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Copyright 1999 C. J. Lofting

By C. J. Lofting

The fundamental concept regarding the I Ching is that there are potentially billions of them, not just one. The one is more of a template and as such consists of line symbols and a generic name that captures the general 'feel' associated to the symbol. The line and judgement texts can be ignored to a degree where, if you make-up your own, they will still reflect concepts as those made by King Wen and his son, the Duke of Chou.

This template emphasis exists as part of the text of the I Ching (or Yijing) where:

"The character jing is normally translated as 'classic', hence the title Jijing is often given as the Classic of Change. But jing literally means 'a warp thread', ie. the threads that run from top to bottom of a fabric" p11 Fancourt, de W., (1997)"Warp & Weft: In search of the I Ching" Capall Bann

In this sense, every person on the planet could create their own I Ching, and when compared we would find similarities that reflect the species-based categorisation system that we use to structure our communications. This structure is tied-in to our neurology/psychology in the form of processing ANY information by making the fundamental distinctions of objects (whole-parts) and relationships (static/dynamic) [ these pairs are called dichotomies] and these are then combined into text/context partnerships that go to manifesting a 'whole' experience. (see the 'brain' sections on this site for more details on this.)

The experience is then encoded, symbolised, and this method of information processing, what we call metaphorcation , is where we transfer meaning to a 'carrier' of it, allowing for general and particular sharing of information where the metaphors/symbolisms elicit emotional resonance. The ultimate form of this manifest as words where the words act like stones in that, thrown into the pool of emotion that we all share, creates waves of meaning; also manifest in the expression of 'hitting the right chord'. Another analogy is to a holographic system where the word act as a reference beam that when 'shone' on the holographic film we have of our lives 'in here' acts to bring-out a particulatr image and that image can itself act like a reference beam to bring-out more images and so on. The interference patterns on the film are linked with emotions and so we can get 'flash backs' where we vividly recall something and even project onto the current environment.

To demonstrate multiple I Chings I have taken sets of categorisations from a couple of areas including an online drama book   that makes the distinctions of characters and plots and their use in creating plays. Within these distinctions are used pairs (dichotomies) to emphasise relationships and utilising the dichotomy template I have refined these categorisations to show relationships across all of them; the many reflect the one.

This gives us 6 "I Ching"s to compare and detect the underlying common pattern of meaning -- the template I Ching, the I Ching of Characters, the I Ching of Plots, the I Ching of Themes, the I Ching of the MBTI. the 'traditional' I Ching of China. These last two, MBTI and traditional I Ching, are presented elsewhere at this site and so only summarised here.

The ease with which I have been able to do this is due to the manner in which the original categorisations were unconsciously made using the proposed template and the discussion on the template I leave until last since it is an abstract concept that, without having any 'filling' can seem 'meaningless'.


This I Ching deals with persona types (as well as such Jungean distinctions of ego/shadow/anima/animus etc etc). What we see here is the fusion of (a) The I Ching trigrams (b) fundamental types of the MBTI(R), and (c) the generic character categorisations used by Melanie Anne Phillips & Chris Huntley in their on-line book mentioned above. With this fusion so we also pick up some subtle misconceptions in the orginal categorisations which, upon resolution, go towards clarifying them.

Phillips and Huntley start by making the distinctions of 'drivers' and 'passengers' where the former are the main personas in the drama and the passengers...well, they are there for the ride. This pairing reflects other dichotomies such as leader/follower and so a more cooperative emphasis than rigidly oppositional.

Phillips and Huntley lay out these distinctions thus (see chapter 6 of their online book for Phillips and Huntley's details on behaviour):


This compass format has protagonist at north, guardian at west, contagonist at east, and antagonist at south. The common link is the "driver" emphasis which is captured in the I Ching/template as an unbroken bottom line emphasising a 'yang' bias. This emphasis forces the antagonist to not be so 'extreme' as 'pure negation' (all yin) but more of an anoyance. As we shall see, this also forces 'pure yin' to become cooperative in the form of the devoted sidekick.

