Integrating Ouroboros and Yi Jing as Fundamental Symbols in 3D
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 4 Oct 2021
Dynamics of Change Indicated in Virtual Reality by a Torus of 64 Hexagrams
4 Oct 2021 – Curiously the imaginative anticipation of the organization of a possible future by different cultures involves a change of metaphor from “global” to “toroidal”, as discussed separately (Imagining Toroidal Life as a Sustainable Alternative: from globalization to toroidization or back to flatland? 2019). Indications are evident in a degree of comparability of symbols variously deemed and valued as fundamental:
- widespread continuing appreciation of circlets of prayer beads in practice, with the related circlets in some culture of so-called “worry beads” or komboloi (Designing Cultural Rosaries and Meaning Malas to Sustain Associations within the Pattern that Connects, 2000)
- the Ouroboros as tail-eating dragon or serpent, originating in ancient Egyptian iconography, was adopted as a symbol in Gnosticism and Hermeticism, and most notably by alchemy; now variously adapted for use in illustration of cosmological principles (Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel R. Primack, The New Universe and the Human Future: how a shared cosmology could transform the world, 2011; Bernard Carr, Can an Extended Science Bridge the Worlds of Matter, Mind and Spirit? Paradigm Explorer, 2021, #136; video, YouTube, 26 August 2021)
- the Hindu-Buddhist symbol of Indra’s Net, explored mathematically as Indra’s Necklace (David Mumford, et al. Indra’s Pearls: the vision of Felix Klein, 2002)
- the Shao Yung circle of Yi Jing hexagrams as communicated to Gottfried Leibniz (1703), and recognized as of seminal significance in his reflections on the binary coding from which modern computer operations have developed (Envisaging a Comprehensible Global Brain — as a Playful Organ, 2019). The set of hexagrams is widely known to the West as the I Ching: the Book of Changes (1950).
- the circular configuration of symbols of the Zodiac, basic to widespread engagement with astrology; adapted as a “Rosetta stone of meaning” to indicate principles of control and navigation of a vehicle from an engineering perspective — extending to include insights of sociophysics (Arthur Young, Geometry of Meaning, 1976), as discussed separately (Criteria for a Rosetta stone as a meta-model?; Geometry of meaning and cognitive embodiment?, 2016).
Especially curious in terms of comparability of the disparate models above is the ongoing major international investment in the innovative toroidal design of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). This invites speculation on the psychosocial implications of its design challenges (Enactivating a Cognitive Fusion Reactor: Imaginal Transformation of Energy Resourcing (ITER-8), 2006).
Together these suggest the possibility of a design challenge, namely one of exploring designs which might honour their respective insights in order to frame in dynamic terms a new kind of strategic architecture — if only of mnemonic significance, as argued separately (Time for Provocative Mnemonic Aids to Systemic Connectivity? 2018; Global Challenge of the Global Challenge: ¿ In-quest of a decision-making framework appropriate to a world in crisis ? 2016).
The specific focus in what follows is however on “integrating” in virtual reality the Ouroboros with the Yi Jing circle as an approach to reframing design consideration for the other toroidal configurations indicated above, together with others indicated below. This endeavour has the further merit of interrelating symbols more typically associated with West and East respectively (Enhancing the Quality of Knowing through Integration of East-West metaphors, 2000).
The fundamental question addressed by this exercise is how virtual reality can be used to “hold” and explore a greater degree of complexity of diverse cultural significance — more comprehensibly and in a manner more readily susceptible to communication. It follows from previous efforts to present symbols of importance with which fundamental values are variously associated (Eliciting Insight from Mandala-style Logos in 3D: interactive engagement with mandalas and yantras in virtual reality, 2020; Cognitive Implications in 3D of Triadic Symbols Valued in 2D, 2017; Reconciling Symbols of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, 2017).
A further objective of this presentation is to make readily available the code by which the interactive virtual reality animations are generated in order to enable others to experiment in a “hands-on” mode with more meaningful design alternatives. As explained here, this is possible because the program code for the animations can be readily altered with any text editor. The result can be viewed with a virtual reality viewer — of which some are indeed freely available.
Tags: Change, Culture, Reality, Virtual reality
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