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Meanings, images of interpersonal communication, and The Iching.


Information is created, transformed, and disseminated in the process of exchanging meanings and messages among the agents of human communication. Communication also aims at influencing people with specific or unspecified objectives (Fisher, 1978).

To create meannings, a person may reach out to the Ultimate Source in one's belief system. Here a xystem (or system) is constructed as a holistic and organic entity comprising multiple agents with well-defined structures and specific cultural underpinning (Tonn, 2009a, 2009b). People's belief may be in a variety of forms. A case in point is the form of religious belief (e.g., beatific vision in Chrsitianity), through which most of the common people seek a spiritual relief from their misery of life (Edmondson & Edmondson, 2007). Most, if not all, people live to search for meanings of life, and these meanings may be relational and are connected ultimately through their belief systems.

This paper explicates a few key issues of meanings and images in the general context of communication, with the meanings, images, and interpersonal networks and complexes embodied in the xystem of The Iching to be presented for illustration.

Issues of Cultural Backgrounds

Communication can be defined as a set of acitivites in creating meanings and ethical messages (Chao, 2008; Mowlana, 2007). To create meanings, the issues of the domains of ontology, epistemology and axiology are becoming vital especially since the rise of the Asian communication theory (Gunaratne, 2009).

Metaphysics is about what exists and what is real (Rowe, 1998) and ontology is a branch of it. Then, in epistemology, one ponders the questions of the essence, substance, reality, existence, and truth of the world and universe. It is also about whether things or events exit in the real world. In essence, ontology is the study of what constitutes the substance or reality of the human being and the universe.

Epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and limits of human knowledge, pointing to the questions of description (or accurately depicting features of the world) and justification (built on the basis of experiences and reason). Sense experiences and introspection lead to non-propositional knowledge which are obtained through personal acquaintance or direct awareness, while reason leads to a priori propositional knowledge through assertion. Related to description, "rationalists assume there are multiple views of reality and meanings vary." For the task of justification, it is to "understand what kinds of belief can be rationally justified and how they are justified." (Arneson, 2009)

By axiology is meant the study of "the nature of value and what kinds of things have value." Accoordingly, the issues are whether the communication process is value free and whether the communication system is constructed with truth and social change in mind (Arneson, 2009).

The modernist believed that truth can be discerned from reliable knowledge, and true knowledge can be undisputedly derived from pure reason or some abstract procedures and methodologies without predetermined value judgemnt. In contrast, the postmodernist holds that meanings are formulated under the dominance of social and political power and distorted by languanges. Due to the dissolution of Western colonialism, rising of different local identities, movement of feminism, reaction to industrialization, coming age of information revolution, and polysemy of languages, etc., the worlds of modern people are fragmented (Westgate, 2009).

Following the above reasoning processes, in xystematics (or systematics), we attempt actively to consider (1) the xystematic (or systematic) and symbolic rationality beside the rationality of science, (2) the interpersonal and mutual life-will and perspective side by side with the individual life will and perspective, and (3) the perspectives of post-modernism in setting boundaries and limits of the will and rationality (Tonn, 2009a, 2009c). In light of these concerns for ontology, epistemology, and axiology, the validity of the framework and methodology for our cultural studies of The Iching is reasonalbly ensured.

Meanings, Images, and Interpersal Complex of Communication

The worlds of meanings can be deduced from the perspectives of scicences. By this is meant that the world of meanings has four dimensions: perception, symbols, narratives, and domains. Perception is the receipt of information and sensual stimuli. Symbols are the psychological pictures or abstractions out of receiving information and sensual stimuli. Narrative is the result of the integration of two or more symbols. The domain represents the space of all kinds of narratives and their interactions (Chao, 2008).

The worlds of meanings can also be deduced from xystematic perspectives. By this, we shall distinguish the (xystem of) basic life-meanings from the (xystem of) basic cultural meanings. The basic life-meanings are the real world actualizations and crystallizations of the basic cultural meanings derived directly from the primordial cultures (such as [X.sup.*],[D.sup.*],and [[DELTA].sup.*]). The basic cultural meanings provide the basis for human wisdoms and strategic actions, while the basic life-meanings are the manifestations of the basic cultural meanings. Basic cultural meanings exist in the category of the space and time of historicity and in the world of xystemic (or systemic) and strategic continuity, while the basic life-meanings exist in the category of the spacio-temporal specificity and in the world of xystemic and strategic discontinuity and anticontinuity.

In the xystemic approach to communication in conformity with the scientific approach, a xystem of communication is considered as having components of senders/encoding, receivers/decoding, messages/feedback, and channel, with the underlying cultural complex (([X.sup.*],[D.sup.*],[[DELTA].sup.*]) or others) generating the space of all relevant basic cultural meanings and existing in the worlds of the operational spheres of individuality, mutuality, and centrality/collectivity (Tonn, 2009b).