The Passengers diagram is laid out thus (in one chapter the reason/emotion dichotomy is reversed but in all others the following is used and the template enables us to 'refine' these distinctions and possibly 'correct' a perceptual error):

Here we have the same compass format but with the sidekick at north, emotion as west, reason as east, and skeptic as south. The common link is the "passenger" emphasis captured in the I Ching/template as a broken line emphasising a 'yin' bias.

Analysis of these patterns, using the template as a guide, has led to the creation of a corresponding pair of diagrams linking I Ching trigrams with the compass positions:

Compass 1:

In this compass, reflecting the 'driver' compass, the trigrams are ordered as heaven is north, fire is west, lake is east, and thunder is south.

Compass 2:

In this compass, reflecting the 'passenger' compass, the trigrams are ordered as earth is north, water is west, mountain is east, and wind is south.

The third set of compasses comes from combining Myers-Briggs Type Indicator(R)/Keirsey Temperament Checker. The MBTI tags are in brackets following the Keirsey Temperament name. Note that the MBTI tags start with an X where the Introvert/Extravert dichotomy is not differentiated at this level but the next:

Compass 1:


In this compass, reflecting the 'driver' compass, operators (xstp) are north, organisers (xntj) are west, players (xsfp) are east, and engineers (xntp) are south. These definitions can be added-to with the operators/players being deemed sensation seekers and the organiser/engineers being solution seekers/problem solvers and this includes the creation of problems to 'try things out'.

Compass 2:

In this compass, reflecting the 'passenger' compass, advocates/disciples (xnfp) are north, conservators (xsfj) are west, mentors (xnfj) are east, and monitors (xatj) are south. These definitions can be added-to with the advocates/mentors deemed identity seekers and the conservators/monitors being security seekers.

The fourth set of compasses comes from the template. Firstly we need to make the distinctions of objects and relationships. We then distinguish two types of objects, those we label as wholes and those we label as parts, recognising that context can affect this labeling process where a whole is a part when viewed from a different level of analysis. Next we distinguish two types of relationships, static and dynamic. We then add the dichotomy of text (foreground, drivers) and context (background, passengers). We note that drivers are expansive whereas passengers are more contractive, they pull inwards or contain rather than push outwards. To add to these distinctions, my analysis of how we describe things suggests that we take the elements of each dichotomy and weave them together, or mix them and we can use mixing terms to describe the general 'feel' for each 'mix':

Using the contract/expand distinction, so we have contractive blending and expansive blending and so on. Here are the compasses:

Compass 1 (Emphasis on 'facts', expansive) AND Compass 2 ( Emphasis on 'values', contractive):


The concept of blending is north for both compasses, bounding is west for both, bonding is east for both, and binding is south for both. We see here the 'generic' nature of this where the same patterns operate for both compasses but, using the I Ching reference, the bottom line makes a difference. The other compasses have words that make the distinctions, my emphasis is to show the 'root' of it all, the 'one' from the 'many'.

When we analyse the other compasses in their own contexts it is possible to pick up these generic distinctions in each and in doing so we realise that ALL of the compasses are 'talking' about the same GENERAL patterns in a very PARTICULAR way. Realising this, we can in fact 'entangle' the compasses to help refine categorisations within each compass by making analogies to the others and I suggest that this is how we can make analogies, the blend, bond, bound, bind distinctions are patterns of emotion that resonate when 'touched' by a word and so generates a sense of 'meaning'. Furthermore, the above formats can be moved about to show other patterns that can generate meanings.

Uniting these compasses, those of the characters with those of the traditional I Ching and the MBTI associations enable us to make the following associations in the context of the Characters I Ching:

Drivers Bias

Generic sensation seekers, they just like driving. Yang bias. Problem solvers (guardian/antagonist) develop out of this - they have had accidents and want to avoid them in the future so they make maps etc paths to follow. They are the passanger elements within the driver set):

Protagonist - Trigram of The Creative. Heaven (air) Sensation seeking. Operator types. To out-do. To 'win'.To become 'one'. to entangle text with context. Expansive Blend emphasis. From perseverence comes singlemindedness. Good troubleshooters/negotiators; samurai warriors. Get off on the buzz of achieving 'harmony' etc. (hexagram 11); this is the dividend for the singlemindedness applied to achieving a goal.

