Yin and Yang and DNA

I wrote previously about the relationship between the formation of the eight trigrams in the Book of Changes, which form the 64 hexagrams, and the DNA sequence. At the time I did not have a reasonable explanation to hand, but I’ve since found this one, which puts it in better perspective. 

Although the trigrams can be understood through exercises, and can help you to understand your states of consciousness, they can not help you with existential decisions and choices. This requires the doubling of the trigrams into inner and outer worlds. Now six lines are used to create a Hexagram. There are sixty four possible combinations of six yin or yang lines (two to the eighth power). For example, one possible combination is a hexagram known as PEACE where the top three lines are all yin, and the bottom three all yang, Heaven below the Earth: 

Inner Trigram _ 2 _ 1 

The lower Trigram shows the attitude to your inner world, the upper your attitude to the outer-world. The Chinese sages who created the I Ching understood the duality of life and its existential problems. They knew that it in order to change your external situation — your outer fate — you had to change your inner mentality. Since the I Ching was created as a kind of pragmatic guide, they knew that the Trigrams would have to be doubled to reflect the dynamics of the inner-outer worlds, of external situation and internal attitude. The system of 64 hexagrams which make up the I Ching resulted from the necessity of doubling the eight combinations of three. 

In a dramatic example of the fractal recursive nature of reality, nature follows the very same system to create the genetic code. The eight trigrams correspond very closely to the DNA and RNA code of our genes. This is the genetic code which is responsible on a cellular level for all self organization, growth and reproduction in life.

RNA DNA Yin Yang

DNA is the blueprint for every protein made in every cell. It is the Yin, spatial structure which stores the information. RNA is the reverse copy of DNA which carries out DNA’s instructions for protein production. It is the Yang, active catalyst which actualizes in time the information in the DNA. The DNA and RNA have eight different base combinations, each made of three chemicals, just like the trigrams made of three lines. The chemical “triplets” as they are called, combine in double triplet code, just like the hexagrams. The maximum total combinations of DNA/RNA triplets is thus 64, just like the I Ching. The 64 triplet combinations control the twenty amino acids and other cellular generative-structural activity. 

Hexagram 42

Out of the combinations of the 8 triplets or trigrams, the 64 “words” of the genetic code of life are formed. All life, from bacteria to Man, is directed on a cellular level by the same language of the 64 Codons of RNA and DNA, based on the doubled triplet, or Hexagram. For example in genetics one of the 64 three letter Codons is: T.A.G. – C.T.A. (Thymine, Adenine, Guanine – Cytosine, Thymine, Adenine). The first gene detected by Watson was equivalent in structure to the I Ching hexagram number 42: Increase. 

….….. As we have seen, there is a striking similarity between the I Ching and the genetic code, the 8 trigrams to the 8 codons. This can be understood as recursive self similarity over scales. There is a basic identity between the genes and the hexagrams because their numeric structure is the same.

Hexagram 63

Martin Schoanberger, a German scientist, recently discovered that the two Codons which contain the genetic-chemical message “to stop” have the same numeric structure of hexagram 63, After Completion. All lines in this hexagram are said to be in their proper place. 

Hexagram 64

Moreover, Schoanberger discovered that the Codons which, so to speak, act to say “Go” on a genetic level, correspond to the opposite hexagram 64, Before Completion. 

Extract of article by: Arnold Keyserling & R.C.L taken from: School of Wisdom.

The Wisdom of the Ancients

As far as I understood it in “The Secret Life of Chaos” (previous post), a simple mathematical theory explains the simplicity of the order of the universe. The universe may start out as dust but it is the external influences on all things that make them different. The external influences feed back on the order of things and brings about change. This is what makes chaos out of order, what makes one thing different from another. It seems to me that chaos and order are one and the same thing operating in a cycle.

We humans are here for the same reason a zebra has its stripes. It is the external influences on the order of all things that brought about the formation of our individual cells, our flesh and blood, our ancestors, our world, our universe, in the way we exist in it now.

Not for the first time I began to wonder if I was listening to something from the philosophy of the ancient Chinese rather than to modern science. I got the same feeling when learning something, in my own humble way, about quantum physics. 

