All Thinking That Goes Beyond This Only Makes the Heart Sore

There’s a chance now that we’re going to be forced to move soon. I’m feeling devastated and hopeless; the move here just a year and a half ago exhausted me severely, much worse than I was expecting, physically and financially and spiritually, and the thought of going through all that again so soon fills me with dread. Since learning about this two days ago, I have been agitated and sick to my stomach pretty much constantly, and only getting any sleep at night due to pills.

This morning I threw the coins for the Yijing, as I often do when I’m troubled or trying to work something out in my head. I threw this (using the Wilhelm/Baynes translation and commentary):

Fire on the mountain:
The image of THE WANDERER.
Thus the superior man
Is clear-minded and cautious
In imposing penalties,
And protracts no lawsuits.

When grass on a mountain takes fire, there is bright light. However, the fire does not linger in one place, but travels on to new fuel. It is a phenomenon of short duration. This is what penalties and lawsuits should be like. They should be a quickly passing matter, and must not be dragged out indefinitely. Prisons ought to be places where people are lodged only temporarily, as guests are. They must not become dwelling places.

Fuck. Not what I want you to tell me.

Fourth line moving:

Nine in the fourth place means:
The wanderer rests in a shelter.
He obtains his property and an ax.
My heart is not glad.

This describes a wanderer who knows how to limit his desires outwardly, though he is inwardly strong and aspiring. Therefore he finds at least a place of shelter in which he can stay. He also succeeds in acquiring property, but even with this he is not secure. He must be always on guard, ready to defend himself with arms. Hence he is not at ease. He is persistently conscious of being a stranger in a strange land.

No, no, no, this is way more truth than I am prepared to cope with this morning.

The moving line changes the hexagram to mountain over mountain:

Mountains standing close together:
The image of KEEPING STILL.
Thus the superior man
Does not permit his thoughts
To go beyond his situation.

The heart thinks constantly. This cannot be changed, but the movements of the heart — that is, a man’s thoughts — should restrict themselves to the immediate situation. All thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart sore.

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No, Not That Kind of Chinese Radical

There are a whole bunch of good Chinese-English dictionaries for the iPhone, but as far as I know we don’t have one with a decent way of looking for a character by its radical. (A radical is a component of the character.) I can look up a character on any of my iPhone Chinese dictionaries by its English meaning, or by its pinyin transliteration, or I can draw it. But if I see an unfamiliar character on a sign, say, then I don’t know what it means or how to say it, and when I draw it I’m such a beginner that it can take me several tries to get the right stroke order, and that’s crucial to the recognition software.

So it would be great if I could look it up on the iPhone by radical and number of strokes, as I can in most of the dictionaries I have at home.

But so far the only iPhone Chinese dictionary that has that feature is the Oxford Beginner’s, and that one is very poorly implemented and has a limited number of characters anyway, being meant for beginners.

Private Lives at CalShakes

Dave and I saw Private Lives Friday night at CalShakes. Private Lives is not a play I was feeling a strong urge to see again; I think it’s a very funny play but I’ve seen it several times in my life already. But Dave hadn’t seen it before, so we got inexpensive tickets, and I’m glad we went because it was a very good production with terrific performances all around.

The performances were so well fleshed out that there were even times when I felt a bit sorry for Elyot and Amanda, trapped by their inability — or perhaps just unwillingness — to give or receive real love. There were times when you could smell the fear of intimacy that lurks underneath and behind everything they do. But just times. Most of the time they were being if anything even more self-centered and egotistical than I’d remembered.