Communication involves different levels of communication competence (Chen & Starosta, 2008) and effective encoding and decoding (Ding, 1997). Thus, the communication system must deal with the dimensions of human awareness, openness, sensibility and percetibility, criticism, and flexibility (Chen, 2005).

The objectives of communication include the effective exchange of ideas and opinions, and thus relate intimately to the concept of ideal speech acts (Habermas, 1979). Because there are various degrees of uncertainty involved in the processs of communication, elements of human activivity and passivity, order, chaos, and noises are unavoidable (Lumann, 1993), and even anxiety becomes a topic of great concerns. It is believed that when the level of axiety and uncertainty is higher than the upper limit, communication would not be effective; and when the level of axiety and uncertainty is lower than the lower limit, due to unforeseen events or over confidence, communication would not be effective as well (Gudykunst, 2005).

To generate meanings, one connects directly and indirectly to the philosophical systems of the East and West. According to Dissanayake (2009), the poststructuralists such as Klaus Krippendorff, Larry Kincaid, Brendqa Dervin, Ruth Ann Clark, and Jesse Delia contended that the world of meanings in communication must be built upon solid cultural and social backgrounds. By the perspective of postmodernism arised from the impacts of the collapse of Western colonialism, rising sense of localism, emerging feminism, reactions to industrialization, technological revolution, and polysemy of languanges, etc., the modern worlds of meanings have become fragmented (Westgate, 2009). By acknowledging the postmodernist problems of subjectivity and power-biasness in ontology and epistemology, the polemics of the entanglements of power and knowledge must be avoided and the value judgment must be temporarily suspended. Thus naturally, at least as a temporary devise, the outliers of values from the normally acceptable space of meanings could be tactically relegated to the space of the noises of communication.

In general, one's values have the individual, interpersonal, and collective dimensions. What people mainly exchange are the external manifestations of the interpersonal meanings, which at any rate are rooted individually. People create meanings and exchange meaning-embedded messages. Rosenfield held that the structures of the interpersonal network in human communication must include rules, strategic actions, and customs (Hawes, 1975). To incorporate the structural substance of communication (Hawes, 1975, Figure 2; Fisher, 1978, pp. 108, 118; Severin and Tankard, 1997; Chen & Chen, 2005, Chapter 2), we construct a symbolic system of communication [zeta] (as a system of at least two persons) as follows:


Here, in xystemic notations, "[x.sub.i.sup.#] [equivalent to] [x.sub.i.sup.#] (([??],[rho],[omega]),.)" depicts the individual-cultural component of human elements [x.sub.i] in [zeta], "[gamma]" depicts the group culture of [x.sub.i]'s, "S(Enc)" depicts the sender(s) with processes of encoding, "Channel" depicts the communication channel (with "[??]([??])" referring to the positive interpersonal sub-complex (i.e., [sigma]-IpC of positive association), and [??]*([left arrow]|[right arrow],k) the negative interpersonal sub-complex (i.e., [sigma]-IpC of negative association)), "R(Dec)" depicts the receiver(s) with processes of decoding, "mes" depicts the messages, "feed" depicts the process of feedback, "[PSI]'" depicts all other non-specified structures of the xystem [zeta], "Z" depicts the set of action, decision-making, and strategies, "[parallel]E" depicts the notation of "conditioned upon the environments," "<C (.|[X.sup.*],[D.sup.*],[[DELTA].sup.*],.)>" depicts the cultural complex of three cultures ([X.sup.*],[D.sup.*],[[DELTA].sup.*]) and more, "[??] [[??].sup.os]" depicts the notion of "belonging to the worlds of operational spheres" (in the world of low-level practical T world, llpTW, which is a non-ideal world), "jT|[sub.YT/SS]" depicts the application of the general decision jT principle constrained by the YT/SS operations (YT/SS operation representing a daily functioning set of creating, balancing, mutual interactions, centralition, and integration, etc.), "I" depicts an ITEM operation of internal transformations and external mutations, "[[psi].sub.1]" depicts an entity of decision/action-to-be, "[[psi].sub.1.sup.-1]" depicts the opposite of "[[psi].sub.1]", "y [right arrow] z" depicts what are underlying "[MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or the carried-out actions corresponding to [MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] depicts the symbol of the vertical arrangement of elements/subxystems in a "xystrix" (a xystematic way of arranging elements vertically), "[[psi].sub.2]" depicts a transformation of "[[psi].sub.1]", "[[psi].sup.-1.sub.2]" depicts the opposite of "[[psi].sub.2]" (Tonn, 2009b). In the above, [X.sup.*] is an extention of the cultural system embracing the cultures of scientific rationality and conflict life-will, [D.sup.*] is an extention of the cultural system embracing the cultures of symbolic rationality and tranquil life-will, and [[DELTA].sup.*] is an extention of the cultural system embracing dialectical rationality and the life-will of outward conquest. Here, the mindset of xi exists in the operating world (OW) which includes the OW of ultimate concerns ([[??].OWUltC], defined as the life world connecting to one's belief system).

