Shih Ho & Ko: Reform & Revolution

The I-Ching:

For those of you unfamiliar with the Chinese system of divination, the “I-Ching” (sometimes referred to as an oracle), Shih Ho (Reform or “Biting Through”) and Ko (Revolution or “Molting”), are the 21st and 49th hexagrams respectively.

Now I’m not going to go into an exhaustive explanation of what the I-Ching is, nor a justification of how it is proposed to work … I will just say this:

  • For any of the more conservative views, which express scepticism for the value of the I-Ching, I can express equally (and likely superior) logical arguments in support.
  • But I’m not here to convince you of that, I’d just recommend you read the forwards of the original translation into English by Carl Jung and the other initial explanations of the philosophical and logical basis for it as a tool.
  • What I do want to discuss, are these 2 hexagrams, their interpretation, and significance with respect to our problems.

Shih Ho (Reform):

I hope one of the first things you may have noticed (or can quickly see) by reading the text in the image below, is the progression between these two hexagrams … FOR IF reform fails, and the consequences of such failure are dire … THEN we must have revolution.

Hexagram 21 of the I-Ching: Shih Ho - Reform or
Shih Ho: Reform or “Biting Through” –

As you can see from the introductory paragraphs of this interpretation, the principles at work here are extraordinarily similar to what we all face today (in the respect of needing to chew through obstacles, and the obstructions caused by the corrupt and traitorous) … and we are fortunate this remnant of the ancient culture and wisdom of China survived, to be available to us today … for not only is it great advice, but it shows that societies throughout antiquity faced the same issues, and through many years of trial and error, they found out the hard way what must and needs be done, in order to avoid greater calamity.

We would do well to heed the advice of a culture that survived so much for so long. However, it is also true that we have failed to heed this advice for a significantly long time … the consequence of which is that simple reform may no longer be enough.

The alternative (or perhaps literal?) translation of the name Shih Ho as “Biting Through” also shows us why we have failed … for sipping a slurpie in the aftermath of a huge night out partying, is a hell of a lot easier than going without the parties, and working hard for long hours at great personal risk and/or sacrifice (ie – chewing our food).

The burden of responsibility for change has typically fallen on the shoulders of a very few, while everyone else is just enjoying their lives and ignoring the problem … until it affects them personally, and in a way that actually wakes their brain up to the reality of the cause of the problem. Which is made harder when people are so brainwashed, and will very quickly invent some bizarre reason as to why someone or someone else is at fault, or just conclude that it “could not be avoided”, which is usually a bunch of absolute nonsense.

If more people were willing to chip in earlier, the change would be no where near as painful, and borne by a greater number of shoulders thus reducing the stress immensely … but instead the problem is left unattended … and when people finally agree to look at it, they still do so from such a biased perspective, as to make utterly hopeless any chance they’ll really understand it.

When it comes to “saving the world”, many people just want to use it as a marketing slogan like everything else, and simply rebrand their activities to suit the slogan, with minimal if any real change at all … while others do want to create something new, but what they’re looking for is not really a solution, it is fame or wealth, and likely they even believe their own bullshit. Others genuinely wish to create change, but they cannot accept certain fundamental truths of the problem, and therefore everything they propose is just an extension of the status quo, thus an extension of the problem.

One way or the other … reform so often fails to go beyond the superficial, and as the situation becomes more desperate, it expands its scope only marginally, ultimately ensuring that it will need to be taken to the next level (revolution), which it is even more averse to than reform … making you wonder, at what stage are people ever going to learn this lesson, that significant reform is constantly necessary if you want to avoid revolution … there is no other way that you’d actually want to live through, because the other alternatives are all horrific in different ways … they involve fascism, draconian impositions, and a dystopian society.

Ko (Revolution):

Revolution is not in this case necessarily physically violent or deadly … it merely has the potential to be … but the more it is resisted, the more likely and necessary the violence of the change.

Ko: Revolution or "Molting" - the 49th hexagram of the I-Ching
Ko: Revolution or “Molting”

Here again our alternative / literal translation of the name Ko as “Molting”, tells us a little about the principles of nature which were used by the Taoists as an analogy to the situation … in nature an animal does not lament the loss of its thick coat when seasons change, nor its horns or exoskeleton as the case may be from species to species … they release and shed these things gladly, sometimes aggressively, knowing that in the release they are freed from the burden of its restrictive boundaries and other properties … they know they must grow, and that growth requires change.

For some reason, humans have become scared of this change, and resist instead of embracing it … to our great detriment.

