The Dark Arts

Will Uncategorized Leave a Comment

This morning I have been preoccupied with two things: firstly, baking bread (having made myself a frisky little sourdough starter); and secondly working on the final edits of my Yijing (易經) book. This has involved shuttling between the kitchen and my desk, as I attend to the both creations. Anyway, as I was looking after the loaf in the kitchen, I flicked on the radio to hear an economist talking about the mysteries of global finance. When I returned to the book in front of me, and stumbled serendipitously across the following section, which I thought was worth sharing:

The complex science that in ancient China was known as shuxue 數學 — a term that, when applied to the numerological speculation that surrounds the I Ching, is only inadequately translated as “mathematics” — is no less abstruse than that most divinatory of practices, economics. Indeed, if one wanted to seek out the contemporary equivalents of those ancient diviners, they would be found not amongst the religious, nor amid those strange, otherworldly figures who spend their days enveloped by incense clouds, but instead amongst those other mystics who, schooled in economics and the dark arts of finance, are passionately convinced that in the manipulation of number there might lie the secret of our future destiny.

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