In the above, Bcm. (1) shows that the communication channel contains the interpersonal network [MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and others such as socio-commercial institutions and physical aspects of electronic signals. Here, the symbol "[III.sup.OS]" depicts the operational spheres of individuality, mutuality, and centrality/collectivity in facing the world of llpTW (not the ideal world), "[??]" denotes the general interpersonal (network) relationships, "[??]" denotes the relationship of interconnectedness (of the positive [sigma]-IpC), "[??]" depicts the relationship of cooperation and coordination (of the positive [sigma]-IpC), "[left arrow]|[right arrow]" denotes the component of mutual harms inflicted upon each other of the negative [sigma]-IpC, and "k" denotes the component of competition/ conflict of the negative [sigma]IpC.

Below we shall develop a mechanism by connecting the space of meanings to the space of images, the meaning-image transformational node-chain.

Let x and y be human elements, M, [[alpha].sub.i], [[alpha].sub.i+1], ..., and [[alpha].sub.i+m] be elements in the world of meanings of x and in the space of random arrangement, I, [[beta].sub.j]j, [[beta].sub.j+1], ..., and [[beta].sub.j+n] be elements in the image space of x and in the space of random arrangement, and [I.sup.ITEM(1)] be an ITEM impactor (or a transformational mechanism between two spaces). Then we have the meaning-image (M-I) node-chain of x, [MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (with the notation "-" denoting a sequential relationship). Similarly, we have y' s node-chain of [MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], for h and k being real numbers and [sup."ITEM(bar.2])"] being the ITEM impactor as the antixystemism of [sup."ITEM(1)"], with the symbol "[left arrow]" meaning an impactor of backward transformation from the space of images to the space of meanings. Thus we have the two persons' I-M node-chain complex (for example, between the sender and receiver) be represented as:


with Y referring to the impactor of YT/SS operation (or intra-systemic transformations of a grand system in onestate/world, I = [I.sup.ITEM], "M" referring to "meaning(s)," "I" referring to "image(s)," the notation "-" standing for a sequential relationship (i.e., an impactor), and the subscripts "[sub.1]" to "[sub.m]" and "[sub.1]" to "[sub.n]" representing various copies of [[(M[right arrow]).sup.x]/[([right arrow]).sup.x-1]] and [[(M[right arrow]).sup.y]/[([right arrow]).sup.y-1]], respectively.

From Bcm. (2) and through reversal construction (Tonn, 2009a) of the system in question, we derive:


with referring to the communication system and [C.sub.comm.] referring to the core of the communication system (i.e., meanings-messages), and the M-I node-chain (M-I) is what is left over after deleting the core of meaning-message [C.sub.comm.] from the structure of (the system of sender-channel-receiver). Here, by the term "meanings" is meant the commonality of meanings between the sender(s) and the receiver(s). While these meanings exist in the space of meanings-values, what underlie the worlds of these meanings are connected to the systems of ontology, epistemology, and axiology, customs and traditions, and dimensions of time in specific cultures. In addition, by the term "messages" is meant the messages transformed from the set of personal, interpersonal, or collective meanings (i.e., values). Evidently, these milliards of meanings in the modern time are rooted in the processes of crosspollination of the variety of primordial cultures.

Before turning to the next section, note that the interpersonal network of a system is imbedded in the interpersonal complex (IpC), which comprises the substructures (i.e., subsystems) of (1) leader-follower interpersonal subcomplex (centrality, herding) and (2) the parallel interpersonal subcomplex of mutuality.

For the leader-follower interpersonal subcomplex ([sigma]-Ip[C.sup.L-F]), there are several interpersonal node-chain networks of the leader-follower type to be connected and then integrated into it. Similarly, for the parallel interpersonal subcomplex of mutuality ([sigma]-Ip[C.sup.M]), there are also a variety of interpersonal node-chain networks of the parallel/mutual type that could be connected and then integrated. Therefore, Channel [MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Bcm. (1) could be replaced by the following:


In Bcm. (4), the last term "([[[sigma].sub.i] [??] IpC) [??] [III.sup.OS,,] means that each member [x.sub.i] as a human element in the system IpC (interpersonal complex) exists (for "?" being a symbol denoting the relationship "belong to") in the operational sphere ([III.sup.OS]). The symbol "[left and right arrow]" ("in correspondence with") means that the structure of Channel {.} corresponds closely to the structure "([x.sub.i] [??] IpC) [??] [III.sup.OS,,] or the mindsets of [x.sub.i]'s.

In [sigma]-Ip[C.sup.L-F][.], the leader assumes the role of center in the system of [sigma]-IpC, while the followers act as noncentral members. In contrast, in the system [sigma]-IpC[M.sup.][.], each member is a "yy xystemism" (or the operation of transforming into the complementary entity) of any other member, and all members of the system are equal in terms of position, prestige, and power.