I was compelled to look through the I Ching (Book of Changes) and I came up with the following extract:

“There are conditions of equilibrium, in which a certain harmony prevails, and conditions of disturbed equilibrium, in which confusion prevails. The reason is that there is a system of order pervading the entire world. When, in accordance with this order, each thing is in its appropriate place, harmony is established. Such a tendency towards order can be observed in nature. The places attract related elements, as it were, so that harmony may come about. However, a parallel tendency is also at work. Not only are things determined by their tendency toward order: they move also by virtue of forces imparted to them, so to speak, mechanically from the outside. Hence it is not possible for equilibrium to be attained under all circumstances, for deviations may occur, bringing with them confusion and disharmony.” 

Taken from the Richard Wilhelm translation, Book II, Part I, Chapter 1, p.282

The passage seems to me to explain the science behind chaos and order in a parallel way. The chapter begins by saying,

the Book of Changes makes a distinction between three kinds of change: nonchange, cyclic change, and sequent change. Nonchange is the background against which change is made possible. For in regard to any change there must be some fixed point to which the change can be referred; otherwise there can be no definite order and everything is dissolved in chaotic movement”.

So are we here because of an ordered chaos underlying and forming the universe?

To take the ancient wisdom further, there also seems to be a relationship between the formation of the eight trigrams in the Book of Changes, which form the 64 hexagrams, and the DNA sequence (see here on Wikipedia).

Don’t ask me what it means but,

the codons of a gene are copied into messenger RNA by RNA polymerase. This RNA copy is then decoded by a ribosome that reads the RNA sequence by base-pairing the messenger RNA to transfer RNA, which carries amino acids. Since there are 4 bases in 3-letter combinations, there are 64 possible codons (43 combinations)”.

This is where it starts to go a bit beyond my comprehension.

What I can see, though, is the parallel between this and the explanation of the formation of the trigrams and hexagrams of the I Ching:

From the doubling of the two polar primary forces (yin and yang), there arise four images corresponding with the four seasons. Through the addition of another line, there arise the eight trigrams. This in turn gives us the 64 hexagrams”!

The Chinese aren’t the only people who seem to have had knowledge of things only now being realised in Western science. In ancient India they had knowledge of Fibonacci numbers, which underlie the Golden Ratio (see here on Wikipedia. . . but that’s another subject matter.

The Tao of Physics?

A Thousand Colours describes exactly one of the things I’m trying to explain here. I just wanted to put it in my own words as well.

Existence = Essences, threads, facets, aspects … it doesn’t matter what you call them, they’re all the same – only different. It all amounts to the same thing. There are myriads of each of them, only they are all one.

Think Quantum Physics (is light a wave or a particle or both? Can a particle be in two places at once?), Zen, Tao, Buddhism, and you’ll get the idea. Separate facets indeed, but the Light that shines through them all is One!

I’m not talking about a god-like figure, or being, when I refer I to a Light (whatever Lao Tsu meant). No, I’m thinking more along the lines of a basic ‘essence’ that underlies everything. Something intangible and transient that is the basis of allexistence. The tinted fragments of existence all shine because of the sun of being … if you’re getting my drift.

I’ve just ordered a book called “The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism” by Fritjof Capra. I read some of it years ago. What amazed me about it was how close the ‘physics’ side of it was to Eastern Philosophy. Some of the quantum stuff was close to reading the ‘I Ching (or Book of Change)‘ (Richard Wilhelm). It all fitted.

I understood the’ I Ching’ better.

  • The I Ching holds that life is movement and that it develops through the conflict of opposites – change. All existence is based on movement and change. Through reading the I Ching we can cultivate an understanding of the world and ourselves. Without this understanding, the text is useless.

I understood quantum mechanics better.

  • Everything is linked and it depends on how you look at it as to how you will see it – physically, psychologically and emotionally. How you look at things determines how you experience them and subsequently how you behave because of that experience.

Sound familiar? Think psychology, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy! Life is movement and change – it is inevitable. How you perceive movement (and our experiencing of the events on the way) determines how you behave because of those experiences. This is what makes us experience emotions and act on them, whether consciously or subconsciously. How often do we act on something only to wish later that we had done something different?

