The text entitled “Taoscopy” is the one that you will find on this site directly or as a download. It is in the public domain, which means that it is free of rights, you can use it without prior permission. I’ve named it that way as a reference to a radio show created by Jacques Chancel : Radioscopie (link to a French page).

My first intent was rather to share references and explanations to illustrate Richard Wilhelm’s texts but I quickly realised that it was not easy to obtain the rights to do so. Thus I’ve turned toward the writing of my own comments, which were only a weak paraphrase of Richard Wilhelm’s comments except for a few that I had understood differently. Then I have validated them by consulting the I Ching. Then the checks have turned into direct questions and one thing leading to another I could elaborate this version.

Its characteristics are:

  • A simplified text

    While I appreciate the lyrism of Richard Wilhelm’s translation, it often impedes the study of the situation, sometimes because of an over dramatisation, for example:

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

    With such a comment, in the situation 62.3, you can easily imagine an evil person who is going to stab you in the back with a great knife, but this situation can simply describe the fact that you have forgotten your umbrella!

  • Abandoning sexism and elitism

    The comments found in Richard Wilhelm’s book are full of sexist and elitist considerations. The French authors Cyrille Javary and Pierre Faure have challenged many of them (their analysis of the situation 32.5 is particularly interesting), as for me I did not fight them but simply abandoned them by using ‘one’ instead of “he” and “she” and removing the references to “superior” and “inferior”, but you will find sometimes mention of the “most competent” and the “weakest”.

  • Promote consistency

    The need for consistency comes from the idea that if the comments were correct they would not contradict each other. Thus how could mantic formulas such as “Great fortune” or “Misfortune” be explained when at the same time we are warned against the dangers of optimism (16.1) and pessimism (58.5)?

    There is also a problem with some situations such as 30.6 (“Then it is best to kill the leaders And take captive the followers. No blame. “, text that won’t obviously be interpreted literally, so a teacher dealing with rebellious students would find appropriate to ask the leaders to go out of the classroom and give some punition to the others but this way of doing is inconsistent with the situation 58.5 which recommands that a group should not be split apart (disintegrating influences). So, the 30.6 had to be reinterpreted, or 58.5, or both. As for the fate of the students who cross the lines, it is handled at 4.6.

  • Impersonal subject

    The I Ching experience that I have acquired comes essentially from the analysis of situations. When I watch a film, read a book, listen to a song and sometimes in my everyday life I often consult the I Ching about the meaning of the situation that took place. Since the different lines can mean different individuals and sometimes objects or even ideas, so the usage of the impersonal subject “one” has appeared to be more reasonable to me.

Going further

The Great Treatise