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CHING(6)                         Games Manual                         CHING(6)

       ching - the book of changes and other cookies

       /usr/games/ching [hexagram]

       The  I  Ching  or Book of Changes is an ancient Chinese oracle that has
       been in use for centuries as a source of wisdom and advice.

       The text of the oracle (as it is sometimes known)  consists  of  sixty-
       four  hexagrams,  each  symbolized  by  a particular arrangement of six
       straight (---) and broken (- -) lines.  These lines have values ranging
       from  six  through  nine,  with  the  even values indicating the broken

       Each hexagram consists of two major sections.   The  Judgement  relates
       specifically  to  the matter at hand (For instance, "It furthers one to
       have  somewhere  to  go.")  while  the  Image  describes  the   general
       attributes  of the hexagram and how they apply to one's own life ("Thus
       the superior man makes himself strong and untiring.").

       When any of the lines has the value six or nine, it is a  moving  line;
       for any such line there is an appended judgement which becomes signifi-
       cant.  Furthermore, the moving lines are inherently unstable and change
       into  their opposites; a second hexagram (and thus an additional judge-
       ment) is formed.

       Normally, one consults the oracle by fixing the desired question firmly
       in  mind  and then casting a set of changes (lines) using yarrow-stalks
       or tossed coins.  The resulting hexagram will  be  the  answer  to  the

       Using  an  algorithm  suggested  by  S. C. Johnson, this oracle  simply
       reads a question from the standard input (up to an EOF) and hashes  the
       individual  characters  in combination with the time of day, process ID
       and any other magic numbers which happen to be lying around the system.
       The  resulting  value  is used as the seed of a random number generator
       which drives a simulated coin-toss  divination.   The  answer  is  then
       piped through nroff for formatting and will appear on the standard out-

       For those who wish to remain steadfast in the old traditions, the  ora-
       cle  will  also  accept the results of a personal divination using, for
       example, coins.  To do this, cast the change and then type the  result-
       ing line values as an argument.

       The impatient modern may prefer to settle for Chinese cookies; try for-

       It furthers one to see the great man.

       The great prince issues commands,
       Founds states, vests families with fiefs.
       Inferior people should not be employed.

       Waiting in the mud
       Brings about the arrival of the enemy.

       If one is not extremely careful,
       Somebody may come up from behind and strike him.

                               16 February 1988                       CHING(6)