When the Yijing oracle is wrong


A bad outcome when one was not apparent from one's interpretation of the oracle of course should prompt re-examination. Here are some possible reasons:


1) You were wrong in your interpretation of the oracle.


2) You are misinterpreting what has happened and the change has not fully unfolded yet.


3) The oracle ignored you and you didn't realise and so were just embroidering on nothing.


4) The question was unclear or involved assumption. Garbage in garbage out.


5) The oracle was wrong.


There is the point of view that it doesn't matter whether the oracle is right or wrong, so long as through the use of it we are able to overcome lack of decisiveness. Note King Wu's strategist Tai Gong, who knew that to disregard the oracle's advice was for the best if the omens led to a dangerous indecision. At the end of the day, we must be our own oracle, and the Yijing is simply an aid to that.

Every day people ask the Yijing questions that they can answer themselves. They use it as a crutch and bother it with trivialities. It is an assumption that the Yi operates according to our ideas. We also have little understanding of the timescale of unfolding. And our questions are far from clear. If we ask whether we are going to be a success at something, and the oracle implies that we are, then why should we think it wrong if the first thing that happens is an apparent misfortune in following that path? Does that mean we are only willing to be a success so long as there is no misfortune along the way? We asked whether we would be successful. In the end we are. Then the misfortune seems like nothing. So was the oracle right or wrong?

The more I discover about the nature of fate, the more I must admit it seems quite pointless to consult an oracle to draw a map of the future, since everything reverses, and all I am seeking is a little help in the moment to take a decisive step. Or to wait a little while longer. Or to abandon a plan. Things are always changing and there is nowhere to draw a line and say this is the point in time the oracle was actually referring to. Because the day we do that could turn out to be the day before it all collapses.

If we don't realise this, we have no business consulting oracles.

That said, it is the Yijing that taught me this.