Contagonist - Trigram of The Joyous. Lake. Sensation seeking. Players. To play/entertain (includes enticement). to bond with but not blend with.Expansive bonding emphasis. From self-reflection comes intensity. Play to an audience. Get off on being accepted, deferred-to. (Hexagram 19) - treading on the tail of the tiger without fear of retaliation.

Guardian - Trigram of The Clinging. Fire. Solutions seeking (problem solving) Organisers/Planners/Strategists. To bound, enclose, make maps to guide and establish direction. Expansive bound emphasis. From guidance comes direction (ideology). Get off on uncompromising; thinking they know the way, (hexagram 36) Goal is loose associations. The Dramatica term 'guardian' is slightly misleading; I think this is more the 'political' officer -- the guardian of the ideology; the map maker-setter-follower-holder.

Antagonist - Trigram of The Arousing. Thunder. Solutions seeking (problem solving) Philosopher/Architect. To bind. Expansive binding emphasis. From enlightenment comes awareness. In the context of drivers so this type distracts or is easily distracted and goes off on many side roads (which they get off on - hex 24) and is also prone to emphasising disentanglement; break free or pull back from... The protagonist is 'traditional' and conservative. Antagonist is anti this or a threat to it in that it has the skill to introduce something that overthrows things, symbolised in 'thunder' so this is the source of disturbance, the 'mad' scientist or the 'paradigm' shifter.

Each of these types have eight hexagrams that capture their general 'range' of being, and each hexagram has sixty-four variations on the theme. All to be described later.

Passengers Bias

Generic identity seekers. They are on a journey to seek identity. Yin bias. They lack the precision skills of the drivers but have qualitative skills -- value oriented. They will bitch about the chairs, windows, colour of the vehicle etc etc The Security seekers, (emotion/skeptic) develop out of this in that they have experienced problems and see threats in the form of a loss or a corruption of established identity):

Sidekick - Trigram of The Receptive. Earth. Identity seeking. Advocate/Disciple types. To become 'one' through drawing something 'in'. Contractive blend emphasis. From devotion comes dualmindedness. Your vanilla disciple. Goal is the ability to parry all criticism to the 'one true way' -- see hex 12. When betrayed can be very critical, and 'lost'. Benefit it 'pure' receptivity.

Reason - Trigram of Keeping Still. Mountain. Identity seeking. Mentor types. To bond with one and so  still keep some identity. Contractive bond emphasis. From self-restraint comes discernment. I think Phillips and Huntley have made an error here in using the term 'reason'; I think they are using the term in a qualitative way which is reflected in the concept of discernment. E.g. the hexagram 15 called modesty deals with being 'reasonable' as in avoiding highs and lows, levelling things out. This is qualitative rather than quantitative. Reason in the engineering/logic sense is more the domain of the antagonist/guardians. Recall all of the 'reasonable' but insane antagonists where everything is planned out but also anti-everything 'normal'.

Qualitative 'reason' has a goal of trickary e.g. false retreats to draw the enemy in or to enable one to fight another day. (hex 33). Reason makes you run 'logically'.

Emotion - Trigram of The Abysmal. Water. Security seeking. Protectors/Conservators. Moralists. To bound. Contractive bound emphasis. From containment comes control. A subtle error here by Phillips and Huntley in that we find 'illogical' control here. This is thus not what they see as uncontrolled, it is more 'qualitative' biased control which can appear 'wacky' at times. In the I Ching we see an emphasis, for example, on education purely for the sake of establishing control (hexagram 4); rote learning without question. Gets off on hex 07 -- establishing a degree of uniformity through the goal of hexagram 06 - enforcing compromise; use of legal avenues.