The Iching as a Xystem of Communication

The Iching operates as a belief system in a state of interpersonal harmony, with the essence of the meanings of life emanating from the doctrine of jen and righteousness (yi). By this, the personal meaning is unfolding through the acts of caring for others, with jen (the exuberance of humanity) acting as the source of inner inspiration and righteousness (or the doctrine of doing to others what one wants others doing to the self) acts as the source of external strength.

One may envision that the world of meanings structured on the interpersonal complex is isoxystemic (or sharing the essential structures) to the system of communication (a hypothesis in actuality). This could mean that the meanings or cultural core (e.g., caring completely for others and seeking unselfish mutual benefits, and/or striving to inflict harms to others) serving as the fundamental principle of operations are the same for both of the interpersonal complex and the communication system. Furthermore, by connecting through poetry, songs, and movies, etc., the interpersonal complex is isoxystemic to a system of images (another hypothesis meaning they share the same core values). Here, the interpersonal complex comprises the positive and negative interpersonal subcomplexes, see Bcm. (1). By setting [x.sub.i.sup.#] = [x.sub.i.sup.#]((M,I)([??],[omega],[rho]),.), the human element xi is seen to possess cultural characteristics with life meanings M and life images I created through intuition, life-will, and reason.

In the world of The Iching, people live and act according to an integrated ethical system of Juism (or Confucianism) and Taoism. Thus, the meanings and images of the Iching system are those stemming ultimately, and directly or perhaps indirectly, from the ontological spaces of Juism and Taoism.

In the ontological space of The Iching, Yi (the essence) is change (Hsi Tzu II, Chapter 8). When the stylized Yi, or the ideal, static, and system-continuous state of Yi (also see Hou, 2006) fails to function properly, it evolves into the state of everlasting changes (Hsi Tzu II, Chapter 2). Therefore, the substance of The Iching is conventionally perceived as change or changes.

From the perspective of human endeavor, the world of The Iching is a world of fortune and misfortune (see Bcm. (5) below). Thereby the change implies (the possibility of) changing from a state of misfortune to a state of fortune (Hsi Tzu II, Chapter 1) and vice versa. From the perspective of Chu Hsi's world of the strong Li and weak Chi and the mind commanding nature (hsing) and passion (ching), once lost, the state of fortune can be restored by actions of virtues (or jen-righteousness), perhaps in a gradual process of accumulating the good Chi (created by good deeds), symbolized by the chain reactions evolving from Kan to Pi, to Fu, then to Tai, and eventually to Chen and Kun.

There is a mechanism of transformation (Iching xystemism; or "yizhitonggou"--identical structuralism but of different substances, see Hou, 2006) among YinYang, jen-righteousness, and misfortune-fortune (evil/misery, propitiousness). In contrast to the Juist world of righteousness for the government officials (Tung Chungshu, to pursue what is appropriate, but not benefits and profits), the world of The Iching is for the common populace. The Iching world is a world of the good and a world of prosperity (or benefits and profits) as well. "To exalt richness and high position, to worship the sage for creating profits under Heaven" (Hsi Tzu I, Chapter 11). "For the Dragon flying high in the Heaven, they are benefits for the gentleman" (Yi Jing I, Hsi Tzu). "To hold the position is jen, to accumulate (or to group) people through leadership is wealth" (Hsi Tzu II, Chapter 1).

Through an inward transformation, the set of jen and righteousness reverts to the set of Yin and Yang (in a process of Iching-type operations). The set of jen and righteousness through outward transformation is further thought to generate the set of beauty and benefits (or prosperity). Thus the world of fortune or misfortune is the world of beauty and prosperity or not.

The pivot of the human world of The Iching is the set of jen and righteousness. The Tcentral spirit (chung tao) of The Iching is to seek a balance between righteousness and benefits (or prosperity).

There is the chain mechanism of transformations (of The Iching-type): Heaven/Earth [right arrow] yin and yang in milliards of things [right arrow] male/female [right arrow] husband/wife [right arrow] father/son [right arrow] king/subjects [right arrow] superior/inferior [right arrow] propriety/righteousness [right arrow] Yin and Yang in eternity (The Iching, Hsu Kua, with the arrow "[right arrow]" denoting a force of transmation or an impactor).

In the interpersonal networks of The Iching, there is the interpersonal node-chain A: The node-chain of primordiality-prosperity-benefits/profits-chastity (yuen-hengli-chen) which leads to the node-chain of jen-righteousness-propriety-achievement (jen-yi-li-kan shih, The Iching, Part I, Wenyan).

There is also the interpersonal node-chain B with multiple strings. The first string is composed of the jenchain constituted by jen nodes. This is the first subsystem of the interpersonal network of The Iching. The second string is composed of the righteousness-chain constituted by righteousness nodes. This is the second sub-system of the interpersonal network of The Iching. Subsequently we have the node-chain of prosperity and the node-chain of achievement as the third and fourth strings or sub-systems of the interpersonal network of The Iching, respectively.

