something that machines alone can't do.

But regardless whether we consider a violin player or a formula 1 mechanic, if his "art" is any good then the result is actually more "accurate" , more perfect...
Art without accuracy will be like playing "false notes" in music.


In life reading we cannot be satisfied by only bringing a nice picture from a raw scetch.
The customer expects it to be relevant to his life, he expects a certain accuracy.
Otherwise he could just as well go to the library and find as many amazing stories as he wants to read.

Where is our "art" if it doesn't lead to a more accurate picture and understanding about the person?

So, in astrology we can't get rid of this question of "accuracy" so easily.


joey said...

As I mentioned before,Osho`s speech on Astrology was made in 1971.Recent studies like the one above show he was wrong about twins. This is quite a puzzle for Astrologers