The way I understand it, we have one perception of events at the time they happen, which shapes our understanding of the world around us at that moment. This is our unique, individual, existential view of a particular fragment of existence, of reality. There is a reality going on ‘out there’ regardless of our perception of it. But is that reality all of our perceptions, or just yours or mine? Is reality determined by perception? Does it depend on collective perceptions to make it accepted as reality?

To view an alternative perception allows us to have an alternative understanding of the event and our behaviour. The same event looked at from two different angles …… And back to quantum physics!

How am I doing explaining myself?

I know what I mean but I wanted to explain it in a way so that others can understand as well. It might help me to understand it all better! And reading back over what I have just written I do understand what I’m trying to say.

It doesn’t mean you will though!

More Philosophical Thinking

I’m beginning to realise the rhythm of my meanderings. I’m filling the blog with things that matter to me and define me as a person: the ramblings; the people; the songs; the seasons and the events. Seasons are the defining events in all our lives in my opinion. We go through mini seasons as well the sweep of tidal ferocity that is Winter, Summer, Autumn and Spring and all the shades in between. Our day-to-day lives are bound up in seasonal drifts and ebbs, whether during the course of a single day or over a matter of days or weeks. We are blown on that tide like dandelion seed and can move through it with the stealth and power of lions.

Endings and beginnings are transient. It is rare for there to be one single moment that can be defined as the beginning or the end of a series of life events. In the physical sense there are those moments, such as death of oneself or of another, but subjectively and emotionally there aren’t. At least, that’s the way I see it. Does the grieving process for the death of a loved one start before or after death? If they are terminally ill you might start grieving before death. If it is a sudden and unexpected death you might start grieving some time after death. The body sometimes goes into shock and can stave off any feelings of loss and sadness. You may be able to pinpoint the start of the shock but I wonder if you could pinpoint the end of it?

I’m doubting whether any one of us can pinpoint the start or finish of certain emotional reactions, feelings, behaviours and actions in the course of our lives. There is so much contained in the lead up and the exit and on the way we will have acquired subtle new ways of being that are bound up in those endings and beginnings. Thus we never really get rid of anything in our lives. All the parts of our existence are absorbed and woven into the fabric of our beings, just as we weave ourselves into the fabrics of others existences and vice versa.

This is getting deeeep! Think Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, Quaantum Physics. Eastern philosophy rather than religion. A way of being and of understanding rather than a dictation of how to be. There are more similarities between the I Ching, the Bible and the Koran, than most people realise.

The Richard Wilhelm translation of the I Ching was a turning point in my life. The more I studied it, the more I understood. Susan first showed it to me and Coddy in her flat in Powers Hall. I didn’t look at it again for years but then somehow acquired a copy. It seemed to require thinking like the elements and dimensions around us rather than as a sentient being.

Some people seem to think the I Ching is a prophetic, fortune telling, gimmick where the truth couldn’t be much further away. It’s a guide. You need to open your mind to it and absorb the meaning. Most people will understand that it won’t be telling their fortune if you explain this to them and most people will understand most of what the reading is telling them without prior knowledge or experience of Eastern thinking. The Richard Wilhelm translation is probably the most archaic in it’s language (it was translated from Chinese to German to English!) but it makes you think. Approaching the I Ching and reading it is a very meditative exercise.

When I read a book called, “The Tao of Quantum Physics” I wasn’t sure whether I was reading the “I Ching” sometimes. When I dipped into the “I Ching” I wasn’t sure whether I was reading “The Tao of Quantum Physics”! So to hear that there is a mathematical correlation between the trigrams and hexagrams of the I Ching to the DNA structure does not surprise me. Considering the I Ching was begun 5,000 years ago and has been amended into the modern version a mere 2,000 years ago, this is remarkable stuff indeed. I’d also add that it is akin to quantum physics.

The I Ching is really about cause and effect … the underlying foundations of change …. and how this is related to the natural world around us – and vice versa. After all, everything is linked in some way isn’t it?

The I Ching taught me a lot about change and rythm. And it taught me how to meditate. Studying the Book of Change is a fascinating experience. You need to understand the philosophy behind it. There’s that word again …. philosophy. Once you begin to gain a grasp a whole new world opens up.

I haven’t dipped into it for some time now and I bought a new copy last year. I’ll probably use the old one until it falls apart a bit more and then wear the new one in. I love the feel of the old one. It’s comfortable and familiar.