With the set Yin-Yang constituting its inward structure, the Iching interpersonal network is characterized by the node-chain of jen, righteousness, and propriety as one of its major components. It is obvious that The Iching's interpersonal network is developed upon the foundation of the basic chains of jen, propriety, righteousness, and achievement (created by the basic nodes of jen, propriety, righteousness, and achievement).1

Beside, there exists the interpersonal node-chain C, the node-chain of jen, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, trust, and achievement.

Below we present in symbols the ontological world of change. By incorporating Buddhist ontology, this is a world of generative causality (CG) and constant motion:


The notations employed in Bcm. (5) are as follows: "Yi" is the enduring substance of The Iching, "[I.sup.(y,n,kk)]" refers to an ITEM impactor (internal transformations and external mutations in the multiple states/worlds) of universal motions or human actions (with superscripts "[sup.y]", "[sup.n]", and "[sup.kk]" denoting y xystemism, n xystemism, and [k.sup.k] xystemism, respectively), "[epsilon]" refers to any entity (or universal element) existing in the real world, "{[epsilon]([y.sup.+],[y.sup.-])}" refers to an entity or event which exists under the influence of the forces of Yin (y-) and Yang ([y.sup.+]) and is always unfolding itself in motion, "?" refers to a designated operation or transformation (i.e., an impactor), "[??] [III].sup.CG](Evil,JP|.) " refers to the notion of living in the causal generative world ("[III.sup.CG,,] given what is in "|.") of two states: fortune/luck (JP) and misfortune/misery (Evil). Here "YY[M.sup.JY][I5.sub.R]S" or "YY-YM-I-5R-S" represents the circle of jen-yi, meanings, images, "5 ethical principles," (2_ and society. Here, through the conduits of the meanings (embodying jen and yi) and images in the mindsets of people, five cardinal (and social regulational) principles of Juism (5R or [5.sub.R]), and the society, the mechanism of this circle (i.e., grand node-chain complex) penetrates through the essence of the universe (Yin-Yang, "rationality-will" of Jen and righteousnesss) and the minds of the individuals who embrace the life meanings of jen and righteoueness and carry the images created from Jen and righteousness.

Holistically, Bcm. (5) means that the universe of all self-organizing entities, operating under the forces of Yin and Yang and changing constantly according to the natural laws of internal transformations and external mutations ([MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), is the causal generative world of fortune and misfortune ([III.sup.CG](Evil,JP)). It is believed that every entity existing in the universe is always under the mercy of the good and bad states of luck or fortune. Thus, the universal entity (or element), existing in the endless, inter-transmutative, and cyclical motions of yin and yang, is always in a process of transforming into a new state of either misfortune or fortune.

In the image space of The Iching, there are eight trigrams (Chien, Kun, Ken, Tui, Chen, Hsun, Kan, and Li, manifesting the forces of Heaven, Earth, Mountain, Marsh, Lightening, Wind, Water, and Fire, respectively) and sixty four hexagrams.

The set of eight trigrams unfolds eight types of the primordial operational forces of The Iching, while the set of sixty four hexagrams manifests the pulse and dynamical trajectory of Four Dragons of The Iching world (Potential Dragon, Field Dragon, Flying Dragon, Regretting Dragon). In turn, this world of sixty four hexagrams constitutes the causal generative world of the six dragons (six strokes or liu yao). In this system, Kan (Fire) and Li (Water) are keys to the dynamic system of eight trigrams. Kan is Kun being penetrated by Yang, and Li is Chien immersing in the force of Yin (see Water-Fire Schematic Diagram, Wei Boyang's Understanding and Participation in Chou Yi).

The forces of eight trigrams originate from Ultimate Creativity/Destructivity (of the universe), Grand Ultimate (Tai Chi). Then Yin and Yang (Liang Yi) as two Forms are generated by it. After this process, Four Emblems (Ssu Hsiang)--Senior Yin, Senior Yang, Junior Yin, and Junior Yang--are further created. Finally, these Four Emblems are transformed into eight trigrams. As such, these Four Emblems reveal the secondary operational forces of The Iching.

The substance of The Iching is change and alternation; and for the forces of alternations, there are gradual and abrupt changes. These gradual and smooth changes are presented in the arragements of sixty four hexagrams. The change (benefial or harmful y xystemism) could be the motion transforming from the state of misfortune to the state of fortune (by accumulating a "force of the good" through constant deeds of virtues) or vice versa. In this critical moment of xystemic and strategic discontinuity, the hexagram Fu (as an "n xystemism") plays the key in alternating this state of misfortune ("Unless the good is accumulated, it will not be famous," Hsi Tzu II, Chapter 5).

