Some People Will Believe Anything

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The I CHING (pronounced 'I Ching') is an ancient Chinese text written by some ancient Chinese people who probably didn't regard themselves as ancient at all. They probably thought they were pretty damn' up-to-date, just like people didn't go round in the Middle Ages shrugging resignedly and saying 'Well, what do you expect from the Middle Ages? Helicopters already?' The I Ching (pronounced 'Yi Jing') is an early version of what later became called the sortes (pronounced 'sore taze'), a method of opening a book at random and trying to make sense of the first passage your eye fell on. The most popular methods are the Sortes Virgilianae, in which the postulant consulted the works of Virgil; the Sortes Biblianae, in which the Bible was the chosen book; and the more modern Sortes Deborianae Dallam Facit, in which the seeker after truth uses, not a book, but a video of Debbie Does Dallas, inducing a state, not of enlightenment but of open-mouthed stupefaction, and none the worse for that.

Instead of opening the book (or video) at random, however, the I Ching (pronounced 'Idiot') demands that the user throws yarrow-stalks from which he derives a hexagram (also known as 'Oh, come on, you don't believe that stuff, do you?'), then opens the book where the hexagram directs. Which is to say, at random, but via a more roundabout route. CJ Jung (pronounced 'I'm a little teapot, short and stout/Here's my handle, here's my spout') claimed that the casting of the yarrow stalks induced a harmonious oneness with the Universe. Others, however, claim that that's just plain silly, and the whole thing is just purely random.

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Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

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