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How did the Spirit of the I Ching get into your machine? Christian tells most of that story. My contributing role was mainly as a facilitator, to make good use of the technical possibilities of current times.

How it started and went on

For no particular reason, really, other than the sheer availability of a personal computer. Back in 1988 I got my first, a cute little Macintosh Plus. The China Labyrinth had long been conceived by Martin Medema. I thought it'd be interesting to write a solution generator for it, just for the fun of it.

Once that was done, adding the correlation between the I Ching hexagrams and the hexagons of the Labyrinth was relatively easy. Slap an interface on it all and the first version of the I Ching Connexion program was born.
It has evolved a bit over the years. The most recent version (from 2004) is still available for download, running happily on older Mac OS X systems (up to 10.6.8, Snow Leopard).

When we overhauled our MindSports web site in 2008 it was decided to rewrite the application using internet technologies, making the I Ching Connexion available to a much larger audience, dare I say, to the whole world.

Making a Connexion: how it works

As explained in the China Labyrinth the puzzle consists of 64 hexagons, that all have different patterns of lines radiating from the center to the sides: there’s 1 hexagon with no lines, 6 have one line, etc.. In a transcendental solution
1. every line is ‘connected’ to a line of a neighboring hexagon, and
2. when there's no line on the side there's no neighbor.
(When you drop the second rule you get a ‘compact solution’.)

The program searches for a transcendental solution using a simple backtracking technique: it puts the hexagons on a hexagonal grid one by one while observing the rules. It presupposes that the part put together so far is part of a solution until proven otherwise. In that case the hexagon placed last is removed from the grid and another, untried one put in its place. And so forth - and back.

Sounds easy enough, yes?

To make sure a different Connexion comes out on each run, things are picked randomly whenever possible. But not completely at random, because we like to see some solution within our life time, preferably within a second.
So, to support the program's working assumption - the part put together so far is part of a solution - it's been given a preference to place the 'difficult' hexagons first. The more (Yin) lines a hexagon has, the harder it is to accommodate with proper neighbors, simply because it needs more neighbors.
Also, a complete solution requires at least two loops (see China Labyrinth). So, a part put together so far that has two or more loops, stands a better chance of being 'closer' to a solution. The program likes to place the 'loopy' hexagons quickly to increase the chance a loop is formed. It even prefers them over the 'difficult' hexagons, to increase variations in the solutions found.
This yields a good balance between speed and randomness.

Well, yes, almost. Some choices made within these parameters still take the process on the wrong track. A Connexion is found quickly or it takes a very long time. So, it was decided the search simply starts all over again if a solution isn't found within 384 steps.
The result: you have a Connexion presented to you within 1 or 2 seconds. And each will be different.

Credits

The I Ching Connexion wouldn’t have seen daylight if it wasn’t for the inspiration of my friend Christian Freeling.
Text compilation, texts (except the one you’re reading now) and all of the artwork are from his hands too.

The I Ching text in this site is basically the translation James Legge made (published in 1882, England) of the Imperial Edition of the I (published in 1715, China).

The future?

A link between the I Ching and astrology was suggested to us by Gerard Dijkman. Currently, the online version of the I Ching Connexion doesn't have a presentation of this link, only the Mac program has: an I Ching Clock and the ability to determine a natal hexagram.
If you'd be interested in such a feature online, please let me know.

It's not possible (yet) to save a divination (including a Connexion) other than the last one. The system remembers your last one automatically for one year or until you ask for a new divination.

Legal matters

I Ching Connexion © 1995- MindSports

This service is provided as is. No responsibility is taken for any damage it might cause. Use at your own risk.

Version history

online v1.0 (12 September 2008): first exposure

How to reach me

If you experience problems with our online divination please email me. Positive comments are also welcome.

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