In the Iching world, transforming from the accumulating "force of the good" to the changing state of fortune (from bad to good) is to cross between the worlds of evil and propitiousness; and in this juncture, the key is Fu (hexagram). "Moving back and forth, in seven days, all are coming back. This is the motion of Heaven" (The Iching, I). Here, by connecting to the period of the motion of the celestial world of planets and constellations (i.e., 7 days), the life of the humans is immersed in the creative mystery of the universe.

In the above, the images of eight trigrams (TriG), fenfshui (FengS, a set of practices of house and burial site arrangements in accordance with The Iching/Taoist beliefs), and yuan (Yn, a perceived causal net of the human beings; or "pratitya samutpada" (Dissanayake, 2003, the recurrence/incarnation and permanent existence of life and the co-arising of ideas and universal phenomena) are some most notable manifestations of the beliefs in the "celestial power of the universe" (Ultimate Creativity and Destructivity) which is in turn associated intrinsically with Yin and Yang, or what generates the core values of jen and righteousness in the space of meanings of The Iching system. As such, the mechanisms or semi-institutional arrangements of Face and Li (social etiquette, explicit regulations, rites, and rituals of Juism) are outer menifestaitons of these core values of jen and righteousness.

In the world of The Iching, one chooses a like style that which communicates with others in a harmonious manner (Hsu, 1994). To illustrate this point, let "x[|.sub.jT/YTSS'" denote the agent x acts according to the jT principle of decision-making, strategy, and action (a theoretical/practical and comprehensive approach with a method of trial and error, Tonn, 2009c) under the constraint of YT/SS impactor (method of Y-technical operations/steady-state schematization and specifications), "x(Act)" denote the human element x with action "Act", "[??]" mean "leading to another xystemic operation," "[??]" mean "belonging to," the superscripts [sup."IC-HH"] denote the state of interconnected creativity (IC) and harmonious hierarchy (HH, Chen, 2009), the superscript [sup."sC"] denotes the state of xystemic and strategic continuity, and "[III.sup.CG](JP[parallel][chung.sup.IC-HH)sC]" denotes the causal generative world ([sup."CG"]) in the state of Tcentral (Chung) and strategic continuity (sC) with the symbol "JP" referring to a state of propitiousness and good fortune (chi).

Then the person x with his/her action is set to search for a state of propitiousness:


with the superscript [sup."JY"] denoting the doctrine of jen and righteousness.

Thus, by Bcm. (6) is meant that human beings are living in the worlds of evil and propitiousness; and by avoiding the undesirable world and approching the desirable world with the deeds of jen and righteousness, the agent x achieves good fortune. It implies that the application of the jT principle leads to the world of richness, social prestige, and high political status through acts of jen and righteousness (JY). Consequently, the world of JY is the world of fortune and benefits ([JP.sup.JY]=BB, "BB" being the notation for "beauty and benefits"), with the term "[Act.sup.JY]" designating the life acts of JY (which lead eventually to the state of strategic continuity "sC").

In the above, Bcm. (6) implies that the universal entity (or element), existing in the endless, intertransmutative, and cyclical motions of yin and yang, always operates in a process of transformation into the state of either fortune or misfortune. In this instance, the state of fortune is always immersed in the world of beauty and benefits (BB) reached by acting in conformity with the doctrine of jen and righteousness.

In the Iching, the centers of gravity (or centrality) are "the Tao of Tien proclaiming itself by the alternations of yin and yang, the Tao of Earth exhibiting itself in the forms of unyieldingness and tenderness, and the Tao of the human being unvailing itself through the doctrine of jen and righteousness." The spirit of The Iching is of "primordiality, prosperity, benefits, and chastity" (Yi Ching, I, Wenyan). By this spirit is meant the generative beauty and prosperity (sheng sheng mei li), the one of pursing a Tcentral state in balancing righteousness with material acquisition and social benefits. This is the operating philosophy of the common populace, pursuing the well-being of the individual in the Juist community.

Let IpC be the interpersonal complex and the term [III.sup.CG] the causal-generative world. Then from Bcm. (6), Bcm. (7) is derived:


Below, let "Im" be the set of elements in the space of images, "[J.sup.J]" be roughly the procedures of matching the jT principle to the specific conditions of the real world, and "CZ" be the principle of the culture-, custom-, and institution-constrained decision-making rules created with some symbolic and divine mindsets. Furthermore, let the term "Meaning-life-org" denote the meanings of life and the objectives of human organizations, and the symbol "[[right arrow].sup.Pursue]" denote the strategic endeavor of the agent x.

Then by the jT principle (Tonn, 2009c, Chapter 3, Secion 3.7), we get:


with the superscript "s[C.sup.xystrix"] denoting the state of systemic and strategic continuity in a form of "xystrix," and the superscripts [sup."GC"] and [sup."AC"] denoting the states of gradual change and abrupt change, respectively.