Skeptic - Trigram of The Gentle. Wind. Security seeking. Monitors/Umpires/Auditors. (no trust). To bind. Contractive bind emphasis. From cultivation comes influence. Included in this group are both persuaders and excess as well as sources of nourishment and corruption fighting. Umpires and Auditors are manifestations of skeptic thinking in that you are seen as being unable to 'honestly' do things or achieve anything without their 2c worth of supervision/commentary  etc etc. Get off on persuasion/seduction and so being influencial (hex 44).

When we drop a few levels so all of these eight types interact and have qualities of the others as part of their psyche, they just have a preferred persona.

For example, the skeptical aspect of the protagonist is manifest by hexagram 9 (skeptic trigram over protagonist trigram) which deals with making small gains and singlemindedly building on those to gain influence. There is thus a lack of trust/faith in 'going for broke'.


This maps directly onto the same trigram sets as for characters and so creating a 'plot I Ching' Phillips and Huntley diagram plots as:

Driver plots (tonic emphasis, single context, totalist):

Goal -- (Protagonist link) -- The Creative -- the goal is to blend. Eight basic goals, 64 variations per goal.

Requirements -- (Guardian link) -- The Clinging -- the aids in the form of planning, logistics, ideology - bound

Forewarnings -- (Contagonist link) -- The Joyous -- self-reflection, intensity - bond (this also links to theme and past/future)

Consequence -- (Antagonist link) -- The Arousing - bind

Passengers plots (harmonics emphasis, multicontext, relativist):

Dividends -- (Sidekick link) -- The Receptive (Trust, devotion, faith, confirmation, celebration, foresight) - blend

Preconditions -- (Reason link) -- Keeping Still (Discernment, qualitative 'this from that' and so a bond, wave like)

Prerequisites -- (Emotion link) -- The Abysmal (socialisation, education, to mask, persona) - bound

Costs -- (Skeptic link) -- The Gentle (Penetrating) loss of innocense, exposure to or becoming corrupt, excess, to become entangled - bind



When we combine these "I Chings" so we can see that:

Phillips/Huntley state that "Requirements are the essential steps or circumstances which must be met in order to reach the story's/character's goal" and when we include the other I Chings so we can see developmental patterns where the given hexagram meanings etc do suggest these requirements are needed for the above goals:

Phillips/Huntley state that "Consequences are dependent upon the goal [previous section]...consequences may be expressed as what will happen if the goal is not achieved.." Again, adding-in the other I Chings we see that can easily establish these relationships:

Phillips/Huntley state that "Forwarnings appear as a signal that the consequences[previous section] are imminent"

Phillips/Huntley state that "Dividends are benefits accrued on the way to the goal."

Phillips/Huntley state that "Costs function much like negative dividends. They are the detrimental effects of the effort to reach the goal."

Phillips/Huntley state that "Prerequisites determine what is needed to begin meeting the requirements"

Phillips/Huntley state that "Preconditions are non-essential steps or items that become attached to the effort to achieve the goal through someone's insistance"

We can see from this that not only is this useful for plays etc but for all psychological, and sociological, pathwork, in fact for ANY dichotomy-based catgorisation system. Develop the compasses and you will find that the same methods have in fact been applied to apparently 'diverse' disciplines.

We also notice that the same patterns apply at all levels such that, for plots so the goals set 'in the north' but within each element we also find goals as shown in the list above where, for example, the skeptic has a goal (hex 44) other than that for the story as a whole.


Reflection on the above patterns show that the compasses apply to the ordering of the hexagrams in a binary format around the circumference of a circle. The compasses then fit into the middle of the circle and can be rotated to give variations on the themes.

This is done based on the ability to refine the 'base' trigram compasses into hexagram compasses by mearly doubling each trigram. From this we can easily see the compass format which serves as a 'template' and the hexagrams on the circumference offer variations on the theme. For example, the 'standard' template in linear form is:

protagonist - contagonist - guardian - antagonist. Using the binary numbering, with a base of 1 and the traditional number in brackets, this manifests hexagram 64 (01) - 55 (58) - 46 (30) - 37 (51). This gives us an algorithm where, given any position we can determine the archetypal natures of the other positions in that contagon is 9 positions less that the protagonist, 18 higher that then antagonist. The guardian is 18 lower that the protagonist and 9 higher than the antagonist.

