marvel's agent carter
music friday: david johansen (your mirrors get jammed up with all your friends)

throwing the thursday oracle

For some reason, I got the idea of examining The Man in the High Castle by way of the I Ching. One person commented that the post gave him “a glimpse of insight into your hippie past”, while another agreed that “it betrays a certain level of hippie”.

Not sure I have any photos or sound bites for this. But yes, in my wannabe hippie past, I consulted the I Ching. I was introduced to it in a few ways. Ken Kesey, who was an important influence on me at the time, wrote about it, in the classic-to-us-at-the-time Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog:

The oracle works on the cybernetic gestalt principle that when you stand at the free-throw line that the information concerning the future and distant relationship and outcome of ball-and-basket is contained in your physical state at the moment of the shot. We always know down in our cells which fork in the road to take but the knowledge is usually not permitted audiance in the tight-assed regime of the courthouse of ego and attachment that we recognize, in a kind of diplomatic dither, as our consciousness ... so we are sometimes forced to rudely bypass the red-tape media garble of our city hall for some grassroots opinion. So we give the Ching a ring. Of course we can’t stop the boys in the smoke-filled rotunda from tapping our line but then neither have they figured out a way to stop the call so we toss the coins and figure, What the hell; go ahead and listen, Captain. You get good advice from the Ching even when you’re eavesdropping.

Also, every morning the DJ on KMPX/KSAN (I forget which or both) read the daily I Ching. I think the DJ was Bob Prescott, although I could be wrong. The point is, it was part of my daily morning ritual.

Later, I think in the late-70s but again, not sure, I had a calendar/diary by Khigh Dhiegh. Looking at a photo, I think it was 1978. The book was called I ching: Taoist book of days: calendar-diary. 1978 Year of the Horse. (If I have the wrong year, then the title reflected whatever year I had.) As I recall, you threw the coins once for each week, and once for each month, and you made plans for yourself based on the readings, and then you wrote about your experiences. I think my diary entries eventually devolved into one “I hate my job” after another.

Dhiegh was an interesting man. He founded a Taoist sanctuary, and had a doctorate in theology, so writing a book featuring the I Ching wasn’t all that unusual for him. But his primary claim to fame was as an actor. He was the arch villain Wo Fat in the original Hawaii Five-O, and played a brainwasher in the 1960s version of The Manchurian Candidate. Furthermore, in true Anthony Quinn mode, Dhiegh usually played an Asian character, but his actual heritage was Anglo/Egyptian/Sudanese. In fact, he was born in New Jersey, as Kenneth Dickerson.


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