Thus, the world of The Iching becomes:



with Yn, TriG, and FengS referring to the images of the human causal net, the system of eight trigrams (or sixty four hexagrams), and the system of "fengshui practices" (Chen, 2004, 2007) (3), respectively, "YY" referring to the forces of yin and yang, "SS" referring to the idea of shengsheng ("generative generativity," or creative creativity), "KJ" referring to the forces of unyieldingness and tenderness (kang and jou), "[III].sup.OSM,,] referring to the operational sphere of mutuality, and "KDCA" referring to the knowledge-action-information-communication-decison-making-feedback circle. Here, [x.sub.i](.) exists in the operating world of ultimate concerns with "Trig" being a system existing in the mind of [x.sub.i] (also see Jiang & Li, 2007).

Here, the mind of xi and therefore the space containing M exist in the operating world (OW) of Tien (OWT) (a part of [III.sup.OWUltC], the OW of ultimate concerns), and through the spirit of jen-righteousness (JY) and 5R, TriG and FengS are connected to the mechanisms of Face and Li in the communication Channel. In other words, "M" stands for the meanings of life and "IpN(Face)-IpN(Li)" is the social mechanism comprising the interpersonal network of face mechanism (IpN(Face)) and that of Li mechanism (IpN(Li)). Besides, the mechanism of "Yn" operates as a key leading to the formation of an interpersonal network at the level of common populace (Chang, 2002, 2004), and "Li" is definitely a vital key to the interpersonal network of the traditional Chinese community at the level of high society (Xiao, 2002; Yum, 2007; Schaefer-Faix, 2008).

Seen in Bcms. (9) and (10), making/giving face (Chen, 2008, Huang, 2004) and Li mechanism (which is the major form of the outward manifestation of 5R) all help create communication (sub-)channels in the space of group life-world. (4)

In the above, by Bcm. (10) is meant the person of BB and JY (with the mindset pursuing a life world of beauty and prosperity, shengsheng mei li, and with the doctrine of jen and righteousness) acting as the basic agent in the The Iching world is always operating under the universal forces of Yin and Yang. To connect to the outside world of IpN (as a substructure of IpC), this agent's soul is completely instilled with the images of the systems of eight trigrams, fengshui and so on.

Bcm. (10) explicates the world of The Iching in the sense that the typical agent integrates his/her life wisdom and information holistically and acts according to his/her sense of the meanings of life formulated over time in order to seek a life of fortunes, riches, and high position at the social level and to pursue a life to be in harmony with the beauty and grandeur of Heaven and Earth at the cosmic level. Accordingly, it is the Face mechanism at the micro evel and the Li mechanism at the macro level that constitute the structures of the interpersonal network.

In Bcm. (9), the living environment provided by the worlds of TriG and FengS leads to a life of fortune and propitiousness conncected through a beneficial interpersonal network. According to Bcm. (10), the person also acts by operating through the KDCA circle.

The images affect the very person who carries them internally; and these images manifesting outward will also affect the people surrounding him/her, since they all share the same value systems.

The substance of the human being (in the world of The Iching) is jen and righteousness. The substances of the universe are then Yin-Yang and unyieldingness-tenderness. Through the interactions of these cosmic and human energies, the information of yin and yang (following Bcm. (10)) are those of making/giving faces to others and acting according to the etiquette and social norms in the interpersonal network would lead to a world of beauty and prosperity. According to this line of reasoning, the opposite ways would lead to a world of misfortune and misery. Concurrently, the world of beauty and prosperity is (TpN(Face),IpN(Li)). In this situation, the meanings of a person are defined by the society. In other words, the (most relevant) meanings of a person in the world of The Iching are interpersonal meanings (i.e., meanings of mutuality), rather than the meanings of individuality and centrality.

Note that, in the general system of communication, the meanings are more than interpersonal. They also include the individual meanings (which is typically true in the commercial and capitalist type of communication system) and collective meanings (which is true in the political and especially authoritarian type of communication system).

Now, we have:


with the symbols "w-mol" representing the world of the meanings of life imbedded in Enc and Dec and the superscript "[??]" representing the world of dynamics. Let "M" and "?" denote the meanings of life and the mages (of life meanings) embodied in the mind of the human element xi, respectively, the superscripts [sup."1"], [sup."1-1"], [sup."2"], [sup."2-1"] denote "person 1", "opposite of person 1", "person 2", and "opposite of person 2", respectively, and the subscript "i" of [(J[right arrow]M).sup.2]/[(J[right arrow]M).sup.2-1]] denote the ith item of [(J[right arrow]M).sup.2]/[(J.[right arrow].M).sup.2-1](i = 1,2, ...,n). Then from Bcms. (1), (7), (8), (9), (10), and (11), one finally derives the Iching communication system [xi]:


That is, in The Iching communication system, there is an intimate correspondence between the image space of the senders and receivers (with images of (Yn/TriG/FengS,5R)) and the positive and negative interpersonal sub-complexes ([MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) existing in the operational sphere of mutuality.