When we view the 'passenger' template this way so we have:

Sidekick-reason-emotion-skeptic. Which become 1 (2) - 10 (52) - 19 (29) - 28 (57). This is the 'template' archetypal pattern and placed into the center of the circle again gives us the variations on a theme. What links the two compasses this way is that the sidekick is the structural opposite but behavioural complement to the protagonist, and we in fact find that when combine the two compasses we get a position list of 1-10-19-28-37-46-55-64 which then loops back onto 1. Thus positions 1 & 64 are next to each other, protagonist with sidekick and the distance between all of the rest is 9 positions.

The order is protagonist:contagonist:guardian:antagonist:skeptic:emotion:reason:sidekick

There is a 'flaw' in this in the form of terminologies and that is the associations of reason and guardian. I think these terms should be swapped since the reason brings out the 'direction' setting of the fire trigram and the guardian brings out the gatekeeper manifest in the mountain trigram in that the gatekeeper is discerning and decides who passes and who does not. This discernment element is 'reasonable', emphasising qualitative reasoning.

We can in fact create ONE I Ching compass that reflects all of this:

This reflects the structural sequence of Fu Hsi, aka the binary senquence, but rather than show it as a linear oppositional format, introduces a circular cooperative format where the ends of the linear form are brought together to form the circle. This gives us two methods of analysis, one that is struturally symmetric and so 'pure' but also sterile, or else one that is slightly skewed due to the coopertive emphasis, where the skew is the joining of the ends to make a circle and in doing so make the strutural opposite of yang a complementary partner. This I call a sexual categorisation system as compared to the structurally symmetric asexual categorisation system where pure yin and pure yang are in opposition:

If we swing the far right end, down and around next to the left end, we form the compass format of the trigrams.

When the trigram compass is converted to a hexagram compass, where each trigram initially maps to its hexagram (giving us the traditional numbering clockwise, 1-58-30-51-57-29-52-2. Note 2 seems to oppose 1 which is the asexual format. Link the ends and we get the cooperative, sexual format) so we can use it to determine variations on a theme. For example, traditionally, the archetypical protagonist is 'the creative', hexagram 1 (binary 64). Shift this two positions clockwise on the binary circle and we have hexagram 14 (binary 62) as 'protagonist'. This gives us hexagram 43 (binary 63) as the 'sidekick' but seen in the 'light' of the archetypal hexagram, hex 2. This also gives us hexagram 03 as the 'antagonist', the full sequence being: 14-54-37-03-18-07-12-43.

We can also convert the plot compass set to this one compass.

What this means is that EVERY hexagram manifests properties of EVERY compass point but to bring that out requires relational patterns to set a context that can support such expression both positive and negative.

Holographic mapping: Reference and Interference

Reflecting on what has been said so far, we are dealing with archetypal forces , 'pure' forms (tai chi) with which, once determined, can be aspectually analysed (yin/yang) and the resulting form can become 'tai chi' in their own right and so themselves can be aspectully analysed. This is 'holographic' in that the 'one', the Tai Chi, acts as a reference beam, and the many, yin/yang, the interference patterns.

This allows us to use the SAME patterns at all levels of analysis and this is demonstratable using the goal set to determine a story line. The goal set acts as the reference beam and when combined with the interference beam give us the set of elements within the goal set. In the archetypal format of the compass so we see a hexagram sequence that captures the archetypal plot (note that I have skewed this. The circle form puts the dividend to the left of the goal but I wish to assert the goal first and so follow with the dividend to emphasise the relationship):

This archetype plot(role) serves as the seed for all others. I have listed these below in the above order (if we swap the first two so the list can be overlaid onto the compass with the second position as 'north'. The other choice is to put the sidekick last manifesting opposition, the asexual format. The sexual format forms the circle and so brings the once opposite around to being the sidekick emphasising cooperation where the 5-6 positions now reflect opposition but also the source of motivation/instigation):

01 02 58 30 51 57 29 52 (the archetype plot)

43 01 38 55 42 48 04 15 (variations on the theme)

14 43 54 37 03 18 07 12

34 14 61 63 27 46 33 45

09 34 60 22 24 06 31 35

05 09 41 36 44 47 56 16

26 05 19 25 28 64 62 20

11 26 13 17 50 40 53 08

10 11 49 21 32 59 39 23

58 10 30 51 57 29 52 02 interesting sequence, a shift of the archetype with a replacement of 01 with 10.

