(Intuitive Decision-Making. . . )
Oracle Systems & Decision-Making Not only did the I Ching fascinate psychologist Carl Jung, it was also popular with his fellow scientists Werner Heisenberg and Albert Einstein. Heisenberg, discoverer of the Uncertainty Principle, even had the yin-yang symbol (representing the binary polarity of the I Ching’s 64 patterns) added to his family’s coat-of-arms.
A more recent example from the world of business is Paul Wenner, a successful entrepreneur with a cause. In 1985, he founded Gardenburger, Inc. to provide a healthy fast-food alternative. Much sweat equity and thousands of decisions later, Gardenburger rose to become the world’s fastest growth stock in 1994. Paul is now a multimillionaire, author of a major book on vegetarianism and the booklet Ten Secrets to Success.
One of Wenner’s secrets is the use of the I Ching—in the form of a software program appropriately named Synchronicity—to stimulate intuition and support critical decision-making. Wenner states that “the Synchronicity program played a major role in my company’s success and growth.”
The Principle of Synchronicity A certain curious principle that I have termed synchronicity, a concept that formulates a point of view diametrically opposed to that of causality . . . synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers. —Carl Jung
Over the past several decades, the perceived gap between the empirical and the mystical has been closing. Credit for bringing these two camps within hailing distance must go to the great German-born psychologist Carl Jung, who introduced the West to the idea of meaningful coincidence, or synchronicity.
Jung’s work looms behind any exploration of intuition. Although today’s Jungians may hesitate to follow the leader, Jung fearlessly explored the territory connecting scientific inquiry with spiritual experience. He emphasized the importance of symbolism, suggesting that symbols always point to a deeper truth, and counseling us to interpret our own unique sets of symbols.
In a 1952 monograph entitled “Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle,” Jung contrasted the western mind—influenced by early Greek philosophers who focused on details—with the eastern perspective, which views the detail as part of the whole. To Jung, the eastern approach leveraged a more contemplative approach, a more holistic viewpoint impossible for the unassisted intellect, prone as it is to tunnel vision. Jung pointed to a power of discernment that can take advantage of “the irrational functions of consciousness sensation and intuition.”
Herein lay Jung’s enchantment with the I Ching: it codifies a method of grasping a situation not by components, but as a seamless whole. “There is no need of any criteria which imposes conditions and restricts the wholeness of the natural process. In the I Ching, the coins fall just as happens to suit them.”
How can any sort of truth be divined from such an apparently happenstance methodology? Two Chinese sages, King Wen and the Duke of Chou, devised the I Ching some 4,000 years ago to strengthen the connection between the psychic and physical realms. Today, we approach the I Ching prepared to resonate inwardly with one of its sixty-four archetypal patterns—an ability we call intuition. As Jung put it, the I Ching oracle interprets an “inner unconscious knowledge that corresponds to the state of consciousness at the moment.”
And so it is that an answer to a long-unsolved quandary seems to pop into our heads. So it is that events oozing with connective portent have no apparent causal relationship. Such moments are hardly random; something in the external world triggers our inner knowledge, and the two realities merge within the working intellect. The I Ching codifies this phenomenon, presenting an accessible system that can be used deliberately with surprising results.
An Intuitive Renaissance The I Ching, since its revival in the 1960s, has been categorized as “New Age” in the popular media. It is, however, anything but new—having been used by emperors, sages, and ordinary people for thousands of years. Today, this oracle continues to be put to practical use by psychotherapists, physicists, and by enlightened yet practical individuals like Paul Wenner.
A general angst has settled over us in this Age of Chaos. Lacking the guidance of a trustworthy internal pilot, we founder in a bog of anxiety, confusion, mistrust, and indecision. No matter how adroit the voices of reason, they cannot seem to slake our thirst. Parched for guidance and wisdom, once again we turn to the I Ching—a powerful method with an ancient and honorable pedigree—for clarity of insight and intuitive decision-making.
Paul O’brien is the host of Pathways, a popular interview program on KBOO radio, focusing on issues of transformation and self-discovery. A successful businessman in the software industry, he has studied martial arts, meditation and eastern metaphysics. Paul is also the founder of Visionary Networks, Inc., a multimedia company using technology to support personal and cultural development. Visionary’s most recent productions are the intuitive decision-making CD-Rom Oracle of Changes, and Tarot Magic. You can reach Paul at 503-246-4043.