“Everything in the universe, from human relationships to high energy particle interactions is participating in a ceaseless process of change guided by simple, yet universal patterns. From the beginning of philosophical thought in ancient China, nearly 4000 years ago through current research in physics and molecular biology, one basic question is being posed: How do phenomena change?” (Phillips, 1992)
The ancient Chinese Classic of Change, or the I Ching, postulates the existence of the 64 universal patterns allowing us to have a glimpse in the nature of change in the context of human relationships and organizational structures. The core attributes of each pattern are the six drivers of change and two domains of change, making it a robust tool for modeling the dynamics of change in virtually any environment. The detailed description of the inner structure of the I Ching is provided in the Anatomy of Change book, which can be found in Google Books or on Amazon.
II. IDENTIFY PATTERNS OF CHANGE
A. CHANCE METHOD (a good place to start; engages the subconscious mind, mythos)
1. State your question, problem or goal (write it down for best results)
2. Generate a random pattern of change and its derivatives
B. CHOICE METHOD (a process for modeling change; engages the analytical mind, logos)
1. Type in your question (problem, goal) in the provided template
2. Construct a pattern of change
- a. Define two relevant domains (e.g. Internal / External)
- b. Indentify the main drivers of change (three for each domain)
- c. Assess qualities of each driver and type in your answers in the template
- Yang or Yin (two opposite, but complementary states, e.g. Active or Passive)
- Stable or Changing (e.g. if the driver is likely to ‘run out’ of energy in the relevant future label it with ~, otherwise, enter ‘ ‘)
III. REVIEW PATTERNS
- CURRENT: describes qualities of the immediate moment (e.g. ‘choppy waters’ of the ‘here and now’)
- FUTURE: describes qualities of the future state, once the changing (or unstable) drivers have run their course and get inverted into their opposites
- NUCLEAR: describes the underlying nature of the situation (e.g. ‘deep waters’ of the underlying reality)
IV. INTERPRET PATTERNS
Carl Gustav Jung, the famed Swiss psychotherapist and founder of the theory of syncronicity, described the I Ching as “an intuitive technique for grasping the total situation”.
Regardless of which method one uses to consult the I Ching to navigate change, the main benefit of this process comes from the ability to use the abstract language and symbolism of this ancient tool as a way to distance oneself from the situation and to reflect on it in an unbiased and unemotional way.
The I Ching provides a method for engaging one’s mind (both the mythos and logos aspects of it) to help put structure around what may seem like an uncontrollable and mysterious nature of change, to create order out of chaos so to speak, to confront emotions etc.
The effectiveness of the I Ching based framework depends both on the user and the situation. One way to derive value from this process is to write down any associative ideas and thoughts that come up as one studies the hexagrams’ content. A more formal approach is to perform a structured scenario analysis based on hypothetical behaviors of various drivers.
In any case, one does not need to spend a lot of time studying the inner structure of the I Ching in order to benefit from it. On the other hand, if one feels compelled to dive deeper into its ocean of wisdom the Anatomy of Change book may be a good place to start.