Here, in Bcm. (12), the negative interpsernal sub-complex "[??]*([left arrow]|[right arrow,k)" is "minimized" (denoting by "[??]*[([left arrow]|[right arrow]k).sup.[down arrow],,). That is to say, for The Iching system, Channel([??]*([??],[??])/[??]*([left arrow]|[right arrow],k)) must approach Channel ([??]*([??], [??])) in the limit (denoting by "lim" or "in the limit"). (5)

In addition, to establish a more solid microfoundation, the positive interpersonal sub-complex [MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] can be decomposed into two subsystems: affectionate subsystem and mutual-benefits subsystem. By this is meant that, through the impactor of reveral creation (or essential decomposition, see Tonn, 2009a), the interpersonal complex in Channel ([??]*([??],[??]),[??]*[([left arrow]|[right arrow],k).sup.[down arrow]]) can be obtained by approaching to the interpersonal subcomplex comprising only the interpersonal network of Face and that of Li:

(13) Channel([MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) [right arrow] Channel(IpN(Face),IpN(Li)) in the limit.

(14) lim Channel([MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) = Channel([sigma]-IpN(Aff),[sigma]-IpN(MB)),

with [sigma]-IpN(Aff) and [sigma]-IpN(MB) referring to the interpersonal subnetwork of affection (Aff, caring and loving others with affection) and that of mutual benefits (MB), respectively. Here, the self-centered behaviors of the Chinese Malaysian (or selfishness, Lee, 2007) may provide a micro foundation for the mechanism of mutual benefits (MB).

As just mentioned in the above, both of IpN(Face) and IpN(Li) can be decomposed (through inverse construction) into [sigma]-IpN(Aff) and [sigma]-IpN(MB). In other words, for the informal institution (IpN(Face),IpN(Li)) to perform effectively, the joint functioning of [sigma]-IpN(Aff) and [sigma]-IpN(MB) (with occasional contradictions occurring between them, for example, in the processes of creating and distributing wealth) has to proceed smoothly, and the conflict of interests in "[??]*([left arrow]|[right arrow],k)" (the negative part of the interpersonal complex, negative [sigma]-InC) has to be minimized.

Concluding Remarks

To finish this paper, a few remarks are in order. The meanings in The Iching system do not appear to be the meanings of individuality. Thus in the future, it is necessary to provide an in-depth account of the microfoundation of this interpersonal meanings.

It is the general consensus that the substance of The Iching is change or changes. But for a second thought, the ontological substance of The Iching appears to be the three dimensional complex of Yin and Yang (with their energies radiating in days and nights and their outer forces exhibiting in the forms of mountains and valleys, sun and moon, males and females, etc.), unyieldingness (or strength, being hardy, kang) and tenderness (or softness, flexibility, jou), and jen (humanity) and righteness (yi). As such, this ontological substance is creativity revealing itself in a string of interconnected forms of inventions and innovations (both material and spiritual, shengsheng) and generating a world of benefits and prosperity for all people of humanity (meili).

In the future, one may need to reconcile this discrepancy and eradiacte any seemingly contradictions. It is perhaps true that change or Yi is about the alternatons of yin and yang, unraveling a series of intrinsic transformations among Yin-Yang, unyieldingness-tenderness, and jen-righteousness, and upholding the principle of decision-making, strategies, and actions (as part of the jT principle) in the worlds of fortune and misfortune.


(1) These idea of jen, propriety, righteoueness, and acheievement are connected closely to Tung Chugshu's idea of five constants/cardinal values (jen, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trust; quoted from Chou, 1976, p. 202). Besides, to be further inspired by The Iching, one could develop three models: trial and error model of The Iching (chung pian tung jiu), the (economic) model of boom and bust, and The Iching dialectic.

(2) The term "[5.sub.R]" represents the five cardinal principles of Juist ethics, king and subject(s) with righteoueness, father and son(s) with affection, elder and younger brothers with order, husband and wife with differentiation, and friends with trust, see Chu Hsi' Missions of White Deer Cave Academy (quoted from Liu, 1982, p. 363). This idea of "5R" is closely connected to Tung Chungshu's idea of three outlines/principles (between the king and subjects, between father and son, and between husband and wife; quoted from Chou, 1976, p. 202).

(3) The mechanisms such as bao, guanxi, harmony, keqi, qi, enryo, saashi, amae, awase, sunao, (ne)mawashi, on, en, musubi (Chen & Miike, 2006), ubuntu (Yum 2007), and the Bible (in Christianity) can also be incorporated into the space of images in a more general system (of communication).

(4) Here in this model of two-way communication, the sender (S) is simultaneously the receiver engaging in activities of decoding, and the receiver (R) is the sender engaging in activities of encoding as well (see Bcm. (9)).

(5) This is a mathematical concept that can be defined rigorously.


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Victor Lux Tonn, Ph.D.

Department of Business Studies and Economics

Salve Regina University

Newport, RI 02840, USA

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