38 58 55 42 48 04 15 01

54 38 37 03 18 07 12 43

61 54 63 27 46 33 45 14

60 61 22 24 06 31 35 34

41 60 36 44 47 56 16 09

19 41 25 28 64 62 20 05

13 19 17 50 40 53 08 26

49 13 21 32 59 39 23 11

30 49 51 57 29 52 02 10 further degradation of the archetype, a further shift and a replacement of 58 with 49

55 30 42 48 04 15 01 58

37 55 03 18 07 12 43 38

63 37 27 46 33 45 14 54

22 63 24 06 31 35 34 61

36 22 44 47 56 16 09 60

25 36 28 64 62 20 05 41

17 25 50 40 53 08 26 19

21 17 32 59 39 23 11 13

51 21 57 29 52 02 10 49

42 51 48 04 15 01 58 30

03 42 18 07 12 43 54 55

27 03 46 33 45 14 61 37

24 27 06 31 35 34 60 63

44 24 47 56 16 09 41 22

28 44 64 62 20 05 19 36

50 28 40 53 08 26 13 25

32 50 59 39 23 11 49 17

57 32 29 52 02 10 30 21

48 57 04 15 01 58 55 51

18 48 07 12 43 38 37 42

46 18 33 45 14 54 63 03

06 46 31 35 34 61 22 27

47 06 56 16 09 60 36 24

64 47 62 20 05 41 25 44

40 64 53 08 26 19 17 28

59 40 39 23 11 13 21 50

29 59 52 02 10 49 51 32

04 29 15 01 58 30 42 57

07 04 12 43 38 55 03 48

33 07 45 14 54 37 27 18

31 33 35 34 61 63 24 46

56 31 16 09 60 22 44 06

62 56 20 05 41 36 28 47

53 62 08 26 19 25 50 64

39 53 23 11 13 17 32 40

52 39 02 10 49 21 57 59

15 52 01 58 30 51 48 29

12 15 43 38 55 42 18 04

45 12 14 54 37 03 46 07

35 45 34 61 63 27 06 33

16 35 09 60 22 24 47 31

20 16 05 41 36 44 64 56

08 20 26 19 25 28 40 62

23 08 11 13 17 50 59 53

02 23 10 49 21 32 29 39

One:many feedback, hierarchy, and music.

The initial distinction of whole:relationships is captured in the I Ching as Tai Chi : yin/yang. In the eight positions in the archetype compass, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 we find that there is a relationship of 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8. This is then generalised thus:

1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

(1-2) - (3-4), (5-6) - (7-8)

((1-2) - (3-4)) - ((5-6) - (7-8))

We can refine these relatioships further, thus the oppose/cooperate emphasis is qualified by the blend, bond, bound, bind relational methods inherant in the template 'underneath' the I Ching. We have this created eight more I Chings for each created in that the full I Ching of 64 can be interpreted as manifesting oppositional bounding or cooperative binding etc.

What is noteworthy here is that this base 'template' is related to music, in the form of the archetypal scale of C (pure, no sharps, no flats) Here we see that the semitone positions manifest 'close' relationships and we find that these positions are linked to the protagonist/sidekick relationship (1-2), and the 'shadow' form of this in the antagonist/skeptic relationship (5-6)

Musically we have:

position - note








C (octave higher)

This is the archetypal scale; the 'pure' form.We can then apply the SAME process we applied above with the hexagrams to note relationships. In this we have note as text and note as context i.e.:

C in C

B in C

A in C

G in C

F in C

E in C

D in C

C in C (octave)

We next include the same archetype for modes: