Liberal Arts Blog — Trigrams — Broken (Yin) and Unbroken (Yang) Lines in Combinations of Three

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Today’s Topic: Trigrams — Broken (Yin) and Unbroken (Yang) Lines in Combinations of Three

Have you ever thought about the four trigrams on the South Korean flag? Have you ever learned what each means? Today a focus on each of the four. Each has associated with it one of seven things: a celestial body, a season, a cardinal direction, a virtue, a family member, an element, and a meaning. On a more primal level, I think of the solid line as a time of unity, and the broken line as a time of separation. And each trigram a unit of time with a different mix of each. There are times when everything is in sync and times when they never are. Then there are the times that mix it up. I imagine. The flag as a mobile over a child’s crib. The mobile has two arms, at the the two ends of each, a trigram. The arms bob up and down as the central sphere of red and blue rotates. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

UPPER LEFT — THREE SOLID LINES — “GEON”

1. Celestial body = heaven, season = spring

2. Cardinal direction = east, virtue = humanity

3. Family member = father, natural element = air

NB: Meaning = justice.

LOWER RIGHT — THREE BROKEN LINES — “GON”

1. Celestial body = earth, season = summer

2. Cardinal direction = west, virtue = courtesy

3. Family member = mother, natural element = earth

NB: Meaning = vitality

UPPER RIGHT — OUTER BROKEN LINES, INNER SOLID LINE — “GAM”

1. Celestial body = moon, season = winter

2. Cardinal direction = north, virtue = intelligence

3. Family member = son, natural element = water

NB: Meaning = wisdom

LOWER LEFT — OUTER SOLID LINES, INNER BROKEN LINE “RI”

1. .Celestial body = sun, season = autumn

2. Cardinal direction = south, virtue = righteousness

3. Family member = daughter, natural element = fire

NB: Meaning = fruition

FINAL WORD — what sticks?

1. It seems to me that all this is too much to remember.

2. If you are South Korean, what meaning stands out most vividly in your memory?

3. For me, it is family member first, celestial body second, and season third.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_South_Korea

Quote of the Month:

“The single biggest challenge in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” (William H. Whyte, author of The Organization Man” (1856)

THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY ARE AVAILABLE HERE:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

ATTACHMENTS BELOW:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned recently or ever related to art, sculpture, design, architecture, film, or anything visual.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And to cement in your own memory something cool or important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that is close to your heart.

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