This is nonetheless a grave matter indeed … made all the more grave by our refusal to even consider it at earlier stages … our refusal indeed to even consider adequate reform … everything was just “too hard”, as if somehow ignoring it and allowing the problem to get worse was somehow going to make it easier at a later date.

At its most peaceful reform and revolution are almost indistinguishable, one might say that reform IS peaceful revolution … but revolution is not revolution if it is restrained, where’s reform is possible with restraint (though it may not be adequate reform while restrained to avoid revolution).

If we want to have the least painful fall of civilisation (assuming that a fall is inevitable), we are well advised to have strategies in place to brake/break the fall … if possible we want to both slow it down, and also prevent the crash at the bottom … to make it less of a fall, and more of a controlled ride of an inevitable descent … in this way, we limit the additional impact damage of the fall (on top of the problems that caused the fall and occurred during the fall).

In this case where we are forced to revolution (for the system has refused to adequately change), the purpose of a concurrent strategy of reform (alongside revolution) is not to fix the system … it’s incapable of that … it is merely there to aid in the transition to revolution, to reduce the pain, loss and damage.

Revolution is a more intense force, and of itself it must be completely without restraint. Reform is not there to provide restraint, for then we would have no revolution.


without absolute freedom of expression,

is not revolution.

Reform aids revolution, facilitates it, paving the way, removing obstacles, minimise damage, and to help clean up damage … but do not make the mistake of using or allowing it to interfere, for the consequences of doing so could be catastrophic failure, and after which we will not likely get a second chance … not this time.

Open Empire as instigator of both Reform & Revolution:

It has been immensely difficult to design a set of systems and strategies that are completely in accord with these and many other guiding principles of both science and philosophy (all of which I’ve kept in mind at all times) … but if you analyse the various pages (and more relevant posts) of this site, you should be able to see the general picture of how I’ve gone about some of this.

Primarily: Reform is conducted through individual projects that are undertaken as instances of Stage 4 within the project framework … while Revolution is the entire vision as a whole, its internal systems, their evolution, and the general strategy for usurpation of power from the status quo … NOT to just put that power into new hands, but to put that power back where it belongs, as a guiding set of principles by which we all agree to live … to put that power out of the hands of human ideology, and into the hands of equations that define what it means to be Ecologically & Socially Friendly & Sustainable in every possible way, and to the very best of our abilities.

Previous attempts in history to achieve such things basically resulted in our present system … perhaps they were necessary at the time, due to evolutionary, technical or other reasons … but these times have long since past … they have outgrown their usefulness, and overstayed their welcome … so they must die, and Open Empire is here to kill them … not the people who own and operate them necessarily, just the systems themselves … but if it comes to it, I certainly won’t be one to choose the lives of psychopaths over every other species on the planet, and I hope you won’t be either.

Change must come, and it must be drastic … but it also must be appreciative of the value of human potential, instead of arrogantly assuming the lack of such value, on the idiotic basis that someone didn’t find a place within the idiotic system, which is causing all our problems in the first place, and thus arguably not qualified to comment on the true value of anyone or anything at all.

In fact, I hope someone out there reading it is one of those people who owns and controls the status quo … and they’re reading this thinking: “you’re absolutely right” … I hope they’re willing to actually put the resources of part of that system behind the effort to kill it, knowing the very act of doing so, is an act of personal redemption (to some degree or another) … and they’re willing to undergo whatever they have to, in order to see this revolution come about as it should … EVEN IF … that means they still have some personal consequences to pay for past actions, after all else is said and done.

Personally, given how far things have already been taken by the self proclaimed “elite” of the world (I title I will scoff at every fucking time I see it) … I wouldn’t believe a single one of them had genuinely reformed one iota, unless they put every last resource they had behind righting the wrongs they’d been even partially responsible for, unless they had a comprehensive understanding of the full gamut of those wrongs, and unless after doing so, they basically said: “even now I have no right to ask you to forgive me for all that I’ve done wrong” … because there’s no way in hell you can get things as badly wrong as they’ve done, and not be aware of what you were doing, without actively avoiding knowledge of it, which is itself a form of awareness.

Plausible deniability gets no respect in my books, and I find it almost universally implausible anyway. The time for revolution has come, and if we want that revolution to be as peaceful as possible, we must stop struggling against it, and be willing to punish those who do.

We simply do not have time left for anything else … there is too much thermodynamic momentum in the system, and we do not have the capacity to turn that around quickly enough without radical change … and the kinds of radical change some would propose in order to maintain the status quo, will cause equally calamitous problems elsewhere.

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